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Winter-weary Donegal Township turns to COSTARS program

By Josh King
Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014, 9:01 p.m.

As the owner of Alexander's Pizza & Subs in Mt. Pleasant, Jaydene Nelson said many of the Main Street business' delivery orders come from residents of Donegal Township.

“The people of Donegal are essential to our business. They are great people and we have many customers in the Donegal area,” Nelson said.

That's why Nelson expressed relief regarding Monday's unanimous decision by the township's board of supervisor to purchase additional salt for use on the roads there this winter via the state Department of General Services' COSTARS program.

COSTARS is a cooperative purchasing program designed to help government entities such as municipalities save thousands of dollars in buying supplies and services.

“The fact that they (the board) purchased additional salt is a relief,” Nelson said. “We try to satisfy as many people as we can.”

The board said the unceasing severity of this year's cold and snowy weather prompted the decision to purchase additional salt.

“We would have ran out ... not a question,” said Tom Stull, the board's chairman and a township roadmaster.

The board's decision was also fueled by word other municipalities were paying much more for the resource, Stull said.

“The COSTARS program saves the township money, certainly,” he said.

“Other townships are paying almost double (what we did) for salt. This was needed.”

Supervisor Henry Hoffer, the board's vice chairman, said that not purchasing the additional salt via COSTARS would have resulted in greater costs, long term, to maintain township roads.

“I'm glad we are upping our salt bid for this upcoming year. We are already short and we were at the (maximum) amount,” Hoffer said.

Stull said the potential for additional severe winter weather throughout the rest of the season made going without additional salt would have been a true risk.

“We would have had to call around last minute and try to find salt. From what I was reading in the papers and watching on the news, the price is insane,” he said. “Some (municipality) just got some salt for $120 a ton, while the (COSTARS program) sells it for $56 a ton.”

Hoffer reaffirmed his confidence in the board's move.

“The COSTARS program saves us a lot of money, and we are relieved to pass this motion,” he said.

Josh King is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.

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