THE BRUNSWICK SNOW DUMP as seen on Wednesday, which is now filled to capacity thanks to a series of winter storms that started at the end of January.

THE BRUNSWICK SNOW DUMP as seen on Wednesday, which is now filled to capacity thanks to a series of winter storms that started at the end of January.

BRUNSWICK

The cost of employee overtime, equipment maintenance, and the hiring of outside contractors to plow some routes has pushed Brunswick’s snow removal budget into the red, and there is still more wintery weather likely to come.

Snow was again falling today in the Midcoast region, and the National Weather Service in Gray issued a winter storm warning until this evening, with the possibility of 12 inches of snow.

Complicating matters is that the snow dump off Mariner Road is at capacity, and the town may have to start looking for a temporary site to dump its white stuff.

“We’ve pretty much filled up where we’ve placed all our snow,” said Public Works Director John Foster.

Winter’s unpredictable nature makes it notoriously difficult to budget for items such as sand and road salt.

Brunswick has outspent its $480,000 snow removal budget by about $80,000 to date, according to Foster, or about 20 percent, and it may be hard to predict what March and April may bring in terms of snow.

Meanwhile, crews are still working to clear snow left from the previous onslaught of storms.

“Normally, you’d have time between storms,” Foster said. “We’re still cleaning parking lots today. We haven’t had time to do snow removal.”

Some snowbanks at intersections are high enough to make it hard for a stopped vehicle to get into traffic, said Foster.

Tractors have been unable to clear sidewalks due to the high volume of snow. Some sidewalks at outer Pleasant Street are still snowed-in, said Foster. Snow accumulation in dense areas in in-town Brunswick means narrower streets and a loss of parking.

Brunswick on Wednesday had a parking ban on all streets and municipal lots that was slated to end at 7 a.m. this morning.

Freeport instituted another parking ban Wednesday night that was slated to expire at 6 p.m. today.

Freeport has commenced downtown cleanups three times this year, according to Public Works Director Earl Gibson, which is more than normal.

“We usually only do one or two a year,” Gibson said. “We will do a fourth sometime next week.”

Wintertime operations, materials and overtime has cost the town between $200,000 and $225,000, according to a rough estimate from Gibson, nearing the town’s budget limit for snow removal.

That doesn’t include the cost of running the town’s eight large trucks, four pickups and two sidewalk snow removal machines.

“There was a seven-day period where my trucks went through a little over 5,000 gallons of fuel,” Gibson said.

About four weeks ago, Gibson had his crews perform snow removal during the day to help mitigate overtime costs.

Freeport crews are holding up so far, Gibson said.

“Last week we started to get run down. Fortunately, we missed out on the big storm, so they’re in good shape right now,” Gibson said.

“The biggest challenge is cleaning up between storms,” Gibson added.

Snow in Freeport’s bustling downtown has meant some streets are bottlenecked.

Freeport’s snow dump on Snow Road, near the high school, is about three-quarters full, said Gibson. Should it reach capacity, the town can dump snow at its recycling facility.

Brunswick Landing is facing a conundrum similar to Freeport and Brunswick.

“The challenge is to find a place to put it,” said Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority Executive

Director Steve Levesque.

In January, MRRA spent $11,000 to clear Brunswick Executive Airport of snow, and an additional $80,000 to clear the roads around the former base through its contractor, Enterprise Trenchless.

MRRA has budgeted $110,000 for general snow removal and $25,000 for snow removal at the airport.

MRRA in January of this year actually spent less on snow removal than in January 2014.

With about a week and a half left in this month, it’s not yet known how much will be spent to remove snow in February, which saw more accumulation than in January.

“It’s been busy,” said Levesque.

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BRUNSWICK HAS OUTSPENT its $480,000 snow removal budget by about $80,000 to date, or about 20 percent.

IN FREEPORT, wintertime operations, materials and overtime has cost the town between $200,000 and $225,000, nearing the town’s budget limit for snow removal.


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