Storm cleanup racks up overtime costs

Local News
Crews work on damaged tree

CHAMPAIGN COUNTY, Ill. (WCIA) — Some cities in central Illinois are having to fork over extra cash for storm cleanup.

For Champaign alone, that includes $29,000 of overtime. It all comes from around $250,000 they set aside for emergencies. That includes snow and ice storms, equipment replacement, and anything else unexpected.

That $29,000 was wracked up just between Memorial Day through June. On top of it, around 40 public works employees were already working full time on cleanup. The city’s also paying about $10,000 for a contractor to turn brush into mulch. With all the fallen trees, public works leaders are already focused on re-planting.

“We’re turning around and trying to replant many of the trees that have been lost. We’re just finishing up from last summer and so now we have more mature trees that have been lost and so there’s… you know, you have to start back with a smaller tree because you can’t really buy something… can’t afford to replace some of the bigger trees,” said Champaign Public Works Administrative Services Manager Kris Koester.

Koester says this year’s cost so far don’t look much different from last year. Last summer was relatively similar. The only difference is that most of their damage was accumulated within a shorter amount of time.

Urbana operations leaders say about 226 hours of overtime were used for storm cleanup. They lost around 70 trees in the storms.

It’s hard for Urbana leaders to say how much money that comes out to because some employees take comp days. Urbana sets aside $125,000 for over time every year. Last year, their costs ran $2,000 over that budget. That includes overtime for everything from snow storms to tornadoes.

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