NORTHBOROUGH, Mass. — When Northborough Department of Public Works Director Dan Nason went to prepare his snow and ice budget report on Feb. 7, the town was still running a surplus.
“How quickly that changes,” Nason told the Board of Selectmen on Monday.
Friday’s blizzard cost the town $72,000, Nason said, leaving the snow and ice budget with a $70,000 deficit. “It was a substantial event,” Nason said, adding that Northborough was hit by 29 inches of snow between Friday and Saturday. “We were one of the heavier hit areas.”
To clear it all, workers plowed 90 miles of road and 13 miles of sidewalk, Nason said.
Legally, the snow and ice budget is one of the few areas where a town may run a deficit. Town Administrator John Coderre said that the town’s goal is to pay the deficit during the current fiscal year rather than put it off until next year. He suggested using money from the town’s reserve account, or transferring funds from other budgets that are running a surplus. “As of today right now, I don’t see an issue with covering this deficit with the reserve account we have,” Coderre said. “However, we don’t know what Mother Nature has in store for us.”
“There aren't a lot do choices we have here,” Selectman Jeff Amberson said. “You have to remove the snow and you have to pay to remove it.”
On the bright side, Nason said that snow removal went smoothly with only a few complaints from residents. “I’m just proud of the staff,” he said. Noting that conditions in Northborough appeared markedly better than those in other towns that he drove through, Nason added, “The second I hit Davidian Bros. Farms, it was like night and day."
Amberson also pointed out that the town suffered almost no power outages, unlike thousands of residents in the eastern part of the state. He attributed this to the tree trimming that was done after Hurricane Sandy in October.
"I think this storm was a real good indicator of why it was done," Amberson said. "The ends justify the means in this case."