CHICOPEE, Mass. (WGGB) — The cost of last week’s storm is mounting up for cities and towns across the Valley.
The snow may have stopped falling from Friday’s massive storm, but the the work in clearing the streets is far from over.
At the height of the storm, the City of Chicopee had 25 city plows and 65 hired plows trying to keep ahead of the storm.
Four days later, the cleanup is still a priority especially on streets like this that lead to a school.
As you can see, the cleanup here in Chicopee continues. The cost of this storm is about $300,000 but authorities say safety trumps cost.
“We’re always looking at safety. Our main roads are first, then secondaries, and now we start working on other ancillary things, like keep the schools open and sidealks open,” says Steven Frederick, Acting Chicopee DPW Superintendent.
The city budgeted $100,000 at the beginning of the season for snow removal but that’s long gone, with the cost of the most recent storm at least tripling that figure.
Cities like Chicopee budget low for a reason.
“It’s a fiscal policy we have. It’s a good one because if we don’t use the money, we can not get that money back if we put too much in it,” Frederick adds.
So what happens when the snow budget is exhausted? Where does the money come from to pay the difference?
“My policy has been to fund those costs out of the free cash we get certified each and every year, so in a way, it’s giving it back to the taxpayers to make sure we have as good a snow removal as there is in western Mass,” says Chicopee Mayor Michael Bissonnette.
In Chicopee, their free cash fund totals more than $6,000,000 and it comes from surplus revenue.
Frederick says the cost of the storm involves a lot of man hours and hired equipment. Materials weren’t that costly because it wasn’t salt heavy storm.