Snow-removal costs adding up

By Susie Snyder

DeKalb has spent more than one-half of its budgeted funds for snow removal, but officials are not concerned about a deficit.

DeKalb Mayor Greg Sparrow said at least $85,000 of snow-removal funds have been spent so far, and DeKalb has received two-thirds of the winter’s predicted snowfall. The amount budgeted for snow removal is $170,000.

If more major snowstorms hit DeKalb and the city runs out of snow-removal funding, city officials will have to cut and reduce other areas of the city budget to compensate, said Rodger Chilton, assistant director of public works.

Sparrow said, “I used to measure snow in inches, but now I measure it in dollars.”

If snowfall continues as it has during the past few days, DeKalb will not have a problem, but if a deficit does occur in snow-removal funds, the city will have to shift funds from other parts of the budget, he said.

Possible supplemental funding for snow removal might come from budgets for “road and gravel,” which might have been overestimated, or other maintenance appropriations, which might not be in use or needed, Sparrow said.

The city can use the budget surplus as a final defense if no over-estimated budgets exist, Sparrow said.

Each year, the city sets aside surplus money within the budget for special one-time expenditures such as road repairs, actions taken during flooding, and snow removal, he said.

Sparrow said DeKalb began fiscal year 1987-88 with a balance of $1,022,000 for surplus funding. He said estimated expenditures for the budget are $8,700,000 and estimated revenue inflow is $8,500,000.

The surplus fund also will be used to pay for the $200,000 in expenditures which exceed revenue, Sparrow said. The surplus still will have about $750,000 to spend on any other one-time expenditures as it is needed, he said.

“We can’t plan for these one-time expenditures, but the money is set aside for when it happens,” Sparrow said.

The surplus was used in Aug. 1987 to cover some problems after heavy rains caused flooding, he said.

Chilton said he did not know the exact amount of funding that has been spent, but he said DeKalb is experiencing a winter that is above average in snowfall.

He said although winter is half over, there is no guarantee against more snow in the spring.

Snow removal costs include labor, salting and sanding, plowing, equipment repair and contracting trucks to haul snow from the downtown area when snowfall exceeds five inches, Chilton said.