BY ANDREW SMITH
STRATFORD – Snow in the air may bring a white Christmas for many people, but for the County of Perth it means more red ink on the budget.
Director of public works Matt Ash said the county’s 2013 winter maintenance budget has gone from bad to worse since December, with regular plowing required.
“We update our projections at the start of December and they’re updated weekly after that,” he said. “Right now we’re looking to be over a considerable amount, probably in excess of a million dollars.”
According to Ash, the amount of work required for the rest of the month is likely to impact the county’s budget, even after taking into account a $200,000 surplus from the summer maintenance budget for the county and depleting the winter maintenance reserve. Providing some perspective, Ash said an average winter requires 10,000 tonnes of salt, and up to Dec. 15 this year the county has used 14,000 tonnes this year. Ash added that it costs approximately $2,500 an hour for county staff to respond to winter weather.
“Given that we’re already over our projected expenses for December, every hour we plow will be another $2,500,” Ash said. “It’s the unfortunate reality we’re facing this year.”