Millions spent as snow emergency costs pile up

Snow emergencies are adding up in St. Paul. The city is now dealing with its seventh this year alone. It’s a few more than city officials say they usually budget for.

“Literally since February 10, I’ve worked from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. every single day,” said Mike Hilborn, the owner of RTD Snowplowing. “Some years you get some snow, sometimes you get a lot of snow.”

A whole lot of snow this year is keeping independent plow drivers like Hilborn busy clearing up St. Paul this winter.

“To have this much snow it benefits us,” he said.

All that snow piling up has been expensive for the city. Officials say each snow emergency costs about $500,000 to $600,000. 

A city spokesperson says the city typically budgets for about four snow emergencies a year. With seven on the books this year, that means the city has spent at least an additional $1.5 million out of their general fund this year. St. Paul spent at least $3.5 million in taxpayer dollars during the seven snow emergencies this season.

And we’re not done with winter yet - just ask plow drivers like Hilborn.

“It is what it is, and that’s the nature of snow,” he said.