Southborough’s snow removal budget is running low

I assume you’re not shocked by that headline. With the number of storms we’ve had to contend with this winter, you might think our snow removal budget was all but gone. Not quite. DPW Superintendent Karen Galligan says she still has money left to keep our roads clear.

One of the major expenses in snow removal is labor, and that’s were the budget is tight. The town uses a combination of in-house staff and contractors to clear town roads during a snowstorm. Galligan said yesterday that of the $70K alloted to pay contractors, only $10K remained, and with snow on the way, she expects that all to be gone by the end of the day today.

Galligan said the good news — at least as far as the budget is concerned — is that most of the storms have hit during the week, so she hasn’t had to tap into overtime budgets as much as if the storms had hit over the weekend. Galligan said she can pull from the overtime budget to help ease the shortage.

As for salt and sand, Galligan said there’s still enough money in the budget to pay for what the town needs, the problem is getting it. “Everybody is looking for salt. I’m having trouble getting deliveries,” Galligan said. “Every town is in the same boat.”

Galligan said she ordered 900 tons of salt a few weeks ago. Before last week’s storm, about half that remained.

The storm last week used more of the town’s stockpile, but Galligan said she’s still comfortable with the supply level. “Since the storms have brought large amounts of snow, we are actually doing alright with the sand and salt. We use more salt when the snow comes slowly and is only a couple of inches deep,” she said.

The fact that it’s been so cold also means the snow hasn’t melted and turned to ice, so DPW crews haven’t had to treat the roads as much at night, Galligan said.

While salt and sand may not be in short supply (yet), Galligan acknowledges that residents’ patience may be.

“From a general safety aspect we all have to have extra patience and be extra cautious when moving around small towns,” Galligan said. “People’s driveways are piled high and cars are having problems getting from their property onto the street. There are unexpected hazards not only when exiting a driveway or road, but also when driving past these things on the straight away. “

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Betsy Rosenbloom
13 years ago

Kudos to Karen and the DPW. IMHO, they are doing a great job with our roads under extreme circumstances.

13 years ago

I agree the DPW has done a fantastic job considering the circumstances.

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