Reynoldsburg News

Council OKs early salt purchase to obtain good price

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The city of Reynoldsburg is looking ahead when it comes to preparing for the winter of 2014.

Council approved emergency legislation Monday, Sept. 9, to buy 3,000 tons of salt from the North American Salt Co. for $48.72 a ton.

That comes to $146,160 -- a price that is $9.74 a ton cheaper than the salt purchased last year, according to Service Director Nathan Burd.

Council President Doug Joseph said Tuesday, Sept. 10, the vote was 5-0, with members Chris Long, Barth Cotner, Leslie Kelly, Mel Clemens and Monica DeBrock all in favor of the ordinance.

Councilmen Scott Barrett and Cornelius McGrady were not at the meeting.

The purchase was first discussed in a safety committee meeting last week, where Burd explained his reasons for wanting to buy salt so far in advance.

"We can reserve this price, then decide when we want the salt delivered," he said.

He said the city still has a little less than 2,000 tons of salt left from last winter.

"That 2,000 tons may get us through this coming winter," he said. "We plan to purchase this 3,000 tons before the fall of 2014."

He said the city usually uses about 1,700 tons of salt each winter.

"We're thinking that 2,000 tons will be as safe amount to get us to next year," he said.

DeBrock said during the safety committee meeting she was not comfortable with making a purchase for 2014, in light of the city's need for more revenue.

Barrett agreed and suggested the money could be used to pay for a more urgent need.

Burd said the low price could not be locked in without an early decision.

"We always do this one year in advance," he said. "If we pass on this, we will likely get a much higher price per ton on the salt when we need it."

Long, the chairman of the safety committee, pointed out the funds for the salt purchase have been approved in the 2014 budget.

City Auditor Richard Harris said the money for the purchase will come from the city's street fund.

"Money from the street fund comes from the gasoline tax and state highway dollars -- you could certainly not use those funds for anything else but streets or highway safety," Harris said.

He said about $400,000 comes out of the street fund each year for street repairs and highway safety, such as clearing streets after a snow or ice storm.

Given that, Barrett had suggested the money that might otherwise go to buy salt should perhaps go to repair a street.

"I would be very uncomfortable if we have no handle on our salt purchases," Burd said at the safety committee meeting. "We have always done this one year in advance and it will be much less money than we usually spend on salt."

He said the city salt barn can hold about 3,000 tons of salt.

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