City close to maxing out $7.3M snow-removal budget

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The Department of Public Works’ full snow-removal force will be on the streets at least through 11 p.m. Tuesday, as the city moves closer to maxing out its budget for clearing ice, slush and the white stuff.

DPW’s full budget for snow removal this year was set at $7.3 million, after several years when the full annual cost averaged $5.5 million, said Lesley Gordon, public information officer for the department.

However, for just the first 10 days of 2014, the city estimates that it spent $5.1 million of the snow-removal budget—principally for the “polar vortex” storm that paralyzed the city Jan. 5-8.

The city called on a fleet of about 300 contractors to bolster the efforts of DPW workers over two 12-hour shifts on Jan. 5 and 6. The city has ballparked the cost at $1 million per shift, based on contractors’ help in previous snow emergencies.

It's not immediately clear how much the city is spending currently for the most recent snowfall, but DPW is close to reaching the end of its $7.3 million budget, Gordon said. However, snow removal will continue regardless.

“It’s not necessarily a shut-down situation,” Gordon said. “We’ll maintain the streets throughout the winter. Our goal is public safety.”

There are several options for making up the difference, if the city blows past its budget. The department likely would look first at its general fund, Gordon said.

Mayor Greg Ballard also has requested disaster-assistance funds from the federal government to help cover the city’s costs during the polar vortex storm.

On Monday night, DPW’s full force of about 90 snow-removal vehicles hit the streets to handle the latest snowfall. They were scheduled for two consecutive 12-hour shifts, ending at 11 p.m. Tuesday, Gordon said.

DPW's Indy Snow Force consists of a fleet of 106 vehicles and 180 drivers, according to the city's website.


  • Raise Funds
    if you want to raise funds for the snow removal, start handing out citations for not shoveling your sidewalk.
  • Unigov on Steroids
    Mr. Ogden is correct. Our Unigov places to much power in the Mayor when TIFS (with no limitations) are in play. I live in Perry Twp and would rather hold someone more local responsible for my needs. As opposed to an out of touch Mayor who spends 62 days a year in FOREIGN COUNTRIES. Either eliminate the TIFS and or place restrictions on them to prevent grafting or eliminate Unigov. Unigov in its present state does not work. It invites too much power, no accountability and invites Large Scale GRAFTING. Do you think for a moment any resident in Perry Twp wanted Mayor Ballard to make such a FINANCIAL DEFALCATION by giving approx $6.2 million to a private businessman to build a parking garage in Broad Ripple ( which continues to be unused). Or to blow $$$ on a Cricket Park in Warren Twp? Or give $30 million for a Condo/Apt building on the MSA site to a private developer. Or have taxpayers GUARANTEE DEBT for the North of South project to the tune of $80mill.... Meanwhile the infrastructure in the suburbs crumble, streets are not resurfaced, there are no police for crime prevention, and the streets being cleared of snow and salted never happens. I guess MANAGING Basic City Services is beneath the Ballard administration and don't dare question the hand that provides the services for he shall just ignore a citizen with great disdain. Pathetic Job!
  • Restricting "Income"
    I am not sure what you are talking about, Joe When has Indianapolis in the last six years ever slashed taxes? Virtually every tax and fee has gone up under Ballard. We have more tax "revenue" than ever, including property taxes. Yet more and more of that money gets drained away by TIF districts and corporate welfare handouts. The problem is not a lack of tax revenue. The problem is Indianapolis has very skewed priorities when it comes to that tax revenue. Corporate welfare comes first...always.
  • Suggestion
    Do what each of us need to do when we come up short. Eliminate the "wants" so we can take care of the "need."' Might start with that silly Cricket facility they are talking about building.
  • You Guys.......
    All we hear around here is "slash taxes" and the result is limited and diminishing city services. If the city had a reserve fund, you would yell for tax reductions and for them to spend money on schools and police, but then they would have no savings again. As much as you want to believe that a city is a business when it benefits you, you prevent a city from operating as a business by restricting income.
      They spent WHAT, Where were these plows? Victory was declared by our fool mayor whe the snow MELTED. Mayor Daily of Chicago once said "the people will tolerate graft and corruption if we provide the basic services. Listen and Learn, soon to be ex mayor Ballard
    • Past years savings
      Guess they'll have to dig in to the money they banked in previous years when we didn't get much snow. Of course they banked the savings, right? LOL!
    • BS
      we have enough money to bomb every country in the world, start wars in every country, give billions to terrorists....but we can't even take care of the people who are paying the taxes!!! i am so fed up w/ our pathetic gov't, from top to bottom, from city to state to federal gov't its nothing but corruption.
    • Pathetic
      I think it's pathetic that the Mayor is applying to the feds for "disaster" assistance in connection with a snow storm. Is this what our communities have become, basically municipal panhandlers with their hands out to a bankrupt federal government every time something out of the ordinary occurs?
    • Big deal
      So, since this is Indianapolis, and the weather is different all of the time, what is the big deal. Other years we have used far less than the budgeted amount. A responsible government would have recognized this fact and kept some sort of a bank to compensate for the fluctuation in the weather here.
    • Lost Revenue?
      The city keeps touting how much it spent to remove the extra snow in neighborhoods. Please, someone figure the lost revenue because of the delay in the city doing so. Children couldn't go to school and people couldn't get to work. How much did their poor response time cost the city?

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