Winter road salt pact approved

WEIRTON – The Weirton Finance Committee voted 2 to 1 to recommend a contract with Central Salt L.L.C. for the purchase of road de-icing salt for the city at its regular meeting Wednesday.

Ward 5 Councilman George Gaughenbaugh and Ward 7 Councilman Terry Weigel voted in favor of the contract. Ward 3 Councilman Fred Marsh voted against the contract because the price of salt has nearly doubled.

Last year the city paid $48.54 per ton of salt. This year’s bid is set at $96.47 per ton, officials said.

Marsh commented that experience as a business owner has taught him that bidding for salt should have begun earlier, in April or May rather than June, in order to secure better pricing from companies.

“Personally, I’d say we should buy on the open market as we need it,” Marsh said.

Public Works Director John Brown said that bidding has started in June during the past seven years since he took on the position. He added that it would take the entirety of the Public Works budget, $105,000, just to fill the city’s salt facility.

There are 150 tons of salt left over from last year, and a total of 1,100 tons of salt were used throughout the course of last winter, Brown said before noting that it was a particularly long and harsh season.

City Finance Director Tom Maher said that he would research the state’s salt prices and acquisition processes.

The salt contract resolution will require one reading and a vote by Weirton City Council for approval. City Council’s regular meeting is scheduled for Monday at 7:30 p.m. in Council Chambers of the Municipal Building.

In other business, Maher said invoices associated with the recently activated business and occupation tax categories will be mailed in early September, and payments for the first quarter will be due by Oct. 31. Quarterly payments after that will be ongoing. The tax went into effect Aug. 1.