EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

February 23, 2013

Winter costs are piling up

Snow and ice budgets hit hard this season

(Continued)

Given that the storm hit on the weekend, the DPW incurred $20,469 in overtime for staff, along with $1,685 in overtime paid to Water Department employees who augmented the DPW’s personnel.

In addition, Seabrook went through 135 tons of salt, at $55.92 a ton, for a total cost of $7,549, and 30 tons of sand, at $18.50 per ton, or $555.

Even with the costs, Starkey said this week that his storm budget for this fiscal year still looks OK, as does his overtime budget. But he cautioned that if March is as busy a weather month as February has been, things could change.

Other local communities are still trying to catch up with their numbers after a seemingly nonstop barrage of winter storms.

In West Newbury, the snow and ice budget was set at $150,000. Town Finance Director Warren Sproul said the year-to-date expenditures are $67,895 and growing.

“We haven’t fully expensed all snow and ice due to the recent storms,” he said. “That figure will go higher.”

Rowley also hadn’t compiled updated numbers since the last storm, but Town Administrator Deborah Eagan said its annual budget is $80,000 and she didn’t expect to go over this year despite the heavy snow.

In Newbury, the $120,000 snow and ice account is already likely in the red. Town Administrator Tracy Blais said $115,000 had been spent prior to this past weekend’s storm.

“Fortunately, we have certified free cash that we can transfer from at the Special Town Meeting in May,” Blais said. “Otherwise, the deficit would need to be raised on next year’s recapitulation sheet.”

Snow and ice is one of the few accounts that legally can be run in deficit. In the event a community does go over budget, the money can either be covered with free cash from past years or via the following year’s “recap sheet.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Merrimack Valley

Eagle-Tribune News Videos
Photos of the Week