New Brunswick

Has Fredericton already blown its snow budget for 2019?

City's assistant director of finance says bad weather in January, February and March led to higher costs for fuel, de-icing material and overtime.

$1.1 million of $2.2 million budget used so far

Depending on what the rest of spring and fall bring, weather-wise, the City of Fredericton could be facing some financial headaches over its snow removal budget. (CBC)

It may be only three months into the year, but the city of Fredericton is already halfway through its snow control budget, leaving city staff wondering if they'll have enough money to get to the end of the year.

The city budgets $2.2 million a year for winter road maintenance, plus a contingency fund of $73,000.

Fredericton's assistant director of finance, innovation and technology Alicia Keating said they've spent about $1.1 million since January, leaving half the budget to cover the rest of the spring, the purchase of sand and salt in the summer and regular and overtime working hours in November and December.

Keating said this is "fairly consistent with years past," but the city will likely have to use the contingency funds before 2019 is over.

"But that's not atypical from any normal year," she said.

She said the weather in January, February and March resulted in higher costs for overtime, fuel and de-icing material. The overtime budget is $288,000, of which the city has spent roughly $250,000 so far, leaving about $30,000 for any snowy conditions at the end of the year. 

Keating said the city doesn't know the full cost of overtime yet because employees can either bank that time for days off or get paid out at the end of the year.

If there are any surprise snowstorms in April and October, or if November and December are particularly snowy, Keating said it's likely the city will go over its snow removal budget.

"It could be a bad April, it could be a bad October, November, we're really not sure at this point," she said. 

If the city does go over budget, Keating said some savings could come out of the budgets for capital projects planned for the summer.

With files from Jordan Gill

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