Numbers in Berlin’s report tell the story

SALEM — For residents interested in the State of the City, it’s all about the numbers.

Mayor John Berlin presented plenty during his report Tuesday night, painting a picture of the activities keeping the street department busy and economic development moving on the city’s behalf.

The street department no doubt used some road salt this week, purchasing 1,320 tons of it last year through the Ohio Department of Transportation’s bid program at a cost of $39.81 per ton. This year’s price went up 55 percent to $61.75 per ton.

The street department also replaced or repaired 72 catch basins last year, removed 42 dead curb lawn trees, used 280 tons of hot and cold patch to repair potholes and performed crack sealing on eight of the recently repaved streets to extend their life for several more years. He noted that in years past, the average amount of hot and cold patch used to repair asphalt streets was 580 tons. That amount has been cut down due to the repaving projects made possible with the voter-approved .25 percent additional income tax.

New equipment for the street department included a 1 1/2-ton Ford truck, a Kubota tractor and a Kubota zero-turn mower.

The Sustainable Opportunity Development Center, which is contracted to provide economic development activities for the city, collaborated on or was awarded grants totaling $557,000 in 2018, including a Regional Job Training Grant worth $133,000 from the Governor’s Office of Appalachia to open up the new training center.

The SOD Center worked to get three vacant properties at the industrial park filled and succeeded at that quest. During the year, six companies contacted SOD for help with possible expansions. A dozen clients were referred to the Small Business Development Center for support through a partnership with the Entrepreneurial Resource Center. The SOD Center website was updated, with visits increased by 320 percent from 2017. A manufacturing career fair at Salem High School attracted 134 parents and students, 11 local manufacturers and seven resource participants.

Other numbers reported included 12 dilapidated houses demolished in Salem either by the Columbiana County land bank or the city of Salem last year and 49 volunteer residents served on 11 boards and commissions to help the city operate. Of those 49 volunteers, 13 accepted reappointment in 2018.

Waterworth Memorial Park hosted 15 free summer concerts at the band shell and there were 24 free Go Wild in the Park programs offered through a partnership between the Salem Public Library and the Salem Parks Department.