Village, Town Plow Through Budgets
The piles of white are costing municipalities across the state tons of green, and it’s no different here in the Town of Huntington and the villages within its borders.
After three snow storms this year, Northport Village Mayor George Doll said the village has spent almost all of its $76,000 snow budget and will likely dip into the $200,000 contingency reserve to handle snow removal services for the balance of the season.
“The budget is probably shot,” Doll said.
Meanwhile, the Town of Huntington had already spent $1.4 million of its $1.8 million snow budget for 2014 as of Feb. 3, town spokesman A.J. Carter said. The fund covers snow removal as well as materials needed to respond to winter weather, like salt, sand and brine.
“In terms of the number of storms, this is the worst winter we’ve had in a long time,” he said.
Another 6-8 inches of snow were forecasted for Wednesday, as of press time.
Should the snow fund be depleted, the town has a contingency fund of about $1 million, which is funded by unspent snow funds from years past, Carter said. Should that be depleted, the town can then turn to a $5-million highway fund balance
Snow removal on Asharoken Avenue and portions of Bevin Road in Asharoken Village is handled by the Town of Huntington. From there, beach clubs and residents coordinate plowing efforts on private roads, Village Clerk Nancy Rittenhouse explained.
Asharoken paid the town a little more than $7,000 for snow plowing in 2013, and Rittenhouse said Monday that she requested a year-to-date expense projection from Huntington Town Hall. With the snowy pace so far, costs could go up in 2014, she said.
“It may be adjusted based on the recent occurrences of the snowfall,” she said of the contract.
However, timing helped keep costs from climbing even higher. The most recent storms, which occurred in the daytime during the workweek, snarled morning commutes but saved the town on overtime expenses, Carter said.
Even with the early wave of snow spending, Carter said the town is on solid ground for the rest of the season and will not have to borrow to keep the roads clear.
“We’re still in 2014 budgeted money and there are two other places to go for [snow removal] money… without having to do what the other towns have been forced to do, which is bond,” he said.