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ABQ response to New Year’s storm tops $200,000


Plowing and de-icing roads during the recent storms cost the city of Albuquerque a few hundred thousand dollars in manpower and supplies. (Jim Thompson/Albuquerque Journal)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Snowstorms are often measured in inches.

But what about dollars?

The city of Albuquerque says the weather system that blasted New Mexico during New Year’s week cost $204,959 in materials – including salt – and in staff wages.

While the storms prompted the city government – and most other public agencies – to close on Jan. 2, Albuquerque street maintenance employees reported for duty.

The Department of Municipal Development said its staff logged 504 standby hours and 955.3 overtime hours from the end of the day Dec. 29 through Jan. 3. That’s on top of 497.5 regular hours that employees who might have been doing something else – say, repairing potholes – spent clearing roads.

The manpower amounted to $48,559.

The city also spread 1,279 tons of salt and cinder on the roads – a mix that stops water from freezing until its temperature slips beneath about 20 degrees. The price tag: $100,099.

Workers also applied 363.52 cubic yards of ice slicer worth $56,301.

And that’s not counting the lost productivity associated with having most of the city’s 6,000 employees off for a snow day. That labor is worth $430,586, according to calculations provided by the Human Resources Department.

The storms also forced closure of popular city-run family attractions on Jan. 2 – a time when most kids were still on winter break. The ABQ BioPark estimates it missed out on $5,500 in ticket revenue. However, the storm had minimal financial impact on the Albuquerque Museum, because it coincided with the museum’s free admission day. It lost an estimated $500 to $650 in surcharges that patrons might have spent for the Visions of the Hispanic World exhibit, according to the city.

The New Year’s storm system followed some other significant weather in Albuquerque.

A milder storm Christmas week had already cost the city about $111,831 in manpower and supplies, the city said.