Budget and workers drained from Jan. 27 storm cleanup
By Nicole Michaud - Staff Writer
Windsor Locks - posted Fri., Jan. 28, 2011
WINDSOR LOCKS - The final snowflakes from the Jan. 27 storm exhausted the final dollars from the Department of Public Works’ snow removal budget, with several weeks of winter and expected storms still ahead. The $60,000 initially expected to pull the Department of Public Works through a typical season was no match for this year’s record-breaking snowfall.
DPW Director Scott Lappen will request additional funds from the Board of Finance, a typical practice when funds are depleted, to cover future needs. The initial budget, which remains the same each year regardless of snowfall averages or history, was not enough to cover the 1250 overtime hours already accrued by snow removal.
With the record snowfall, residents and DPW workers share the same frustration – where to put the snow. “Snow banks are so high it gets more and more difficult to put the snow out of the way,” Lappen said. “Our intentions are to go back out there and knock down corners and any sightline issues and get the sidewalks open.”
The amount of snow has not only drained the budget, but also the snow removal team. “They’re tired,” Lappen said. While the sun helped clear the roads, the melted snow will require additional hours of work when the temperatures drop and the roads ice over. To keep morale up, crew members are typically given a “down day” before an expected storm to do less strenuous activities like cleaning and fueling trucks to prepare for many hours on the road.
Lappen’s administrative assistant fielded 30 to 40 calls during last Thursday’s storm, most reporting blocked driveways, sidewalks or damaged mailboxes. Lappen suggested residents wait as long as possible before digging out. “We would really like the people cleaning their sidewalks and driveways to wait until we are completely done, before attempting to do a final clean up of their property,” Lappen said. Cleanup following a storm is completed within four to six hours after snow stops.
Lappen also requested residents exercise patience with the drivers during the cleanup efforts. “Our priority is clearing the roads for emergency vehicles and the motoring population,” said Lappen. While he encourages citizens to report concerns to his office, he reminded residents to address any complaints in a respectful manner.