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Mass. Municipal Snow Budgets Hard Hit

Across the state, municipal budgets are sinking deeper into the red as cities and towns struggle with the high costs of snow removal.

The town of Saugus budgeted $150 thousand for the winter. Costs have soared to more than a million dollars.

Town officials have put new policies in place to conserve resources. For example, most roads will go un-plowed for any amount of accumulation less than four inches.

Town Manager Andrew Bisignani says its not a popular plan among residents.

"The residents, some understand," Bisignani says, "but most people, they don't accept that. They want their streets plowed regardless. But there is a cost of doing that and we have to balance other priorities. But it's a matter of public safety; we will do whatever we have to do."

Bisignani says the town will try to recoup the money they've spent in next year's budget.

The city of Brockton is also facing a large deficit, but Mayor Jim Harrington says the city will not change how it handles the snow.

"It's a matter of public safety so that we continue to do it the way that we believe is safest for our citizens," Harrington says. "However, the cost of this is getting to the point this year that its going to cause a real drastic problem for our budget for next year."

Brockton has an annual snow removal budget of $1.6 million. This year's actual costs are approaching $4 million.

This program aired on March 9, 2009. The audio for this program is not available.

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