Lack of snow allows city to use budget for other projects

Tuesday, January 31, 2012 | 6:50 p.m. CST; updated 10:13 p.m. CST, Tuesday, January 31, 2012

COLUMBIA — With the lack of snow this winter, Ryan Bennett, an employee for Boone County Public Works, has been busy with normal work activities like brush cutting and crack sealing.

"I enjoy it," Bennett said of snow plowing, something he has not done much of this year.

The eight employees interviewed at the public works office all said they like the snow season. When it snows a lot, they are more likely to work overtime and that means more money.

More money is something Boone County Public Works has. The county budgets $200,000 for salt and $156,000 for sand, but it hasn't used any of this year's money so far, said Greg Edington, fleet manager for Boone County Public Works.  

Columbia’s public works has $480,000 budgeted for snow removal services and $355,000 of it just for salt for the 2012 fiscal year, which began Oct.1, said Jill Stedem, spokeswoman for City of Columbia Public Works. The city has only used about 200 tons of its 5,000 tons of salt, she said. 

The city and county public works offices both plan to use their leftover budget money for street maintenance projects in the spring and summer such as asphalt overlay and pothole repairs.

The Missouri Department of Transportation has a $42 million budget for snow removal services this fiscal year and has used only 5 percent to 7 percent of its salt inventory, said Jason Shafer, assistant district maintenance engineer for MoDOT. 

MoDOT’s central district, including Boone County, covers 18 counties total, which is five more than last year, said Shafer.

While MoDOT spent less than $50,000 in overtime costs during November, December and January this season with the five additional counties, it spent $150,000 in overtime costs during the same months last season on just 13 counties. 

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