Thursday, March 13, 2008

Tut-tut, looks like rain — lucky you.

They keep referring to this winter as the perfect storm.

Lots of snow. Lots of ice and little money in the city's coffers.

At a budget hearing this week, public works officials said if the city council did not release funds from the city's reserves, then snow plows might not be able to clear the streets if Mother Nature decides to dump one more snow storm on the metro. And forecasters this week were predicting, you guessed it, more snow.

Officials went before the city's finance and audit committee Wednesday asking for an additional $1.5 million to help pay for snow removal for the remainder of the fiscal year. Already the city has spent its budgeted $1.2 million attempting to keep close to 900 miles of roadway clear during this past snow-filled winter.

Council members were reluctant, obviously, to give public works more money after it had already warned the department last July that money might not be available around this time of the year with analysts already predicting that not enough was being pumped into snow removal programs.

Budget officials said if the City Council did not grant the extra money, they had two options: wait until summer to refill their supply of sand or simply not plow the streets.

But with rain now in the forecast instead of snow, it looks like everybody can avoid the financial thin ice that the city is skating around.

For more on this, and other City Hall news, pick up a copy of The Northeast News each Wednesday.