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Sign Up for COSTARS Salt Contract by March 15

Saturday February 1st, 2020
In another month or so, townships will be shutting the door on winter and turning their thoughts to spring road maintenance. Before you do, however, don’t forget to sign up for next winter’s COSTARS road salt contract, which has helped more than a thousand municipalities cut their costs and guarantee adequate supplies. 
 
Townships have until March 15 to complete the program’s 2020-2021 Salt Participation Agreement, which is posted on the COSTARS webpage. Under the contract, the state Department of General Services will secure more than 1 million tons of salt this year for the state Department of Transportation and local governments. [Note: While only registered members may participate in the commonwealth’s salt contract, it takes just minutes for townships to sign up for COSTARS, the state’s cooperative purchasing program. To learn more, go to the COSTARS website or call toll-free (866) 768-7827.] 
 
The collective buying power of COSTARS has produced lower costs for participants. The practice of bidding in the spring, plus the large tonnage, has resulted in Pennsylvania’s ability to maintain lower salt prices than in neighboring states.
 
Contracts are flexible 
 
To participate in next season’s salt contract, townships must fill out a simple one-page document that can be completed and submitted electronically.
 
Although legally binding, the contract has built-in flexibility. For example, participants are obligated to purchase 60 percent of their stated needs but may buy up to 140 percent at the contracted price. Townships may use liquid fuels funds to purchase the materials.
 
DGS goes to bid in the spring and awards the salt contracts, by county, in July. The contract is posted on the COSTARS website in early August.
 
COSTARS members may realize additional savings, too, by piggybacking on more than 250 other state contracts for such commodities and services as tires, computers, gasoline, aggregates, vehicles, power equipment, office supplies, food, and equipment maintenance. Townships should note that the road salt contract is the only COSTARS agreement that requires an advance commitment.
 
For more information, check out the CO­STARS website or call toll-free (866) 768-7827.