Second March snow storm strains snow budget

By: Jazmin Bailey Email
By: Jazmin Bailey Email

HARRISONBURG, Va. -- A second March snow storm is putting a strain on the city's already thin snow and ice removal budget.

About two inches of snow fell in Harrisonburg Sunday night into Monday.

Ken Knight, the street superintendent for the city's Public Works Department, said though the snow didn't stick for long, he still had to send out crews to cleanup.

"We've had a number of weather-related close calls. Anytime that happens, we have to call people in," Knight said.

There were 10 to 11 workers out salting and monitoring the roads from 7:30 p.m. Sunday through 7:30 a.m. Monday.

Knight said that would likely cost the city between $10,000 and $11,000.

"That's hours and the costs of the vehicle and the cost of the materials. Material costs are just as expensive as the labor and the equipment costs."

Before Monday's storm, there was only about $5,000 left in the city's snow and ice removal budget. That's the total left over from the snow storm that hit the Valley during the first week of March.

Here's how that happened: the city's total snow budget is $245,000 for the fiscal year. Before the storm two weeks ago, there was $125,000 left for use. Between March 5th and 7th, Harrisonburg spent about $119,000 on snow removal leaving about $5,000 in the budget.

Knight said even though the snow removal budget will likely be depleted, it's not time to panic.

"We'll have to go to the city manager and ask for more money to help pay the costs. That's not uncommon. You can never judge your annual budget on snow and ice and get it correct."


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