TOPEKA (KSNT) – After spending more than #350,000 for just one snowfall last February, safety and money are something the Topeka Public Work department worries about.
“It’s rough for everybody, you know, dealing with the budget constraints. Everyone’s dealing with how to fund snow removal, along with the daily practice of what you do,” says Maintenance Director at Topeka Public Works, Jared Ward.
Each winter they’re constantly buying salt, rotating equipment, and bringing in more workers.
When the inches of snow increase, the money needed from the city does too.
“Last year it was 6 to 8 inches a couple times, the year before that 8 to 10. So this year has been kind of mild for Kansas weather,” says Ward.
The mild winter is something the Public Work Directors of Topeka, Manhattan, and Junction City agree, they’re thankful for.
It means safer roads and an organized budget.
When it comes to the Public Works Department, snow is always their number one priority. If they have to buy more salt than originally budgeted for, it means later on in the year they may have to cut projects to cover that extra cost.
It would require cutting costs on things like filling potholes and paving new roads.
But this winter, Topeka, Manhattan, and Junction City say their snow budgets are in good shape. That’s due to the infrequent snows and the type of snow this winter.
“Light and fluffy is best,” says Ward.
It’s not the best snow for making snowballs, but it does cost the city less.
The worst weather for the city’s budget?
“Ice is one of our worst nightmares. When you get ice, basically everything freezes and the material we put down it just sits on top of it,” says Ward.
So while snow and ice might leave you with a snow day, it costs the city thousands.