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by mike lesko | Reporter
Aurora -- While the just-concluded harsh winter had more snowfall than most previous winters, that did not translate into many more dollars spent by the city, Service Director John Trew reported last week.
"We have salt conservation efforts and actually used only 200 tons more, and spent less money on salt this winter," Trew said. "The trucks plowed the snow off the roads first, then we applied salt."
Trew said the city used 4,843 tons of salt in 2014. At about $39 a ton, it cost the city nearly $193,000.
That salt usage compared favorably to 2013, when the city used 4,624 tons over the same approximate time period. At about $44 a ton, it cost the city about $207,000.
In 2014, city snowplowers were paid about $52,000 for more than 2,000 hours of overtime work, Trew reported, meaning that despite all the ice and snow, the city was only $1,000 over its overtime budget.
Trew said overtime totals for 2013 were about the same.
Now that spring is here, the city's service department has tried to keep up with fixing potholes, Trew said.
"We repaired potholes by dispatching crews street by street, focusing on high volume streets first and then on the side streets and residential areas," he said.
"The material used in filling holes in the winter is a temporary patch and freezes below 32 degrees," Trew said. "So we must thaw the material or heat it in a hotbox machine, then dispense it to the roads.
"The material has only a minimal bonding capacity, especially with frozen ice or debris in the holes, so we must continue to fill holes all winter."
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