Concerned citizens want city to put a stop to neighborhood speeders
The Salem City Council met in regular session on Thursday, Sept. 27 and received an earful from concerned citizens regarding continual speeding in city neighborhoods, specifically on the side streets off of Church Street.
Resident Bob Denny addressed council members regarding the issue. “On my street alone, I have two autistic kids who play in their yard, and we have these people going up to 50, 60 miles per hour just between the stop signs, just in one block. You’re going to have a vigilante problem pretty soon if you don’t do something about this. Now, I don’t condone violence or breaking the law, but our children’s and grandchildren’s lives are at stake here.”
Mayor Daniel Busch listened intently and acknowledged Denny’s concerns. He also noted he thought the city had some of the “Children at Play” signs that could go up immediately, and suggested the citizens stay after the meeting to speak with Salem Police Chief Shad Overman about the issue and about any specific vehicles they have seen speeding on their streets.
Looking to city financials, the city was in the red $1,379 for the month, but is still looking good for the year, thanks in part to good sales tax numbers. Both August and September were better than last year, and although the trend year to date has been close overall to last year’s total, Busch was optimistic about the upcoming holiday shopping months.
Busch remarked the project to repave the airport is almost complete. He stated the project manager had remarked that many of the cracks which were repaired, were between six and eight inches deep, meaning had the city waited any longer, the project might have cost a lot more to complete.
The new chip truck has been ordered, and it will be a 2019 model, as no 2018 models were in stock. Due to that, the truck will be delayed in being delivered, but Busch has spoken with the USDA grant representative, and they have okayed an extension on the grant deadline to cover the time period until the truck is delivered.
On more grant news, the Police Fleet Grant, a matching grant of $50,000, has been awarded to the city to allow for the purchase of three new Ford Explorers. It was also remarked a more simplified decal package will be utilized to make repairs less expensive and to make Salem Police Department vehicles more recognizable.
Busch mentioned city employees have been helping Fulton County Rural Water with new customer connections, as FCRW is shorthanded currently. He noted FCRW is very appreciative of the city’s help and is reimbursing the city for their time.
In department business, Chief Overman reported the police department had 23 reports in September, 16 of which were citations, with the majority being for suspended driver’s licenses and no proof of insurance. However, the department made 31 arrests, the most so far this year, with 10 being drug related.
Fire chief Nick Blanton reported the department had a total of 36 calls for the month, with 25 being EMS related, four motor vehicle accidents and one structure fire. Blanton also stated that he had heard from State Representative Scott Baltz’s people that some General Improvement Funds may come available for fire equipment, potentially in the $5,000 - $10,000 range. Blanton also informed council members that the fire department would be holding their Haunted House and Maze again this year at the Roork Farm. Dates will be Oct. 12, 13, 20, 27 and 31. There will be a hayride and a maze, along with the haunted house for locals to enjoy.
For the Public Works Department, Bill Worsham reported the water department had repaired five water leaks and repaired a leaky fire hydrant, along with replacing 40 feet of tubing and replacing two meter boxes. The street and park departments have also been busy, bush hogging, mowing tall grass, removing two trees at the tennis courts and repairing pot holes around the city. Waste water replaced 3,000 feet of line, and encountered an issue with baby wipes clogging up the sludge pump. He informed the council that he is looking into purchasing a grinder pump to alleviate the problem, but has yet to hear back from sales people regarding a cost.
Mayor Busch also remarked that he and Worsham had begun looking into grants to help update the waste water treatment plant, which hasn’t been updated since it was built in the 1960’s. They are hoping to apply for grants after the first of the year, and Busch remarked the cost to the city could be large. To assist the city, Busch said they are talking with a grant writer, Sarah Sexton, to assist them in hopes of having a better chance at receiving a grant.
Mayor Busch also reminded council members of upcoming important dates, including the Salem Chamber of Commerce banquet on Oct. 4, Salem Homecoming on Oct. 5 and the Chamber Food Truck Friday on Oct. 19. The council also discussed meeting dates for November and December, and set Nov. 29 and Dec. 20 as their revised meeting dates.
The Salem City Council meets the fourth Thursday of the month at 7 p.m. at city hall. The public is welcome to attend.