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Cleveland Heights Could Save $150K in Salt Costs

If Cleveland Heights doesn't get much snow the first few months of winter like last year, the city could save more than 50 percent

The forecast is calling for sunny skies and 70- to 80- degree days much of this week. Knock on wood, but it looks like the early spring weather is here to stay.
 
But Alex Mannarino still has to prepare for snow, and he makes his plans for the winter months in April.
 
The Cleveland Heights public works director said though this winter was mild — only about 40 inches of snow blanketed Cleveland Heights compared to the average of 63 inches — he won’t know if he’s saved money until the end of December 2012.
 
“Our season just started Jan. 1 and stops Dec. 31, so we’re looking good right now, but what if we get a lot of snow October through December?” Mannarino said. “Right now we’re sitting on half of what we used last year, but we won’t know (if we’ve saved money) until the end of this year."
 
Mannarino said Cleveland Heights got hit with 88 inches of snow in 2011, and more than 20 inches in December 2010. He started this season with a budget of about $250,000 for 6,000 tons of salt.
 
This year, many of the storms fell on a weekend, so the city didn't save much in overtime pay, he said. If the snowfall at the end of 2012 is as light as this year, he expects to save about $150,000. But he said it's not likley.
 
"This is only the third light winter I've seen here," he said, adding he remembers when the city got more than 90 inches three years in a row. "(The season's) really not over — it just began."

Sam Bell March 20, 2012 at 12:12 PM
Our annual (Cleve. Hts.) usage has been around 6,000 TONS of salt. Some of this winds up in the ground, where it kills roadside trees and native plants. Most of it winds up (eventually) in Lake Erie, from which we drink. Along the way, it also drastically alters the chemistry and ecology of local aquifers. Ignoring the considerable ecological damage, this 6,000 tons of salt does considerable economic damage as well, destroying sewers, bridges and automobiles. But at around two cents a pound, we convince ourselves that we can afford it and that we can’t afford any alternatives. In fact, we could probably spend far more on less damaging de-icing alternatives and still derive a positive net economic benefit. To be effective, however, we would need to enlist the cooperation of neighboring jurisdictions to coordinate a region-wide solution.

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