Lack of winter weather forces some businesses to switch gears

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GREENFIELD, Ind. -- Perhaps the people cheering hardest for snow in the next 24 hours are the ones who depend on it for work.

Snow removal companies haven't had much snow to remove this winter, especially since the new year began. What should be snow was only rain Tuesday, so people like Daniel Turner were finding other work to do.

"It does feel a little weird. We did some cleanup work yesterday and had a couple drainage jobs last week," Turner said.

Turner runs operations at R.A.S.K. and Associates. The company plows and salts across central Indiana and the greater Midwest. They also do landscaping work, which helps balance out a mild winter like this one.

"We're at the mercy of the weather," Turner said.

The lack of snow has given them more time to update equipment, and even to testify at the Statehouse. Turner said the company is working on Senate Bill 131, which has to do with snow removal contracts and liability.

If the forecast pans out, they could have hundreds of drivers out on the roads soon.

For cities and counties, it's somewhat opposite: their budgets are benefiting from the lack of snow. Indianapolis DPW said it is $2.7 million into its $5.5 million winter weather budget so far.

In Hamilton County, Brandi Tarner at the Highway Department has spent the winter watching the ups and downs closely.

"I’m checking the forecast about every hour at this point," Tarner said. "With it being Indiana weather, we typically wait until later just to see what’s going on, because the forecast changes so much."

Turner was doing the same Tuesday, hoping that winter would kick back into gear, at least for a little while.

"We don’t want to hope for a terrible winter or lots of snow, we just look for averages," Turner said. "You always have to be ready at moment’s notice, though, because as we know in Indiana it can be 60 degrees today and tomorrow we’re looking at 30 degrees and snow."

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