The assorted storms, flurries and freezes so far this winter have eaten away at 40 percent of Coventry's snow removal budget, but for this time of year, that rate of spending on snow and ice isn't out of the ordinary.
As of Monday, Jan. 13, the town had used $99,818 of its $246,237 snow removal budget, according to Finance Director Bob Thibeault. This leaves $146,419 available to the Department of Public Works for plowing and treating roadways for the remainder of the winter.
Coventry has dealt with winter weather quite successfully over the past several years compared to many Rhode Island communities. In fiscal 2012 and 2013, the town was operating with the same $246,237 snow removal budget as it is today.
Last winter's extensive snowfall, including Blizzard 2013 (aka Winter Storm Nemo) in February caused the town to exceed its snow budget by approximately $15,000 - a small deficit considering how much of the white stuff the area received throughout the season. When this occurs, additional money is taken from the town's fund balance to cover services for the remainder of the season.
In fiscal 2012, Coventry finished the year with approximately $48,855 left in the snow removal budget, which covers plowing and any overtime pay associated with it, as well as equipment repairs and the materials used for roadway treatment: salt, sand, gravel and stone.
"We seem to be doing pretty well so far this winter," said Thibeault. "But it all depends on what the weather decides to do from here on. You just can't predict it."