Snow-clearing budget soars in December

Katie Tower
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A Sackville Public Works employee clears sidewalks in the downton area during one of the several winter storms Tantramar residents dealt with in December.

SACKVILLE, N.B. – With a mixed bag of weather hitting the region throughout the month of December, Sackville’s public works crews were kept extra busy at the start of the winter season as they plowed through the back-to-back snowstorms, the freezing rain, ice pellets and slippery sidewalks.

“Most of our month was spent dealing with snow and ice and snow removal,” said public works superintendant Barry Hicks during town council’s monthly meeting Jan. 13.

The accumulations from the snowstorms required several ‘clean-ups’ in the downtown and surrounding areas, in which snow was hauled away, as well as the pushing back of snow banks to improve visibility at intersections.

These storms were followed up by freezing rain, and then cold temperatures, which made driving and walking conditions challenging at times.

Sackville treasurer Michael Beal said the 2013-14 snowplowing/salting budget has nearly been depleted for the year already, and that’s just from December’s bills.

He said the budget for this past December was three times of what the costs for snowplowing (overtime, gas, oil, salting, etc.) were in December 2012. On December’s last payroll alone, there were over 200 hours of overtime accumulated. And the salt supply that was ordered for this winter, which was expected to last most of the season, has already been exhausted.

“This will result in our snow-clearing budget going over,” he said.

Mayor Bob Berry applauded the public works crews for the extra efforts they put in last month to keep the streets safe, “especially the last two weeks battling the ice.”

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