The early onset of warmer weather has had a positive effect on the budgets of local municipalities.
Because of the mild winter temperatures and snowfall, the villages of Algonquin and Lake in the Hills have seen considerable savings in their salt supply expenditures and the overtime pay traditionally paid out to snow plow workers during winter storms.
“We used about 1,000 tons less salt this year than the previous year,” LITH Public Works Director Fred Mullard said. “That’s a savings of about $62,000.”
Mullard said the village this year also saved another $36,000 in overtime compensation they did not have to pay to snowplow drivers.
In Algonquin, the story was the same.
“Obviously, we didn’t have the same number of storms as we usually do,” said Michelle Zimmerman, assistant director of public works for Algonquin. “We saved a little bit of money.”
Zimmerman said Algonquin spread about 1,400 tons of road salt this past winter.
“Normally, we use 2,000 to 2,500 tons of salt,” she said.
The village is storing its leftover salt in a salt bin for next year’s winter.
On the other side of the coin, the public works departments have already started mowing parks and other village property that normally wouldn’t need cutting for another month. However, that work doesn’t impact the village budget at all.
Also, the village of Algonquin has yet to open drinking fountains at the local parks for fear of a cold snap.
“We don’t want to take any chances of the fountains freezing,” Zimmerman said.
The warmer weather helps local landscaping businesses recoup some of the money lost due to the lack of this winter’s snow plowing need. Instead of clearing snow, the companies are busy cutting grass for customers earlier than normal.
“We’ve already started mowing, and we usually don’t at this time,” an employee said at one LITH-based landscaper.