"Could be very problematic:" Salt shortage affects price, availability for contractors, citizens

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Hopefully we have a little while to go before we see any snow in southeastern Wisconsin, but its already getting late for municipalities looking to stock up on their salt supply ahead of "Winter 2014!"

"There's a real shortage for private users and contractors," David Frank said.

Frank is the president of David J. Frank Landscape Contracting, which has spent the past 50-plus years clearing snow in southeastern Wisconsin. He says what he experienced this past winter was nowhere near normal.

"In a normal winter, we might deploy our trucks 22 times, 23 times, and last year, we deployed 62 or 63 times," Frank said.

Frank said Winter 2013 led to the salt shortage that continues as we head into Winter 2014.

"We're on an allotment. That allotment has been cut in less than half," Frank said.

The salt that does exist is costing a not-so-pretty penny! In fact, Frank says two years ago, his company paid around $32 per ton. This year...

"The best bids we have are in the $90, $95 range, but this last week, we're hearing the number $125," Frank said.

Frank says municipalities should be in good stead with their salt, and a city of Milwaukee spokesperson says the current contract guarantees the volume needed at a locked-in rate just shy of $56 per ton.

But for private businesses and citizens, the situation is salty.

"I think it could be very problematic, and some of them may not even be able to get material," Frank said.

Frank shared a couple seasonal, salt-saving suggestions with FOX6 News.

He says you should be sure to secure your salt this year. You don't want to make an already hot item any more appealing to thieves.

Also, Frank encourages folks to save some salt. Don't use as much on your sidewalks and driveways. It may take a little longer to melt the snow, but Frank says it will work just the same.

Related stories: