By ASHLEY HELMS
Numerous storms have pummeled the Village of Mamaroneck this winter with more than two feet of snow. As a result, the village’s snow budget has been depleted and requires extra shipments of salt before the winter is over.
According to Village Clerk Augie Fusco, taking into con-sideration the bills for new salt and fuel for Department of Public Works trucks, which should become available for the village’s review next week, all of the roughly $309,000 set aside for snow removal in the 2014 village budget has been used.
Fusco said the snow budget is set by looking at the average amount needed to remove snow in the last five years. Except for another exceptionally bad winter in 2011, Fusco said the amount of snow the village was receiving was trending downward,
causing the snow budget for this year to be lower.
The clerk said he plans to advise the Board of Trustees on Feb. 17 that the snow budget has been used up. Until the village knows exactly how much extra funds it will need to cover snow removal for the rest of the winter, Fusco said he isn’t going to suggest transferring money from the contingency budget into the snow budget yet.
“It’s almost guaranteed we expended the budget,” Fusco said.
The village has a contingency budget worth $150,000 that is set aside annually for unforeseen expenses, according to Village Manager Richard Slingerland. If extreme circumstances occur in which an large amount of money needs to be transferred into the snow budget, the village could dip into the fund balance, which is used as a last resort if funds are needed and not allocated from the contingency fund, Slinglerland said.
Any transactions would have to be approved by the Board of Trustees.
According to the village’s adopted 2014 budget, the fund balance stands at about $5 million.
Other options include looking at the total 2014 budget and seeing if there is any extra money that hasn’t been used, Slingerland said, which could be applied to the snow removal.
It’s unclear at this time how much the village will need to apply to its snow budget, which includes salt, DPW labor—including overtime costs—fuel and truck repairs.
Slingerland said the DPW has experienced delays in salt shipments dating back to December, when new shipments were ordered.
Salt is purchased through the Atlantic Salt Company in Staten Island for a price of $51 per ton, he said. The village has requested an in excess of 10 tons of salt, according to Slingerland.
“We have enough [salt] for, if we are extremely limited in the salt we used, maybe one or two more storms,” Slingerland said.
Due to the magnitude of storms that have pounded the region for weeks, New York and New Jersey are experiencing shortages of rock salt used to melt snow and ice on roadways. This is the cause of the salt delay, Slingerland said.
Mayor Norman Rosenblum, a Republican, said an environmental concern is the amount of salt the village has on its roads. The salt, along with snow, melts and runs into storm drains and local waterways. The mayor said the village has been using the parking lot at Harbor Island Park to store snow that was plowed by the DPW crews.
“Problem is where do you put the snow? You can’t put it in the water anymore, which is ironic because it gets there anyway,” Rosenblum said.
Another concern was flooding, the mayor said, since large amounts of snow can back-up storm water drains and cause melting snow to flood streets.
Rain has also accompanied a few of the storms, leaving a wet coating on the snow that turns icy in sub-zero temperatures.