Record snowfall hits village budget

Village has spent $12k a week on snow removal since New Year’s

Village administrators say this winter’s record snowfall is hitting the local government hard in the pocketbook.

On Wednesday work crews spent the early morning hours cleaning the streets, after another 10-15 centimetre snowfall hit the region. Forecasters say this year’s snowfall is the highest in 36 years.

It’s also making some records for the village’s budget keepers.

“Our spending last month was 150 per cent over last January’s spending,” Chief Administrative Officer Laurie Taylor told council Tuesday night.

In the first month of 2017, the village spent $33,590 on snow removal. This January, it spent $52,069.

In fact, the village has spent the equivalent of half of last year’s entire snow removal budget in just six weeks. Last year, the snow removal budget for 12 months was around $142,000. From Jan. 1 to Feb. 13, the village has spent about $72,000 — and all the receipts aren’t even in yet.

“Needless to say, our snow removal budget will be increased this year,” Taylor told council.

Snow removal makes up about 15 per cent of the village’s overall spending.

Taylor praised the operations staff, who she says are often out by 2 or 3 in the morning, and have all the major roads in the village cleared by noon.

But she says their work hasn’t been appreciated by everyone.

“People are giving our crews the ‘one-finger wave’, and curse and swear at them,” said Taylor. “This is really hard on them.”

Councillors said they were disgusted people were verbally attacking village staff.

“Instead of giving people the ‘one-finger wave’, it’s the citizen’s responsibility to help shovel their sidewalks and driveways,” said Councillor Bill Tobey. “They shouldn’t even be thinking of criticizing them. I think they do a phenomenal job.”

The village will set next year’s budget — including for snow removal — at a council meeting later this month.

 

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