The city needs 800 tons of salt and 4,000 gallons of beet juice.

The city needs 800 tons of salt and 4,000 gallons of beet juice.

No, city leaders are not throwing a citywide borscht dinner. That is the combination of ingredients needed to keep streets clear of snow and ice for the rest of the winter.

City service director Dave Groth has requested $59,100 from the 2010 budget to cover the cost of rock salt and Geomelt needed to replenish supplies that have been greatly diminished by this year's record-setting storms

Geomelt is beet juice. It is added to rock salt to make a more efficient mix to spread on streets to melt snow and ice.

The cost of rock salt is $63.68 a ton. Geomelt goes for $2.03 a gallon.

The addition of the beet juice seems to have cut the cost of clearing streets.

Compare the winter of 2007-08, which had only slightly more snow and ice than so far this year. There were 20 events, compared to 19 so far this year. There were 1,367 man hours used, compared to 1,125 this year.

But that winter was before the city started using Geomelt, so the amount of salt used was 2,520 tons. So far this year, the city has used 1,300 tons of salt, and 5,300 gallons of beet juice.

As of Feb. 16, the city had 400 tons of salt in inventory and had spent its entire $84,000 budget for winter road chemicals.

"Unfortunately, this winter has been more severe than any preseason predictions," Groth wrote in a memo to Worthington City Council.

Council is expected to hold a public hearing and vote on the ordinance providing the extra funds at its meeting next Monday.