Snow Cleanup Costs Near Million Dollar Mark
This year’s nearly six feet of snow comes with a steep price tag for the city.
The City has spent nearly double its allotted snow removal budget so far this year, with at least a month and a half of winter ahead.
With snow totals this season nearing six feet, it’s no surprise nearly a million dollars and counting has been spent.
According to a document provided by the Department of Public Works (DPW) to the Board of Aldermen’s Finance Committee at Wednesday night's meeting, approximately $951,491 has been spent so far this fiscal year on snow removal costs.
The DPW expects snow cleanup will cost at least an additional $94,600 before the season’s end.
“If everything stays the same today, you're probably going to have a $500,000 deficit,” explained DPW Commissioner Stan Koty at the meeting. “What’s going to happen in the next six weeks? I wouldn't dare be a soothsayer.”
As of Dec. 31, the DPW had only tapped about twenty percent of its budget. But at that point only a little more than a foot of snow had fallen. Now, spending is nearing 200 percent of the planned budget--the million dollar mark.
Strain on equipment and crews is growing--one truck caught fire
Aside from fraying the City’s purse strings, the snow has also been tough on plows and the DPW workers alike. Koty said one of the snow removal trucks, an “H 51, which is one of the old big green ones,” caught fire this week.
“Fortunately it went on fire after they had towed it outside of the garage. It was an electrical fire, and the truck was just old and overused,” he said.
For now, weather patterns have changed a bit with no significant snowfall projected this weekend and Koty said he’s just looking forward to a weekend off.
“Thank God, it looks like we are going to get a week that we're not going to have to go in over the weekend,” he said.
All that hard work does add up for the City, though. Overall, payroll costs account for the biggest chunk of the budget, coming in at about 40 percent. Next, the cost of salt, sand and ice melt, around 38 percent and then plowing at around 15 percent and parts and repairs, about six percent. Koty noted with the price of salt lower this year, for the first time in recent memory, salt costs will be less than payroll costs.
But, the snow removal spending also adds up in another way, clearer and safer streets, as Alderwoman Maryann Heuston pointed out at the meeting.
“There's nowhere I go where people don't say, you should see Medford, you should see Arlington,” she said, commending the DPW for their hard work.