Downtown Downers Grove in winter

Downers Grove is buying up more salt in preparation for winter. Brutal temperatures and heavy snow depleted salt supplies earlier this year. (Dawn Rhodes, Chicago Tribune / July 2, 2014)

Downers Grove officials have begun lining up an extra supply of road salt to make sure the village has enough to get through another tough winter season.

Village council members unanimously approved a proposal Tuesday night to buy at least 1,600 tons of rock salt through a consortium agreement through DuPage County. The county's transportation department, 13 towns and all nine township highway departments joined forces for a single bid in order to increase buying power and secure better pricing, Public Works Director Nan Newlon said.

All of the departments will receive their salt through Morton Salt, Inc. of Chicago, according to the bid. Downers Grove will pay $70.44 per ton. The village is contractually obligated to buy at least 1,600 and a maximum of 2,600 tons for a potential cost of between $112,704 and $183,144.

The added expense means that funding for road salt will increase in the 2015 budget, Newlon said. Officials are due to begin reviewing the spending plan later in the summer.

The village's arrangement with DuPage County will provide Downers Grove with a secondary source for salt, supplementing salt it buys from the state in a similar purchasing agreement. Newlon previously said relying on salt from the state can be problematic because the state will ration the supply to numerous towns when the demand is high. Newlon said that during this year's particularly harsh winter season, the village did not receive as much salt as it was promised in its contract and was forced to conserve what it had.

The village renewed its deal with the state in March, agreeing to buy between 4,000 and 6,000 tons of salt for up to $58.12 per ton.

This contract is the village's second major initiative this year to help guarantee there will be enough salt on hand for the winter. In June, the council approved a measure to build a larger storage facility at the public works headquarters, more than doubling the amount of salt the village can keep in town.

cdrhodes@tribune.com | @rhodes_dawn