Salty savings for local gov’ts

Temperate winter means moneys saved and productive off season

— Residents might be happy to have only reached for their shovel or primed their snow blower less this winter, but local officials are pleased their salt reserves are piled high.

Municipalities throughout Schenectady County haven’t spread road salt nearly as much as previous winters and dramatically less than last winter’s budget stressing demands. As the official start of spring nears on Tuesday, March 20, local officials are optimistic salt reserves will remain plentiful before next winter. The colder months also tend to see the largest boost in overtime for employees, with roads demanding to be plowed before morning or evening commutes. This winter, overtime savings are allowing municipalities to look outside normal budget restrictions.

“I don’t recall any other winter except back in the 80s like this one,” Rotterdam Highway Superintendent James Longo said. “It has been absolutely amazing,”

Rotterdam typically uses around 300 tons of road salt during the winter, said Longo, which is budgeted around $95,000 for the year. The town still has to face the early months of winter near the end of the year, but Longo estimated so far the town has saved $50,000 to $55,000.

Glenville is looking at reaping even higher savings, which Commissioner of Public Works and Highway Superintendent Thomas Coppola estimated to be around $70,000. To date, Coppola said Glenville has only used a third of its salt that is budget around $140,000.

“This year was extremely light so I will load our shed next year and start our December season with a full shed … to us that is huge,” Coppola said.

Glenville plows only went out around six to seven times this year, he said, but some winters have seen the plows leaving 30 to 40 times a year.

Scotia Superintendent of Public Works Andrew Kohout faced his first winter season and said the village used less salt this winter thanks to a mild February.

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