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The Winter That Wasn’t Saves NJ Big Bucks [AUDIO]

A couple of winters ago the Garden state was like Alaska – with snowstorms every couple of days, but this past winter was one of the mildest on record.

Flickr User Anthony Quintano

The result was big savings on the local, County and State level.

Jersey Department of Transportation spokesman Joe Dee says “altogether there were only 13 total winter weather events this past winter – compared with 28 events the previous year – so we really made out quite, quite well…a couple of winters ago the DOT spent 56-point- 1 million dollars, and this year it’s 17-point-7, so a very large difference.”

He says another benefit of the wild winter that wasn’t was the fact that the Department still has a huge supply of road salt that never had to be used.

“We have these salt domes you see along highways in our maintenance yards all over the state” says Dee, ” they’ re at 90 percent capacity… these are storage facilities that were normally getting salt deliveries to refill them multiple times throughout the year, and right now they’re just about full.”

Dee points out the savings isn’t sitting in a DOT saving account – the money is in the state Treasury Department’s general fund, so “it is just less of a drain on the general fund – so that benefits the state as a whole and taxpayers as a whole…we’re thankful that it was a very mild winter and we’ll just be ready for next year…it has created a season of normalcy for us, where we weren’t working around the clock.”

Mercer County Executive Brian Hughes agrees.

He says a couple of winters ago they spent 800 thousand dollars keeping roadways clear, but for this past winter “we have spent under 200 thousand dollars, so that’s a big savings for us, and that’s going to be reflected back in our general fund…it’ s good news for the taxpayers cause we’re able to lower the tax rate next year- and not have to put so much money aside.”

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