Shorewood scrambling to find affordable salt after state snafu

Brock A. Stein | 7/23/2014, 10:03 a.m.
Village board also told that River Road will be closed starting Aug. 4 because a pipeline is being installed under ...
The village of Shorewood is seeking to purchase salt to replenish its supply, which was diminished after repeated snowstorms this past winter.

On one of the hottest days of the summer, Shorewood public works staffers were scrambling for salt bids in preparation for winter.

The village learned this week the road salt they purchase through a state bid program would not be available due to a change in their order, Village Administrator Roger Barrowman told the Shorewood Village Board Tuesday night.

During most winters, the village uses about 1,800 tons of salt. Last winter’s record snowfall and frigid temperatures, however, forced Shorewood to go through more than 3,000 tons.

In order to replenish their reserves, the village was looking to increase their standard order of 1,800 tons to 3,000, Public Works Director Chris Drey said.

The village received a letter informing them that in order to do, that they would have to resubmit the bid. They later found out that they and many other communities in the same situation would be ineligible for the state bid pricing.

That sent Barrowman and Public Works Director Chris Drey scrambling to solicit new bids this week.

The village paid about $57 per ton for salt last year. The bids coming in are between $92 per ton for the first 1,000 tons and $97 per ton for the next 1,000, Drey told the board.

Trustees approved a motion authorizing the village administrator to sign an agreement for the salt purchase of no more than $97 per ton. Barrowman said the offer, the lowest thus far, has to be accepted by Friday if they can’t find a better price.

“We’ve been working pretty hard the last couple of days trying to acquire a salt bid,” Drey said.

Some bids were coming in at more than $100 per ton due in part to shortages from the extreme winter weather last year, he said.

Despite the increase in price per ton, Drey said the village still had about $190,000 budgeted, enough for a 2,000-ton purchase of salt this year.

Barrowman said the village would be working with the Will County Governmental League this week to try to get a lower bid before the Friday deadline.

In other business, Barrowman announced that South River Road, south of Seil Road, will be closed starting Aug. 4 for work to install a pipeline under the DuPage River.

Contact Brock A. Stein at brocknewstips@gmail.com or on Twitter @BrockAStein.