The Sioux Falls Street Department is preparing for whatever nature throws our way in the coming days and unlike some years when snow is plentiful and money is tight, there's wiggle room in this year's snow removal budget.
The city set aside $7 million this year to remove snow from streets. But, plows only moved eight inches last January and seven inches last February.
"Normally what we gear up for and budget for is about 45 inches of snow, so the budget is really good," Galynn Huber, the Sioux Falls Street/Utilities Manager said.
Huber says as a general rule of thumb, if the plows do have to go out on Sioux Falls roads, it costs the city about $130,000 per inch of snowfall. Huber adds that the city does have some fixed costs that don't fluctuate based on snowfall, like the cost to lease equipment. And with little snow last year, crews don't mind the chance of some snow.
"I'm looking for some snow because we have six test sites for snow gates and I'm interested in getting some data on it. I want to know exactly how much it's going to cost," Huber said.
Barring a major change in the weather, the snow budget will have extra money at year's end. That money then goes back into the general budget for the next year.
"That's money we didn't have to spend and the taxpayers didn't have to spend," Huber said.
And that's is one benefit to the brown ground.