Storms drain town road budgets - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Storms drain town road budgets

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It has been a regular sound this winter in Windsor and communities across the region: trucks filling up with sand in preparation for yet another winter storm.

"It's been challenging, it's been challenging. A lot of long nights," said Erick Tarczewski, the highway foreman in Windsor.

This town has just four employees keeping miles of roads and long stretches of sidewalks clean. One-hundred-hour work weeks have been common.

"We come in, we work all day. We go home for a few hours. I start at 10 o'clock at night pulling snow off the sidewalks with the grater. The rest of the crew comes in at 11 p.m.," Tarczewski said.

And all that overtime comes at a cost. For Windsor, it's roughly $10,000 in additional pay, plus another $5,000-$10,000 over budget for added supplies and maintenance, all thanks to Mother Nature.

"It's been long in duration, wild swings in temperature and big amounts of snow," Town Manager Tom Marsh said. "So, we have really been triple-whammied."

Which has made for some messy commutes. But Marsh says for the most part, residents have been understanding and cooperative. He says social media has been helpful to keep everyone up to speed.

"We have four guys, here is the plan. They are going to be out on the roads, they are going to stop around 11 at night, they are not going to be back in until three in the morning, so the roads are going to be difficult," Marsh said.

Pockmarked streets are a perfect example. Fixing pot holes in this town happens once a week and adds to this winter's overall price tag.

"As much cold whether that we have had this winter, the frost went really deep in the ground. That is a major factor in potholes," Tarczewski explained.

Salt, or lack thereof, has also been an issue here and elsewhere. But town officials say thanks to the timing of the storms, they have been able to make do. Just like the budget. Officials say they will have to shift priorities in the fourth quarter and will make ends meet.

"The maple sugar guys are having a bigger problem than we are right now," Marsh said.

Town employees say, like the rest of the winter, it's just another storm that they will make it through. However, they are looking forward to the spring with long periods of sun and warmth. Of course that also means mud season, which brings with it more problems.

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