Councilman calls for investigation of forgotten salt pile

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - One Cincinnati city councilman is calling for an investigation into possible government waste, costing taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Charlie Winburn says the public works department forgot about nearly four thousand tons of road salt.

The pile of salt, that has a bluish black color to it now, has been sitting outside in a gated field off of Beekman Street for more than a year.

"They probably had a little too much salt to even fit the domes, so they hid that salt and forgot all about it," says Winburn.

Charlie Winburn says a whistle blower within the public services department came to him about the issue of this road salt. Winburn says during a time of budget constraints the city should have been more responsible

"They could have put it in the four domes that they currently have or they could have sold it to Lincoln Heights, or Lockland, or Wyoming to at least try and get some of our money back," adds Winburn.

A portion of the salt is exposed to the elements because the tarp came loose. Winburn would now like to see the EPA get involved to check for any public health hazards.

"You can't sit salt for 13, 14 months and use that salt on city streets. I think the salt may have possible contamination," says Winburn.

If the city did knowingly waste this salt, Winburn says the public works director should resign.

"I just think it's negligence and it's definitely a waste of taxpayer dollars," says Winburn.

Even some local residents aren't too thrilled when they hear about footing the bill for a pile of un-used salt.

"As far as the salt and stuff, it could be used for the streets and stuff instead of just sitting and going bad. I just feel like it's a waste," says Tiara Devaughn.

But the public works department argues that this salt is properly stored and that road salt doesn't go bad. A representative tells FOX19 that due to the lack of snow over the last couple years, they had to store the rest at this location because their domes were full.

The public works department has one week to report back to council and respond to the these allegations of government waste.

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