Like others, East Providence nears its budget max for snow removal

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EAST PROVIDENCE — Like most other cities and towns in the state and the region, the winter of 2013-14 has been a drain on the snow removal budget for East Providence.

Department of Public Works Director Steve Coutu, Highway Supervisor Rob Walker and crew have been extremely active over the last few months. To date, the city's DPW staff has responded to 13 so-called "winter storm events, according to Mr. Coutu, including the one that hit the area Tuesday morning, Feb. 18,

"It certainly has been a pretty busy winter season," Mr. Coutu said Tuesday.  "The snow plow crews and all involved have been doing a really good job keeping up with 'Mother Nature.'"

The DPW director said two main factors drive East Providence's snow removal budget each winter: overtime and material costs. Overtime for plow and sanding drivers was set for $101,500 in 2013-14. Materials, mostly salt sands, was approximated to be at $100,000.

"We updated our numbers last week, so it does not include this past weekend's storm, but as of last week, we were about three-quarters through the OT budget and just over the materials budget by $5,000," Mr. Coutu added. "Those numbers will certainly change when we figure in this past weekend, and we still have about a month to go before the first day of spring, which can't come soon enough."

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A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.