Easy winter provided cost-savings for the city in public works, parksThe relatively snowless winter of 2011-12 was good for Hudson’s bottom line, according to a monthly report from city Finance Officer Neil Soltis.
By: Randy Hanson, Hudson Star-Observer
The relatively snowless winter of 2011-12 was good for Hudson’s bottom line, according to a monthly report from city Finance Officer Neil Soltis.
The Public Works and Parks Department used 4,449 less gallons of vehicle fuel from January through March of 2012 compared to the same period in 2011, Soltis said in his report to the City Council on April 23.
The department’s fuel usage over the three-month period this year was 5,252 gallons, compared to 9,701 gallons last year.
At the current diesel fuel price of close to $4 per gallon, the savings to the city would have been around $17,000.
With much less snow to plow than the previous winter, the city also saved money on overtime pay.
Soltis said the decrease in public works spending was offset by an increase in park expenditures.
According to Public Works and Parks Director Tom Zeuli, the lack of snow to plow freed up city workers to remove dead and dying trees from parks and street right-of-ways.
The felled trees included ones identified in a survey last summer as being at risk of falling over or losing limbs, and injuring people and causing property damage.
Damaged ash trees that would be especially susceptible to an invasion of the emerald ash borer also were removed.
The survey found 1,396 green, black or white ash trees on city parks and street right-of-ways. Ash trees make up 25 percent of Hudson’s public tree population, exceeded only by maples at 26.2 percent of the population (1,459 trees).
Soltis reported that city revenue in the first quarter of 2012 was $515,000 greater than for the same period in 2011. He said increased first-half property tax collections were the primary reason for the boost.
Revenue was down in two areas, he said, state transportation aid and governmental grants. The city expects to receive $593,675 in transportation aid this year, which is $64,050 less than what it got in 2011.
The city didn’t get an urban forestry grant from the state this year after receiving one in each of the past few years.
Soltis reported that another area of savings was the elimination of the city’s contribution to police officers’ health reimbursement accounts. The purchase of a squad was also cut from the budget.
Police chief’s report
In his quarterly report to the City Council, Police Chief Marty Jensen said that a Jan. 9 undercover operation at a massage parlor on Second Street had resulted in a woman being charged with prostitution. He said a warrant is out for the woman’s arrest.
Jensen also reported that the Left of Center business at 609 Street St. was searched for illegal drugs; the Walmart store was evacuated after an intoxicated male called in a bomb threat; and that a printer and cards to make driver’s licenses and IDs were stolen in a Jan. 16 burglary at the Department of Motor Vehicles service center at 2001 O’Neil Road.