Posted on: February 17, 2021
The Martins Ferry City Council met in Regular Session on Wednesday, February 17, 2021, at 6:00 p.m., at the Donald Myers Council Chambers. The meeting was called to order by Council President Kristine Davis with the Pledge of Allegiance recited by those present in chamber, followed by a prayer by the Clerk. Seating was spaced for social distancing and other precautions were observed in accordance with the COVID-19 compliance.
Answering Roll Call were Bob Hunker, First Ward Council Member, Bruce Shrodes, Second Ward Council Member; Suzanne Armstrong, Third Ward Council Member; Tom Burns, Jim Schramm and Jack Regis, Council at Large Members. Rick Rodgers had previously informed President Davis that he would be late and he did arrive a few minutes after 6:00 p.m.
Minutes: Minutes of the January 20, 2021 Council Meeting were approved as written.
Correspondence: There was no correspondence.
Reports of Officers of the City:
Mayor: The Mayor asked Council to permit Grace Presbyterian Church to use the City Park on June 11, 2021 from 12:00 – 6:00 p.m. for an outside worship service and picnic.
An Ordinance was distributed to Council regarding support for the Solid Waste Management Plan of the Jefferson Belmont Regional Solid Waste Authority. The Mayor said he would like this passed by March 28.
A copy of the Customer Service Agreement from Republic Services, a garbage collection service, was given to Council. This company will supply and “pull” the boxes of garbage to the landfill. Mr. Stecker made some changes to the contract and it has been submitted to the company.
The Mayor informed Council that the owner of the Rose Café, North 5th Street, is willing to sign the property over to the City. The City, County and E.O.R.W.A. have liens on the property. E.O.R.W.A. is not interested in recouping any money owed to them. If the Mayor can get the County tax liens released, the city could tear down the building, and sell the property. Also, the owner of the yellow house on the corner of Ellett and 5th Street, is willing to sign the property over to the city. Mayor Davies seeks Council approval to move ahead with gaining ownership of these properties. Mr. Stecker would prepare the necessary paperwork.
Dr. Johnson, owner of EORH, is interested in purchasing the 5th Street railroad property. If Council approves, the Mayor would like to have a professional appraise the property.
Mayor Davies asked Mr. Stecker to research the steps needed to transfer the Revolving Housing Loan Fund to a Demolition Fund.
The city has purchased 2 ambulances for $368,000 which will be delivered toward the end of summer. The Mayor understood that $234,000 would come from the first round of COVID-19 relief money to completely pay for one squad and half of the second one. Financing would be sought to pay for the remainder owed on the second ambulance. As of today, there is only $50,000 left in the COVID-19 Relief Fund. The Mayor asked Council for direction in this situation.
The Mayor reported that the city has ordered another 100 ton of salt but it has not yet been delivered.
Service Director: Mr. Sutak reported city crews are busy with snow removal. After the downtown area is plowed, dump trucks are brought in and the snow is hauled away. Garbage pick-up is difficult with the snow, especially in the alleys. Mr. Sutak praised the city crews for their hard work and dedication to the job during the difficult weather conditions. Mr. Regis and Mr. Rodgers commented that many citizens have expressed to them their appreciation for the city workers dedication in clearing the roadways.
Mr. Rodger asked about the Census Count and was told it has not been received.
Safety Director: No report.
Auditor: Auditor Randall informed President Davis that she would not be able to attend the meeting.
Law Director: No report.
Police Department: No report.
Fire Department: No report.
Code Administrator: No report.
Park District: No report.
Water Department: No report.
Reports of Committees of Council:
Finance and Audit: Mr. Regis said a Finance Meeting has been schedule for Tuesday, February 23 at 5:30 p.m. The Mayor said Auditor Randall will present the budget at this meeting.
Street: No report.
Ordinance: Mr. Shrodes said that the Service and Ordinance Committees met on January 28. Discussion centered on the problems with rubbish in the city. The result of that meeting is an ordinance regarding rubbish, garbage and outside storage that was sent to Council last Friday and will be read tonight.
Sewer/Sidewalk: No report.
Code Administration: No report.
Safety: No report.
Service: No report.
Cemetery: No report.
Public Relations: No report.
Real Estate/Utility: No report.
Income Tax: No report.
Citizens To Be Heard: President Davis reminded citizens to limit their speaking to 5 minutes.
Richard Hord, 915 Virginia Street, thanked the Mayor and the Administration for their help in getting East Ohio Regional Hospital opened. He hopes that this will attract other businesses to the area. Mr. Hord asked when the city building might reopen to the public. The Mayor explained that the building is still accessible to everyone. Visitors just ring the doorbell, state the reason they are there, and then the appropriate person is sent to them. The city employees were again thanked for their hard work in keeping the city street clear and the citizens safe. Mr. Hord asked if the city could recognize Bill Thomas, a recently retired attorney, for his contributions to the city during the last 4 decades of practicing law in Martins Ferry. The Mayor said there were a couple of other business leaders that they want to recognize also and he is trying to gather the needed information.
Ordinances and Resolutions:
An Ordinance Regarding Rubbish, Garbage, and Outside Storage.
Mr. Shrodes made a motion to suspend the rules. Mr. Schramm seconded the motion. A roll call vote was heard with Shrodes, Armstrong, Rodgers, Burns, Schramm, Regis and Hunker voting yes. The motion carried. A motion was made by Mr. Schramm and seconded by Mr. Hunker to pass the ordinance as read. A roll call vote was heard with Schramm, Regis, Hunker, Shrodes, Armstrong, Rodgers and Burns voting yes. The motion carried and the Ordinance was declared passed.
Mr. Regis made a motion to suspend the 72 Hour Rule. Mr. Rodgers seconded the motion. A roll call vote was heard with Regis, Hunker, Shrodes, Armstrong, Rodgers, Burns and Schramm voting yes. The motion carried and the 72 Hour Rule was waived.
An Ordinance Approving the Solid Waste Management Plan of the Jefferson Belmont Regional Solid Waste Authority
Mr. Rodgers made a motion to suspend the rules. Mr. Shrodes seconded the motion. A roll call vote was heard with Rodgers, Burns, Schramm, Regis, Hunker, Shrodes and Armstrong voting yes. The motion carried.
Mr. Regis made a motion to pass the Ordinance as read. Mr. Schramm seconded the motion. A roll call vote was heard with Regis, Hunker, Shrodes, Armstrong, Rodgers, Burns and Schramm voting yes. The motion carried and the Ordinance was declared passed.
Mr. Regis made a motion to appropriate $50,000 from the COVID Relief line item toward the payment of an emergency squad, EMS Fund 47. Mr. Rodgers seconded the motion. A roll call vote was heard with Regis, Hunker, Shrodes, Armstrong, Rodgers, Burns and Schramm voting yes. The motion carried.
Mr. Schramm made a motion to allow the Mayor to seek an appraisal of the railroad property on Fifth Street, from Ellett Street to Center Street. Motion was seconded by Mr. Burns. A roll call vote was heard with Schramm, Regis, Hunker, Shrodes, Armstrong, Rodgers and Burns voting yes. The motion carried.
Mr. Regis motioned to allow the Mayor to investigate liens on property on Ellett and Center Street and the Rose Café, pending possible sales. A roll call vote was heard with Regis, Hunker, Shrodes, Armstrong, Rodgers, Burns and Schramm voting yes. The motion was declared passed.
Mr. Schramm motioned to allow Grace Presbyterian Church to use the City Park on June 11, from 12:00 – 6:00 p.m. Motion was seconded by Mr. Hunker. After an affirmative voice vote, the motion carried.
The Mayor would like to place a canon, currently being housed in the basement of the city building, in the City Park. This cast-iron canon is from the Spanish American War and was originally in the cemetery. It was suggested to contact the Tourism Council for funding for a stand for the canon. Mr. Shrodes made a motion to allow the Mayor to make arrangements for the Spanish American War Canon to be situated in an appropriate spot in the City Park. A roll call vote was heard with Shrodes, Armstrong, Rodgers, Burns, Regis and Hunker voting yes. The motion carried. (Note: Mr. Schramm was excused early from the meeting and was not there to vote on this motion).
Mr. Regis informed Council that the doors on the Recreation Center are in horrible condition. He would like to see them repaired or replaced. Mr. Sutak will check on funding for this project.
The Mayor has been involved with city government for many years. He has seen the different department employees intertwining with each other more this year. It’s a “well oiled” machine and the administration works well with the Union. The entire workforce bands together to make the city a better place.
Mrs. Armstrong made a motion that levy money be used first for salaries before General Fund money. Motion was seconded by Mr. Regis. A roll call vote was heard with Armstrong, Rodgers, Burns, Regis, Hunker, and Shrodes voting yes. The motion carried.
Mr. Regis made a motion to reflect Council has received reports from the Officers and Management, and to incorporate these reports into the minutes. Motion was seconded by Mr. Hunker. After an affirmative voice vote, the motion passed.
Mr. Regis complimented Council and the Administration on working together for the good of the city.
Mr. Rodgers asked the Mayor for an estimate on demolishing the house on Center Street. The bid received from a contractor was $29,000. To tear down the structure internally, the Mayor estimated the cost to be $10,000 but he could not commit to an exact number. The Mayor explained that the biggest cost in demolition is the trucking of debri to the landfill. Mr. Rodgers expressed concern that someone may get hurt if this building collapses. Mr. Regis said the Finance and Audit Committee could address this issue at their next meeting.
Mr. Shrodes thanked the city workers who took their lunch hour and helped the Lions Club install the new “Welcome to Martins Ferry” sign at the corner of Hanover Street and St. Rt. 7.
Mr. Rodgers stressed that residents need to clear snow from their sidewalks. President Davis said that was a good reminder for the businesses in town to also be responsible and keep the sidewalks clean and safe for the citizens.
Mr. Rodgers moved to adjourn, which was seconded by Mrs. Armstrong. After an affirmative voice vote, the meeting was adjourned with a salute to the flag.