Will the high price of salt affect your drive this winter? - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

By Meghan Sparks

Will the high price of salt affect your drive this winter?

ROCHESTER, MN (FOX 47) -- We got our first taste of winter on Sunday. Rochester Public Works Maintenance Manager says, "We had to go out because the temperatures had dropped and the snow had picked up."

The area saw about three to four inches of snow, just enough to make our roads a little slippery.

"You've got to have something to deal with the ice."

Fitzpatrick says it usually takes about thirty minutes for the cities fleet of 62 salt trucks and plows to hit the road, but this year salt prices have gone up and in Rochester the city is paying four and a half dollars more per ton. So far, it hasn't affected the way the city clears the roads and they hope to keep it that way.

"If we have to cut more, then likely it will be someplace else other than the salt and sand because this really is a safety item," says Fitzpatrick.

City Council President Denny Hanson says, "I think when we look at the budget we're going to make sure safety comes first whether it's salt for public works or police officers or firefighters."

The high prices can be blamed on last year's heavy snow, high commodity prices, as well as major flooding last spring, but city officials hope to do what they can to keep traffic moving.

Other areas are also feeling the effects.

Hennepin County is reporting that their salt costs have increased by 16 percent.

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