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Winter bears down on employees, budget

By Staff | Mar 5, 2010

Shepherdstown Mayor Jim Auxer

Hey, did you hear the one about the snowstorm?

Only thing is, it wasn’t a joke.

Since December we’ve had somewhere in the range of a million or two tons of snowor something close to that.

Seriously, our area experienced record levels of snow-enough to generate a West Virginia State of Emergency declaration by Governor Joe Manchin. Reports vary but a total accumulation of 43 inches in February is close enough.

Under those circumstances, everyone did a great job including Town employees, outside contractors, Shepherd University students volunteered and shoveled for those in need, along with the rest of town residents.

Although the clearing of the streets was done with minimal assistance from the state, the governor or his representatives were here or meeting with local officials via telephone conference calls in an effort to monitor the situation.

With State of Emergency snow storms, it’s not so much pushing the snow off the highways and byways, it’s the actual removal of snow to another location that creates the major challenge-how and where to put 43 inches of snow that blanketed our town? And how to pay for it?

Moving that much snow out of the way meant that additional equipment was needed and had to be rented; and, outside contractors had to be brought in to help. Environmental Protection Agency regulations will not allow snow dumping into the Potomac River; as of the first of this week, what had been vacant areas at the Public Works Yard were buried in five feet of snow and ice.

The December snow storm depleted the “streets budget,” which normally handles snow removal. Because the February snow resulted in a WV State of Emergency, the town is applying for reimbursement through the State Office of Emergency Management, which in turn will request reimbursement from the Federal government.

Frank Welch, head of Shepherdstown’s Public Works Department, released figures on the cost of removal of the February snows: $28,065.89. More than $20,000 of that figure went to contracting out equipment rental and three operators.

I want to thank everyone for their patience during and after the State of Emergency. And a special thanks to those who shoveled walks.

To those who were unable to get out and shovel, please clear your walkways as soon as possible.

Spring is around the corner, so let’s clean up the remnants of winter, spruce up the town and look forward to blooming of the 3,100 daffodil bulbs that were planted in the fall. It will be beautiful.

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Water line replacement has begun on North Church Street; as mentioned previously, this is being done to improve water pressure. Please be patient. The project should be completed within two weeks.