DPWs keep within plowing budgets

Most local municipalities’ public works officials say they have gotten through this winter plowing season, so far, without busting their budgets.

Gloversville Department of Public Works Director Kevin Jones said this winter was not bad for the city.

“I think we actually got off fairly easily [this year],” Jones said.

According to Jones, much of the snowfall this season came in repeated light snow events, many of which didn’t full-scale plowing. Around four or five citywide plowing events have occurred so far, Jones said this week. The bulk of the snowfall warranted just salting or sanding the road, he said. Depending how much snow falls, Gloversville could only have a crew of four employees salting while another four plow the roads, or perhaps six trucks going around the area.

While plowing has not been much of a problem, crews have been salting more often.

“We’ve been out a lot of times this winter,” Jones said.

However, the DPW has stayed within budget for the year, according to Jones.

In the 2013 Gloversville budget, $151,767 was allotted for snow removal, personnel services and overtime, while $176,000 was allotted on services, repairs, salt and sand.

Johnstown City Engineer Chandra Cotter, who oversees public works, said from what she has seen in her first two years as city engineer, this winter was moderate.

According to the 2013 Johnstown city budget, around $2.4 million was alloted for the city’s DPW.

“We carry roughly $83,000 in our budget just for the salt and the sand, so that doesn’t contain fuel, wages, etc.,” Cotter said.

According to Cotter, the department is on target to stay under budget.

Cotter did report the department has plowed more this year than last year, as the winter 2011-12 snowfall was fairly light.

Fulton County Deputy Highways Superintendent Rodney Montana said the county also had an easier time plowing last year than this year.

He reported overtime was not much of a factor this winter, as the Highways and Facilities Department has two shifts of workers who can work regularly.

“We have stayed within what we normally use,” Montana said.

Some municipalities did declare an increase call for overtime, however.

Amsterdam Town Supervisor Thomas DiMezza said the costs for this winter were up thanks to the repeated small storms.

“It’s the small ones that kill you,” DiMezza said.

The town Highway Department has used almost all of the sand ordered for this season, he said.

“[Highway Department workers] go out on overtime,” DiMezza said. “They still use just as much equipment and just as much sand and salt.”

According to DiMezza, $200,000 to $250,000 is budgeted yearly for the town Highway Department. This covers costs of sand, salt, fuel, maintenance, overtime and more.

“It is an expensive venture,” DiMezza said of winter road maintenance. “It’s very hard not to go over with exigent circumstances.”

He said $4,000 was left over in the 2012 budget year for the Highway Department.

Root Supervisor John Thayer said his town’s overtime expenditures went up thanks to the many minor snowfalls.

“The nuisance storms that come in and drop two or three inches of snow still need to be cleaned,” Thayer said.

Arthur Cleveland can be reached at [email protected].

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