Tough winter creates future budget worries for road crews

BURTON, Mich. (WJRT) - (3/1/2018) - This winter season has been no joke and now many city offices are having to ask themselves what is this construction season going to look like?

Their concern is the budgets are just continuing to be stretched thinner and thinner.

"It's been one of those winters where the snow comes and then it comes and then it comes again," said Burton Department of Public Works Director Bob Slattery. "It hasn't been one where we get a big dump of snow and it gives us time to clear it."

For the city of Burton, that means more days have been spent on the job and more hours have been spent clearing the roadways.

"We got a big snowstorm when we would normally not be here," Slattery said. "When the snow falls on Friday and Saturday, sometimes you just have to go out there and do it and that's overtime."

That overtime pay is cutting into budgets for many road commissions as well as DPW offices.

"The budget is really up in the air right now. We're in the middle of meetings to discuss what the budget is," Slattery said. "We know it's going to be tight. We know City Council (members) reduced the revenues the last few years, so we're really struggling with that."

But with another snow storm predicted to hit Mid-Michigan, many crews are preparing for another day of long hours.

"Because we want our motorists to be safe, that's our No. 1 thing," Slattery said.

Some residents are asking if the budget is being spent this time of the year, what happens come April when the pot holes are in full bloom.

"The roads being cleared, they've done a pretty good job," said Shawn Hamilton. "But as far as the roads themselves, they're absolutely terrible."

Many departments still do have a budget set aside for summer construction, and the possibility of having additional state funding is still in question.

Despite the budgetary issues, Slattery said the city of Burton still has multiple projects in the works for summer of 2018.

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