Council to take look at TAC plan

SALEM – A Committee of the Whole meeting has been scheduled for 7 p.m. March 28 in council chambers at city hall to discuss the Downtown Salem Technical Advisory Committee proposal submitted last month.

Councilman Dave Nestic, who chairs the committee which includes all seven members of city council, announced the meeting Tuesday night.

Earlier in the meeting, Scott Cahill, who helped organize the TAC, addressed council and said some things had surfaced that he found were getting the project off track, referring to some concerns and what he referred to as “innuendo,” that people needed to know more about him to feel safe about the project.

He said he was not applying for a job, but offered to supply his resume and significant references for past projects he’s been involved in and submit them to Mayor John Berlin.

He said he was interested in hearing what council had to say about the project and that if the answer is no, he can live with that, but having no answer is what concerns him the most.

“If council can’t support us, we’ll do it ourselves,” he said.

The Committee of the Whole heard a presentation on the proposal on Feb. 19. Nestic was absent, with Councilman K. Bret Apple saying at the time that they would need to digest the lengthy, detailed report and meet again on the issue.

In a related matter, Lisa Cahill announced the Design Review Board had received word that the board’s application for a Certified Local Government grant through the Ohio Historic Preservation Office had been approved to conduct a structural evaluation of downtown buildings. The official grant award had not been received yet, but they were told the amount was 80 percent to 90 percent of what was requested. The amount requested had been $22,491.

Also regarding downtown, Salem resident Jennifer Brown, a member of the beautification committee, said she learned a new professional person in town chose not to live in Salem because it appeared too dirty, which she was disappointed to hear.

Councilman Jeff Cushman, during what he called “displeasure of council,” pleaded for the owners of the TanFastic building and the Butler museum to do something about their buildings on State Street, noting he noticed more brick pieces on the sidewalk, which has been barricaded since last July due to safety concerns.

“Something needs to happen,” he said.

In other business, council authorized Berlin to enter into an agreement with the Ohio Department of Transportation for the 2014 resurfacing of sections of state Routes 9, 14 and 344 which run through the city, created the position of vital statistics clerk in the health department and accepted a donation from the Columbiana County Commissioners toward the cost of having an officer assigned to the Drug Task Force.

Council gave first reading to an ordinance authorizing the appropriation of $7,000 within capital improvements for the police department to renovate the former men’s lockup into an interview room. The estimated cost is $14,000, with half the money coming from the police department’s Drug Enforcement Administration money and the rest from capital improvements. Plans call for the steel to be sold for scrap, which is expected to reduce the cost.

Other meetings announced included: Finance Committee at 6 p.m. March 28, city hall council chambers; Salem Super Cruise committee, 7 p.m. March 27, city hall council chambers; and Anti-graffiti group, 6 p.m., March 26, city hall council chambers.

The meeting ended on a sad note, as Nestic, Apple and Cushman all offered their condolences to the family of former city deputy auditor Barb Hasson, who passed away Tuesday morning. Hasson retired from the job on May 31 after 32 years of serving the residents.

“She was truly an asset to the city of Salem,” Council President Mickey Cope Weaver said.

Mary Ann Greier can be reached at