Administration to review snow and ice control policy
Thursday, Jun 05, 2014 06:00 am
Although June has rolled in and warm weather has made its way to Airdrie, City council took some time on June 2 to look over the City’s snow and ice removal policy.
The 2013/2014 winter was a challenging one for much of southern Alberta and Airdrie was no exception, according to administration.
From November 2013 to May 2014, Airdrie had nearly as much snowfall as the previous two winters combined. In the timeframe mentioned, Airdrie was blanketed with 180 cm of snow in 2013/14, while in 2011/12 there was 118 cm and just 96 cm in 2012/13.
The effects were felt in the City’s finances, as the extreme weather that hit on Dec. 2, 2013 and Dec. 3, 2013 blanketed Airdrie’s streets with over 15 cm of snow.
The following week, Mother Nature dropped another 11 cm of snow on the city and the clean up from the two blizzards took approximately 18 days and required an unbudgeted expenditure of nearly $255,000 in contracted services.
Airdrie Roads Team Leader Mike Avramenko outlined the City’s current policy, and recommended that further review be made for the 2014/2015 winter.
“For 2014, the budget for snow and ice control is around $1.36 million,” said Avramenko.
“On top of that, council also approved an additional $50,000 be transferred to the snow maintenance reserve.”
In the $1.36-million snow removal budget, the lion’s share is tied up in salaries, wages and benefits of roads workers at $900,000, while another $270,000 is allotted to goods and supplies like salt, sand and aggregate.
A further $30,000 has been set aside for contracted services, a number that piqued the interest of Alderman Darrell Belyk, who was cognizant of the hit the City took with contracting workers for snow clearing this past winter.
“I’m just looking at the $30,000 for contracted services, what did we use last year and will this be enough?” asked Belyk.
Avramenko explained that, “this is our average budget for contracted services, last year we had to tap into our reserves and it was over $250,000 but last year was an extreme case.”
The roads team was given the go-ahead by council to conduct a review of the City’s snow and ice service levels, at a cost of between $10,000 and $15,000, which has been accommodated in the 2014 budget.
In the review, Avramenko and his team will look at the snow and ice policies of other midsize cities in Alberta and determine which, if any service enhancements, can be applied to Airdrie.
“We’ll be looking at better defining our service levels on our priority two and four roadways (collector roads, roads with steep grades and residential roads),” said Avramenko.
Mayor Peter Brown gave kudos to Avramenko and supported the review.
“I know that you guys had a lot of angst last year and had to deal with a lot,” said Brown. “I still heard a lot of great things about the work you guys did and I think you did a good job.”
The proposed timeline for the review is intended to be completed so that service levels and changes are endorsed by council and included in the 2015 budget.