Schaumburg trustees Tuesday paid the $221,456 bill for 1,000 additional tons of road salt recently received and gave staff the authority to buy another 400 tons if needed for what's hoped to be the final onslaught of winter in the next few weeks.
Due to the transportation difficulties triggered by frozen rivers impeding barges, the cost of salt has gone up to $209 per ton from the $47 per ton the village paid last year in hopes of stocking its storage dome for the entire winter, Schaumburg's Superintendent of Field Services John Williams said.
He emphasized that this additional cost isn't the result of price gouging, but the true transportation cost involved in getting salt to Schaumburg from a mine in Kansas.
"We called over 20 vendors before we found a vendor," Williams said.
The village was also fortunate to find a supplier in Midwest Salt of Batavia that agreed to payment after delivery. Several companies are now expecting money upfront, Williams said.
Even so, not every town has the resources of Schaumburg, and some are probably finding themselves stuck with their dwindling salt supplies as winter goes on and on, he added.
The village has a salt dome that holds 7,000 tons -- about 1,000 tons more than needed in a typical winter. Schaumburg initially bought 3,500 tons to fill up the dome before the snowfall started. Public works also received delivery of its additional provision of 2,500 tons as the first supply began to vanish.
As February comes to a close, the village has already used something between 8,000 and 8,500 tons of salt this winter, Williams said.
One thing the village is in no danger of is having too much salt left over at the end of the winter, he added. Schaumburg's dome allows for indefinite storage of road salt and any remaining at the end of this winter can be saved until next.
Many Northwest suburbs are wrestling with the financial impacts of this extraordinarily long and harsh winter. For instance, neighboring Hoffman Estates exceeded its budgeted snow removal overtime hours for the entirety of 2014 during only the first week of February.