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Storm cleanup will put Medford snow removal budget in deficit

Posted by Jarret Bencks  February 12, 2013 10:40 AM

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As the storm cleanup continues, Medford Mayor Michael McGlynn said he doesn't know exactly how much its going to cost, but it will bust the city's allotted snow removal budget.

"Last year was a good year, this is going to be a bad year," he said Tuesday.

The $450,000 snow removal budget for Fiscal 2013 - from July 1, 2012 to June 31, 2013 - was already nearing depletion when the storm hit, McGlynn said. A total of 102 plows worked city streets last Friday, with 72 of them private contractors. Crews worked to clear off roofs on schools Monday and continued Tuesday, a job that will cost the city over $11,000 alone, he said.

Communities in Massachusetts are allowed to carry over a snow removal budget deficit to the following fiscal year, McGlynn said, so they are often underfunded in the hopes of a mild winter.

"People don't pump up the snow budgets," he said. "If you can save a firefighter, or a teacher, or other services you err on that side."

McGlynn said the city addressed over 70 complaints from residents on Monday, mostly regarding streets that needed plowing. About 100 cars have been towed in Medford, he said, roughly half that of a typical storm.

"They were off the streets, there were no cars left to tow," he said. "People paid attention."

The last three school days have been canceled in Medford, and McGlynn said bus stops and intersections near schools were now a priority for cleanup crews. They would be reviewed by city officials Tuesday afternoon, and a decision on school Wednesday would be made by Superintendent Roy Belson at around 4 p.m. Tuesday, he said.

Jarret Bencks can be reached at bencks.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on twitter @JarretBencks.

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