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City has spent $277K on snow removal, nearly triple last year's cost


Snow costs us all something. In my household, massive amounts of snow shoveling usually require an increase in both the Ben Gay and adult-beverage budgets.

At Lawrence City Hall, the expenses are a bit more significant. A new report shows the city has spent $277,216 on snow removal so far this winter, and those expenses are certain to grow because the city is still awaiting invoices from private contractors it hired to help with the two latest snow storms.

That’s already nearly more than triple the $95,000 the city spent in snow removal in the 2011-2012 snow season, when the city only had 2.5 inches of snow to clear. But the city is still well behind its most recent high-(frozen) water mark: 2009-2010, when the city spent $700,312 to remove 42.5 inches of snow.

Here are some other facts and figures from the city’s new report:

• By the city’s count, Lawrence received 17.6 inches of snowfall from Feb. 21 through Feb. 28 — 10.6 inches in the first storm and 7 inches in the second storm.

• For the entire season — the city’s first snow was on Dec. 19 — the city has received 22.6 inches of snow. Lawrence’s historic average, according to the city, is about 21 inches for a season.

• Someone with a City Hall calculator determined that they pushed 77.6 million cubic feet of snow. Of that total, about 270,000 cubic feet actually had to be hauled away by crews, with most of that snow coming from the downtown area and cul-de-sacs. The calculator must have been working overtime, because the report also noted that amount of snow was the equivalent of filling the basketball court at Allen Fieldhouse to a depth of 57 feet. (Ben McLemore’s hot hand would just melt it.)

• The city has used 1,300 tons of sand and 2,258 tons of salt on the streets this winter season. Salt and sand, of course, are staples in the street treatment business. But there also is another staple that has emerged in the past couple of years: Water. The city recently has begun using a brine solution — basically salt water — to pre-treat streets in an attempt to cut down on the amount of accumulation. Thus far, the city has used 48,860 gallons of the brine solution.

• Costs for materials — such as the sand and salt — are the largest expense in snow removal. The city has spent $136,263 on materials thus far. Labor is second at $99,018, while equipment and fuel is third at $41,935. But, remember, the city still has a significant bill to pay private contractors that were used to help speed up the snow removal process.

• Perhaps you are like me and work hard to forget the winter. If so, here’s a reminder of how much snow we’ve had over the past five years:

— 2008-2009: 10.6 inches of snow that required city crews to be out plowing 20 days;

— 2009-2010: 42.5 inches of snow that required crews to work 37 days;

— 2010-2011: 33.8 inches of snow that required crews to work 27 days;

— 2011-2012: 2.5 inches of snow that required crews to work nine days. (Like all these totals, some of the days also were devoted to ice.)

— 2012-2013: 22.6 inches of snow that required crews to work 15 days. So far.


CHEEZIT 5 years, 3 months ago

I think they put down brine last year just for the practice and that was it!!

Scott Morgan 5 years, 3 months ago

This is news, we read the newspaper to gather information. Good article!

msezdsit 5 years, 3 months ago

If the city would have instead just argued about snow removal for a couple weeks we could have saved over a 1/4 million bucks.

elliottaw 5 years, 3 months ago

Interesting that people say the city does such a poor job clearing the streets because it doesn't snow much, when this winter was only 3rd on the list from the last 5. There goes that argument

RDE87 5 years, 3 months ago

What is the city's budget for snow removal every year?

Cant_have_it_both_ways 5 years, 3 months ago

I'll bet they are talking about the wages for total hours worked. If these people were going to be at work anyway, then these hours should be subtracted out. I'll bet this is an accounting snow screen to justify more tax dollars for the departments involved.

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