Salem council acts on raise for cops
SALEM — City council held first readings on five separate ordinances Tuesday night, including one to give 2.5 percent wage increases to police department union employees this year and next year.
All the ordinances require three readings to take effect, but with only five council members present, rules could not be suspended to do all three readings at once. So all five pieces of legislation will require two additional readings.
Members of the other three unions representing city employees in the service department, utilities department and fire department had already been granted 2.5 percent wage increases as part of a wage reopener for the second and third years of their contracts.
The police contract wage reopener had been delayed. Once approved, the raises will be retroactive to July 1.
First readings were also held on a resolution to use American Rescue Funds in the amount of $306,000 in two installments of $153,000 this year and next year for any wastewater treatment plant project, an ordinance for the sale of some fire equipment through govdeals.com, a resolution allowing the utilities superintendent to apply for a grant for the rip rap project at the Salem Reservoir and an ordinance related to variances for fence regulations.
The ordinance related to fences would allow the Board of Zoning Appeals to make decisions on variances requested for properties with lots fronting two streets.
Mayor John Berlin asked Utilities Superintendent Don Weingart when the application for the grant has to be submitted, but Weingart said the city has until Nov. 1 to submit the paperwork to the Ohio Mid-Eastern Governments Association, still giving council time to get the resolution passed.
Council meets next at 7 p.m. Oct. 5. The grant if approved will total $235,000 toward the project, just less than half of the project cost, with the city utilities covering the balance.
City council met in executive session at the end of the meeting regarding a property purchase, with no action to be taken.
In other business, city Service/Safety Director Joe Cappuzzello updated council on the paving project, noting that R.T. Vernal and its subcontractors were able to get East Pershing Street in front of Sebo Stadium, between Ohio Avenue and South Lincoln Avenue, ground down, meshed and paved in one day, just in time for the Lady Quakers varsity soccer match Monday night.
Cappuzzello thanked St. Paul School, the Salem Memorial Building, the Salem Public Library and the Salem city school district for their cooperation. He said R.T. Vernal is a valuable partner. Still to be done are the alleys, and the drive at Centennial and parking lots off of Sunset at Waterworth Memorial Park, along with work on the manholes and sealing of the paved roads.
“(We) thank the citizens for their patience,” he said.
Councilman Steve Faber, who is the building manager at the Salem Memorial Building, commended Cappuzzello, the city work crews and R.T. Vernal and company for everything.
“We appreciate all you do,” he said.