Mon January 31, 2011
Snow busts RI transportation budgets
By FLO JONIC
Providence, RI – Ready or not, another snow storm is headed our way. The National Weather Service is forecasting three to four inches for Rhode Island on Tuesday.
These back-to-back storms are really creating havoc with municipal budgets.
Cranston budgeted $550,000 for snow removal this year. Usually that's enough. But this year --only six weeks into an unusually snowy winter season-- the money's gone and the city will have to dip into its rainy day fund for future plowing.
Mayor Alan Fung says he's learned to hate the snow. "Every time I see snow flakes fall I see dollar signs going out the door at City Hall," he says.
Cranston is far from being alone. A check of 10 Rhode Island governmental bodies showed five have burned through their snow plowing budgets and the rest are two thirds to three quarters exhausted. Their options: dipping into reserves if they have them or finding the money elsewhere in already squeezed budgets.