For fiscal year 2017, the city budgeted $88 million for snow removal and has already spent $26 million. But yesterday’s dump of the white stuff could bring that number up to $54 million. DNAinfo reports that Comptroller Scott Stringer estimates it could cost NYC taxpayers between $19.9 and $27.9 million to dig out from Winter Storm Niko, which is based on the average of $1.99 million per inch of snow that the city has paid over the past 14 years.
Though parts of Queens got close to eight inches of snow, Central Park saw only five and most of Brooklyn between five and seven. Taking a median of six inches, this leaves the city with enough money to dig out 24 more inches of snow before the end of the year based on the average of $1.99 per inch. However, in fiscal year 2016, it cost an average of $3.28 million per inch of snow, and in 2014, removal costs hit an all-time high of $130.6 million.
These costs come in addition to the $21 million the city spent purchasing new equipment like smaller salt spreaders and snow haulers to accommodate narrow streets in Queens and Staten Island, bringing the total number of pieces of snow equipment to 2,300. In a statement Stringer said, “It’s always important to remember that snowstorms cost money, and the more transparent we are about those costs, the better we’re able to budget in the future,” Stringer said in a statement.