While there hasn’t been much snow for plowing, crews aren’t taking a vacation.
“With the above average temperatures and little snow we have been able to catch up on some lingering maintenance items,” said Chris Link, director of the department’s streets and forestry division.
At the top of Link’s agenda is trimming boulevard trees and installing new street signs.
“Because of the amount of snow last year, and the number of Dutch elm disease removals in previous years, we have not been able to trim boulevard trees,” Link explained. “This winter, with the help from other divisions of public works, we have been able to resume trimming.”
As for the street signs, Link said the department is focusing on speed limit and double arrow directional signs to meet federal guidelines.
Richfield isn’t the only city making the most of the mild winter. Bloomington Public Works Director Bloomington, Eden Prairie, Maple Grove, Golden Valley, Plymouth and a hand full of other cities are keeping crews busy this winter.
“We have saved money through not applying salt, and fuel charges have been lower, but the bulk of our cost is in personnel,” Link said.
While the bulk of the city's costs are in personnel, reported that the city did come in on budget for 2011. The Star-Tribune reports the city saves money when employees take time off rather than collect money for working overtime.
"They know they need to be around for the snowy times ... but they like to take time off in the summer and during hunting season," Eastling told the Star-Tribune. "It works out well for us."