Winter Without Snow

January 10, 2012
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This has been a winter without snow.

As a result, the city hasn’t spent much money from its snow removal funding budget.

This is a good thing as during a normal snow season, the city could be expected to spend almost $3 million as it did last year.

The savings to the city’s budget is nice.

Having no snow and very little is nice.

What isn’t nice is that hundreds of men and women who rely on plowing the streets for part of their winter living are in a big hole.

With no money spent for plowing this year so far, plowers are literally and figuratively dying. They’ve had to spend thousands for their equipment and readiness and they’ve taken in nothing.

“I’m at my wits end,” said Mario Lopez. Lopez has a plow mounted on the front of his Chevrolet truck.

“The plow and set-up cost me almost $2,000,” he said. “And what am I getting in return this season? Zero. Nothing. It is really depressing,” Lopez said.

Like many others with small plow systems, Lopez has several dozen clients who require snow to be cleared from their driveways and front walks. When a snowstorm occurs, he’s there clearing the snow away – and then he gets paid.

For owners of companies with larger trucks and front-end loaders, the winter without snow is affecting them worse than ever before.

“The economy has been bad for building,” said the owner of a small construction business from the cab of his dump truck. “And now this.”

Indeed.

The winter without snow and without frigid cold has not only affected plowers but local oil delivery companies. While prices are high for heating oil, demand has been incredibly low.

“You know how badly you’re being ripped off when supply is plentiful, when oil use is way down and the price manages to remain unusually high. This is what consumers are experiencing right now,” said a Lynn homeowner who wished to remain unnamed.

And how about the salt company that supplies nearly all the road salt on the North Shore for its communities?

“Last year at this time we couldn’t keep salt in the yard,” said an official for Eastern Minerals in Chelsea. “Instead, the piles are high, the yard is full and we await the first big snow to get the season jump started,” he added.

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