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Money Saved On Mild Winter Gets Spent Elsewhere

Cars and buses drive in downtown Bloomington, Ind., on one of the few days with snow this winter.

It has been a lonely winter for the seven snow plows the town of Seymour owns.

“We’ve spreaded salt but we’ve never put a plow down,” Director of Public Works Richard Wilde says. “We’ve just not had enough depth to even put a plow down, so we’re saving on cutting edges.”

Wilde says his department normally spends in excess of $40,000 each winter on salt and on replacing dulled snow plow blades. But while he plans to stock up on blades and salt for next year, he is pretty sure he will not get to keep any cash he does not spend.

“It’ll go bye-bye,” Wilde says.

In Columbus, Street and Recycling Supervisor Bryan Burton says he has only used a small fraction of his budget, too.

“We’ve got a $120,000 budget to start with every year,” he says. “That also includes when we buy our asphalt and stone; materials that we use. Normally we would have probably been through half of that. Right now we have probably over $100,000 left.”

But Burton says he gets to keep money not spent this winter and use it to help fill potholes and put down fresh stone in the city’s alleys when the temperature warms. Though he says some snow plow drivers look forward to overtime pay each winter, Burton says he welcomes the unseasonable conditions.

“We’ve loved this winter and we want to see more of them,” he says.

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