Salem is facing costs that increase faster than income



Salem is facing costs thatincrease faster than income
EDITOR:
The city of Salem, like many Ohio communities, is facing continuing increases in the cost of providing services to residents, while income decreases. The city's 1 percent income tax, approved in 1968, is providing less income in 2004 than it did in 1999. In spite of this, the city has carefully managed its income and expenses so the level of service to residents has not suffered. However, we cannot continue to do this without either increasing the income or decreasing the expenses.
Since 1993, total expenditures for the fire department have increased by 62 percent. The cost for fire protection services in 2003 was 27 percent of the city's total budget. The 2004 fire department budget, including personnel and operating costs, is over $1,252,000. That does not include the cost of fire trucks. The current average cost for salaries and benefits in the fire department is $73,322 per person. This is $15,235 per person more than the average cost of each member of the police department.
Ohio law provides a way for cities and townships to join together to form fire districts. The law requires a resolution be passed by both entities and a commission be formed to oversee the district. There are many such districts in Ohio. The closest one is Canfield. Forming a fire district is a way to provide homeowners equal, or better, fire protection for the city at a lower cost, without increasing homeowners insurance costs. All employees of the fire district would be paid for their services and would be members of the state retirement system. Current firefighters may apply for positions in the fire district.
We will not jeopardize the safety of the citizens of Salem and Perry Township to save money. We have contacted officials in other fire districts who have reported how well their districts are working. This is a viable option that would mean no increase in either income or property taxes for our citizens.
STEVE ANDRES, ALMA APICELLA, WALT BEZERDI, NANCY COPE,
GREG OESCH, MARY LOU POPA
and FRED VOGEL
Members of Salem City Council
Boys & amp; Girls Club has history of offering a place for kids
EDITOR:
In regard to your Aug. 11 article, "Neighbors: Let's get kids off the streets", and to the entire Youngstown 2010 Project, I'd like to inform you of a positive place for kids. The Boys & amp; Girls Club of Youngstown has been in existence, since 1969, on the South Side of Youngstown at 2105 Oak Hill Ave. We offer a safe and secure environment for kids from the age of 6 to 18. Our club offers a haven and many programs geared to nurturing and educating our children for a productive and meaningful future.
The Boys & amp; Girls Club offers programs in five major areas, character and leadership, educational and career, health and life skills, the arts, and sports and recreation. All are vital tools we use to help the children learn and understand their worth and potential. We offer drug prevention, anti-gang prevention, homework help, tutoring, computer usage, arts and crafts, and the ever-important social skills to get along with others. This is also a fun place to be with bumper pool, pool tables, foosball, air hockey, checkers, chess, music, wrestling, football, outdoor activities, and a full gymnasium for basketball, dodge ball and volleyball. Our goal is to prepare our youth mentally, physically, and emotionally to become outstanding and productive members of our community.
These are the children of Youngstown's future. Our facility is a safe and secure environment for them to blossom and grow. Our trained staff is the main reason kids keep coming back. They've made the commitment to these kids to help them succeed. Our board of directors has diligently helped to secure needed funding and pursue needed building projects.
The Boys & amp; Girls Club of Youngstown is that place to "get kids off the streets." Call or visit us. We'd be happy to show you our facility and introduce you to the future leaders of Youngstown.
THOMAS KONEVAL
Board President
Boys & amp; Girls Club of Youngstown