The abnormally brutal winter has forced the village of Barrington to spend more money on snow and ice removal already than it had planned for the whole season, and, as residents know all too well, spring is still likely far away.
“We’re having two winters in one, basically,” Director of Public Works Mark Werksman told the village board this week.
Werksman said the average winter will produce about 38 inches of snow. Barrington has been hit with almost 40 inches already, “and we’re halfway through winter.”
Werksman said crews have used about 1,800 tons of salt to melt snow and ice so far. An average winter would call for around 1,200 to 1,300 tons.
“We’ve been getting hit every two to three days with snowfall ever since Christmas,” he said.
That constant barrage, much of it on weekends, has meant the village has shelled out 1,500 hours of overtime, almost triple the usual amount.
All of this adds up to about $315,000 spent on winter expenses so far, well above the $200,000 budgeted for the entire winter.
Jason Heydon, the director of Barrington’s community and financial services department, said there is a backup plan in case of a harsh winter like this one.
“We always budget about 1 percent of the overall budget to be a contingency (fund),” Heydon said. This year that would be approximately $120,000, he said. The village likely will not have to use all of the contingency fund on snow and ice removal because this year’s budget went into effect Jan. 1, meaning last year’s budget will cover some of the season’s costs.
If the expenses continue to pile up, the village might have to look into cutting back on some capital purchases, including new equipment that is scheduled to be bought this year.
“I hope we don’t get to that point,” Heydon said.Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.