No Snow Means Less Spending For Naugatuck Departments

With no real need to do any plowing, the borough's Street Department is finding other jobs to deal with during the snowless winter.

It’s another bright week ahead with the weather. While the 10-day forecast shows a chance of snow showers on Wednesday, the rest of the week is sunshine and relatively warm temperatures — for February.

And while winter-focused businesses might be lamenting the lack of snow these past few months, the town surely isn’t. In fact, not surprisingly, it's saving the borough government some money.

“In a way we’ve been able to do jobs that we normally wouldn’t do in the winter… because of the good winter,” said Robert Roland, superintendent of the Street Department.

Compared to early 2011 — when the area was hit with continual snowstorms and record accumulation — the Street Department has only dispatched its plow and sander trucks three times this winter, Roland said.

There have been less repairs needed for the vehicles, as the call volume has not been as high as it was a year ago, said Fire Chief Kenneth Hanks.

“Overtime has been down significantly,” Hanks said.

And since there’s been no snow there hasn’t been a heavy use of salt to treat it, Roland said, adding that it’s possible the department may begin sanding a bit earlier than usual.

Only recently, Roland explained, has he been forced to purchase more winter sand and salt. He said his department had some sand and salt left over from last year, and has been using it during the few snow events in January.

But, there still are tasks to be done.

“From public works point of view there is still work we’re doing,” Roland said.

And all of that work, while typical for , isn’t always typical in the middle of winter. Roland explained how his crews are conducting internal repairs on buildings, painting offices, fixing up fences, installing some tile flooring in the Parks and Recreation Office, fixing park equipment like mowers and rebuilding small engines.

“But,” Roland added. “We’re also handicapped in a way because all of the sanders are on the trucks, so we have a limited amount of truck capability.”

The sanders usually come off in late March and early April.

Despite all of this, Hanks warned that the warmer weather leaves open a possible troubled situation: brush fires. Due to the lack of condensation — that would normally accumulate under snow — the ground is very dry, making it easier for brush fires to start, he said.

“It’s our only concern at the moment,” he said. 


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