I-Team 8

Indy Public Works’ overtime budget gone after first snowstorm of 2021

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Hundreds of city streets on Wednesday look snow-covered and untouched.

The city says residents can hire someone to plow neighborhood streets, but isn’t that what taxes are supposed to cover?  

The reason many of the neighborhood streets are in such bad shape comes down to a lack of money and equipment, according to Dan Parker, the director of Indianapolis Department of Public Works. He said this most recent snow storm is a once-in-a-decade event.  

“Just the sheer amount of equipment that wouldn’t be possible for the budget that we have,” said Parker. 

Parker says the city has 107 trucks and close to 8,000 miles of roads to clear with a focus on main roads and what Parker calls connecting roads. But getting to the plowed streets can be an hourslong ordeal.

The lack of city equipment and money is on full display on the near-east side of town. Hamilton Avenue just south of 10th street, like many side streets, has not been touched.  

“People spinning out, they can’t move,” said resident Tony Lenowsky.

He and his buddy Donald Smith on Wednesday jumped right in to help a neighbor that was stuck in the snow. After 15 minutes of spinning wheels and shoveling a path through the snow the car was freed from the icy grip.

Felicia Henderson on Wednesday was clearing her sidewalk as required by the city. She also questions why the city has steered clear of the residential streets like hers.  

“This is ridiculous that we are paying taxes; we would like to get our streets done,” said Henderson. 

The city has hired two private contractors to pick up the slack for DPW. They have 24 hours to get their assigned area completed.

This is the first big snow event of the season and according to Parker his department has already spent their overtime budget for the entire year.   

“Well, the overtime budget for this year, I understand that this is an event that has significant snow, the overtime budget for the year has been exhausted,” said Parker. 

Back out on the east side the streets are not getting any better with the sunlight. And there are plenty of cars still stuck in the snow. 

If you have not seen a city snow plow on your street, chances are you are not going to see one. And to add insult to injury the area has more snow coming. 


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