Snow takes toll on local budgets

By Kimberly Holmes – bio | email

HAMILTON, OH (FOX19)  - Snow removal crews from the Butler County Engineer's Office have been working around the clock these last few weeks. They're fighting Mother Nature and father checkbook, as supervisors try to minimize overtime. All 32 employees have been working 12-hours on; 12 hours off, non-stop for the last three days.

"A 12-hour day is a long day," said supervisor Danny Hileman. "Especially for the drivers when they're behind the wheels; Fighting the snow and the drift."

Scott Bressler oversees operations at the Butler County Engineer's Office. He said last weekend's wintry mix cost the county $142,000, including three-full days of overtime. The price of an average snow storm is $50,000.

"Budget-wise, we're probably three-fourths of what we spent last year total, at this point," Bressler said.

Still, Bressler said the county is on track to meet the snow removal budget if everything goes as planned.

"If we get some really bad snow you know, as we've had in the past in March and in late February, that could change everything," Bressler said.

Further south in Cincinnati, city leaders say they haven't tallied totals yet. City spokeswoman Meg Olberding said $330,000 is budgeted for labor related to snow removal and $2.5 million dollars is budgeted for snow removal materials, including: trucks and salt.

"We gotta worry about the roads," Cincinnati Public Services Spokesman Larry Whitaker said. "Roads have to be clear. Streets have to be safe, and that's really our operation. That's our focus. We can't just stop because we think we've spent too much money."

Many residents throughout the Queen City seemed to agree.

"People have to get to back to work," said Cincinnati resident Chuck Berry. "I think it's important that people spend the money on the salt or whatever else they put down."

Supervisors said if their final snow removal numbers do end up putting them in the red, it'll mean slashing other road projects later this year.

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