Snow removal melting budgets

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Weather may just be the single most discussed topic in Canada these days.

Lately it’s been a great icebreaker, so to speak, to launch into a conversation with unfamiliar folks.

Whether it’s sunny, cloudy, snowy or rainy, there seems to be an ever-revolving number of subjects to discuss.

It’s been an active season, and we’re only about three weeks into a winter that has brought record-setting low temperatures and snowfall amounts not experienced in recent years, prompting several alerts and warnings from officials.

Weather of late has not only been a hot topic for discussion on the street, but has been about the streets. In particular the condition of many, along with sidewalks, as maintenance crews work to move heaps of snow and piles of ice from motor and foot traffic areas.

This winter has left some officials bracing for potential cost overruns for snow removal.

Geoff MacLellan, the provincial minister of transportation and infrastructure renewal, recently told the media he's heard from a number of municipalities across the province expressing concern they will deplete their snow removal budget because of early storms.

The Town of Truro has already used about half of its $550,000 snow removal budget.

This winter, for the first time in about 20 years, the department’s public works crews spent the entire month of December on snow and ice control on Inglis and Prince Street.

Stepping back to January 2013, the town was working with the same winter maintenance budget and had used about 56 per cent of it by Jan. 19. The previous year it ended up exceeding the budget by about 25 per cent.

There is always the risk of a curve snowball being tossed to the town, pushing it beyond its set figures.

Compared to other municipalities in the province that have put a freeze on all department spending, we appear to be in good shape.

If the town does deplete it’s winter maintenance budget before the end of the fiscal year, and we hope that doesn’t happen, council will not give us a cold shoulder but will make a decision where the necessary funds would come from to finish the season.

We are fortunate in Truro to have strong leadership looking after residents with safety top of mind.

Geographic location: Truro, Prince Street

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