The Winchester Department of Public Works has used up nearly all of its $400,000 snow budget this winter, according to Director Jay Gill.
Of the $400,000 allocated for this winter, only about $12,000 remains, or in other words: About 97 percent of the overall snow removal budget has been used, according to Gill.
"We spent about $87,000 on plowing operations during the blizzard," Gill said. "This year we've had 22 snow events compared to just 14 last year."
In 2012, Winchester DPW returned about $150,000 to the town from their snow budget account thanks in large part to a sparse winter, according to Gill.
Winchester has already received about 43 inches of snow this winter, compared to 17 inches in 2012, according to Gill.
During the blizzard of 2013, Gill explained that there were some equipment issues that cropped up that needed to be addressed.
"We lost the rear-end on a truck which cost us about $2,400," Gill said. "We had some problems with a Bombadier (sidewalk tractor) after one of the cleats fell off that so that cost about $3,000 to $4,000 to get that sent out and repaired."
The DPW is currently working to widen roads using three Bombadiers with snowblower attachments, while sidewalk clearing was completed about 3-4 days ago, Gill said on Thursday.
With a storm potentially dropping another several inches to a foot of snow this weekend, Gill said the remainder of the snow budget will likely be used up. And, this storm has Gill a bit more concerned than previous snowstorms.
"I'm hearing all kinds of forecasts for this storm," Gill said of the storm expected to hit the Winchester region this weekend. "What I'm worried about with this storm is it is going to be heavy, wet snow versus the light snow we got during the blizzard. This snow could do more damage due to the wetness of the snow coming down."
Gill said he would be meeting with his entire staff Friday morning to map out a plan for this weekend's snowstorm. Because of the heavy, wet snow that may fall during the storm, Gill said that chains will likely be put on the tires of DPW's vehicles.
"Winchester...I call it 'The Valley' because we have hills all around us and we use chains here a lot, and when you get a wet, heavy snow you need chains because sometimes these trucks will get stuck," Gill explained. "(Friday) we will put all the plows on them, and we've been going through to check the blades to make sure they are not worn and replace anything that needs to be replaced before the storm hits."
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