Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

Local News

January 15, 2014

Snow storm proves costly to Effingham departments

EFFINGHAM — With one of the worst winter storms in recent history behind us, what remains is the financial burden to city departments. 

The city spent $30,000 on personnel, equipment and materials associated with plowing roads, said Director of Public Works Steve Miller. Manpower to run snowplows nonstop cost $25,050 while $4,928 was spent on salt usage.

“We worked people overnight on 12-hour shifts,” said Miler. “We wanted to keep the streets open for an emergency.”

One-quarter of the city's salt reserves were used, or about 80 tons, which the city will be replenishing at a cost of $61.60 a ton.

Although the Illinois Emergency Management Agency is denying financial assistance, they requested a report outlining the cost of the storm, said Miller. They will take the cost of the storm into account if there is another costly event, added Miller.

“We budget for overtime events, but this put a strain on us,” said Miller, who has worked for the city for 12 years. “I don't remember a weather event this bad, except maybe an ice storm a few years ago. We had weather that was negative 12 degrees and 12 inches of snow. It was an extraordinary storm.”

The Effingham Police Department reported a total of $23,000 in additional personnel costs because of the hazardous conditions.

“We took all of our personnel working on those days on other duties, like narcotics and detectives, and put everyone on road,” said Effingham Police Chief Mike Schutzbach, who added he also was on patrol.

Law enforcement worked to direct traffic as a massive amount of semitrucks flooded off the interstates due to hazardous road conditions, said Schutzbach.

“We had 630 extra man hours to keep the community safe, and the city out of gridlock,” he said.

For Effingham Fire Chief Joe Holomy, the event highlighted the city's capability to keep its residents safe during a major event.

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