Communities Moving Money to Pay for Snow Clean Up

By Amanda Raus
|  Thursday, Feb 6, 2014  |  Updated 7:29 PM EDT
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Seymour declared a state of emergency to transfer funds into the Public Works Department for snow clean up

Amanda Raus, Chris Podosek

Seymour declared a state of emergency to transfer funds into the Public Works Department for snow clean up

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Days before more snow is expected to arrive in Connecticut, the salt shed at the Seymour Department of Public Works is getting replenished thanks to a shift in funds that covers the new materials.

Seymour First Selectman Kurt Miller said $104,000 were moved from the town's fund balance to cover road treatment and overtime hours worked during and after snowstorms.

Miller said Seymour's Board of Selectmen voted to declare a state of emergency through the storm expected to arrive this weekend.

Under the town charter, it was the only way the funds could be moved out of the town's fund balance without requiring approval from the Board of Finance and a town meeting.

“If that money is not spent, it falls immediately back to the bottom line, and goes immediately back to the fund balance,” said Miller.

Miller said planning the snow budget is always a best guess scenario, and the town looks back five years to get an average of what should be spent.

“Some years you're going to get a lot of snow, some years you're not. We try to limit the amount of taxes that people pay, so we put a certain amount in the budget every year with the understanding that we may need to come back and get more,” said Miller.

New Haven also uses the five-year average. This year, city officials are hoping the Board of Aldermen will approve $3.5 million in bonding for new DPW trucks.

“We think that the new trucks are calibrated and use computers to actually adjust the amount of salt and sand that actually can go on the streets, so hopefully, we'll be able to reduce the amount that we use,” said New Haven Mayor Toni Harp.

New Haven already moved money this winter to cover materials and private contractors. Harp said that money is covering the snow clean up now, but it could be depleted if the storms continue.

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