Ice and snow chipping away at city resources in Dubuque - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Ice and snow chipping away at city resources in Dubuque

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DUBUQUE (KWWL) - From salt supplies to overtime pay, battling this winter's weather is costly. Many cities throughout eastern Iowa are eating up their budgeted snow removal resources.

In Dubuque, street and sewer maintenance supervisor John Klostermann is tired of the fight.

"I'm ready for winter to be over," he said Monday.

Dubuque started the winter weather season with nearly 15,000 tons of road salt. The average winter use in the Key City is about 8,000 tons, and already city crews have exceeded that, Klostermann said.

"Based on our snowfall average, our salt average is probably pretty close to winter -- if winter was over," he said. "But, as we know, it's only the middle of February."

During the city's record snowfall year in 2007-08, crews used 12,000 tons of salt.

While Klostermann isn't worried about running out of the material this year, he is concerned that using much more will require Dubuque to locate not-yet-budgeted funds to replenish the salt supply for next year.

In addition, overtime pay will put the city over its $1.4 million snow and ice control budget for this fiscal year, which ends in late June. The money comes from state road use tax funds.

Klostermann said the Public Works department will likely cancel some improvement projects scheduled for this fiscal year and use that money to cover the shortfall.

"Then there's still a lot of winter left, so it's been a challenging year," he said.

Dubuque crews normally respond to about 23 winter weather events per year, Klostermann said. Already they're at more than 30.

"If we look at total snowfall, it's not that much over average, right around 45 inches or so. Average is between 43, 44 inches in Dubuque, so we're not that much over," Klostermann said. "But our number of events are just way high."

He said there has only been one full weekend this winter weather season during which crews have not done some kind of weather-related work or been on-call.

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