SALEM LAKES — The first order of business Wednesday at the inaugural meeting of the Salem Lakes Village Board was to appoint a trustee to fill the seat vacated by Dan Withers.
Salem Lakes officials, formerly members of the Silver Lake Village Board, interviewed three candidates for the seat in open session. They voted 5-1 to appoint Bill Hopkins to fill the term, which expires in April 2018.
Hopkins, a retiree, is a former Riverview School Board president. During the interview, he said he would like to help draw people to the community, ensure fiscal responsibility, put forth new ideas and listen to the ideas of constituents.
He said he hopes to help “create a community people are looking to move into as opposed to move out of,” with a strong tax base.
In Tuesday’s primary election, voters in the newly combined community will narrow the slate of candidates for the three village trustee seats expiring in April. Former Silver Lake and Salem officials make up the bulk of the eighth candidates, joined by two newcomers. The primary will pare the list to six.
Village president Bruce Nopenz will face former town chairwoman Diann Tesar in the April general election as well.
On Wednesday, Nopenz thanked those involved in the process that led to the merger of Salem and Silver Lake. He also thanked Silver Lake “residents for trusting the Village Board to change the direction the village was headed.”
The board also took action Wednesday to set a building permit fee structure in line with what existed in the town of Salem. That fee will represent an increase over what Silver Lake required, along with an additional re-connection fee.
Village Administrator Pat Casey, formerly the administrator for Salem, said the fee is based on a study of fees in the region. The amount of the increase was not discussed during the meeting prior to the board adjourning into closed session
“This is what we believe is appropriate,” Casey said, adding the fee will go into effect March 1.
The board also voted to allocate the general fund reserves that were part of the Silver Lake budget to Silver Lake projects and hired R.A. Smith as the village engineer.