The Department of Public works tallied the snow removal budget from the snowstorm in the beginning of January and are close, but not over, the allotted $400,000 budget.
“This year, we started getting snow early and we just got a report that as of January 13, we have $68,000 left,” Department of Public Director Jay Gill said. “ We just went before the Finance Committee and requested more money.”
By law, the snow budget is the only budget towns are allowed to go over on so long as the Towns approve a budget increase.
“The trouble we’ve had this year is long duration storms,” Gill said. “You’re going through man hours and after the story, if we don’t get the weather to warm up so the sand and salt can melt, it takes longer for the roads to clear up. It took us a couple days to get the roads in good conditions. “The most recent storm on January 2 and 3 had a duration of 38 hours.”
The DPW had 35 pieces of equipment out during the storm and hired 15 contractors. When asked if that benefited the local Dunkin Donuts, Gill said that the Winchester Pantry stays open during the plowing hours to provide coffee and other amenities for the drivers.
Gill said you never know what you’re going to get with storms, which makes preparing for them a challenge. “Personally, I’m not happy until April 1st.”
The DPW starts by sanding and salting the roads and then goes into full-scale plow mode after three inches. Once the storm stops, the DPW makes sure the main streets are plowed and then goes for the side streets, parking lots and the sidewalks. Gill said that there are roughly 60 miles worth of sidewalks in Winchester and the DPW tries to plow 30 miles near the school routes. They put the snow in the Transfer Station.
”The Department of Public Works makes roads passable, people make them safe,” Gill said.