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City saves $126K on February winter roads spending

By: Sudbury Northern Life Staff

 | Apr 16, 2014 - 10:43 AM |
The long winter saw Greater Sudbury go over its winter control budget by some $900,000. File photo

The long winter saw Greater Sudbury go over its winter control budget by some $900,000. File photo

But Sudbury still $900K over budget for the year after a snowy January

The winter roads budget got a reprieve in February, with lower-than-normal snowfall amounts helping the city reduce the growing deficit in the overall winter maintenance budget.

After running more than $1 million in the red in January, a report prepared for the cancelled operations committee this week showed the winter roads budget was $126,000 lower than forecast in February.

“(So) for the first two months of 2014 winter maintenance activities are approximately $900,000 over budget,” the report says.


Greater Sudbury received 22 centimetres of snow in February, less than half the average amount, as well as 3.6 millimetres of rain. On 15 of the 28 days in February, temperatures were below -15 C, meaning city crews had to apply sand frequently to combat icy conditions.

While saving on the winter roads budget in February, heavy snow in January had an effect after the month ended, the report says.

“The large volumes of January snow put further pressure on snow removal and snow plowing budgets in February,” the report says. “Snow removal was over budget by approximately $190,000 as crews continued to remove snow to improve site lines and improve road width where warranted.”

Money was also spent on road grading, in an attempt to break up the layers of ice that accumulated on residential roads over the winter, causing deep ice ruts. But the city saved money budgeted for other areas, including sidewalk maintenance and winter ditching/spring cleanup.

After a few years of coming in under budget, harsh winters in the last couple of seasons has put the department in the red. The total winter maintenance budget for 2013 was forecast at $15,048,748, but came in at more than $18 million.

The 2014 snowplowing budget was increased to almost $16 million, but with 92 cm of snow falling in January – 32 cm more than normal – the city was already over budget by $1.05 million.

Surges in Greater Sudbury's snowplowing budgets are funded from a reserve replenished in years with milder winters. For example, the snowplowing budget came in $1 million lower than forecast as recently as 2012. In 2010, mild weather resulted in a surplus of more than $4 million.

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