Two years and over $450,000 later, Quincy will have its salt shed.
The building will be a marked improvement, according to city officials, who have been clamoring for a better way to store road salt since Daniel Raymondi was hired as commissioner for the Department of Public Works.
“It’s a considerable improvement from a pure operational standpoint for snow removal,” said Christopher Walker, spokesman for Mayor Thomas Koch.
The process has been a lengthy one for the DPW, which initially proposed the idea for a storage shed for salting city roads in November 2011.
Hopes were to have the shed in place for the 2012 winter season, but technical problems required engineers to compress the soil before foundation work could begin.
Though the shed will be ready a year after promised, Walker said there wasn’t too much of a delay.
“Anytime you do something like this it does take a bit of time,” he said.
Financing snafus also initially complicated the process, when councilors voiced displeasure that potentially $250,000 would be taken out of the snow and ice budget to accommodate the cost.
The snow and ice account typically runs into deficit. Although the city can roll snow and ice deficits into subsequent fiscal years’ budgets, the expense is eventually passed on to the taxpayer.
Yet after a snow-less winter of 2011-12, councilors reality approved a smaller appropriation for a shed in May 2012, giving $163,892 for the purchase.
According to Walker, the shed ended up costing approximately $250,000. An additional $200,000-$250,000 was spent on the foundation work, to ensure the land could accommodate four to five tons of salt.
Walker said that all additional money came from within the DPW budget, and much of the work was performed by contractors who were already on site.
“A contractor might be doing work on something and there is money in the contract, and it’s a change order,” Walker said.
Regardless of the cost, the cost savings is expected to be in the hundreds of thousands over time, Walker said.
“It will save us a lot in salt,” Walker said. “You’ll have shelter that will allow us to maintain the salt and not have it melt away when it’s uncovered, and will allow us to have more of it in stock so we’re not out buying it on the fly, potentially in emergency situation when you need it.”
As for the savings specific to this year, Walker was unsure. It depends on the snow, he said.