Small amounts of snow having big impact on wallets

Posted: Thursday, January 16, 2014 --- 8:08pm

From plowing to shoveling to salting, no doubt about it, it's been a busy winter, so far, for those on snow patrol in Southern Wisconsin.

Since the beginning of December until now, Madison has received just over 26 inches of snow. That's about 6 inches about the average.

And from city crews to commercial crews, both agree, even though the snowfalls have been small, the impact has been mighty.

"We've started out with 1500 tons of salt, at the beginning of the year, and we're burning through it pretty quickly” says Joel Grant, President of Maple Leaf, Inc. in Verona.

Steve Schultz, Operations Manager for the City of Madison Streets Division, agrees. “Simple fact is when you keep having all these small events you have to constantly salt . If you have a large event, you're plowing more than you're salting” says Schultz.

Schultz says that, so far, salt usage is on schedule, but a shortage is possible.

"Back in December, we did see an uptick in salt usage, across the area, so we started looking for alternatives, in case we did run short” he tells NBC 15.

So just yet, no need for taxpayers to fret. But, if we continue down the road we're on, that may change.

Meanwhile, on the commercial end of the spectrum, the higher-than-average snowfall is giving businesses a big boost. But, even though companies, like Maple Leaf, are enjoying the extra revenue, like the city, salt is eating away at their piggy bank.

"We've probably gone through as much salt this season of 2013 from November to today as we did for all of last year” says Grant.

And these small snowfalls are not only hurting many wallets, but are also hurting many workers.

"I'm hoping it (Mother Nature) gives us a big break once we get to February. We really need a break. The crews get a little worn out, when they're out all night. We really need a break, right now, we really do” says Schultz.

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