Northborough DPW Director shares update on snow and ice budget

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By Melanie Petrucci, Senior Community Reporter

Northborough – Although the town has not had to deal with a great deal of snow this season, treating icy roads has made a dent in the allotted funds, Scott Charpentier, Department of Public Works Director, told the Board of Selectmen at its Feb. 25 meeting.

“We have spent a lot of money on ice,” he added. “Salt is just as expensive as snow on an hourly basis.”

During his update on the status of the fiscal year (FY) 2019 snow and ice budget, Charpentier said that particular day had been a busy one for his department as it dealt with high winds whipping through the area. Several related issues that had to be addressed including making repairs to the main door at Town Hall that had become unhinged during the day, he added.

“We are just past the middle point of our snow and ice season for this year, so we are about 60 percent through the snow and ice season and we are also about 60 percent through the budget as well,” Charpentier reported.

He noted that the budget was increased in FY19 by approximately 10 percent to accommodate what was historically an under-funded budget item.

Town Administrator John Coderre added that in extraordinary weather events the town will receive FEMA funding but it ordinarily isn’t received until the following year.  He also shared that the snow and ice budget is one of the only accounts that towns in the commonwealth can legally deficit spend so many towns underfund their accounts.

Northborough tries to manage their budget within the fiscal year that it happens. As such, they use a six-year look-back average as they set their budget.

“I’m not planning on adding anything to the FY20 budget,” Coderre stated.