Franklin faces salt shortage and failing shed

By CHRIS BARBER

cbarber@21st-centurymedia.com

FRANKLIN -- The Franklin Township supervisors have begun discussions on the road salt problem that has emerged this winter.

Supervisors Chairman John Auerbach said spending has soared during this severe season to a point that funds must be transferred from the capital road program to supplement the general fund.

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ďOur maintenance budget is $145,000 for 2014, and weíve already spent $200,000. Itís not just the amount of salt, itís the number of events,Ē he said, referring to the frequent snowfalls this year. He added that at this point, the budgeted amount is used up, and thatís without anything happening next December.

As for the salt problem, he said there is consensus among board members that the snow shed is too small and itís in bad shape.

The present shed has a capacity of 200 tons of salt, but thatís how much they need for one storm alone. In a normal year they use between 600 and 800 tons. But this is not a normal year, and theyíve used 1,200 tons.

This year, the township has had to go to the lengths of sending a truck to the port on the Delaware River where the salt in imported after every snowstorm to renew the supply. But with the supplies low overall, the township is only allowed one truckload a day now -- not enough to handle another storm.

And there is another problem: The shed the township now uses is connected to the municipal building and it is seeping salt into the walls.

Auerbach said the supervisors are early in the discussion and welcome input from the public. He added that they are studying the problem and trying to determine what to do. He said he has in mind a new shed with a capacity of 800 tons.

According to the report from the last meeting minutes, Auerbach said the township will wait before determining the road improvement program for 2014 until the winter damage can be determined.