Meetings could pave way for road improvements

SALEM — Proposed action this week in two separate committee meetings and council itself may get this year’s street project moving.

First up is a 6 p.m. Monday session of the Streets, Alleys & Sidewalks Committee now under the direction of Councilman Sal Salvino, who is the new chairman this year. The topic will be the 2018 paving project.

Mayor John Berlin had indicated last year that he and city Service/Safety Director Ken Kenst wanted to focus the 2018 work on repairs to the concrete streets, specifically State Street and Pershing. Recent police reports have included complaints of pieces of concrete coming up and potholes. One woman reported last week that she ended up with a bent rim and flattened tire after hitting one of the potholes.

An estimated cost for the street project is expected to be provided soon and the project will need to go out for bid.

Next up will be the Finance Committee meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday, where the members led by Chairman Councilman Andrew Null will discuss funding for the scope of work for the 2018 street project. The last two years, the city has paved a ton of streets with the majority of the cost to be covered by income from the additional .25 percent tax voters put in place in 2015.

Other agenda items for the Finance Committee include a resolution related to the donation from the Columbiana County Commissioners for a full-time drug task force officer, a resolution to create a new K-9 fund, a wording addition for Commercial Driver’s License in the fringe benefits ordinance, an appropriation ordinance and if there’s time left, discussion on increasing the wages for part-time city employees.

City council will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday, after Finance.

On Wednesday, an informational meeting of the Economic Development Committee is planned for 6 p.m. All the committee meetings and council will be held in council chambers at city hall.

A topic that hasn’t been discussed in a council meeting yet is the pending departure of Councilwoman Christine Mancuso, who announced last month that she’s planning to move out-of-state by the end of March. Her husband, Mike Mancuso, who used to head up the Sustainable Opportunity Development Center and act as the economic development point person for the city, started a new job earlier this month in North Carolina.

Council will have the task of filling her First Ward seat when it becomes vacant since council appointed her to the position last year to fill the unexpired term of former Councilman Dave Nestic. Her term expires at the end of 2019.

Another upcoming meeting this week is the Utilities Commission, which meets at 4 p.m. Thursday for its monthly session, in the second floor conference room of the utility building connected to city hall.