Budget for plowing, salting roads could be on thin ice

City budgeted $6.6 million for snow removal; Budget has about $850K left

Published On: Dec 03 2013 09:38:27 PM CST   Updated On: Dec 04 2013 07:51:50 AM CST
MADISON, Wis. -

Despite having just a little snow so far this season, Madison's budget for maintaining safe roads this winter could be on thin ice.

One more major winter storm could require city officials to request additional funding from the city council.

It almost feels too soon to be talking about snow removal again, but this is Wisconsin and over the next 28 days streets department officials hope Mother Nature stays calm.

"I am thinking right now, since snow is such a pain, let it rain, let it rain, let it rain," George Dreckmann, city of Madison public information officer, said.

It may be raining, but snow could be on the way.

"Yes, the next 10 days look good (for no snow), but as we found out last year it only takes one to blow the whole thing up," Dreckmann said.

If south central Wisconsin gets a snowstorm like Dec. 20, 2012, Dreckmann said the budget would be in trouble.

"If on the other hand, we were to get a couple of 6-inch snowstorms or a 20-inch snowstorm then we would run into some problems with our budget," Dreckmann said.

The city budgeted $6.6 million for snow removal, or six major snowstorms, and there is about $850,000 left in the budget.

"Winter is a season that crosses calendar years, but we budget on a calendar year basis so last winter has left us with a hole coming into December. The city has to operate under some strict state-imposed cost controls so we can't just spend money willy nilly," Dreckmann said.

He also said snow removal is always on the city's mind even in the summer because they're ordering salt and maintaining plows.

Dreckmann said drivers need to help the process too by slowing down and allowing enough time for the commute during snow and bad weather.