Trustees take wait-and-see approach to salt barn
Two Liberty Township trustees are moving forward cautiously on proposed plans to build a new salt storage barn.
Trustees Mary Carducci and Melanie Leneghan said they would like to see a more in-depth study of the cost and need for a new salt storage facility.
"I want to hear more about it before we make any decisions," Carducci said during a June 4 meeting. "Maybe we can find some alternative ways to reduce the cost."
In an email exchange June 13, Leneghan also said she will wait for more-detailed information.
But Trustee Curt Sybert threw his support behind the proposal during the June 4 meeting. He said plans to expand the city's storage space for ice-melting rock salt should be pursued "sooner as opposed to later."
"I think this is a fantastic idea. I realize that things are short money-wise, but this is something that we needed to do a long time ago."
Township officials have said the city's existing salt barn can't hold enough salt to keep up with the township's growing needs.
Still, no decisions have been made on whether to build a new facility.
Township Administrator Dave Anderson said staff would present further findings at an upcoming meeting to help the trustees make a final decision on the proposed facility's size, cost and location.
Randy Leib, the township's roads superintendent, backs plans to build a facility modeled after a salt barn recently installed in Berkshire Township, which features a curved tarp roof.
Leib estimates the structure would cost roughly $90,000 to $100,000 to build -- a bargain compared to other popular salt enclosures, some which run up to $1 million, he said.
A possible location was proposed at the June 4 meeting: at the northwest corner of South Liberty Park.
The existing storage unit is on the grounds of the township offices at 10104 Brewster Lane, but the lot probably isn't big enough for a larger facility, officials said.
The current building holds only 500 tons of salt, even after several expansions. Township growth has greatly increased the need for salt, so a new building ideally would hold at least three times that much, Leib said.
Because of its small capacity, the existing facility must be refilled about three times per year. A new facility ideally would be filled just once per year.
"We want to have zero concern over whether or not we're going to run out of salt," Leib said.
A larger capacity also would allow the township to make a single strategic salt purchase each year when prices are lowest.
On average, the township experiences 20 to 25 incidents of snow or ice per year, though the need can vary greatly from year to year. Last winter, the township used relatively little salt due to the mild weather.
At a May 30 meeting, the board of trustees approved plans to purchase 650 tons of salt for next winter, based on estimated need.