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Northborough's Snow and Ice Budget Nearly Dry

The winter has consumed more than 88 percent of that budget, leaving roughly $28,000 left, Department of Public Works Director Dan Nason told selectmen Monday night.

DPW Director Dan Nason (right) addresses the Northborough Board of Selectmen on Monday night. Photo by Michael Gelbwasser.
DPW Director Dan Nason (right) addresses the Northborough Board of Selectmen on Monday night. Photo by Michael Gelbwasser.

Northborough's snow and ice budget isn't gone -- yet.

The winter has consumed more than 88 percent of that budget, leaving roughly $28,000 left, Department of Public Works Director Dan Nason told selectmen Monday night.

"The bad news is we're only in the second week of January," he said.

Northborough has received more than 25 inches of snow this season, Nason said.

"The problem is, a lot of people are questioning me, saying, 'How did we deplete that much of the funds?'" he said.

Northborough has had at least eight snowstorms, not including periods of freezing rain and the like, Nason said.

"We've had some bad timing storms. A lot of them have started during the day," and the evening work "causes a lot of overtime for us," he said.

Nason said he will probably ask selectmen to approve deficit spending for snow and ice at some point this winter.

Town Administrator John Coderre explained that deficit spending means that "if you don't make it up in this budget somewhere," the municipality may "add it to the tax rate for the next fiscal year." State law allows deficit spending for snow and ice, with a vote of the selectmen, "because you don't know how much snow you're going to get," he said.

Northborough, over last seven years, has "been able to accommodate those overtures by finding areas in the budget to deal with that overture," and also has an emergency fund controlled by the appropriations committee, Coderre said.

Town officials will continue tracking the snow and ice spending, he said.

Selectman Jeff Amberson said he received two e-mails last about three weeks about the DPW's storm cleanup.

"They just wanted to compliment the DPW on the snow removal," he said.

"Your efforts are noted and they are appreciated."
Dawn January 14, 2014 at 07:44 AM
Sounds like poor planning to me! We haven't had that much extra snow/ice this year. Living on Rt 20 I see plows go by quite regularly when there is no need for it, so on top of under estimating our plowing expenses the management of when they plow isn't being planned properly. Isn't plowing something we should always over budget for so this doesn't happen, this is New England after all. We are going to get snow, a lot of it and it is never going to be predictable. So budget for a bit more and if we go over the funds can roll over to next year. But we shouldn't be hearing this every year!!
Prometheus January 14, 2014 at 09:03 AM
Additionally, feels easy and dishonest, even if it is "legal".
Nic January 14, 2014 at 09:07 AM
Snowplow operators go to the extreme. Working to get the roads spotless just eats up the budget in unnecessary overtime. Some roads are so clean one would think it is summer. Come on people this is New England.
Michael Horgan January 14, 2014 at 09:24 AM
The DPW is over treating the roads. I see the plows go by with blades down when there is no snow o the roads. The roads also turn white from the excessive salt used on the roads. The DPW wants to burn through all it's resources on just a few storms. We live in New England we can expect to drive slower in the day or two after a storm. There is no reason the budget should be used up after just 8 snow/ice storms. The DPW and town administrator should be planning for the entire winter not just from one storm to another. This is Massachusetts it does snow here.

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