Chesterton Tribune

 

 

Snowy winter $1.8 million price tag for Porter County

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By JEFF SCHULTZ

The battle between Porter County and Mother Nature in one of the snowiest winters on record proved a costly one with $1,876,740 total in labor costs and supplies from November to March, according to figures from the Porter County Highway Department.

Deputy Highway Superintendent David James said the good news for the County is that the costs were paid entirely with state funding rather than from the County’s General Fund which is supported by local property tax.

The department receives its money from the Indiana Motor Vehicle Highway Fund and Local Road and Street Fund, said James. Those funds get their revenues from the state’s current gas tax.

Breaking down the total from Nov.1 to March 31, James said labor made up a large majority of the cost with $1,323,374 which includes roughly $130,000 in overtime. For all materials such as road salt and fuel, the figure came to $553,366, he said.

The County Council has already approved money for the overtime costs, James said. The Highway Department will be before the Council at its meeting next week for an $80,000 additional in the Motor Vehicle Fund to cover costs of depleted supplies, snow plow repairs and insurance.

Comparing this year to last, James said he was surprised to see there was not much difference. The money spent from November 2012 to March 2013 by the highway department was $1,589,394, which is about $300,000 less despite a significant difference in the amount of snowfall between the two years.

James said other counties around the state have also reported huge costs in excess of $1 million to keep roads clear. The state last year allocated more funds to Transportation which will be of aid to counties, he said.

In a related matter, the Highway Department discussed with the County Commissioners Tuesday the building of an indoor facility to store salt at its property on Ind. 8 near Hebron. Highway Superintendent Al Hoagland said the state passed a new law requiring counties to keep their salt indoors.

 

Posted 4/17/2014