SALEM – All city residents will now vote at the Salem Civic Center for the May city council elections and the June primary elections.
The city’s electoral board determined the costs associated with staffing and running polling locations during the May and June elections was an “extraordinary burden” on the treasury because voter turnout is much lower than general elections.
The board determined costs could be reduced by opening fewer voting locations, hiring fewer election officers and programming fewer voting machines. They suggested running a pilot voting center at the civic center for a period of three years.
The Salem City Council accepted the resolution Tuesday night.
The following precincts will be affected: North Salem, located at First United Methodist Church; West Salem, located at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church; Southside Hills, located at Riverside Evangelical Methodist Church; South Salem, located at Cardinal Criminal Justice Academy; and Beverly Heights, located at Fort Lewis Christian Church.
In other business, city council also amended the school capital projects fund budget by $2,868,422 to fund a variety of projects. These funds come from unallocated capital reserve funds, meals tax and cafeteria reserves funding. Most of the projects relate to ongoing maintenance that must be completed every year.
Major projects include:
- $650,000 to continue renovations at Salem High School
- $452,000 to resurface the tracks at Salem High School and Andrew Lewis Middle School
- $200,000 to purchase two special needs buses
- $200,000 to remodel a classroom at the high school for a career technical education program
- $250,000 to replace sections of the roof at Andrew Lewis Middle School
- $120,916 to purchase furniture for classrooms at Salem High School
- $20,000 to replace two basketball goals at Salem High School
- $70,000 to replace the bleachers at the high school gym
City council also accepted grant funds from the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services to pay for school resource officer positions. The City of Salem Police Department was awarded $29,792 to fund a part-time position. The grant requires a local cash match of $17,610.
Salem currently has officers staffing all six schools in the division.