Reporting Mike Schuh
BALTIMORE (WZ)– Yes, it’s been cold lately with even lower temperatures predicted for Thursday night. But one thing has been missing so far this winter– snow.
Now, as Mike Schuh reports, from a financial perspective that’s good news for us all.
Bright sun, cold air, bare trees hanging over bare streets. Snowplows lie waiting for their trucks to pull up, and huge stockpiles of salt are stashed around the state.
In 2010, we broke records. Remember the term: snowmageddon? Now we can’t find a flake.
“Well, that has been the topic of conversation lately,” John Massone said.
And with roads not in the winter weather cross-hairs, the snow hasn’t been missed.
“I don’t want to see it. Not good for business, you know,” Pete Cimino, a barber said.
Passable streets don’t get this way with salt alone. It takes money, and a lot of it.
“Say it would be nice to have a little snow. I say, ‘No, it really wouldn’t,’” Don Mohler, spokesperson for Baltimore County government, said.
Two years ago the county spent $20 million to clear the record snow. Last year, $11.5 million. This year, $6 million is budgeted.
“The good news is, so far we haven’t spent any of that million,” Mohler said.
But just because the cities and counties haven’t spent much yet, that’s not the case for the state.
Already, Western Maryland has needed these salt and plow trucks.
“We’ve had a few call-outs where it’s been for possible ice and snow on the weekends, so we’ve spent about $14 million,” Valerie Burnett Edgar of the State Highway Administration said.
It took $125 million to do the job statewide in 2010, $70 million last year and this year, $36 million is in the budget.
“In this case, if we knock on wood, don’t have that heavy of a winter and have some left over, we’ll use it for paving projects or safety repairs,” Burnette Edgar said.
Should the weather pattern change, everyone WJZ talked to says they have the salt and the budget to get the job done.
The city reports that it has spent $158,000 this year on snow and salting out of a $3.5 million budget.