Sioux Falls, SD
Our mild winter is changing the job duties of some Sioux Falls City workers. Instead of plowing and sanding they're doing maintenance work that's been neglected.
"This year we're going to be able to do these other things we need to get done so we can maybe catch up on some of the work load we have out there," Street Utility Manager Galynn Huber said.
Huber says the dry December has shifted their focus. Instead of plowing snow, they're catching up on winter maintenance many years they don't ever get to do. Some of the jobs include dumping and hauling leaves, along with working on roads.
"We have 19 miles within city limits and so we're out grading roads and so we have a lot of different projects that we do," Huber said.
Crews will be doing winter maintenance similar to this, where they'll be cleaning out drainage systems so rain water can flow freely.
"Get rid of some of that back log we've had from the last two winters, get into that and get back into our plan so we're on top of things," Huber said
The past two winters brought so much snow, crews could only focus on plowing and potholing. This will help them get caught up. Huber says they have plenty to keep them busy, and it's coming at a cheaper cost than normal.
"Certainly the expense of removing snow with overtime and working weekends and stuff like that, takes a toll on my budget. Basically right now, when I'm doing work, it's within the 40-hour work week each of my employees has," Huber said.
The savings could be big; Huber expects to return more than $2 million dollars from his budget to the city. So, while the brown ground may downer for snow lovers, it's proving to be a big benefit for the city.
Huber says snow removal last December cost them more than $2.3 million. The year before, it was more than $3 million.
Some of the money the Street Department is giving back was approved by the city council to make up for any potential shortfalls.
This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:
A misspelling was corrected in this story.