Council Sees Red on Snow Budget:Council, Arrigo Stunned by $1.3m Deficit

By Sue Ellen Woodcock

Seems like only yesterday we were digging out from over 100 inches of snow. Now it’s time to pay the bill.

Monday night Director of Finance George Anzuoni told the City Council that the city spent over $2 million on snow removal.

Anzouni explained that the snow/ice budget deficit was $1,669,991 as of June 30. He said the reimbursement from FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) is estimate to be $350,000 making the net deficit $1,319,991.

He advised the council that the deficit should be paid down over three years: with $621,391 paid out in fiscal year 2016; $349,300 in FY17 and $349,300 in FY18.

Anzouni said he needed signatures from the council to submit the paperwork to the Department of Revenue so the tax rate can be set by December 31.

Wondering why all of this is coming up now, Mayor-elect Brian Arrigo told Anzuoni that he asked a couple of weeks ago if there were any other issues that should be brought up.

“Going forward I want the council to continue to talk about the budget so there are no surprises,” Arrigo said. It was pointed out that collective bargaining contracts with the unions had not been settled yet.

“No one mentioned this at all,” said Councillor Robert Haas Jr., “Why wasn’t everyone brought in to line? Communication is the answer.”

Anzouni suggested a request from the city to have monthly reports to keep councillors up to date.

“I remember when it was $10,000 (to remove snow). It costs money to operate a city,” said Councillor Arthur Guinasso. “This is the painful truth for what it costs.”

The Council voted unanimously to approve to pay down the deficit over the next three years.

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