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Snow removal may go $4.5M over budget

Despite a very warm winter, HRM is projecting a snow removal deficit in the millions.

Despite a very warm winter, HRM is projecting a snow removal deficit in the millions.

The municipality has spent $18.2 million so far this season on snow removal and road salting, according to winter works superintendent Gordon Hayward. That’s $3.1 million more than what HRM budgeted for.

“We’re projecting a total deficit of $4.5 million,” said Hayward, adding $2 million of that will be covered by reserve funds set aside in the budget.

Hayward said HRM intentionally budgets conservatively, recognizing any spending gap as corporate risk.

“Not to go so far as (to) say the program is underfunded,” Hayward said. “They would budget low and then corporately recognize a risk, and do whatever has to be done in other areas to cover the deficit.”

While the winter was mild and had few storms, Hayward said crews worked a number of days that may seem “unremarkable” to most.

“It was reasonably mild, and ... the statistics bear that out,” Hayward said.

“But still ... a lot of the snow that we had, particularly through December, was unremarkable.

“It costs more money to remove four- or five- centimetre snowfalls than one 20-cm snowfall.”

 
 
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