Salt supply low as more snow is in forecast

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MOBERLY - Supplies like salt are dwindling as the first snow started earlier this year than last.

Moberly has used almost half of its supply of salt already and December just started.

If you look at November 2017, both Moberly and Columbia didn't use any of its salt.

This year, Moberly has used 235 tons of the city's 500 ton salt capacity. The blizzard two weeks ago used 173 tons. Tom Sanders, the Moberly Public Works Director, said it is not uncommon for one event to take 150 tons of salt, but not this early in the season. He said this just means they need to ration more.

“We hadn’t put any of material out this time last year and we’re already at half of our year's capacity,” Sanders said.

And the salt does not come cheap. Normally salt costs $115 a ton, but some cities mix it with a substance called Geomelt, a beet juice derivative that helps the salt melt more snow. That is an additional $7.50 a ton.

The money for the salt comes from sales and gas taxes and Sanders said there is around $200,000 in that fund. However, that money is used for all materials the city needs such as rock, sand, salt, cracks in material, asphalt, etc. 

When cities run out of salt, they can’t look to other counties.

“They’re usually in the same boat as us,” Clifton Stockhorst, the Moberly Street Department Foreman, said. “We wouldn’t give ours away because you never know when it’s going to snow and we all have to be prepared.”

Moberly normally gets its supply of salt from Hudson, Kansas and the company’s stock is already low for the season. To send more salt, they have to mine and crush more. This may mean 2 weeks to a month until Moberly will see more salt.

“If we have another huge event or a couple before we get more material, we might really have to start rationing that material down,” Sanders said. 

He said that one year they even had to get salt from China by barge. He hopes he will not have to do that this year since it was about double the cost.