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'Rough Beginning to Winter' Eats 70 Percent of Town's Snow Budget

Danvers has already spent much of its snow and ice removal budget for this winter and it's not even mid January. In total, 34 inches of snow has fallen since early December.

The New Year's blizzard dropped 21 inches in Danvers. Credit: Courtesy
The New Year's blizzard dropped 21 inches in Danvers. Credit: Courtesy
Spring doesn't arrive for another 10 weeks, but thanks to the blizzard, a couple storms in December and spates of icy road conditions, Danvers has already exhausted about 70 percent of its snow and ice removal budget.

The town budgeted $696,429 this fiscal year, and after the blizzard was cleared away and roads salted and sanded, the Department of Public Works had spent $485,835 between town resources and private contractors.

That left $210,594 in the account, as of last report from DPW Operations Director Robert Lee.

The state, however, allows cities and towns to deficit spend on snow and ice removal and either roll the remaining expenses into next year's budget or utilize reserve funds.

"It's been a rough beginning to winter," Town Manager Wayne Marquis told selectmen on Tuesday. "At the end of the day, we do need to clear the streets."

The total budget is based on a five-year average, adjusted annually. In total, 34 inches of snow has fallen in Danvers since Dec. 9.

Most of that came in last week's blizzard, which dropped 21 inches of snow and cost about $212,000 in initial cleanup. Subsequent efforts to clear sidewalks and parking lots and continue treating roads with salt and sand added up to another $36,000.

The town did deploy the Street Division and five contractors on Monday to clean up the square and municipal parking lots, which Selectman Bill Clark expressed his appreciation for Tuesday night.

In December, the town spent about $185,000 to clean up after 12-1/2 inches fell in two storms between Dec. 14 and 17.

In comparison, despite last winter's February blizzard (which actually dropped more snow than this one) and a total of 61 inches of snow by March 20, the town had still only spent about $668,000.

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