The winter maintenance budget in Newtown is slowly being eroded.
First Selectman Pat Llodra has given an update to the Board of Selectmen and the Legislative Council on where the storm response budget stands. Llodra says they watch winter maintenance pretty closely. It's based on a five year rolling average. The cost for overtime, salt and sand are the big drivers. $156,000 was budgeted for overtime, before the last two storms, about $75,000 had been spent. Llodra says they always hope that any winter precipitation falls between 9am and 2pm, Monday through Friday in order to keep costs down. But that's not what's happened this winter.
Newtown uses a salt-sand mix to treat the roads, depending on the kind of storm. It also depends on temperature. Llodra says how you treat the road depends on what falls on the road.
Newtown uses a 4-to-1 ratio of salt to sand even though salt is more expensive. She says they are moving to a mixture with more salt because of the cost to sweep the streets of the sand. Llodra adds that the salt is less harmful to the environment.
Llodra was hoping to be able to apply a chunk of unused money from the current fiscal year toward a capital item next year. She says the budget maybe still end up alright, but cautioned that winter is not over yet.