The city’s budget for snow removal may be on thin ice this year, as only limited funds are available for the rest of 2013.
The city allocated $6,595,000 in its 2013 budget plan for snow and ice removal. However, only $850,000 of the budget is left, George Dreckmann, Madison Street Division spokesperson, said in an email to The Badger Herald.
Dreckmann said the amount of money should last the city for about two more larger scale snow storms of 3 to 4 inches, and then some smaller wintry mixes that would require the city to salt the main roadways.
Ald. Marsha Rummel, District 6, said in an email to The Badger Herald that Mayor Paul Soglin had previously proposed an even smaller budget of $5,387,527 in 2014 for snow and ice control.
“This amount should be sufficient if we meet the targeted average of five snow events with accumulations over 3 inches next year,” Rummel said. “If we have more snow events that trigger plowing, then the Streets [Division] may have to ask for additional funds.”
Dreckmann said the Street Division knows that if the given budgets are not sufficient in protecting public safety, it can receive additional finances from the city’s contingent reserve fund.
Ald. Ledell Zellers, District 2, said in an email to The Badger Herald the budget allocated for snow and ice control should be adequate in keeping Madison safe unless there are some extremely severe snowstorms this winter.
Zellers said budget plans are created based on past years in addition to snow plowing standards.
Rummel added Madison has taken on a “sensible salting” policy for major roads of bus and travel routes and streets that connect to educational facilities. This plan minimizes pollution of Madison’s lakes and watershed, she said. She said finding a balance between public and environmental safety is important.
“Salt contaminates drinking water quality and adversely affects wildlife habitats so keeping it to a minimum is important,” she said. “Over the years, Streets has tested different ratios of salt and sand as well as different environmentally safe de-icing products.”
According to Zellers, removing snow efficiently is a key way in which Madison keeps travel running smoothly and safely for all forms of transportation. Zellers said this includes sidewalks, which is why homeowners or landlords are encouraged to shovel their walkways as soon as possible.
Rummel said preparation for handling snow and ice through the use of salting and sanding the streets is an effective method for keeping Madison residents traveling safely and efficiently.
She also said if residents plans on driving or taking the bus during any sort of snow storm, they should leave early in order to ensure ample time to arrive at their destination promptly and safely.
Dreckmann said it appears as if, for now, the snow and ice control plan and budget will be sufficient for the upcoming winter in keeping Madison safe and moving.