MANKATO (TEC News) -- Our brown Christmas has the city of Mankato seeing green.
TEC News Photo -- This work inside Land of Memories Park is an example of what city staff are doing this winter in lieu of plowing snow. (Randall Harder)
The lack of snow is saving the city a ton of money in snow removal costs and it giving workers the chance to do much needed work, ranging from tree trimming to even road work inside Land of Memories park.
"We've been doing a lot of projects," said Mark Knoff, the Director of Public Works.
But those projects have not included much in the way of clearing snow and ice from city streets.
In the last couple months of 2010, the city of Mankato spent around $500,000 in snow removal. Snow and ice came on November 13, 2010 and never stopped.
Fast forward to 2011 where there has not been a snow emergency so far with only about eight inches of snow. Plowing and sanding has only been needed a couple times.
Knoff says the city only spent about $50,000 on snow removal in the end of fiscal year 2011. Compare that to the half million dollars spent on snow removal in the final months of last winter.
In 2010, Mankato had a snow removal budget of $700,000 and ended up spending 145% of the budget. In 2011, despite the savings in the last two months of the year, the city spent 108% of the $617,000 budget. The 2012 snow removal budget is set at $730,000.
The time not spent "pushing water around" has been spent trimming trees and repairing and doing infrastructure work.
Crews have also been able to use the time re-chipping the foot trails at city parks including Land of Memories and Kiwanis.
That means residents are getting more bang for their buck.
Money is being spent on actually projects with tangible results that staff and residents can see.