Street departments salt away savings of mild winter: County, city officials have jump on road crews' preparedness as snow season approaches

Local street and highway departments will save money on the costs of plowing snow and salting roads this year after a mild winter last year.

Greenwood, Franklin and the county did not spend as much money on supplies or employee overtime pay last winter and plan to use those savings as they prepare for the upcoming season of snow and ice.

Greenwood and county departments have not had to buy salt yet this year because their storage barns are already full, and Franklin has spent only half of its budget for employee overtime pay.

Each department orders the same amount of salt and budgets the same amount for overtime expenses every year because it does not know what the weather will be like. But this year, the departments have leftover supplies and money that can be used this winter.

Both the Greenwood street department and Johnson County Highway Department already have salt ready for the winter.

Greenwood tries to keep its barn full with about 700 tons of salt throughout the year. The county currently has between 800 and 1,000 tons of salt leftover from last year, which is about half of what the department uses in a normal winter, county highway department director Luke Mastin said. As the county starts to use that salt, the department will order more.

“It’s a good practice, if you have the ability to, to keep salt on hand during the winter. It can be difficult to get a delivery when you might need it,” Mastin said.

Franklin’s street department is expecting to use a little more than half of the money it budgeted for overtime pay this year, street commissioner Ron Collins said.

At the end of September, the city had spent $21,000 of the $40,000 it budgeted for overtime pay in the street department, and Collins said he does not expect to use much more the rest of the year.

Most of the overtime paid by the city was for cleaning up wind damage this summer, Collins said.

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