Richmond spent $1.9 million on snow removal so far

By Tara Morgan - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - As snow fell in Richmond Tuesday night, city officials said they're still trying to pay for the snow storms that have already hit this winter.

Since last December, the city spent $1.9 million on four storms. That's well over what was in the cleanup budget. It will all come out of the city's pockets-- federal help isn't an option.

City leaders said they'll have to cut back on some services. But taxpayers probably won't notice much of a difference. In previous winters, Richmond budgeted about $300,000 for snow removal. This season, the city had $814,000 set aside, some came from reserves. But mother nature hasn't let up and the costs have snowballed.

"At this point we have a million dollar problem to make up," said Richmond Chief Administrative Officer, Byron Marshall.

The storm right before Christmas totaled $440,000. Another $506,000 was spent on the January 30th storm. The February 5th storm cost $436,000. Just five days later, the city doled out nearly $140,000.

The $1.9 million paid for overtime, equipment and contractors plus more plows, a spreader and salt. The city didn't qualify for federal assistance but came close. To get FEMA money snow accumulation would have to exceed 11.7 inches per storm. The January 30th storm dropped 11.5 inches of snow.

Richmond CAO Byron Marshall says public works services may be cut to make up the difference.

"Instead of using our contracted tree trimmer we'll use our staff for our tree trimmer which means we'll get less done or it may take longer," said Marshall.

But additional savings could come from other departments.

"At the end of the third quarter if our revenue projections continue to improve and our expenditures continue to be held back as we've done purposely, we expect to absorb this," said Marshall.

Marshall says the city is prepared for the most recent snowfall that crews are ready and they have salt and sand on hand to get the job done. 

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