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      Harsh winter means an expensive season for Ottumwa Public Works

      Ottumwa's snow emergency, declared on Friday evening, was lifted at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, but the city's public works crews are preparing the plows for the next wave of weather.

      As of the last snow on Friday, the city has spent $130,000 clearing streets for eight snow events. That's already more than was spent last year, which saw only five snow events that cost the city $118,000.

      The good news is, the cost of this year's winter won't effect the budget for the rest of the year.

      "It really doesn't have any effect, we've got $317,000 budgeted for the year," said Steve Edgington, Director of Ottumwa Public Works. "What we don't spend goes right back into the kitty, stays there, so it helps our road use, because everything we do is out of road use, including the overlays and the pothole patching. So it does help out when we have a mild winter where we're not using a lot, but so far we're doing okay."

      It's also been fortunate that the snow events have come days or weeks apart, so Public Works is not short on salt or sand supply.

      "We had a spell the last few weeks where we really had nothing to worry about, so that has helped us quite a bit," said Edgington. "We are contracted for the amount of salt we can receive, so once we go over that limit, it could be an issue."

      For school closings and other delays reported for this week, click here.