City of Elkhart spent $179 K on storm cleanup

The battle with the Polar Vortex is over but the struggle to pay the cleanup costs is just beginning.

The City of Elkhart has totaled up its tab. Eight separate departments racked up a combined $179,000 worth of storm related costs.

The Elkhart City department facing the largest bill--$106,000-- is the one directly responsible for snow removal—the street department.

Meantime, the cost of cleaning up the roads in Elkhart County has been pegged at $74,000.

Both municipalities hope that federal disaster funds may be made available to help pay the bills.

In South Bend, street clean up entered its final phase. The city officially lost patience and began impounding vehicles that have been hampering snow removal efforts from the beginning.

“Well, it’s important because we get the vehicles moved now before we have another pending snow storm,” said Lt. Eugene Eyster of the South Bend Police Department.

While officers tagged 128 vehicles late last week as being potentially abandoned, only 10 were still standing in the way today and had to be forcibly removed.

“So the compliance has been great. I mean this has been the answer to the perfect storm that we had last week. We had five days of notice for people to move their vehicles, plus the weather over the weekend was conducive, so they were able to shovel things out, it warmed up for us, we had a little bit of rain, that washed some of this snow away,” Lt. Eyster said.

Terry Anne Scheibelhut worked over three days last week to shovel around her car. Today, she was happy to see a tow truck take care of neighbors who did nothing.

“I think it's a great thing, I think a lot of people just tend to leave their vehicles, or they don't shovel out, and we live in the city we have to respect each other. And you know it’s just not fair to have some places plowed out, some places not.”

The storm created dangerous conditions for drivers, especially on high speed roads. Indiana State Police responded to 683 calls for service along the 156 mile stretch of the toll road. 180 of those calls came from the Bremen Post, which covers St. Joseph, Elkhart, Marshall and Kosciusko counties.

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