Salt supplies holding steady
Snowplow operators are tired, the overtime costs are rising, but the salt supply is remaining steady, according to Town of Lisbon and Village of Sussex officials.
Sussex Village Administrator Jeremy Smith estimates he has enough salt remaining for seven to eight more storms. Lisbon Public Works Director Joe Klemm said he has about 1,000 tons of salt on hand.
Klemm said one of the biggest challenges the town has faced during the harsh winter is having enough salt delivered when it was needed.
Like many municipalities, most of Lisbon's salt is stored on Jones Island in the Port of Milwaukee. Because of the high demand for salt across Southeastern Wisconsin, Klemm said there have been some delays in delivering salt to the town.
He said at one time recently he was down to about 150 tons of salt — enough to deal with two storms.
"I have been watching the weather map pretty closely. Next week it is supposed to get up in the 40s. I hope the Farmer's Almanac is wrong because it is predicting another February like we had last year," Klemm said.
Klemm said his snowplow operators are tired, but he has received relatively few complaints from town residents about plowing.
Klemm said he will continue to plow and salt all major town roads. However, he said he will apply salt only on hills, intersections and curves on secondary roads and subdivision streets.
The town also plows and salts streets in the Village of Merton.
Last month, Klemm had anticipated he would need to mix sand with salt in order to ration the village's salt supply, but earlier this week he said that would no longer be necessary.
Deputy Village Clerk Julie Ofori-Mattmuller said village residents and officials are pleased with the work being done by the Town of Lisbon.
She said she had received a few complaints about mailboxes being struck by plows. The village reimburses homeowners $50 if their mailbox is destroyed by a town plow.
"When you consider they (plow operators) have been out almost every other day, it is hard work," she said.
She also advised motorists to slow down.
"They can't be spreading salt everywhere," she said.
Sussex will continue spreading salt only on hills and intersections in an effort to ration its supply. Smith said the rationing policy is one of the reasons the village has been able to maintain its salt supply during the unusually cold and snowy winter.
He said he has received some complaints from residents
"I think everyone is getting a little frustrated that it is such a long winter," he said.
There are seven drivers who maintain six snowplowing routes on the village's 50 miles of streets and roads.
"Having that extra driver gives us an opportunity to rotate some people," Smith said.
Smith said the crews are tired and are racking up overtime, but he said that cost is a relatively small portion of the village's budget.
Kraus said she will not know until later this year whether the town will exceed its overtime budget for snowplowing.
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