58 inches of snow so far this winter is taxing DPW's budget

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Milwaukee DPW crews have used 20,000 tons of salt to treat the roads so far this winter -- and the resources and manpower being utilized during this unusually snowy December is taxing the budget.

We definitely had a white Christmas this year -- and have several inches of snow on the ground as we end the month of December -- and all that snow comes at a price when it comes to snow removal.

Everything costs money -- including the salt, de-icing chemicals, equipment, maintenance on that equipment, and manpower involved in cleaning up the snow.

The city budgeted $7.9 million for 2013 for snow and ice control, but by December 17th, $8.6 million was spent -- and that does not include cleanup from last Sunday's storm on December 22nd, which has virtually been a non-stop operation.

"I'm estimating we're well over 10 million dollars right now, because normally we spend, can spend pretty much a million dollars on extended plowing operations -- so those figures aren't all in yet," Wanda Booker, DPW Sanitation Services Manager said.

One bright spot is the salaries from December 22nd won't be paid until 2014 -- when the pay period ends -- and the Common Council will have to take care of the rest.

"The Common Council does have a contingent fund that they build into the budget each year. I believe it's about 5 million dollars that they put away for contingency such as unexpected weather," Booker said.

Booker says the city has logged 58 inches of snow so far this year -- something that hasn't happened since 2008.

As for the amount of salt on hand, Booker says she isn't worried about the supply just yet.

The city started the winter season with about 55,000 tons of salt, and has used a little more than 20,000.

"I'm not worried at this point. We are watching it though, because we've had a lot of operations in December and this is unusual," Booker said.

Booker says one way you can help DPW crews is by shoveling out your garbage and recycling containers.

Crews will be working on Saturday, December 28th because they were not able to collect on Monday because of all the plowing after Sunday's snowfall.