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Town Blows Way Through Snow and Ice Budget

Despite this mild winter, the Department of Public Works has already spent its snow and ice budget.

The has spent more than its original $175,000 snow and ice budget and asked the Board of Selectmen to declare a snow emergency on Tuesday night. 

According to Town Administrator Greg Balukonis, the DPW spent $203,693 as of Tuesday -- despite only 10 inches of snow so far. Most of the money wasn't spent on snow removal though.

According to the DPW, a majority of the money was spent on pre-storm and post-storm maintenance and overtime. For example, the October snowstorm cost the DPW $31,000 in overtime. They have spent $77,000 total on snow and ice overtime, according to the DPW.

The board at its meeting Tuesday questioned the amount spent on overtime and requested more information from DPW Director Dick Carnevale.

"I need to know how to answer people around town," Selectman Mike Prisco said about the money spent despite little snow.

Last year, 92 inches of snow fell and the DPW spent $900,000 on snow and ice removal. 

The selectmen requested DPW Director Dick Carnevale provide more information regarding overtime costs and costs associated with the October storm. The board will make a decision about whether to grant a snow emergency, which will allow the DPW to spend more than they have in its budget, at its next meeting.

Jessica February 10, 2012 at 12:07 PM
This sounds crazy.
Ruth Kennedy February 10, 2012 at 12:42 PM
I understand that the DPW low balls the snow removal amount annually for budget purposes. But this comes across as disingenuous at best and outright deceitful at worst. Is it any wonder that folks may question budget items when numbers like this are what it presented? I would strongly urge a more realistic figure for snow and ice removal in the future.
Maureen Vacca February 10, 2012 at 01:08 PM
The DPW overtime mentioned (520 hours!) was NOT for snow & ice removal. The DPW director said that he awarded the overtime to crew members to perform some minor repairs on vehicles & maintenance to the DPW garage. Charging that overtime to the snow & ice budget is wrong and should be corrected. It should be charged to the DPW overtime account. The question then turns to ALL overtime budgets and how they are used. What is the policy on the use of overtime budgets? Do directors utilize that account on an 'as needed basis' only? Or to supplement the departments budget & salary accounts? It comes down to priorities & restraint in spending. In my opinion overtime budgets should be used 'as needed' with the intent to return unused funds to the general fund at year-end.
Chris February 10, 2012 at 01:26 PM
The Town needs to get a handle on eliminating Overtime. They also need to make it more difficult to be able to obtain OT. From the looks of this, it seems the directors of the local services cannot handle the ability to control costs and hands out OT when ever they feel like it. What would it feel like if they have their own business and it's THEIR money. I bet OT would be non-existent. This continues to be another classic case of OPM (Other Peoples Money). when its not theirs, who cares. Either the town manager or the selectman need to bring OT back to them for approval and get it out of the hands of the directors. This will give alot better control of costs and also keep the town manager and Selectman aware of what is going on and not being blindsided and help over a barrel. This is getting out of control. I have been in the town 17 years and this is another example of wasteful spending. And now the town wants a school?? How many hands are going to be in that?? I do not want to continue to have my HARD EARNED dollars go to this mismanaged town management. It's extremely frustrating. I would deny the OT and any additional funds to the DPW and we need to fire people who do not have the best interest of the town and its Citizens first
Fred Chalmers February 10, 2012 at 05:31 PM
I also agree with others here that this practice is disingenuous at best and outright fraudulent at worst. I'd be curious to know how long this "accounting method" has been used for the DPW's snow removal budget. Perhaps an audit of the past 10 years or so is in order.
Anthony Martinez February 10, 2012 at 06:01 PM
Let's fix this broke wagon...
vincent savioli February 10, 2012 at 06:55 PM
You voters keep electing the same people
kathy February 11, 2012 at 12:11 AM
the money was spent on overtime to repair trucks etc. what is the job description for an eight hour day. do we not pay a town mechanic to work on trucks.I believe an audit to should be done on the dpw... so the dpw got the overtime for snow removal anyway.it's good to be a dpw worker.
Jessica February 11, 2012 at 12:51 AM
Must be great to be a federal, state, or local worker.
Mark Harrison February 11, 2012 at 01:36 AM
As a taxpayer it is difficult to effect change. Oddly, as a Town Mgr. one can spend funds prior to requesting approval to do so (who do the DPW management request overages to be spent prior to the work being done??). I would assume the overages have currently been paid via weekly Town payroll - so the question is "why ask for an override when an irresponsible action has already ocurred". Maybe taxpayers should begin to reduce RE payments for assummed portions of the overages they disagree with - would make an interseting law case to study.
John Intorcio February 11, 2012 at 08:22 AM
Giggle. Snort. Imagine how much they would have spent if it SNOWED!!!
Fred Chalmers February 11, 2012 at 03:59 PM
Now *that's* funny! (John's comment, not the reality behind it :^)
Chris February 11, 2012 at 04:31 PM
This is perfect opportunity to finally put a stop to all this nonsense and get down to brass tax regarding costs, etc. The DPW is out of control along with town health care, pensions, RE taxes, etc. This has to STOP! The selectman need to step up put a stop to all funding until we fully understand where are dollars are going. Maybe if the town can show some fiscal responsibility, then maybe the new school vote will not be as hard to swallow.
Nick February 13, 2012 at 11:48 PM
Fiscal responsibility is a joke, their answer is raising taxes.

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