Toms River and other shore communities face salt shortage, must overspend budgets
TOMS RIVER - As New Jersey faces another winter storm this week, more towns are struggling with shortages of rock salt.
In Toms River, officials say they have nearly depleted their stockpile.
Director of Public Works Lou Amoruso says the township shared some of its salt with neighboring communities, and now Toms River is the one that is running out. "We've had a couple of neighboring towns and two to three school districts themselves that ran out of salt," he says. "We helped them out."
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Amoruso says the township's dwindling supply can handle just four more storms. "It's just been so cold," he says. "We've had so much snow and ice that we're going through it in record pace."
In a normal winter, Toms River goes through 1,000 tons of salt. So far this year, it has gone through 2,000 tons.
The increased need forced the township to reorder salt mid-season and blow past its budget. Mayor Tom Kelaher says the township set aside $750,000 for snow removal, and has already spent $1.2 million.
"When you try to put money in the budget for snow removal, it's a guesstimate because you just don't know what Mother Nature is going to throw at you," Kelaher says.
Salt has been ordered again, but the shortage means it could take two weeks for delivery.
Demand for salt is so high across the nation that prices are skyrocketing. In Toms River, supplies are being stretched by mixing salt with sand.