Snow removal comes at a hefty price

Carolyn Fertig

Last week’s blustery winter weather left Kent State buried under mounds of snow. And removing that snow came at a price – about $40,000, to be exact.

That’s roughly how much Parking Services spent to clear campus parking lots last week, said Parking Services manager Larry Emling.

So far, the department has spent about $140,000 on snow removal this winter. Last year, the department spent only about $151,000 for the entire winter and about $33,000 for the entire month last January.

“I wish we had more control over the snow budget,” Emling said. “When it snows, we have to plow it. We can’t say, ‘I’m sorry, the money’s out. We’re not going to plow anymore, good luck.’ We have to continue to plow and provide service.”

Snow removal cost estimations at a glance

• Last week: $40,000

• January 2008: $33,000

• Winter 2008-2009 so far: $140,000

• Winter 2007-2008 total: $151,000

Snow removal is the largest maintenance expense for Parking Services, and the budget for it remains flexible. The department is independently funded and gets its revenue through parking permits, parking tickets and fees.

Parking Services is responsible for removing snow in parking lots only, making sure they are accessible to drivers. The department spends a total of roughly $9,000 to plow each of the 70 lots on campus.

Naragon Irrigation is the private contractor that removes the snow on campus. Co-owner Jeff Naragon said snow removal is extremely time consuming because of the number of lots on campus. Six hours is typically needed to remove about 4-6 inches of snow with 18 trucks of varying size.

“A snowfall like the one we just had took much longer because of the amount of snow, compared to the amount of parking lots that needed attention,” Naragon said.

Emling said a 2-inch threshold is needed to call Naragon to come and plow. Parking Services has not reached its spending from last year, but is on its way, Emling said.

“We haven’t reached what we spent last year,” he said. “We do plan on some winters being worse than others. This year has been one of those winters. We just don’t know what to expect. We are hoping for good weather and, in effect, good parking.”

Contact transportation and parking services reporter Carolyn Fertig at [email protected].