WAKEFIELD — The town is positioned in such a financial way that it can absorb the costs from a very severe winter, according to Wakefield’s top professional manager.
Town Administrator Stephen P. Maio was asked to comment on a report published in today’s Boston Globe in which Moody’s Investors Service explains that the federal government’s decision to give the state far less aid for snow cleanup than anticipated “will put significant pressure on city and town budgets.”
According to the Globe, Moody’s has reported that the limited aid from the Federal Emergency Management Agency — covering just the cost of cleaning up the blizzard of Jan. 26-28 — is “credit negative,” a warning of an event that could hurt bond ratings.
Maio said he agreed with Moody’s analysis that cities and towns had to extend themselves to deal with snow and ice during the winter of 2014-15. At one point in the Globe article, a Moody’s analyst said municipalities may have to cut items from their operating budgets to make up for the deficits caused by snow and ice removal.
“We will not have to cut any services,” Maio said. “Our reserves are high, about 13 percent of our operating budget. We’re not happy about spending some of it but we’ve weathered the storm, no pun intended.”
The town spent about $1,850,000 cleaning up 114.25 inches of snow, most of which fell between Jan. 24 and the end of February. Officials don’t think Wakefield will receive any more than about $200,000 in federal assistance.
Gov. Charlie Baker and members of the state’s Congressional delegation had sought a 28-day emergency declaration, ending Feb. 22. Baker estimated that the total cost to state and local government’s from the severe winter weather period this year was close to $400 million, according to the Globe. Officials hoped to get about $300 million.
Washington approved less than $100 million.