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Late winter isn’t a bonus for everyone

By Kristen Haveman

Not every one is thrilled with the late start of wintery weather.

Dave Purdy is down $15, 000 gross compared to last December’s numbers and said the January snow storm is probably too late to help.  Purdy has owned Al’s Tire and Automotive Service for 21 years and said that fall is generally the busy season for putting on winter tires.

It’s probably too late now. If people don’t get winter tires on before Christmas, they usually just don’t do it.”

Purdy has already sent the majority of his winter tires back to the manufacturer, but he said there is still loss of revenue through sales even though he technically gets reimbursed for the tires.

The shop is also down from the regular two winter employees hired to one this year.   The business also does rustproofing but Purdy said that it just doesn’t make up for the missed sales on winter tires.

Sue Crawford, executive director at Scott’s Haulage and Excavating in Trenton was thrilled to see the snow but said that there were big losses for the beginning of the winter.

“We usually make about $30,000 per storm, and there is normally three to five storms in December if you add it up it’s over a $100, 000 loss,“ said Crawford.

The company also does construction, which Crawford says is the lion’s share of their business.  She said things would be very difficult without that side of the business as the plowing jobs for this year “are barely enough to feed a bird.”

Crawford explained that even with construction it hurts the books because those contracts generally end before the snow starts. She said it is too hard on the machines after the ground is frozen, so that even if the winter does end up mild they  will have completed the contracts.

Crawford did say that if the rest of the winter is particularly snowy they could still end up in the green.

Brad Wilson, Belleville’s director of environmental and operational services, said it is just to early to tell if the city will end up with any savings.

“We are not two weeks into winter. People need to understand our budget is split from Jan. to April 15, then from Nov. 15 until the end of Dec. It is just to early to tell.”

A milder winter also doesn’t affect the number of employees brought in for winter control, such as plowing, and salting said Wilson. He said that four people are brought in every year for winter control but that they are just redeployed if that area is slow.

Wilson said that they do save money on material costs such as sand and salt but that any surplus simply goes into reserve for years when the weather is particularly bad.

“Our budget is about the same as last year, with minor increases for things like wages and gas prices but weather we will be under or over you can’t tell until the numbers are tallied,” said Wilson.