Using less road salt this season still costing cities

Using less road salt this season still costing cities

AVON LAKE, OH (WOIO) - We hear it year after year. Snow costs cities money. In record snowfall years, it's a real budget-buster.

Not this year. Most cities have spent way below their budgets for snow removal. Good news right. Not necessarily. The problem is salt.

Most cities still have tons of it. Salt barns are bursting at the seams and that gets to the heart of the matter, according to Avon Lake Mayor Greg Zilka.

"We were concerned we would have no place to put the salt we had on order and they do charge an exorbitant amount for the salt, almost as much to store it as the salt itself costs," said Mayor Zilka.

That's right, if a city can't take delivery of 90% of the salt it ordered salt companies charge them to store it, even if it's not out of the ground yet.

Mayor Zilka showed us a new salt storage facility that allows the city to store three times as much salt as in the past.

The whole idea of building the storage barn was to avoid salt shortages in years where there is a lot of snow. But this year there hasn't been much snow so it's serving a completely different purpose.

It allowed the city to take delivery of its salt and avoid the storage charges.

Public Works Director Joe Reitz says until this week's snow it would have been a tight fit. Not now.

"We ordered 3,000 tons to fill it up over the summer and then we committed to buying 3,000 over the winter," said Reitz.

There is another plus.

"The facility gives us a hedge on that because when we see that there is a low price we can go out and jump on it," said Mayor Zilka.

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