2014-02-06 / News

Town ‘OK’ with snow removal budget

By Tim Riel

A plow cleans North Road Monday afternoon near the Great Creek. 
Photo by Tim Riel A plow cleans North Road Monday afternoon near the Great Creek. Photo by Tim Riel Even though Finance Director Tina Collins hasn’t accounted for Monday night’s snowstorm or Wednesday morning’s wintery mix, the town remains in good condition to keep the budget for snow removal in the black.

“I think we’ll be OK,” she said. “But you never know because it’s a moving target. Sometimes there are late-season snowstorms in March.”

The town budgeted $68,000 in the current spending plan to combat the weather for the winter of 2013-14. Of that total, $28,000 is set aside for overtime, and $40,000 is for equipment and supplies.

As of Jan. 31, the town has spent just $5,926 of its overtime budget to pay public works employees who stayed on duty to plow after 3:30 p.m. On the other hand, $24,517 has been used for equipment and supplies, such as snowblowers, sand and salt. The overtime expenditure represents just 21 percent of its budget, but 61 percent of the supply account has been drained.

Only about $15,500 remains for equipment and supplies, but Collins said the discrepancy is because the town stocks ahead of time, so money has been spent but the supplies haven’t been used.

Another reason the overtime account is healthier is because if snow falls during the day, public works employees stop what they’re doing to plow. No overtime is used during the regular working day.

The town’s snowplow fleet consists of five large trucks, two pickup trucks, a utility truck, a dump truck and a backhoe.

If the town goes over budget, Collins said there is typically money elsewhere in the public works spending plan that hasn’t been expended. She said the town doesn’t dip into the surplus it’s accumulated in past years to pay for snow removal.

Snow is a possibility next week on Sunday and Monday, according to the National Weather Service’s 10-day forecast.

“I don’t want to see much more snow,” said Collins. “And if snow does fall, hopefully it’s during the day.”

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