City of Martins Ferry

Martins Ferry City Council Meeting Minutes of March 24, 2021

Posted on: March 24, 2021

The Martins Ferry City Council met in Regular Session on Tuesday, March 24, 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; Rick Rodgers, Fourth Ward Council Member; Jim Schramm and Jack Regis, Council at Large Members. Mr. Burns alerted President Davis earlier in the day that he would be unable to attend this meeting.

Motion was made by Mr. Regis and seconded by Mr. Schramm to change the order of business so Legislation could be addressed first. A roll call vote was heard with Regis, Hunker, Shrodes, Armstrong, Rodgers, and Schramm voting yes. The motion carried.

Ordinances and Resolutions:

An Ordinance to Make Appropriations For the Expenses of the City of Martins Ferry, State of Ohio, During the Fiscal Year Ending December 31, 2021, and Declaring an Emergency.

Motion was made by Mr. Rodgers to suspend the rules. Motion was seconded by Mr. Regis. A roll call vote was heard with Rodgers, Schramm, Regis, Hunker, Shrodes and Armstrong voting yes. The motion carried. Motion was made by Mr. Hunker to pass the Ordinance as read. Motion was seconded by Mrs. Armstrong. A roll call vote was heard with Hunker, Shrodes, Armstrong, Rodgers, Schramm, and Regis voting yes. The motion carried and the Ordinance was passed.

Mr. Rodgers then left the meeting due to illness.

President Davis reminded Council that a Financial Disclosure is due by April 5 to the County Election Board for council members running for re-election.

Minutes: Minutes of the Tuesday, March 9, 2021 Council Meeting were approved as written.

Correspondence: A notice was received from the Ohio Division of Liquor Control that The Ferry Flowers and More Shop on Walnut Street has applied for a Liquor License. Council has asked for more information regarding the reason this business is requesting this license. President Davis will contact this shop regarding this request.

Reports of Officers of the City:

Mayor: Mayor Davies said the sewer line on Crawford Heights is finished and the road will be patched as soon as asphalt is available.

The Mayor would like to purchase a commercial grade Cub Cadet lawnmower for use in the cemetery. Depending upon the size and model number, the cost was estimated at $6,000-$8,400.

In the last 3 weeks, the EPA has tested the water twice at the Plant and both times the water passed. This testing was required by the EPA because Martins Ferry is pumping water to Bridgeport. Expenditures will be forthcoming regarding tank repairs and audits. The Mayor stated future plans include replacing a water line in Hillendale and one in Sunset Heights.

The Mayor spoke to the kids using the Basketball Court at the City Park. He encouraged them not to use foul language and to keep the area clean. In exchange for their cooperation, the city would supply paint and materials to maintain the court. The city is going to apply for a Nature Works Grant in which the city would agree to match 25% of the grant. The Mayor hopes if the grant is received, labor supplied by the city might count towards part of the 25% match. The Mayor would like to replace the lighting in Fodor Field with LED lights to save on electricity. He estimated the cost to be around $10,000. Other Park improvements suggested were repairs to the roof on the stage and lighting for the basketball court and the Hillendale Ball Fields. Mr. Sutak will secure the grant application with guidelines and reported back to Council. Mr. Regis was told by the Martins Ferry Civics that they are erecting $20,000 of fencing in three ballfields in the city. In 2018, Council passed a motion to give $4,500 to the Civics. To date, the Civics have not received this money.

Work on the sewer in Floral Valley continues. The Mayor has suggested re-routing this pipeline for easier maintenance.

The city will be receiving stimulus money in the amount of $1.28 mil. The government dictates how this money is to be spent. Presently, the only specifications are sewer and water updates. The city will get ½ of this money in 2021 and the rest in 2022. The Mayor did not know when the city would receive this year’s allotment.

Mr. Hunker asked about the paving of the portion of South Zane Highway where the road was dug up in order to place additional pipelines to supply Bridgeport with water. The Mayor said this paving job was the Engineering Company’s responsibility that was hired through the EPA for Bridgeport.

Service Director: Mr. Sutak reported crews were going to put a catch basin in Floral Valley. Last week, the crews were cold patching potholes.

The Mayor and Mr. Sutak will meet with the attorney to recoup the funds used to run the sewer line to the property where a new home was being built in Crawford Heights. The city extended the sewer line for a single property owner and the owner is responsible for the material and labor costs of running this line to their property.

Safety Director: Director Regis said that the Fire Department will be escorting the Easter Bunny(ies) through the city on Saturday, April 3, 2021 from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Date and time will be posted in the Times Leader.

Fire Reporting has been rectified with the State Fire Marshall Office. Reporting has to be on a regular weekly basis, even if there were no reportable instances. The EMS software problems have been fixed and the billing should be current.

Funding for one of the EMS Squads fell through so the Mayor decided to cancel one of the vehicles. The Department will still receive 1 new squad. Council had appropriated $50,000 from the COVID Relief Line Item to the EMS Fund for wages which freed up money in the EMS Fund for the new squads. After purchasing the first emergency vehicle, there will be about $21,000 left from the $50,000 appropriation in the EMS Fund. The Mayor asked Council for approval to use this money to purchase gear for the protection of the city’s fire fighters. Director Regis said that 6 men will be starting Fire Fighting Training after Easter. They will need to have fire-fighting approved gear for interior structures after passing State Exams. Complete gear for one fire-fighter is approximately $2,300. Mr. Sutak stressed the importance of correctly reporting the use of expenditures from the COVID Relief money in the budget.

Auditor: No report.

Law Director: No report.

Police Department: Chief McFarland reported the results of a house monitored and suspected of being used for drug deals. Also, the culprit responsible for the bomb scare at the Elementary School has been identified. The Department was also alerted that U.S. Marshalls were in town looking for a suspect reportedly involved in a murder at the Voodoo Lounge on Wheeling Island.

The Chief inquired about funding for 2 of his officers who are Taser Instructors and need their certifications renewed soon. The Department’s Taser Guns are 7 years old and need replaced. The Chief will have the costs of these requests at the next Council Meeting.

Funding of a Police Dispatcher was discussed. Mr. Sutak suggested adjusting certain line items in the budget to fund the Police Department and EMS needed expenditures. After more information is gathered regarding all the expenses needed for these departments, a motion can be made on the floor of Council to approve the appropriate funding source.

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 asked Council to pass the budget tonight. He would also like to see Council fund Police Department requests, EMS and fire-fighting gear and also help the Civics with fencing at the ball fields. A budget from the Recreation Department has been received. Mr. Regis would like to meet with the Administration, Finance Committee and the Recreation Board liaisons and discuss the Recreation Center’s finances and future plans.

Street: No report.

Ordinance: No report.

Sewer/Sidewalk: No report.

Code Administration: No report.

Safety: No report.

Service: Mr. Shrodes said he would set up a Service Committee Meeting at the next Council Meeting.

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, was delighted with the opening of a Pharmacy at East Ohio Regional Hospital. The Mayor said the hospital is moving along as planned with more things materializing in the future. Another business, the Tokyo Hibachi Restaurant has opening in the space formally occupied by Dairy Queen. Mr. Hord asked if Union Street and Broadway Street could be paved at the same time as South Zane Highway. These roads have been heavily traveled because people are using this route to detour from the rough road created by the pipeline project on South Zane Highway. The Mayor said South Zane Highway will be paved by the Engineering Company. The city is creating a list of streets to be paved but these roadways will not be done at the same time.

Miscellaneous Business:

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 made a motion to appropriate up to $6,000 from the Permanent Improvement Fund to pay for the fencing at the Hillendale Ball Field. Motion was seconded by Mr. Schramm. A roll call vote was heard with Regis, Hunker, Shrodes, Armstrong, and Schramm voting yes. The motion carried.

Mr. Shrodes made a motion and Mr. Schramm seconded to excused Mr. Burns from tonight’s meeting. After an affirmative voice vote, the motion carried.

President Davis thanked Mr. Schramm for the purchase of the new wall clock. She also thanked Mr. Shrodes for the 5 minutes timer reminder.

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

The meeting ended at 7:06 p.m.