Salt shortage makes for a costly winter

Posted at: 02/15/2014 5:16 PM
Updated at: 02/15/2014 6:37 PM
By: Berkeley Brean

This long cold winter certainly wears on us. But for people whose business is all about the winter weather, it's starting to cost them money they weren't ready to pay.

The city and your town are strapped for salt. They're still getting deliveries, but they're not as big and not as often.

The people really getting pinched are the small guys, the guys in pick-ups with the plow on the front contracted to plow and salt parking lots.

The work never seems to end for Nate Shaw. It seems like every day he is out salting the parking lots he's contracted to look after.

But every time he goes to stock up, the cost goes up.

At the start of the season a pallet of rock salt cost him $200.

"Approximately two weeks ago I purchased the same thing and it ran me $252," said Shaw, who works for First Choice Property Solutions. "When you go through 10, 12, 15 of those a year, it adds up fast."

Dennis Dalberth is in the same boat, small business, same salt problem.

"This year I walk into our supplier and unfortunately they say it's going to be 50 cents more a bag and you're like, really? And they're like, yeah," said Dalberth, who works at Highland Lawn and Landscape.

Because his customers sign contracts, guys like Dalberth eat the cost.

So it's not just small snow plow guys that are having delivery problems. It's happening in large towns, including Greece.

News10NBC spoke with Kirk Morris, head of the highway department in Greece.

Morris says Greece and just about every other town is strapped for salt.

"With all the demand out there for deliveries, we're seeing deliveries a little slower than we would want or normally that we would see," said Morris, Greece Commissioner of Public Works.

Morris says they ration their salt supply and mix it with sand so they don't run out. But he says they make sure intersections, bridges and hills are covered.

Tough choices, tough prices in this long cold winter.

"As you can see, the winter is not over," said Shaw.

Shaw and Dalberth share the same distributor. News10NBC called that office but is closed Saturday.

Morris says he's confident the town of Greece will not run out of salt. The town's contract is with American Rock Salt in Mount Morris.