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The Cost of Winter Weather

How it's impacting the local economy.
PEORIA - With all the snow we've seen in Central Illinois, this could be a winter for the record books; and it's taking a toll financially.

It seems like the snow just won't stop. That means plow drivers can't either.

"We’ve gone through a lot more salt than we expected," said Peoria Public Works streets manager, David Haste.

He said there's a lot stretching this year's budget.

"This winter it's all catching up to us it seems. Fuel is a lot more than in the past, overtime is more. Everything is much more," he said.

Cold weather has played a factor in recent water main breaks, too. And residents are watching their electricity bill double. Another area that's taking a hit is shopping. Michelle Spurgeon owns the boutique, Heaven on Earth.

"Foot traffic is definitely a lot slower than what it typically is. The snow is causing people to stay home," Spurgeon said. "When you have the snow impeding people to come out and spend money it makes it even a slower season."

She's probably not alone in thinking, "I am completely hoping spring comes early."

There have also been a record number of snow days this winter. That means parents either have to pay for child care or stay home from work. It might be even harder to sell your merchandise when you have to wipe snow off of it. The Uftring Weston car dealership says new car sales are down.

"Take care of our own inventory so every time you see it snow we're out there pushing the snow off the cars getting them all cleaned up and getting  them looking nice again ad getting the lots salted and plowed and everything so that we're ready to go," Mark Weston said.

Weston said the weather is also driving a lot of people to shop online.

Some items that are selling well include salt, shovels and de-icer. According to NENA Do it Best Hardware, it’s been a banner year for sleds, too.

"Sleds are you know, probably a lot more this year than last year, you know there wasn't much on the ground. And this year it's been on the ground most of the season so people sell a lot of sleds this time of year," said store manager Keith Reiker.
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