When it comes to the cost of snow removal, timing is everything.
That’s because any storm that doesn’t hit between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday will result in overtime pay. And that’s when the dollars can really start to pile up.
Also, salt ain’t cheap. It’s a significant percentage of overall spending on winter storms (58% in 2012-13).
The cost of snow removal, and where the town stands so far this winter compared to last year, was one of the items First Selectman Pat Llodra briefed the Legislative Council on during a meeting this week.
Not counting the snowfall on Friday, the town has responded to seven weather events so far this season, for a total cost of $338,279.14. Last season, the town spent a total of $583,259.30 responding to 18 weather events—including the multi-day snowstorm called Nemo in February, which alone cost Newtown nearly $85,000.
After seven events last winter, the town had spent about $100,000 less than what it has so far this season, Llodra said. Legislative Council Chairman Mary Ann Jacob noted that the seventh weather event last winter didn’t come until Jan. 21, whereas this year it fell on Jan. 6.
Llodra said she hopes and prays that winter events will take place between normal business hours, to avoid overtime costs, which are accrued at time-and-a-half after those hours and at double pay on Sundays and holidays.
Still, she added, “We have the obligation to respond to each event.”
As Llodra spoke, Legislative Council members reviewed a spreadsheet that broke down the costs. Below are some facts from that spreadsheet.
- 3,584.25 yards of sand were used at a total cost of $66,584.75.
- 4,323.44 tons of salt were used for a total cost of $339,908.46.
- 4,280 overtime hours logged cost $176,766.09.
- 1,044.5 of those overtime hours came during the February blizzard.
So far in 2013-14:
- The costliest weather event came on Dec. 14 - Dec. 15, at $72,370.85.
- 2,471 overtime hours have been logged for a cost of $101,547.
- The 2,564.08 tons of salt used cost $200,946.95.
- $35,785.19 has been spent on 2,123.75 yards of sand.