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Town in the red after cleaning up white stuff

March 05, 2003|by ANDREA ROWLAND

andrear@herald-mail.com

SMITHSBURG - The snowstorm that recently dumped about 2 feet of snow in Smithsburg taxed the town's snow removal budget and its employees, canceled meetings and closed schools, but the community rebounded despite the difficult circumstances, town officials said Tuesday.

"It seems like everybody comes together at these times to help each other out," Smithsburg Mayor Mildred "Mickey" Myers said during the monthly Town Council meeting. "There was a tremendous amount of communication and cooperation."

Smithsburg snow removal contractor Brian Semler and his crew worked overtime to clear the town's streets, Jeter Paving workers hauled away the white stuff, and town public works employees shoveled to keep the town's streets from flooding, Myers said.

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Myers commended Town Hall office staff for fielding countless calls from concerned residents, Smithsburg police and fire personnel for directing traffic on snow-covered streets, and many residents for promptly clearing their sidewalks.

Smithsburg Public Works Director Bill Loughridge also thanked town residents and members of the fire department for clearing snow from around fire hydrants.

"It shows somebody cares," he said.

Now, Loughridge and his crew will have to tunnel under some snowbanks to read town water meters - or wait for the snow to melt. If the readings and subsequent water bills are delayed, residents still will have 30 days to pay their bills, Town Manager Betsy Martin said.

It cost the town about $30,000 - $10,000 over the amount allocated for snow removal in the current annual budget - to remove snow from the latest storm, Martin said.

Smithsburg has spent nearly $42,000 for snow removal this winter, according to a monthly financial report. Town officials have requested disaster relief funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Myers said.

"We're on board for it if anything comes through - and I hope it does," she said.

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