PLYMOUTH – With the latest snowfall heading up the coast toward Connecticut, Mayor David Merchant said the town is ready.
However, every winter weather event is adding to the town’s fiscal woes. A loss of state aid due to the state’s budget problems means Merchant’s most pressing headache is trying to find $400,000 in savings from the current town budget.
“It doesn’t help any when we have a snowstorm every few days and we’ve got to spread sand and salt. We’ve had to replenish already once or twice. We go through it, because you’ve got to spread as much stuff for a little storm as you do for a big storm,” he said.
“We’re down a couple more people in the highway department so we have to find people that will drive these plow trucks. We have people that have helped us in the past, so really it’s just a little more difficult than it used to be,” Merchant added.
In addition to the cost of salt and sand, overtime adds up for the plow drivers who report to work before dawn and keep driving into the night, he noted.
The town’s more rural roads can be tricky to plow, Merchant continued. “That’s what makes it hard when you have turnover among the drivers. We have, I think, nine plow routes, and when it’s good each route has a driver who knows every nook and cranny of every road because he does it every single year. If you put a new guy there he doesn’t know all that.”
Town residents are coping well with the current cold weather. The Senior Lounge at Town Hall can be used for a warming center if needed, he said, “but quite honestly if everybody has power, we open it up and nobody comes because they have power and heat.”
“If there is an extended power outage then we will open and we do have people who come here,” he added.
Anyone who runs short of heating oil and needs help to buy more can contact Human Services at Town Hall, he said. “We have money in our Cleveland Trust to get people oil, that’s a trust that was set up years ago here in town to help people in need.”
To contact Human Services, call 860-585-4028.
Susan Corica can be reached at 860-973-1802 or email@example.com.