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Middletown Transcript
  • Winter storms threaten to set new state record for cost

  • The total snow accumulation this past winter wasn’t the most Delaware has ever seen, but the frequency of storms could result in the state hitting a new high in terms of cost, according to the Delaware Department of Transportation.
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  • The total snow accumulation this past winter wasn’t the most Delaware has ever seen, but the frequency of storms could result in the state hitting a new high in terms of cost, according to the Delaware Department of Transportation.
    So far this fiscal year, the department has spent $17.65 million on storm preparation and clean-up, or just $150,000 less than the record of $17.8 million set in the winter of 2009-2010 – Delaware’s snowiest season on record.
    Because those costs cover all storms during the fiscal year, which runs from July 1 to June 30, DelDOT spokesman Jim Westoff said he is certain the department will break the former record later this year.
    In the Middletown-Odessa-Townsend area, a total of 13 snowstorms with measureable accumulation resulted in town governments spending more than they had expected this winter.
    In Middletown, however, those costs are not expected to set a new bar.
    “This winter was bad, but it wasn’t as bad as 2010,” Town Councilman James Reynolds said. “What did make it difficult, though, was all the storms we had to prepare for. It seemed like whenever they predicted a little, we got a lot, and when they predicted a lot, we got a little.”
    Reynolds said the town prepares its trucks and other equipment in advance of each predicted snowstorm and then appoints one person to watch the storm and call in town workers when the accumulation reaches a certain point.
    “That’s how we’re able to keep ahead of the snow and I think our guys do a tremendous job,” he said. “You can’t please everybody, but our streets are always clear enough for emergency vehicles to get through, thanks to our crews, which often work 12-hour shifts at a time.”
    In addition to plowing town-maintained streets, town workers also clear and salt Main Street sidewalks, as well as walkways at the homes of more than 150 senior citizens, handicapped residents and others who can’t get outside, he said.
    Unlike Middletown, Townsend does not conduct its own snow removal operations. Instead, it contracts that service out.
    Austin & Bednash Construction currently hold the town’s snow removal contract, a two-year deal that expires later this year.
    “We actually pay them on an hourly rate, but fortunately for us, we don’t have as many streets that we’re responsible for maintaining as other municipalities,” Townsend Mayor Jermaie Hatton said. “And we pay that contract using municipal street aid that we receive from the state, so our local taxpayers don’t actually pay a dime for that service.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Officials with the Town of Odessa could not be reached to comment on this story.
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    STATE SNOW COSTS
    $245,500 – Estimated cost of overtime to close all state offices for one day
    $110,000 – Amount of that estimated cost associated with Department of Health and Social Services’ facilities operations and Division of Facilities Management operations
    $768,000 – Estimated cost of a single day of snow removal for the Delaware Department of Transportation
    -- Data provided by the Delaware Office of Budget and Management
    --------------------------------------------
    DELDOT SNOW EXPENSES
    Salt used: 99,862.36 tons
    Cost of salt used: $6,491,053.40
    Overtime hours worked: 109,804
    Overtime cost: $3,310,590.60
    Miles of sidewalk cleared: 267
    Cost of sidewalk clearing: $878,503
    Subdivision reimbursement: $2,767,831.13
    TOTAL COST: $17,648,723
    -- Data provided by the Delaware Department of Transportation
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    MIDDLETOWN SNOW EXPENSES
    2013-2014
    Employee Overtime – $75,242.07
    Salt, Sand & Parts – $29,859.14
    Total – $105,101.21
    2012-2013
    Employee Overtime – $429.48
    Salt, Sand & Parts – $800.15
    Total – $1,229.63
    2009-2010
    Employee Overtime – $118,015.76
    Salt, Sand & Parts – $64,265.04
    Total – $182,280.80
    -- Data provided by Town of Middletown
     -----------------------------------------------
    TOWNSEND SNOW EXPENSE
    (Townsend contracts out snow removal)
    2013-2014
    Budgeted – $5,000
    Actual – $9,062.38
    2012-2013
    Budgeted – $5,000
    Actual – $1,454.90
    2009-2010
    Budgeted – $2,500
    Actual – $10,836.34
    -- Data provided by Town of Townsend

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