Winter’s Impact: Snow Blanketing City Budgets

DUBUQUE- Living in the Midwest, we’re no strangers to winter weather. But this year has been significantly colder and snowier than year’s past. Dubuque has had 38 total days below zero, while racking up nearly 50 inches of snow. This is a substantial amount compared to 35 inches which is normal for the area in one season.

Snow piles are collecting all over the tri-state area and many of us have been used to bundling up and braving the bitter cold. But something that may seem more shocking then the temperature, is how much money this winter is costing Dubuque and Cuba City public works departments.

“It’s been a real struggle this winter,” states John Klostermann, supervisor of Dubuque public works department.

The winter weather wells are beginning to run dry leaving no other choice but for cities to re-calculate their budget plans for the spring even if this means cancelling spring projects. The city of Dubuque budgets 1.4 million dollars toward snow and ice control for this winter. But Klostermann says that they have used 2/3rds and its only February. The fact of going over budget is becoming a real possibility. Gary Droessler- Director of Public works is in the same boat. He says that he has about 2,000 dollars left to spend on snow and ice control.

The reasoning for this tight budget for both cities is due to the extreme cold mixed with the constant snow we have had which is separating this winter from others of the past. The need for more salt has forced Droessler to order more and Klostermann also points the issues of labor and overtime can add up as well.

“Our Crews haven’t had a weekend off since November,” he says.

Hopes still remain that both cities can squeeze by without going too far over budget. But March comes in like a lion and out like a lamb. Mother Nature will have the final say in when winter’s end is near.


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