The lack of snow in Regina so far in 2016 is translating into the city being significantly under its winter maintenance budget.
The manager of the department is Chris Warren and he outlined how in January a total of $890,000 was spent on snow and ice control compared to a five-year average of $2 million. February figures could turn out to be similar.
“This is kind of something new for the city because we don’t experience a lot of seasons like this,” he said.
Just because the city hasn’t experienced much snow, Warren said it doesn’t mean there hasn’t been ice.
“Our typical sidewalk and ice control budgets are kind of on par, but it’s the snow removal and the plowing and the work at the snow storage site we’re not doing. So, we’re able to put those resources to other things.”
Crews are still out filling potholes. They are also being dispatched to support other areas such as the landfill along with water and sewer operations.
According to a city bylaw, any money that’s not used from the city’s $9.04 million winter maintenance budget is put into a reserve fund. Many reserves in the city have a maximum limit, along with a minimum, and Warren said this particular reserve is approaching its ceiling.
If that happens, the city could have other options about what to do with the excess.
“That would be a financial decision with our finance department if we reach our maximums on what that money would be allocated to.”
But with March and April left to go, along with the final few months of the year, Warren said there is still an opportunity for the snow to fall and put a regular sized dent in the budget.