Snow removal costs already hitting hard

The Washington Post reports that Prince George’s County has already exceeded its annual allotment for snow removal costs, resulting from the heavy blanketing the region received this last week.

We’re still waiting on final numbers, but Prince George’s officials said Tuesday that the recent massive snow storm used up all the money the county had budgeted for snow removal this winter, and then some. That means if the area gets hit again, it will have to dip into other budget areas to fund the cleanup.

“We pretty much used what we had budgeted in FY10 because this is such a big storm,” said John Erzen, spokesman for County Executive Jack B. Johnson. “Going forward, there’s a lot of things that we’ll look to do. …We’re already in a cost savings mode. … We could go through the rest of this winter and not have another snow storm, or we could go through the rest of the winter and have three more storms. … That’s all up in the air.”

County and municipal funding for transportation budgets (the so-called Highway User Revenues, the share of state-levied gas and titling taxes distributed statewide to maintain local roads and bridges) was slashed by the State this year due to budget constraints. Prince George’s County saw its share of Highway User Revenues drop from about $24 million in FY 2009 to just over $1 million for FY 2010 – a more than 95% reduction comparable to that faced by nearly every county. Since local governments in Maryland do not have any independent means to raise transportation revenues, local maintenance and resurfacing budgets have been nearly wiped out for the current year statewide.

Michael Sanderson

Executive Director Maryland Association of Counties

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