Christmas Blizzard Blows Through Oklahoma City's Snow Budget
By Dave Jordan, NEWS 9
OKLAHOMA CITY -- The Blizzard of 2009 has wreaked havoc on the metro and on Oklahoma City's budget.
City leaders have already spent this year's winter budget and are now looking at ways to stretch their existing resources to keep residents safe during this season's winter weather.
The winter weather has started to take a toll on the city's budget and the staffers who continue to work around the clock to clear the roadways. As another winter blast bears down on Oklahoma, city workers continue their around-the-clock shifts.
"We're going back to run the rest of our plow routes. We're going northwest. I guess they have crews in all quadrants," said Jud Rauch, who is a street crew worker.
Rauch was one of 30 drivers waiting in line as workers dumped a salt sand mixture into his truck Tuesday. William Bryles was in the truck just ahead of him.
"Right now, we're just going out, checking a couple of spots and waiting for this next event to come in," Bryles said.
But now city officials have to become creative and find ways to make their material last through the rest of the winter.
"I have about $125,000 that I am budgeted to buy materials. I spent that in July of this year," said Mike DeGiacomo, Oklahoma City Street Superintendent.
DeGiacomo said the city wasn't prepared to deal with the 14 inches of snow last week's blizzard dumped on the metro, primarily because the city doesn't have enough trucks, and it didn't buy enough salt. Doing so would require more money, and even then there's no guarantee DeGiacomo would get it.
"I'm not the only one that's trying to restock my supply. So what we try to do is try to use the resources we've got as best we can," DeGiacomo said.
That would include mixing what DeGiacomo calls hot sand with the remaining 4,300 tons of salt to extend the supply. Crews spend their days putting the mixture together before dumping it into the 30 waiting trucks who will then spread the mixture throughout the metro.
Many cities in the metro haven't had time to calculate the dollars they've spent cleaning up the mess. The City of Edmond said it normally spends about 10 percent of its supply budget for salt and sand. However, city officials said they've already spent that money on cleaning up last week's storm.
"The snow and ice certainly takes its toll on our streets and requires asphalt and concrete to repair it. It's a double edged sword. We'll have to really be looking at the numbers and see where we come out," said Keith Stewart, Edmond Field Services Superintendent.