Spring snows play spoiler around Farmington
As the rain turned to snow -- again -- Monday afternoon, Farmington crews were gearing up for another possible six to nine inches of snow. But it wasn't just the plowing crews who were watching the weather.
It seems the prolonged winter weather has affected several of Farmington's annual springtime events. It's an inconvenience, but for the most part, adjustments have been made with warmer days in mind.
Farmington municipal services director Todd Reiten doesn't have a tally of overtime hours his staff has worked to clear the streets so far this year, but the time is considerable, he said.
When employees start building up overtime, they're allowed to get up to 40 hours of compensation time -- paid time off -- before they are paid time and a half for overtime compensation.
"They're already all maxed out on their comp time," Reiten said.
So far this year, the city has spent more than $70,000 on salt for the roads. That amount does not figure in any salt for next fall.
In 2012, the city paid $30,000 for the entire year.
The snow has caused the city to reschedule a number of events and programs this year. On Monday, Farmington parks and recreation director Randy Distad postponed the annual tree planting project the city does with ISD 192 schools in honor of Earth and Arbor Day.
"Both sites that are doing the planting are pretty saturated," Distad said. "We want it to dry out first."
The tree planting has been rescheduled until Friday, May 3.
Softball leagues were also supposed to start this Monday, but recreation specialist Kellee Omlid has delayed the beginning of leagues by a week, as well.
"Last year by this time we had done couple of mowings and the ball fields were ready for league play," Distad said, "but right now the fields are too soft and saturated, so that makes it more difficult to play games on."
Park maintenance is also behind schedule. Normal maintenance like fertilizing or spraying for weeds has been put on hold, Distad said.
"Typically we would have had all of the snow removal equipment off of all of our vehicles, and have them converted over for maintenance purposes, but because Mother Nature has been persistent with providing that white stuff, we haven't been able to do that yet," Distad said. "Just when we think we can put our snow removal equipment away, it ends up snowing."
Some programs, like the annual Park and Pond Cleanup and the community Earth and Arbor Day celebration, both planned for Saturday, are going ahead as scheduled. The latter event is held indoors at the Rambling River Center, but the weekend's forecast looks promising for the outdoor cleanup activities, too.
A good forecast would allow crews to get started on some of the city's springtime maintenance, too. Reiten would like to see a couple of nice days before hydrant flushing starts next Monday -- two weeks behind schedule, due to the weather -- so street sweepers can get out and clear some of the soil and debris in the streets to keep it from getting swept into the drains when the flushing starts.
Street crews have done their best to get out and address potholes that have popped up around town.
"There have been a lot of bad ones this year," Reiten said. "And the alleys have big puddles of water in them so we can't go in or we would make a mud hole.... I'm just kind of waiting for some things to dry up around here."
With warmer temperatures finally in the forecast, Distad promises greener days ahead in Farmington's parks.
"If people can just be patient, the weather will turn, and when it does, we will get out there and we'll be able to do our regular maintenance of our parks and trails," he said. "I'm optimistic it will be green soon."