Heartland cities face pricey search for salt this winter - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Heartland cities face pricey search for salt this winter

Heartland cities face a struggle when it comes to finding and paying for salt this winter. Heartland cities face a struggle when it comes to finding and paying for salt this winter.
The City of Ste. Genevieve is paying nearly double for salt this year. The City of Ste. Genevieve is paying nearly double for salt this year.
STE. GENEVIEVE, MO (KFVS) -

The City of Ste. Genevieve faced a costly winter last year, but it has already started spending more money in preparation for this coming season.

That's because of the high demand on salt to keep roads clear.

City Administrator Martin Toma said because of all the snow and ice last year, they had to break into their emergency fund.

"Between more man hours, more chemicals, more equipment time, it was a real budget buster," Toma said.

Compare to last year, though, prices for salt have skyrocketed.

At the beginning of the 2013-14 winter, the city spent about $56 per ton on salt, and by mid-season it was paying $84 for each ton.

However, this year, it spent more than $150 per ton after calling handfuls of companies to even buy the hot commodity.

That is nearly double the amount the city was paying last year.

Toma said they'll have to stretch every little bit they were able to get.

"We'll be very judicious in the use of the salt that we have," Toma said. "We'll combine it with other materials when we need traction. We'll do hills and intersections. We just have to be more conservative in the anticipation of the possibility that we don't have this unlimited supply of salt and it doesn't come at a price that we can tolerate."

Toma said that means residents shouldn't expect roads to be as clear as they have been in the past.

"We may not be able to salt as many streets as we normally do," Toma said.

Residents have icy memories of last year's winter.

"It was really cold and icy and just slushy, like you really couldn't drive through town at all, even just as slow as you could, you'd just slide anywhere," Talen Black said. 

"it was dangerous to even get out," Debby Martin said. "They told people not to get out if they didn't have to."

That is why they want the snow and ice to stay away this year.

"Don't want it, don't need it," Martin said.

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