With the recent end of an unusually snowy winter, the Oak Park Public Works Department is looking for a milder season next year to keep its budget in check.

The department cleared snow from the streets 38 times during the winter of 2013-14, when 82 inches of snow fell at O'Hare International Airport, making the season the third-snowiest on record for Chicago. The department's employees logged about 3,700 hours of overtime over the winter, village spokesman David Powers said. From 2006 to 2013, crews responded to fewer than 26 snow events each winter, according to department figures.

"It's been a really bad winter, there's no two ways about it," Powers said.

Oak Park operates on a January-to-December fiscal year, which allowed the department to escape budget overruns for 2013, Powers said. But since Jan. 1 of this year, the department spent $109,000 of the $125,000 budgeted for snow-removal overtime for 2014, he said. Heavy snowfall late this year could put spending over-budget, he said.

For the winter of 2012-13, workers logged 1,380 hours of overtime, costing $57,000, Powers said. Workers logged 1,065 overtime hours the winter before that, costing $42,200, he said.

Oak Park's salt reserves kept the village from having to buy more of the stuff at premium prices during the winter as some suburbs had to do. The department put about 4,490 tons of salt on the streets through the winter, compared with a total of about 3,900 tons for the winter of 2012-13 and about 1,755 tons for the winter of 2011-12, according to department figures.

wjventeicher@tribune.com

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