CMU has 250 tons of salt ready for winter season
About 250 tons of salt remains in storage at Central Michigan University for the upcoming winter season.
Steve Lawrence, vice president of facilities management, said last winter left the university with an abundance of salt.
“We are not going to order as many of the pounds as we were contracted for,” Lawrence said. “You don’t have to buy the total amount of salt, just the minimum.”
The city of Mount Pleasant and CMU spent considerably less money on salt last year due to an unusually warm winter season.
In 2010, the city of Mount Pleasant spent $43,510 on 750 tons of salt. In 2011, the city spent $26,360 on 450 tons. CMU ordered 750 tons of salt at $58.57 per ton for the 2011-12 winter season, and only used 525 tons, costing $30,749.25. For the 2012-13 winter season, the university has ordered 500 tons of salt at $58.27 per pound, for a total cost of $29,135.
Salt is generally ordered in the spring each year, and the university orders it with other colleges as well as the state. By going in on salt together, it saves the university money.
Being part of this purchasing deal requires the university to purchase a certain amount of salt for delivery, Lawrence said. Delivery occurs in the fall, however if requested it can be delivered earlier.
“We didn’t ask for early delivery this year because we have to use up the salt from last year first,” Lawrence said.
Another dilemma that arises is that the university cannot return the excess salt because it is a heavy material to deliver. It would cost more to return the salt for a refund than it would to store it for the next winter.
The salt is kept on campus in a salt shed, which is a three-sided building located in Lot 1. There is currently 250 tons of salt remaining from the end of last winter, Lawrence said.
“We’re pretty full right now,” Lawrence said.
Depending on the severity of the winter months, the Street Department purchases between 680 and 750 tons of salt per year.
Each year, the State of Michigan extends its bulk rock salt contract to universities and nonprofit hospitals through the State of Michigan’s Department of Technology, Management and Budget’s MiDeal Cooperative Purchasing Program, said Michelle Smith, an analyst for the state’s Department of Public Works.
“This program provides local governments, colleges and universities, schools and nonprofit hospitals access to the amount of salt needed for the upcoming winter season, and the chance to purchase it at a price much less than they could on their own,” Smith said.
It also guarantees the quantity of salt ordered and its availability of the product during high demand periods.
“Because of the extremely light 2011-12 winter season, the street department used very little of their road salt,” Smith said.
This turned out to be the norm in many communities, and as a result, an excess of salt was available at the 2011-12 price.
“Due to an inevitable price increase of road salt for the 2012-13 winter season, the street department purchased approximately 155 additional tons of salt at that time for $58.57 per ton,” Smith said.
This allowed for a complete fill-up of the salt storage barn and addressed the need for salt for the 2012-13 winter season, Smith said.
Over the last four years, the city has spent a total amount of $137,115 for 2,755 tons of salt. This averages to $49.77 per ton for the past four years.
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