Snow removal stretches road budget

By Kay Braddock

  Whether you’re traveling on them or maintaining them, everyone can agree it’s been a tough season for roads. 

And looking at local road finances, it’s easy to see county and town road crews aren’t the only ones feeling stretched thin – so are their department’s budgets.
Although budget figures don’t specifically mention snow removal costs, the increase in fuel and wages can easily be contributed to this winter’s heavy snowfall.
Last year at this time Prairie County had spent 59 percent of their fuel budget. That totaled to just under $25,000. This year 76 percent of their fuel budget has already been reached, just over $35,000. It’s an increase of about 17 percent.
This year’s total county road budget is just over $239,000. Budgeted fuel costs make up $42,000 of that budget.
Only a 5 percent comparison increase has been seen from last year’s expenditures to this year’s on county road crew salaries. 
The five employees of the county road department receive salary pay, but also receive pay for overtime hours. 
The Town of Terry has spent an additional $3,618 in wages primarily for snow removal, according to figures provided by Terry town clerk Lynn Strasheim. This has included paying for two extra seasonal employees and overtime hours.
Last year from December through February the town spent $1,325 on fuel, totaling to about 61 percent of their budgeted fuel. This year, not even including February’s figures, the town has already used their total budgeted amount for fuel. December and January fuel costs for the Town of Terry totaled just under $3,000. 
On the flip side to this rather dreary news, road crews have been able to keep roads mostly clear for school bus routes.  Only one day in January were school buses not able to make their routes, according to the Board of Prairie County Commission. This was due to freezing rain.

Published March 2, 2011

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