Baltimore County: Snow Removal Important, But Costly

A recent profile by Baltimore County’s Chief of Highways Jim Lathe breaks down the county costs of snow removal.  In the wake of some early-winter weather, and facing another year of dramatically depleted Highway User Revenues, this analysis sheds some light onto the continuing challenges local governments face with delivering essential roadway maintenance.

From the article:

This year we expect that plowing snow (that’s with a staff of 400 employees manning three hundred trucks working from 11 shops) will cost more than $37,000 per hour. And when we put down salt, that price goes up to $108,000 per hour. That’s because salt costs more than $50 a ton and we stock about 50,000 tons at 14 locations across the county.

Sunday’s storm cost the County $1.4 million. We’re still tabulating the expenses related yesterday’s snow and will post the total shortly.

It’s expensive, of course, but the total cost to keep the streets clear and safe varies wildly from year to year. Last year was an economical year for us. Baltimore County spent a little under $4 million to call out crews, to salt and to plow for 13 storms – many of them just dustings. But “Snowmageddon” back in 2010 was more than five times as expensive. The bills came to $20 million. Snow accumulation that winter was estimated at seven feet!

For a complete picture, take a look at our website for a listing of storm costs since Fiscal Year 2001.

Read the full article here.

Visit the Baltimore County Now website,  designed to offer residents and stakeholders news and information about county operations and issues.

Michael Sanderson

Executive Director Maryland Association of Counties