Harsh winter leaves municipality out in the cold with major costs
By Liz Dadson


Kincardine council

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The harsh winter of 2013-14 has left Kincardine out in the cold, financially

The winter of 2013-14 was a harsh one and has left Kincardine council out in the cold with significantly-higher snow removal costs.

In committee-of-the-whole last night (May 21), chief administrative officer Murray Clarke, acting public works manager, told council that the winter weather conditions had a major impact on finances, hiking costs for snow removal and the thawing of frozen water lines.

The total bill was $1,082,005 for this past winter, compared to $612,352 in 2012-13, and $645,959 in 2011-12.

Snow removal costs almost doubled, to $557,126 from $340,014 the year before, while fuel costs tripled, to $232,175 from $77,623, and the fleet costs increased to $227,704 from $194,715.

There was also the added cost of $65,000 to thaw frozen water services where there was no cost for that item the two previous winters, said Clarke.

"We had 77 frozen services and of those, 72 were frozen on our side of the pipes," he said.

From January to April, 2014, public works used up almost 60 per cent of the total budget, spending $109,998 (36% of budgeted) on the fleet, $169,196 (60% of budgeted) on fuel, and $364,184 (71% of budgeted) on winter maintenance.

Clarke said that overall, the operating expenses for fleet, fuel and winter maintenance are below the total annual budget. However, only 29 per cent of the winter maintenance costs remain available for the latter portion of the 2014 winter season.

"As we look forward to next winter, hopefully, we can manage within the budgetary limits," said Clarke. "We won't fully know the impact on the fleet from the additional wear and tear until we discover what increased repair and maintenance are required."

He offered appreciation to treasurer Roxana Baumann and to Lisa Ambeau of the public works department for helping compile the numbers in this report. 

He also gave appreciation to the roads department and the water and wastewater operators who responded in sterling fashion under difficult weather conditions.


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Wednesday, May 21, 2014