DPW hopes to restore budget and fix potholes

This year's harsh winter is still taking a toll on many roads around Indianapolis, leaving them with cracks and craters. That's why the Department of Public Works is hoping to get the go-ahead on an emergency funding plan that could restore its budget.

The potholes you see around Indianapolis are the result of freezing, thawing and plowing over the winter. The snow removal drained the DPW's budget so much it's struggling to fix resulting potholes.  

An unusually large amount of snow dumped on the city this winter, and with that, the city dumped a lot of money into cleaning it up - about $14.5 million, more than double what it normally spends in an average winter. That money went to salt costs, overtime costs to keep the Indy Snow Force plow trucks on the road and the snow and ice off.

Now the overrun in costs is hampering the agency's ability to fix the fallout from all of the snow-fixing potholes and re-surfacing streets. Not getting help from the city will mean some tough decisions. 

Stephanie Wilson with the Department of Public Works explained, "We'll have to tell people, 'No, we can't fix that bridge. We can't fix your sidewalk. We can't fix your street.'"

The Department of Public Works says it needs about $15 million. The proposal for getting it includes more than $8 million from the city's reserves for road repairs - money that would cover work in all districts of Marion County. It would also open up $7 million from the transportation general fund to cover the overruns from snow removal from this past winter.  

DPW would have to find ways to cut costs over the rest of the year to make that up.

The City-County Council Public Works Committee will vote on the funding plan Thursday night. If it passes the committee, it will still need to go to the full council for approval at their next meeting.