By Meg Hibbert
Salem needs to drill two more wells in order to keep up with current and future demands. That’s what Salem Water and Sewer Director Laredo Robinson told Councilmembers during a work session June 13.
Robinson gave a PowerPoint presentation that night detailing the need to develop two additional wells near the city’s water treatment plant along the Roanoke River near Mill Lane.
“It would increase the well capacity to 3.6 million gallons per day, with a 7.5 MGD pumping cap,” he explained.
Robinson estimated the cost would be between $3.2 and 3.8 million. The money would come from bond funds, he said. It is possible water rates could change, he added in answer to a question from Councilman Randy Foley, and a rate study is currently being done.
Also at the work session, School Board Superintendent Dr. Curtis Hicks told Council the board wants to get the starting salary for teachers up to $48,000, to match Roanoke City’s offerings.
“It would require $1.336 million to get there,” Hicks said, adding the goal is to get to $12 an hour and a 5 percent step increase.
Hicks said Salem Schools got $1.9 million in construction money from the state that could also be used for debt service. So far, schools have received an additional $284,000 in revenue after the budget was prepared in December.
Hicks also pointed out projected school enrollment is a 100-student loss. The system had planned on a loss of 30 students. Hicks said he hopes additional students will be enrolled.
In answer to a question from Councilmembers, Hicks and Schools Director of Business Mandy C. Hall said student tuition will be $900 next year.
Mayor Renee Turk participated remotely because she was out of town. Vice Mayor Jim Wallace presided over the meetings in person.
During the regular meeting, no citizens signed up to talk during the Citizen Comments portion.
- Vacating an unopened “paper alley” between 9th Street and the railroad, contingent on the city retaining a public utility easement in order to access the sewer line. Owners would also be required to install a gate. The alley is along Iron and Metal between Indiana Street and Florida Street;
- The proposed city budget for Fiscal Year 22-23. The approval was after a second reading, following a public hearing in May.
- An ordinance appropriating funds for the 22-23 budget. That was also a second reading;
- A new lease for Total Action for Progress to use the old N&W Railroad station for its Head Start preschool programs, from July 2022 to June 2025;
- A performance agreement with Moe’s restaurant in the former Zaxby’s building. The city would grant 30 percent of the rehabilitation value annually for up to three years. The grant will be capped at $30,000.
The Council meeting that started at 6:30 adjourned at 6:46 p.m.