Archbold, OH

Road Salt Expensive; Supply Not Critical, Yet

Government entities in the area report they are in good shape when it comes to road salt.

But the price of salt has gone up significantly.

Dennis Howell, Archbold village administrator, said Morton Salt, the supplier, “has assured us they can supply us at least as much as we had last year. That’s about 600 tons.”

The village stockpile is full, with the exception of a small amount used Tuesday, Nov. 25.

“We can’t hold enough for a full winter,” Howell said. Right now, he estimated the village had 220 tons.

How long will it last? Howell said it depends on Mother Nature or Old Man Winter.

“Tell me what kind of winter we’re going to have, and I’ll tell you how long it will last. We could get through the whole winter, or we could be out by Christmas,” he said.

The price of salt stayed level at about $48 a ton until recently, when it shot up to $77.31.

The reason? “Supply problems and transportation,” he said.

German Township

Bruce Lauber, German Township trustee, said, “We have gotten in four truckloads, and we anticipate we have access to another two.”

The trustees bought their supply while the price was low, but like Howell, he said the price has gone up substantially.

The trustees have a long-term contract with the salt supplier, but the contract restricts them to a maximum of 10% more than the previous year.

“We’re in good shape,” Lauber said.

To stretch the salt supply, Howell said the township road workers mix the salt with very fine gravel. That, he said, cuts the amount of salt they use.

Randy Merillat, superintendent of the Fulton County highway garage, said his workers also “stretch” their road salt supply with fine gravel.

But he said that communities with storms sewers don’t use gravel, for fear of clogging the underground pipes.

Fulton County

Merillat said he can’t say how Fulton County stands on road salt, “without knowing what lies ahead in ice control. If we don’t have too bad of a winter, and we’re diligent in our application,” Fulton County will be okay.

“We bid early, and got a good price. We were fortunate,” he said.

The county paid $58.04, and has 2,500 tons reserved. The figure includes 1,840 tons for Fulton County, with the remainder going to some townships and two villages that purchased salt through Fulton County.

Right now, there’s about 400 tons on hand.

“We’re keeping our buildings as full as possible,” he said.

Merillat said his snowplow drivers “need to be conservative, without jeopardizing safety.

Ohio Department of Transportation

Toby Hines, transportation director of the Fulton County Ohio Department of Transportation, said there are 3,450 tons of salt on hand in Wauseon.

“We were proactive on this thing. We got it in when we had the opportunity, and we paid last year’s price,” he said.

Last year, salt was $43.62 a ton, and the price held until July. Then it skyrocketed.

“Next time, it will be $74.38. That’s why we got it when we did.”

The Fulton County garage has a commitment for an additional 1,400 tons, but the supplier won’t know if it can honor the commitment.

“If we have an average winter, we should have enough to get us through. But we could be pretty empty” when spring rolls around.

Hines said 25 Ohio counties have their salt storage sheds full- but others have bid salt four times, trying to get a good price. In some cases, companies wouldn’t submit bids.

He said some counties in southern Ohio are paying $150. Some are buying salt from Chile, shipping it up the rivers by barge.

When it comes to Fulton County, “We’re in pretty good shape.”

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