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Middletown among the communities playing a shell game

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MIDDLETOWN --  As with most communities in the state, Middletown is bumping up against the ceiling in terms of its annual snow removal budget, which for them is nearly $270,000.

"We have $25,000 left in the winter overtime," said Bill Russo, Middletown's Director of Public Works, who added "I think the last two years we were within budget."

He said large storms in the past have taught the city lessons.

"We used to have one. Now, we have three industrial snowblowers. Those go on the front of our pay loaders. We put a lot more heavy equipment on the road earlier," said Russo.

Also, keeping a close eye on storms of this magnitude: emergency response services in every municipality.

"When they are predicting 2 inches to 4 inches per hour, you're either not going to get mutual aid or they're going to be severely delayed," said Middletown's Fire Chief, Rob Kronenberger.

Other than double staffing, which they will do Tuesday, there's another way the fire department can help themselves.

"We have two sets of chains. One set is for small amounts of snow, up to 6 inches and then we've got something called roll chains for greater amounts," said Kronenberger.

There could be a silver lining with this storm.

"The most intense part is going to be coming down during the day, which, ultimately, I think will work to our advantage because most people are going to end up staying home," said Middletown's Mayor Dan Drew.

The Mayor said everyone needs to be patient when the snow ends.

"It's still going to take a while for us and I think a lot of the other towns to clear the roads enough so that people can start driving again," said Drew, noting that 38 trucks and plenty of road materials are at the ready.

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