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Augustus Apologizes to Worcester Residents for Storm Response

Thursday, December 31, 2015


Worcester City Manager Ed Augustus is apologizing to City residents for the response to Tuesday's storm that left streets untreat and many accidents.

Many Worcester residents were deeply disturbed about the impact and lack of the city's response. READ THE LETTER

Dear residents of Worcester,

I want to give you an update on the City's response to yesterday's winter storm. In short, we needed to do better. And we will.

City crews were on call Monday evening, and as the storm progressed we sent out trucks to salt the main routes through the City around 1:15 AM Tuesday. As the morning went on, we followed that up with sanders to take care of the hilly residential side streets. The City did not call out any plows in the morning, based on a forecast that called for less than two inches of snow and warm temperatures that would have melted most of what fell. As you know, the temperatures did not warm as we expected. Once it was clear the forecast was incorrect, DPW called in plows in the early afternoon. That work went on through the evening.

We made a judgement call that unfortunately turned out to be the wrong one. As a result, many of the City's streets were not in the condition our taxpayers have the right to expect.

Early this morning, I rode around the City with the Assistant DPW Commissioner in charge of the snow operation to survey road conditions. Based on that assessment, I have asked that every street in the City be salted and sanded today. That operation is well underway, and I expect it to be largely complete by the afternoon commute. Plows continue to mop up some trouble spots, particularly where we have received complaints. Any resident who believes their street to be in unsafe condition should call the DPW Customer Service hotline to make a report. That number is (508) 929-1300.

It is important to note that budget concerns do not and will not play a role in decision-making when it comes to dealing with a storm. We always do what we feel is best for the situation and for public safety. Every winter storm is different, and comes with unique challenges and variables. Yesterday, we acted on the best information we had. But ultimately, we made the wrong decision.

We will continue to keep you and the public updated on our plans to deal with this storm and those to follow. We are monitoring tonight's forecast, which calls for the chance of freezing rain, and we will do everything in our power to ensure we perform up to your standards in the event of more inclement weather.


Ed Augustus
City Manager




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