No Business Like Snow Business

While some government services are at risk due to budget cuts, one that will always continue (where necessary) is winter snow removal. But a Massachusetts community has a new approach – paying per inches plowed rather than number of hours worked.

Under the new program, contractors are required to set aside a specific number of plows – both large and small – to cover the full neighborhood and get paid based on the size of the snowstorm. That eliminates the costly idling time that have traditionally been charged by contractors, especially considering weather forecasts can very substantially, Prendeville said.

Most importantly, Prendeville said, the new system has a created a "tremendous level of accountability," that has cut down on the number of resident complaints and streamlined the overall operation during snowstorms, he said.

"This is performance-based, so the incentive is there for the contractor to do the best job possible, which is critical to us," Prendeville said. "We saw a marked difference in the number of calls from residents. There’s always room for improvement, but we think we are making great progress."