Snow day over­time to cost county $1.3 mil­lion

Five sep­a­rate storms tap into emer­gency re­serve

The Enterprise - - Front Page - By JAC­QUI ATKIELSKI jatkiel­ski@somd­news.com

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

event.”

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.

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