B y Dan King

The Town of Whitehall’s fund balance took a hit this winter, and the weather was largely to blame.

Between the general fund balance and the highway fund balance, there has been a drop of $71,966, but there is no need to panic, officials said.

“$45,000 of that is the grant we used for the town and village court,” said Supervisor George Armstrong. “The rest of the decline is mostly salt, sand and some major repairs.”

The general town-wide fund balance dropped from $266,629 to $221,255, the decrease almost entirely from using the $45,000 in grant money.

“You have to store that grant money somewhere, so we kept it in the fund balance and then it comes out when we use it,” Armstrong said.

In the highway department, the town-wide fund balance dropped from $97,281 to $72,505, the decrease attributed to the brutal winter.

“The total number of tons (of salt and sand) delivered is absolutely incredible,” Armstrong said.

The decline of $24,776 comes from the amount of salt and sand, as well as some repairs the department had to make, which were not anticipated in the budget.

“It’s a lot of sand, it’s a lot of salt and it’s major equipment,” said highway superintendent Louie Pratt.

Pratt said that things could have been worse.

“It could have been a lot worse though,” he said. “The county used 17,000 tons and I feel guilty because I bought 700 tons. The county ran out of salt a couple times too, they had trucks going from Fort Ann down to Cambridge to get a load of salt. If they had more access to salt they probably would have purchased around 20,000 tons.”

The state requires that each highway department has a town-wide fund balance of at least $51,000, Armstrong said.

“If you get down to what the state wants you at, you’re in trouble,” he said. “A lot of towns have so much in their fund balance that they could operate their next year’s budget on it.”

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