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July 31, 2011
Salem News

Council member asks for support of LEAP Funds

To the editor: I want to encourage the citizens of Salem to voice their opinion and ask their ward council representatives to vote positively when the issue of accepting LEAP Funds for a complete audit of city operations by the state of Ohio auditing team comes before them. LEAP stands for "Leverage for Efficiency, Accountability and Performance."

Your state of Ohio senators and representatives voted 33-0 and 96-0, respectively, enacting SUB. S.B. 4 on March 30, 2011, which created the LEAP revolving loan fund. Not one of your legislators voted against providing LEAP Funds, which created a $1,500,000 revolving loan fund that can be used by state agencies and local governments to audit operations and find better ways to spend the tax dollars that are entrusted to them. Three times in the past two years a majority of Salem City Council voted to place tax issues on the ballot which would have increased the amount of money that you, the taxpayers, would be paying by up to $2,000,000 per year. Each of the three tax increase issues failed by a wide margin, for an average of 70 percent of voters against increasing taxes.

As a member of the minority on council against raising taxes, I feel that increases in efficiency, accountability and performance are the keys to keeping taxes in check. The availability of LEAP Funds for a citywide audit is very welcome.

The city would borrow the funds necessary to pay for the audit done by the state of Ohio and have one year from the time that the audit is completed to repay this loan. Statistics from the Ohio Auditor of State indicate that savings of up to $23 for every $1 spent on an audit is possible. Implementation of audit findings by city council and the savings derived would then be the source of the loan repayment funds. Repayment is required so that other cities and local governments will have Ohio state auditor loan funds available to them as well in the future. Since I brought the issue of applying for LEAP Funds before city council in early May 2011, the finance committee approved sending in the application for the LEAP Funds. Last week the city was informed by the auditor of state that the application was approved and now only requires formal acceptance by city council to get the audit started. An estimate of the cost of the audit will arrive soon and the audit will take three to six months to complete.

Efficiency, accountability and performance are the criteria for success of any business. In this case the business of the city will be reviewed. The findings, if implemented, will save you, the taxpayers, from being faced with additional tax issues on the ballot, provide funds for additional police protection as well as a beginning to repairing the infrastructure of our beautiful city. Please remember, the implemented savings measures recommended by the audit will go on year after year while the audit is a one-time cost. Finally, not one Democrat, Republican or Independent state legislator voted against providing the LEAP funds to perform local government audits. This is 100 percent backing by your elected officials. Please support the audit by calling either your ward council representatives or any of the three councilmen at large today and ask them for their affirmative vote on the LEAP Fund Audit issue when it comes before them.

John C. Berlin, Council, Salem

City resident upset with junk in yards

To the editor: I have written a letter in the past in regards to individuals who think their yard is a junkyard to collect junk.

In this particular case, I am referring to people who live in my neighborhood. One lives directly behind me on North Lincoln. The other lives next to my property on North Lincoln. The gentleman who lives directly behind me is just a renter and the other one actually owns his property. Apparently, neither one of them care what their property looks like. I don't understand why individuals don't care what their property looks like. And what kind of impression they make when they keep their property looking like a junk yard. It is my understanding that the property directly behind me is owned by a man who resides in Florida. I also understand that he has a gentleman who lives locally and takes care of any problems that might arise. However, he must not be aware of what the property looks like. As long as he receives the rent check each month that is all he probably cares about. I made a complaint with the zoning and housing department about the neighbor that is the renter. Apparently, nothing has been done because he continues to collect junk on the property. I know the city has many issues to deal with, but I feel that the proper authorities responsible for zoning and housing should take a look around at those individuals who think it is OK to collect junk and trash on their property. I further feel those who are responsible for doing this should do what it takes to see that this is done.


Area Meals on Wheels needs community support

To the editor: Once again we are turning to the community to help raise funds for the Columbiana Area Meals on Wheels program. July is our annual fund drive and we are hoping with the generosity we received last year from all of you that once again we will be able to stay afloat this coming year. We are a Northern Columbiana County United Way Agency, which after their support, is self supporting. We receive no government funding. We deliver two meals daily which includes and hot meal and a sack lunch to the elderly and temporarily and, or permanently disabled people who are unable to provide adequate meals for themselves. No one is turned away regardless of their financial situation. If 80 businesses or individuals will commit to a $5 per month pledge (July 2011 to June 2012) we can stay afloat. Please help us keep this necessary, time proven service in place for our elderly citizens in the Columbiana, Washingtonville, Leetonia and New Waterford areas. If you can help with a monthly pledge or a one-time donation, please send it to Columbiana Area Meals on Wheels, 865 E. Park Ave, Columbiana, Ohio 44408. If you have any questions, please call us at 330-482-0366. The Columbiana Area Meals on Wheels Board and our clients thank you in advance for your support.




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