By TESA GLASS firstname.lastname@example.org
---- — MT. VERNON —Snow and ice this winter have put a dent in years’ worth of supplies of chemical and sand used to treat roadways.
“We still have 400 to 500 tons of sand and salt left,” said Mt. Vernon Public Works Director Matt Fauss. “We’re doing okay. We’ve got enough for a couple big storms like the ones we had this week.”
For the county, bins which were overflowing at the beginning of winter are now at about 30 percent capacity.
“We used 70 tons (Tuesday), a little more (Wednesday),” said Brandon Simmons, Jefferson County Highway Engineer.
Over the past 10 years, the City of Mt. Vernon has been purchasing an average of 450 tons of salt each year, Fauss said.
“We may go a couple years, buy 200 tons, then a couple years in there we had to buy 1,000 tons,” Fauss said. “This past year was a pretty light year as far as money spent on salt because we still had a good supply. Next year will be a 600 to 800 ton year possibly, we just have to wait and see. Next year we will have to compensate for that and buy more than a typical year to get our stock back up where it needs to be.”
Simmons said the county has enough salt to handle “three or four more events.”
“We also have 250 tons on order that that we can bring in, and they’ll deliver when they can,” Simmons said. “That will do us for the rest of the year.”
Simmons said for the past few years, the county has continued to order salt even though it wasn’t all used.
“What we have in the bin now has been there for the last three years,” Simmons said. “We always put in an order between 300 to 400 ton. Next winter, we’ll order more like 800 tons.”
Simmons said he likes for the bins to be full, regardless of how much is used for the winter.
“I will try to fill the bin up for next year,” Simmons said. “Before the winter started, we had them over capacity, but that’s because we had to take 80 percent of what we ordered, and that overflowed the bins. It’s fortunate this year that we had it.”
At this time, the average cost of the road salt is $61 per ton, Simmons said.