The cleanup continued Monday after mid-Michigan was blasted with a winter storm. Crews worked all day to clear the roads , but not in time to keep some area schools from closing. In Clinton County, workers were forced to leave several streets unplowed over the weekend. They say budget cuts are to blame.
Just ask them and they'll tell you there was no calm after this storm. All day, crews worked at a feverish pitch to clear snowy roads. If you're wondering why some of those streets took longer than others, Mike Nobach says the answer is simple.
Michael Nobach, Clinton County Road Commission: "I haven't been able to run overtime."
Nobach is the Director for Clinton County Road Commission. He says rising costs with no new revenue coming in is forcing them to make major cuts, like overtime.
Michael Nobach: "We're in the red now for '07."
He says those money problems are now affecting you, because there was no overtime money to pay those road crews. Many of the roads weren't cleared until Monday morning, meaning schools like St. Johns weren't able to open.
Michael Nobach: "Our back is against the wall. We can't borrow money to get us out of this problem, and if we could, there's nothing in the horizon to tell us there will be money in the future."
Mike Nystrom, VP of MITA: "It's not just Clinton County, I would guess every county across the state is feeling the pinch."
That's because counties get most of their money through gas taxes and registration fees, fees which haven't gone up in years.
Mike Nystrom: "We've had inadequate funding for more than a decade."
Without a new source of revenue, Nobach says things will get much worse.
Michael Nobach: "From here, we go to laying off people next summer to closing doors down. A lot of road commissions are doing that."
He says that's something we can't afford especially during a storm like this.