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Local News

Berwyn, Cicero salt supplies OK

Anyone who has taken last year's winter with a grain of salt can keep it – officials are just asking that they return the salt.

State officials announced that some municipalities may have problems obtaining road salt for icy streets this winter as a result of shortages caused by last year's onslaught of ice and snow.

Alka Naya, spokeswoman for Illinois Department of Central Management Services (CMS), said last winter severely depleted vendor and manufacturer salt supply, impacting the availability for municipalities to purchase road salt through normal channels. Supply and demand will more than likely drive average prices higher, Naya said.

"While it's not a mandated service, [the Department of Central Management Services] is doing everything it possibly can to help local governments procure road salt and other supplies, so that they can benefit from the economies of scale that come from buying in bulk," Naya stated in a news release.

The price of salt is likely to be much higher – even double the price paid last year – and that's if municipalities can find any vendors willing to sell.

Berwyn Public Works Director Robert Schiller said all is well in Berwyn, because the city's state contract was extended last year.

"I have a stockpile here and I have a contract extension from last year with the same quantity: 4,000 tons for the 2014-2015 season," Schiller said. "That's not counting what I have in stock, which is probably 1,100 tons. I should be in really good shape."

In Cicero, Public Works Director Sam Jelic said he's not worried either. The town has a supply in stock already and has all its orders lined up for the coming season.

"We're fine," Jelic said.

CMS informed many city and county officials in charge buying road salt that no vendors responded to their requests for bids this month, with more than 560 communities participated in the solicitation for road salt bids. Department spokesman Mike Claffey says 367 communities received bids from salt vendors and 195 did not. The department has offered to seek new bids from vendors, but has also told public works departments to explore other alternatives, Naya said.

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