CHICAGO (CBS) — If local officials’ New Year’s resolutions included living within their snow removal budgets, they may have to think again. With the new year only seven days old, many have already burned through to good portion of their budgets.
CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine has been checking the dollars and cents as the big clean-up continues. Levine found shrinking salt piles and soaring overtime costs, made even worse with the big storm falling on a weekend, when drivers are on double time.
City snow plows continued to attack Chicago’s side streets Tuesday, clearing away the snow and leaving a trail of salt in their wake. passing residents doing were much the same thing by hand.
“We were parked in this spot here, and I didn’t want to dib it cause I hate dibbing and there weren’t any problems, there were enough spaces around here. Now, I had to go to the doctor and I came back and someone not only parked in the spot but took up an extra two feet and now the spot next to it isn’t available,” said Avondale resident George lynch. “Now we have to dig out another one.”
When they can, city truck drivers like Bill McMahon are clearing the curb lane for parking as they traverse veritable obstacle courses of parked cars, lawn chairs and other items drivers set out to dib spaces. This comes off a weekend of overtime certain to tax the City’s $20 million snow removal budget.
“We will spend what we need to spend. We’re not gonnna do it carelessly and so you have the record 2013 we budgeted correctly and we were right on the money for what happened in 2013,” said Emanuel at an OEMC press conference on Monday.
But the winter of 2013 included just 14 snow events. Already this winter, there have been 13.
The Mayor’s people failed to make good on yesterday’s promise to tell us how much all this has cost, unlike the suburbs we polled.
In Des Plaines, where we saw plows at work last week, they’ve spent $30,000 of their 2014 $200,000 snow overtime budget in the first week of the year and have gone through a thousand of the 4,000 tons of salt they ordered for the winter.
Out in Naperville, they budgeted $640,000 for overtime and outside contractors. They’ve already spent $605,000. And the job is far from finished, both there and in Chicago’s Avondale neighborhood,
“The other side streets around here were pretty good this one here not so, but they just got it, but I guess they can’t be everywhere at once,” said Lynch.
While the Mayor yesterday promised us an accounting of the money spent so far, a spokesman for the Mayor today said the final costs have not yet been calculated, but acknowledges the possibility the budgeted $20 million might not be enough.