KENT: The honor system didn’t work.


Kent has suspended its rock salt-giveaway program, because private contractors loaded their trucks with salt that was meant for residents to use in keeping their sidewalks clear.


“We were excited to offer this new service giving city residents to chance to grab a bucket and take a few scoops of salt to de-ice their front walkway but unfortunately some people took advantage of the offer choosing to fill and re-fill trucks rather than buckets,” City Manager Dave Ruller announced in his blog this week.


“With some taking more than their share, it got to the point where keeping the bin full had become a full-time job, and we just don’t have the staff to offer full serve,” he said. “So what started out as a little something extra for residents became a point of frustration for those residents that pulled in only to find the bin empty as plow contractors left with full trucks.”


Earlier this month, the city had put a barrel of salt outside the city’s Yard Waste facility. Service Director Gene Roberts said a 60-pound bag of rock salt costs a homeowner $7, while the city pays just over 50 cents for the same amount. By giving residents the tools to keep their sidewalks clear, the city hoped residents would make more of an effort to clear paths.


At the same time, the city installed a camera to monitor activity at the barrel while pleading with contractors to keep their mitts off.


Ruller indicated the program might be reconsidered if the city can figure out a better way of distributing it.


“I’m not sure what the solution is yet, but we hope to discuss this further with City Council in the weeks that follow,” he said.


Paula Schleis can be reached at 330-996-3741