When many of us hear of wintery weather we hope for a snow day but for highway department employees the worse the forecast, only means the more work. As our Maria Valvanis found, this year's bad weather is costing Clifton Park thousands of dollars in overtime.
CLIFTON PARK, N.Y. -- It's been a long winter for many but for the Clifton Park Highway Department crew the winter seems never-ending.
"I've been on duty every day since Thanksgiving," said Highway Superintendent Richard Kukuk,.
Kukuk said the department spent about $50,000 more on overtime in 2013 than in 2012 and just a few weeks into the new year, 2014 isn't looking much cheaper.
"My winter overtime budget is $65,000, we're already over half of that in a few weeks," Kukuk said.
"January has been an expensive month," said Town Supervisor Phil Barrett.
In less than four weeks the Clifton Park Highway Department has already used more than two-thirds of the yearly salt budget and officials say the cold weather is just as much to blame as the snow.
"You'd almost rather have a large snow storm where it snows and it's over as opposed to these constant pesky weather events," Barrett said.
The frequent smaller storms we've been experiencing causes crews to have to mobilize more often and the freezing temperatures stop the salt from working as well.
"Those costs add up even though each time they go out they're not out for a long period of time," Barrett added.
"That's the nature of the job. You have to do what you've have to do. And if the roads get slippery you've got to get out there and maintain them," said Kukuk.
Officials say they're hoping for some relief from Mother Nature over the next few months, so costs can level off.