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Cost for plowing lower than expected

Date: 2/22/2013

By G. Michael Dobbs

CHICOPEE — Interim Department of Public Works (DPW) Superintendent Steve Frederick told the City Council on Feb. 19 that despite the severity of the recent snowstorm, the labor costs of the cleanup were less than $200,000.

City Councilor James Tillotson told Frederick and the council he was surprised by the amount as there is a formula to estimate the cost of snow removal based on the amount and Tillotson thought he cost would be closer to $300,000.

Frederick said that 87 city employees worked on removing snow and that with overtime and outside help there was $197,000 in labor costs. He said that high snow banks required brining in heavy equipment to remove them and that added between $31,000 and $32,000 in miscellaneous costs.

There were 65 outside contractors hired with their own plow trucks and Frederick admitted that some of those could not handle the near record snow fall.

"They packed it up and left us hanging," he said.

He said some of the city's larger trucks had difficulty plowing the more narrow streets.

Frederick said the snow promoted "a big effort by the whole DPW." He added the work began the Friday night when the snow started and continued to Thursday."

Frederick also thanked Chicopee residents for helping out the snow removal crews by staying off the roads and, for the most part, obeying the parking bans. He added that 60 cars were towed to make room on the streets.

Frederick said the city would have to go into deficit spending because the storm used up the funds allocated to snow removal.

Several of the councilors thanked Frederick and his staff for quickly responding to calls they made to him during the storm on behalf of constituents.