Highway boss says storms haven’t busted the budget — yet

01/28/2011 1:16 PM |

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Town highway worker John Appicello removes snow from Pulaski Street last week to make room for more.

Riverhead Highway Superintendent George “Gio” Woodson said the town has enough money left in its annual snow removal budget to cover two more snow storms until Dec. 31.

But forecasters are already predicting more snowfall Tuesday.

If the town spends more than the amount allotted for snow removal, Riverhead could be sending an additional bill to residents.

Last year, neighboring Brookhaven Town issued a $2.3 million bill to its residents to cover snow removal, which cost the average homeowner about $15, according to Brookhaven Supervisor Mark Lesko .

Riverhead, which is much smaller than Brookhaven, has about $70,000 left for overtime costs and $100,000 for salt and materials for 2011, Mr. Woodson said.

“If you go over [budget], then everything comes back to the taxpayer,” he said. “Our budget isn’t busted yet.”

The town has spent about $70,000 in overtime in January alone and about $75,000 for materials including salt, according to Mr. Woodson’s assistant, Susan Beal.

January 2011 is now the snowiest January in Long Island history, according to the National Weather Service in Upton. A reported 34.2 inches has fallen at Islip’s Long Island MacArthur Airport this month. The previous record was 21.5 inches set in 2005.

But the budget could be just one of our worries. Mr. Woodson said flooding might persist once the mountains of plowed snow begin to melt. Aside from hindering motorists’ views, the snow piles are also making it difficult for the town’s 33 highway workers to plow the town’s 444 miles of road lanes.

“The roads may get a little narrower if we get [an additional] 18 inches,” he said.

vchinese@timesreview.com

Read more in the Feb. 3 issue of the News-Review.

110 Comment

  • WELL MAYBE THE TOWN SHOULD GIVE BACK THE MONEY THEY TOOK AWAY .
    I WONDER WHAT WILL HAPPEN WHEN THEY RUN OUT OF FUEL .AFTER ALL THE TOWN CUT THAT AND GAVE IT TO THE STEP RAISES..
    COME TO THINK OF IT THE TOWN SAID THEY HAD $600,000 OVER IN HEALTH INS..WHY DON’T THEY GIVE THAT TO THE HWY DEPT…

  • We cant let them do this,before you know it they will be sending residents all sort of bills due to their mismanagement of money.They need to stop blaming the residents for snow storms and should send the bill to the clouds and not us.

  • Well Mr. Woodson, my road has only been plowed wide enough to fit 1 car at a time down it now!!! Maybe if the plow didn’t just go up the middle of the road it would be wider!

  • Montablo If we have an extremely cold winter and you burn more fuel than you did last winter- is that a mismanagement of money?

  • The four local Superintendents each make more than the Governor? Each district enrollment combined is less than the population of one of the small towns we live in. Time to consolidate and get rid of the waste.

  • Just raise taxes.

  • Why is this not retroactive and those now holding political positions forced to resign. Such as Mike Conroy , John Lynch and others.

  • ….just because it rhymes.

    Don’t worry, they’ll find loopholes to get their cronies and family members cushy government jobs. It’s what they’re good at.

  • Yeah right to the previous. Not much different in Riverhead. It;s been the same here but nobody wants to admit that. The answer is always, well that’s politics. We have a Sanitation Supt. with a secretary, but there’s no sanitation dept . HELLO, who’s watching the store?

  • Really???? Not a snowball’s chance in hell that I believe this will change anything! They’ll just find another way to skirt the law. Ethics in government has become akin to “safe cigarettes”.