The fall storms that have dumped several inches of snow on Jefferson County have had an impact on more than just road conditions.
The early use of salt and sand will put the city of Fort Atkinson over its yearly budget for snow and ice removal, according to City Manager Matt Trebatoski.
The 2020 Fort Atkinson city budget included $98,570 for sand and salt — a more than $31,000 increase from 2019.
That increase was partially because of an increase in costs but also because of how much sand and salt the city has been using.
The strength and duration of last winter as well as the early start to the freezing of the tundra this year have buried Fort Atkinson in the snow.
“The early snows are definitely going to put us over budget by a good amount,” Trebatoski said. “Luckily, we’re running under budget in a few other accounts.”
The city will be fine on its supply on sand and salt, Trebatoski said, but it did have to order more loads than normal.
Typically, there’s some supplies leftover from the previous year, Trebatoski said, which wasn’t an option after the polar vortex of the 2018-19 winter.
While the record snowfall for the area occurred in 1951 when 4.8 inches of snow fell on Southern Wisconsin, according to National Weather Service records, this amount of early snowfall this fall still is unusual.
Normally, the total amount of snowfall in Southern Wisconsin in November is 2.39 inches, according to the NWS records. This year, that amount was surpassed by the first weekend of the month.
The city was prepared for the early snows, with the Public Works Department’s trucks already ready, but Trebatoski said it has a domino effect.
“They had the trucks outfitted already,” Trebatoski said. “But it certainly takes away from other things like tree removal or sewer maintenance.”
The city will have to keep burning through that supply of sand and salt as more wintery weather remains in the forecast.