SOUTH MIDDLETON TWP., Pa. - Salt is one of the most critical things that communities need for snow removal, some of those communities say they're seeing lower prices to get it.
"When these cheap prices came out we jumped on it, and we loaded to the gills with salt, 300 tons of that and 300 tons of anti-skid, so we're going to get a running start on this winter," said township supervisor Tom Faley.
The township already had salt left over from last winter, but cost savings from that season has them hoping once again for the ability to re-allocate funds to other pressing needs.
"We also saved on manpower and other things," Faley said. "We had about $29,000 left over that we were able to put in the roads like repairing sinkholes and what have you and do a better job of it."
For PennDOT, the process is a little different, as they lock in prices early. Municipalities can also jump in to the deal to take advantage of the bulk rates, but whether that becomes a bargain or bust depends on how demand fluctuates later in the season.
"It's similar to a contract that you would bid for roadway construction," said Mike Crochunis of PennDOT. "We bid out county-by-county and try to get the best price that we can."
Counties that are closer to ports, like York and the area around Philadelphia, typically see lower prices per ton, while some inland counties see higher prices. In our viewing area, Juniata County has one of the highest salt prices in the state.
"Some of that is contributed to where the salt is coming from, and it has to do with fuel costs," Crochunis said. "It ranges. It's like playing the market."