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February storms nearly wiped out city snow removal budget

With several weeks of Chicagoland cold and snowy weather still in front of us, the City of Evanston's overtime budget for snow removal is almost gone.

Overnight snow removal crews at work on Davis Street downtown last month.

With several weeks of Chicagoland cold and snowy weather still in front of us, the City of Evanston’s overtime budget for snow removal is almost gone.

The February storms that blanketed Evanston left the city with only 1.5% remaining, of the $325,000 “snowvertime” allocated for 2021.

City crews work longer hours and extra days when big snowfalls hit.

Overtime last month was more than triple the amount spent in February a year ago and was also greater than the entire snow overtime cost for all of last year.

Erika Storlie.

At Tuesday night’s 1st Ward meeting, City Manager Erika Storlie said the storms required a big effort from city staff. “It felt like groundhog day — every day you wake up and there’s more snow,” she said.

She also thanked residents for their cooperation in the snow removal efforts and said the the city’s recycling pickups — which had been delayed because crews were diverted to snow removal efforts — were “99% caught up” by last Saturday.

She noted that in the days after the storm the recycling trucks, which normally run with a single operator, had to have three-person crews to be able to do the collections safely in alleys filled with snow and with many recycling carts half-buried in the snow.

Jeff Hirsh

Jeff Hirsh

Jeff Hirsh joined the Evanston Now reporting team in 2020 after a 40-year award-winning career as a broadcast journalist in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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