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As snow flies, officials keep eyes on plow budget

By Barbara Taormina
Union Leader Correspondent

January 22. 2014 12:10AM

NASHUA — With nine weeks or so of winter weather left, Nashua is hoping its snow-plowing budget covers the cost of whatever nature has in store for Southern New Hampshire.

Nashua's Division of Public Works started the winter with a snow budget of $1.3 million. So far, the city has spent $552,000 to plow the city's roads, according to Carolyn O'Connor, finance manager for the DPW.

Nashua also has an Emergency Snow Trust Fund that had a balance of $302,184 at the end of December.

"No funds have been spent from the snow trust fund," said O'Connor in an email response to questions about the city's snow budget.

Budgeting for snow plowing is budgeting for the unknown, and if the city spends what it has earmarked for winter cleanup, the money will need to be scraped together from other accounts.

Last year's $1.2 million plowing budget was almost gone by early March after a February blizzard blanketed the city with nearly 2 feet of snow.

The Department of Public Works does the lion's share of the work clearing Nashua's more than 700 miles of roads. The city owns 66 pieces of equipment, including dump trucks, pickups and sidewalk plows that are operated by crews from the Solid Waste Department.

Nashua also taps the services of about 20 private contractors to help with snow plowing. Nashua budgeted $120,000 for the snow plow contractors. O'Connor said $16,800 has been paid out for those services to date.

As of Dec. 31, the city had $357,560 left in its salt account, which started off at $465,000.

There was also $14,274 left of the $16,000 budgeted for sand.

In addition to those supplies, the city also uses about 2,500 gallons of fuel to keep the plows running.

On average, about 55 inches of snow falls each winter in Nashua. This year's snow fall total was at about 24 inches before Tuesday night's storm.

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