"In any number of ways, it could not have come at a worse time," Nutter said. "Given our fiscal distress already, having these kinds of storms back to back is challenging. We've seen just about everything with the exception of floods and locusts."
The city did not put any money in the budget for snow removal. But Agostini noted that even in past years, when there had been money set aside for snow, it wouldn't have come close to the amount needed for this year's historic winter blitz.
"Even if we had $3 [million] to $5 million or so, it wouldn't have been remotely enough," Agostini said.
The snow-cleanup costs have contributed to an increase in the expected budget deficit for this fiscal year, which is up to $48.6 million, compared with $31 million in the fall.
Another key reason for the jump in the city's deficit was lower-than-expected sales-tax revenues.
"The snow clearly is not helping," Agostini said. "And we lost another $8 million in sales tax. The economy and pretty tepid job growth has started to cut into consumer spending."
Agostini said that the deficit would be resolved in next year's budget, which is expected to be released on March 4, when the mayor is scheduled to give his budget address. Agostini put the total deficit for the 2011 fiscal year, starting July 1, at between $125 million and $150 million - a number that includes the $48.6 million for this year.
Snow cleanup continued yesterday. Streets Commissioner Clarena Tolson said that 98 percent of the city's 2,500 miles of streets are now considered "passable," meaning that cars should be able to drive on the roads even if they aren't completely clear of snow or ice.
"We're still working around the clock. We have crews working day and night," Tolson said.