From NY Post: Despite paltry amounts of snow last winter, NYC taxpayers really got plowed.
The city paid roughly $12 million for every inch of snow pushed to the curb, new data shows — 12 times the amount the city laid out per inch in 2003.
But don’t only blame government waste for the eye-popping figure — $57 million spent on 4.8 inches, tucked into an Independent Budget Office review.
Blame the mild weather, analyst Daniel Huber told The Post. “It didn’t snow very much,” he said, “and some of that money was spent on prep — just like every year — whether snow falls or not.”
Those fixed costs for the Sanitation Department run the gamut, according to Huber — from training drivers to repairing plows to replenishing the salt supply.
Snow removal is so expensive because of all the specialized equipment it takes to open up the city’s 19,000 lane-miles of roadway, Sanitation spokesman Josh Goodman told The Post.
There aren’t only 2,300 plows and sets of chains to put on the garbage trucks but mammoth ice machines that melt 60 tons of snow an hour, smaller plows for bike lanes and intersections, and front-end loaders to move 300,000 tons of salt. “This isn’t like shoveling your walkway,” Goodman said. “It’s an enormous, complicated operation for which we spend all year planning.”
Then throw in the incidentals of any given year that jack up the per-inch cost: maybe an ice storm that depletes the salt pile; or a weekend snow dump, which comes with pricey OT; a forecasted blizzard that brings out the trucks but turns into a dusting.
Over the past two decades, the per-inch cost jumped from $1 million in 2003 to $4 million in 2012 to $12 million in 2020 — mostly because of snowfall amounts and higher salt and fuel prices.
Read the whole story here.
I tried to find what other cities spend per inch for snow removal.
In 2015, Minneapolis spent $202,000 per inch while St. Paul spent $137,000. In 2013 the city of Chicago spent $1.03 million per inch. While I’m sure each city has different methods for calucalting their costs per inch (and vary by equipment and snowfall, etc.) you can see that $12 MILLION per inch is still an astronomical amount.
But hey, when the money is not coming out of your wallet its rather easy to spend.