Winter storms stretch town budgets

"We're backed up quite a few hours," Gifford said.

However, funding begins anew on Thursday, Jan. 1, and the rest of the financial effects of the winter weather will come out of the 2009 budgets.

Guilderland Supervisor Ken Runion also said the town was well prepared for the snow.

"We anticipate a number of storms. We anticipate overtime," said Runion.

Albany County Department of Public Works Commissioner Michael Franchini added that the county has performed a sizable number of snow and ice operations since Dec. 11. It handles 290 county roads and the 114 state roads that it is contracted to clean for the Department of Transportation. However, he said, they have not reached their budgeted cap on overtime.

Officials also noted that President George Bush declared New York in a state of emergency, making it eligible for federal funds to helped pay for the damage resulting from the Dec. 11 ice storm that left many people without power.

Gov. David Paterson thanked the president for the declaration on Friday, Dec. 19, and requested funding to help the hardest hit municipalities get through the difficult situation.

"I would like to thank President Bush for issuing an emergency declaration to New York state for last week's ice storm. But we're only halfway there," Paterson said in a written statement. "Now I ask him to give us the assistance I specifically requested: Reimbursement to the 16 counties and local governments for the costs incurred in protecting the lives and property of the hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers who suffered personal hardship in this ordeal."

Capt. John Layton, the Albany County Sheriff's commander of the critical incident emergency management unit, said his department is helping coordinate efforts between local municipalities and the federal government.

"We are working with the states' emergency management office," Layton said. "We have reached out to the local municipalities to coordinate with FEMA."

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