ESSEX— Blizzard Charlotte has put the town’s annual snow removal appropriation in the red, though the exact amount of the expected overrun remains undetermined. With an appropriation that stays roughly the same from year to year, Essex budgeted $20,000 for sand and salt purchases, and $20,000 for plowing and sanding, including labor, in the 2013-2014 town budget.
Kelly Sterner, the town’s assistant treasurer/finance director, said about half of the total $40,000 amount had already been spent this winter before the big storm hit on Feb. 8, including about $12,000 from the sand and salt appropriation, and $8,000 from plowing and sanding. Sterner said approval of a federal emergency declaration for the storm may allow the town to obtain some funding reimbursement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
First Selectman Norman Needleman said Thursday he is “very proud and happy,” with the town’s response to the storm, which brought nearly two feet of snow to most locations in Essex. Needleman said the town’s four full-time public works employees, along with several part-time workers and private contractors, worked long hours to clear the roads.
Needleman said the town rented three front-end loaders and two larger tri-axle trucks to supplement its own trucks and plowing equipment. “Let’s hope a storm like this one only happens every 35 years,” he said, referring the blizzard of February 1978.