By Jeff Gallatin
City officials expect moves made this spring and summer to pay off next winter.
Administration and City Council officials are taking steps to avoid any potential salt shortfalls similar to ones experienced by many cities during this past severe winter. Bay’s supplies became tight, but the city never ran out of salt, even though several cities did; while others experienced problems because many major suppliers ran into problems getting salt to their clients as quickly as usual because of the high demand for it this past winter.
After City Council at its March 24 meeting approved moving ahead on a new salt purchasing contract for the city with the Ohio Department of Transportation, administration officials said it should help make the salt situation easier for Bay Village during the 2014-2015 winter.
“We were fortunate because we had a lot of salt already on hand,” Mayor Debbie Sutherland said. “Because we had a mild winter a couple of years ago, and because ODOT requires you to make a minimum order, we had all that salt on hand, which was certainly helpful with the winter we had.”
In addition, Sutherland noted Bay has a large storage area for salt, and service Director Scott Thomas also worked a deal with ODOT to obtain some additional salt when Bay’s supplies became tight late in the winter.
“He’s very innovative and it’s a big reason we hired him,” Sutherland said. “He’s always working on plans.”
She said the new contract with ODOT also involves some advance planning.
“They get the salt through the state buying program, which is making some adjustments this year because of the severity of last year’s winter,” she said.
Thomas said ODOT is ordering earlier this year to try to make sure it has enough on hand for its customers. In addition, Thomas noted, the city will be exercising another portion of the contract that will allow customers to make a summer order for salt.
“We will be making one of those summer orders,” he said. “We have the storage capacity to handle it earlier in the year.”
Thomas said one of the contract provisions requires a minimum order of 1,000 tons of salt, which would fill much of Bay’s current capacity. If Bay does not get all of its order right away, there will be more set to come in earlier in the winter, he said.
“We’re just making sure we’re prepared in case we have another winter like the last one,” he said.
Paul Vincent, chairman of City Council’s Service, Utilities and Equipment Committee, was pleased.
“I know there have been some problems with some suppliers and making sure salt was available, so it’s a good thing for us to take early action and try and avoid supply problems,” he said. “As it usually does, our service department is doing a good job taking care of the city.”