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NYC's snow-removal cost soars to near $130 million

A man walking two girls home from P.S.

A man walking two girls home from P.S. 111 Adolph S. Ochs on Manhattan's west side during a winter storm, Feb. 13, 2014. Mayor de Blasio decided not to cancel New York City schools despite the stormy weather. Credit: Agaton Strom

New York City's snow budget, already hiked once before because of this winter's onslaught, is going up yet again, the city's retiring sanitation commissioner testified Wednesday.

The 2014 budget initially set aside $57.3 million to handle snowfalls. Mayor Bill de Blasio on Feb. 12 added about $35 million more, but two subsequent storms brought the total snowfall to 56 inches -- more than double the normal amount. That meant the city needs another $35 million to $40 million, for a total of around $130 million, Doherty told the City Council's Committee on Sanitation and Solid Waste Management.

Combating snowstorms means paying for salt, equipment, overtime and labor.

Doherty's appearance before the committee was his last for a department he joined in 1960 as a trash collector.

Doherty, 75, submitted his resignation last week, effective March 28. On Saturday, de Blasio appointed Kathryn Garcia, 44, a longtime city environmental official, to succeed Doherty.

Doherty initially planned to retire at the end of the Bloomberg administration, but agreed to stay on for one final winter, at de Blasio's request. Doherty weathered stinging criticism in January over botched plowing in neighborhoods such as the Upper East Side.

Asked yesterday whether he regrets remaining at his post for a final winter, he said: "It's like a marriage, you got to try to stick it out. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don't work."

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