02/26/14 — Storms leave big bill

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Storms leave big bill

By Matt Caulder
Published in News on February 26, 2014 2:05 PM

Recent winter storms added unexpected expenses to the budgets of the city of Goldsboro and the state Department of Transportation office in Wayne County.

The two recent storms that hit the county cost DOT $58,000 in road pre-treating with brine, $281,000 in clearing primary roads such as U.S. 70 and I-795 and $114,000 in snow plowing secondary roads.

The total bill of $453,000 far exceeds the $138,000 spent last year for brining and snow removal in the county.

Statewide, $52.5 million has been spent so far in the 2013-2014 fiscal year on snow and ice clearing, with $18.3 million coming from the last snowstorm in mid February, DOT communications specialist Jennifer Garifo said. Last year, the state spent $28.4 million on snow and ice clearing and road pre-treatment.

In Goldsboro, the cost to the city for the storms came in the form of overtime for employees as well as the cost of replacing the city's salt reserves.

During both storms, a little more than 650 hours of overtime were allowed for city employees to clear streets and for emergency personnel.

The cost of the overtime totaled a little more than $17,000, with $10,700 going to the first storm and about $6,300 spent on the second storm.

In addition to the manhours, the city also depleted its salt reserves.

Following the first storm, Public Works Director Jose Martinez said he ordered 50 tons of salt to replenish the city's salt reserves.

The city now has 30-40 tons left in its reserves but cannot order any more until the winter season is over.

"All of the East Coast suppliers are out by now," he said. "We would have to go west to get some and we wouldn't be able to buy it for what we can this summer. It's supply and demand. When the season is over, the prices will fall."

Martinez is not worried about coming storms as Public Works still has enough salt for two more storms like those experienced over the past couple of months.

"If we did run out, we would ask the (DOT) for help with our roads," Martinez said.

To replenish the city's 100-ton supply will cost about $7,000 to $8,000 in the off-season, Martinez said.

"We could get it right now, but we wouldn't be paying a good price for it," Martinez said. "It's not something you budget for every year because you don't use it every year."

Once the season is over, Martinez will order about 60-70 tons of salt, assuming another storm does not hit Goldsboro, and will mix it with existing salt reserves to be ready for next winter.