City of Bloomer ready to tackle winter's wrath

BLOOMER, Wis. (WEAU) – A winter weather advisory comes just in time for Winter Awareness Week.

The National Weather Service urges people to be ready before a winter storm hits. In the city of Bloomer, street crews are doing just that.

The city has been preparing for the first snowball for months now. They’ve been patching up roads and putting together a pile of sand and salt mixture in time for this winter.

Steve “Homer” Sarauer is the heavy equipment operations mechanic. He’s made sure all four to five haul trucks and sand truck are ready to go.

“I checked air in the tires, checked all the hubs, checked the brakes over, greased it. Just make sure everything is up to snuff and hope there's no breakdowns during the snow storm,” said Sarauer.

Before the streets of Bloomer are covered in white again, street crews want to have all their ducks in a row.

“Right now, the preparation is mainly is in getting the quantities of sand and salt that we need. Getting the equipment setup, ready the plows and the blades,” said Mike Meindel who is the water, street and sewer administrator for Bloomer. “Basically, just the equipment part of it, we're getting her going.”

Nearly 700 tons of the sand and salt mixture get used every year. And with an average snowfall, you'll see a crew of seven or eight on the streets.

“We have two graters, two loaders - one on the plow, one on the snow blower and four to five haul trucks and a sanding truck,” said David Lambert who is the lead guy for the Street Department. “We haul about 1200 to 1500 ton loads a years so we haul lots snow.”

Meindel said its mental preparation as well.

“Mentally you got to prepare yourself for it too because it’s not all that much fun when the first snow hits,” he said. “It’s a whole different ballgame than after everything is all frozen hard. You don't have to worry about damages or anything like that quite so much as the first snow fall or two.”

As for the city’s street budget, the department is hoping for $50,000 in the year 2014. The city is currently discussing the budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

Meindel said there was a budget of $45,000 for 2013 but the city has already surpassed that by around $18,000 due to the extra long winter. And with two more months to go, he said the city may need to shuffle it’s budgeting plans around.

He said he hopes in the year 2014, the city will get a much more average winter than in 2013.

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