- Associated Press - Friday, December 30, 2016

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - Unprecedented growth in some North Dakota cities has public works administrators and crews scrambling to clean up after snowstorms.

Bismarck’s overall street maintenance spending budget has increased with its population growth, from $2.9 million in 2006 to nearly $6.7 million in 2016, the director of Bismarck’s service operations, Jeff Heintz, told The Bismarck Tribune (https://bit.ly/2hAawOo ).

The city budgeted nearly $395,000 for snow cleanup this year.

Heintz said he hasn’t exceeded this year’s overall budget and doesn’t expect to, even with a string of winter storms bringing more than 40 inches of snow to the area.

However, in nearby Mandan, City Administrator Jim Neubauer said the city has nearly used up its 2016 street maintenance budget and will have to use reserves to keep up with costs.

“We have expanded considerably in population and roads since 2006,” said Neubauer “We’ve had to use private contractors and pulled staff from the landfill and grounds maintenance with the snow cleanup.”

Pulling staff from other departments to help clean snow is not uncommon for places like Mandan or Bismarck. According to Heintz, buying more equipment and hiring more staff is not practical for infrequent large events.

“We can’t just purchase equipment based on one in 10-year events,” he said. “A lot of capital and people are tied up.”

In Bismarck, there are seven zones to plow throughout the city. All involve clearing 200 miles with multiple sweeps. Heintz said there will eventually be a need for more equipment and staff.

“It’s a question of level of service,” he said.


Information from: Bismarck Tribune, https://www.bismarcktribune.com

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