This Winter Isn’t Business as Usual for Snow Removers 

By late February in Maine, you’d expect to see the snow piled up a little higher than it is, but this hasn’t been our average winter. Our TV5 Meterologists say the Bangor area gets an average of 80 inches of snowfall a year. At this time last year we’d received 76.9 inches, but to date this year, we’ve only seen 35.1.Less snow means less to be plowed, but the Bangor Public Works director, Dana Wardwell, says his crews have still been busy keeping the roads salted and sanded.”The way we measure the winter is the number of events that we need to respond to and this year we’ve responded to 19 events with 9 of them plowable and last year at this time we had responded to 22 events with 11 of them plowable,” said Wardwell.He says the difference is in accumulation. If there’s only a few inches of snow on the streets, his crews can plow once around the city and be done. But when we get a foot of snow or more, he says it takes several trips before the roads are clear. “This point this year compared to this point, this date last year, we’ve saved about $71,000 in overtime and about $53,000 in fuel,” said Wardwell.The Public Works Department is currently under budget. Meantime private snow removal businesses are hurting.JAMS Lawn Care has been in business for ten years doing residential and commercial lawn maintenance and plowing. The owners say they’ve been digging a little deeper into their pockets this year. “Our last year’s sales were pretty much double the normal and this year, I’d say we’re down probably 20-30% so it’s definitely taken a toll, but we do have a mixture of per storm and contract accounts and those contracts definitely keep us afloat in a situation like this,” said Andy Ryder of JAMS Lawn Care.Of course, there are still several weeks left of winter. While Bangor Public Works can handle more snowfall this season, private plowing companies are hoping for it.