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Sunnyside well within its snow removal budget

With what seems a wetter than usual winter filled with snow in the Lower Valley so far, the city of Sunnyside is not terribly worried about its snow budget.

Deputy City Manager Byron Olson said the city has only expended about $18,000 of its budgeted $28,000 for snow control and removal. Of the monies spent, only $128 has been spent on overtime and $5,500 went toward the purchase of sand.

The 2010 budget closes out tomorrow and the city expects to have a surplus in the snow budget.

"De-icer chemicals were in good supply and any replenishing of those materials will be included in the next budget," he said.

Olson said the city has spent a minimum in overtime because employees working in the streets department work different winter hours than in the summer to offset the need for overtime hours.

Public Works Superintendant Shane Fisher said the city has never run out of materials used for snow control, such as de-icer and sand.

He said de-icer has been effective for preemptive measures. "It makes any snow that falls slushy, rather than a sheen of slick snow."

Fisher said Harrison Hill is the first area of concern when winter weather strikes Sunnyside. Employees try to anticipate the weather and lay down de-icer before the snow falls.

"The city wants the roadways to be safe for navigation," said Fisher, stating the steep, sloping streets on the hill get attention first because they can be treacherous for motorists to navigate in adverse weather conditions.

In addition, the city has a general plan to wait until there is at least three inches of snow on the ground before they plow.

Fisher said this has been a long-standing policy, in place to minimize damage to plows and other equipment.

"Maintenance costs run higher when the plows are run too soon," he said.

As for the supply of de-icer and sand, he said the chemicals are ordered on an annual basis "and the city has never been in jeopardy of running out.

"A larger city generally goes through materials faster than a small town like Sunnyside," Fisher said.

Both Olson and Fisher are pleased with the cooperation and pre-planning efforts of city employees, stating the city is in good shape with the 2011 snow removal budget.

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