Road salt prices double

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(Posted Aug. 2, 2018)

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

“It’s not good news,” said Madison County Engineer Bryan Dhume about the cost of road salt this year.

On July 31, the county commissioners opened bids for road salt for the upcoming winter season. Two companies submitted bids.

Compass Minerals America of Overland Park, Kansas, came in at $89.65 per ton. Cargill Deicing Technology of North Olmstead, Ohio, came in at $97.72 per ton. Last year, the county paid about half those amounts at $45.88 per ton.

Dhume pointed to increased salt usage as the reason for the doubled cost.

“Last year’s winter being more of an average to above average winter depleted the excess supply the salt companies had on hand from the previous two mild winters,” he said.

Dhume said he had expected prices to be higher this year and budgeted $65 per ton, thinking he was being conservative.

“I wasn’t expecting it to be double. It’s just a number we’ll have to wrap our arms around,” he said, noting that the price increase is an issue across Ohio.

Dhume typically orders 4,000 tons of road salt each year. If he sticks with that number this year, he will pay $200,000 more for salt than he did in 2017.

The Engineer’s Office does not have a funding source dedicated to road salt. The money comes from the same pot that covers most other services the office provides, including road repair and maintenance. Dhume said $200,000 would pave three miles of road.

He said he might have to be selective about how and where the salt is used. Grit and chemical additives could make the supply stretch, possibly leaving leftover salt for next season.

“We’ll just have to see what this winter brings,” he said.

Dhume is reviewing the bids. On Aug. 7 he will make a recommendation to the commissioners on which bid to accept.

Paving in Plumwood

Also on Aug. 7, Dhume will recommend a company to complete a paving project in Monroe Township. The plan is to pave all of the roads and alleys in Plumwood and Monroe Township by Oct. 31.

Dhume asked interested companies to submit prices based on two different types of paving materials. His estimates were $181,826 and $172,791. The bid opening was on July 31.

Two companies submitted bids. Shelly Co. of Thornville, Ohio, came in at $192,688 and $187,708. Cox Paving LLC of Washington Court House came in at $181,867 and $178,547.

Courthouse roof

In other business, the commissioners heard from Rob Slane, county administrator, about costs to replace the county courthouse roof. Preliminary figures came in at almost $1.2 million, well above the $850,000 he said he was hoping to see. Based on those figures, he said the county will adjust its project parameters before officially putting the project out to bid.

Slane said he doesn’t think there’s enough time to complete the project before winter. Most likely, crews would install the rubber layer this fall and the slate layer next spring, he said.

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