Winter weather taking toll on snow budgets - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Winter weather taking toll on snow budgets


The winter weather has taken its toll on city and town snow budgets throughout the state, including Waterbury.

After Blizzard Charlotte and now the March nor'easter, Waterbury's snow budget is almost blown.

"We're close to exhausting out initial snow budget, $1.1 million," said Joe Geary, who is the chief of staff for the Waterbury mayor. "We do have a contingency account that we would have to go to the Board of Alderman and get their approval for a fund transfer."

Final snow accumulations from Winter Storm David will generally be 6 inches to 12 inches west of Interstate 91 and 12 inches to 24 inches east of the state highway.

Town leaders told Eyewitness News they won't have to worry about overtime since it's a weekday, but they've had to keep crews out constantly since early Thursday.

In Vernon, town officials said they have already had to dip into its rainy day fund and added $74,000. Vernon Mayor George Apel said they'll probably have to add in more.

City officials in Manchester said their snow budget is gone and they will likely scale back spring maintenance work to compensate.

South Windsor town officials said its money is dwindling. South Windsor Town Manager Matthew B. Galligan said there's still some left to handle Winter Storm David and that's it.

While Waterbury says its yearly snow budget is nearly tapped, since Connecticut declared a state of emergency following Blizzard Charlotte, city officials are pretty confident Waterbury will be getting some money back from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

"There's a 75 percent reimbursement for a 48-hour period, so we're putting together all our numbers for city employees, vehicles, assets, and private entities that we brought in," Geary said.

Other towns across the state are also hoping to eventually get FEMA compensation from Blizzard Charlotte.

For Winter Storm David, Waterbury public works crews were out early Friday and were spotted by Eyewitness News pushing snow off East Main Street. 

Friday also meant a snow day for children in Waterbury. City schools lost six days following Blizzard Charlotte. As of now, school won't get out until June 21. 

In Wallingford, classrooms were empty, due to the storm.

"It's just disappointment because we get on a roll, we're in the middle of the CT Mastery Tests," said Wallingford School Superintendent Dr. Sal Menzo. "We're in the middle of the Connecticut academic performance testing."

Wallingford school officials said they have to make up a total of 10 days before the state deadline, which is June 28.

"To compound it in Wallingford, we also had a large roof project going on last summer," Menzo said. "So we started school after Labor Day, due to the fact we had to give extra time for the construction workers."

Sheehan High School lost three days during Superstorm Sandy because part of the roof was blown off. They are doing that extra day during April vacation while the rest of the district makes up three days.

Wallingford already did away with its February vacation before the school year started to help them stay on top of missed days. So they were only able to shorten April vacation and extend the school year.

"Kids get a vacation no matter what, whether it's storm closure they have time off," said parent John Mendygrao.

Wallingford is trying to see if the state will excuse the missed days for the blizzard because it was such a big storm and the town, like many others, had such a tough time removing the snow to reopen the school.

Overall, Connecticut residents told Eyewitness News that they were sick of the winter weather.

"I'm done with the snow, after the last one, it really beats you up," said James Mennillo of Waterbury.

However, one person in Waterbury was happy to see the snow falling on Friday morning.

"I'll probably make $300 to $400 today," said Jason Hawk of Waterbury, who was clearing sidewalks in the city.

And in Tolland County, private plow truck drivers told Eyewitness News they have dozens of lots to clear Friday and they're definitely not complaining.

"All plow guys like the snow," said Dan Sandstrom of D&S Services.

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