White Winter Puts Danvers in Red Ink
Snow budget already exceeded by $130,000.
It’s only early February, but Danvers has already exceeded its snow and ice budget by $130,000, Town Manager Wayne Marquis reported at Tuesday night’s Board of Selectmen’s Meeting.
“We passed the threshold last Wednesday,” Marquis said in his report to selectmen about the impact of last week’s two-day storm, which dropped more snow on the town and closed schools last Wednesday for the fifth time this year.
The snow and ice removal budget was set at $650,000, Marquis said, but he assured selectmen that the town can continue to spend on snow removal even though they have exceeded the budgeted amount.
There are “50/50 odds” of qualifying for funding from the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency that could offer up to 75% reimbursement for money expended as a result of the storms, and the town will submit an application for this funding, Marquis said.
But he told selectmen that he expected to use monies from other Public Works Department funds to pay for the extra costs – and any additional costs from other storms that might be on our way this winter – rather than carry the costs forward to be made up in the next fiscal year. (Snow and ice removal is the only budget, according to Massachusetts’ law, that can be rolled over into the next year.)
Marquis also assured selectmen that there were “no issues whatsoever” with municipal buildings being at risk of roof collapse due to the snow. Schools and other municipal buildings had been thoroughly inspected by Marquis and the Building Inspector Richard Maloney last Thursday and Friday and again this past Sunday after the weekend rain, and all passed muster, he said.
Marquis said that the town will continue to monitor the buildings, and thanked residents for their help in cleaning up after the storm.
“I appreciate the response of residents clearing hydrants, and [the town] would appreciate continued help clearing storm drains” to aid the melting, Marquis said. He added special thanks to Boy Scout Troop 155 for digging out hydrants after the storm and said they would continue the task over the weekend
Selectmen Chair Michael Powers reiterated the call for help.
“It’s really in your best interest to clear [the hydrants] out, especially in the residential areas,” he said, noting that the town had 1,700 hydrants that have to be cleared after any snow event.
Marquis made sure to point out another important event: he asked selectmen to please note on their calendars that March 20 is the first day of spring.