Every year, we hear the same refrain from leaders in cities and towns across the Commonwealth.
“We’ve run out of snow removal money!”
Worcester has already used up most of its $2.1 million snow budget, barely halfway through the season.
“There’s about $300,000 left in our snow account,” City Manager Michael O’Brien told WBZ.
It has some residents wondering why officials don’t set aside more snow removal money in the first place.
“We get snow every year,” said resident Yelisse Bermudez.
“That should not catch them by surprise!”
It prompted Karen to Declare her Curiosity on our web site.
“I’m curious why all these towns are saying they’re running out of money to plow the roads. Why not increase the budget? We live in New England and it does snow every year.”
O’Brien offers this explanation: the snow budget is one of only a couple items communities are allowed to roll over into the next year, under state law.
When it comes to tough decisions like cutting teachers, police or firefighters, municipal leaders would rather keep those services and sacrifice the snow budget instead.
The problem is, in a recession, no city can afford more debt.
“We expect the state to cut aid to our community once again and that’s just going to compound what’s already a deficit well over $10 million, so for that reason, our goal is to resolve any and all deficits this year,” says O’Brien.
O’Brien vows to continue increasing the amount set aside for snow removal each year to make it more realistic.
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