With prices of road salt expected to rise next year, Reynoldsburg is stockpiling and planning to conserve.
At the Sept. 8 Reynoldsburg City Council meeting, members approved the purchase of $92,000 of road salt, with $32,000 taken out of the unappropriated state highway fund and $60,000 from the city’s street fund.
The money would go toward the purchase of an additional 2,000 tons of salt to be used on the nearly 112 miles of streets in Reynoldsburg this winter.
Because of a heavy demand of salt used by northern states after a harsh winter this past year, several states already have placed bids for salt.
Placing bids later in the year usually means better deals on salt prices for communities.
However, this year, because northern states bought road salt early in an effort to prepare for the possibility of another harsh winter, other communities further south in Ohio have found themselves scrambling for the remaining salt available and battling the rising prices because of supply and demand.
That has left communities like Reynoldsburg rushing to reserve salt under its existing contract with American Rock Salt Co. for $46 per ton. The hope is to have enough salt for this year and have some in the reserve for next year – before prices are expected to climb to $80 and more per ton, city officials say.
"We need to purchase as much as we can to have plenty to carry over," Reynoldsburg Safety and Service Director Pam Boratyn said.
The Reynoldsburg Street Department has two salt storage buildings with a capacity of 2,500 tons of salt, but Boratyn said the city hopes to fit about 3,000 tons of salt in the buildings.
Any additional salt purchased would be stored outside and covered for protection from outdoor elements.
"We aren’t just filling bins," Council president William L. Hills said. "We’re hedging that we might not get salt in ‘09, so we’re filling our bins now."
During the past 20 years, the city has used an average of 1,800 tons of road salt per year, said Larry Ward, superintendent of the Reynoldsburg Street Department.
• Council authorized up to $60,000 to be used for the Rodebaugh Road repaving project. The money be paid out of the capital improvements fund.
"I would rather see (the road) is going to last rather than Band-Aid it, Band-Aid it and Band-Aid it," council member Leslie Kelly said.
• Council members rejected the bids received on Aug. 15 for the replacement of the roof at the Senior Citizens Center and authorized the Parks and Recreation director to re-advertise for bids.
• Council appointed Charles McGrath to serve a term on the Planning Commission, with his term ending Jan. 14, 2012.