Florida’s offer of free ice getting the cold shoulder

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.

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