City used out-of-state plow company for snow removal

It’s not unusual for the City of Richmond to hire help with clearing the roads of snow. For several years, the city has had a contract with Ty’s Hauling and Paving in Richmond.

But through a Freedom of Information Act request, 8News discovered something different about the receipts for plowing during the January 7 snow storm. We found a plowing bill for close to $90,000 from a company in New York.

Just before the storm hit, Bobby Vincent, the Interim Public Works Director, said, “we’re certainly going to be prepared, we’ll do our best to respond to whatever the good Lord throws our way.” That was after a 2016 snow removal debacle that left some city residents stuck in their homes for days.

Richmond was determined to get the roads cleared fast this year. But why hire help out of state? Why not support local businesses? We took those questions to the city’s Department of Public Works.

They declined to go on camera with us, but in an email, DPW spokesperson Sharon North said the following:

“The local contractors we typically employ during storms were already committed. We went with one that was available, which happened to be the company from Albany.”

Perhaps it was because the city waited to the very last minute. 8News spoke with the New York contractor, Justin Sherwin. He says when the city called, he had just 15 hours to get his 10 trucks to Richmond before the storm hit.

Meanwhile, with a slight chance of snow this weekend, the city is out of funds. For the first time, the city this year created a $1 million line item in the budget for snow removal. Yet, it wasn’t enough. That one January storm cost Richmond more than $1.4 million dollars.

“We would not handle any upcoming storm any differently than past storms,” North said in an email to 8News. “We have to look at the money in the DPW General Fund and determine where we’ll be able to find the money (e.g. reduce spending in another area, etc).”

This is a developing story. Stay with 8News online and on air for the latest updates.

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