Rebutting reports that Chicago has exhausted nearly 40 percent of its average winter snow-removal budget, city officials said today that the full snow fleet has been engaged and funds are "fully intact."
Snow Command put out 175 snow fighting trucks at midnight and increased the callout at 5 a.m. to 275 trucks, which is the full fleet, officials said.
"Our budget for this year...began on January 1st and we hadn't spent anything on snow removal in 2010 until this first snow storm which we're in now," said Matt Smith, spokesman for the Department of Streets and Sanitation, in an e-mail.
"So the $17 million dollar budget is fully intact."
Earlier this week, the Sun-Times reported that the city had already spent $6.6 million on "eight major snow events" in December, which would be 39 percent of the city's budget. But that amount does not count against the 2010 budget, according to Smith.
According to the city, the Department of Streets and Sanitation was able to actually decrease costs in December by conserving salt and relying on new technologies such as the city's camera and ground sensor networks.