A report by Administration will be considered at the March 28th meeting to review expenses related to the snow management reserve fund.
During the 2022 City of Prince Albert budget deliberations, note was taken of an ongoing deficit in the reserve. Council requested more information to understand how snow management is budgeted and what accounted for deficits in the fund.
The reserve fund was created in 2014 to account for fluctuation in snow management expenses. The early years of the fund saw surpluses accumulate in the reserve, but back-to-back years of high snow accumulation and major snow events resulted in ongoing deficits.
The budget was increased to account for increased costs, but there has not been a break in difficult snow years since 2018. Record snowfall this year led to narrow driving lanes and sightline issues which created urgent safety concerns. There were also large temperature swings causing deep rutting and difficult driving conditions.
“There was an impression that because there was a deficit, we were slowing down our operations,” said Mayor Greg Dionne. “This isn’t the case. Our crews respond to whatever winter conditions exist in a year. The job needs to get done.”
In challenging years, crews are required to put in additional hours and during major snow events, contractors are called in to help.
“Crews put in long hours and that’s just the reality of what was required. In some years it will mean deficits, but we have to make the roads as safe and accessible as possible.”
The snow management expenses report will be made available on March 24th at the City Council Agenda page.
Crews are now focusing the majority of their efforts on targeting areas prone to spring flooding. Known areas are being targeted first. Residents are also asked to prepare their homes for the spring melt.
Information on how to prepare a home for spring melt can be found at https://www.citypa.ca/en/living-in-our-community/basement-flooding-and-spring-runoff.aspx.