Increased snowfall blows town, county plowing budgets

Snow during weekends, holidays costs road crews more to clean up
Increased snowfall blows town, county plowing budgets

Increased snowfall blows town, county plowing budgets

All that snow Mother Nature dumped on south central Wisconsin is blowing out some snow plowing budgets for the year.

“Winter was looking pretty good through about the middle of December of 2013,” Director of Public Works for the Rock County Highway Department Ben Coopman said.

Department crews are still working to get the roads in shape after the most recent snow on New Year’s.

In addition to county highways, county crews plow roads for 13 of the 20 towns in the county. They plow about 2,900 lane miles every year. That’s the distance from Janesville to San Diego.

Coopman said multiple snow storms happening on weekends and holidays took a toll on their $1.9 million budget.

“We’re anticipating we’ll be over that, at least in the six figures. I’m hoping it’s got a one in the front not a two, but it’s really been pretty bad the last couple of weeks in terms of excessive costs,” Coopman said.

This is the fourth season the town of Center has used a private contractor, the Footville Trucking Company. They also have two part-time employees that use the towns plow to remove snow in their subdivisions — each is about 3 miles long.

“If this keeps up and doesn’t slow down, then most of our budget will be on snow removal,” Center Township Chairperson Wayne Udulutch said.

Udulutch estimates the community of about 1,000 residents will spend about 25 percent more this winter.

“If we plow less, then we have more to fix the roads. If we plow more, then you’ve got less money,” Udulutch said.

Their $235,000 public works budget covers all of their roadwork, including snow plowing. Udulutch said they’re also using more rock salt.

“This year already we have spent more money on material than we have last year all year long,” Udulutch said.

Both the town and the county leaders are glad to see 2014. Now that we’ve crossed into another calendar year, snow removal in January will come out of their new budget.

“This really cold weather uses a lot more of our salt products, but the equipment is holding up reasonably well, the staff is holding up pretty well. The materials will be a little bit of an issue but we’re comfortable. We’re going to be OK,” Coopman said.

Both the town of Center and Rock County officials said they won’t know exactly how much the holiday snow storm cost until final calculations are done sometime this spring.