The mild winter is reaping even more benefits this week as City officials find themselves with a significant surplus in the snow and ice removal account.
In beginning to close out the books on the fiscal year, which ends on June 30th, the City’s financial departments have found themselves with more than $350,000 in surplus monies that would have traditionally been expended to remove snow and ice from the City’s streets.
However, this past winter, snow never came, and so the money never got used.
“It’s the first time since I’ve been here that I’ve seen that,” said City Director of Finance George Anzuoni. “I just really can’t remember ever seeing an amount like that left over in the snow account.”
The accounts running a surplus are those related to city contractors as well as overtime money for the Department of Public Works (DPW).
Anzuoni said his department and Mayor Dan Rizzo have agreed not to go out and spend the money.
Instead, they have decided to take a measured approach and to use the money to cover deficits in other areas of the budget.
“We’re going to be conservative,” said Anzuoni. “We’re not looking to re-spend it. We’ll cover any deficits we have with it and send the rest to the bottom line. The positive in that is that it strengthens our balance sheet. We will end up with no deficits and we will appear to have a surplus.”
Typically, the snow and ice budget is expended within the first few months of winter, and the rest of the expenses fall into deficit spending. However, it is one of the few expenditures that the state allows to be carried over to the next fiscal year.
In some years, the City has done just that.
Last year, the City had to use a substantial amount of Free Cash to shore up the massive deficit in snow and ice removal. That there was virtually nothing expended from those accounts this year only drives home the extraordinary nature of this past winter, Anzuoni said.