By RICK HAYES email@example.com
---- — MT. VERNON — The winter of 2013-2014 will go down as one of the mostly costly for Jefferson County.
County officials have now spent nearly $113,000 for for snow removal, which includes equipment, salt, labor, fringe benefits, fuel and tows.
"Obviously, we've used a whole lot of salt," said Committee Chair Steve Draege after reviewing the report submitted by Administrative Assistant Sandra Wellmaker.
County Highway Engineer Brandon Simmons reported at Wednesday's Highway Committee meeting the county has about 300 tons of salt remaining — enough to cover three "small events."
Simmons told the Committee he ordered more salt about a week ago and delivery was expected within seven days, although the shipment has not arrived. To date, the county has used 810 tons of salt at a cost of $49,410 for the pay periods since the new fiscal year began on Dec. 1.
Committee member Jim Laird asked Simmons if he has considered using liquid brine as a solution. Simmons said the advantage of that type of system is the roads can be pre-treated and when temperatures get below freezing, the chemicals still work. The disadvantage is the startup costs, although Simmons said the county could save up to 50 percent compared to using salt supplies. The committee also discussed the use of cinders and recycled concrete to fight Mother Nature.
Simmons talked to the committee about a GPS technology/system inventory upgrade. Although he had no firm estimates, Simmons said IDOT requires an annual inventory of the county's bridges and signs. Simmons has talked to EMS official Steve Lueker about possibly sharing the cost of a GPS system for tracking. Some counties have paid upwards of $20,000 to have independent contractors conduct the study and Simmons said he did not want to overburden this county's finances by taking that route.
The Committee also approved the monthly fuel bids of $2.7499 for gasohol and $3.2846 for diesel quoted by SynEnergy.
In a Public Safety Committee, members reviewed a proposal for fire extinguishers at the animal shelter from Campbell Fire & Safety Inc. The company would provide an annual inspection of extinguishers at $32.50 per unit and update the extinguishers as needed.
Animal Shelter Supervisor Martin Boykin said he did not know how many extinguishers the animal shelter would need since the facility has never had any before. Committee members questioned the need for the extinguishers and made a motion to allow Martin to research how many units are required and to report back to the full board at its meeting Monday night.
In other business, the Committee accepted an agreement of termination with the City of Salem for use of the animal shelter; approved the animal shelter report; and reviewed worker's compensation and general liability claims.