The issues that come with small town snow removal - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

The issues that come with small town snow removal

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YAKIMA COUNTY, WA - Small towns in Yakima County are doing what they can to remove snow from the streets, but that removal has proved very costly. 

Some are saying that it's the worst winter season they've seen in the county in years. 

"We haven't been impacted like this since 1996 when we had that major storm," said Wapato mayor Tony Guzman, "so we were not prepared."

That's made apparent by snowed-in streets in Wapato, and roads covered white in Toppenish. 

Even though the conditions have been an issue for many, it's the cleanup that's causing financial problems for small towns.

"We haven't really had a strong winter," said Toppenish City Manager Lance Hoyt. "And because of that, where we used to $20,000-25,000 in our budget has been reduced down."

"We hadn't allocated anything for snow removal, so it is coming out of the general fund," said Guzman.

In Toppenish, the city manager says their snow budget may be exhausted.

"We have $10,000 in our budget for last year, and this year we have already probably exceeded that and we will put more money towards that as necessary," said Hoyt.

In Wapato, the mayor says that they have been pulling money from other funds, which could be problematic later in the year.

"We passed our budget for 2017, but it is going to be a real tight year," Guzman said. "We don't have that much funds to spend."

Both towns follow similar plans when it comes to snow cleanup: they clear up the main roads and downtown areas before going into residential areas.

They also plow at night when there is less traffic, which is more expensive since employees need to be paid overtime. 

Officials in Wapato and Toppenish want residents to be patient as they say they are doing what they can to keep the roads clear and safe.

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