Winter storm budget running dry

LAWTON-- We're now into day five of the first winter storm of the year and it's already wearing thin on the cleanup budgets for both the city of Lawton and Comanche County.

Road crews have been working around the clock since the storm hit Friday and the overtime needed to make the streets and roads safe is taking its toll on the budgets.

Lawton doesn't set a specific bad weather fund aside however it does make an allowance for at least 5 bad weather days in a fiscal year, which started in June.  Counting the blast from last Thanksgiving and we've exceeded that number by two days so far.

In those 5 days the city figures using about $60,000 in over time.  Right now, they've used about two-thirds of that money.

Lawton Streets Supervisor David Tracey says we are not quite in the critical stage yet.  However, 2 more days of non-stop working might max out the winter storm budget.  If that happens, the city will suffer in other areas such as street and drainage repairs.   The season to fix those areas is quickly approaching.

As far as road maintenance costs for Comanche County, the foremen eastern and western districts tell us they budget about $20,000 together each year.  So far, they say they've spent more than $40,000.

Tracey says there is some relief they are banking on.  They are hoping the Governor's declaration of emergency will transfer into reimbursements for Comanche County and Lawton for the cleanup.

Tracey says they've got a handle on most of the streets.  But he says frustration from the public is setting in because they don't see any work on their street.  He says residents need to remember they only take care of the primary streets and not the neighborhoods.