Fourth Ward candidate offers his insights
To the editor:
I am addressing this letter to the citizens of the Fourth Ward. I was unable to attend the forum last Tuesday due to the serious illness of a family member.
I also feel that the Performance Audit is a waste of taxpayer's money at this time. We have better places to put our money than give it to the state to audit us when we are audited every year by the state auditors and they point the findings that need addressed.
It is the job of the Auditor Brothers and the Finance Committee of Council to know what needs to be addressed, and make cuts accordingly. I would rather see that money be used as matching funds for a grant to fix streets, or clean up more blight to make our neighborhoods a better place to live.
We are losing residents everyday due to the lack of jobs in this town. We need to be bringing in new business to the area to provide jobs for our residents and when doing so promote what a great city city we live in and the assets that are available to all who move here, like our schools, the parks, the library, police, and fire and the great water rates that we have here in Salem. We have a lot to offer, and we all need to work to promote it, not just a select few.
Our infrastructure is hurting we need new sewers to offset all the flooding problems that have occurred over the last few years. We need to work with the County Engineer Bert Dawson to obtain Public Works Monies to offset the cost of replacing these sewers that date back to the 1880's
As of late our streets have been in horrible condition, and I am grateful for what work Mr. Andres and his Service Department have done to keep the streets from complete destruction. I would like to see the city obtain other grants to offset the cost of paving as they did with East Fourth Street and the opening of the East Pershing Street Extension.
Working in the Collections Department at Farmers Bank I see everyday the struggle that our citizens have to make ends meet. I also see the struggles of the cities, villages and townships of the area who are struggling due to lack of funds such as the Local Government Fund and the loss of the Inheritance taxes, where they have had to lay off employees to make ends meet or have to put aside any work needed done in their areas due to lack of funding.
Our own county government has lost over $600,000 and will be struggling to make ends meet. We all need to be smarter and more educated about the decisions we make, so that we run this city as efficiently as possible.
We have to work for the greater good of our citizens and the city not for the greater good of any political party. This is not about politics it is about keeping our city and its residents safe and all services provided at an efficient cost to all.
I would like to see more police officers in our police department to help with the calls and protection of our citizens I feel that Chief Floor's department is stretched to the limit. We need to have an officer attached to the Drug Task Force fulltime rather than part time to help in the war against drugs in our city.
You can sit back and say there is no drug problem in this city but I can tell you that we have had a drug problem here since the 70's and if we don't have more police to help combat it we will be overrun by it.
Lastly I would like to address a statement that was made about me not attending the forum last week. I was out of town due to a serious family illness, and I felt that I needed to be with my wife during this family crisis, and therefore had to forego my appearance at the forum.
Yesterday it was brought to my attention that my opponent, saw fit to ride by my home on Tuesday evening and see if I was actually gone or was I there. Mrs. Dickey reported that I was sitting in my living room watching television. When in fact the persons you saw sitting there were my son-in-law and daughter who reside with us. I gain nothing by lying about my whereabouts but for you to make an issue of this serious situation in my families life is ridiculous and mean-spirited. I am not afraid of debating you or anyone else on the issues and I feel that your remark was a blatant statement to make me look bad in the eyes of the voters of the 4th Ward.
To the voters of the 4th Ward I would appreciate your vote on Nov. 8. I feel that I am qualified to serves as your councilman.
RANDY COLIAN, Salem
Addresses literature sent to her home
To the editor: I am writing this letter to address the Republican Literature that was mailed to my home, 10 days ago. I guess the only way Republicans can get elected is by misleading the voters, with ill represented statements, such as poor city services. I should not be surprised at this remark since we have Mr. Berlin running against the current mayor and this is their way of getting even.
As a Democrat I see this flier as a slap in the face to all city employees right down to the janitor. Since when have we had poor city services? I say never. We have the finest police and fire departments in this county, they lay down their lives everyday to protect the citizens of Salem. Our utilities department provides the best water in the county also and they work hard to keep it flowing. Our service department is a hard working and understaffed that keeps our street alleys and sidewalks in repair and work very long hours plowing snow in the winter.
The parks department maintains two beautiful parks in the city and several other entities outside the city. So tell me, are the taxpayers getting poor services? No, we are not.
I think it is the lip service we get from Republicans who want to run this city. There is one who thinks we should have a fire district and outsource police to the sheriff, and pay for a performance audit that is not needed and is a waste of taxpayer's money.
Three of the so called Fix Salem Team are either serving on council or are part of the administration. So if we have so-called poor city services why haven't they fixed them already? Mrs. Brothers, your name and face are on this flier and it is my understanding you didn't approve it before it was printed. Just like you have not brought forth any reason to stop any spending that has gone on in your time as auditor. There is a statement on the flier that touts reckless spending, if there has been reckless spending then you have been negligent in your job.
It is your job to make sure that the city is in the black and to avoid any useless or reckless spending. Granted council approves the spending, but you have yet to stand before them and tell them there is not enough money to spend. Therefore the reckless spending remark holds no water, and is misleading.
Mr. Nestic, who is also part of the Finance Committee, has yet to vote no on any spending brought before council. Except he abstained against voting to give the SAIDC/SOD $24,500 to add to matching funds to bring in new business in the TIF areas, because he has special interest in the organization. Why should we the taxpayer be giving our hard earned money to SAIDC/SOD, when they have a board of private investors who keep the organization running? Why should the taxpayer foot the bill for Mr. Nestic's agenda?
Mr. Nestic has been on council for four years and chairs the Economic Development Committee to no avail, he has done nothing; all new business was brought in by the Port Authority, the county commissioners, and the mayor. It is also known that Mr. Nestic, avoids his constituents in the 1st Ward, who have problems, unless you're a businessman, then he pays attention but the very people who voted him into office are ignored or he doesn't resolve the problems.
While North Ellsworth was stripped in spots to allow new paving, he even complained about how rough the road was while he complained about every pothole before the work began. Can't have your cake and eat it too Mr. Nestic. You should have commended Mr. Andres for all the hard work that was going on instead you were sarcastic and complaining.
Mr. Berlin, you are a rookie in this arena, and I realize you have a business background, but you over analyze everything.
When Mr. Moffett asked for an explanation you made it to be about money. It was not money it was the prestige of the city workers that has been impugned, and you couldn't say it was a mistake. I feel in your short time on council you have been schooled by ones who want authority and you are their scholar, I hope you will be standing on your own two feet and do what is right for the people not the authority.
Adding your name to this flier of misleading remarks shows where you stand, and in my opinion it's not with the people.
This flier is an agenda and it is a misleading agenda at that, I hope the citizens of Salem will realize that you are being manipulated by the Salem Area Republican PAC that prints innuendo and misleading remarks to get the votes for their party.
It is time for all to make sure that the people you vote for will have yours and the city's best interest at heart and not ones who have an agenda for their own best interest or a beholding to a higher authority.
PATTY COLIAN, Secretary, Salem Area Democrats
Thanks to candidates, those supporting forum
To the editor: On behalf of the Salem Area Chamber of Commerce, I want to publicly thank all of the local political candidates who attended the "Meet the Candidates" forum on Oct 25 at the Salem Community Center. Much appreciation is also extended to our partners, the Salem News and to Kent State University.
The formal presentation of officials running for office gives the public an opportunity to listen and learn about our local candidates. Their opinions and views will be remembered when voters enter the booth to cast their ballots on Election Day.
The moderator of this year's event was Dr. Jarrod Tudor, a KSU professor who teaches justice studies, political science, finance, and education.
He kept the candidates on task during the evening and he asked all of the questions that were formulated by the Legislative Affairs Committee of the Chamber and the Salem News. One of the final questions delivered to the mayoral candidates was not on the script.
The question pertaining to SB5 was not a local issue and it was not on the list of questions submitted by the Chamber's Legislative Affairs Committee and the Salem News. The Chamber organization is not taking a political position on SB5.
The Candidates Forum will be televised on our local Channel 9 for those who were unable to be present at the event.
Watch for times posted in the Salem News. Also, many of the candidates have given their opinions on a number of other issues and those surveys are available on the Chamber of Commerce's website at www.salemohiochamber.org.
We encourage every eligible citizen of our community to take advantage of your right to vote on Election Day, November 8th.
Audrey C. Null, Executive Director, Salem Area Chamber of Commerce
Encourages United voters to support bond levy
To the editor: Dear friends and neighbors, the "little eyes" of our children, grandchildren and neighbors' children are watching us. We cannot decide the future of our children but we do leave the imprint of our influence on them every day.
We all try to set a good example. "Pay it Forward" was a popular movie a few years ago. It's about sacrificing today so that others will be better off tomorrow.
After World War II, strong leaders such as Mr. Stamp, Mr. Spiedel and other school board members formed the United Local School District. They had the foresight to know the one-room school system had served its purpose.
The year 1951 was the time to take a leap of faith and build the first building of United Schools. They used good common sense and made practical decisions. Over the years, our grandparents, parents and neighbors were asked many times to increase their taxes to make United Schools the best in the area.
Now much of United is over 60 years old. It has been well maintained by folks like Mr. Farmer, Mr. McDevitt, Mr. Stoffer and Mr. Starcher but now needs updated. Superintendents such as Mr. Gates, Mr. Brautingham, Mr. Willis and Mrs. Rinto have been good stewards of our tax money.
The taxpayers have a once in a lifetime opportunity to make the common sense and practical decision about our building.
On Nov. 8, please vote to accept the state funded 79 percent of financing available to build for the future.
By updating United Schools, we will again be one of Ohio's top rated school districts.
We are all Golden Eagles-let's accept this golden opportunity! The "little eyes" of our community are watching.
ALAN GIBSON, United Class of 1968
A different view of the United schools sitution
To the editor: For many years I have bragged how great the United Local Schools were.
It has great teachers, custodians and cooks. The school needs some repairs that should have been taken care of as they arose. We don't have any outstanding debts that I know of. But I need to apologize to those I bragged to because it may be the worst school not only in Columbiana County, but many counties in Ohio for the following reasons.
We have four board members who said they graduated from United Local, plus an administrator they rehired for about four times what the average person makes in our district. And they are also trying to shove a $38 million school down our throats.
We have had 998 foreclosures in the last 22 months and about the only good paying jobs around here are nursing and truck driving.
One board member even sent his son down to Steubenville Big Red to school. Is that dedication or loyalty to your alma mater?
We were also told by the administrator back on March 19 that this levy was a one-time deal.
We also have a board member that should not be having big conversations with little kids she doesn't know. I think they call it "Stranger Danger".
Maybe this information in my letter is why we are having a write-in candidate. If anyone doesn't know the name of the candidate, the poll worker will give them his or her name.
BILL GRAY, Lisbon
This letter writer backs passage of bond issue
To the editor: I have recently discussed the United Local bond issue with several people that are "on the fence" with regard to a voting "for" the bond issue on Nov. 8.
The most common objection to the bond is along the lines of: "Hey, my house is 80 years old. Sure I'd love to rebuild it - but (either) it isn't practical or I can't afford it. My house is fine the way it is. If I did anything, it would be cheaper to remodel." Personally, I agree with these people.
However, no matter how we slice it, United Local School is not an old farmhouse. It has seen over 65,000 students since it was built in 1951.
In other words, it has had a lot more use than our older houses. Further, on behalf of many in my community - and since I volunteered to participate on the Financial Task Force Committee (which was a 20-30 person group that intensely questioned the Board of Ed at United, the OSFC, the architectural firm and a finance person involved), I was given an opportunity to interrogate those that have done the research into this proposed project. I (shockingly) discovered that it will actually cost more to remodel the school than to rebuild the older sections. And it will disrupt classes in progress.
Another common objection is "the levy will last 37 years." I discovered that this number was chosen to make the bond more affordable (it could have been for less time, but the payments would have been more).
If you check with the county auditor, that means if you have a house appraised at $100k, you'll pay approximately $120 per year more in taxes than you pay now (only $10/month).
But what is really disturbing was to learn that all the tax money we've paid to Ohio so far has been used towards building over 300 schools in other parts of the state! Now is our chance to keep some of that money here instead of sending it away! We have to pay the taxes anyway, so why not get some back for our own district?
Look, if our community was "dying," I'd say "no way." But the fact is that our community is growing due to the Marcellus and Utica Shale development a mile beneath our district. And our school is deteriorating.
Ten years ago we were given the chance to use OSFC money at only an 11 percent share from us. Since then, construction costs have increased 43 percent and our share has gone up to 21 percent. What we know for sure is that our school will continue to age. We know construction costs and our local share will continue to rise.
The most practical decision is to vote "for" the bond issue this time. Please; family, friends and neighbors -vote "for" the United Local School's bond issue on Nov. 8.
LUCIAN CLEWELL, Lisbon
Columbiana resident thankful for city work
To the editor: I live in Columbiana and would like to commend our city and its workers for the job they do to keep our city looking beautiful. I am a resident on Seventh Street which was recently re-surfaced, as was Edgewood Drive...both streets were in need of repair.
I feel extremely blessed to live in this town where our limbs are picked up, our leaves are picked up, our unwanted household and outdoor items are picked up and disposed of for us, we have a voice at the local city council, and our officials are on the job and present to us in our times of need.
Again, I thank the city workers for their diligence and for their kindness when residents needed to go in and out of the street. We were accommodated with respect and friendliness.
MARY L. BURKEY, Columbiana
Levy passage needed to maintain city parks
To the editor: As a member of the Salem Parks Commission, and lifelong resident of the city, I urge you to vote yes for the Salem Parks and Recreation levy.
A long list of facts and figures could be written to impress upon you the importance of this levy, but a simple visit to one of our parks or, for many, a stroll down memory lane will convince you of its importance.
Keep in mind this is not a new levy, but rather a renewal. There will be no increase in our taxes. The parks director and commissioners, have been, and will continue to be, good stewards of the finances and resources of the department.
Your vote for the renewal of the Parks and Recreation levy will help to maintain and improve one of Salem's greatest assets our city's parks.
TERRY HOOPES, Salem