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Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Westport Gears Up for Storm, Snow Budget Exhausted

Westport’s snow budget is long exhausted, but that’s had no impact on how the town’s Public Works Department is gearing up for today’s expected snowstorm.

Public Works Director Steve Edwards said he anticipated his entire 17-vehicle fleet would be on the road in late afternoon and evening laying down a sand and salt mixture as the snow begins to fall. snowaccident260.jpg Flashback: This accident on Roseville Road occurred during the Jan. 18 snowstorm. Linda Gramatky Smith for WestportNow.com

Because of the storm, Westport public schools had early dismissal today and all after school and continuing education activities were canceled.

In addition the School Start Time Committee meeting scheduled for 3 p.m. was postponed until Thursday, and a Board of Education meeting scheduled tonight was rescheduled for Wednesday night.

The Zoning Board of Appeals also canceled its session for tonight and Wednesday’s Citizens Brown Bag lunch was canceled.

“What budget?” Edwards responded when asked how his budget was standing up to this winter’s parade of snow and ice storms.

He said the town had allocated $220,000 for this year’s storm budget.

“That’s well exceeded,” Edwards said. “We’re probably in the $300,000 to $325,000 range as of today.”

He said his department will go back to the Board of Finance and Representative Town Meeting (RTM) for a supplemental appropriation when the winter is over.

There was a bright spot, however, on the money side. He said he anticipated Westport receiving $40,000 to $50,000 in federal funds for the Dec. 5 storm.

Meantime, his concern is on a dwindling supply of salt.

“The bad news is there’s no sign of a let up and we are getting tight on salt,” he said. “The state is gobbling up all the supplies.”

Edwards said he has not seen this kind of rapidly dwindling salt supply since the winter of 1996.

“That’s when it got so bad everyone was buying salt on the black market,” he said. “But this year, let’s hope, will not be as bad as that.”

Edwards said the good news for today’s anticipated storm is that it will be of relatively short duration, starting late today and ending early Wednesday morning.

He said the town’s fleet would be augmented by four contractors who clean up downtown parking lots and other areas.

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Posted 01/27/04 at 06:16 PM  Permalink



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