City of Martins Ferry

Martins Ferry City Council Meeting Minutes of March 9, 2021

Posted on: March 9, 2021

The Martins Ferry City Council met in Regular Session on Tuesday, March 9, 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: Bruce Shrodes, Second Ward Council Member; Suzanne Armstrong, Third Ward Council Member; Rick Rodgers, Fourth Ward Council Member; Tom Burns, Jim Schramm and Jack Regis, Council at Large Members. Bob Hunker, First Ward Council Member, informed President Davis that he was unable to attend this meeting.

Minutes: Minutes of the February 17, 2021 Council Meeting were approved as written.

Correspondence: There was no correspondence.

Reports of Officers of the City:

Mayor: Mayor Davies announced there will be a free “Clean-Up” Day on Saturday, March 27, 2021. Citizens can take unwanted items to the Transfer Station from 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon. Two other “Clean-Up” Days will be scheduled later this year.

On Saturday, April 17, the Civics have requested that Hickory Street from Zane Highway to 4th Street, and 5th Street from Hickory Street to Walnut Street be blocked off for the opening day of the youth baseball season and a Car Show. Time: 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

The Transfer Station is now operational and is used when the weather is bad or when the trash is extra heavy. The company that hauls the boxes has requested only 18 tons per box.

The Mayor reported that Mr. Sutak had to attend a school board meeting tonight to discuss the taxes on the dilapidated properties that the city would like to demolish. Mr. Sutak sent the Mayor a message that everything went well. He has also spoken to Ms. Kelich, Belmont County Treasurer, about getting liens released on these properties.

Martins Ferry Water Department is pumping around 20 million gallons of water to Bridgeport every month. This is about twice the amount that was expected.

Grace Presbyterian Church would like to use the City Park on Sunday, June 13, 2021 (not June 11 as previously approved in the February 17 minutes).

One of the mowers used in the Cemetery needs replaced. The Mayor would like to purchase a commercial two-wheel drive gas mower to be used on the flat areas. The cemetery already has 2 four-wheel drive tractors that can be used to cut the grass on the hills. The Mayor will get estimates and report his finding to Council.

At the last meeting, there was a motion to put the COVID money towards an ambulance. This money has to be placed in Fund 47 for EMS wages which will then free up money from Fund 47 to pay for the ambulance.

The Mayor reported crews have been working on a problem with a sewer line in Floral Valley and trying to locate a sewer line in Crawford Heights for the construction of a new home. He reported the Sewer Capital Fund and Water Capital Fund are doing well.

Mr. Rodgers asked the Mayor to check on the sewer line that services 502 Kuckuck Lane. The owner had a company look at it and said the problem was not on his property.

Service Director: No report.

Safety Director: No report.

Auditor: Auditor Randall reported that the Worker’s Compensation figures in the tentative budget previously distributed were incorrect. She is in the process of correcting the error and the budget should be ready for Council to review in the next couple of days. A 2020 R.I.T.A. report was received and the city lost $136,000 of income tax last year.

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 reported the Finance and Audit Committee met on February 23 and March 2 to discuss the budget. Minutes of these meetings will be filed with the Council Minutes. The next meeting will be Tuesday, March 16 at 5:30 p.m.

Street: No report.

Ordinance: No report.

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, asked for an update on the location of the River Barge Loading Facility and was told it is still being considered. The Mayor told Mr. Hord that the City Building’s roof is currently “water tight” but it will need a new roof, possibly by using city labor. Also, the Mayor emphasized that people can come to the City Building and ring the doorbell for assistance. Because of the COVID-19 Pandemic, it is unwise to have citizens roaming the building and possibly spreading the virus to the workers. When asked about the positive impact the opening of East Ohio Regional Hospital has had on the city, the Mayor said no income tax money had been received yet, but restaurants, businesses and gas stations have likely seen increased revenue due to the increased traffic flow. PNC bank is leaving Martins Ferry and the Mayor was told this was a corporate decision. Mr. Hord asked for an update on the Plaques for former Police Chiefs and was told that Chief McFarland is working on it.

Ordinances and Resolutions:

There were no Ordinances or Resolutions to be read.

Miscellaneous Business:

Mr. Regis would like Council to request a current detailed operating budget from the Recreation Department. Mr. Burns concurred with this request. The Recreation Center has asked for Council’s help in replacing the glass front doors. Concerns were aired regarding the condition and upkeep of the building. The Mayor will send Council Members a copy of the lease agreement between the Recreation Center and the City. Mayor Davies stated that according to the major maintenance policy, repairs under $1,500 are the Recreation Center’s responsibility and anything over $1,500 is the city’s responsibility. Mr. Schramm will inquire when, where and what time the Recreation Board meets. President Davis will prepare a letter asking the Recreation Center for a current budget. Auditor Randall thought the County might have specific guidelines regarding obligations of the Park District.

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. Rodgers. After an affirmative voice vote, the motion passed.

Motion was made by Mr. Rodgers to excuse Mr. Hunker from tonight’s meeting. Motion was seconded by Mr. Schramm. After an affirmative voice vote, the motion passed.

Mr. Regis made a motion to allow the Civics to use the ball field on Saturday, April 17, and block off the city streets from Zane Highway to 4th Street, and 5th Street from Hickory Street to Walnut Street. Motion was seconded by Mr. Schramm. After an affirmative voice vote, the motion passed.

Motion was made by Mr. Rodgers and seconded by Mrs. Armstrong to permit Grace Presbyterian Church to use the City Park on Sunday, June 13, 2021 from 12:00 – 6:00 p.m. After an affirmative voice vote, the motion passed. (This is a correction of the date requested in the February 17 minutes).

Mr. Burns informed Council that his daughter, Traci Tuttle, is no longer interested in purchasing the lot at 707 Delaware Street.

Mr. Burns was approached by Dan Cook, owner of Wheeling Heating and Cooling at 111 South Fifth Street regarding his company’s right to back over the curb to gain access to their business. Mr. Cook states that they have been pulled over by the city police for driving over the sidewalk. He is asking that this matter be addressed. Concerns were expressed about the business’s parking practices. Mr. Rodgers said after Easter he will set up a Street Committee Meeting and invite Mr. Cook to discuss the matter.

Mr. Rodgers asked the Mayor for an updated list of houses for demolition.

Mayor Davies informed Council that he received a call from Bernie Albertini, Chief Operating Officer at East Ohio Regional Hospital regarding a refusal of a transport by the Martins Ferry EMS. Mr. Albertini said he was told by EMS personnel that the city doesn’t have a contract with the hospital and they didn’t have to take the transport. The city has lost the contract with the hospital, although the Martins Ferry EMS has done some transports for the hospital. The Mayor said that only transports to Wheeling Hospital, Reynolds Hospital, Weirton Hospital and Trinity Hospital will currently be accepted. EMS personal will now work 8 hour shifts instead of 24 hours shifts.

Mr. Rodgers asked if an estimate has been received on removing the dead tree from the Walnut Grove Cemetery. Mayor Davies asked to meet Mr. Rodgers at the cemetery to identify the exact tree needed to be removed.

Mr. Regis made a motion to reword the COVID Fund motion passed at the last Council meeting. The wording needs changed to say the money in the COVID Fund will be used for EMS wages. Motion was seconded by Mr. Burns. A roll call vote was heard with Regis, Shrodes, Armstrong, Rodgers, Burns and Schramm voting yes. The motion carried.

Mrs. Armstrong moved to adjourn, which was seconded by Mr. Regis. After an affirmative voice vote, the meeting was adjourned with a salute to the flag.