Scouts get straight scoop from city leaders

Columbiana Cub Scout Pack 16 (front, from left) Chase Tomalka, Charlie Baglama, Jensen Nordquist, Christian Pasquale and Jayce Dickey all asked Columbiana City Council about local government works during this week’s meeting. City council members (from left) Dan Bekar, Ted Souder, Dick McBane, Mayor Bryan Blakeman, and council members Crystal Siembida-Boggs Rick Noel and Skip Liston were happy to answer their questions. (Salem News photo by Katie White)

COLUMBIANA — A local Cub Scout pack had the opportunity to ask city council some tough questions last week.

Columbiana Cub Scout Pack 16 Webelos Den 3 came to the regular council meeting prepared with questions to learn all about the local government.

The Cub Scouts wanted to know how the local government works, and what things council members liked and disliked about their responsibilities.

They also wanted to know what council has done for the city.

“I think the biggest thing this council has done over the last two years is it has been responsible for lowering health care costs in the city by about $500,000 every single year, and responsible for creating new incentives for businesses to come here so there are more jobs and people want to move here,” Mayor Bryan Blakeman said.

He also said that in addition to that, council is also responsible for protecting the community and making sure the city has the best employees, including within the public safety services.

Council member Crystal Siembida-Boggs said that council is largely responsible for representing the people who vote for them.

“If they have a concern our job is to bring it up here and address it,” she said.

Councilman Dick McBane said council is also responsible for making sure the city manager is following the charter.

“Everything he does is by approval of council,” he said.

He also said that council members must make sure that local taxes are used wisely.

When asked why they chose to run for council, Siembida-Boggs said that her desire to serve her community can be traced back to when she participated in Girls Scouts in kindergarten.

“It was always something I wanted to do to serve my community …. that has just been a part of who I am,” she said.

Councilman Skip Liston said he loves the city and wants to see it grow properly.

“Just like the scout leaders are giving back to the community by helping you young men shape your lives, we want to give to the community,” Councilman Rick Noel said.

Blakeman said that as mayor his favorite part of the job is marrying people. His least favorite is not being able to make everyone happy.

“I think everyone up her does the best they can for all of you, making sure that our schools are open every day, and making sure we have good sidewalks to walk on,” Councilman Dan Bekar told the boys.