Epic winter empties public works pockets in Tiverton

Epic winter empties public works pockets in Tiverton

Snow plow with sander /salt spreader heads towards DPW shed.

Snow plow with sander /salt spreader heads towards DPW shed.
Snow plow with sander /salt spreader heads towards DPW shed.
TIVERTON — Led by a blizzard for the record books, this winter has blown holes in the Tiverton Department of Public Works’ (DPW) budget for this fiscal year.

“That storm Nemo cost the department $90,000, with no reimbursement from the state or the federal government,” DPW Director Stephen Berlucchi said.

The overtime account, he said, started out at the first of the year last July 1 with $50,000, and now has $196 left.

Money for hired plows, he said, originally totaled $60,500 and has now dwindled down to $5,000.

The sand and salt budget began the fiscal year with $90,000 on hand, and now has $12,000 left. The shed that houses the sand and salt needs to  be filled, “so for practical purposes that $12,000 is gone,” he said. It costs about $50,000 to fill it, Mr. Berlucchi estimated.

Bright spots are few. The repair account “is in reasonably good shape. It started with $65,000 and now has $27,000 left.” Mr. Berlucchi said.

“As far as equipment is concerned,” he said, “everything is going along, going along. We’re scraping by is all I can say.”

He said the budget committee has agreed to put a new $200,000 (est.) plow in the budget. “Finally. That’s all I can say. The year has been terrible, equipment-wise. We’ve had a lot of breakdowns during the storms, and that’s hard to manage.”

To offset the shortage in the overtime account, Mr. Berlucchi said, “we’ll need a transfer for sure.”

As for the rest of the accounts, “we’ll see how the rest of the year pans out,” he said.

“Last year we had tons of money left over. It was a mild winter.” The result was that funds could be transferred from the overtime and sand and salt accounts to other accounts, such as paving.

“This year it doesn’t look good for rolling funds from overtime and sand and salt,” he said.



  1. Highest taxes in RI and the entire town smells like a sewer…. The whole west side is loaded with PCBs and is toxic and the schools run out of paper each spring…. The solution: build a seven million dollar library.

  2. 1. There are actually 16 towns in Rhode Island with a higher residential tax rate. Would you like me to name them?

    2. I’m on the western side of the town and have not noticed that smell. Maybe the wind is so strong that it’s blowing the smell all the way up to the Boston suburbs?

    3. After donations and grants, the estimated cost of the library to Tiverton residents is only $3M — an average property tax impact of $31/year. The town voted for it, and nearly $1.8M has been pledged to date to cover costs.