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Last Week’s Snow Storm Cost Milford $55K

Most of storm-related expenses go to OT and outside help.

A partially-frozen Milford Duck Pond with the First United Church of Christ in the background on Monday, Jan. 6. Credit: Jason Bagley
A partially-frozen Milford Duck Pond with the First United Church of Christ in the background on Monday, Jan. 6. Credit: Jason Bagley
More than 600 hours of overtime helped run up the cost of last week’s snow storm – the first true winter event of the season in Milford – to about $55,000, according to Mayor Ben Blake.

“This was a pretty significant one; it was a near-blizzard,” Blake said of a blustery, frigid storm that felled about eight inches of snow locally.

“Our public works did a fantastic job responding to the storm,” he said. “They worked around the clock. We threw everything at this storm.”

Blake said the storm cost the city some $22,000 for 640 hours of overtime pay for public works employees; about $25,000 for 140 hours of work from private contractors; and about $7,500 for the cost of salt and sand.

Responsible for those expenses is the operating budget of the public works highway and parks division. This winter’s budget allocates $100,000 for overtime; $60,000 for snow removal; $45,000 for sand; and $30,000 for “ice control expense.”

The mayor said there’s also a “special storm reserve account” that the city can tap into if funds from the operating budget become depleted. Currently, that account holds more than $200,000, he said.

The bulk of the reserve account consists of reimbursement funds from FEMA for municipal costs incurred during and after the big blizzard last February that dropped upwards of three feet of snow in the area.

Blake said the local cost for that historic storm approached half a million dollars. The Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, reimbursed 75 percent of eligible costs for 72 hours of cleaning, he said.
MJ January 07, 2014 at 07:35 AM
Private contractors are paid $178/hour?? Looks like the operating budget has enough funds for three more storms? "Near blizzard"??? Really?
CB January 07, 2014 at 07:37 AM
Did anyone do the math on this -" Blake said the storm cost the city some $22,000 for 640 hours of overtime pay for public works employees; about $25,000 for 140 hours of work from private contractors; ..." ? An average of $34.38 per hour to pay the city workers, and and average of $178.58 per hour to pay the contractors. $178 per hour for contractors to plow roads, hmmmm, I think I need to buy an old truck with a plow.
MJ January 07, 2014 at 08:09 AM
@CB - looks like you and I were doing the math at the same time! I'll split the cost of the truck/plow with you! We'll should even have enough $$ to buy health insurance!
CB January 07, 2014 at 08:18 AM
MJ, that sounds like a plan. LOL
John Hanks January 07, 2014 at 09:09 AM
Near blizzard, Mayor Blake? C'mon, just because the weather man calls it near blizzard conditions because of the rate of snow fall and the poor visibility doesn't change the fact that it was the driest, fluffiest snow I've seen in a while. Plus your snow plow drivers don't plow the entire roadway anyway, so why would it take so long? Ever see these guys sand or salt? They drive 100 yards or so, drop a little sand/salt then another 100 yards, drop a little sand/salt.. it's a joke. Anyone ever notice the clear and immediate difference in the quality of plowing when you enter into Orange from Milford? It's night and day. And I'm with CB.. time to buy an old truck with a plow if the going rate is almost $180/hour.
Hal DePino January 07, 2014 at 09:13 AM
I am not justifying what on the surface seems like a big expense but when you hire a private contractor you are paying for the use of his equipment and all his operating expenses beyond his time. To make a real comparison we would have to factor in the costs associated with the city purchasing and maintaining additional trucks and plows to do the work on top of the hourly OT wage of additional workers to operate them. It is possible contractors are the more economical option given the few number of real snow storms we get each year.
MJ January 07, 2014 at 09:28 AM
@ Hal - I agree that more likely it s/b more economical to hire additional help… but if these #'s are correct, then there is a serious MANAGEMENT problem. Did the Mayor hire a replacement for Big Bruce to mange the DPW? If so, what is "the plan" for each storm? Who is responsible to manage the assignments?
mike January 07, 2014 at 11:30 AM
In front of my house and my neighbors was never plowed. They actually piled the snow up there making it almost impossible to get out. My neighbor and I shoveled the street ourselves. I called public works and the lady that answered the phone didn't seem to care. This is not the first time this has happened.
MJ January 07, 2014 at 12:44 PM
Our street was not plowed until 11am the next day, it was really easy to get out using front wheel drive…5" light fluffy snow… I would love to see a copy of the "mysterious" 22 plow routes!! Can the Patch get them with FOI?
Corinne Miller January 07, 2014 at 01:39 PM
John, I agree with all your points! Milford Public Works extremely sub-par. Local roads are always terrible for days after any snow event. And Mike, you are right. Whoever answers the phone at Public Works is completely indifferent. I'm guessing it's a union worker who gets paid just for showing up, not for solving problems or addressing concerns.
RoOsTeR January 07, 2014 at 01:50 PM
Don't be fooled by Milford DPW, bunch of unprofessional lame brains who could care less about anything, been dealing with them for years from Bruce down to the receptionists and have only had negative experiences and disrespect. Absolute joke no confidence and nothing positive to say concerning these bunch of slack jaws.
Corinne Miller January 07, 2014 at 02:15 PM
Are they the ones who throw my trash pails and recycling bin smack into the middle of my driveway after emptying every week? And the plowers...must they hit my mailbox and knock it down every other time? It costs money to fix it, you know. DPW says unless I show them video footage of their workers doing the damage, they will not help.
Kokopop January 09, 2014 at 08:30 AM
and this is just the winter....watch in the summer when 4 men stand on the Milford Green and only one works while 3 stand and watch...we are way over paying some of these clowns for nothing.
MJ January 10, 2014 at 12:21 PM
@koko… not really fair to blame the workers (nor call them names)… look at the root of the problem - who is the supervisor that assigned 4 workers to a 1 or 2 man job? Who is the DIRECTOR of the department? Who is the Mayor? The answer is simple: Poor Mangement from the MAYOR on down...

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