Major snowstorms, such as the one which swept through the area last weekend, can be budget-busters. But in Hannibal, where three significant snows have occurred within the last month, the white snow isn't resulting in red ink at city hall.
The city budgets $18,225 to cover the extra time that Street Department personnel might log cleaning up after snowstorms. Another $50,000 is penciled in for materials used during the course of snow-removal operations.
"I know we're under (budget) in overtime," said Doug Warren, finance director for Hannibal. "For snow removal (materials) I know we're not anywhere near (budget). At the end of February we'd only spent $3,679 of the $50,000."
News that the city is comfortably under budget when it comes to snow removal is no surprise to City Manager Jeff LaGarce.
"I would expect snow removal costs this fiscal year to be marginal-to-average; and not extraordinary," he said in an e-mail. "The city responded to very few weather events until late February, and those were stacked together fairly closely. Three decent-sized snow events are less expensive to address than 10 moderate snows. Had Mother Nature begun dropping snow on us regularly beginning in December, costs would be very different today."
After one of the February storms Parks Department personnel were called in to help remove snow.
"Utilizing parks personnel has been a big help," wrote LaGarce. "They have cleared intersections and removed snow from parking lanes, allowing the large plowtrucks to maintain their routes and make favorable plow mileage. Use of smaller trucks by the Parks Department is favorable too, because the large plowtrucks lack maneuverability necessary for the excellent work city park employees have performed. I am very proud of the work they've done, and its been a tremendous help to everybody."
No overtime cost
According to Andy Dorian, director of the Parks & Recreation Department, his personnel have been able to help without amassing overtime.
"We removed snow for one whole day, one of the days that city hall was closed, and then we worked overnight one night," he said. "I don't think we did (worked overtime) on either one of those. The one that we worked overnight, the guys that worked, including myself and Aron (Lee, recreation supervisor), we just worked our eight hours Thursday night. Those people that worked didn't come in on Friday."
As for the materials used on the streets, Street Superintendent Leon Wallace is always on the lookout for a good price.
"He (Wallace) does attempt to purchase salt when it's a bargain, but he is also limited by his annual budget," said LaGarce. "If he has money remaining in his budget, he may purchase salt not necessarily needed today – at a great price, and under-spend or under-budget money next fiscal year."
Page 2 of 2 - "(Last year) they loaded up those big 'tents' they have over there, so in effect we're just burning down that inventory (this winter). We haven't outlaid new money yet this year," said Warren.
Despite the recent storms, the supply of materials still on hand at the Street Department is reportedly sufficient to get through the remainder of this winter (spring).
Some of the materials on hand this winter were left over from last year's unseasonably mild winter.
"There wasn't but a couple of snow events (last winter) that even put the guys on the streets, but they weren't big time. Remember, we were having palm trees that were germinating in people's back yards," said Warren, laughing.
While materials can be held over, overtime funds aren't passed from one budget year to the next.
"It just rolls into the reserves of the city," said Warren of unspent overtime money. "The slate is cleaned (each year) and you start over again."