Snow Falls for Free, But Digging Out Costs $

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We've been on a weather rollercoaster this past few weeks, and Lexington officials say the wild ride isn't cheap.

Leo McMillen says the winter snow season for the city of Lexington is from December to April.

During that period last year the city spent $182,000. That figure is more than a third of the road, streets, and forestry's annual budget of $457,000.

McMillen says last year was not a typical year for spending. He says this year's spending is more on line with what we saw in 2004 and 2005, meaning the city has spent than half the yearly budget in a three month period. As of Friday, McMillen said they've spend $277,000 on all road maintenance, snow removal, salt, pre-treatment, and road repairs.

McMillen said his department's main concern is safety, but they also try to conserve.

"We're not going to throw salt just to throw salt. We only put it down when it's neccessary and needed."

In fact, Mcmillen says the figures could be a lot worse. He said the salt-brine pretreatment the city puts on the roads before winter weather has been very effective and could possibly account for savings in other city departments.

"We may not have had many accidents, it's hard to go back and prove one way or another," he said.

Since spring is still a month away, it's likely the road department will continue to dig into it's budget, but Mcmillen said he won't put a price tag on road safety.

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