89
      Sunday
      89 / 67
      Monday
      84 / 61
      Tuesday
      88 / 66

      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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