City of Martins Ferry

Martins Ferry City Council Meeting Minutes of April 21, 2021

Posted on: April 21, 2021

The Martins Ferry City Council met in Regular Session on Wednesday, April 21, 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 April 7, 2021 Council Meeting were approved as written.

Correspondence: There was no correspondence.

Reports of Officers of the City:

Mayor: Mayor Davies reported that the Contractor for the Zane Highway project told him the street should be paved by next week.

Owners of three dilapidated structures, all on corner lots, have agreed to sign their property over to the city for demolition. The structures include: Rose Café, the yellow house on Ellet and Fifth Streets, and the white building on Broadway. The Mayor estimated the cost of the demolition would be $25,000 including insurance and hauling/dumping fees. The Mayor and the city employees would supply the labor. Because the Rose Café is a commercial building, it will have to be abated. Residential, single dwellings do not have to be abated.

Two water lines need to be repaired by contractors. One line is in West Lawn and one is on Highland Avenue in Ferryview. Total cost for replacement of these two lines is around $16,000.

The cemetery only has one tractor. The Mayor asked Council if Permanent Improvement money could be used to buy a new one. Each tractor will be assigned to an employee who will be responsible for the care of the tractor.

The Mayor and Service Director met with local politicians and state representatives regarding the possible installation of a water trunk line running from Tiltonsville to Shadyside and possibly extending to Powhatan Point. Funding is being sought from Federal, State and local entities. This line could ensure that no town along the line would be without water should they incur a major water break. Many studies need to be done regarding this project.

The Mayor would like to establish a Capital Outlay Line Item for the Police Department which would encompass 10% of all police revenue. This money would be used to replace equipment for the department such as Tasers, body armor, etc.

Service Director: Mr. Sutak attended a Civics Meeting on April 20. The Civics thanked Council for their help in getting the fence at the Ballfield in Hillendale and for installing a drainage system on the third base side of Fodor Field. Opening day of softball will be on Saturday, April 24. The Civics also hope to raise funds to install batting cages in the Park and new lighting at Fodor Field.

The Auditor’s Office has completed the paperwork for the forgiveness on the Water Line Loan.

Mr. Sutak told Mr. Shrodes that the curb on Grant Avenue will be painted soon so cars will not block the way for the School Buses to make the turn.

Safety Director: Director Regis praised the two police officers who rushed into a burning duplex last week and saved two women. He praised the neighborhood, police and fire departments for coming together to help in this situation. The Mayor echoed Director Regis’s sentiments and said he was very proud and appreciative of the safety forces in town.

The incident reporting system problems have been fixed and all reports are up-to-date.

On April 24, the fire engines will parade the kids around town to celebrate the opening day of softball.

Auditor: If Council approves the leasing of Tasers by the Police Department, Auditor Randall got permission from Mr. Stecker to take the funds from the Capital Project Fund. The Mayor and Service Director were reminded that Purchase Orders need to be submitted to the Auditor’s Office for recordkeeping.

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 scheduled a combined Street and Finance Committee Meeting on Tuesday, May 11, 2021 at 5:30 p.m. in Council Chambers.

Street: Mr. Rodgers reported the Street Committee met on April 15, 2021. An estimate of $70,000-$75,000 was received for the 9th Street paving project. Since the licensing money that the city receives is about $40,000-$45,000 annually, this project was tabled. Mr. Rogers would like the Street and Finance Committee to have a joint meeting to discuss creating a budget line item for repairing of streets. Also discussed was legislation passed at the November 20, 2019 Council Meeting regarding Wheeling Heating and Cooling. Minutes of this meeting will be included with Council Minutes.

Mr. Burns proposed paving and infrastructure repairs on Grant Avenue and Broadway. A full report on this proposal from Mr. Burns is included with Council Minutes. The Mayor said this will be an expensive project and is a top priority in the infrastructure plan.

Ordinance: No report.

Sewer/Sidewalk: No report.

Code Administration: No report.

Safety: Mr. Schramm stated the Safety Committee held a meeting on Tuesday, April 20. The Police Department performed a Taser Demonstration comparing the old Taser and the proposed new Taser. The committee recommends leasing 5 Taser guns over a 5 year period. Additional add-on features are included with the leasing option. The payment schedule is included with these minutes. Also, the committee recommends the Police Department hire Bob Ney to reduce overtime hours. Mr. Ney is presently dispatching for the Police Department.

Service: Mr. Shrodes reported the Service Committee met on April 12 to discuss ongoing computer problems, a city dog park and abandoned cars on private property. The American Kennel Association was consulted about establishing a dog park. They suggested forming a citizens committee to set up and take care of the Park to relieve the city of any liability. Concerns were aired about the entanglement of computer and communication wire in the basement and the possibility of getting a generator to alleviate problems when power is lost.

Cemetery: Mr. Burns agreed with the Mayor to hold the city employees responsible for the care and maintenance of their assigned lawn equipment.

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.

Jim Howard, North 8th Street, spoke on behalf of the Martins Ferry Park District. He gave a report on the condition of the city swimming pool, which should open Memorial Day Weekend. The alley next to the pool needs paved or the potholes patched. The new doors for the front of the Recreation Center have been ordered. The next meeting of the Park District will be May 7 at 5:30 p.m.

Mr. Burns, 411 Grant Avenue, reported that his wife, Pat Burns, was attacked by a vicious dog in her neighborhood and the animal was allowed to remain quarantined for 10 days at the home. Pat suffered two wounds and was admitted to the hospital for concerns of infection. Mr. Burns has spoken to Chief McFarland and this case will be going to the Prosecutor’s Office. Appreciation was expressed to the Police Department for their help with this dog attack. A copy of Mr. Burn’s complete report was given to the clerk and is included with these minutes.

Lisa Beck, 11 South 3rd Street, spoke regarding the handicap parking space in front of her house. Three months ago, the handicap parking sign was moved 3 feet north from where it has been for the last 15 years. This has caused parking problems for her. Mr. Sutak said he will contact her for more information.

Richard Hord, 915 Virginia Street, inquired why there has been no advertisements for East Ohio Regional Hospital. The Mayor said the hospital is doing well so maybe no advertising is need. Mr. Hord was told there were no updates on the Fracking Barge. Mr. Sutak said the Yacht Club was involved with the barge proposal and he would try and get an update from them. Mr. Stecker said the Chamber of Commerce is holding meetings and all is well. Chief McFarland told Mr. Hord he is still working on the plaque honoring the past police chiefs of Martins Ferry.

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

Mr. Stecker needed Council to commit to spend the money for the demolition of the three properties indicated in the Mayor’s report. The properties will not be transferred to the city until the structures are torn down due to liability issues. Mr. Shrodes made a motion to appropriate up to $25,000 from the General Fund for the purchase and demolition of these three properties: 401 North 5th. Street; 1056 Broadway Street; and 539 North 5th. Street (Rose Cafe). Motion was seconded by Mr. Schramm. A roll call vote was heard with Shrodes, Armstrong, Rodgers, Burns, Schramm, Regis and Hunker voting yes. The motion carried.

Mr. Rodgers made a motion to appropriate $14,500.20 from the General Fund for leasing of Tasers for the Police Department. Motion was seconded by Mr. Burns. A roll call vote was heard with Rodgers, Burns, Schramm, Regis, Hunker, Shrodes and Armstrong voting yes. The motion carried. The terms of the lease will be included in these minutes.

Mr. Regis made a motion to appropriate up to $10,000 from the General Fund for the purchase of a tractor for the cemetery. Motion was seconded by Mr. Burns. A roll call vote was heard with Regis, Hunker, Shrodes, Armstrong, Rodgers, Burns and Schramm voting yes. The motion carried.

Mr. Regis asked if a Grinder could be purchased to help grind down the rough patches in the alley next to the pool. The Mayor said he would check on prices for grinders. Selling the DuraPatcher to help with the purchase of a grinder was discussed. It was noted that 40% of the selling price of the DuraPatcher would be owed to Bridgeport since this purchase was a joint effort.

Mr. Stecker will prepare a resolution to create a Capital Outlay Fund Line Item for the Police Department.

Chief McFarland will call Chris Baker, Computer Consultant for the city, to arrange a meeting to address the wiring in the basement. Council will be notified of the date and time of this meeting.

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