DPW seeks extra $7M from council for snow removal overages


The people who clear and repair the streets around Indianapolis say they are in an emergency situation.

The Department of Public Works says they need millions of dollars to do their jobs after overspending during this year's extreme winter weather.

Monday night, DPW asked the City-County Council for $7 million to make up for the costs of snow removal. If they don't get the money, the department says our roads will suffer.

Removing the snow this winter cost the city $14.5 million, more than double what it spends in an average year.

"Those are salt costs. Those are overtime costs. You know, our Indy SnowForce had very few days this winter where they had time to rest," said DPW spokesperson Stephanie Wilson. "Not sending out the plows, not salting the roads, it's not an optional expense."

Now, that costly battle has created an emergency for more cash to pay the bills. The DPW asked the council to move $7 million from the city's transportation general fund to bridge the gap.

Not getting that money, the department says, will mean some of the streets we drive on and bridges we cross won't get repairs.

"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'," Wilson said.

The request for snow removal money follows contentious debate in the council over other DPW requests. The council recently tabled a plan for money to make road repairs on extreme potholes because of concern over how the money would be divided among city districts.

"My opinion is it's pure politics, unfortunately," said Wilson. "Everything we've taken to this council, they've obstructed or flat out opposed or tabled."

"It's not a political issue and neither was the pothole money," said Councillor Vernon Brown. "The things that were tabled in the past were mainly because of a lack of communication from the city departments to the council."

Brown says the $7 million request shouldn't be a problem, because the emergency was all too-clear.

While the request was introduced at Monday night's council meeting, but likely won't be discussed until May. DPW says it's just the first step and still want to talk about more money for repairing roads that got battered so badly this winter.