After an unusual dumping of snow early in 2017 cost the Town of Qualicum Beach more than anticipated, one councillor is wondering if the town’s budget is prepared for the upcoming winter months.
Coun. Neil Horner said he saw in a recent report that this winter would be a “typical Canadian snowy winter.”
“I’m wondering how much we have in the snow-removal budget this year in case it’s particularly bad,” Horner asked the town finance director John Marsh at the Nov. 20 meeting.
Marsh said the town is over budget on its snow removal budget, adding that if the region gets a bad December, “we’ll be over by that much more.”
Earlier in 2017, Marsh said the snow removal expenses within the first third of 2017 had cost the town upwards of $100,000.
But, Marsh said, how the budget works is every year there are some areas in the budget that are over and some that are under. Marsh said what could happen if there’s a major snowfall is the parks department might come in and work in the public works department, leading to an under-budget amount somewhere else in the budget.
“Really, the added costs of the town (occur) when you get overtime, because the (base) wages are paid anyways. (The problem) is if it gets really bad and there’s a lot of overtime in the evening,” Marsh said.
Marsh said overtime, in general, cost the town about $75,000. The overtime work, he said, occured in January or February of this year.
However, Marsh said there is significant room in the budget in the event of a heavy snowfall.
Mayor Teunis Westbroek also said the town has an amount set aside for climate change if this was seen to be an unusual winter.