Snow way! Wilmington over budget

With a good chunk of the winter remaining, the City of Wilmington has already gone over budget for snow removal.

Including cleanup from the latest storm, which dumped about of foot of snow Wednesday night into Thursday morning, Wilmington has spent more than $350,000 on snow removal. That’s more than $5,000 more than was budgeted for fiscal year 2011.

And there’s another major storm predicted for next week.

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“It is tough,” said John Rago, Wilmington’s communications director. “It’s not going to stop, apparently, and we’re just going to have to continue to be prepared for these episodes.”

According to the National Weather Service, Wilmington has been hit with 21.8 inches of snow so far this winter. That’s actually .8 inches ahead of last year’s pace.

It all adds up to an ongoing challenge for the City of Wilmington; keeping up with digging out. Wilmington uses a combination of city employees and, when necessary, outside crews and equipment to plow and salt about 190 miles of city roads.

Just as crews finish cleaning up from one storm, another one strikes.

“What’s tough on everyone, from citizens all the way to the crews that are out there on a daily basis,” Rago said, “would be the continual snowfall that we’ve had this winter.”

Nearly two days after the most recent storm, snow removal crews are still working to clear the streets. But Rago says there have been few complaints from residents.

“We’ve had some asking for additional salting or sanding or plowing on some streets,” Rago said. “Most of the major arteries in the City of Wilmington are in pretty good shape. But the secondary roads are always tough, especially in any kind of an urban area where you have somewhat smaller streets.”

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