WAKEFIELD — It looks like the winter of 2014-15, one of the snowiest on record in Wakefield, will be the most expensive.
According to DPW Director Richard Stinson, bills are still coming in but the town will come “pretty close” to the $1,850,000 already allocated for snow and ice removal. Stinson said $1,803,000 had been paid out to cover much of the cost of cleaning up after over 114.25 inches of snow and there are a couple of salting operations the DPW has performed since then.
“Right now we’re pretty close to what we requested,” Stinson explained. The initial annual appropriation for snow and ice removal was $650,000 and until the end of January the budget was holding up well. Then the snow really flew, with nine inches on Saturday, Jan. 24, followed by a major 30-inch blizzard Jan. 26 and 27, followed by another foot of snow Feb. 2 and 3, followed by another 18 or so inches on Feb. 8 and 9.
This winter was a tough one, particularly during a two week stretch that saw nearly 70 inches of snow come down. And it will be costly.
The $1.85 million that will be spent this year is by far the most ever. Since 2001, the four most expensive winters were 2010-11 ($1,053,000), 2004-05 ($998,000), 2014 ($953,000) and 2008-09 ($922,000).
The DPW director has had to asked for a total of $1.2 million in snow and ice account overdrafts, on top of the original $650,000 annual allocation.
Stinson joked this morning that he hoped this would be the last group of questions he’d have to answer from the Daily Item about the cost of the winter of 2014-15.