Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Cupboard is Bare!

Hanover Tp Public Works Director Vince Milite: The cupboard is bare
This can't be good. Local municipalities are beginning to run low on the road salt needed to combat winter storms. To make matters worse, the area's biggest salt supplier, International Salt, was temporarily closed after one of its workers was crushed by a 100' high pile of rock salt. This has stopped local deliveries.

Hanover Township Public Works Director Vince Milite told Supervisors at their January 28 meeting that their cupboard is bare. His road crew has just enough salt left for one pass if a snow storm hits any time soon.

Hanover ordered 500 tons from International Salt this year at a contract price of $59 per ton. But only 70 tons are left. Milite has ordered an additional 400 tons, and International Salt will honor the original price.

Milite and Township Manager Jay Finnigan must lock in prices for the following year in February. This forces them to estimate what the weather is going to like nearly a year in advance.

This year, they were off. They will spend nearly twice the $29,500 budgeted for road salt.

Hanover is by no means alone. Municipal officials in Freemansburg, Fountain Hill, East Allen Township , Bethlehem Township and Bethlehem City have all gone over budget.

"This year was definitely untrendable," noted Fremansburg Borough manager Judy Danko. "We haven't done this in a long time.

In Bethlehem, Public Works Director Michael Alkhal said the City has just gone over its $250,000 budget for road materials. "We have less than what we're comfortable with and what we like to keep on hand," he noted. Alkhal added that, like other municipalities, the City is waiting for new deliveries.

Over the past three years, Alkhal has experimented on different road materials to discover one that is kind to budget, equipment, roads and environment. This has even included the use of beet juice, or in the event of an emergency, using cinders prewetted with brine.

"We're OK, but if we get hit with multiple storms, we're in trouble," he concluded.

Hellertown and Lower Saucon Township are still under budget.

Cathy Hartranft, Hellertown's Borough Manager, said she had 50 tons left over from last year. This season, over 250 tons have been used. "We're going through it and the guys are tired," she observed. "We still have two months left."

Lower Saucon Township budgeted $125,000 for salt and other road materials this Winter. Township Manager Jack Cahalan has gone through 767 of the 1,150 tons ordered in 35 call-outs. The Township has just 100 tons of salt left, and is waiting for more.

"It's been a hard Winter," remarked Bethlehem Township Acting Manager Doug Bruce.

In Hanover, Finnigan and Milite suggested taking a few plow trucks to Alabama to make up the budget shortfall, but Supervisors worried they might start another Civil War.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

There is already too much salt on the roads.Until it rains there is no need to salt the next storm.

Anonymous said...

Happens every year, we try to order it so that we just about run out at seasons end, no sense holding onto piles of salt all summer long.

Anonymous said...

How about this? Everyone who owns a property is responsible for clearing halfway across the street from their property lines on each side. Leave the highways to the government. Fair, and saves a ton of money to waste somewhere else.

-Clem

Anonymous said...

WTF?

Bernie O'Hare said...

Clem, that suggestion is pretty much insane.

Anonymous said...

Clem you are a teabagger purist and I love it!

Anonymous said...


Dude, I thought you'd be all about that solution. Though the intent is to take back a little of the responsibility we've abdicated to our overseers, it's also, inadvertently, chez progressive, Barack's America. It punishes the rich bastards with more land/road frontage. They will have to do more, i.e., their "fair share" than those with a middle class residential lot. In turn, the middlins will suffer a greater burden than those whose resources afford them only the smallest property. And, finally, those who own no property at all will get a free ride on the cleared streets.

I guess we really can find common ground. Can we get Chuck to push this bipartisan bonanza ;)

Seriously, though. Some of us already do it. Not because we are saving any tax dollars, but because the fucker with the plow will push it right back into the driveways we've just opened up if we don't.

-Clem