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West Deptford Snow Removal Budget Dwindling as Storm Approaches

After cutting 60 percent of its snow removal dollars in the 2013 budget, the township is down to about $13,000 for the remainder of the year.

West Deptford DPW vehicles may be out plowing and salting again this weekend, but there's not much left in the snow removal budget. Credit: Bryan Littel.
West Deptford DPW vehicles may be out plowing and salting again this weekend, but there's not much left in the snow removal budget. Credit: Bryan Littel.

Winter made its presence known in West Deptford last weekend, with plows and public works vehicles summoned into action, as a storm dumped about seven inches on the region.

But with the National Weather Service predicting snow and sleet over the weekend and the township snow removal budget already running low, the financial impact of the season might become something of an issue moving forward.

Prior to the significant winter storm that hit the region December 8, which was followed by an encore on the 10th, the township had already expended $38,599 in snow removal costs at the beginning of the calendar year, said Township Administrator Eric Campo.

"From my calculations out of the township’s financial software, you basically had about $29,767 to work with through the rest of this year," Campo said.

Original figures for snow removal in the 2013 budget allotted $81,166 in salary and $87,200 in operational expenses for a total of $168,366. 

That amount was cut by 60 percent, to $68,366, on the strength of a Republican majority that argued the original figures were fat that needed to be trimmed.

“In the event that there’s a major calamity, I can’t predict that," Committeeman Sam Cianfarini told the public during those discussions. "Wouldn’t you rather have that money in your pocket today?”

Phone calls to Cianfarini seeking comment were not returned.

Salt, salt, and more salt

West Deptford salted the roadways from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Sunday evening before plowing the roadways at 4 a.m. so they would be clear for the morning commute, Campo said. 

Township workers salted again twice during the day Tuesday, Campo said, and then again overnight to combat re-freezing.

"You’ll have some melting during the day with the salt starting to work, but when you have the temperatures going to 19, 20 degrees overnight, black ice occurs, so you have to re-salt overnight as well," he said.

Each salting event can cost roughly $8,000, Campo said, which means that from Sunday to Tuesday the township expended an estimated $16,800 for roadway chemicals and the overtime costs of distributing them. 

By those calculations, he said, "that leaves us about $12,900 for the rest of the year. 

"Even though some years you may not have to plow, you have to be prepared for it on average," Campo said. 

"Once you introduce and pass the budget, those charges from January, February, and March are going to still show up as year-to-date 2013 charges," he said. "That’s actual expenditures that were incurred in 2013."

Even a few weeks ago, when West Deptford transferred funds back into line items it had slashed only four months earlier, there were not any transfers made into or out of snow removal.

Still, Campo said, "If it snows, we’ve got to get out there and do that, and we will."

Don't forget leaves

The leaf collection budget, which in 2013 was also cut by 60 percent—from $100,000 to $40,000—had fallen to $16,000 by the time the transfers were made, Campo said, at which point another $20,000 was added in. 

The public works department had also requested two capital purchases of new leaf vacuum machines this year, Campo said, which also didn't make the cut. Still, he said, workers are making do.

"In the operating expenses of leaf collection, you’re going to have charges to support the machines, and you are going to have to spend more money on maintenance and to keep them running," he said.

"We’re doing an effective job when we look at the tonnage reports to see what we’re collecting," Campo said. "They’re doing their job, and now most of the leaves are down. 

The township will continue to collect leaves, Campo said, and should be caught up on its rotation by the end of the month. But for the next round of budgeting, he said, these challenges provide "a real-life, fresh example of why budget cuts need to be reviewed." 

"It’s important to make sure that that budget is reflective of what those actual expenditures are, and that you’re also prepared for contingencies," Campo said.

"If you do overrun, you have to make plans to mitigate that," he said. "Otherwise you’re going to be charged with that overrun in the next year’s budget.

"That’s just not an ideal way to do things, and certainly you’re going to have to answer those questions to the state."

Jeff Jefferson December 16, 2013 at 10:04 AM
What I find most interesting, and sad, is all the excuses that are made on here. If the Dems did the same thing all the Rep ditto-heads would be on here making the same exact arguments and saying the same exact things. At the same time, the Dems on here blasting the Reps would be making the same exact excuses the Reps are making. At the end of the day, we ONLY move forward when we BOTH stop all the partisan b.s., work on fixing the problems we have and do it together. Otherwise it's all for naught.
zeke carey December 16, 2013 at 11:03 AM
you're right,all the complaing and whining on here does not fix the problem. if you want to fix the problem run for a seat in the next election,then you will be heard by a far more majority of the people instead of the minute of residents on here. You have to face the fact that the democratic machine in WD is sinking fast,some dems will be replaced and sent packing come January. just give the republicans another 18 years and see what they can do. Of course I wouldn't blame the rep for acting like democrats and do what they did for the previous regime.
Wayne Klotz December 16, 2013 at 11:30 AM
I agree! Leaves, and now snow on top of the leaves makes the outsiders of this town laugh at us! WHY?? We'll find out come January 1st. That's when all the truth about these four come to lite. What a nightmare that awaits us taxpayers!!
Jeff Jefferson December 16, 2013 at 12:18 PM
And of course, Zeke misses the point.....
David Sileo December 16, 2013 at 12:59 PM
Why so much ill will and doom and gloom. Things like " the residents will have what's coming to them", "jesters", "just wait and see you'll be sorry". Really Wayne do the residents have some badness coming? Something they deserve? Who all the residents it only half? Hansen and Maher haven't served a moment yet on the committee and already people are being criticized. Give me a break.
Jeff Jefferson December 16, 2013 at 01:11 PM
David, seriously? So far the folks in office haven't exactly set a precedence of good governance that gives anyone other than the party faithful much to look forward too with hope. The flat tax that wasn't? The budget cuts that made no sense? The overwrought way the committee handles any criticism of their decision? That's just a few quick things. If the pessimists are wrong, that would be the best outcome for the township. If they're even half right, then this administration could do more damage to the township in 8 years then the Dems did in 20. And understand me, I'm not saying the Dems were great, or even good, stewards of the township. Clearly they made a ton of bad decisions, controlled the township with a myopic precision that created hostility and vitriol and spent money on speculation like a teenager with their parent's credit card. But so far the new admin has seemed he!!bent on retribution instead of leading. That's very disappointing and potentially disasterous.
WDisfullofposers December 16, 2013 at 02:25 PM
Zeke do you have some phobia of democrats...becuase no matter what is said on here you find a way to spew your anti-democrat garbage....you do realize these people are your neighbors, friends, & colleagues...again the lack of critical thinking on here is appauling...if you could see your town as the rest of them do...A spoiled whinning group of racisit/homophobic losers, who complain about things like leaves and soggy ball fields when out in the real world there are real problems...and last I checked you do a good amount of bitchin on here as well, so why do you run for a seat....Oh yeah you dont even live here....So the fact that you sit here on this board day after day commenting on stuff that has nothing to do with you is actually quite pathetic...and dont give me that garbage about your 80 year ol buisness... that you clearly didnt start.. but yet had the luxury of mooching off your family's hard work...If there is such a business to begin with...I doubt it....Whats the name of your business? Im sure we've all heard of it.....posers will be posers...
David Sileo December 16, 2013 at 02:56 PM
Jeff-I wish we were further down the road by now myself. But I don't believe what decisions that have been made so far were retribution right or wrong. But since you brought retribution up...The posts here are a clear examples of retribution "the residents will get what they deserve". That's what I was speaking to not necessarily the quality of governance to this point. Think the jury is still out. But again my Comments were more directed at again as you point out "hostility and vitriol" clearly present in posts from both sides. I will be very disappointed if the committee doesn't act in a bipartisan manner and for the benefit of the residents.
Jeff Jefferson December 16, 2013 at 03:05 PM
Fair enough, but can you cite any actions by this committee to date that has actually been A) what they promised/intended and B) in the best interests of the township? You say the jury is still out, but the sample size so far is plenty big enough to see the real motivation behind the words and actions. This board reflects the tenor of the meetings and the lack of civility from both sides. One side the boastful victor the other side the scorned loser. And what has it done to make WD a better place? What has it done to even make it as good as it was a few years ago? Unfortunately the answer is - nothing. And that failure lies at the feet of the Reps, who as is clearly stated on here ad naseum, is large and in charge. I've spoken with many residents that voted against party to help Reps take a 3-2 majority hold. About half of those people regretted the vote and voted back in party line this time around. Notice the margin was much smaller this time around? There is a reason for that and it's discontent with what is happening. If things continue to be this ridiculously out of balance the majority the Reps enjoy now will be short lived. And that may not be what's best for everyone.
David Sileo December 16, 2013 at 03:13 PM
Good questions. I think the measure is the bleeding. Are we still bleeding? We were and the way you handle acute bleeding is damage control and I see that as what has occurred. Forgive my less the Kellogg School of Business example but that's how I see it so far. So 2014 will be a telling year. The admin has settled in, 2 new and bright people on the Dias and hope they can all play nice in the sandbox together.
Wayne Klotz December 16, 2013 at 05:31 PM
Dave; answer this one question; have you had your leaves picked up yet or snow plowed on your streets? My streets are a damn disgrace! Why, Dave! Can you Explain why some or all of the leaves are still on the streets?!
Harry Knowles December 16, 2013 at 05:38 PM
Margin was smaller Jeff , really? Last time there was an independent candidate that took votes away and it still wasn't closer, Hansen won by almost 400 votes. For a town that dems out number reps 2-1 it speaks volumes. What have they done, settled a lawsuit that was in place for 20 years, where only the lawyers were making money. Cut the salaries of committee members, used a bid system to find an insurance broker instead of a relatives firm that saved $100,000's of dollars, received $1.3 m from finalizing river cove deal and delivered a flat local tax as it was explained. If you want to believe the dems about the tax I guess you will love the republicans when the new tax delivers a 21 cent tax decrease in your local budget and your county tax doubles this year. All the negativity comes from the dems planned attack and wasted lawsuits filed by Gary K even though he is on disability, how does one afford that?
David Sileo December 16, 2013 at 05:55 PM
Leaves fall. It's the darnedest thing.
Harry Knowles December 16, 2013 at 06:24 PM
Wayne, ask Ed Coates at meeting Thursday why
Wayne Klotz December 16, 2013 at 07:19 PM
Dave; why is Harry know it all, so he claims, answering for you? And yes, Dave, leaves do fall, but, Dave, they stopped falling. Now we have snow on top of leaves. Harry, since you have all the answers, please tell all of us taxpayers why there are still leaves all over the town? What about snow removal, Harry? Please have a logical answer!!!
zeke carey December 16, 2013 at 07:40 PM
AND THE HITS JUST KEEP ON COMIN' Wayen will you be able to attend the meeting Thursday or are you banned from partaking in civil matters since your alleged cheating at the polls. First the water bill and then that.disgraceful! jeff you do come up with some intellectual comments on here one of the few that do. Being a business owner and by the way I worked hard and long hours to get what I have.nothing was handed to me on a silver platter. I give to the community during holidays and summer events to provide the needs of WD. I'm not a resident but my business is in wd and I do have a right to my opinion. most likely I pay more in taxes than some of you make in a year. leaves and snow removal should be the least worries. I have to pay an outside contractor to remove snow from my property.I don't depend on the township. as far as leave pickup last I remember it snows in December and winter months,but maybe they should pass an ordinance you can burn leaves like they did years ago. enuff said now it's time to sit by the fire watch fast and furious 6 while drinkin some apple cider martinis.
Wayne Klotz December 16, 2013 at 08:47 PM
Zeke; all this time you were making comments about West Deptford but you don't live here? What do you know about this town when you do not live here. This tells me you don't or never had a clue of what you were talking about.
Wayne Klotz December 16, 2013 at 08:49 PM
Oh by the way, please stay in Woodbury heights! Thank you!!
WDisfullofposers December 16, 2013 at 08:51 PM
Exactly, and who are you payin taxes to...not WD I assure you...you have no place even being on here....So again...What's the name of your so-called business? "Affluenza Annoymous"?...
WDisfullofposers December 16, 2013 at 09:01 PM
@ zeke....According to you your family business is 80+ years old...So only if you're 100 years old...you did not start this so called biz...so YES it was handed to you...although my guess by the way you speak..there is no such business...keep posin thou!!!
Walter Frockmorton December 17, 2013 at 08:20 AM
Not enough money in the line item? Just do what the Freeholders and the previous administration did, take money out from another and put it in. But that was OK. You see, they were Democrats. You don't hear Gary and Wayne squawking about them doing it. Their livelihood depends on it. Oh, and Wayne, stop posting while you're at work. I'm paying for that.
Jeff Jefferson December 17, 2013 at 09:45 AM
Harry, you should have a disclaimer that your posts are sponsored by the West Deptford Republican Club because it's such party line nonsense that it's hard to believe you actually believe this stuff. In regards to the "flat tax", all I had to do was read my tax bill which is higher this year then last year. And then upon further inspection, my county tax rate is lower while my municipal rate went up. I didn't take my bill to the Dem party HQ and ask them to interpret it for me, it was easy enough to understand.
Jeff Jefferson December 17, 2013 at 09:50 AM
David, you didn't answer my question. Answering a question with a rhetorical question is the easy way out. But, to address that question, has the bleeding stopped? Hard to say. I'd call it bleeding when we spend tens of thousands of dollars on a software package that is so incompatible with the current operating system that we had to spend thousands more to bring in a consultant to spend a year training our employees on how to use the program. That's not only text book bleeding but it's patently stupid. We also have more of the same, i.e. hiring a crony to fill a critical position in the township whose credentials didn't measure up to the requirements, had plenty of opposition to the hiring based on her lack of qualifications and, since taking her spot has proven those objections to be spot on. So now we're paying a six figure salary to another unqualified crony. If you don't see that as more bleeding then I don't know what you consider bleeding.
zeke carey December 17, 2013 at 10:53 AM
Looks as though that the republican responders on here are going to read and hear the bellyaching for the next so many years. but all it is that.you certainly aren't going to change the world or the township with your whining.98% of the people in WD could give two chits what you say on here. however you do have choice in this society you can move to another local or just put up with agony of knowing that the committee will be doing a great service to a majority of the residents. well people have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year,will be heading to Tuscon to visit family see you next year.
Harry Knowles December 17, 2013 at 12:01 PM
Sure you did Jeffy, because how you explained your taxes is exactly how the dems explained it. FO you have a house valued at the town average? If so did your taxes go up $450 this year as the letter from the CPA stated? And you never answered, when your local taxes go way down on your tax bill this year and the county go way up, how will you and the puppet heads explain it. No one from any HQ had to explain it to me, I did research and could clearly see who was lying to the public
WDisfullofposers December 17, 2013 at 03:12 PM
Zeke, why dont you stop tellin people to move...again when you dont even live here....And as far as listening to the "bellyaching" its funny cause the shoes on the other foot now cause thats all we've done is listen to your keyboard courage over the past year...Do us a favor...Go to Tucson and stay there...Im assuming cause you dont live in Tuscon you can go ahead and solve all their problems as well...no one cares about what you have to say anymore...once a poser always a poser...
Harry Knowles December 18, 2013 at 01:57 PM
Nice language by one poster on here, way to keep it civil and under control patch
Jeff Jefferson December 19, 2013 at 04:17 PM
Harry, if I get a tax bill that shows my taxes went down, I promise you, I'll post on here saying as much. In the interim, I'll repeat myself, I didn't have anyone explain my bill to me. I simply took last year's bill, this year's bill, compared the two and did the math. See, thinking for yourself is not a novel concept and it's really the easiest and most effective way to live a free life. Give it a shot, you may find you enjoy it. Then again, some people need to be told what to do, say and think. Good luck with that Har.
Harry Knowles December 21, 2013 at 07:39 AM
Jeffy, no one ever claimed all your taxes went down, just your local. This has been explain a 1,000 times along with why it appears on your bill way your local taxes went up but your county taxes went down . If you independently researched, not listening to anyone's theory you will see what happened. Your tax bill will show this this year and I expect you to come back, say it and say to the world I was wrong
Jeff Jefferson December 24, 2013 at 06:55 PM
Okay Harry, whatever you say. Ignore everything I've posted and just recite the stupidity you've come to be known for. Have fun with that.

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