Beach tries to get city off the sandbag

Beach tries to get city off the sandbag

By Shellie Berg

By Shellie Berg

Staff Reporter

Apprehensive about the nearby-depleted amount of salt announced at the City Council meeting Feb. 5, Alderman Frank Beach (R-10) contacted two companies that could provide some.

But city administrator Einar Forsman said the supply wouldn’t be worth the city’s salt, since the product Beach tried to procure lacks the chemicals to break up ice and snow.

At the meeting, the city also announced that it had no sources of acquiring salt and would instead rely on sand mixed with calcium chloride to sprinkle on the icy and snowy roads. At the time of the meeting, the supply had dwindled to 4,000 to 5,000 tons.

“I said, ‘You’re telling me you can’t find or buy salt anywhere?’” Beach said. The day after the meeting, he began making phone calls and found two companies that could provide salt.

“There was salt available if they wanted to, in fact, purchase it,” he said. “I am saying I was a little disturbed that we were told there were no sources, and within an hour, I found two.”

Beach found two companies, Glacier and Hutchinson. Since Glacier was closest to Rockford, he acquired a quote from the company, for $55 per ton. The cost for the chloride and sand the city is using is $75 to $90 a ton.

But for salt, Forsman said the city only buys off state contract. He said the supplier guarantees 30 percent over the amount that is ordered.

The sand was purchased from Rockford Blacktop, which has a contract with the city. The calcium chloride is from Industrial Systems Limited in Lakemoor. The city purchased 10,000 tons of sand at $6.80 ($68,000) a ton and 200 tons of calcium chloride for $358 ($71,600) a ton.

He said the city will use the salt for main roads and other roads will have the sand and chloride.

Beach thinks the sand and chloride would make an unsightly mess, and clean up costs would rack up much costs for taxpayers.

Forsman stated the clean-up of the sand and chloride may take longer for the city, and the dumping charges might escalate. But he pointed out that rains might sweep some of the sand and chloride away, too.

Beach still thinks the city could have found other salt suppliers. “We have a certain responsibility,” Beach stated. “ I look at the 600 miles of streets that we have. That is a basic service we need to be providing for the constituents.”

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