Council to be tapped for more plowing funds

<p>File Photo</p>

File Photo

Naperville still needs to watch its salt. It also is going to need to dig deeper in its public pockets to pay the people who keep its streets clear.

Road salt — relatively scarce in a winter that started early and has brought far more than the usual dose of flakes, with still more on the way — has been flowing into Naperville in recent weeks at a clip of 50 to 200 tons daily. Still, the pile available as of late last week was barely one-third the size city officials would like it to be, to play it safe as forecasts called for new snowfall over the weekend.

“We have around 3,500 tons of salt on-hand,” city spokeswoman Linda LaCloche said in an email Thursday afternoon. “We have ordered 14,000 tons and have had 7,500 tons delivered, meaning we are still expecting to (receive) 6,500.”

It’s not the only unpleasant surprise the season has brought for those who pay the city’s bills. Staff plan to return to the City Council Tuesday evening with a request for more money to cover the added expense of contracted plowing.

“We have spent approximately $230,000 more on contractors than budgeted and are asking Council for an additional $190,000 to get us through the rest of the winter,” LaCloche said.

The expenses involved in countering the season’s snow, ice and bitter cold already have taken the city $650,000 over the sum budgeted for those purposes, she added, most of it going to overtime pay for city employees. That does not include the funding request coming this week, or any overtime expenses yet to come.

The city’s total outlay for outside plowing, if the new allocation is approved, will be $763,250. The sum is just less than 143 times what was spent on contracted plowing last winter.

The Council will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the council chambers at the Municipal Center, 400 S. Eagle St., Naperville.