The City of Haverhill expects to continue running short of private snow plowing help because of a nationwide shortage of drivers, but seeks to be a bit more competitive in the rates it pays.
Haverhill city councilors will formally receive an order tonight, asking the body to consider raising rates by 10%. As required by the city charter, the ordinance is expected to be placed on file two weeks before being considered. Public Works Director Michael K. Stankovich told councilors in a letter last week the proposed increase is the first in two years.
“Fuel prices have increased over 50% in the last year and inflation is currently over 5%,” he said. Stankovich also noted “the number of pieces of snowplow equipment available to the city is down by about 25% from the previous year.”
In a separate letter, Mayor James J. Fiorentini acknowledged the proposed increase makes the city more competitive, but “will not put us on top.”
“I do not believe it would be in the city’s best interest to enter into a bidding contest with the state and with other cities. We will never be able to outspend the wealthy cities now and will never be able to outspend the state,” he said.
The mayor said the effect of the driver shortage will delay the time it takes to clear snow after snowstorms and he asks the public to be patient.
In other business before the City Council, President Melinda E. Barrett has asked Ralph T. Basiliere, chairman of the Vietnam Veterans Ad Hoc Memorial Committee, to give a summary of efforts that led to the new memorial at Mill Brook Park.
The Haverhill City Council meets online and in-person Tuesday, Dec. 28, at 7 p.m., in the Theodore A. Pelosi Jr. Council Chambers, room 202, Haverhill City Hall, 4 Summer St.