HUDSON — The city is planning to purchase more road salt early next year and also has other options available to buy more of the resource, according to a city official.
Hudson City Council on Nov. 20 approved purchasing road salt from Cargill Inc. at a price of $79.82 per ton. That price is more than $30 higher than last winter’s figure of $48.47 a ton.
Jody Roberts, communications manager for the city of Hudson, said salt will be ordered from Cargill on Jan. 7, 2019, and added the city should receive its shipment "shortly after that." She noted that city officials estimate they will order "up to 9,000 tons," but emphasized the actual amount sought "depends on availability."
"We can’t predict [it] at this point," said Roberts, who noted the municipality has about 2,000 tons of road salt available and also uses brine.
If the winter is difficult, Roberts said the purchase planned with Cargill "probably will not be enough," but she stated the city has "identified other purchase options, should we need more."
She added the amount the city spends on salt this winter will depend on the tonnage purchased and other available purchasing sources.
The city spent $341,856 on road salt in 2017-18, according to Roberts, who noted the municipality typically uses about 9,000 tons of road salt and approximately 10,000 gallons of brine in a winter season.
"We realize this will be a difficult season for salt, but we are prepared and should be able to make it through the season," said Roberts.
The cities of Hudson, Cuyahoga Falls, Munroe Falls, Stow and Tallmadge, as well as the village of Silver Lake, all purchase bulk road salt through the Community University Education Purchasing Association (CUE), which is administered by the University of Akron.
Denise Lightner, secretary-treasurer for the CUE, said the organization requested price quotes for about 159,000 tons of white road salt and 11,400 tons of treated salt. She said Cargill offered a price of $79.82 per ton to CUE, but only offered to provide "up to 85,000 tons." She emphasized that when members provided the total of amount of salt they wanted to purchase, they were assuming the price would be "similar" to what it was last winter — $48.47 per ton.
Lightner said the group awarded Cargill’s bid in late September, but the pricing does not go into effect until Jan. 7, 2019, which is when Hudson will place its order.
Justin Barber, spokesperson for Cargill, said "a combination of factors" have led to an increase in price. The supply of salt is "definitely down from where the demand is. Demand is way higher than supply."
According to Barber, a lot of salt was used during last season’s "strong winter," and as a result, "We’re seeing a high demand for the 2018-19 winter season. A lot of the different communities have depleted their supply, so they’re re-stocking up."
Reporter Phil Keren can be reached at 330-541-9421, firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter at @keren_phil.