Nova Scotia

Port Hawkesbury may record surplus in snow removal budget

Port Hawkesbury's snow removal budget may have a small surplus this year despite repeated snowfalls, and town officials are crediting a change in the way it manages snow removal.

Work used be done by contractors, now done by 5 public works employees

Port Hawkesbury's snow removal budget this year is $190,000 and officials say they have $50,000 left. (CBC News)

Port Hawkesbury's snow removal budget may have a small surplus this year despite repeated snowfalls, and town officials are crediting a change in the way it manages snow removal.

The Cape Breton town no longer contracts out snow removal and the town's five public works employees now do the job.

"Our workforce was very interested in doing this and they had a sense of responsibility to our citizens and we were able to really demonstrate that this is a big savings to the town," said Maris Freimanis, the CAO of the town of Port Hawkesbury.

"Our employees are taxpayers in this town as well and they recognize that this service was a benefit to everybody."

The town's snow removal budget this year is $190,000 and Freimanis said they still have $50,000 left.

Betty Jean Sutherland, a national representative for the Canadian Union of Public Employees, said not contracting out meant snow removal was depoliticized.

"They give the contractors that they know, contracts. Then there is really no oversight to make sure they're getting their money's worth," she said.

Two years ago, when contractors were doing the job, the annual snow removal budget was $350,000 and growing. Last year, Port Hawkesbury dropped its primary contractor and the cost went down to $216,000.

This year, the remaining three small private contracts were phased out.

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