Multiple storms strain snow budgets

A lthough Washington County has become a winter wonderland for fans of outdoor sports such as snowmobiling, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing, the costs of keeping the roads used to get to the trailheads clear and safe are straining the budgets of the Granville village and town crews.

Granville Town Highway Superintendent John Tanner said the frequency of the storms and the amount of snow dropped on area highways have become the problem. As with frequent ice storms and freezing precipitation in past winters, Tanner said, it is the number of trips out and the miles logged that have costs headed in a worrisome direction.

The driving force behind the higher cost of moving snow is the cost of petroleum products, he said.

Costs for everything — from fuel and oil to any of the parts associated with snow removal have soared. “We feel just like a homeowner. It seems like everything we touch is going up,” Tanner said.

In the village Department of Public Works Superintendent Dan Williams said snow removal costs really surge when multiple big storms hit the village in close proximity to one another. Once again the costs come down to fuel, he said, and the village burns a lot of fuel cleaning up from the storms.

“It’s when we end up having to clear up all the side streets that the costs really go up for us,” Williams said.

The village ends up spending a lot of time operating machinery to remove the mounds of snow accumulated within the village, which have to go to make room for the next storm, Williams said. Those machines burn fuel, which even with state contract pricing is up to more than $3 per gallon for the sidewalk plow, skid-steer and front-end loader as well as dump trucks and plows.

Both men said costs associated with overtime are not as significant a concern as fuel costs.

Heavy snows are having a different impact on the Granville school district.

“So far so good,” business manager Cathy Somich said, regarding snow removal expenditures.

Despite increases in fuel costs the district was still within the fuel cost estimates budgeted for the winter. Manpower costs had likewise been anticipated. “As far as energy use, we’re right there,” she said.

One area that is difficult to anticipate is how often school might need to be canceled or ended early.

Superintendent Mark Bessen said the district is almost out of snow days. “We’ve got one left; anything after that would probably have to come off of April break,” Bessen said. The school district started the season with three snow days and has used two this month.

Comments

comments

Read more in this week's Sentinel in newsstands now or click here to read right now with our e-edition.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Northshire Freepress 12/19/14

North Country Freepress – 12/19/14

Weekender 12/12/14

Lakes Region Freepress 12/19/14

Classifieds 12/17/14

Girls fall to Greenwich in opener

A stingy defense was too much for Granville to overcome in season opener Friday night. Granville was held to seven […]

Girls compete with Cougars

The Whitehall girls’ basketball team (0-3) is still seeking its first win of the season. However, the girls stuck with […]

Boys’ hoops handed first loss

After leaping out to a 2-0 start, the Whitehall boys’ basketball team was grounded at North Warren, 65-43. To say […]

Main Street rebounding, says dog salon owner

Dog Salon

By Dan King Malin Shepherd’s new dog salon on Main Street is a sign, she says, that the street is […]

What are you drinking?

Whitehall water

By Dan King If you live in the Village of Whitehall, your drinking water is perfectly healthy. That’s what the […]

Dared by friends, she write a novel

Author

By Derek Liebig It started with a dare. A few years ago, Granville resident Michele Sargent was having lunch with […]

Town to host hearing on fire protection

By Derek Liebig The town board will hold a public hearing later this month on proposed contracts for fire protection […]