Blogs | Ethan Shorey

Why was snow removal so costly in Pawtucket?

I was surprised to learn this week that the total spent in Rhode Island on snow removal for the big January storm was around $9 million, an amount officials are hoping to have reimbursed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. With $3 million of that being spent at the state level, that left roughly $6 million spent by all Rhode Island municipalities.

So why are Pawtucket officials saying their total cost for that storm was $1 million? Could the city really account for one-sixth of the total amount spent by municipalities?

Chief of Staff Dylan Zelazo said Thursday that more than $700,000 of the $1 million was spent bringing in outside loaders and dump trucks, equipment city officials wouldn't typically use. With no place to put all the snow, the dump trucks were used to bring snow to Slater Park.

The following are Pawtucket's line item expenses for the storm (I don't yet know what "HS-8" means):

Employee salaries - $37,800
Employee OT - $52,813
Heavy duty equipment vendors used during the storm - $390,000
Heavy duty equipment vendors used after the storm was over - $340,000
Plow vendors - $66,000
Salt/sand Material - $29,509
Fuel/lube - $25,000
Damage to roads/bridges, curbs, etc. - $25,000
Parts - $11,320
HS-8 (damaged during storm) - $20,000
Buildings damage estimate (not finalized) - $20,000

Total - $1,017,442

The city's dense population and the fact that it got more snow (about 20 inches) than communities further south certainly played roles in the high costs, said Zelazo.

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