Salem officials discuss finances
By D.A. WILKINSON
The city’s tight finances continued to be city council’s main topic Tuesday night.
Police Chief Robert Floor rebutted a suggestion from city Auditor James Armeni that the city could save thousands of dollars by contracting with the Columbiana County sheriff’s office to replace city police. Armeni was not at the meeting.
Floor said, “I do not believe any other agency can offer to perform our duties better or more efficiently than we do.”
But he added, “I am not proud of the decimation my department has suffered in the past couple of years.”
The department that once had 24 officers is down to 17.
Floor said that repealing reciprocity for people who live in Salem but work in other towns, or people who live in other communities but work in Salem, may be a first step. But he believes it will take an income-tax increase to maintain police and other services.
Voters several years ago were asked to increase the 1-percent income tax, but voters overwhelmingly rejected the idea.
Council went into executive session after the meeting to continue talks with its workers who have either been laid off or taken a wage freeze.
In other action, Karl L. Griggs of KLG Ambulance and Ken Joseph of EMT Inc. asked council about its agreements with ambulance services. KLG and EMT have facilities in the city, and the men said the companies work together.
An ambulance company from Mahoning County, Life Fleet, has applied to become an ambulance provider in the city. But officials from the other companies said that Life Fleet does not have an office in the city but does park an ambulance here.
Mayor Jerry Wolford said he had researched the city’s ordinance that sets the call rotation and could not find anything in the ordinance that would prohibit Life Fleet from operating in the city.
Council passed a resolution thanking Salem Amvets Post 45, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 892 and Eagles FOE 316, which have collected a total of $3,447 to buy new automatic external defibrillators for safety personnel.