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Winter A Real Budget Buster For State Of Maryland

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — With the first day of spring under our belts, state and local government snow removal crews are crossing their fingers they’re done with winter weather.

Derek Valcourt explains those numbers are a real reality check.

The winter wasn’t just a hassle for you, it was a real budget buster for the cleanup crews.

Let’s start in Carroll County, where they’re just plain sick of the snow after Westminster saw 81 inches so far.

“One snow after another after another,” one man said.

The county’s storm budget was $1.8 million. They’ve already spent $2.3 million–half a million more than planned.

And they’re the lucky ones. Harford County spent $1.8 million more than they had planned–$3.2 million more than budgeted in Howard County.

Baltimore County is nearly $10 million in the red and Baltimore City is more than $11 million. But local governments can’t hold a candle to the snow removal tab facing the state.

Though Maryland budgeted $46 million to clear its highways, the reality is, so far, they’ve spent three times that at a whopping $137 million.

Dave Buck with the State Highway Administration says, like the many local governments, the state too will be scrambling to find a way to pay.

“Just as we did back in 2010 in the blizzard year when we spent $125 million, we’ll have to look at certain projects and programs and some activities, particularly on the maintenance side, but we don’t defer things for very long,” Buck said. “The new fiscal year starts July 1, so that’s a good thing.”

The cost of salt, which was in short supply across much of the country late this winter, has been one of the biggest budget busters. The state used 500,000 tons of it to help melt away what most of us are hoping we won’t see again for another nine months.

Some counties like Queen Anne’s County and Anne Arundel County don’t even set a snow removal budget. Still, Anne Arundel County spent $5.3 million clearing away the worst of this winter.

Maryland isn’t alone in its snow removal budget woes. Our neighbors in Virginia estimate their transportation department will have spent nearly double their $157 million budget.

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