City of Martins Ferry

Martins Ferry City Council Meeting Minutes of May 19, 2021

Posted on: May 19, 2021

The Martins Ferry City Council met in Regular Session on Wednesday, May 19, 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.

Answering Roll Call were Bob Hunker, First Ward Council Member, Bruce Shrodes, Second Ward Council Member; Tom Burns, Jim Schramm and Jack Regis, Council at Large Members. Absent: Suzanne Armstrong, Third Ward Council Member and Rick Rodgers, Fourth Ward Council Member. Mrs. Armstrong informed President Davis that she was unable to attend the meeting. President Davis reminded Council that if Mr. Rodgers did not show, the rules cannot be suspended and no legislation can be acted upon. (Mr. Rodgers did arrive a few minutes after the meeting started.)

Minutes: Minutes of the May 5, 2021 Council Meeting were approved as written.

Correspondence: There was no correspondence.

Reports of Officers of the City:

Mayor: Valves and a pump have been replaced at the Water Works and the plant is in great shape. Two water lines, that have had multiple breaks in the last year, are currently being replaced. One is in the Hillendale area and should be finished next week. The second line, in North Lawn, has been contracted out and should be finished by the end of the week. These two replacement lines should alleviate the need for repairs thus cutting down on the overtime labor costs. One more problem water line, in Sunset Heights, is scheduled for replacement before the end of the year.

Crews are mowing the cemetery and 35 lots in town. The Mayor explained the city cuts many lots, not owned by the city, as a curtesy to the citizens. The city is not responsible to maintain these lots.

Line painting has started on Broadway Street and crews will continue to work their way through town.

A golf cart has been purchased for use by the Parking Enforcement Officer and Coder Administrator.

The Mayor and Service Director met with the County Commissioners about running a trunk water line from Yorkville to Shadyside, with all the cities in between tying into it. This line could ensure that no town along the line would be without water should they incur a major water break. This is about a 30 million dollar project and funding is being sought from local, state and federal agencies.

On Wednesday, May 26, flags will be placed on Veterans graves at Riverview Cemetery and Walnut Grove Cemetery for Memorial Day. Anyone willing to help can meet at the top of Riverview Cemetery at 11:00 a.m.

The owner of Rose Café has returned the necessary paperwork for the city to demolition the building. Mr. Stecker is finalizing the rest of the details. He will draft a letter to the County Auditor to release all the back liens before the city tears the structure down.

The father of former Mayor Krajnyak passed away last week. The city will send a card and flowers to the family.

The Mayor reported that the water plant debt will be paid off at the end of the year. This debt is being paid by a $.59 surcharge on all customer’s monthly bills. Instead of reducing monthly bills by this minimal amount, he asked Council to consider putting this money into a capital outlay fund so the city can start replacing water lines.

Mr. Regis asked for an update on the swimming pool pump. The Mayor said they are looking for a new one and it may cost around $8,000 if one can be found. Mr. Regis will send the Mayor the name of a vendor in Pennsylvania who may be able to secure one.

Service Director: Mr. Sutak met with Omega about different grants and funding. He also participated in a ZOOM Meeting to understand how the American Rescue Care Relief Money can be used.

It is hoped that the funding for the trunk water line from Yorkville to Shadyside can come from the EDA (Economic Development Administration). The City of Wheeling may also be interested in tying into this line. This line would be an incentive for the proposed Cracker Plant in Dilles Bottom. Funding is still being sought for a direct water line to the hospital.

Mr. Sutak asked Council to approve two ordinances to authorize the filing of a Natureworks Application for the city park and one for the ballfield in Hillendale. This funding could possibly be used for new lighting, resurfacing the basketball court, fencing, and other upgrades to the park. The city would be required to match 25% of this grant. The Water Department has opened up the water fountain in the Park for the season. Some of this Natureworks grant may be used to make improvement to the fountain.

Mr. Sutak is working with Bel-O-Mar on a Neighborhood Revitalization Application to receive funding to finance the upgrade of the amphitheater and lighting in the City Park.

Dan Brown, owner of the old DraftCo Building on South 4th Street, would like to purchase a portion of the railroad property behind the building owned by the city. It will cost approximately $1,000 to survey this property. Mr. Sutak asked Council to consider setting a price for this property. Mr. Stecker said the city can set a minimum bid for the property. Reasonable criteria can be stipulated in the sale of the property. Mr. Rodgers was concerned about the use and appearance of the property. The Mayor said he would speak to Mr. Brown and find out his intent for the property and report back to Council.

Personnel from the Water Department will be replacing old analog meters. If the meters aren’t replaced, Eastern Ohio Regional Wastewater Authority (EORWA) will begin charging those customers whose meters register an “E” (for estimated) approximately $11 more on their bill. EORWA has given the city 90 days to replace the meters before they begin charging customers the additional fee.

Safety Director: No report.

Auditor: A cash statement, as of May 19, was distributed. Auditor Randall said there is COVID money left from last year and can be used until September 30 for COVID purposes. One restriction is that if the city is going to allow employees to use this money for COVID sick leave instead of using their own sick leave, Council must make a motion to permit this spending up to 80 additional hours.

Law Director: No report.

Police Department: No report.

Fire Department: No report.

Code Administrator: No report.

Park District: Mr. Howard thanked the Mayor for quickly working on problems of the Park District. Mr. Sutak told Mr. Howard he would check with Deluxe Doors to see when the new doors for the Recreation Center will be delivered.

Water Department: No report.

Reports of Committees of Council:

Finance and Audit: Mr. Regis reported the committee met on Thursday, May 13 at 5:30 p.m. Insurance rates were unavailable to review at that time. The Committee discussed the need to generate income for the General Fund and the hiring of a new police officer. Minutes of this meeting will be included with Council Minutes.

The Mayor added that the gentleman being considered for new police officer position is currently a police dispatcher and is training two new dispatchers. After he finishes training the new dispatchers, he will be then be recommended for the police officer position.

Street: The Street Committee met with the Finance and Audit Committee on Thursday, May 13. The Street Committee recommends, beginning in the Year 2022, that 4% of the Income Tax Money be put in a line item designated for street paving.

Ordinance: Two ordinances will be presented later in the meeting for consideration.

Sewer/Sidewalk: No report.

Code Administration: No report.

Safety: No report.

Service: Mr. Shrodes praised the water department staff for the immaculate condition of the water plant. He referred to it as a “Showpiece”.

Cemetery: No report.

Public Relations: The Chamber of Commerce is not financially able to sponsor the Fourth of July Fireworks this year. It is hoped that another entity would be able to assume this responsibility.

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, thank the Mayor for supporting the maintaining of funds for the library through the State of Ohio. He also asked if the Fracking Barge was still being considered. The Mayor said permits were being sought to put it in. In regards to striping South Broadway and Etna Streets, the Mayor said this was done today and they are waiting to borrow an arrow template to finish the job. PNC Bank will be closing on Friday and Mr. Hord asked if any other bank or business expressed interest in the building. The Mayor said several banks may be interested in the site.

Ordinances and Resolutions:

Mr. Regis made a motion to suspend the 72 Hour Rule for both pieces of legislation regarding the Natureworks applications. Mr. Rodgers seconded the motion. A roll call vote was heard with Regis, Hunker, Shrodes, Rodgers, Burns and Schramm voting yes. The motion carried and the 72 Hour Rule was waived.

An Ordinance Authorizing the Filing of a Natureworks Application for the City Park.

An Ordinance Authorizing the Filing of a Natureworks Application for the Hillendale Ballfield.

Motion was made by Mr. Hunker to suspend the rules. Mr. Schramm seconded the motion. A roll call vote was heard with Hunker, Shrodes, Rodgers, Burns, Schramm and Regis voting yes. The motion carried and the rules were suspended. Mr. Regis made a motion to pass both ordinances as read. Motion was seconded by Mr. Burns. A roll call vote was heard with Regis, Hunker, Shrodes, Rodgers, Burns and Schramm voting yes. The motion carried and both ordinances were declared passed.

Miscellaneous Business:

The Mayor reported that a man would like to do some logging on city property. If Council approved, funds generated from this project would go into the General Fund. The property is on Memorial Park Road. Concerns were aired about the bidding process and how the property would be left after the logging. If Council is interested in this project, the Mayor could also show the man the wooded area of the cemetery.

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.

President Davis relayed concerns from Mrs. Armstrong about the meetings in June. She has conflicts with both dates. She is able to come to the June meetings but would need to leave early. Council agreed to change the order of the June meetings so Mrs. Armstrong could be present for any legislation needed to be read. The meetings will still be on June 2 and June 16 beginning at 6:00 p.m.

Mr. Shrodes noted the Lions Club planted flowers around town and in front of the city building. They have ordered hanging baskets for the downtown area and city workers will use the bucket truck to place the baskets on poles. Ferry Hardware is donating a sprayer so the baskets can be watered every day.

Mr. Shrodes made a motion that the City does not give permission for an additional 80 hours of employee sick leave to be covered by COVID money. Mr. Schramm seconded the motion. A roll call vote was heard with Shrodes, Rodgers, Burns, Schramm, Regis, and Hunker voting yes. The motion carried.

Mr. Stecker will prepare a Resolution to set up a new fund for paving and resurfacing streets within the city. Four percent of the city’s income tax money will be placed in this fund.

Mr. Rodgers apologized for being late to the meeting.

Mr. Schramm moved to adjourn, which was seconded by Mr. Hunker. After an affirmative voice vote, the meeting was adjourned at 6:39 p.m. with a salute to the flag.