Third-snowiest January on record swiftly depletes city of its snow budget

More than 60% of 2014 snow budget already used

INDIANAPOLIS - Indianapolis is now experiencing the third-snowiest January on record, and all of this snow is cutting into the city's bottom line. And if the rest of the year is anything like its first 18 days, the city may run out of funds, and quickly.

Early estimates show the city has already spent more than 60 percent of its budget for snow removal. And budgets aren't dedicated to a winter season; they're set aside for the calendar year (from January to December). That means well over 60 percent of the city's budget was used in the first 5 percent of time it was allotted to be used in 2014.

A Department of Public Works official confirmed the historic storm earlier this month cost the city roughly $5.1 million.

The budget for snow removal for the year is roughly $7.2 million, and officials said the total cost of snow removal so far this year is sure to rise above the $5.1 million spent on the major snowfall a week or two ago.

DPW spokesperson Stephanie Wilson said snow removal efforts won't just stop in the event that the city uses up its allocated budget.

"If we need to, when we get through that budget, we still have some funds in reserve," Wilson said. "But we'll talk to city leaders and move the money around as we need to take care of the streets."

The new total of funds used so far, once it's calculated, will include the efforts that have been underway since Friday to prepare for the latest round of snow that fell Saturday. Crews hit the pavement Friday in 12-hour shifts to prepare.

The Department of Public Works said its crews have been salting, plowing and filling potholes in the metro area non-stop since New Year's Eve.

The city's budget includes labor and material costs for items such as salt.

The department confirmed its crews have already used more salt than they would have on-average for an entire year.

Businesses have also been hit too; not just by the heavy snowfalls but also by the bitter cold.

Despite a major cheerleading competition attracting 25,000 people from 30 states to the convention center downtown, cold temperatures kept many indoors and away from a line of food trucks hoping for a profitable weekend.

"They have to go to the convention center and do what they're doing. But as far as coming outside and standing in line, they're not doing that in the cold," said James Cross of Brozinni's Pizzeria.

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