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November 2, 2013

Salem council hopefuls weigh in on city issues

(Continued)

What is one idea that would help the City Council work better? “Knowing when to step up and say, ‘Wait a minute, we’re not accomplishing anything here,’” Milo said. Milo referenced the council’s January vote to fill a council vacancy, when the board took the same tie vote, over and over, for seven hours without coming to a compromise. “To me, that night there was a lot of nonsense going on, not a lot of common sense taking place. ... Somebody had to step up and say,’We need to come back when cooler heads prevail.’”

JERRY RYAN

What’s the city’s greatest challenge? Balancing the commercial and residential tax base, he said. “We have more (tax) burdens on residents than the commercial side,” Ryan said. “We need to keep both rates affordable.”

What grade would you give Mayor Kim Driscoll? An A. “I think she’s doing a good job,” Ryan said. “We don’t always agree ... (but) for the most part, we get along.”

What is one idea that would help the City Council work better? Ryan suggested a council retreat to hash through issues, possibly one session with the mayor, and one without the mayor. “There’s got to be checks and balances, and sometimes we don’t have that with the council right now,” he said. “... We (councilors) pretty much all get along. Sometimes we just have our own opinions — it’s not personal.”

ARTHUR SARGENT

What’s the city’s greatest challenge? “The future of the entire length of Bridge Street, from Boston Street to the Salem/Beverly Bridge,” he said. “What that area looks like 10 years from now and how the whole Bridge Street corridor is developed and redeveloped will affect the people who live there, the surrounding neighborhoods and businesses, traffic, our budget, our infrastructure, our city services and our school system for generations to come.”

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