Watertown DPW’s storm cost so far is $70K

Published: Nov. 21, 2022 at 5:38 PM EST
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - The lake effect snowstorm has cost the city of Watertown about $70,000 so far. With President Biden’s emergency declaration, 75 percent of that money could be covered by the federal government.

As of Sunday, Watertown Department of Public Works Superintendent Patrick Keenan said crews had put in 860 hours, for a total of $33,000 in labor costs.

Between the cost of labor, using in-house equipment and outside contractors, the city of Watertown has spent $70,000 so far in cleaning up the snow.

The DPW kept up with the snow the best it could, but it drew an apology from Mayor Jeff Smith explaining some plow trucks had a tough go pushing the heavy wet snow and some equipment broke down.

As for the equipment breakdown, Keenan says most of the problems have been fixed in-house with maybe one more major issue that will take more time to fix.

The DPW’s challenges didn’t bother Dan O’Leary of Watertown.

“They work hard. I’m proud of them,” he said.

O’Leary has spent a good amount of time with his snow blower since Friday and says he can handle snow.

“Talked to my friend last night in Florida. They’re still digging out after that last hurricane. That can be dangerous, too,” he said.

Businesses and residents are still digging out three days later.

Dale Johnson would guess this is his tenth time shoveling since Friday morning.

“It just got overpowering. I had to get a loader to take care of the situation,” he said.

As personal equipment failed for some residents, others lent a helping hand to dig others out.

“Snowstorm of ‘77 got to help people out back then. My father was a general contractor, so we’ve always been out helping people. It’s just a blessing to be able to help people and then the ones that can afford to give you a little something that’s great too, but it’s basically about helping others,” said Brad Castor, who was digging out on Clay Street.

If you’re digging out, remember to make sure fire hydrants are clear.