RARITAN TWP., NJ – Many people pray for snow. There are children hoping for a “snow day” off from school, adults planning a ski vacation and those of all ages who pine for an old-fashioned snowball face-off.

But those answered prayers come with a very real cost, as revealed in Township records.

Just 3 inches of snow fell here during the storm that began Dec. 2, according to a report from Township Department of Public Works Superintendent Brion Fleming. He reports DPW staff salted and plowed all day on Dec. 2 before going home at 11 p.m., and that they then were called back just a few hours later after a “light coating” accumulated on the roads.

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That cost the Township more than $10,000 in personnel costs, of which $8,336 was for overtime. The work also consumed more than 535 tons of salt – about $27,000 worth – and more than 1,800 gallons of calcium chloride costing more than $1,880.  A few other expenses, including meals and a few bags of sidewalk salt, brought the total cost of the “snow event” to $39,545.

The snow that fell Dec. 11 was a bargain in comparison. Staff worked from 1 to 7 a.m. that day, Fleming said, dealing with about an inch of “wet slushy snow.” Personnel costs were $2,451 – of which $2,039 was for overtime – and only 144 tons of salt was needed, costing about $7,284.

Of course, those costs are only for plowing the Township's 188 miles of roads. The county picks up the cost of plowing its roads, as the state does for its highways.

Taxpayers may wish to consider those costs before hoping for more snow to fall tonight.