Winter Storms Costing Brookline Nearly $2M
Federal government to reimburse town for some January storm damage.
This winter’s onslaught of bruising storms has already cost Brookline more than $1.9 million, far surpassing its budget for snow and ice removal, according to town officials.
Public Works Commissioner Andrew Pappastergion came to the Brookline Board of Selectmen last night to again ask for an additional $300,000 to pay the contractor who helps town workers plow roads and clear away snow. Pappastergion already came to the board in January to request $277,000 to get it his department through the year.
“Obviously, that didn’t work out to well for any of us,” the commissioner said.
At least some of the town’s costs may be reimbursed by the federal government after President Barack Obama declared on Monday that Massachusetts had been in a state of emergency during the punishing storm that blanketed the region with around 18 inches of wet, heavy snow on Jan. 11 and 12.
The designation means communities can be reimbursed for up to 75 percent of certain costs associated with cleanup from the storm, including personnel overtime and contractual services. Pappastergion said he believes the town may be reimbursed for $300,000 to $350,000 of the $500,000 spent to plow roads and repair trees during the storm.
In all, the commissioner estimated that the town has spent around $1.93 million cleaning up after this winter’s storms, including:
- $600,000 for in overtime pay for town workers.
- $890,000 for contractors, including a company hired to help repair damaged trees.
- $439, 000 for salt, sand, pot hole patches and other material
The $300,000 approved by selectmen last night will cover $261,000 already owed to D’Allesandro Corporation, a contractor who does snow and ice work for the town, plus $39,000 to cover any snow removal work this winter. Selectmen already approved a $277,000 payment to the contractor in January as well as the original contract cost of $68,000.
Officials had originally budgeted $412,000 for snow removal this winter, so the latest numbers leave the town with a $1.6 million deficit. Under state law, the town can pay for much of that with surpluses from other accounts at the end of the fiscal year.
Meanwhile, it’s possible the town could rack up more snow-removal costs before warmer weather takes hold, as selectwoman Jesse Mermell reminded the board Tuesday night.
“This is New England and I don’t want us to jinx anything by celebrating the end of the snow season too soon,” she said.