At the half way mark of the winter season, the Town of Tillsonburg appears to be in good shape when it comes to its winter maintenance budget.
“In terms of budget, we’re ok - we’re probably at about 50 percent extended on our budget,” said Steve Lund, director of operations for the Town of Tillsonburg. “Most of our budget occurs in January-February - that is typically when we expend a lot of the funds, and usually a little bit in December and March.”
Already this winter, Tillsonburg has seen a couple of storms that resulted in large accumulations of snow. Lund said they are well prepared to deal with winter conditions on local roads, employing approximately 12 people for the 2013 winter season. Those working in winter maintenance operate the snowploughs and other equipment such as loaders, graders, sidewalk machines, and salt trucks.
“Our winter maintenance season typically is December to March - that’s the heaviest operating time,” said Lund. “Our winter maintenance budget is about $450,000 dollars, and that includes fleet, labour, overtime and materials, like salt and salt brine.”
Last year, the lack of snowfall had a positive impact on the winter maintenance budget.
“We spent about $325,000 last year on winter maintenance out of the $450,000. Seventy one percent of our budget was expended last year and it was under,” said Lund.
When it comes to salt and salt brine, he noted upgrades and improvement in technology have contributed to cost savings in the winter maintenance budget.
“About five or six years ago we started to pre-weather salt. Prior to that when trucks used to go down the road, it was dry material, it would bounce and a lot of the experts who did studies, figured that we lost about 30 percent of our salt in the boulevards and ditches,” explained Lund. “By pre-wetting it, it makes it sticky so when you fire it out the shoot, it actually sticks and adheres to the road, so a lot more stays on the road and we’ve actually saved probably 25 percent of our salt. Our efficiency went way up implementing that technology.”
Each winter season, depending on the amount of snowfall and weather conditions, snow ploughs follow particular routes, routines and procedures to help clear the roads.
“When the snow banks get to be fairly high in the downtown, we go down at night and we clean them off Broadway first, then depending on how much snow we got, we may go in and do the side streets – which we did do in the last big storm we had.”
With a few weeks to go in the winter season, 2013 is shaping up to be a good one for the Town of Tillsonburg.
“Depending on the weather, we should come in on budget,” Lund concluded.