NORMAL — In addition to dumping 13 inches of snow, Tuesday’s blizzard also piled up bills for overtime for snowplow drivers, salt and other expenses.
Normal Public Works Director Robin Weaver said the cost of the storm to her department alone is roughly $33,000, including $8,400 in overtime costs Tuesday through Thursday, $14,700 in salt and $9,800 in fuel.
“We are still not done with cleanup so there will be more costs to the department, and it doesn’t include what has been spent by other departments such as police and parks,” Weaver added. The parks department had trucks and workers who plowed the drives and streets for the Normal Fire Department, she said.
The McLean County Highway Department spent about $10,900 in overtime. The Bloomington Public Works Department did not have an overtime estimate available Thursday afternoon.
Although the costs still are being tallied, officials in Bloomington, Normal and McLean County said they are all keeping track of storm-related expenses.
Bloomington City Manager David Hales said the city’s finance department was assigned on Monday afternoon to keep track of every expense related to the storm.
“If federal funds become available, we certainly want to be prepared with a well-detailed report,” Hales said.
Many local governments received money in 1999 after the area was hit by a 14-inch snowfall on New Year’s Weekend. The combined overtime cost for Bloomington, Normal and McLean County to plow out from the 1999 storm was $150,000.
So far, Bloomington and Normal have not dipped into its reserves to pay for storm-related costs, officials said. Most of those costs have been absorbed by what has been budgeted for snowplowing in the current fiscal year.
“We are getting closer to using our reserves,” added Weaver.
Highway engineers in Livingston, Logan and DeWitt counties said it is too early to calculate how the storm will batter their budgets.
“Everyone is still working to clear roads, just like we are,” said Logan County Highway Engineer Bret Aukamp.
In addition to overtime, equipment and supply costs, several area street departments also have costs related to contracts for snow removal services.
In Pontiac, Streets Supervisor Chris Brock said the city uses a contractor with bigger equipment to move the snow from the downtown area to parks and other locations.
“We budget for that every year and so far this year, we have been pretty lucky, because we haven’t had to use that until this storm came along,” he said.
Pantagraph reporter Kevin Barlow contributed to this story.