Florida’s offer of free ice getting the cold shoulder
In an effort to prepare for what forecasters initially predicted would be an active hurricane season, the state purchased the ice for $1.8 million.
The intent was to get the ice to areas impacted by a storm within 24 hours, said division spokesman Mike Stone. But no storm came, and with the season over, it’s costing taxpayers $90,000 a month to store.
First, the ice has a shelf life of just 6 to 10 months. Yes, even ice goes bad (think of those shriveled, yellow cubes you’ve seen in the freezer).
Second, it is stored in two facilities – Jacksonville and Bartow in central Florida.
Third, the minimum that can be picked up is 360 bags. Deliveries are possible, but only by the truckload – that’s 22 pallets or 39,600 pounds.
This is a one-time offer. The state is getting out of the ice-storage business.
“We will be working with our private-sector partners we have brought in and use those supply chains that are pre-existing,” Stone said. Among local nonprofits, the interest is non-existent. The county’s emergency operations folks say they would have the same problem as the state … it’s cost-prohibitive to store.