Posted on: September 15, 2021
The Martins Ferry City Council met in Regular Session on Wednesday, September 15, 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; 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 September 1, 2021 Council Meeting were approved as written.
Correspondence: There was no correspondence.
Mr. Regis made a motion and Mr. Rodgers seconded to change the order of the meeting to begin with reports of officers of the city and then move to legislation. This was to accommodate Auditor Randall in the event she would need to leave early. A roll call vote was heard with Regis, Hunker, Shrodes, Armstrong, Rodgers, Burns and Schramm voting yes. The motion was declared passed.
Reports of Officers of the City:
Mayor: Mayor Davies met with the Company that paved the south end of Zane Highway. He expressed his concerns about the condition of the paving. The Company Representatives did not think anything was wrong with the job. This company has not been paid in full. Mr. Stecker will be consulted on the next steps the city can take to fix this roadway.
The Lions Club would like Council’s permission to use the City Park for a Fall Festival on October 23, 2021 and not October 9, 2021 as reported at the last meeting. Also, on September 19, 2021, from 1:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., Hot Rod Tattooing would like permission to use the Street in front of their building to have a “Sweet Chuck” celebration. Sweet Chuck was the former owner of the Tattoo Parlor who passed away two years ago.
The Rose Café and the house on Center Street are 90% completed. The holes are being filled in. If it is not completed by tomorrow, it will be finished next week.
The woman who owned the house at 511 Cemetery Road passed away and left the dilapidated property to her 3 children. This home is behind the Rose Café. The Mayor has spoken to the son and he is willing to sign the house over to the city. He will speak to his other siblings to see if they are willing to relinquish the property to the city. The Mayor could tear down this home while he has his equipment already in place. He estimates this would take 2 days of labor. Council would need to make the decision to raise the property.
The Mayor asked Council for permission to donate the EMS Squad #8, which is out of service, to the Belmont County Animal Rescue League.
The Administration has not heard from Nelson’s Tree Service regarding cleaning up debri after cutting trees in the cemeteries. If Nelson’s have not returned Mr. Sutak’s call by tomorrow morning, the Mayor will file a complaint against the company with Chief McFarland.
Mr. Burns was told that the shut-off valve near his home had to have exact measurements. The water department will contact the company to schedule the installation.
Service Director: Mr. Sutak could not attend this meeting.
Safety Director: Director Regis thanked Council for approving the purchase of the generator for the Liberty Fire Station. He told Mr. Shrodes that ERB Electric provided the quote for the Fire Station Generator and was asked to provide a quote for a generator for the city building.
Director Regis asked for Council’s permission to donate Squad #8 which has been out of service for 3-4 years, to the Belmont County Animal Rescue League. This would also free up space in the EMS garage.
Auditor: Auditor Randall is learning a new computer system and hopes to have the budget soon. She explained when Council does a voice vote, although it is printed in the minutes, the minutes are not approved until the next meeting which is usually two weeks later. The State Auditors will not like the approval delayed that long. Mr. Stecker will be contacted for advice on how to handle this situation. The Mayor presented invoices that needed Council’s approval since they were over the limit that Auditor Randall could approve.
Law Director: No report.
Police Department: No report.
Fire Department: No report.
Code Administrator: No report.
Park District: No report.
Water Department: No report.
Ordinances and Resolutions:
Motion was made by Mr. Regis to waive the 72 Hour Rule. The motion was seconded by Mr. Schramm. A roll call vote was heard with Regis, Hunker, Shrodes, Armstrong, Rodgers, Burns and Schramm voting yes. The motion carried.
A Resolution Accepting The Amounts And Rates As Determined By The Budget Commission And Authorizing The Necessary Tax Levies And Certifying Them To The County Auditor.
Motion was made by Mr. Rodgers and seconded by Mr. Shrodes to suspend the rules. A roll call vote was heard with Rodgers, Burns, Schramm, Regis, Hunker, Shrodes and Armstrong voting yes. The motion carried. Mr. Hunker motioned to pass the Resolution as read. The motion was seconded by Mr. Burns. A roll call vote was heard with Hunker, Shrodes, Armstrong, Rodgers, Burns, Schramm, and Regis voting yes. The motion carried and the Resolution was declared passed.
An Ordinance Amending Chapter 307, Golf Carts, Of The Codified Ordinances Of The City Of Martins Ferry, Ohio.
Mr. Shrodes reported that the Ordinance Committee and Safety Committee met on September 9 to discuss this Ordinance. This legislation clarifies the Ordinance that is already in place. It states that only golf carts are permitted on the city streets – no ATVs, Side by Sides, etc. The Committees support this Ordinance. Mr. Regis motioned to suspend the rules. Mr. Shrodes seconded the motion. A roll call vote was heard with Regis, Hunker, Shrodes, Armstrong, Rodgers, Burns and Schramm voting yes. The motion carried. Mr. Schramm motioned to pass the Ordinance as read. Mr. Shrodes seconded the motion. A roll call vote was heard with Schramm, Regis, Hunker, Shrodes, Armstrong, Rodgers and Burns voting yes. The motion carried and the Ordinance was declared passed.
Reports of Committees of Council:
Finance and Audit: Auditor Randall will let Mr. Regis know when she is ready to meet with the committee.
Street: No report.
Ordinance: Mr. Shrodes had previously commented on the Committee Meeting before the vote on the Golf Cart Ordinance.
Sewer/Sidewalk: No report.
Code Administration: Mr. Regis said the Committee met on September 8. The Mayor gave an update on some of the run-down properties in town and what is being planned to address the problems.
Safety: No report.
Service: No report.
Cemetery: As promised at the last meeting, Mr. Burns filled in a large hole at the Walnut Grove Cemetery. He has also done some touch-up work to the small building in the Riverview Cemetery.
Public Relations: Mr. Rodgers attended the Chamber of Commerce Meeting on September 14. The Chamber will host their Fall Dinner on October 14 at 5:30 p.m. The speaker will be Rich Donnelly and he will speak on his book “The Chicken Runs at Midnight”. Also, the Rubberneck Tour will be held on Sunday October 10, Noon – 6:00 p.m. This is a self-guided tour highlighting places in Belmont County.
Income Tax: No report.
Citizens To Be Heard: President Davis reminded citizens to limit their speaking to 5 minutes.
Amy Clemons, 717 South 4th Street, asked for further explanation on the Golf Cart Ordinance. When she was told that only golf carts were allowed on city streets, she wanted to know why 2 Club Kubotas were sitting on the city sidewalk in front of Belmont Brewerks. President Davis could not speak on this matter because she did not know why these vehicles were there. President Davis said there are vehicles that are street legal according to the State of Ohio, however Martins Ferry Council has the final say on what vehicles can run on city streets. Ms. Clemons also asked why she had to read her water meter because her bill had an “E” on it. The Mayor explained that her meter’s battery is dead and new meters have been purchased but are on back-order. He will put a work-order in for her meter. She also complained about the dust and dirt from the United Dairy trucks that drive by her house. The Mayor said he will contact United Dairy to see if they can spray something to control the dust problem.
Joe Charlton, 1002 North 6th Street, was upset that the vehicle he bought was not allowed to be driven on Martins Ferry Streets. Before he purchased his vehicle, he said he checked Martins Ferry Street Signs and found nothing addressing low speed vehicles. He questioned whether his vehicle could be covered under a “Grandfather” clause since it was purchased before the new Ordinance was passed. Members of Council explained that the Ordinance only applies to golf carts and no other vehicles have yet to be considered to be allowed on the city streets. President Davis said she would refer this issue to Law Director Paul Stecker. Mr. Charlton made a request for copies of the September 1 and September 15 Council Meeting Minutes.
Richard Hord, 915 Virginia Street, asked for an update on the Austin Masters Facility and Ohio River Concerned Citizens group. The Mayor said the group was to send him a list of questions to answer but he has yet to receive anything. Mr. Hord asked how much of an impact East Ohio Regional Hospital had on the city. The Mayor said the Administration told him the hospital is doing a little better every month. Mr. Hord thanked the Mayor for updating the Mayors Plaque hanging by his office. A plaque recognizing the past Fire Chiefs and past Police Chiefs is in the works. The Trick or Treat date will be discussed under miscellaneous business.
Tom Burns, Council-at-Large Member, 411 Grant Avenue, thanked the Mayor for tearing down the recent structures with his own equipment. Mr. Burns hopes to have the Veteran Memorial Banners up just before Memorial Day next year and then schedule the dedication. Payment for the banners will be channeled through the Project Forward Group.
Paula Hill, 1114 Pearl Street, thanked everyone for the work done to alleviate the problems with the house next door to her property. The trees are down and the sidewalk is being repaired. She is now going to buy the house and tear it down.
Mr. Regis motioned and Mr. Hunker seconded to allow the Lions Club to use the Park for a Fall Festival on October 23. (Approval was given at the last meeting for October 9. This is a date change only). After an affirmative voice vote, the motion passed.
Motion was made by Mr. Schramm to donate Squad 8 to the Belmont County Animal Rescue League. Motion was seconded by Mr. Rodgers. A roll call vote was heard with Schramm, Regis, Hunker, Shrodes, Armstrong, Rodgers and Burns voting yes. Motion carried.
Motion was made by Mr. Rodgers to allow a Memorial to Sweet Chuck (former owner of Hot Rod Tattooing) to be held on Sunday, September 19, noon – 6:00 p.m., on the street in front of Hot Rod Tattooing. Motion was seconded by Mr. Burns. A roll call vote was heard with Rodgers, Burns, Schramm, Regis, Hunker, Shrodes and Armstrong voting yes. Motion carried.
The Mayor received 2 notices from Safety Director Regis stating that the structures at 511 Cemetery Road and 538 North Zane Highway were determined to be an imminent danger to collapse because of the instability of these structures. These structures are a public safety hazard and should be demolished as quickly as possible for the safety and welfare of the neighbors and general public. Mr. Shrodes said Council needs to find some way to enforce the laws so citizens take responsibility and care for their property.
Mrs. Armstrong made a motion to allow the Mayor to attend to the demolition of the house at 511 Cemetery Road. Motion was seconded by Mr. Schramm. A roll call vote was heard with Armstrong, Rodgers, Burns, Schramm, Regis, Hunker, and Shrodes voting yes. The motion carried.
Motion was made by Mr. Hunker and seconded by Mr. Burns to give the Mayor permission to take bids for the sale of the cut Sandstone from the Center Street House. A roll call vote was heard with Hunker, Shrodes, Armstrong, Rodgers, Burns, Schramm, and Regis voting yes. The motion carried.
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 asked Council to consider working from an agenda where citizens would submit their topic before speaking on the floor of Council. Council could then consider that topic and be better prepared to help them. Frequently Council has to seek additional information anyway.
Mr. Shrodes reported that the swings at the playground near Fodor Field have been vandalized. He said he would bring an estimated cost to the next meeting and ask Council to consider purchasing the new swings.
Mr. Schramm asked if the Code Administrator could visit the home at 847 Wood Lane. The owners leave some of their trash out in bags and the trash cans are so full that the workers are unable to lift the cans.
Trick or Treat was set for Sunday, October 31, 6:00 – 7:00 p.m.
Mrs. Armstrong moved to adjourn, which was seconded by Mr. Hunker. After an affirmative voice vote, the meeting was adjourned with a salute to the flag.