COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)
The winter weather events that dropped snow and ice in Columbia on 2019 increased costs for both the City of Columbia and Boone County.
Both governments track the costs of materials, personnel and other expenses related to removing snow and ice from the roads each year.
Boone County tracked winter weather costs from Jan. 1, 2019, to Dec. 31, 2019. The county's costs for 2019 increased by more than $463,000 compared to 2018. The county spent $978,402 on labor, material and equipment costs in 2019.
Last year also far outpaced any year in the past seven, according to the county's numbers.
Boone County Road and Bridg director Greg Edington said the large snowfall in January 2019 contributed to the year's high costs.
"We set, I believe it was a near-record, or broke the record snowfall, and we had to spend a week at least to clean up that mess," Edington said.
Edington said 2019 included more snow events that any year since he began tracking those costs in 2013.
The county spent $498,441 in equipment costs in 2019 compared to $272,200 in 2018. Edington said part of equipment costs is how long trucks and other supplies are out on the roads.
"We had a lot of events where graters had to be active, and I'm sure that played into it," he said.
Edington said even though costs increased significantly, it did not have an impact on the overall budget.
"We tend to build in some little safety nets in our budget to cover overages," he said.
But Edington said the department might have to make hard decisions on budgets in the coming years with declining sales tax collections.
ABC 17 News previously reported sales tax revenue for the county has been decreasing since 2017 and is projected to continue to decline.
"If they're even flat, I think, you know, we can still keep the same level of service. Now, if they go way down we're going to have to adjust our levels," Edington said.
The City of Columbia also spent more on snow removal in the 2019 fiscal year, which began on Oct. 1, 2018, and ended on Sept. 30, 2019, than any of the previous five fiscal years.
The city spent $499,677 on winter weather events last year, compared to $374,662.48 the previous year. Like Boone County, the city spent most of that on materials and supplies but did not go over budget.
Columbia Public Works spokesman Barry Dalton said using materials left over from the previous year helps reduce the costs in more extreme weather years.