Winter storm costs weighing heavily on towns

By Matt Porter

March 11, 2014 Updated Mar 11, 2014 at 6:20 PM EDT

(WBNG Binghamton) Across the Southern Tier, cities and towns are squeezing their budgets to make it through the tough winter.

Action News spoke to several cities and towns in the Southern Tier who are at about half their 2014 salt and sand budgets or more.

In the Town of Binghamton, it’s spent $41,200 of its $70,000 budget, or about 59 percent.

Highway superintendent Michael Donahue said the town has plenty of salt to make it through the next storm, but if the storm is more ice than snow, the town could use even more salt than normal.

"The biggest thing is how much ice, sleet, and freezing rain that we get," Donahue said. "That's when we use a lot more material on the roadways."

The City of Binghamton has a $210,000 budget for salt, and has already spent $160,000, or 76 percent.

Binghamton Mayor Rich David (R) said the city has been stockpiling salt after coming up short in early January.

He said the city is well prepared for the rest of this season, and the beginning of the next.

"This is a finely tuned machine right now," David said. "This is like the fifth possible snow fall in a two and a half month period."

Other towns are not as ready, Vestal Town Supervisor John Shaffer (D) said the winter has outlasted the town's initial $160,000 budgeted for salt in 2014.

"It's been a nightmare," Schaffer said. "We're tiring out our crews. We're running our equipment into the ground. We're running out of salt, we're running out of sand."

Vestal approved an extra $100,000 for its 2014 budget, something Schaffer hopes will last the rest of the year.

Town of Binghamton's Michael Donahue said the best thing for all towns involved would be for the warm weather to arrive fast.

"It would be nice to see 45 degree days, 20 degree nights so that everything thaws rapidly so we don't see the potholes and stuff like that," Donahue said.

Other local town 2014 salt budget spending includes:

The Town of Dickinson spent $24,240 of its $42,000 budget, or 58 percent.

The Town of Union spent $84,550 of its $157,000 budget, or 54 percent.

The Town of Conklin spent $37,852 of its $78,525 budget, or 48 percent.

To submit a comment on this article, your email address is required. We respect your privacy and your email will not be visible to others nor will it be added to any email lists.