CHICAGO (CBS) — Although the city of Chicago has spent the vast majority of its budget for salting and plowing roads, because of an especially brutal winter, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said City Hall has the money to keep handling what Mother Nature throws our way.
WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore the city already has spent $16.5 million of its $20.5 million budget for snow removal – which includes money for the beginning of next winter. That’s because January 2014 has been the fourth snowiest month on record for Chicago, with 33.1 inches of snow so far. For the entire season, the city has had nearly four feet of snow, compared to an average of 17.2 for this time of year. That’s more than the average of 36.7 inches of snowfall for the entire winter in Chicago.
The mayor doesn’t deny the city has plowed through the vast majority of its snow removal budget, but he said the public shouldn’t worry, even though the city also has started paying private trucks to haul road salt to Chicago.
The city recently was forced to turn to private trucks to bring in road salt from downstate, after a salt barge became stuck in ice on the Mississippi River. The cost for those trucks and salt came to $1.2 million.
“The short and direct answer is, as I like to remind you, is our streets are going to be plowed and passable. The city did not come, and will not come to a standstill. Our public transportation system will move people, and our streets will be passable,” Emanuel said Tuesday. “We’re going to do it in a balanced budget, and we’re going to have the resources – as we do – to do that.”
City officials said they can tap into $6 million in surplus motor fuel tax revenue from last year to help pay for snow removal costs.