The Salem board of aldermen in a special called meeting Monday at the Salem Community Center @ The Armory approved Mayor Brad Nash’s utility committee appointments.
The appointments include East Ward Alderman Shawn Bolerjack, West Ward Alderwoman Kim Steelman, Kevin James, John Hambacker, Catherine Dent and Gary Brown.
The vote passed 3-0 with Steelman absent.
Next came a called meeting of the utility committee, which was a two-hour discussion between the utility committee, city officials and around a dozen members of the public that came to the meeting as concerned citizens and observers.
That discussion ultimately spawned a plan about how to get utility bills up to date.
The plan is to offer options for Salem citizens to choose from, including:
• process a bill in early June for usage from Feb. 8-May 31 to pay in full,
• work with the city on a payment plan.
In June, a bill including the full amount that citizens owe will be mailed out. Utility bills are also expected to be mailed out later this week for a 30-day period ending Feb. 8.
No action will take place until the Board of Aldermen meets and votes on a plan.
Sherry Lea with Healthy Dent County pointed out there are a number of utility assistance programs available in the community. A story detailing those will appear in the May 4 edition of The Salem News.
No decision was made regarding the $1.3 million bill the city is facing from the February cold snap. The board agreed to reconvene to discuss that again once more of the specific data is brought before them.
No date was set for a another meeting, but Bolerjack iindicated that he would like for the committee to begin meeting at least monthly in order to monitor utility issues.