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WDAY: The News Leader

Published January 04, 2011, 07:40 AM

Recent Snow Storms Wipe Out Snow Clearing Budgets

We're only a few days into the new year - and new budgets for area cities - but they've already taken a huge hit because of the snow storms. With 360-some days remaining, money set aside for overtime to clean streets is gone.

We're only a few days into the new year - and new budgets for area cities - but they've already taken a huge hit because of the snow storms.

With 360-some days remaining, money set aside for overtime to clean streets is gone.

It took two days for the city of Moorhead to reach its 2011 overtime limit for snow removal. They've already spent all $16,000 budgeted.

“The snow removal during the week is better for us because we get the first eight hours as a regular shift, so it does not impact the budget, that money is spoken for,” said Chad Martin, Moorhead’s Public Works director.

Moorhead was forced to pay all 18 of its drivers triple time for working the holiday Friday, time-and-a-half for working Saturday, and double-time for working Sunday.

“It's frustrating because the guys are good about going out and working on the holidays, unfortunately for them they were supposed to have those days off. That's why I don't [regret] the money at all because they got to go out there and push snow back and keep the streets open,” said Martin.

Overall in 2010 the City of Moorhead came in $40,000 over the budget. However, the City of Fargo, came within 1 percent.

“It kind of works out between the January and February snowfalls, and the November, December snowfalls, it averaged out pretty nicely for us,” said Ben Dow, director of Fargo Public Works.

During this recent storm, Fargo spent over $34,000 in fuel, a cost of nearly $360 per hour.

They ran 33 plows 24 hours a day with a 66 man crew trading 12 hour shifts.

That resulted in just under $100,000 spent on labor.

“We're looking at about a million dollar snow budget, so you can see what we're pinholing ourselves into. We are really hoping that January and February treat us nicely,” said Dow.

Next up, Fargo officials say they'll focus on clearing the entire downtown area. Fargo crews are expected to be out working full-time for at least another two weeks.

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