WNYC's Bob Hennelly is an award-winning investigative journalist. While at WNYC he has reported on a wide gamut of major public policy questions ranging from immigration and homeland security to power outages and utility mergers.
City Plows Through Entire Snow Budget
Thursday, January 13, 2011
With two more months of winter to go, the city has already blown its budget for snow removal for the entire season.
More than $38 million was set aside for snow removal this winter, but city officials concede that paying for the post-Christmas blizzard alone will cost that and more.
And that number is just an estimate, said City Hall spokesman.
The final cost of the clean-up is not yet available, and the city is still in the process of tallying in the hopes of garnering Federal Emergency Management funds. Officials have 30 days from the day of the storm to get a final number that may or may not qualify.
Last year, the city spent more than $63 million to keep the roads snow-free. Roughly 58 percent of that went to overtime, according to the budget office. Overall, the Sanitation Department costs more than $2 billion to operate annually.
There have been only two years since 2002 that the city's actual snow removal came in below the budget projection, according to the Independent Budget Office. That's because the Bloomberg administration, under the city charter, has no discretion on what to budget for snow removal - the number is determined by a formula that averages the actual snow costs in the five previous fiscal years.