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Pound Ridge Daily Voice serves Pound Ridge, NY
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Mild or Wild Winter, Highway Department is Ready

POUND RIDGE, N.Y. – While Pound Ridge Highway Superintendent Vinnie Duffield appreciates the mild winter the region has been enjoying so far, he says the weather could have been just as bad as last year and his budget still would have remained unscathed.

With the town finances in good shape and relatively small highway department of 10 employees, Duffield said that, unlike many neighboring towns, snow or no snow really doesn’t make a difference to him. While many towns have been cutting expenses, Duffield’s highway budget has remained stable. His snow and ice line item, which covers things like salt, sand, and plow parts, is $150,000 – about the same as last year.

“I meet with the town board in October and present a budget and we usually come to an agreement,” he said. “They’re very fair and we’ve had no problems. We are a small highway department, which makes it easier to work a budget.”

Duffield said that despite last winter’s near-record snowfalls, the department stayed within its budget, so there was no deficit he needed to confront while preparing his 2012 budget.

“It helps that we do a lot of things in house,” he said. “We don’t sub out anything. We do all the mechanical repairs ourselves. Everything pretty much stayed the same except for fuel costs, which went up a little.”

Ironically, Duffield said, last year’s two major storms – Hurricane Irene and the October snowstorm – actually may have helped with his financial planning for the current budget.

“Because of those storms there were certain projects – like for paving and drainage – that didn’t get done,” he said. “Instead, we spent that time cleaning up and didn’t use outside contractors. [Not getting those projects done] won’t hurt anything – we’ll get to them this year. But it’s money that wasn’t spent.”

While the highway department was financially ready to take on tough a winter, Duffield said he will happy if it remains mild the rest of the season because it will benefit next year’s budget.

“It will help if we get a light winter,” he said. “That way we can go into next winter with a full salt bin.”

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