All the snow and ice events this winter have been at the very least a nuisance for metro area residents. For municipalities and organizations, they can stretch the budget or cause a little hit to the reserve funds, as well.
Between overtime and additional supplies, or additional calls to a private contractor to clear parking lots, snow removal has been costly. Fortunately for some, it comes after a few mild winters.
Independence City Manager Zach Walker said Tuesday's storm marked the 15th snow or ice event this season, and with overtime and standby time, not to mention additional salt supplies, the city has exceeded its budget for overtime pay in the Public Works Department.
However, the city's general fund reserve, which Walker reported Wednesday at the Independence Chamber of Commerce luncheon is up to 9 percent after dipping to 2.4 percent, will easily cover any difference.
“It's a roll of the dice,” Walker said with budgeting overtime for public works. “Some years you have less; some years you have more.”
“We budget based a rolling three-to-five year average.”
Chris Sandie, Blue Springs' public works director, said his department had less overtime than budgeted the past two years, so less was budgeted this year, “And then we have a year like this where we bust the budget.”
“Across the board we've had $65,000 in overtime, and last year we had $28,000.”
In addition, he said, Blue Springs has spread about 3,600 tons of salt this season, whereas it normally does 1,800 to 2,200 for a whole season.
“We've had three storms where we applied chemicals to every street in town, and normally we do that once every three years.”
Again, though, the city's reserve funds are healthy enough.
“Every city has a little money in reserve for emergency, and administration understands that they can dip into that,” Sandie said. “It's a knock on the budget (for us), but it's not catastrophic.”
Sandie said the all the snowstorms have also forced some cities to wait on more salt from suppliers. Sugar Creek Mayor Mike Larson said his city even ran out of salt and sand briefly but has since resupplied.
Even when the weather leads schools to close, Boys & Girls Club of Greater Kansas City usually keeps its units open to give children an alternative place to spend the day. So far, Boys & Girls Club has spent $6,000 this season for snow removal at its six units in Independence, Kansas City and in Kansas – about four times what it did last winter.
That cost is part of the club's overall maintenance budget, Spokesperson Sharon Cleaver said.