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October 27, 2013
Salem News

Letter write compares candidates to leopards

To the editor:

If there is any truth in the old adage "leopards don't change their spots", then we should be mindful of this in considering two of the candidates running for Perry Township trustee: Jerry Wolford and Mickey Weaver. They are both known for saying one thing in a campaign and doing something altogether different when elected to office.

As mayor of Salem, it was Jerry Wolford that pledged not to raise the city's income taxes, yet he voted to do so not once, but on three different occasions as mayor. It took a vote of the people to defeat these measures.

Mickey Weaver, as president of council, was the mayor's lead advocate for these tax increases. While she ran on a platform not to raise taxes, she took every opportunity in open sessions of council as well as in multiple letters to the editor to insist that the city "desperately" needed millions of dollars in additional new revenue, when in fact it did not.

How peculiar that now that a new mayor and new council are in office, one never reads in the local newspaper about the dire revenue needs of the city. The fact of the matter is that the city is running a surplus.

Unsuccessful at having their way at Salem City Hall, now these two have turned to Perry Township, perhaps thinking that everybody has forgotten what they tried to do while running the city. We can rest assured that if elected, there would be no request for increased spending too large, nor any future request for new taxes too small.

Leopards don't change their spots.

Marilyn McNutt, Salem


Writing about 'Perry Twp. electoral enticements'

To the editor:

What do you think the overwhelming reasons are to chase the two Trustee seats available in the upcoming Perry Township election? Those that have them are very active to keep them and those that desire them are fighting to get them.

If you said salary and medical/dental/life insurance and a reason no one mentions - the PERS benefits that come with the position - you would in all probability be right on! "PERS" simply described is the "public employee retirement system. In this instance the trustee can contribute up to 10 percent of his/her wages and the township contributes an additional 14 percent for a total of 24 percent toward the trustee's retirement. The 14 percent is truly a gift that few companies give! Add medical/dental and life insurance benefits amounting to on average per trustee of almost $13,000.00/year! Now, add a salary package of $11,318.04 a year onto the aforementioned and it totals up to a very tidy sum indeed. If the medical/dental package is used throughout the year as one would expect it would be, who knows what the package might be worth? Could be thousands of dollars and then some.

Are you aware the insurance coverages offered to the trustees covers themselves and their immediate families also? Industrial and professional institutions should be so good! This group of four must have a smile on their face that is difficult to remove.

These salaries, insurance and medical packages amount to almost $97,000 dollars a year for the taxpayers of Perry Township. There is no logical reason to suffer that kind of cost for four individuals that make up the township hierarchy. I personally believe the folks that live in the township are kept in the dark by omission and/or are not up to speed as I've never seen in print any of the salaries and benefit packages spoken of. It's like shame on you if you speaketh of the forbidden when not called for! This kind of information the political folks rarely ever speak of, for good reason.

I believe that the township officers should look in the mirror and from that peak ask themselves is there justice being done to warrant these excessive packages on the backs of the taxpayers of Perry Township?

Someone has to take the initiative. These individuals were elected to lead and manage. It is time for one or more of them to show the way.

John F. Reid, Salem


Writing to the residents of Perry Township

To the editor: This it to the people living in Perry Township.

Why would you vote for anyone who lives in the city of Salem? Why is it they can run for a township office but I can't run for a city position of any kind or work for the city? If you elect people from the city and they gain majority vote on township business where will leave us? Do not let that happen. You do not want to find your self living in the city. Do you?

Ronald White, Salem


Disputes previous letter, offers his explanation

To the editor:

Mr. McBane stated in his letter to the editor that I suggest the city lower its electric rate by 20 percent by simply moving salaries out of the electric fund and into the general fund.

I never stated that as the only cause of the problem. I stated that I called three random municipalities that are AMP public power partners. This is the same source of power that the city of Columbiana purchases from. Out of three random rate inquiries, all three cities had current total rates including all taxes that were nearly 20 percent less than the city of Columbiana.

That to me exposes a broken system! Two years ago when I first called for the vote to lower the city electric rates, they were dropped to the mid-8 cent/kwh range. Two short years later the rate climbed back over 11.5/kwh. We operated with the rates nearly 30 percent lower than they are now.

The fund never went down from the rate drop. In fact, the rate reduction was originally temporary for three months. After three months, the bottom line had actually increased. The lower rate was again extended for three more months and finally made permanent by a unanimous vote of council.

The electric fund has since decreased from retirement payouts, north substation upgrades, and the addition of a new substation. The real problem is black and white in Mr. McBane's letter. He states" Most, if not all, companies allocate these types of administrative costs back to their divisions and product lines through an administrative overhead rate."

I don't think that my opposition understands that we are a municipality, not a company. We are entrusted with providing a great service and a low rate. The power system was acquired with tax dollars. It should be a benefit to the tax payers in the form of low rates, not operated as a for profit business that grows the governments bottom line by profiting from the utility.

The people of Columbiana need a leader that will represent them, not protect the status quo. So long as I am entrusted with that charge, I will continue to present ideas, question the way things are done, and look for ways to reduce the cost of living in town while providing exemplary services to our residents. That is what I believe a councilman or mayor for that matter is tasked with doing.

Bryan Blakeman, Councilman, Columbiana



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