Despite falling snow total, Fishers spends more on removal

A mild couple winters is creating savings for some central Indiana communities, but in Fishers, the spending went up this winter. (WISH photo)

FISHERS, Ind (WISH) – A mild couple winters is creating savings for some central Indiana communities, but in Fishers, the spending went up this winter.

Right now, Fishers’ public works employees are in full spring mode. Growing grass gives workers something to do, after winter didn’t pack much of a punch.

Indianapolis usually gets about 26 inches of snow. But for the past three years, the number declined, including this season, where Indianapolis received about 10 inches of snow.

“We were spoiled,” Fishers resident, Steven Perillo said. “It was wonderful. I mean, in a certain way.”

“The winters are getting more and more mild and we’re just kind of slipping into one big season that we’re just not getting those seasonal changes that we used to,” Fishers resident, Lane Heaney said.

INDOT said over the past three years its removal spending went from $40.3 million to $23.3 million. Indianapolis dropped from $4.46 million to $2.7 million. Noblesville went from $1.4 million to $501,447, and Carmel dropped from $936,304 to $476,052.

As their numbers declined with the smaller snowfall, Fishers has increased its spending. Two years ago, it spent $216,079 on materials. This past winter, the number spiked to $248,683.

“That does seem surprising, especially if their city neighbors are saving money,” Perillo said.

A big reason why, the city used 168,720 gallons of brine to treat roads, up from 81,235 from the season before.

“I don’t think it’s good for the water systems,” Heaney said. “I don’t think it’s good for the ground. I don’t think it’s good for our vehicles. That will cost us later.”

The city said brine uses less salt than traditional solutions. And the mayor of Fishers talked about that increase in money spent.

“What you’re tending to see now is when we have smaller snow events, we’ll go out and pre-treat in order to reduce the need to go out there and plow the roads when the snow actually does occur,” Fishers Mayor Scott Fadness said.

Mayor Fadness said they’re also treating more side streets than before. But with a downtrend of snow each winter, it’s possible the brine use could change.

“This is a new program so we’re going to evaluate,” Mayor Fadness said. “After every year, we look at this and see whether from a cost perspective it makes sense and we’ll take a look at the end of this year and see whether or not we need to adjust our delivery of service.”

Fishers saw an increase, but it still spent less for material and labor than Carmel, and Noblesville. As for those two cities, a spokesperson said the money not spent on this winter, will go into the general fund to help with future snowstorms.

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