Evanston snow removal costs down due to salt dome

Edward Cox, Reporter

Evanston cut the proposed budget for snow and ice control by $100,000 from last year because of a decrease in operating expenses.

The budget for the public works department expenditures fell from $700,517 to $600,513 in the proposed fiscal year 2013 budget.

Decreases in operating expenses result partly from savings in rock salt due to leftovers from last year’s mild winter.

Because the salt dome is at full capacity, the city saved about $175,000 in snow and ice control costs, public works director Suzette Robinson said. The city used some of the saved revenue to purchase snow equipment, she said.

Evanston and neighboring villages budget for snow costs based on historical data. Although the North Shore area has enjoyed mild winters since 2011, the weather conditions could fluctuate, said Ken Kennedy, assistant director of public works in Wilmette. These fluctuations could include storms or blizzards that require overtime workers to salt the streets, which he said makes up a big part of the snow and ice control budget.

“Last winter was a little mild and this winter is a little mild, but we are not out of it yet,” Kennedy said.

— Edward Cox