11/20/2012 06:53 EST | Updated 01/20/2013 05:12 EST

City of Toronto says it's ready for winter

Toronto may have been spared a harsh winter last year, but officials say they are prepared for whatever Mother Nature may throw at the city this time around.

"We got a break last year. It was a very mild winter by any standards and it helped the city’s pocketbook," said Coun. Denzil Minnan-Wong when speaking to reporters on Tuesday.

"If we have a normal winter for the rest of 2012, we anticipate savings of about $13 million to $14 million."

While the city can’t be sure what kind of winter lies ahead, Minnan-Wong said “we’ll be ready for it.”

Minnan-Wong reviewed the city’s plan of attack when snow begins to pile up on city roads and sidewalks.

"The city’s first response to a snowfall is to send our fleet of salt trucks to the main roads and expressways. Then they move on to the collector roads and the local roads," he said.

Minnan-Wong said the plows are called in "if snow persists," first heading out on expressways when an accumulation of 2.5 centimetres of snow is reached.

The plows start working on main roads once accumulation hits 5 centimetres. They are sent out on local roads when 8 centimetres of snow have piled up.

"It takes between 14 and 16 hours to plow the local roads after the storm is over," Minnan-Wong said.

In terms of sidewalks, Minnan-Wong said the city will attempt to use machines to clear them where possible.

However, property owners living in the central part of the city are expected to clear the snow on their sidewalks within 12 hours of a snowfall.

The city also expects to deal with many broken watermains, which tend to occur with greater frequency during the winter months.

Response crews are available at all hours of the day to assess and repair watermain breaks, to restore service as soon as possible in those instances, the city says.