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updated: 2/7/2014 12:23 PM

Lombard saves money on salt, but faces high overtime costs

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This snowy winter, Lombard is one of a few lucky suburbs that has reported having surplus road salt.

But just like other towns, the village can't avoid paying overtime to workers who have been busy clearing away the more than 46 inches of snow that have fallen this winter.

"It is costing us a lot of money," said Public Works Director Carl Goldsmith at Thursday's village board meeting.

As of Jan. 30, the public works department spent about $145,000 this winter in overtime expenses, seasonal worker expenses and commodities, Goldsmith said.

That represents about 77 percent of the department's total budget for those expenses. Adding in the costs of the snow removal so far in February, Goldsmith said, amounts to about 90 percent of the budget being used.

Besides snow removal, crews have also had to address water main breaks, including two significant breaks within a 10-foot area on Grace Street earlier this week.

"It's been a tremendous effort this year and I think our staff has done a wonderful job," Goldsmith said.

Goldsmith also thanked residents and business owners for their patience with snow removal crews.

"This is not a quick process," he said. "From the time the snowfall ends, it generally takes between 7 and 12 hours (to remove). Often, that's not fast enough and we do apologize, but given the amount of equipment we have and given the amount of resources we have available to us we do as best a job as we can."

Anyone interested in learning more about how the crews determine where to go first can access the department's snow plan on the village's website.

Goldsmith said the department has received some reports of damaged mailboxes, which he said is often from the force of the snow coming off the plows. The village offers residents temporary mailboxes that can be replaced with permanent mailboxes in the spring. To request a mailbox or send in feedback, residents can call (630) 620-5740.

"We're hearing positive and negative comments," Goldsmith said. "We're always happy to hear those. They do go into our next year's planning efforts."

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