Interminable winter doing a number on Port budget

City burning through its salt, overtime budgets as weather refuses to relent

City of Port Washington Street Department crews have removed snow from downtown streets and cul-de-sacs and piled it just about everywhere imaginable, including the marina parking lot where parking meets are nearly buried. Steam rising off the harbor in the background on Monday morning when temperatures were below zero suggest there's still more winter to come. Photo by Bill Schanen IV
Ozaukee Press staff

If you need any more proof just how rough this winter has been, consider these facts:

As of Tuesday, the Port Washington Street Department had used 86% of its 2019 budget for salt — and it’s only March. That translates into 958 tons of salt at a cost of $62,290 and a budget of $71,936.

The department has also spent 85% of its overtime budget for snow removal, or $17,179 of the $20,000 budgeted — and that doesn’t include the comp time that’s been accrued by the city crews.

Five members of the street department have already earned the maximum amount of comp time allowed — 80 hours each — and another is halfway there, according to administrative assistant Judy Klumb, while the others have opted to receive overtime pay instead. 

Crew members, who come from the street, water and parks and recreation departments, can accrue as much as 80 hours of comp time from Dec. 1 through Nov. 30 for their overtime hours — 1-1/2 hours of comp time for every hour of overtime — before receiving overtime pay.  

The numbers are not unexpected, members of the Finance and License Committee agreed Tuesday, but they’re still stunning, especially since we’re only two months into the year and the budget has to last until Dec. 31.

Ald. Dan Benning, a member of the committee, said the numbers surprised him — pleasantly.

“I’m surprised it’s that low,” he said. “It’s tough,” City Administrator Mark Grams said. “It’s like the dusting of snow we had today — it was a nuisance snow.

“The big storms are bad, but it’s these little ones that are killing us.”

In addition to the snowfalls, the city has had to deal with winter rains when crews not only have to clear the catch basins, they also end up salting when the water on the road freezes.

  Ald. Paul Neumyer said residents have appreciated the work the city crews put into clearing the streets.

“I’ve gotten no complaints, nothing but compliments,” he said.

And with all the freezing and thawing, Benning said, the city budgets for other street work will likely be higher than expected as well.

“I think we’re going to need pothole patrols,” he said.

As far as the snow removal budget goes, Grams said, the city will have to keep an eye on it.


Click Here to Send a Letter to the Editor

Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

125 E. Main St.
Port Washington, WI 53074
(262) 284-3494


User login