I’m sure nobody wants to think about winter yet, but the City of Columbus is, and apparently they are waiting for salt prices to drop before finishing their annual purchase.
Salt Prices Rising
By Nicole Franks – 610 WTVN
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Several states around the country are ordering more salt for roads this year following a harsh winter stretched supply and made for slippery roads.
An increase in demand and higher fuel prices could mean an spike in costs, according to salt industry analysts.
Mary Carran Webster, assistant public service director for Columbus, tells 610 WTVN that the city will not order more than usual. She says they like to have 30,000 tons in the barn every year and they currently have 11,000.
“There’s plenty of salt to be mined, it’s really a matter of logistics,” Webster said. “The vendors can only mine so much salt at a time, they can only get so many trucks and rail cars moving at a time.”
Webster says prices fluxuations [sic] should determine whether or not the city will purchase the full 30,000 tons this year or wait until the start of next year.
The Public Service Department went to City Council Sept. 8 with an $742,000 appropriation to buy the remainder of this years salt supply.
Webster says at the time the price was $41.51 per ton, but could be higher depending on the price adjustment clause from the Cargill Cleveland Salt Mine, based on what the state pays for salt and what Franklin County gets for salt.
“Within the next week we should know what the money is going to buy us,” Webster said. “And then we will have to take a look at whether we want to, and can afford to purchase additional salt this year, or wait until next year.”
The Ohio Department of Transportation has about 500,000 tons of salt to use on Ohio’s highways and freeways across the state. Deputy Director Scott Varner says they know that salt prices have gone up, but that will not affect the way ODOT treats roadways.
So they are asking City Council for $742,000 and they need/want another 19,000 tons. That’s $39.05 per ton, which is less than the current price of $41.51 per ton, which may go up. Let’s hope for a mild winter.