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Pay-for-Performance Snow Removal in Massachusetts

Quincy, Mass., is expanding a pilot program this winter that pays snow-removal companies for the amount of snow they remove, not the hours they work.

Two snow plows clearing a snowy road
Barbara L. Slavin/Flickr CC
Barbara L. Slavin/Flickr CC
As local governments look for ways to cut costs, there are some services that can never really be cut during this time of year – like snow removal in the winter. Last year, the city of Quincy, Mass., initiated a pilot program that lowered snow-removal expenses by revamping payment methods for such services. The city’s Department of Public Works awarded a contract to a snow-removal company that pays per inches of snow plowed, rather than the standard pay scheme based on the number of hours worked. The company is held accountable for plowing certain parts of the city and receives payments dependent on the amount of snow each snowstorm produces, with larger payments for larger storms. Mayor Thomas Koch is expanding the program this winter by enlisting another snow-removal company to cover other parts of the city. Half of the city’s six wards will be covered in this expanded pilot, with the remaining areas plowed by a combination of private companies and city trucks – paid hourly.

Andy Kim is a former GOVERNING staff writer.
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