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Columbia Public Works hosts snow-removal educational event

​​​​​​ UPDATE, 6:30 p.m.: Columbia Public Works officials said Thursday they spend about half a million dollars on winter weather maintenance every year. In the past five years, the costs have increased slightly, partly due to the new subdivisions popping up on the south side of Columbia.

The unpredictable mid-Missouri weather means that they don’t always use the full budget or sometimes they have to go over budget.

Engineering manager Richard Stone said that if they go over budget, they have to dip into other funds like street maintenance but that’s rare.

If they have money left over, they’re able to put it to use to buy equipment. This past year, Stone said they were able to buy a new brine maker to help clear roads.

Stone said spending money wisely is a balancing act because asphalt and salt cost almost the same per ton.

“We still want to address winter weather conditions and make sure people can get a round but we do have to balance the money that we spend on something temporary, which is winter weather response, and then something that’s more permanent like street maintenance,” he said.

ABC17 News has requested the exact budget numbers from the city.

ORIGINAL STORY: Columbia Public Works officials are set to educate the public on how they work to clear snow off roads during the winter months at an event called Snow Palooza.

It will be held Thursday afternoon at the LeRoy Anderson Salt Dome off Big Bear Boulevard, where the city stores 5,000 tons of salt that is used to melt ice off of slippery roads in the winter.

Public Works will use the event as a way to explain ways it uses staff, equipment and materials to remove snow and keep people safe.

ABC17 News plans to look into the cost of removing snow in the winter months and exactly what the city’s policies are for snow removal, including which routes are priority and when they are plowed.

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