Budget woes for street departments

TIPPECANOE CO., Ind. (WLFI) – Potholes and snow removal costs are running many street departments’ budgets dry.

“This is the first year in a long, long time that this has actually affected us to this point,” Tippecanoe County highway supervisor Ed Ward said.

“This is the worst I’ve seen it in five years or more,” West Lafayette street commissioner David Downey said.

A winter full of snow, cold and potholes. Downey said they’ve already spent nearly four thousand more dollars on pothole repairs this year.

“We have expended almost as much as we did for the entire snow season already this time last year we spent $10,000 for the entire season and we’re already up to $13,800,” Downey said.

Overtime, snow removal and pothole repairs are drying up budgets at the Tippecanoe County Highway Department and the West Lafayette Street Department, causing Downey and county highway supervisor Ed Ward to pull funds from other projects like repaving roads this summer.

“We’ll have to back off of our black top and we won’t be able to lay as much asphalt this year,” Ward said. “We won’t be able to do as much chip and sealing.”

“We’ll have to scrutinize other parts of the budget, maybe office furniture or something of that nature,” Downey said. “We’ll scrutinize where ever we can to make up the difference.”

With several weeks of winter weather left and a lot more work Downey said they’ve already doubled their costs from last year.

“Last year we spent a grand total in salt, sand, pothole mix and all of that of $143,000,” Downey said. “This year and we’re not done and we got a lot more potholes to do and at this point we’re at $323,000 plus.”

Downey said there are still six to eight weeks left in pothole season and then flooding becomes an issue causing repairs done this winter to bust.

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