There has been a lot of talk this week about how much a blown forecast about a blizzard that wasn’t cost taxpayers. At least in Ocean County, the lack of a megastorm ended up saving tax dollars rather than wasting them, officials said Wednesday.
“Whether it’s four inches, six inches or eight inches, it doesn’t matter, you’re plowing the road anyway,” explained Carl Block, Ocean County Administrator.
“If we had gotten two or three feet of snow, we probably would still be out there trying to clean it up,” said Freeholder Jim Lacey.
Ocean County is responsible for 1,600 miles of roads, the most of any county in the state. In Brick, the county is responsible for numerous major roads – such as Herbertsville Road, Mantoloking Road and Brick Boulevard – as well as nearly 100 local streets.
For its plowing efforts, the county spent $321,147, including $12,000 in diesel fuel and about $7,000 in gasoline. The road department used 4,654 tons of salt, and 37,000 gallons of brine solution to treat roadways, said J. Thomas Curcio, Ocean County road supervisor, at a meeting of the county freeholder board.
Brick Township’s municipal government is responsible for paving smaller streets, mainly in residential neighborhoods. Mayor John Ducey said the township is still in the process of calculating its overtime expenses and figures on how much the storm cost local taxpayers were not yet available.
But for the county’s part, officials say a lesser amount of snow meant less overtime, less equipment that needs to be repaired and fewer materials needed.
“We have some new vehicles in, and it makes a big difference when things aren’t breaking all the time,” said Curcio.
After the season’s first brush with measurable snow, there were few complaints, and much praise from county officials for the employees who worked long hours treating roads with brine solution, then turning right around and plowing snow once it fell.
“The job that gets done is from a small army of men and women who are well trained,” said Freeholder Jim Lacey. “We were prepared for the worst.”