LACONIA — With five weeks remaining until the first day spring, the Department of Public Works has spent approximately 90-percent of its winter maintenance budget.
The budget of $407,500 consists of three components. The cost of vehicles and purchases of salt and sand amounts to $330,000, while $27,500 is allocated for private contractors, and $50,000 for overtime wages. Through January, $230,000 had been spent on vehicles and material, $9,653 on contractors and $59,949 on overtime. Altogether the city had spent $299,602, almost three-quarters of its budget.
Paul Moynihan, director of public works, estimated yesterday that more than $69,000 has been spent so far in February, much of during last week's storm, when snow fell heavily late in the day and into the night to keep crews on the road around the clock. He estimated that the department spent another $50,000 on vehicles and materials, $8,000 on contractors and $10,000 to $11,000 on overtime during the two storms.
Salt usage, which represents the largest single cost in the budget, is a good indicator of the severity of the winter. So far this year the department has used 3,941.58 tons of salt at $55.31 per ton for a total expenditure of $218,008.79 compared to 3,138.35 tons at $61.65 per ton for a total expenditure of $193,479.28 a year ago. In other words, 25-percent more salt has been applied this winter than last, and there are five more weeks before winter officially ends.