UPDATE: Cities Paying More for Salt

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UPDATE 11/13/2014 4:45 PM

So are we ready for winter?

Specifically, are local communities ready?

Some around West Virginia have had problems getting a key ingredient in keeping those streets clear.

The answer from both Parkersburg and Vienna leaders is if you can pay the price, you can get the salt needed to treat those icy streets.

Both cities say they have enough salt on hand - at least for the first weeks of winter weather.

They may try mixing that with another abrasive to make sure they don't use too much of it.

The reason for the high price is shortages from last winter and the expectation this winter will be just as bad as it was last year.

"It went from $70 to $125 a ton for this winter. And they're limiting the amount of salt we can get. I think the department of highways has the same problem," says Parkersburg Mayor Bob Newell.

"We started out this summer putting it out for bids to find the best price we could. And the price has stayed consistent since then. It is a bunch more than it was last year," says Vienna Mayor Randy Rapp.

The cities have been stocking their salt domes in anticipation of that first snowfall.

Both Parkersburg and Vienna also have done maintenance on their plows and vehicles, so they're ready for winter weather.

One concern Mayor Newell has about using a sand mixture is the effect it could have not only on streets, but on the excess sand that could be left behind in the city's sewer and storm drains.

UPDATE 9/17/2014 3:40 PM

CLEVELAND (AP) - An extremely harsh winter drives up road salt prices throughout state and forced the Ohio Department of Transportation to contract with an Indiana company to buy less-expensive salt for delivery this winter.

An agency spokesman says road salt prices averaged around $35 a ton last year because of previous mild winters and an abundant supply. But last winter's relentless cold and snow left salt sheds barren and depleted inventories at mines throughout the region.

Prices in some counties this year are roughly triple last year's. The agency recently sought bids for each of Ohio's 88 counties but rejected some of them because they were too high.

The state in the last few days decided to buy less expensive salt from a company in Indiana.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

It still feels like summer out there, but local and state governments have to get ready for another winter season.

And one important item is already melting their budgets.

Both West Virginia and Ohio road departments are paying higher prices for road salt.

On the whole, the bid prices are coming in double what they did a year ago.

The reason is the harsh winter of last year and predictions this coming year might be worse.

The West Virginia Division of Highways is doing what it can to keep those prices down.

"We had what we call a summer fill, so we filled up our salt sheds already. Then, we'll have our seasonal fill later on, when we get into snow season," says Jacob Bumgarner, acting maintenance engineer with the WVDOH.

The City of Parkersburg has decided to hold off bidding on salt until later this month, and Vienna is seeking a second round of bids in hoping to get a better price.

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