Chicago's Department of Streets and Sanitation had an unusually busy Saturday. City Hall sources tell NBC Chicago that dozens of workers were given overtime -- and paid time and a half -- to use shovels, rakes and brooms to clean city streets.
The weekend clean-up has some questioning the timing, with the mayoral runoff election just 16 days away.
The Department of Streets and Sanitation responded after NBC 5 inquired about the overtime cleaning. There were 100 Streets and Sanitation employees as well as Sheriff Work Alternative Program (SWAP) personnel and prisoner re-entry program participants who cleaned the streets and removed debris, they said.
The department did not specify which wards were cleaned Saturday, but officials said they stuck to the neighborhoods identified through a survey as the ones most in need.
They also said this was not a one-time event. The cleaning crews are expected to be out on the streets next weekend, too, for a second overtime shift.
The spring cleaning also comes after the Chicago Sun-Times reported that the city spent $10 million on Super Bowl Sunday when Chicago was dumped by a record amount of snow. Much of the extra costs for that storm went towards renting equipment and overtime costs.
The city has so far spent $29 million on snow removal this year. Last year, the city spent $33 million all winter and had 30 more inches of snow on the ground.