Town Administrator Michael Boynton estimated that the cost of the blizzard that dumped 2 feet of snow on Walpole a little over a week ago would be about $309,000.
“This is not all-inclusive, this is just trying to get the largest items out and identified,” he told the Board of Selectmen at their meeting Thursday, Feb. 14. “Some of these costs are going to move up or down. The contracted plowing costs at $100,000 looks to be fairly reasonable based on the time that contractors were out.”
29 town trucks were on the road during the storm as well as 49 private contractors’ vehicles. Also, many worked in town after the storm to help the cleanup effort.
According to Boynton, private contractors fetch between $60-$140 an hour based on rates which vary by the type of vehicle.
“So if you come in with a 1 ton pickup truck with a plow we’ll pay $60-65 an hour," Boynton said.
One private contractor has a large tandem axle sanding plow truck that plows Route 27 for about $140 an hour. “And there’s only one of those that we pay out,” he said.
“The majority of the equipment that we have are more on the pickup truck side, the smaller side,” said Boynton.
Loaders are about $125 an hour.
“What we try to do is evenly disperse the amount of equipment around town so that we have coverage,” he said.
Full-time town employees who worked during non business hours throughout the storm and during the cleanup received overtime.
Another part of the cost includes repairs to equipment caused by the storm.
"Plows were damaged as a result of this,” Boynton said. "A town owned dump truck was plowing East Walpole and caught a basketball net through the passenger's side window of the truck, ripping the door off the truck."
“That’s a $1,700 repair in and of itself just for the parts,” he said. “Fortunately no one was hurt but the truck did sustain damage.”
Boynton and the selectmen praised the work done by the crews during and after the storm.
Boynton said they are still working out all of the details and should have a final tally of the cost to the town within the next couple of weeks.