Cleveland County Assesses Dollar Damage After Blizzard

Wednesday, January 6th 2010, 8:12 pm
By: News 9

By Gan Matthews, NEWS 9

NORMAN, Oklahoma -- The record snowfall was an unwelcome Christmas present for state governments as it wore out state employees and knocked holes in budgets. Cleveland County is now just one county adding up the damage after the storm.

Starting Christmas Eve and continuing at least through the following Sunday, crews from every level of government-- city, county, and state-- put in long hours clearing snow off the roads.

"The total was around 56 hours all total. We had to work through Christmas Eve, starting at 7:00 that morning. We worked 21 hours Christmas Eve, and we worked 17 and a half Christmas Day," said Gary Shawyer, Cleveland County Employee.

All those extra hours added up to a lot of extra money that the county had to pay its employees.

Cleveland County Commissioner Rod Cleveland has run the numbers.

"Right now we've estimated that it's an additional pay period plus, which is between $70,000 to $80,000," Cleveland said.

And that doesn't include the extra costs of fuel to run the county's trucks. That figure is approaching an additional $56,000.

Those extra costs put more pressure on what was already a tight county budget, and it means that this year, Cleveland County won't be able to purchase some equipment that was on its wish list. Topping that list was a $100,000 winch truck. The county could have used that--especially when the storm hit.

"That would be something that would be very useful for helping our own trucks, you know, when we'd get stuck," Cleveland said.

Now county workers are prepping their trucks for the next round of wintry weather.

Cleveland County is hoping to get some of its money back if the White House approves a disaster declaration for the state.