By Beth Germano, WBZ-TVBy Beth Germano

NORTON (CBS) – It’s a costly winter commodity being loaded onto the highway trucks in Norton – salt. Three hundred tons of it for now with a price tag that’s more than twenty percent higher than last year.

Town Manager Michael Yunits says it’s a simple case of supply and demand, and the lasting impact of last winter. “It was really hard to get salt at the end of last year, and companies are figuring that in,” he said.

It’s hard to forget last winter with storm after storm that depleted supplies. The town of Norton, like many communities, has already had to stretch the budget this year with the uncertainty of it all. “It made us more conservative with our cash on hand. We had to set money aside in the event prices went up,” said Yunits.

For the 300,000 tons of salt the state budgets for, it’s facing a 36 percent increase in cost this winter. As for demand, MassDOT used nearly double that amount of salt last winter at a cost of $118 million, making it one of the most expensive seasons in some time.

Yunits says the winter season is the toughest for town managers. “You never know what’s going to happen.” He says the supply now is ample, and only hopes it stays that way for the next several months.

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Beth Germano