SNOW REMOVAL: Light Snow Days Get Expensive

You don’t think too much about the plows when you get a light snow like Saturday’s, but city officials said these days can really add up.

Carl Klostermann has been out plowing Johnston’s roads since 4 a.m. It may only be a couple of inches, but leaving it on the roads isn’t an option. Klostermann said if you don’t, the snow will get packed down and turn into ice.

And whether it’s a light snow or one-foot of the stuff, it takes the same amount of time to clear it and often costs the same as well.

Public Works Director Dave Cubit said this winter has been filled with small storms, but it’s costing the city big bucks.

“We’re about half way through that time-frame and we’re about three-quarters of the money spent,” Cubit said.

When it comes to keeping the roads clear, Cubit said it doesn’t matter how much over the budget they go, because the city will find the money needed to plow the streets.

“Now I don’t say that in a whimsical way but the reality of it is, you know it’s one of those services that the residents expect and if we go over budget in line items, we’ll have to,” Cubit said.

Plowing the city’s more than 200-miles of road lanes has racked up nearly 750-hours of comp time for his 20 employees.

At the rate their going they’ll likely go over for this year’s budget, but Cubit said he won’t know until it happens.

“There’s three things I can guarantee; death, taxes, and mother nature will do what mother nature wants to do,” Cubit said.

Mother nature gives drivers like Klostermann erratic hours and unpredictable conditions. But Klostermann said something`s never change, like people driving too fast on the roads before they’re properly cleared.

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