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Sewickley manager: More snow, more cost

Kristina Serafini | Sewickley Herald
A member of Sewickley's road crew plows Broad Street and drops salt during a snowstorm on Thursday, Jan. 2, 2014.

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Sewickley Manager Kevin Flannery said he is hopeful the borough can get through winter without paying higher prices for salt.

As the borough's supply fluctuates, so, too, does the price municipal leaders pay. Under an agreement signed last year, Flannery said, Sewickley leaders can purchase about an additional 300 tons at $57.52 per ton. After that, the price goes to $63.27.

Should the borough reach the maximum allowed at that price, Flannery said the bill would rise to a “whopping” $81.62 per ton.

Before snow earlier this week, Flannery said the borough had about 500 tons of salt in storage.

During each storm, Flannery estimates, the borough uses about 20 to 30 tons.

The borough has recorded more than 24 incidents of snow this season. Through the same time last year, the borough recorded 13 cases.

He said the problem with the current winter season is that each snowfall drops smaller amounts of snow, but crews still use the same amount of salt each time.

Along with salt for weather-related issues, Flannery said the borough uses it for emergencies.

“I still order (salt) because with a water (line) break or fire, they easily could use 40 or 50 tons of salt in fighting that effort.”

A series of storms dropped 3.3 inches of snow on the region on Monday night and Tuesday morning, causing Quaker Valley to cancel classes for the fifth time this year.

“It was a pretty dynamic little system,” said Mike Kennedy, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service Pittsburgh office in Moon. “It was a mixed bag of precipitation that had a good impact, even when it wasn't snow.”

The storm dumped snow and sleet on the region, combined with strong winds, Kennedy said.

Daveen Rae Kurutz contributed to this story. Bobby Cherry is an associate editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-324-1408 or rcherry@tribweb.com.

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