March 12 2019

Selectmen Approve Additional Funds for Snow and Ice Budget

By: Rich Hosford

Some late-season storms pushed the town’s snow and ice removal budget into the red.

During the Board of Selectmen meeting on Monday the board voted to approve another $500,000 in deficit spending for the snow and ice removal budget. This budget is the one that can run a deficit under state law.


DPW Director John Sanchez said most of the spending came later in the season with the majority of the snowfall occurring in February and March. He said throughout the season his department conducted 15 operations, a combination of simple treatments and treatments and plowing. In total the town spent about $500,000 to date, exceeding the $350,000 approved in the budget last May.


Selectman Mike Runyan asked why the town approves only $350,000 in advance each year when it routinely exceeds that amount over the course of the winter season. Town Administration Paul Sagarino said one reason is an attempt to keep the budget low during May Town Meeting so as not to add unnecessary pressure on the town’s finances during the time a lot of spending is being proposed.


Sagarino said the second reason is that in order to potentially qualify for FEMA funds in very bad years the town has to appropriate at least as much funds in the account as it did the year before. If the town were to appropriate $1 million, for example, during a time of prosperity it would need to continue to appropriate at least as much even in a downturn to qualify for federal funds. So rather than trap the town in the future with a big number they keep it manageable.


The practice of proposing low funds is very common and done by almost all municipalities, he said.


“Because of how this law works some larger cities than us have smaller budgets than us,” Sagarino said.


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