The county has ordered 3,000 tons of road salt at $59.50 per ton; that’s a $25 increase from 2017 when it cost $34.50 per ton. Engineer Lee Tansey said his department anticipated the large price jump, so the county ordered as much salt as possible.
“Salt jumped up on us,” he said. “It’s going to be a strain on our budget.”
With about 2,500 tons of salt being used each year, the price hike will cost the county about $75,000 more for 2019, Tansey said.
“It varies if we have a bad winter or a mild winter,” the engineer added.
Also, the county is seeing an increase in fuel costs. Tansey said that could add up to a $50,000 increase for 2019.
“We usually go through $125,000 a year in fuel on the trucks,” he said. “We are going to have to budget for those increases.”
Given the price hikes, Tansey said there might need to be some trade-offs in other parts of the 2019 budget, such as doing less road or bridge work.
Currently, the highway department and engineer’s office are preparing cost estimates, grant applications and a wish list of projects.
“The grant cycle starts (now) for next year,” Tansey said. “Without grants, we wouldn’t get as many projects done.”