Salem city council news PDF Print E-mail

The Salem city council held their first monthly meeting of 2012 on Monday, January 9, and with a new year came new faces to the regular proceedings. Warren Jones (District 2) and Ron Haendiges (District 3) were selected to replace Lesle Leis and Nancy Fultz, whose terms ended last month.
David Bower began the meeting with a brief tribute to Betty Starr, who had been slated to take a council seat this year before her untimely passing a few months back. Her husband, Malcolm Starr, and members of their family were in attendance to accept a name plate on Betty’s behalf from Mayor Bower and the council. Jones accepted the district chair she would have taken.
The council received updates on a couple major upcoming projects for the city. Lowell Depoy   talked about the ongoing activities at the Salem Municipal Airport. Deploy offers maintenance support for the grounds and works to promote the airport in and around Washington County. He chiefly elaborated on the prospect of a new Salem airport and the possibilities such a project had to offer.
Ground for the new structure was suppose to be moved this past year, however, delays have currently halted plans for construction. But setbacks couldn’t stifle Deploy’s excitement for the project, as he emphasized that a new, bigger airport could bring more industrial activity to the area. “We’re all Hoosiers, and we’re familiar with hospitality”, he said, “when people fly in, we’re gonna roll out the red carpet...[they should] get use to it at Salem.” The projected start date for construction is currently 2013.
Roy Carlsgaard, representing Inox Engineering, also gave a lengthy report on the progress of the ongoing multi-use trail project. The trail project was started back in 2006 after the state government awarded Salem a $1,000,000 “Transportation Enhancements” grant intended to assist in the building of new trails, and Inox Engineering was brought onboard in 2007 to help design layouts for the new trails.  Though the team is “nearing completion of the design phase”, it could still be a while yet before construction can commence. Carlsgaard explained that part of the problem was Salem had to match $250,000 – a partial percentage of the state’s funding – and the city was currently negotiating to lower that percentage to a more affordable amount. There were also other legal matters hindering progress, primarily hitches on the federal level. “When you’re using [federal money], you’re stuck with the process”, Carlsgaard said. Construction was expected to begin this summer, but the current mess of red tape may tie up progress for a while longer.
On the local side of government, Clerk-Treasurer Pat Persinger said that, financially, Salem finished up the year “decently” and that the city was “moving along”. The city offices managed to pay off their temporary loans, but like many towns across the country right now, funds could always look better. Mayor Bower introduced Tom Day to the council as Salem’s new fire chief.
Other activities the council took part in that evening included a brief public hearing to close a vacated alley behind Jackson street, a vote to help sponsor the YMCA with $1200 again this year, and a vote to amend the official 2012 salary to include Salem’s part-time fire fighters. Part-timers currently receive $10 an hour for their services. All three ordinances were passed unanimously.