Snowflakes have fallen since the middle of November and Madison Township Road Superintendent Terry Spangler is ready to tackle any winter storm headed his way with salt and plows.
"Depending on when the snow hits, we start plowing when the snowfall reaches one inch (depth)," said Spangler following a Dec. 19 Madison Township trustee meeting. "We concentrate on the main drags and arterials, but our biggest problem is in the housing projects. When it starts snowing, and people leave their cars on the street instead of bringing them up in their driveway or yards, it makes it very difficult to get our plows through. The best thing they can do is to get their vehicles off the road, if at all possible."
When winter weather is in the forecast, Spangler said his crews put down a brine mixture or salt on main roadways and hills/curves/intersections on side streets and rural roads. At $53 a ton, and averaging a 12-ton drop each time workers hit the roadways, salt is not a cheap commodity, but the road department uses whatever it takes to get the job done.
"When I started working for the township in 1989, salt was $22 a ton," recalled Spangler. "The costs keep going up, but without passing a levy, it keeps taking a bigger bite out of the budget."
Other Madison Township news
•The trustees approved the purchase of a new furnace for Station 181. The 23-year-old unit is one of three original furnaces. Two more were added following renovations to the station. The $2,800 furnace is rated at 90 percent efficient.
Technicians were called out nine times in the last three years to service the old system, with the latest repair quote nearing $750. Parts are getting harder to find, service calls are on the rise, and the company servicing the unit recommended replacement over repairs.
•Pay raises for non-exempt, non-bargaining staff; exempt salaried employees; and elected officials were approved by the trustees. Managers, clerks, administrative assistants, maintenance technicians, and road department personnel will receive three percent raises. All full-time non-union and exempt employees will also start receiving $75,000 in group life insurance.
•A gasoline and diesel fuel contract was awarded to Co-Alliance LLP, the lone bidder on a two-year agreement starting Jan. 1. Administrator Wayne Warner reported the township does not pay state fuel taxes and the contract is for 16 cents tacked on top of a base-rate rack fuel charge.
"We gotta have fuel and have it available at all times," said Trustee Jim Hummel. "As part of the contract, we get notified what the rack price is. Overall, we’re probably saving significantly with the rack price (versus the open market)."