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Rock County transfers $448,000 to cover cost of winter plowing

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Catherine W. Idzerda
April 11, 2014

JANESVILLE—Last year's tough winter is taking a budgetary chunk out of another branch of local government.

At a meeting Thursday, the Rock County Board approved taking $448,000 out of the county's general fund to cover the costs of winter road maintenance. The county's general fund balance is about $25 million.

The county's winter road maintenance budget runs from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, and things were more or less on track until freezing rain struck in December, said Ben Coopman, county director of public works.

Those events were labor intensive and required larger amounts of sand or salt than snowfalls, according to a memo from Coopman to the board.

In addition, those freezing rain events were on weekends, when labor costs are higher because of overtime.

County plow drivers also had to deal with more than the usual number of snowfalls during the month of December—and into January, too, although January ends up on this year's budget.

“I started keeping track on Dec. 8, and we worked 48 or 51 days including Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year's Eve and New Year's Day,” Coopman said.

Generally, Coopman budgets for an average winter, and then adds a slight inflationary increase.  For 2013, the winter road maintenance budget was $1.91 million. For 2014, it's $1.99 million.



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