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Sussex begins street salt rationing

Jan. 14, 2014

Village of Sussex — Village officials are beginning to ration street salt by planning to spread it only on hills and street intersections during snow events.

Salt will be used on all portions of village streets during ice events, according to Village Administrator Jeremy Smith.

Smith said the salt will be rationed in an effort to get through the winter season without having to order additional salt, which can be more costly.

Smith said the village has already used about 60 percent of its 2,500-ton supply of salt, and there are at least two to three months of winter remaining.

"What we are trying to avoid is having to reorder salt," Smith said.

The village, like most other Lake Country communities, purchases its salt at a discounted price from Waukesha County and state officials who purchase salt in a bulk order that is later distributed to the communities who participated in the order.

Although the approximately $90,000 annually spent on a salt is a relatively small portion of the village's annual $14 to 15 million budget, purchasing additional salt can be expensive.

"I remember 2007 when everyone was looking for salt. It started out selling at about $39 a ton and wound up at about $120 a ton," Smith noted.

Smith acknowledged that estimating in April — when the salt order is placed— how much salt will be needed in the upcoming winter is not an exact science.

Some years too much salt is ordered. Other years too little salt is ordered, he said.

"You try to estimate it some where half way," he explained.

Town of Lisbon officials are optimistic they can get through the remainder of the winter without having to ration or run out of salt.

"We have used about half of our supply (2,000 tons) which is a little ahead of schedule. But, we should be all right as long as we don't get two or three more ice storms," said Public Works Director Joe Klemm.

Klemm said the town mixes salt and calcium chloride when the temperature is below 22 degrees. He said the calcium chloride helps improve the efficiency of the salt and reduces the amount of salt required for the nearly 100 miles of town roads.

However, he said he may blend salt and sand in the Village of Merton where the town provides salting and snow plowing services. He said more than half of the village's salt allotment has been used so far this winter season.

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