City snowplows run into inflation

"I don't think you'd want to go back to the residents and say, hey, the cost of steel and vehicles went up, could you just give us a little more tax money?"
Published: Oct. 21, 2022 at 6:50 PM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - While we have very pleasant fall weather right now, we have seen some flakes fly and we know a Wisconsin winter is just around the corner.

The Department of Public Works in Green Bay is making sure its plows and salt trucks are ready, but inflation is having an impact.

You might have heard about how difficult it is for people to get a car these days due to supply chain issues. The delay for commercial-size vehicles is even longer: The wait can be up to two years.

The City of Green Bay is preparing for this by getting on the wait lists of manufacturers of vehicles for road work, such as dump trucks and snowplows. The city has secured vehicle orders all the way out to 2025.

The cost of steel to make the vehicles has also risen, which is being passed on to the city in a 12% surcharge that wasn’t accounted for in Green Bay’s budget this year. That adds $30,000 to the cost of a $250,000 dump truck, as one example.

“We set the budget before the first of the year, and there’s only so much money to go around. Even if you could, I don’t think you’d want to go back to the residents and say, ‘Hey, the cost of steel and vehicles went up. Could you just give us a little more tax money?’ They’re not going to want to do that, and we’re not going to want to ask, because that’s not the process,” Public Works operations division director Chris Pirlot said.

With equipment delays and fewer private contractors around to help, roads might take a little longer to get cleared this winter.

Despite having fewer hands on deck, the public works department says it will do what’s needed to take care of the city.