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Snow causes budget problems that may lead to layoffs

D ollar bills are dropping as fast as the snow is falling for the Emmet County Road Commission.



A

lot of early season snow has one northern
Michigan road commission battling a budget shortfall that could lead to layoffs.



E

mmet
County Road Commissioners met today to figure out a way to keep the roads clean despite limited funding.



"

We are just hoping the winter is going to slow down

," Brian Gutowski, Emmet County Road Commission Manager said.



D

ollar bills are dropping as fast as the snow is falling for the
Emmet County Road Commission.



"

The more materials we go through this time of year means less money for summer

," Gutowski explained.



D

ue to heavy snow falls and bad road conditions

,

the snow plows have been operating for 25 days in a row

, unloading salt onto the roadways and costing the county thousands in overtime pay for drivers.



And a

s much as this department tries to plan ahead for vicious winter weather

,

it

'

s hard to do so with very little state funding.




"W

hen you are operating under 11-year-old funding it's tough to maintain
a situation like we are today," Gutowski said.



T

he payout from the state has been the same since 2003.

H

owever

,

the prices for gas, salt, and other departmental needs have gone up.




A

nd the intense northern
Michigan winters have not slowed down.



"

If worse comes to worse

,

if the winter does get bad and continues on there might be some temporary layoffs unfortunately

," Gutowski said.



T

his department is exploring the option of layoffs and holding off road maintenance for the rest of the year.




T

he situation is different in each county.




I

n
Wexford, the road manger says his budget is in good shape. And in Grand Traverse, they added $400,000 dollars to this years budget to help.



D

espite the growing budget issues in
Emmet, the road commission insists that the roads will stay clean.



"

We are going to continue plowing the roads

," Gutowski said.



"But y

ou're not going to see as much salt put ou

t."

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