AUBURN, Ind. (21Alive) - It's a winter for the record books, but it's far from over. And this harsh winter weather already has Dekalb County worried about their budget.
"Through the first half of the winter we've already spent more this year than we did all of the winter last year, or the winter before," said Eric Patton, Highway Superintendent, Dekalb County Highway Department.
What has helped the highway department is the surplus from the last two mild winters.
"We would probably have to cancel some of our resurface projects for this coming summer just to pay for overtime, truck maintenance, sand, salt," said Patton. "It's saved us so far but you know, if we have more heavy snow then there will be cuts in the summer time I'm sure."
Dekalb County is stocked up on salt and sand for the rest of the winter, but what costs them when the big storms roll in is the overtime pay for their employees.
"Just in overtime was right under $40,0000, and that was just overtime," said Patton.
That's the price tag for the first storm, in early January, that forced several counties to declare states of emergency.
"You can prepare for 14 inches of snow, you can prepare for snow and high wind, but then when you add record cold temperatures there's no preparation for that, you just, whatever you can do, you do," said Patton.
Those frigid temperatures caused several mechanical problems with equipment. That added time, and cost to the already heavy workload.
Although their budget is safe for now, Patton says they can only really handle one more big winter storm before they have to start cutting from their summer projects.
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