Snow Costs Adding Up

ST. MARYS — With weeks more of winter weather left before spring, costs associated with snow removal are beginning to pile up for Auglaize County.

As of Friday, county crews have been dispatched 19 times this winter, including 18 since Dec. 6. The county has used 2,200 tons of its salt/grit mix — roughly the same amount it used all season last year.

“It’s been extremely active for us this year,” Auglaize County Engineer Doug Reinhart said. “This last event was extremely expensive, too.”

The county also has used 9,000 gallons of beet juice, which helps break up ice at lower temperatures than salt and 12,000 gallons of diesel fuel. The engineer’s office also has racked up 1,100 in regular hours and more than 900 hours of overtime keeping roads clear.

“This has been an average winter if it stopped now,” Reinhart said, noting cleanup costs have topped $140,000 so far. “One fortunate thing is that with the budget, we have employees who use comp time instead of pay and that really helps us out.”

During the most recent storm, one of the county’s trucks logged 1,244 miles and as a whole, the office logged 21,000 miles. Fuel costs, Reinhart said, are beginning to worry him.

“We definitely have to keep our eye on fuel costs,” Reinhart said.

As far as salt stocks, Reinhart said he has started making calls to the 17 other county agencies his office supplies to tell officials he has enough salt to treat roads.

However, if the active winter continues, that could change.

“What we may be forced to do is change our mix from a 1/1 salt and sand mix to a 2/1 mix of sand to salt,” Reinhart said. “We have no problems with our beet juice supply.”

Reinhart praised the work of his mechanics for keeping the office’s fleet of 17 trucks operational during the last storm.

“During the time is was minus-15 degrees, I expected to see four to five trucks in here up on racks,” Reinhart said.

“I never saw more than one or two and they were even out laying under the trucks on the routes to get them up and running ... We had a lot of miles on them and they just did a marvelous job.”