â??Itâ??s way beyond anything we've ever experienced,â?? said Iron Mountain City Manager, Jordan Stanchina.
In years past, cities like Iron Mountain dealt with one maybe two frozen lines, but this year? 284 frozen lines.
â??Weâ??ll need to make a budget amendment because obviously for maintenance, we didn't plan on having any of this happen, but we do have funds available,â?? Stanchina said.
This January and February, it cost the city $31,538.00 just for regular wages and equipment use, but overtime is what was unanticipated. Overtime wages and equipment use cost the city an additional $32,931.22, totaling over $64,000 dollars in freeze costs.
â??Basically the entire month of February, the average was 25 hours of overtime for every single guy,â?? Stanchina said.
All that extra work being focused solely on frozen lines has forced the city to put other tasks on hold.
â??There are other things that we just aren't able to get to. Some snow removal items, tree trimming, and those kinds of things we would've done in a normal winter, basically our guys have been dedicated to water,â?? Stanchina said.
But even with the added hours of work, some businesses on lower priority have been without water for weeks.
â??Iâ??ve been out of water for two months now,â?? said Mike Johnson, owner of Johnson Equipment and Supply. â??The City of Iron Mountain has been real good in talking to us about prioritizing, getting out here to get in here and thaw us out as quickly as they can. These guys are out here in the cold weather, below zero, and they're suffering right along with everyone else,â?? Johnson said.
Although all this extra expense could set them back on certain tasks, city officials said it won't affect future projects.
â??This won't affect street paving or anything else we had budgeted out of capital improvement funds. Everything that's happening now is all water and sewer which have their own separate funds,â?? Stanchina said.
Iron Mountain is not on a city-wide â??let-runâ?? order, but close to 500 residents have been asked by the city to run their water. Stanchina said over 1.3 million gallons of water has been used; a normal winter wouldâ??ve been around 750,000 gallons.