NORTHFIELD — Area communities are facing much higher prices for road salt this year, and the village is one of them, according to Service Superintendent Jason Walters.
He told Council at its Oct. 10 meeting the village likely will spend around $100,000 for salt for the coming winter season, which is about twice as much as what it spent in 2017-18.
Walters said the village hopes to buy about 850 tons from a secondary supplier through the Community University Education Purchasing Association, a cooperative group which serves communities and schools in the Akron area.
"The price will be about $102 a ton," he said, adding the village has about 125 tons remaining in its storage shed. "In a typical winter, we usually use from 900 to 1,200 tons of salt," he added.
Last year’s price from Cargill through the CUE was $48.47 a ton. Walters said this year’s primary bid from Cargill was $79.87, but Cargill informed the CUE that it could commit to provide only about 85,000 tons, half of what the CUE members requested.
So the village decided to buy its salt under a higher bid from a secondary supplier, according to Walters.
A high number of small "snow events," plus a high number of days when temperatures fell below freezing and rose above freezing in a single day, took a toll on area communities’ salt supplies last year.
"We call those small events salt eaters," said Matt Bruning, public relations spokesman for the Ohio Department of Transportation. "We’d rather have one storm with a foot of snow than 12 small events with an inch."
Around Ohio, prices have gone up between 40 percent and 74 percent, and Bruning said ODOT’s bid price this year has risen about 66 percent.
Cargill spokesman Justin Barber said a "combination of factors" led to the increase this year, including a smaller supply and an increasing demand from last year’s "strong winter."
"We’re seeing a higher demand for the 2018-19 winter season," he noted. "A lot of communities have depleted their supplies, so they’re restocking."
He said Cargill also is having "operational issues" at one of its three mines, which is causing a lower supply of salt this year.
Meanwhile, Walters told Council he would like to have several trees in the right-of-way on Summit Street trimmed or taken down soon because they are interfering with utility lines.
He said he will let Council know at its next meeting an approximate cost for the work, and he said he hopes the project can be completed before winter weather sets in.
Village Engineer Richard Wasosky reported the Ledge Road Phase 2 project ended up being completed about five weeks ahead of schedule, and he estimated it came in about $200,000 under budget. He said crews will check next May to see whether the grass seed has grown properly.
He also informed Council the Houghton Road reconstruction and Route 8-Houghton traffic signal installation project should be bid in mid-December, and the Route 8-Ledge Road signal installation should start in April 2019 and could take 45 days.
Fire Chief Jason Buss reported an "active shooter" response training session involving the police and fire departments on Oct. 10 at Lee Eaton School went "very well." Mayor Jesse Nehez announced the Halloween / fall decorations are up and the village’s trick or treat night will be Oct. 31.
Reporter Diane Smith contributed to this story. Reporter Ken Lahmers can be reached at 330-541-9400 Ext. 4189 or firstname.lastname@example.org.