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Snowfall rate necessitates increased school plowing budget

Plowed snow piles at Kenai Central High School in February 2024.
Riley Board
Plowed snow piles at Kenai Central High School in February 2024.

It’s been another snowy year in Southcentral Alaska, and that’s meant extra work for staff that clear roads and parking lots. At its meeting Tuesday night the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly appropriated an extra $350,000 dollars for snow removal at schools in the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District.

According to a memo, authored by Borough Maintenance Director Tom Nelson, invoices for snow removal just two months into the season totaled 54% of the full snow removal budget.

During a Finance Committee meeting Tuesday afternoon, Nelson explained that overall snowfall itself hasn’t been higher than usual.

“But the frequent, numerous snowfalls this year resulted in many plows and many sanding trips, and the number of trips has driven our expenses up above average, so we are requesting this appropriation to see that we can make it through the rest of the snow plowing season,” he said.

The money isn’t a new appropriation — it comes from a joint borough-school district fund for maintenance. The committee had a discussion about the nature of that fund, which falls into general fund balance if it's not spent.

The assembly approved the ordinance unanimously as part of its consent agenda.

Riley Board is a Report For America participant and senior reporter at KDLL covering rural communities on the central Kenai Peninsula.