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PrattTribune - Pratt, KS
  • Cleanup costs mount

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  • As the sun and warm temperatures melt the last of the snow off Pratt city streets, the cost of getting rid of the snow is almost as high as the snow piles were on South Street.
    The approximate cost to the city for snow removal is around $50,000.
    Clean up days ran from Feb. 18 to Feb. 27 following two rounds of snow that left about 16 inches of snow on the ground after the first two snow fall and about 6 to 8 inches of snow on top of that.
    City crews worked hard to get the downtown area cleared after the big snow so they wouldn't have so much to clear after the second snow, said Russ Rambat, public works director.
    The city is still working on some areas so the final totals will add a little more to the grand total.
    As they city looked at the weather report, it became obvious that Pratt was going to get a lot of snow. So the plan was to get all the snow from the first snow off the downtown business area and the snow routes open before the second storm hit the area.
    In order to do that, workers would have to put in a lot of overtime hours. Crews began pre-treating before the storms to make it easier to clean the streets. Once the storms started the crews did as much as they could to keep major snow route streets open and snow pushed to the middle of downtown streets.
    The Pratt Street Department has eight employees. With all the snow, workers from other departments were brought in to help with the clearing process. Linemen, city parks employees and others all helped drive vehicles to get the snow cleared. The addition of these extra workers added to the total cost to the city to clear the snow.
    Even with all the extra help, more was needed to get the job done so the city contracted Simpson Dirt to bring in an extra loader and truck to help clear away snow in the downtown area, Rambat said.
    With all the accumulated snow, crews had to work their regular hours and many overtime hours that added up to a lot of cost for the city.
    "It was pretty much round the clock for a full week stretch," Rambat said.
    Crews focused on the snow emergency routes and the downtown area. Clearing off the downtown streets for businesses and keeping U.S. 281 running was a top priority.
    Snow was pushed to the center of South Main and the adjoining side streets during the day to keep traffic flowing. During the night, the crews came back and cleared the piles in the middle of the street using front-end loaders and a line of trucks that looked like they were choreographed.
    Page 2 of 2 - The snow was dumped in Sixth Street Park and on the south side of the Santa Fe Train Depot on the south side of town.
    Time and money came into play on clearing the side streets. It would take a lot of time and money to completely clear every street in town and the city simply didn't have the manpower.
    Also, clearing the side streets would mean pushing snow up against parked cars and that would create a lot of problems so the city only sent vehicles driving on those streets to break down the snow.
    By the numbers
    $50,000 Overallestimated cost
    $20,000 Regular time
    $10,000 Overtime
    $9,000 Equipment cost based on FEMA rates
    $4,157 Fuel
    $2,400 Sand and salt
    $5,150 Contracted third party help
    100 Tons in the sand and salt pile before the storms
    50 Tons in the sand and salt pile after the storms

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