Harsh winter drives up city’s costs

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — Mother Nature blew one of the roughest winters ever our way this year.

As of Monday, the area is only 12.4 inches away from making the top 10 list of snowiest winters of all time.

Youngstown Street Department worker Pat Minenok has plowed and salted roads for the city for nearly 30 years. He has dealt with his fair share of the white stuff.

“Over the years we’ve had a couple like this. Not a whole lot, but we’ve had several,” Minenok said.

In winters like this one, the workers are sure to pick up a few hours of overtime. But this year, some are working double shifts.

“We work them 12-hour shifts. They go 7 to 7,” said Youngstown Street Department foreman Tom Sakmar. “With the snow the last couple days, a few guys worked 16-hour shifts.”

Minenok was one of those lucky guys.

“It is stressful. It is hectic. It is tiring. After a while, you get to feel like it’s ‘Groundhog Day.’ It’s the same thing over and over again, and nothing really changes. Just pushing a lot of snow and dodging cars,” Minenok said.

The street department salts and plows more than 1,100 lane miles throughout the city. The constant driving takes a toll on the trucks, and five of the city’s 16 trucks are out of service.

“We had one this morning. It just, he hit something. The truck just shut down,” Sakmar said.

But since the snow hasn’t stopped, the show must go on. The foreman said they could use a little extra manpower, but the extra overtime pay already has put a dent in the city’s budget.

Sakmar said things should get back to normal by next week, and the guys will hopefully go back to working their normal schedules.

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