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Published: Monday, 3/17/2014 - Updated: 7 months ago

Toledo gets $3.9 million bill for snow, ice control

Collins cites harsh winter in need for extra support of damaged infrastructure

BY IGNAZIO MESSINA
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Toledo City Council will review today another bill the city has to pay following one of the harshest winters in memory.

The Collins administration is asking council to approve an additional $3.9 million for the city’s streets, bridges, and harbor division’s 2014 assessed operating budget for snow and ice control. The money would supplement the proposed 2014 operating budget and give the department funding for de-icing salt for the upcoming winter season.

“The present proposed operating budget was presented prior to the impact of the record-breaking snow events of January, 2014,” city records state. “The 2013-2014 winter season is now on record as the snowiest season in Toledo history with over 76.5 inches of snow. Because of this, the cost of labor for snow and ice control is at an all-time high.”

Dave Welch, streets, bridges, and harbor commissioner, told council’s utilities and public service committee Monday that the city’s stockpile of 75,000 tons of rock salt will be depleted by the end of March.

“To date, we have used 59,084 tons of road salt for the 2013-14 snow season. We have 15,922 tons of salt remaining,” Public Service Director Bill Franklin wrote Friday in his weekly report to Mayor D. Michael Collins.

The city is building a larger salt storage and brine-making facility at a city-owned building on Central Avenue. The site improvements were mandated to comply with Ohio Environmental Protection Agency storm-water violations.

Mr. Welch said using more brine would decrease the demand for rock salt.

The Collins administration also expects rock salt costs to jump in the spring and summer months, compared to the price last year.

The $3.9 million would include $2.2 million for salt; $500,000 for base labor; $500,000 for overtime, and $700,000 for services.

“This was an unprecedented winter,” said Councilman Lindsay Webb. “We don’t have a choice. We must replenish our salt, pay our contractors, and prepare for the winter ahead. Citizens can expect an increase in assessments two years from now of around 50 cents a front foot on the tax duplicate.”

As of Friday, the city had repaired 30,430 potholes and is on pace to go well beyond the average 60,000 potholes it patches a year. It typically spends $188,000 a year on pothole repairs. This year, it expects to spend at least $90,000 more, or $278,000 total.

The city’s water and sewer system has also taken a beating from the cold. Crews dealt with 12 water-main breaks last week alone, along with 30 frozen water meters and 32 nonworking fire hydrants.

Contact Ignazio Messina at: imessina@theblade.com or 419-724-6171 or on Twitter @IgnazioMessina.



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