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Winter Expenses Adding Up
CINCINNATI (Joe Webb) -- Snow is not only a pain in the neck, it can be expensive!
Those expenses are pushing some budgets into the red. A snowfall like the one we got Monday night isn't crippling but it throws off everyone's schedules.
Schools are called off, people miss work and there is lost time commuting. These all add up to dollar and cent losses that are hard to figure. But there are some real weather expenses that are easy to calculate and a lot of people are scrambling to figure out where to get the money to pay for them.
From the earliest light snow on November 12th through the rush hour crippler on December 6th, the tri-state has been dealing with what seems like a steady stream of snow.
Public works employees in Fort Mitchell wore out a snowplow blade and had to bolt on a new one before they hit the streets again Tuesday morning. For many small cities, like Fort Mitchell, a long, snowy winter hits hard. They expect to be $50 to 75 thousand dollars over budget on salt and overtime this year.
Ft. Mitchell City Administrator, Chris Moriconi, said, "We're going to double our salt consumption over last year. As of today, we've used all our overtime for the year, all of what we did last year, and it's only January 21st. So we got a long way to go."
The same goes for local school districts. In Kenton County, bitter cold earlier this month froze pipes at Dixie Heights High School and an elementary school causing thousands of dollars in damage. Near zero temperatures mean 15-20 extra drivers and mechanics to warm up, drive and maintain buses. Plus, a snow day for kids means a snow removal day in school parking lots.
The driver clearing Summit View's parking lot gets paid $75 an hour and it takes him at least 5 hours to do this school.
Kenton County School's Assistant Superintendent, Gerald Turner, said, "So far this winter, not counting today's weather, we have spent $60,000 on snow removal. So far this year."
For Kenton County that's more than triple what they spent last year and 30 times what they spent the year before.
Turner continued, "We're looking at probably $100,000 when we're all said and done this year alone."
But sidewalks and parking lots have to be cleaned. And cities can't operate without cleared streets. It's the cost of doing business and nature is snowing them under.
Moriconi said, "I think we can handle the hit this year. Fortunately a couple of street projects came in well below budget so hopefully we can use some of those monies."
He can say that now, but snowy winters usually bring with them a lot of potholes. Filling them takes money, too.
The real financial impact of this winter will hit home next month when people get their January utility bills. The cold snap two weeks ago led to some of Duke Energy's highest usage ever.