Salt costs remain an issue


BEAVERCREEK – Even though the sky is blue and the air conditioner is testing its limit, the thought of frigid temperatures and snowy weather is in the back of the minds of some Beavercreek workers.

And the question of being prepared for winter was discussed during the last Beavercreek City Council meeting.

On average, including the new salt routes created last year, the city uses approximately 6,000 tons of salt throughout the winter season. Because of problems obtaining salt last year, the city would like to take a proactive approach this year to obtain what salt can be purchased now rather than later. To do that additional appropriations are needed and could bring the fund balance to only 14 percent, lower than what council would like to see. The city requested council approve an additional $300,000 be allotted for salt purchases by participating in a program through the Southwest Ohio Purchasing for Government (SWOP4G) for a fall bid.

For the 2015 budget, the City of Beavercreek allotted funds that enabled the City to purchase 2,000 tons of salt through the ODOT Cooperative Program at $72 per ton. That supply of salt was received in the spring, but will only provide a small amount of what is needed for the upcoming winter season. This purchase depleted the funds allowed. The 2,000 tons of salt received will fill approximately 60 percent of the salt barn’s capacity.

“Based on our annual usage of over 6,000 tons, the city would like to participate in the SWOP4G bid with an anticipated usage of 4,000 tons,” city employee Michael Thonnerieux said. “It’s conservatively estimated, based on the ODOT bid, that the SWOP4G price would be approximately $75 per ton. Therefore, the council would need to appropriate an additional $300,000 to meet this anticipated cost.”

Salt prices have risen significantly over the years. It’s also harder to find a supply of available salt, due to a shortage in the area. Last year, salt cost $99 per ton. But, two years ago, salt was averaging around $54 a ton.

“I’m not comfortable about being at 14 percent for this fund balance,” Council Member Vicki Giambrone said. “Is there a plan in place to recover some of the cost somewhere else?”

The funds for the salt purchases, including the spring shipment from ODOT Cooperative Program, are not due until November.

Even though there is a potential of money saving cuts in the budget in other areas to help with the cost of the salt purchase, members of council, including the mayor, did not believe allowing the additional appropriations at this time without a definite budget plan would be appropriate. The mayor suggested the additional appropriations for salt be discussed in a future work session, where a plan could be presented and discussed.