PT, city barter for salt


Have you ever driven behind a truck salting the roads and wondered how much it costs to buy all that salt? This year, it’s costing local governments a lot. Salt is “more valuable than gold this winter,” Prairie Township Administrator Tracy Hatmaker said at the Nov. 19 meeting of trustees.

Last year, the township paid approximately $47 per ton of salt, according to Road Superintendent Dave McAninch.  This year, the price is up 39 percent, to $65.25 per ton. But the township stands to save money through a deal with the city of Columbus.  

The city usually pays Prairie Township to take care of some of Columbus’ snow removal duties on nearby roads.  This year, they would have paid nearly $7,900 to the township, but offered instead to provide them with salt. The deal would give more salt to the township than they would have been able to buy with that money at the current going price, saving them more than $6 per ton. Given the savings, Hatmaker recommended that the township trustees accept the offer, which they voted to do. 

There was also good news about a roof replacement needed for the Township Hall, which was damaged by the aftermath of Hurricane Ike. 

The storm, uniquely termed a “Dry Wind Event” by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, caused damages to the roof and facing of the building that will cost nearly $20,000 to repair. But insurance will cover the cost after a $1,000 deductible, which FEMA will pay. The only cost to the township will be $1,300 needed to upgrade the shingles in the repair from 25-year to 30-year shingles. The insurance company would only pay for 25-year shingles, and Hatmaker said $1,300 wasn’t much to get the better shingles.

The township will have a progress report on the Big Darby Accord on Dec. 2 at Westland High School, in conjunction with the other partners in the project. The Big Darby Accord is a cooperative effort among various local jurisdictions to plan for future development while taking environmental concerns and natural resources into consideration.

“We hope that everyone can come out and get updated on that project,” Hatmaker said.

Some of the subjects the Accord addresses are open space preservation, stream restoration, town center planning and zoning. The open house and progress report will take place from 6-8 p.m. 

The council approved a new lighting district in the Westpoint subdivision after hearing community testimony. One resident questioned the need for lighting, saying there wasn’t conclusive evidence that crime goes down when lights are put in, and that the lights tend to fall into disrepair after they are installed.

The trustees acknowledged that there are often similar concerns when a lighting district is created in the township.

Chair Nicole Schlosser said, however, that a majority of the residents supported the lighting project and that as a representative of the community she needed to follow their wishes. Trustee Steve Kennedy said it was also a safety issue, with lights improving visibility significantly along similar roads. 

Fiscal Officer Dan McCardle estimated that the new lights would cost residents $5-6 per month for the first five years after installment, and that the price would go down after that. He said all residents are encouraged to notify his office about lights that need maintenance. “They’re not going to go into a state of disrepair,” he said.


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