Snow day overtime to cost county $1.3 million
Five separate storms tap into emergency reserve
The St. Mary’s County commissioners approved last Tuesday to spend $1.3 million of their emergency reserve to pay for staff overtime, emergency pay, snow removal and other services during this past winter’s four snow events and one windstorm.
Along with the four snowstorms on Dec. 8, Jan. 4, Jan. 17 and March 21, there was also a winter windstorm that tore through the county on March 2, with gusts up to 70 miles per hour.
Each snowstorm was recorded to have dropped at least 5 inches of snow.
St. Mary’s public schools were closed on Jan. 4 and 5, Jan. 9, March 2 and March 21. Students had a twohour delay on Jan. 17 for icy roads
and on March 22.
Commissioner Mike Hewitt (R) said the windstorm was “quite an
Jeannett Cudmore, county chief financial officer, said the cost of paying people to clear snow and ice from the streets and other fees accumulated during the five winter
weather events totaled to $1.3 million, including $450,000 “to cover overtime and emergency pay, $79,000 for non-personal service accounts, and $857,000 for contract services related” to supplies
such as salt.
Prior to approving the budget amendments, the commissioners’ emergency reserve account balance was at $1.7 million. After paying for the additional salary and supplies
to combat the weather events, the reserve balance will be $509,252.
Cudmore said Monday that the commissioners typically plan emergency funding for one snowstorm, starting at $500,000.
She said they didn’t have to spend more than $500,000 for inclement weather last year.
Commissioners also have a fund balance of unassigned money at $30.3 million.
Staff at the county department of public works saved at least $200,000 by keeping track of the expenses with the hope of being reimbursed by the state, she said.
Hewitt asked if property owners could now burn trees that fell during the storm.
John Groeger, deputy director of public works and transportation, said people can file for burn permits with the state department of natural resources, with weather conditions permitting.
“It’s gotta get cleaned up,” Commissioner Todd Morgan (R) said.