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Winter storm costs total $13,000+
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Snow removal efforts related to Winter Storm Draco, which produced an estimated 14 inches of snow on Dec. 19-20, will cost the city nearly $14,000. - photo by Robert Callahan photo

The Fennimore Common Council learned the tale of the tape relating to Winter Storm Draco during a meeting Wednesday evening, Dec. 26.
The storm, which blanketed Fennimore with an estimated 14 inches of snow, will cost the city $13,983.55, according to information presented to the council by City Clerk Margaret Sprague.
Snow removal efforts began at 2 a.m. on Thursday morning, Dec. 20 and Friday morning, Dec. 21. Nearly 30 hours were spent plowing city streets in the two days.
“We had 59 3/4 hours of overtime, which would be about $1,800,” Sprague said. “We had 84 1/2 hours of regular time on those two days at $1,700.”
The total labor cost for the Dec. 20 storm and additional work on Christmas Eve to respond to sleet was $5,122.67.
“Those people should be commended,” alderperson David Streif said. “Anybody that doesn’t appreciate the streets in the City of Fennimore should go to Lancaster.
“Saturday night I came into town from Lancaster and I was just amazed with how well the streets looked. They did a great job.”
Four dump trucks, an endloader, grader and snow blower were used in snow removal efforts. The total cost associated with the equipment use was $6,225.
“I’m just curious, why do we track the dollar value for the trucks, the endloader and the grader for snowstorms,” alderperson Greg Fry asked.
“We don’t necessarily,” Sprague replied. “It is a non-cash item in that we don’t write a check for that.”
Sprague explained the figures allow for a better understanding of the total cost associated with a snowstorm.
An estimated 11 tons of salt were spread on city streets Dec. 19-20, an additional six tons on Dec. 24. The total cost of the salt was $1,041.76.
The city’s 2012 budget included $63,125 for snow and ice control. Due to the mild winter last year, $17,000 in expenses were carried over to the 2013 budget.
Resolutions approved
The council unanimously approved two resolutions per requests from the League of Wisconsin Municipalities and the Municipal Electric Utilities of Wisconsin.
The first resolution pertained to the support of the preservation of tax exempt financing.
Under current law, the owners of municipal bonds are not required to pay federal income tax on the interest income received from the bonds, the resolution states.
“The banks who loan us money, they don’t have to pay income tax,” Sprague explained. “They are able to give us a lower rate than you or I could get.”
The benefit of lower capital costs attributable to tax exempt financing are passed on to property tax payers through reduced rates, greater local investments, or both, the resolution states.
The second resolution pertained to the support of the preservation of municipal utility payments in lieu of taxes (PILOTs).
State law allows municipalities to receive payment in lieu of taxes from municipal water and electric utilities, and have done so since at least 1918, the resolution states.
The 2011 PILOT from the water utility, which was paid to the city, was $62,663, Sprague noted. The payment is approximately 15 percent of the water utilities’ revenues.
Hypothetically, if the amount was reduced to closer to the 5 percent rate paid by the electric utility it would amount to a $40,000 cut in property tax revenues for the city.
“It would be difficult for us to find areas of the budget to cut without having an impact on services to our residents,” Sprague explained.