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Winter weather puts snow removal over budget

Belleville snowbank [1]

Snowbanks are reaching impressive heights in Belleville. Photo by Suzanne Coolen

By Erin Stewart [2]

BELLEVILLE – Huge amounts of snow this winter have pushed Belleville’s snow-removal operation over budget.

“I know we are over, but by how much I couldn’t tell you,” Pat McNulty [3], the city’s manager of transportation and fleet services, told QNet News Thursday.

The city will use reserve funds from previous winters when there was less snow to make up the difference, McNulty said.

“On light winters some of the money goes into reserves, and we draw from that money on heavy winters,” like the winter we are experiencing, he said.

McNulty added that he has not been over budget with snow removal since he came to work at the department in 2008. He does not remember the last time this area has experienced a winter like this one, he said.

Clearing sidewalks has become a slower process because blowers have been added on to the sidewalk plows due to the large amount of snow, McNulty said. “When I do that it goes a lot slower cause they just can’t move as fast when they are blowing snow.” Crews are still working around the clock to clear the snow, he said.

“Be patient. We’ve got a great staff here and they do a good job. Like I said, they have been working 24 hours around the clock for quite a while now. So I think we are doing a good job and I hope everyone else does too.”

A posting on the city’s website [4]says that the snow-removal crew includes “50 full time and four casual staff (and) all of them have been working the maximum 12 hour shifts to help the City work around the clock.”

McNulty advised drivers to be cautious around large snowbanks because children like to play in them.