Although the first heavy snowfall of the season didn't happen until mid-January, the city of Bexley prepared by ensuring salt supplies were fully stocked at 3,500 tons, Service Director Bill Dorman said.

Bexley participates in a consortium with other municipalities that enables members to purchase salt through annual contracts negotiated by the Ohio Department of Transportation. This year's purchase price for salt is $72 per ton from supplier Cargill Inc., up from $46.23 per ton last year, Dorman said.

"When you have mild winters, the price tends to go up and vice versa," Dorman said.

Participating in the consortium is optional for the participating communities and can result in savings to taxpayers, said Matt Bruning, ODOT spokesman.

"It's something, basically, that we offer communities so that they can take advantage of the buying power that we have," he said. "We, obviously, are the largest salt-supply bidder (in Ohio)."

When ODOT bids salt contracts, the price varies per region of the state, Bruning said.

"In some cases, multiple companies will bid on it. ... In some cases, we get one bid per area," he said. "The more competition, the better, because prices go down for the consumer."

When the first winter snowstorm hit Jan. 12 and 13, Bexley's crews worked around the clock to clear streets and used about 100 tons of salt, Dorman said.

"We had crews in from early Saturday and until Sunday," he said.

When snowfall is expected, the city preps streets with brine before plowing and salting, Dorman said.

"We'll brine if the weather allows, which provides a barrier for us to lay down salt," he said.

Each snowplow truck carries about 20 to 25 tons of salt, Dorman said. Trucks first plow major arterials, such as East Broad Street, then collector streets and then alleys.

"Our goal is when the snowfall stops, to be done (plowing) in 24 hours," Dorman said.

Residents are required to shovel sidewalks in front of their houses whenever there is a snowfall over an inch, Dorman said.

"Our main thing is to encourage people to shovel their sidewalks before it freezes," Dorman said. "We want to keep sidewalks clear. We're such a walkable community."

Senior citizens who need help with shoveling can receive free assistance from volunteers who are registered with the city by calling the Bexley Building and Zoning Department at 614-559-4240.