Winter punch exacts its toll: Aurora spent $500,000 in cleanup after January storm
By Stephanie Lulay email@example.com January 17, 2014 11:12AM
Snow storm coverage: Aurora/Naperville
Updated: February 20, 2014 6:39AM
AURORA — How much did the city spend on the bad spell of winter weather that brought a blizzard and sub-zero temperatures earlier this month?
More than $500,000 above and beyond what Aurora would normally spend to operate the city, according to Aurora Director of Communications Clayton Muhammad.
Aurora spent $538,187 on operations, staff overtime, equipment and salt to clean up after the New Year’s storm, Muhammad said. For comparison, the city spent $665,478 on operations and staff time during the “Snowmegeddon” storm in February 2011.
The overtime costs associated with the storm will not put the city over budget this year, he said.
“We plan (in case) something does happen,” Muhammad said.
Because temperatures were very cold during this year’s storm, the city spent less on salt. Aurora crews used about 500 tons of salt at a cost of $27,375 on 2014’s storm, compared to 1,250 tons, costing $73,900, in 2011.
“You look at the temperatures that dropped down, that accounts for the depreciation,” Muhammad said.
Bitter cold temperatures and snow that just kept coming made the clean-up more difficult for city crews, said Aurora Director of Public Properties Rosario DeLeon.
When temperatures reach near zero, road salt is less effective at melting snow and ice, he said.
The city paid out more to street employees in the aftermath of 2014’s snow event: $115,526 in 2014 compared to $61,332 in 2011.
The city spent less on snow removal contractors, this time, however, $242,020 in 2014 to $416,757 in 2011.
The city paid out more this snow event in police overtime than during the latest snow event. In 2011, the city paid $69 in overtime. In 2014, that number was $873, Muhammad said.
Some additional staff costs during the New Year’s storm can be attributed to the city’s decision to operate a 24-hour warming center at the Aurora Trasportation Center during the storm. Muhammad said the city will likely operate a round-the-clock warming center again when cold temperatures present a need.
Earlier this month, DeLeon said 2014’s New Year’s storm was likely one of worst he’s seen during the last 20 years.
“There are no two storms alike, but I’d possibly say this would be Top 5,” he said.