Long, cold winter led to cost overruns for Montpelier

Local News

An unusually long snow season has created budget concerns in the city of Montpelier.

At a briefing to City Council on Wednesday night, Public Works Director Tom McArdle said the city  spent $121,446 on overtime pay —  nearly double the $64,300 budgeted by the department.

McArdle said all available personnel had to work around the clock for much of the winter on road and sidewalk maintenance. The department even had to call on mechanics and water and sewer division workers for additional help.

He said the city had about 35 percent more snowfall this winter than usual, but that may not have been the biggest headache. Crews would routinely deal with a small amount of snow, followed by freezing rain, day after day for long periods of time.

McArdle says the usual plan is to remove snowbanks once they’re tall enough and wide enough to affect travel lanes and sidewalks. However, with some hindsight, he thinks they need to be removed sooner.

“Waiting for the next storm to remove it all at once didn’t really work out so well,” he said. “The next storm was followed by rain and a freeze-up and it became ice, and we were in a long spell of continuous operation, so we just couldn’t get back to removing it.

“Consequently, they resulted in an ice bank instead of a snowbank, so it became much more difficult to manage.”

McArdle also said that he expects to recommend that the city increase the fines for violations of on-street parking bans.

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