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Calm winter having an impact on businesses and city crews

So far in Fort Wayne we've only seen 2.2" of snow since early November and the low snow totals are making an impact, both good and bad.

Posted: Jan. 8, 2019 2:33 PM
Updated: Jan. 9, 2019 6:42 AM

FORT WAYNE, Ind (WFFT) - You probably haven't seen too many people sporting snow boots this winter and some have even been able to wear sandals.

Winter is big business though for snow removal companies around the area, but the plows and de-icers are sitting idly by waiting to bring in some dough.

"The plow guys, they’re feeling it right now because they’re not getting any sort of revenue coming in with the amount precipitation that we’ve had," according to Eric Hitzfield, owner of ES De-icing.

Hitzfield's business supplies salt and other snow/ice melt solutions to businesses and government throughout the midwest. He estimates plow companies’ revenue is just a fraction of normal.

Hitzfield estimated, "They’ve got to be down at least 90% at this point. At least 90% if not maybe 95%, so I would say for the investment in the equipment and everything they have right now, they’re probably saying some prayers right now that we get some snow."

However, it’s not all bad. Frank Suarez with the city of Fort Wayne says they’re actually saving money thanks to low snow totals.

"The wear and tear of plowing on the streets does create some issues with some of the under-blades and we do have to replace those frequently. So far this year we’ve replaced very few of those. So, those are going a little bit further at this point," Suarez explained.

The city had to deal with a few ice events before when they normally consider winter, which they say runs from December 15th to March 15th, so the savings have been marginal in terms of manpower and fuel. However, there could be tens of thousands of dollars in salt savings to come next year.

Suarez said, "You have to purchase a certain amount of salt. You still have to purchase that whether you use it or not. That could help us next year if we do have a mild winter this year because we would already have that salt in storage as we go into next season."

Hitzfield says his business isn’t hurting this year, but if more snow events don’t happen, his wallet will feel the sting of salt in the wounds next.

He said, "Definitely I would say it’s going to be a minimum of 50% down,"

However, both Hitzfield and Suarez know there is still a lot of winter to go and with the potential for snow, there’s the chance fortunes may turn.

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