Peters spending 38 percent more than last year for rock salt

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Peters council members last week approved spending 38 percent more than last year for rock salt to accommodate the coming winter, and were told the township was lucky to get the common winter road treatment at any price.

“As surprising and disappointing as this number is, at least we received a bid,” said Stanley Louis Gorski, executive director of the South Hills Area Council of Governments. “Individual municipal bids apparently are commonly resulting in no bids being received.”

Peters is among a buying consortium made up of 20 South Hills municipalities that bid rock salt around the same time each year.  It is also part of a state purchasing program. Both typically require municipalities to purchase a minimum amount of salt for the most favorable price.

But, due to a particularly cold and wet winter last year, road salt supplies have been depleted to the point that some towns can’t even drum up one bid.  Emergency deliveries from severe weather last year used up much of the freshly mined salt that would normally have replenished inventories this year, Mr. Gorski said.

The SHACOG municipalities received a lone bid from Minnesota-based Cargill Inc. at a rate of $79.29 per ton, more than $20 more per ton than was spent last year, when the group paid $57.52 per ton.

In an email accompanying the bid, Mr. Gorski encouraged municipalities to count themselves lucky and approve the added expense.

“You ... are encouraged to take this action as soon as possible,” Mr. Gorski wrote.

Other municipalities in the consortium which are expected to see hikes include Mt. Lebanon, Upper St. Clair, Castle Shannon and Bethel Park.

Peters typically uses 4,000-5,000 tons of rock salt each winter to treat 19.7 square miles of roadway.  Last year, the township used about 5,000 tons, township manager Michael Silvestri estimated.

Council unanimously approved the SHACOG bid from Cargill and said it would also participate in the state consortium, which will cost about 10 percent more than last year.

Council also:

■ Rejected two bids to replace the roof at the township’s fire station on East McMurray Road due to complications from relocating and repairing many items on the roof, including HVAC systems, pipes and other protrusions.  The budgeted cost was $68,000 but the lowest bid received was $176,000 to construct a cover over the current roof.  Engineers need to take another approach with the design, Mr. Silvestri said.

■ Awarded a contract from Pashek Associates of Pittsburgh for $64,000 to complete a comprehensive parks and recreation study for the township.

■ Authorized Gary Bodnar to appraise four properties in preparation for tax appeals at a rate of no more than $450 per property.

Janice Crompton: jcrompton@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1159.


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