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A lighweight winter helps cities' finances

Posted: 7:53 PM, Dec 10, 2015
Updated: 2015-12-10 19:53:27-05

"Pass the salt," is usually heard around the family dinner table.  However, throughout Ohio, it is being said in every city, town, and village hall.  Communities are passing their stockpiled salt piles because winter has not brought its usual frosty fist.

It means communities can save the money they would normally put toward clearing their streets.

"Last year, we spent $393,000," said Mayor Holly Brinda of Elyria.  Her community of 20 square miles has not seen the snowplows drop their blades on the concrete and asphalt of city streets.  That keeps money in the city treasury to be used for other purposes.

Brinda said each community gets money from the state to handle snowplow and salting in the winter.  What Elyria received last year from Ohio was not enough to handle winter's heaviness. 

"We had to take another $250,000 out of our general fund to pay for the rest of the salt," she said.

Elyria is not alone.  Throughout Ohio, communities from large to small are seeing savings because of the unusually warm late autumn.

As of Dec. 9, the Ohio Department of Transportation has used only 5,854 tons of salt.  During the same period a year ago, ODOT had already used 96,080 tons of salt.

"That means that crews are spending more time performing other maintenance operations," said Jocelynn Clemings, public information officer for ODOT.  In a news release, Clemings said road crews were performing fence repairs, vegetation removal, pavement repairs, guardrail repairs, and other services.

As long as winter holds back its usual frosty fist, state and local governments are saving money.  Still, winter does not officially begin until Dec. 21 and those who are well-aware of how winter can be realize the season really is just getting started.  However, every day without snow is a savings at city hall.

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