March 12, 2009

Snow removal expense burying county, townships

Snow removal expense burying county, townships
By STU MERRY
Snow removal expenses for counties impacted by this winter’s snow could prove to be a double whammy. Counties are holding out hope that assistance will be forthcoming from the state. But as expenses compound at a skyrocketing pace the amount counties can anticipate receiving is becoming smaller and smaller.
McLean County Commissioners at their March 4 meeting bemoaned the fact that it doesn’t look promising that the county will receive what it hopes for to offset a portion of the expense of snow removal this winter.
Case in point is that the snow removal expense for January alone for the county amounted to a whopping $753,741. The amount expected to be received in stimulus funds in $323,855 – the tenth highest of the state’s 53 counties. But it will be a drop in the bucket when it comes to the final tally for snow removal costs this season.
The January 2009 cost for snow removal ($752,741) was nearly 1,800 percent higher or about 18 times than the same month in 2008, $42,012. The past January’s cost of more than 3/4ths of a million dollars ($752,741) compares to an average January figure of $70,051 over the past six years; that’s 11 times higher or 1,067 percent.
Commissioner Ron Krebsbach said the state is not done trying to figure out how to dole out funds to the counties.
“We may gain on one end and lose on the other,” said Krebsbach.
With the mounting expenses, commissioners fear what the impact will be on townships’ budgets.
“If it (bill) wasn’t paid they would be dissolving immediately and we’d be stuck with the bill no matter what,” said Auditor Les Korgel.
 


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