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South Boston restocks for next snowfall

SoVaNow.com / January 25, 2018
The good news for the South Boston Public Works Department is that this week has been easier than last — not surprising, since a week ago the staff was dealing with a major snowstorm that hit the region.

The bad news? “They (forecasters) are already calling for something late next week,” said Danny McCormick of the department. “I sure hope they’re wrong.”

Frigid and snowy weather in January has already depleted the town’s $45,000 budget for snow removal, and any additional storms are likely to trigger a request for more money. The $45,000 annual appropriation is enough to pay for snow removal with one major storm; supplemental requests would go to South Boston Town Council for approval after cleanup work has already taken place.

McCormick said it’s been a hectic few weeks for members of the department with two snowstorms this month. The first snowfall began Wednesday, Jan. 4 and brought a light dusting, but it also was accompanied by frigid temperatures. Then came the nine-inch plus snow that started falling late Tuesday, Jan. 16, extending through the day and most of the night Wednesday. That storm virtually shut down the community and left Public Works with a massive street-clearing job on its hands.

McCormick said employees of the department each spent between 24 and 48 hours tending to roadways in the town with each storm. Cumulatively, Public Works staff put in about 700 hours of manpower time, plus another 700 hours of equipment usage.

With the prospect of more snow in the forecast this winter, the department has replenished its supply of sand, said McCormick. However, additional supplies of salt are on order, after reserves were tapped to deal with the two January storms.

According to Mickey Wilkerson of the town’s Finance Department, the snow removal budget is depleted. “We budget $45,000 each year for snow removal (enough to pay for one snowstorm) and that’s been spent,” she said. Supplemental funding for snow removal will have to be sought from Town Council should the need arrive, she explained.

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