Despite a relatively low amount of snow in the months of October through December, 2018’s snow removal costs were high.
“Our annual budget is about $775,000 for snow removal,” said the city’s director of municipal services, Gary Muraca.
“Our actual costs last year were over $1,009,700. We were lucky that October, November and December of this year saw little snow. We had three centimetres in October, five cm in November and 36 cm in December.”
Breaking the budget down, Muraca said it was 35 per cent over in plowing, 10 per cent under in hauling snow, 43 per cent over in sanding and salting, seven per cent over in sidewalk plowing and about 34 per cent under in cleaning bus stops.
“I think we were under in clearing the bus stops because we were focused on other areas and just didn’t get there as much as we would have liked to get there.”
In February 2018 alone, 85 cm of snow fell, compared to 40 cm in 2017 and nine cm in 2016.
For the entire year of 2017, 144 cm of snow fell, while in the first three months of 2018 the total snow fall was 138 cm of snow.
“We carry a $775,000 snow removal budget, but it is all service related and if it snows we’ve got to go pick it up no matter what the numbers come out to be,” Muraca said.
Muraca said while the 2018 budget was over for snow plowing the overall budget for municipal services isn’t “that bad.”
According to Environment Canada, for the month of January 2019 so far, Williams Lake has received 22.4 cm of snow.
Just a reminder to Williams Lake residents, winter sand is available for you to access from the works yard employee parking lot at 555 2nd Ave N. @CityWL Please bring your own shovel and bucket. Use it to help keep your sidewalks safe. #slipperyoutthere
— CoWL Public Works (@CoWL_Works_Yard) January 6, 2019
Council approves purchase of new dump truck
At the Tuesday, Jan. 22 committee of the whole meeting city council gave early budget approval for the purchase of a $300,000 dump and snow removal truck to replace one that is 25 years old.
During the meeting, Joe Engelberts, manager of utilities and fleet, said an existing 1994 Western Star Tandem Axel needs to be replaced and if a new one is ordered now it will arrive in time for use in the 2020 winter season.
Coun. Jason Ryll said he’d rather order the truck now to prevent having to pay contracting fees or other costs.
“I’d rather see it replaced for us as part of our fleets instead of someone else’s,” Ryll said.
Engelberts said the maintenance on the 25-year-old truck was about $15,000 last for parts and labour and the truck has 176,000 kilometres on it and has 8,000 hours on it.
Originally it was scheduled to be replaced in 2014.
Once it is replaced will be sold for about $10,000, Engelberts told council.
Normally the city has had two tandem axel dump trucks equipped for snow removal, but in February 2018 the second one was involved in an accident and was written off from service, Engelberts added.
To replace it, another truck was ordered and is expected to arrive mid 2019, Engelberts noted in a report to council.