As Hall County continues to clear streets of tree limbs and remove other debris from roadways left by the ice storm in mid-February, officials have begun to tally the costs.
The county’s road maintenance division has spent about $300,000 so far, with about two-thirds of that expended in March.
“Those expenses come from payroll, supplies, fuel, vehicle maintenance, equipment maintenance, etc.,” said county spokeswoman Katie Crumley. “The cost is likely to increase as we have not received all of the invoices for equipment rental.”
This cost also does not include expenses from other departments that contributed to the clean-up, Crumley said, including the building maintenance division and the correctional institution.
Public Works Director Ken Rearden estimates that the storm produced about 30,000 cubic yards of debris for removal, and more than 2,200 miles of county roads had to be checked and cleared.
Crumley said the storm cost is built into the county’s current budget, “so the $300,000 does not represent any type of overage or additional expense to the county or its taxpayers.”
“Public Works anticipates severe weather of some sort to impact the county every year, so they budget for that,” she said. “There is also some contingency funds that are used as needed. No money has been pulled from the county’s fund balance for this effort.”
Meanwhile, Gainesville Public Works Director David Dockery said that as of March 25, the winter storm clean-up had cost the city $161,454.
The City Council voted in February to allocate $50,000 from the general fund contingency budget to support continued cleanup efforts in the wake of the ice storm, which sent trees and limbs crashing onto homes and power lines.
Dockery said that lightning loader trucks, equipped with huge claws and a 20-cubic-yard capacity, maxed out picking up storm debris 325 times over.
“The Public Works Department has had over 1,250 hours of overtime associated with the winter storms and debris removal,” said Assistant Director Chris Rotalsky. “This includes participation of nearly all the Public Works divisions.”