Winter operation costs decline for the 2014-2015 year
COLUMBIA - Snow is long gone in mid-Missouri, but the Missouri Department of Transportation said it never really came this past winter.
Its documents show for the 2014-2015 fiscal year, the Central District area spent $8.8 million on winter operations. This is almost a $2 million decrease from the previous year.
Statistically, this past winter was the cheapest in the last five years for the Central District.
The Central District Maintenance Engineer Randy Aulbur said the lighter winter and lowest expenses in recent history didn't actually bring the surplus of funds they expected.
"We actually had a pretty average winter this year, and really it's a deal where we didn't have to pull money from other things," Aulbur said.
Aulbur said when the winters are harsh, they have to pull funds from different departments in order to compensate the deficit. Those areas include roadwork and off-road work.
He said many times they also have to pull employees from their core departments.
"It's a drain on staff to do that, but we have a commitment to keep," Aulbur said.
They also have to take into consideration factors like inflation of the price of salt.
The Central District area is comprised of 18 counties, including all of Boone County and Callaway County.
MoDOT plows the major roads within these boundaries. The remaining minor roads like private and residential streets are in the hands of the local city.
MoDOT said the state overall spent $48 million dollars 2014-2015 for snow plowing.
[Editor's note: This story has been updated to fix a dollar amount.]