January Storms Melt Municipalities' Snow Removal Funds

January 27, 1991|By Greg Tasker | Greg Tasker,Staff writer

The week-long blizzard (OK, a slight exaggeration) that blanketed Carroll County and its towns, closing schools and businesses earlier this month, played havoc on the annual snow removal budgets of some governments.

The county, for example, has only 20 percent of its $542,220 snow removal budget left after that triple-winter punch.

With only $106,800 left, the county could handle just two or three more snowstorms before the removal program goes broke, said Benton Watson, chief of the Bureau of Road Operations.

Most of the county's snow budget -- $297,251 -- has gone toward the purchase of more than 8,000 tons of salt for 890.14 miles of roadway. And with the largest contingent of snowplows and staff in Carroll, the county also pays out the biggest salary bill in overtime -- $1,500 an hour for all personnel.

In contrast, Carroll's municipalities, with considerablyless roads to plow and fewer workers, spend anywhere from $1,000 to $65,000 annually on salt and snow removal.

Even so, some communities like New Windsor also have used the bulk of dollars budgeted for snow removal this year. New Windsor earmarked $1,000 for the season, said Town Clerk Richard M. Warehime.

"Last year, we didn't need all of it," he said. "This year, if we have more snow, we might go overit."

Other municipalities, like Westminster, have not yet determined what impact the season's snowfall had on their budgets.

William S. Mowell, Westminster's public works director, said the city used about $1,000 of its $65,000 budgeted to remove snow from its 42.35 miles of roads by the end of December. He said he expected to see a January budget report by the end of the month.

"I'm sure (storms) tore into it," Mowell, noting the big ones came this month. "I won't know the impact until the end of the month."

Union Bridge, which contracts snow removal for its 10 miles of streets to a private individual, has not received a bill yet.

"It's hard to judge and budget snow removal," said Kathy Kreimer, the town's clerk-treasurer. "Some years, we go over and some years we don't spend any money."

Although spring does not arrive until mid-March, county and town officials arehopeful the Ground Hog doesn't see his shadow Saturday.

"We've been lucky this year; we haven't had that much snow," said Kathryn Riley, manager in Manchester, with 10.75 miles of roads. "But we have a ways to go."

For the most part, county and town snow crews, which vary in size from one in New Windsor to 109 in the county, have tackled the ice and snow the way the Buffalo Bills trampled the Los AngelesRaiders in the American Football Conference championship. They are backed by a contingent of equipment, from snowplows to pick-ups with snowplow blades to dump trucks and backhoes.

Town officials said gripes have been few from residents.

But the ever-universal complaint remains the blocking of already shoveled drives and walks by the municipal or county crews plowing the streets.

"When you plow, you plow in front of everybody's driveway," Kreimer said. "We get complaints, but it can't be helped."

The only real problem encountered by county and municipal road crews when plowing streets is parked cars. Often, municipal police must travel the routes beforehand, reminding people to move their parked cars.

"If everybody cooperates and gets their cars off the streets, the job gets done sooner," said Manchester's Riley.

A look at the county's snow removal picture

Municipality. .Miles. . . Equipment

Hampstead. . . 10.00. . . 2 pick-up trucks with snow

. . . . . . . . . . . . . plows; 2 dump trucks with snow

. . . . . . . . . . . . . plows

Manchester. . .10.75. . . 4 pick-up trucks with snow

. . . . . . . . . . . . . plows; 1 dump truck; 1 backhoe

Mount Airy. . 15.00. . . 2 dump trucks with snow plows

. . . . . . . . . . . . . and salt spreader;2 pick-up

. . . . . . . . . . . . . trucks with snow plows

New Windsor. . 3.70 . . 1 pick-up truck with snowplow.

Sykesville. . . 9.00. . . 2 garbage trucks with snow

. . . . .. . . . . . . plows; 1 dump truck with snow

. . . . . . . . . . . . . plow; 1 small tractor

Taneytown. . . 15.00. . 2 pick-up trucks withsnow

. . . . . . . . . . . . . plows; 1 front-end loader; 1 salt

. .. . . . . . . . . . . spreader attachment; 1 skid

. . . . . . . . . . . . . loader

Union Bridge. . 10.00. . 1 pick-up truck with snow plow

Westminster. . 42.35. . 10 dump trucks with snow plows

. . . . . . . . . . . . . and salt spreaders

Municipality. . . . . . . .Staff.. .. .Budget

Hampstead. . . . . . . . .3. . .. . . $6,500

Manchester. .. . . . . . 5.. . . . . * $3,000

Mount Airy. . . . . . . . .4... . .. . $10,000

New Windsor. . . . . . ** 1. . .. . . . $1,000

Sykesville. . . . . . . . .5.. . . . . . $8,000

Taneytown. . . . . . . . . 4. . . . . . $5,000

Union Bridge. . . . . . . .1.. . . . . . $2,000

Westminster. . . . . . . .18. . . . . . $65,000

Municipality.. .Miles. . . Equipment... . . ..Staff.. . . .Budget

County. . . . . 890.14. ... 48 snow plows. . ...109.. . . . $542,220

* Overtime salary only

** Part-time employee

SOURCE: County and individual municipal governments

Baltimore Sun Articles
|
|
|
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.