BAINBRIDGE -- The Bainbridge town council unanimously agreed on Wednesday to accept a proposal to build a $33,600 storage facility.
They all hope the new site will be worth its salt.
When discussions first began about building a new salt storage facility in October, the council had a strong case.
"We can store our salt here, in our town, for our town," said Council President Chuck McElwee.
At the present, all off the town's road salt is stored by the county in Greencastle. When a need arises, a Bainbridge truck must travel to Greencastle, pick up salt, have the volume weighed to determine the county's charge, drive back to Bainbridge, dispense all it can carry, then repeat the process as needed.
This can create problems and delays, McElwee said, when a truck arrives to pick up salt and none is there. This can happen because many towns share from the same cache.
The issue was further accentuated when, last year, the council purchased a new truck. Bainbridge was given such a good deal on the truck the council could not pass it up, but this meant an added problem.
Although the bed of the new truck is larger than the previous, the salt-delivery system is a different model and it can no longer hold as much salt as before. That means multiple trips to Greencastle each time the roads become icy.
With all the inconvenience involved, Bainbridge has kept its multipurpose truck filled with salt throughout the winter. For months out of the year, it has only one purpose. If a dump truck is needed during that time, one has to be called in from another town or a private owner.
The new 24' x 36' x 16' salt barn, to be built by Lindsay Construction, Inc. of Rockville will address all of these problems.
The building will allow for the storage of salt, sand and fill rocks. When not in use, the salt dispenser will be removed from the truck and suspended from the ceiling. This will allow the truck to be used in multiple ways throughout the year.
The construction will occur near the Bainbridge offices and also include a large concrete pad to store the town's recycling dumpsters.
Once the salt discussion ended, the council turned to other issues. The meeting, which began a half hour late, lasted nearly two hours after a few lengthy and colorful discussions.
When a proposed feasibility study came up for discussion, the board and community was split.
The council is looking into the possibility of partnering with an independent donor to build a nearby recreation facility and wellness center. The study would determine the costs, benefits and needs for such an entity in Bainbridge.
Council member Joel Thompson was adamantly opposed to the possibility, citing his own personal disinterest in the project and his distaste for criticism from the community.
"I don't understand why we have to keep patting everybody on the back if everything I do is wrong," Thompson said. "I don't know if I want to put money into something if I have no idea what I'm going to get out of it."
"We don't have the information to have that information," he said. "We have three forks in the road. We can choose to table it right now, not even consider it, not participate and get out right now. (Or) we can participate in the feasibility study and get the information we need to make a decision one way of the other."
The motion eventually carried 2-1, with Bonnie Osborn deciding to agree with the proposed study at a cost to Bainbridge of $14,000. McElwee said he believes the potential value to the community would be about more than money.
"We don't get any money out of the sewer, or out of the roads, or out of the water tower," McElwee said. "It's just stuff that makes this a nice community."
No further information regarding potential start dates or costs is available at this time, but will be covered in the study. The town has plenty on its plate regardless.
Bainbridge has numerous ongoing and costly projects intended to improve the town, and the salt barn will add one more.
The water tower is nearly completed but has lingering issues with the computer system that the council hopes will soon be resolved.
The storm drainage project began construction recently.
"I'm absolutely impressed with what the constructors are doing and the progress being made," McElwee said.
Barring weather delays, it is expected to be completed in five weeks, clerk-treasurer Jason Hartman said.
Also on Wednesday, the council unanimously agreed to a bid for another storm drainage project at the corner of Locust and Vine. The $4,800 bid includes only labor, which will be provided by Stephenson Excavating, Inc. Material will be purchased by the town.