Snowstorms lead to 200+ hours of OT for Racine DPW, 'taxing' employees

After 18 inches of snow fell in Racine Monday and Tuesday, there was plenty of work left to do on Wednesday, Feb. 17 to get it all cleaned up. However, there weren't many places to go with it.

FOX6's cameras captured lake effect snow covering cars and leaving cul-de-sacs with mountains of snow. We caught up with DPW crews on their first break in 48 hours, with more work to do.

"18 inches is a lot on top of, what?  Two feet was probably on the ground," said Nick Riegelman.

Riegelman is the kind of friend we all wish we had this time of year -- one with a snowblower and a pickup truck, on hand to help a friend clear snow. This, with DPW crews working around the clock to clear residential streets.

"It’s taxing to the employees," said DPW Commissioner John Rooney. "We have some employees that never miss a call, and show up and do this hard work every time the phone rings. They are approaching 200 hours of overtime and we are a month and a half into the fiscal year."

Rooney said people ignoring street parking rules have been the biggest hindrance.

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"It’s been rather difficult," said Rooney. "This is probably the biggest event we’ve had since the groundhog day event 10 years ago."

Matt Bieser was on hand with an extra shovel for his friend, Jenny Gill.

"Well, I'm going to come out and help," said Bieser.

Matt Bieser and Jenny Gill

"He’s doing a great job," said Gill.

Gill carved out a chair and open bar while her snowblower collected dust in the garage.

"I don’t know how to use it," said Gill. "I’ve never even tried to start it."

Luckily, Bieser was there to do the heavy lifting.

"I didn’t have to do this at home because my snowblower works," said Bieser.

The good news is that DPW officials said salt supplies aren't an issue because there was a reserve leftover from 2020.