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Skyrocketing Salt Prices Hurting Some County, City Budgets

Bill Shaw

The most cost-effective way to treat snow-covered roads is getting much more expensive.

The Indiana Department of Transportation says last year’s harsh winter caused a salt shortage, leading to increased prices this year.

INDOT has all of the salt it needs to combat hazardous road conditions like the ones seen this week.

But, they had to pay 57 percent more to build up that stockpile.

“What it certainly does is it kind of impacts our overall cost of winter operations,” says INDOT Spokesman Will Wingfield. “But, at the same time, we’ve been fortunate fuel prices have been going down in recent months and that’s helped us on our costs to fuel these vehicles.”

Wingfield says even with the increased costs, INDOT isn’t cutting back on services.

The price spike is more difficult for counties and cities to cope with because of their limited budgets.

The Brown County Highway Department is paying $84 per ton of salt, compared to $65 last year.

The city of Greencastle bought its salt supplies earlier than normal to make the salt more affordable.

“Ours was locked in at a lower rate anticipating it would be going up,” says Mayor Sue Murray. “We don’t know when that’s going to come, but our barns are full right now.”

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