Montreal dips into budget reserves as it launches fifth snow removal operation
The city of Montreal is beginning another snow removal operation on Thursday evening, and it's going to have to dip into its budgetary reserves to pay for it.
The budgetary year for snow removal is the same as the calendar year, and the city is saving money for a snow removal operation or two in November or December.
Benoit Dorais, Chair of the Executive Committee, said that since January 1 city workers and contractors have collected 12 million cubic metres of snow, which is as much snow as is normally collected throughout an entire winter.
The next removal operation starts at 7 p.m. Thursday because 12 cm of snow fell overnight.
Jean-Francois Parenteau, the mayor of Verdun and the elected official in charge of snow clearing, said crews will be working to haul away snow and chip away ice at the same time.
Opposition leader Lionel Perez said the state of ice removal has been dreadful this year.
"We have people with limited mobility that have been literally prisoners in their home for two weeks. It's inhuman that in Montreal in 2019 that we can't deal with ice and snow removal. We're heading for a real crisis and the administration must take the actions necessary to correct the matter," said Perez.
Mayor Valerie Plante said that is happening.
"Montreal represents 10,000 kilometres of sidewalks and streets. That's the reality and this year's winter has been extremely difficult in terms of variation of rain and snow," said Plante.
"We are dealing with a difficult situation and everyone is doing their best and working really hard."
The city of Montreal's budget to clean up snow is $160 million.
Despite the budgetary bite the city's overall budget is unlikely to be in the red: for several years the city of Montreal has ended its fiscal year with a surplus.