City of Martins Ferry

Martins Ferry City Council Meeting Minutes of April 7, 2021

Posted on: April 7, 2021

The Martins Ferry City Council met in Regular Session on Wednesday, April 7, 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; Tom Burns, Jim Schramm and Jack Regis, Council at Large Members.

Minutes: Minutes of the March 24, 2021 Council Meeting were approved as written.

Correspondence: Correspondence for the Liquor License for Ferry Flowers and More, presented at the last meeting, will be addressed under Miscellaneous Business. Mr. Sutak received an additional application from the Liquor Control Board and will send it in if approved by Council.

Reports of Officers of the City:

Mayor: Mayor Davies asked Council Members to contact him if information is needed about a city employee’s Job Description or consult the employment contract passed by Council.

In June, the city will receive the first payment of $614,000 of American Rescue Plan Funding. The second and final payment of $614,000 will be received next June. Currently this money is to be used for critical infrastructure, such as sewer and water line projects. It is hoped that this money could be used for matching funds. Mr. Shrodes asked for a copy of the guidelines for this money and Mr. Sutak said he would have a copy for him in his office.

The Mayor explained the Revolving Housing Loan administered by Bel-O-Mar Regional Council. This money can help citizens upgrade their property.

Update on Demolition: The owner of the Rose Café has signed over the property to the city. The owner of the house on Ellet and 5th will relinquish the property to the city this week. The owner of the white house on Broadway is willing to surrender his property also.

The Central Avenue and the Floral Valley Sewer Projects are complete. Part-time help will be hired next week to begin cutting the cemetery grass.

The Mayor and Service Director are looking into a Trunk Water Line that would run from Yorkville to Shadyside and possible connecting to Wheeling. This would be a 30 million dollars project. The Mayor and Service Director have met with engineers and talked to politicians regarding funding for this project. This line would guarantee that no community within the system would ever run dry.

The Christian Church would like to have a Car Show on May 22, 2021. They asked permission to close the streets from Zane Highway to Pearl Street and Zane Highway to Indiana Street.

The Mayor asked Council to approve $3,800 to replace the doors on the Recreation Center.

City workers, along with a contractor, will begin replacing 3 water lines in Sunset Heights, Old Cadiz Road, and Hillendale.

The Mayor mentioned he has been approached several times about creating a Dog Park. Two places, one near the cemetery and the other by the new city garage, were mentioned as possible sites.

Mr. Regis asked if a hole in the sewer near the 6th Street Sub-Station could be fixed. The Mayor and Service Director will check on it.

Mr. Rodgers said he would mark the tree that needs to be removed in the Walnut Grove Cemetery with yellow caution tape. Mr. Sutak said he would take care of it.

Mr. Rodgers reiterated his concern for the dilapidated house on Center Street and appealed to the administration to find a way to demolish it. Caution tape and cones have been placed around the house alerting the public to the dangerous situation.

Mr. Rodgers asked if several trees could be removed and the sidewalks fixed in town, especially near St. Mary Catholic Church and Belmont Brewerks. Mr. Sutak said these jobs were on the schedule. He also asked if the Street Sweeper could be run on Mackey Avenue, Jeanette Avenue and Hill Street. Mr. Sutak said he would notify the Street Sweeper Operator and make sure he puts those streets on his schedule. Mr. Rodgers was told an order was put in place for someone to investigate the sewer problems at 502 Kuckuck Lane.

Mr. Shrodes asked if the yellow line could be repainted on 8th Street where it dead ends on Grand Avenue. School buses have a tough time making a left turn because people are parking there. The Mayor said paint has been ordered and this spot will be put on the to-do list.

Mr. Hunker inquire if a date has been set to pave South Zane Highway where connections were made to supply Bridgeport with water. The Mayor said that Mr. Suto, Water Superintendent, called the contractor this morning and said asphalt is now being made and he wants this roadway paved.

Mr. Rodgers asked for an update on the dedicated water line that would supply the hospital and business district. The Mayor said this is about an $800,000 project and he and the Service Director have been talking to different funding agencies. They are hoping to get 100% funding for this water line. Mr. Sutak said there have been several meetings with the city’s engineer who has done a cost analyzes to try and get some funding for this critical care project.

Service Director: Mr. Sutak will participate in a Zoom Meeting next week with the elected officials of the communities that would be involved with the Trunk Water Line.

A Nature Work Grant and a Neighborhood Revitalization Grant are being worked on to make improvements to the City Park and upgrade the swimming pool area. This grant is a 75-25 match and it is hoped that the city labor used for some of the project can go towards the 25% match. Mr. Sutak is applying for every grant that is possibly available.

If Council approves the appropriation of $3,800 from the Permanent Improvement Fund for new doors for the Recreation Center, Mr. Sutak will call Deluxe Doors to install the doors.

Auditor: Mr. Stecker said it was permissible to use Permanent Improvement Funds for the Recreation Center doors.

In the January 20, 2021 Council Minutes, it was mistakenly stated an ambulance was purchased with COVID-19 money. The COVID-19 money was used for wages which freed up money to buy an ambulance. She asked that Council rescind this statement and correct the wording to state the money was used for wages.

Auditor Randall distributed the 3rd quarter financial reports and explained new procedures and items that Council needs to monitor. She will also supply Council with a monthly income tax report showing the money going into General Fund, Street Fund and East Ohio Regional Hospital’s holding fund.

Safety Director: Director Regis reported the Easter Bunny Ride was well received by the community.

The EMS Billing Clerk has returned from maternity leave and will resume her duties. Director Regis had assume those duties while she was on leave.

A memo of understanding will be signed this week with the East Ohio Regional Transit Authority through the EMS to provide transportation to Belmont County Residents to get their COVID vaccines.

Law Director: No report.

Police Department: Chief McFarland emailed Council Members and the Administration the proposal comparing purchasing or leasing Body Cameras and Taser Guns. The afternoon and night shift of the Police Force was recognized for their recent substantial drug bust.

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 the Committee will review recommendations for purchase of equipment for the Police Department after the Safety Committee meets. He will schedule a Finance Meeting at the next Council Meeting.

Street: Mr. Rodgers scheduled a Street Committee Meeting on Tuesday, April 13 at 5:00 p.m. The committee will review paving projects and culvert issues.

There was a 10 minutes discussion on the parking situation at Wheeling Heating and Cooling. Trucks are driving over the sidewalk to get to the property. The minutes will be researched to find out the decision regarding access to this property.

Ordinance: No report.

Sewer/Sidewalk: No report.

Code Administration: Mr. Regis would like a monthly report or meet monthly with the Code Administrator regarding properties with code violations. Mr. Shrodes mentions it would be helpful to know the date and time when a building will be demolished. The Mayor will talk to the Code Administrator and report back to Council. Mr. Stecker is working on an Ordinance that will give the city more authority in dealing with uncooperative owners of dilapidated properties.

Safety: Mr. Schramm scheduled a Committee Meeting for Tuesday, April 20, 2021 at 5:00 p.m. to discuss new equipment for the Police Department and the possibility of hiring a new officer to alleviate some overtime.

Service: Mr. Shrodes scheduled a Committee Meeting for Monday, April 12, 2021 at 5:30 p.m. It was suggested before this meeting that the Committee Members visit the suggested Dog Park Sites to get measurements and find out what requirements are needed for this project.

Cemetery: The Mayor would like to get a Zero-Turn mower that could cut 90% of the cemetery and the other 10% will have to be cut with the 4-Wheel Drive tractors.

Public Relations: Project Forward will be hosting the Strawberry Festival on Saturday, June 26, 2021.

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, inquired when South Zane Highway might be paved. The Engineer has been told that asphalt is now being made and the city wants this section of Highway fixed. When asked if there was a possibility of reopening the Director of Development position for the city, the Mayor said for financial reasons, the city closed this Department and is now using the services of Bel-0-Mar. Mr. Hord asked for an update on the Veterans Banners. Mr. Burns said that he is still working on this project but because of the funding drive for the Veterans Memorial Monument in the Cemetery and the social distancing restrictions of the COVID-19 Pandemic which would restrict a dedication ceremony, the project has been delayed. When asked about the Summer Youth Employment Program, the Mayor said that the Community Action Commission runs this program and although nothing is confirmed, Martins Ferry will probably get a few youth to help at the swimming pool and with grass cutting.

Ordinances and Resolutions:

There were no Ordinances or Resolutions to be read.

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

Mr. Regis made a motion to allow the First Christian Church to conduct a car show on Saturday, May 22, 2021 and closing Pearl Street to Zane Highway and Zane Highway to Indiana Street. Motion was seconded by Mr. Schramm. A roll call vote was heard with Regis, Hunker, Shrodes, Armstrong, Rodgers, Burns and Schramm voting yes. Motion carried.

Mr. Schramm made a motion to appropriate $3,800 from the Permanent Improvement Fund to repair the doors at the Recreation Center. Motion was seconded by Mr. Rodgers. A roll call vote was heard with Schramm, Regis, Hunker, Shrodes, Armstrong, Rodger, and Burns voting yes. Motion carried.

Mr. Regis announced that the Daily Bread Center has moved from the Recreation Center to the building on the corner of Park Street and Zane Highway.

Mr. Rodgers announced on Saturday, June 19, the Elks Lodge will be sponsoring a Free Swim and a Community-Wide Yard Sale at the City Park. Yard Sale participants will be charged a $5 set-up fee and must bring their own table.

Mr. Regis made a motion to correct the minutes of January 20, 2021 to reflect that the COVID-19 money was used for wages which freed up money to purchase the new Emergency Squad. Motion was seconded by Mr. Burns. After an affirmative voice vote, the motion was passed.

President Davis reported that she spoke to the owner of Ferry Flowers and More regarding their request for a Liquor Permit. This permit would allow them to include alcoholic beverages with floral arrangements. Mr. Regis made a motion that Council not oppose or request a hearing on the Ferry Flowers and More’s application for a Liquor License. Motion was seconded by Mr. Hunker. After an affirmative voice vote, the motion was passed.

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