This winter’s heavy snowfall has strained Baltimore City’s allocated budget for snow and ice control service, city officials said.
The city spent $5.3 million for winter weather control as of Feb. 10, approximately $2.6 million more than the $2.75 million that was budgeted for fiscal year 2014, according to Caron Brace, press secretary for Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.
But the city has seen two additional snowfalls since that date, including the heaviest of the season when more than nine inches of snow fell on Feb. 13, according to Wunderground.com, a website that keeps historical weather records dating back to 1969.
Snow removal is handled by the city’s Department of Transportation. Should the department be “projected to finish the fiscal year in deficit, the agency will request supplemental funding to ensure they finish at budget,” Brace said in an e-mail. “The source of funding used to mitigate any potential deficit from snow expenses is to be determined.”
According to Andrew Kleine, budget chief in the city’s Bureau of the Budget and Management Research, the last time the city had a significant snow removal deficit was 2010. That year, the difference was made up by a supplemental appropriation from an unassigned fund balance, including the Budget Stabilization Reserve.
As of fiscal year 2013, the city’s Budget Stabilization Reserve and unassigned fund balance totaled $99 million, according to information available from the Bureau of the Budget and Management Research.
The heavy snowfall also cost Baltimore County $4 million more than initially budgeted, an amount made up by the county’s surplus reserves. According to Baltimore County spokeswoman Lauren Byrd, these reserves “can be used for anything. Baltimore County prides itself in being fiscally well managed, and we have a certain amount of money that is never touched, that is loosely called our rainy day fund.”
Baltimore County Public Works services the seven districts of Baltimore County.