Salem gives projects green light

SALEM -- City council is moving ahead with two major construction projects expected to get under way this year.
Council voted Tuesday to take the first step in authorizing assessments for a nearly $1.5 million municipal sewer system expansion.
Plans call for installing sewer lines in a section of recently annexed land lying along North Lincoln Avenue near 15th Street.
The land, formerly in Perry Township, was annexed by the city so that municipal sewer could be installed to replace residential septic systems that are failing and creating a pollution risk.
Pays: The city is paying for half of the sewer project. The remainder will be paid by the more than 200 households that will use the utility.
Affected property owners will be assessed $5,000 for their share of the sewer's cost.
If property owners wish, they may pay the assessment over 20 years at 6 percent interest. Payments would be included on the monthly utility bill.
On Tuesday, council declared a need for the sewer. Affected property owners will be notified officially by certified mail that the project is getting under way.
In coming weeks, council will be asked to adopt an ordinance formally authorizing the assessments. Once that's done, the city can award a construction contract. The new sewer lines are expected to be installed by fall.
Street project: In other business, council authorized city Service Director Joe Julian to enter into contracts for a nearly $1.4 million street improvement project.
The effort's aim is to improve traffic flow and motorists' safety on East State Street where it passes through the commercial district on the city's east side. Bids for the undertaking will be opened next week. About $765,000 of the project is being paid for by the state. The city will pay the remainder.
The project's plan includes adding a turning lane to the street and lowering a hill over which it passes. Lowering the hill is intended to improve motorists' ability to see other traffic and reduce accidents.
Construction is expected to begin later this year.

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