Rough winter blows Tippecanoe County’s plow budget

TIPPECANOE Co., Ind. (WLFI) – The rough winter has beaten up the roads and put a dent in Tippecanoe County’s plow budget compared to the six previous winters.

Tippecanoe Highway Department Executive Director Opal Kuhl said the average cost for the last six winters was about $207,000. This winter exceeded the average by about $413,000, making the grand total about $620,000.

There was an 89 percent increase in overtime hours, totaling $173,000 through February. Fuel costs in previous winters averaged around $140,000 and this winter fuel cost was at $219,000.

Kuhl said salt costs did not exceed the average.

“I think that’s because about three years ago, we started recalibrating the trucks and we weren’t wasting as much salt. We weren’t getting the scattered effect. We were treating it with the beet juice, so it stuck better. So, our salt numbers stayed about the same,” said Kuhl.

The Tippecanoe County Highway Department hired contractors for the first time this winter, which added an additional $50,000.

Kuhl said the extra costs cut into the fund to fix and repave the roads. She will ask the Tippecanoe County Council for an additional appropriation to recover some of those funds at the next meeting on Tuesday, April 8.

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