You weren’t imagining it — we’ve just lived through Evanston’s snowiest winter season on record.
Public Works Director Suzette Robinson told aldermen Monday night that the city’s official snow total for this year stands at 90.9 inches — which tops the previous record of 89 inches set during the winter of 1978-79.
Our most recent previous remarkable winter, in 2010-11 — when we had nearly two feet of snow in a single storm — turns out to have been mild by comparison — with a total for the season of just 58.2 inches.
Robinson said the city has run up a snow removal tab for this calendar year of $1.3 millin — nearly twice the $685,000 budgeted — and there’s still next December to deal with before the year’s snowfall is over.
But she says that comparing the snowy winter of 2010-11 with this season the cost per inch of snow removal has dropped — from $16,906 to $16,281 — a savings she attributed to the city’s purchase of equipment to spread salt brine and beet juice on the streets.
The brine solution, she said, makes it possible to use less salt and makes the salt that is used stick to the roads better. That lets crews finish the plowing job with less overtime while also using less salt.
The city is inviting residents to fill out a survey asking for ideas to improve snow season procedures. It includes questions on whether the city should consider plowing alleys and sidewalks and how to pay for that.
Mention of those ideas at the council meeting got aldermen into a discussion of whether it would be fair to tax residents who don’t have alleys, or sidewalks, for those services.
And Robinson said that because of the risk that plowing would tear up unpaved alleys, only paved ones could be included in any alley-plowing program.