Snow removal pushes Facilities $100K over budget
Published: Friday, March 15, 2013
Updated: Friday, March 15, 2013 13:03
Facilities Services exceeded its snow removal budget by more than $100,000 this winter in the wake of two major snow storms in February and March.
After the storms this winter, the Department of Facilities Services had employees working overtime, and in some instances workers had to remain at the university overnight, Director of Facilities Services Bob Burns said.
“There was a lot of overtime because of the amount of snow and because there was so much snow — we had to haul it out because there was no place to put it,” Burns said. “We needed contractors because it just couldn’t pile up anymore.”
The university looked to several sources for help in the cleanup effort to ensure that the university campuses would recover quickly from the effects of the snowstorms, according to Burns.
“In order to make sure that the campus is safe and secure and slip−free in a very short period of time, we engaged our janitorial contractor to help out with providing a work force to clear stairways and walkways,” Burns said. “Between our various contractors, companies, the custodial company and the Facilities Services workforce, we were able to accomplish our goal.”
During the winter months, Facilities has prioritized safety over budget, Burns said.
“The goal here is to make [sure] all the campuses are safe and passable for our students, faculty and staff,” he said. “Whatever it takes to make that happen, to put our campuses in that type of condition, we do.”
Facilities has been looking for ways to absorb the extra expenses caused by this year’s winter season, he said.
“We are going to try and operate for the rest of the year more efficiently to try and offset those expenses, and if we can’t, the department will have to come up with a way to fund it,” Burns explained.
Burns declined to comment on the exact amount of money spent on the snow removal budget this year.
The recovery effort involved the combined efforts of many university departments and organizations, including the Facilities staff, Tufts University Police Department, Dining Services and the Office of Community Relations, according to Burns.
University employees that spent the night at Tufts during the snowstorm were provided with housing for the nights that they spent on the job, Burns said.
“They were able to get off their feet, get out of their trucks and take a breather,” he said.
This winter had significantly more snow than last year and is more similar to the winter of 2011, Burns said.
“The last three winters have had snow in different patterns,” Burns said. “Last winter, there was very little snow. The year before that, there was a tremendous amount of snow and I think the university was closed, or at least had a late start at least twice.”
The safety of the campuses this winter was a result of the efforts of the whole Tufts team, he said.
“I am very proud of the Facilities staff for doing a good job handling all of the weather events ... and trying to make the campuses safe and livable during an extreme weather event,” Burns said.