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Cities Stockpile Snow Removal Funds

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A front end loader prepares for a snowstorm in Nashua, NH.

A front end loader prepares for a snowstorm in Nashua, NH.

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NASHUA, N.H. (CBS)  – Walls full of shovels and shelves full of salt tell the story at Aubuchon Hardware Store in Nashua.

“I can’t remember anything this quiet. Usually by December you get something,” said manager Dennis Archambeault. “This year it’s been zilch. It’s almost like spring out there.”

Sales of winter products are down 50 percent at the store. But what’s costing Archambeault business is turning into a windfall for the city.

WBZ-TV’s Lauren Leamanczyk reports

“Aside from the October storm we’ve had, we have not had what I’d consider a real plowing event,” said Roy Sorenson who heads up the Streets Department in Nashua.

If you take the October storm out of the mix, Nashua has only spent seven percent of this year’s one million dollar snow budget. By this time last year, they’d gone through more than half. Overtime alone has cost $370,000 less this year.

But that could change soon. For the first time since last winter, the city had to re-stock the salt pile in anticipation of two snow events this weekend.

“These last few little storms here are a little expensive because we’ve used a lot of salt. They can get expensive, but it’s a far cry from last year,” Sorenson explained.

With the first real snow potentially on the way, customers finally started stocking up Aubuchon’s.

“This is the first time. Hope it’s the last time too,” said one customer who left with a jar of ice melt.

The store fears ending the winter with a surplus of salt. The city hopes they’ll have a surplus of cash.

“We’ve still got a long way to go,” Sorenson said.

WBZ-TV’s Christina Hager reports from Worcester

“I don’t mind the cash flow. We’ll take it,” says Stephen Crowe, president of Sunshine Landscaping Company in Webster, Massachusetts. He spent Thursday watching the radar, and preparing his trucks for plowing and salting. He and other plow drivers are also looking forward to more snow this weekend.

Worcester Public Works Director Bob Moylan says the mild winter has been good for his snow removal budget. Crowe says he wouldn’t mind more work, but he’s not counting on it. “If we don’t get snow in December, it’s usually not that big of a winter,” he says. He’s been plowing for 25 years.

WBZ-TV’s Lauren Leamanczyk and Christina Hager contributed to this report.

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