Tuscarawas County - Officials in Dover and New Philadelphia are hoping for a mild winter after learning that the county's price for road salt has more than doubled since last year.
Both cities purchase their road salt through the salt bid program administered by the Ohio Department of Transportation.
Communities wishing to participate in the program submit their salt requests in the spring for the following winter, and ODOT seeks individual bids on behalf of each of the state's 88 countries.
This year, Dover and New Philadelphia each requested 2,000 tons of salt, and in August both cities learned that their cost had more than doubled from the previous year.
New Philadelphia Service Director Ron McAbier says this year’s salt bid for Tuscarawas County came in at $84.53 per ton, or about $45 per ton more what the county paid last year. In total, he says the city will be paying just over $169,000 this year for the 2,000 tons of salt it requested. The same amount cost the city just over $78,000 last year.
New Philadelphia Mayor Joel Day notes that the county will be paying more for its salt this year than adjacent counties including Carroll, Harrison and Holmes.
This year, Carroll County’s salt will be supplied by Morton at a cost of $67.12 per ton. Harrison County will be paying $82.55 per ton for salt from Cargill, and Holmes County will pay $74.95 per ton for salt from Compass Minerals of Overland Park, Kansas, the same company that was awarded the salt contract for Tuscarawas County.
Day notes that Compass was the only company that submitted a bid to supply salt this year to Tuscarawas County.
ODOT Public Information Officer Lauren Borell notes that salt prices have gone up statewide this year and attributes the increase to supply limitations and increased demand.
“Last year was a rough winter and because of that, the fall prices are high. In the past, the trend has been if we have a mild winter this year, salt prices are going to go back down. We see this quite often that they go up and down depending on the winter.”
McAbier says the New Philadelphia will likely have to tap into its paving budget for next year to cover the cost of the increase.
For now, Day says the city will just have to “bite the bullet,” although he notes that the city is considering seeking its bids for road salt next year.
“We’re going to look at maybe trying to get a road salt bid on our own. When we advertise for bids for salt for our water filtration plant and sand and other aggregate materials, we’re going to take a look at including road salt in that bid package to see if we can’t get a better price,” he says.
Dover Service Director Dave Douglas says this year’s salt prices are the highest he has ever seen and will definitely have an impact on the city’s service budget for next year, although it has not yet been determined how much paving will be affected.
“When we start talking about budgets for next year at the end of the year, we’ll be looking a little closer into it. I don’t have exact amounts on how much it’s going to impact the paving at this time,” he says.
Stacey Carmany, Tusco TV