Winter plows through snow removal budgets - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Winter plows through snow removal budgets

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CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) - A fresh 400-ton load of salt arrived Wednesday. It's part of the Cedar Rapids Public Works department's plan to stay ahead of this winter's weather.

"Over a half-million will be moved for the salt budget," said Craig Hanson, Director of Street Maintenance.

That's a half-million dollars of road users taxes, usually reserved for capital improvement projects. It will go toward keeping the city's salt storage shed full. It's a reminder of last year's harsh winter, when Hanson shifted funds from other areas to pay for salt.

"We used money that was underspent in personnel accounts," said Hanson, whose crews have already spread 7,000 tons of salt on city streets this winter, about $600,000 worth.

The city's contract with its Dubuque-based supplier covers another 8,000 tons or so. Wednesday, the city council approved buying an additional 2,000 tons, but at more than double the cost.

It's a price that city councilor Chuck Weineke says, must be paid. "We will have to approve this," said Weineke. "You don't have any choice for the safety of the people."

In the meantime, Hanson is dreading to see what the rest of the season brings.

"We're looking at the equivalent of another year's worth of potential snow if it keeps the same pattern as last winter."

Waterloo and Dubuque also say they are nearing the end of money for snow removal.  Waterloo says it may dip into reserve funds.  Dubuque says it's on pace to run out of money by the end of the  month.

Online Reporter - Brady Smith 

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