Early start to the season plows through Barrie’s snow budget
Published Thursday, December 6, 2018 5:52PM EST
Last Updated Friday, December 7, 2018 1:44PM EST
Residents in Barrie are no stranger to snow, but there’s no denying the white stuff made an early, and consistent appearance throughout the city, and it has come at a cost.
More than 100 weather events have challenged sanders, salters, and the city's fleet of plows since the start of the year. It has severely dug into the city’s $6-million winter maintenance budget.
“We’re probably eight-to-$900,000 over budget in winter control only,” says Dave Friary, director of roads, parks, and fleet for the city.
According to Friary, there has been a snowball effect from last winter’s ice storm and frequent freezing/thawing cycles to the harsh and snowy November we experienced. All contributed to the over-spending.
Despite the numbers, the city says the extra expenses won’t cost taxpayers. The roads, parks and fleets department expects to find savings elsewhere.
City councillors say they aren’t surprised by the fluctuating costs.
“We do our winter budgets on a five-year average, so we take the last five years, average that out, and we try to project what that’s going to cost, so it’s a bit of a guessing game,” says Doug Shipley.
Councillor Sergio Morales says the city comes in under budget some years. “Our goal at the end of the day is to get your road plowed.”
Barring any major weather disasters, the department in charge of winter maintenance expects to be right on financial target by the end of the year.
“Unless the last three weeks we get something terrible, we’re doing okay,” says Friary.