Water chief asks public to watch hydrants

SALEM – City Utilities Superintendent Don Weingart is asking residents to be wary of anyone tampering with a fire hydrant, unless it’s a firefighter or city worker.

Weingart briefly talked to city council about a couple of recent reports he heard about where people were stealing water from hydrants in other communities. One of the reports involved hydrants in the village of Lisbon.

“The water systems are fragile and subject to contamination if not operated right,” he said.

According to Weingart, it should be a concern for all citizens, to keep their eyes and ears open for anyone tampering with fire hydrants. With all the trucks traveling around, he said people should also watch for illegal dumping of brine or other materials.

He didn’t know of any incidents in the city or in Perry Township, but wanted people to be aware.

Weingart also announced the city Utilities Commission will hold a special work session at 3 p.m. Thursday regarding the proposed storage building off of Pennsylvania Avenue. The next regular meeting of the commission will be held at 4 p.m. July 17.

Both meetings will be held in the second floor conference room of the utilities department.

In other business, council approved resolutions to request the Columbiana County Auditor’s office and Mahoning County Auditor’s office certify the valuation information for a proposed 1-mill replacement levy for the city parks and recreation department and to adopt the 2015 tax budget.

Council also approved a resolution to adopt the alternate method of apportionment for the Local Government Fund, which they must do every year, and a resolution to update the city’s codified ordinances in accordance with any changes made at the state level regarding traffic and general offenses codes.

During his report, city Service/Safety Director Ken Kenst advised that he just became aware of a service offered via the fire department that he wanted residents to know about. The fire department is a drop-off location for residential fire extinguishers for Warren Fire Equipment.

Residents can drop off their fire extinguishers to have them recharged for a fee of $4.25. A representative of Warren Fire comes to town, normally on a weekly basis, and picks up the extinguishers and then brings them back when they’re finished so residents can pick them up with an invoice to be paid directly to Warren Fire.

The city’s only involvement is to serve as a drop-off and pick-up point for Warren Fire. Any repairs that are needed will be done on a call-first basis, meaning Warren Fire will call residents directly with the cost.

A press release regarding the service said most extinguishers should be charged annually and most are not rechargeable after six years.

Councilman Rick Drummond told council members about a meeting he hosted with people interested in a skateboard park in the city, noting another meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Sunday, July 13, at Courtyard Square, at 645 E. State St. in downtown Salem.

“This is a non-city driven exercise,” he said, stressing that it’s a project for the residents to take up.

Councilwoman Cyndi Baronzzi Dickey reminded that she’ll be hosting a meeting of the planning infrastructure subcommittee at 5:30 p.m. July 17 in council chambers. A Rules & Ordinances Committee meeting remains set for 6:30 p.m. July 22 regarding various language for ordinances affected by the indoor shooting ranges legislation.

At the beginning of the meeting, city resident Dr. Michael Traina addressed council regarding an idea for an indoor miniature golf course, saying that could be something for everyone and give the kids something to do. He questioned what committee something like that would go to, saying he was just throwing out the idea that he and fellow resident Gary Morrison had discussed over coffee.

Drummond said that sounded like an idea for some enterprising people in the city for a business. Council President K. Bret Apple thanked Traina for coming to the meeting.

Just as a reminder, Mayor John Berlin noted the city fireworks display will be at dusk (when it gets dark) on Thursday at Waterworth Memorial Park. The rain date will be Saturday at the same time and location.