Besides the comeuppance for Punxsutawney Phil, the groundhog who promised us an early spring, Monday's modest snowstorm represented money in the bank for the city treasury – a reminder that the city has saved money on snow removal this year because there was so little snow to clear off the roadways.

City budget director Rebecca Rhynhart put a number on it -- $4 million. That's what the city budgets each year to hire private contractors to clear especially-heavy snowfalls from city streets, when there's too much snow to be handled by the city Streets Department. The city spent its budgeted amounts this winter for salt and Streets Department overtime, Rhynhart said, but there was no need to bring in private snow plows. The $4 million budgeted will flow directly to the city's year-end balance on June 30 -- as long as the city endures no major snowstorms between now and then.

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