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March 18, 2019 2:27 pm

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Recent Winter Storms Are Putting Saugatuck & Douglas Over Budget For Overtime, Supplies

   The recent slew of snow storms and arctic temperatures is demanding a heavy price in many ways to many people.

     Local municipalities have also been hit hard.

    The City of Saugatuck, for example, has spent an additional $30,000 in winter maintenance compared to last year this far along the season. 

     Its neighbor across the bridge, the City of Douglas, follows right behind with an additional $27,932 in expenditures compared to this time last winter season.

     The extreme weather is forcing crews from the cities’ public works departments to put in extra hours and spend more on equipment and supplies. 

     Saugatuck has gone over budget for winter maintenance while Douglas is getting close, say officials from both municipalities.

     “The city is far from going bankrupt, but at the same time you do prepare a budget in anticipation of many factors, and this, as you can see, is out of the ordinary,” said Saugatuck City Manager Kirk Harrier.

     “We had to take monies from the general fund to cover our costs. That was money that the city could have used somewhere else instead of this,” he told The Local Observer on Tuesday.

     “We really take public safety very seriously and want to keep the roads and public sidewalks as safe as possible. We have to pay for those additional costs. The other option is to do nothing, but I don’t think people would be happy with that.”

     The previous three years, Saugatuck employees have averaged 75 hours of accumulated overtime between November 1 through January 24. This season has meant 300 hours of overtime accumulated for that same period, according to city records.

     In Douglas, Treasurer and Finance Director Robert Drexler describes the situation as such: “The Public Works Department has spent 951 hours compared to 92 last year at this time in the roads winter department. 

     “The city still has $29,000 budgeted for the remainder of the year and if the weather continues as is we are looking at being over-budget about $10,000. The budgeted amount would be comparable to the average snowplowing usage.”

     City officials from both municipalities say they will factor in this winter season’s expenses to strategize for the future.

Recent Winter Storms Are Putting Saugatuck & Douglas Over Budget For Overtime, Supplies

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