The costs of winter weather in Tulsa

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Reported by: Ian Silver
Updated: 12/10/2013 5:13 pm Published: 12/10/2013 4:26 pm

As the snow and ice start to melt, the cost of the storm is becoming clearer.

FOX23's Ian Silver looked at the numbers and found city of Tulsa used quite a lot of its resources.

The most obvious is the salt reserve; crews used more than 5,000 tons of salt, or about a third of the supply.

City officials are confident they're still prepared for any other storms that come our way.

In 26 years working for the city of Tulsa's Streets Department and driving a plow during winter storms, Nate Stewart thinks the recent winter weather was one of the most effective responses he's seen from the city.

"Oh, I think we did exceptional, because everybody knew what they had to do. You know, and everybody knew their job. So, that's why it was better. And we had more people doing it," said Stewart.

Streets maintenance manager Tim McCorkell said it comes down to better preparation.

While he said he's confident there is enough salt on hand for at least two more storms, now a third of the way through the salt reserve, he dipped into the city's $300,000 winter storm budget.

"I've ordered $100,000 worth right now, approximately 15- to 18-hundred tons. But you know, I don't really look forward to the rest of the winter, because I'm sure we're gonna get some more issues here," said McCorkell.

Overtime costs could be one of those issues.

The city budgets $134,000 for overtime for storm cleanup. But after the wind storm this past summer and now this storm, the city only has about $17,500 left.

The good news is the state paid the city back $100,000 for street costs from the wind storm, so some of that could be used if the city needs more overtime money.

If we do get another winter storm.

"Our equipment's in good shape. We still have the funding for the salt and the overtime. And, you know, I think we're gonna be alright through the winter," said McCorkell.

As far as resources, but that doesn't mean guys like Stewart who have to use those resources are looking forward to another storm.

"Oh yeah, it can get rough, especially working them 3, 4, 5 days in a row. It gets tiresome," said Stewart.

If Tulsa has several more storms, or a blizzard like in 2011, Mayor Bartlett said that he and the city council will find whatever money is necessary to get the city cleaned up, even if streets department uses its entire budget.

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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of KOKI FOX23 - Tulsa

Fredlove - 12/10/2013 10:53 PM
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So for the last two years we have not had hardly any winter weather and the tone of the story is this to quote; "found city of Tulsa used quite a lot of its resources." This should be a outrage that Tulsa and the surrounding suburbs are not easily prepared. We should have a abundance of supplies and money for overtime for this storm. The story should be about how after years of mild weather the city of Tulsa barely used any of its resources knowing that harsh winter weather would return. I humbly ask the this reporter to do a story on why are we already 1/3 through the resources and concerned about getting overtime money. I say to the citizens of Tulsa its time to start asking the government hard questions and keeping them truly accountable.
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