Council officially approves manager’s salary without him

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Meg Hibbert Contributing writer

Photo by Meg Hibbert
Members of Webelo 2 Den 352, their parents and leaders attended Council’s first meeting of 2020. With the boys are Mayor Randy Foley, Vice Mayor Jane Johnson and Councilmembers James Martin and John Saunders.

Salem City Council officially approved the $166,000 salary and employment agreement for new City Manager Jay Taliaferro on Jan. 13 – and he wasn’t even there. Instead, Taliaferro was in New Orleans cheering on his Clemson Tigers at the College Football National Championship game.

The hiring of Taliaferro, who was assistant city manager and had been interim city manager since last January, had been approved at a special meeting in December.

Monday night Mayor Randy Foley joked, “It’s kind of funny that Mr. Taliaferro isn’t here the night we approved his agreement.”

The youngest audience members were members of Boy Scout Webelo 2 Den 352, who were observing the public meeting as one of their Scouting requirements. With them were parents, Den Leader Missy King and Assistant Leader Sarah Chenault.

Council moved through a rather routine 45-minute meeting, including a special exception zoning-related public hearing at which no one spoke, appropriation of funds and appointments to boards and commissions.

One different matter was the approval of the settlement agreement and mutual release of property from Spartan Development back to the city of property next to the Salem Civic Center that was to have been a hotel and restaurant.

The zoning request approved on first reading was:

  • A special exception for a possible used car lot at 2245 and 2259 West Main Street, at Texas Hollow Road. The property has been a used car lot in the past but the special exception had expired, Community Development Director Chuck Van Allman explained.

Council also approved and authorized the city manager to execute a performance agreement between Still Waters Resources LLC, Salem’s Economic Development Authority and the city. The property is the Dilly Dally market building in South Salem which developer Lisa Garst is redoing.

The city agreed to waive approximately $3,000 in fees for soil erosion plan and reviews because: the project will, according to the city and EDA, promote economic development, produce additional tax revenue and improve a blighted area and encourage renovation of other properties.

The city is also rebating a difference in real estate tax differences for three years and six semi-annual real estate tax payments. The property will also be eligible to apply for a Façade Grant for the front, side and rear, up to $10,000. The Façade Grant Program has been extended from downtown Salem to the entire city.