Nelson’s huge snowstorm this month will likely cost over $250,000 to clean up and will put the city’s snow operations in deficit for next winter.
City council heard a financial update Friday from chief financial officer Colin McClure and chief administrative officer Kevin Cormack.
The city did have a $250,000 surplus until the last two weeks of December 2021 when a dumping of snow cost $150,000 to clean up. That cleanup was with the city’s own equipment and left $100,000 at year end.
But then the “epic” snowstorm of Jan. 3, 2022 where upwards of 80 centimeters (31 inches) of snow fell had all the city equipment on the streets plus it had to borrow 11 pieces of equipment from area contractors.
“I think we’re going to be quite surprised at what the bill is going to come in at for the contractors that we had to engage with especially the amount of time … the amount of equipment we rented and used from them,” McClure said.
“I’m concerned on how big that bill is,” he said, noting that in will be another couple of weeks before those invoices come in. McClure says he should know “what kind of predicament” the city is in from having the full force needed to tackle the Jan. 3 storm.
Chief administrative officer Kevin Cormack didn’t mince words.
“We spent $150,000 in those two weeks (in December). That’s our own forces, that wasn’t including any contractors. We’ve spent in excess of three, $400,000 thousand dollars over that period of time,” the CAO said.
“Our budget’s going to be under pressure for next year (2023). We’re only in January, let alone, we’ve got a whole winter this year plus the start of the winter next year. I don’t want any misperception that we have $100,000 that we’re not spending. We’re probably already in deficit for next year’s (2023) whole snow season,” Cormack stated.
The city’s snow clearing budget last year was $767,000.
CFO McClure says city workers continue to clear snow piles and “a very strong majority of streets are working well and are passable.”
He added that garbage and recycling collection last week was successful.