Snowy winter wipes out road budgets in small Minn. towns - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Snowy winter wipes out road budgets in small Minn. towns

Posted: Updated:
WHEATLAND TOWNSHIP, Minn. (KMSP) -

Small communities across the state are struggling to deal with this winter's demanding conditions, and many local budgets are being pushed to the brink as another blast of blowing snow sweeps in.

"It gets icy," plow operator Troy Schulte acknowledged. "There's no control once you hit a snow drift; no stopping it."

Fox 9 News rode along through the tiny township of Wheatland. The Rice County community has a population of 1,300, and it was battered by blizzard conditions on Wednesday.

"We have to keep it open for ambulance and fire trucks," Schulte said.

The blowing snow sent Schulte back out on the roads for another long shift in the cab of his truck.

"It's tough because the wind does blow so much on these roads," he said. "We're getting on it before it gets bad."

While all public works and road maintenance budgets are being pushed to the limit by this brutal winter season, and smaller governments seem to be hit the hardest.

"We're spending hours and hours removing snow," Lenny Laures, maintenance supervisor for a few townships near Rochester, said.

Laures explained that his communities have blown through their annual $25,000 sand budget, and they're already about $5,000 into next year's fuel allotment.

"We've had other bad winters, but I can't remember all the blowing snow being quite as bad," Laures said.

That blowing snow can turn a single snowfall into three plow runs, and all the labor and fuel is adding up. That's why townships are rallying together to ask for more transportation-related funding from lawmakers in St. Paul.

"Right now, we feel a little short. Our costs have gone up -- gravel has gone up, equipment costs have gone up, labor has gone up -- and, in general, we try to be tight in the township. We don't like to raise the levy too much," Gary Bruggenthies said.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • IN CUSTODY: Officer shooting suspect Brian George Fitch Sr.

    IN CUSTODY: Officer shooting suspect Brian George Fitch Sr.

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 10:07 PM EDT2014-07-31 02:07:28 GMT
    Fox 9 News is learning more about the suspect wanted in connection with the fatal shooting of Mendota Heights Police Officer Scott Patrick, 47, during a traffic stop, and it turns out he was already a wanted man when that traffic stop began.

    Fox 9 News is learning more about the suspect wanted in connection with the fatal shooting of Mendota Heights Police Officer Scott Patrick, 47, during a traffic stop, and it turns out he was already a wanted man when that traffic stop began.
  • SWAT team arrests suspected cop killer in St. Paul

    SWAT team arrests suspected cop killer in St. Paul

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 10:42 PM EDT2014-07-31 02:42:24 GMT
    On Wednesday night, dozens of officers -- including a SWAT team -- descended on Sycamore and Rice streets in St. Paul after a suspected cop killer apparently opened fire on officers and was shot multiple times.
    On Wednesday night, dozens of officers -- including a SWAT team -- descended on Sycamore and Rice streets in St. Paul after a suspected cop killer apparently opened fire on officers after escaping a neighborhood near the intersection of Baker and Livingston, where the car used in the crime was found.
  • Mendota Heights police officer shot in West St. Paul; suspect shot

    Mendota Heights police officer shot in West St. Paul; suspect shot

    Thursday, July 31 2014 12:36 AM EDT2014-07-31 04:36:05 GMT

    A Mendota Heights police officer was shot and killed Wednesday afternoon during a traffic stop near Dodd Road and Smith Avenue in West St. Paul, Fox 9 sources confirmed. Police arrested the suspect later Wednesday night.


    A Mendota Heights police officer was shot and killed Wednesday afternoon during a traffic stop near Dodd Road and Smith Avenue in West St. Paul, Fox 9 sources confirmed. Police arrested the suspect later Wednesday night.


Powered by WorldNow

WTTG FOX 5 & myfoxdc
5151 Wisconsin Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20016
Main Number: (202) 244-5151
Newsroom: (202) 895-3000
fox5tips@wttg.com

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices