Salem council returns tap-in power to Weingart

SALEM – Council passed two emergency measures, one to streamline the utility tap-in procedure and the other to partner with East Liverpool and Columbiana County in implementing the housing impact and preservation program for 2014.

Both were passed unanimously Tuesday and Mayor John Berlin said the adjustment to the utilities ordinance, which delegates in-city tap-in authority back to Superintendent Don Weingart, will shorten the process considerably.

Weingart said it modifies a 2009 ordinance and will allow for new tap-ins to take place, but council retains the authority regarding service outside the city.

The housing impact resolution gives the mayor the authority to partner with East Liverpool in obtaining CHIP funds.

The program provides grants to eligible communities for housing-related activities, including necessary infrastructure improvements.

Grants are awarded competitively and encourage a flexible, community-wide approach to improving and providing affordable housing for low- and moderate-income people while strengthening neighborhoods through community collaboration.

In other business, resident Michael Traina, PhD., questioned why one year of study and the involvement of so many city departments is necessary for an indoor shooting range “because one person wants it.”

Traina asked, “Who pays?” and Councilman Rick Drummond said any costs, commercial or residential, will be paid for by the applicant. He said the Housing, Planning and Zoning Officer would inspect it and Traina asked about maintenance.

Drummond said the owner would maintain it, noting that one person approached him about a proposed range.

“While it was initiated by one, there may be more (behind them),” he said and Traina pressed him asking how much support “with all the time and effort.”

Council President Bret Apple said, “People can approach their councilman …” and Traina again asked if one person was worth all the time while noting he was opposed to it.

Drummond said many great ideas have begun with one person and Councilwoman Cyndi Baronzzi Dickey asked Traina if he was opposed to it whether it was residential or commercial?

Traina said he isn’t opposed to the range, but “all the time and effort for one person … a lot of this has been going on a year.”

In other business, resident Trish Ricosky wanted more for kids to do and suggested a skate park. She said the only thing to do is the Super Cruise and the local parades are small.

“Kids don’t want to go,” she said, adding the Salem Community Center is too expensive for many.

“You guys are losing so much money because there’s nothing to do,” Ricosky said and asked council to change the way things are.

“They’re bored,” she said.

Councilman Clyde Brown agreed explaining an attempt at a skate park years ago eventually failed.

Also, Matthew Campanelli had an issue with speeding on East 6th Street and wondered about placing a speed bump between the high school and church in the 1200 block. He was referred to the street committee.

Another guest, Lisa Cahill read a number of survey-result comments from the Salem Talks Facebook page regarding what would make Salem better.

Lower rent, improved buildings, a more business friendly atmosphere, more jobs, enforced zoning laws, addressing the downtown sign issues, more restaurants, removal of dumpsters from properties, and enforcement of tall grass issues.

She noted that property, like the lot behind city hall, could be used and suggested guidance documents from other cities be studied.

Also, Scott Cahill talked about moving forward. He is developing the property in the 600 block of East State Street and noted he wants the best things “for our city.”

Cahill said he applied for membership in the Salem Rotary Club and was rejected.

“I’ve never been rejected by anyone before,” he said, adding “I want to get into a position to move forward.”

He said, “Can we get there? We’re working to make things difficult to get things done.”

He said, “I’m putting everything I have on the line …”

In other business, Drummond said he was disappointed Law Director Brooke Zellers, who was absent from the meeting, did not have a representative of his office attend.

“If he can’t be there, someone from his office should be there,” Drummond said. “It’s not the first time.” Drummond added that he would follow up with Zellers.

In his report Service Safety Director Ken Kenst said the paving of all the state routes should be completed in a “couple weeks” after curb ramps and a second layer of asphalt are applied.

Kenst said leaf cleanup is still under way and there are leaf bags at city hall. The street sweeper is also out every day the weather allows.

Auditor Betty Brothers said an insurance check for $18,659 was received for the damaged sign at Centennial Park and the 2013 financial report is complete.