December storms mean dipping early into snow removal budgets

Amanda Jess
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NEW GLASGOW – Two storms down, one to go. That’s how the week has been shaping up so far.

Kenny MacNutt takes the wheel of one of the many snow plows out in full force yesterday in New Glasgow. John Brannen – The News

Pictou County has already been hit a few times by the big bad winter monster, but New Glasgow town engineer Earl MacKenzie says it’s too early to tell the monetary effects.

“There’s a potential to impact the budget, but I’m not concerned yet,” he says.

New Glasgow set aside $318,000 for street and sidewalk cleanup in the 2013-2014 budget.

They allow for a small number of full cleanups in the downtown area.

MacKenzie says early season storms like Sunday’s receive more attention from their crew as there’s a bigger potential for shoppers to be outside.

They had many trucks out during the storm over the weekend, as well as a full crew on Monday.

“Earlier, we try to put more effort into it.”

He also notes that in December, some people still haven’t put on winter tires and are just getting adjusted to winter road conditions.

It’s difficult to compare the snowfall so far to previous years.

“Every year is different,” MacKenzie says.

According to data from Environment Canada, New Glasgow received 88.9 mm (8.89 cm) of precipitation last year in the month of December.

They didn’t distinguish how much of that was snow or rain.

So far this month, the totals are listed at 54.7 mm, but that’s based on incomplete data.

No amounts were available for Sunday or Wednesday’s snowfalls.

However, Sunday’s totals have been estimated to be between 15 and 20 cm.

Twenty to 30 cm were forecast for Wednesday.

With freezing rain expected on Sunday, it’s already shaping up to be a wetter December than last year.

Trenton chief administrative officer Cathy MacGillivray is hoping this past week isn’t an indication of what’s to come for the rest of the winter.

They have already used $4,700 of their snow removal budget as of Nov. 30.

They’ve allotted for $40,000 this year, compared to $52,000 last year.

The price for cleanups vary, but weekends are the biggest struggle, requiring the town to pay employees double time and a half.

Trenton’s salt budget for 2013-2014 is $55,000. Last year they spent $52,500.

Pictou and Stellarton have both allotted $95,000 in their respective budgets for snow removal and salt.

Westville’s snow removal budget wasn’t available, but they’ve allotted $60,000 for salt.

On Twitter: @NGNewsAmanda

Organizations: Environment Canada

Geographic location: New Glasgow, Pictou County

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