Lack of snow is good for municipal budgets

Winter Weather

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Rhode Island has had just under a foot of snow so far this winter, compared to more than 29 inches last year. While the lack of snow may be disappointing to some, it’s resulting in savings for cities and towns.

The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) told Eyewitness News that as of Friday, it’s used roughly $8.5 million of its $20 million snow budget.

“While there may not have been many major storms or many smaller storms, there still are icing events and sleet events that we have to respond to,” RIDOT Chief Engineer of Infrastructure Robert Rocchio said. “So it’s not as big of a windfall that you might think.”

Buying road salt accounts for at least a third of RIDOT’s snow budget, according to Rocchio.

“Salt is a significant expense, but also calling in the vendors when we have the bigger events and the overtime,” he added.

Communities across the state are seeing savings. In Johnston, about $77,000 has been used from the town’s $175,000 snow budget. Coventry budgeted $309,000 and about $188,000 has been used so far. South Kingstown has only used $51,000 of its $218,000 snow budget.

For Providence, less than half of its roughly $2 million snow budget has been used this winter.

“If we don’t get any more snow, it gets reinvested to the city, to the general fund, or we will use it back in the department, try to reinvest for next year,” said Leo Perrotta, the city’s acting Department of Public Works director. “When Mother Nature says there will be snow, we will be out there. We will take care of it.”

Snow is still possible well into March. In fact, last March was the snowiest month of the winter season.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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