Highway officials say salt supply is down

Posted at: 02/13/2014 5:44 PM
Updated at: 02/13/2014 6:28 PM
By: Bill lambdin

GRAFTON - Speaking with reporters on a telephone conference call Thursday, Governor Cuomo claimed everything was fine with salt supply.

"The state has an adequate reserve for salt," Mr. Cuomo said. "We haven't heard of any salt shortages by local governments. They may have them but ... they haven't called us."

That's not what Rensselaer County Engineer Wayne Bonesteel has been experiencing.

"If this storm pans out the way they said we'll be scraping the bottom of our salt sheds by the end of this storm," Bonesteel said. "Any significant snowstorm after that, we could be in some trouble."

There's a very low supply of salt at the Town of Grafton highway facility, with no assurance it can be replaced.

Grafton Highway Superintendent Herb Hasbrouck also heads his county's association of town highway officials.

"And we're having a hard time getting salt," Hasbrouck said. "The county has some satellite garages out. Hoosick Falls is out of salt. A couple of the neighboring towns just aren't getting it. The piles are depleted."

The New York State Office of General Services negotiates a bulk price for salt after consulting with local governments.

OGS spokeswoman Heath Groll says those local municipalities are responsible for determining how much salt they need before the season begins.

Then the salt supplier is obligated to provide up to 150% of the requested amount.

NewsChannel 13 has not been able to determine whether that extra margin of salt has been provided.

But it is beyond dispute that many local highway officials are having a great deal of difficulty obtaining as much salt as they believe they need.