Rock salt supplies are down, and prices are up

Oct 29, 2014

Last year's long winter is still fresh in the minds of many upstate New Yorkers. But for local governments, the above average snowfall left behind a bigger problem than bad memories -- depleted supplies of road salt.

When Oswego County started looking for rock salt for this upcoming winter season, purchasing director Daniel Stevens says the county discovered it would have to pay more than normal in order to replenish its stockpile.

"The price of rock salt was more expensive, not just for the county of Oswego, but for all municipalities or states in the upper Midwest and Northeast."

Stevens says the county's price for rock salt spiked 13 percent compared to last year -- from about $43 per ton to more than $48. But that’s better than in some areas. In Ohio and Indiiana, the price for road salt went up by 26 and 32 percent, respectively.

Stevens also says Oswego County has been able to negotiate a better price than some other jurisdictions in New York state.

"Probably because of our location and our experience with harsh winters, it's one of the vital commodities that we have to have on hand, and we have a lot of knowledge and experience with it."

Last winter was among the coldest in recent memory and many areas in western and north central New York saw above average snow totals for the season, according to the National Weather Service.