New Year Day’s snowfall left a blanket of white in Hannibal.
As is the case with each round of winter precipitation, Street Department workers were called upon Wednesday night to remove the fresh powder. Depending on the duration of a snow and/or ice event, city personnel periodically find themselves on the job for extended periods of time, which can prove expensive for the city.
Following an extended period of financial austerity at city hall, it’s been suggested that the city has gone so far as to cut back on the amount of overtime it’s willing to pay for removal of snow from city streets. Hannibal Finance Director Doug Warren says the rumor is incorrect.
“I have not authorized such a thing. I have not asked for such a thing,” he said. “Core mission is core mission, you’ve got to get it done, that’s all there is to it.
“I know for a fact that’s what Jeff (LaGarce, city manager) would say. That’s what I would say.”
If the city were seriously cash strapped, there are other ways to work around the hours that Street Department personnel might log pushing snow, according to Warren.
“Even if I’m cash crunched these guys have what they call ‘comp time’ so they can take time off in the spring when it’s beautiful out. We could do this without it literally being a cash situation,” said Warren. “It’s totally up to the individual’s choice. If they want cash, they can get cash. We don’t hold back on that any way, shape or form.”
Between July 1, 2012, and June 30, 2013, the city of Hannibal experienced two of its worst quarters in terms of revenue in a decade. However, in recent months, the city’s finances have begun to turn around.
"For the first time in several years, sales tax revenues are healthy. We are hitting budget projections," said LaGarce in late November.
That trend continued through the end of 2013, says Warren.
“We’re doing much better,” he said. ‘We ended the month in the black, so when we ended the half-year mark of our fiscal year, every account has black ink.”