EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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March 22, 2013

Towns eligible for snow removal funding

Towns eligible for federal snow removal funds

(Continued)

“We’ll tighten up the belt as we’ve done and do our best to bring in a balanced budget,” Fitzgerald said. “We will have to work with the department heads and really kind of take a hard look at many of the things we had hoped to accomplish.”

Communities aren’t the only ones hit by overages in their snow removal budgets. Bill Boynton of the state Department of Transportation estimated his department will exceed its snow removal budget by $6 million.

“We’ve maxed out overtime and are able to move certain funds internally, but at some point we may have to go back to the Legislature for additional appropriation,” Boynton said.

The federal assistance is being distributed to communities through the New Hampshire Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.

Not every community is having as tough a time.

“It’s been a typical winter for us,” Salem finance director Jane Savastano said.

Savastano said the town had spent $407,000 prior to the storm earlier this week. The town would be eligible to receive nearly $150,000 for the blizzard, she said. If the town exceeds the $750,000 budget by the end of the calendar year, contingency plans are already in place.

“We have reserve funds but we haven’t had to tap into that in several years,” she said.

Road agents said there are numerous reasons why so much money is being spent on snow removal this year.

“All of these storms have been for a long duration,” Newton road agent Michael Pivero said. “It’s taxing because you get equipment out there for longer than you’d like. Sometimes, you wish it just all happened during the night in one large swoop.”

Overtime hours can add up as well.

“A lot of these workers are putting in 12 to 20 hours a week during the storm,” Fowler said. “I think most drivers would be pleased if this was the last storm of the winter.”

But more snow could be on the horizon. Ryan Breton of Atkinsonweather.com said earlier this week it’s likely more snow will fall before warm weather arrives.

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