Posted on: October 6, 2021
The Martins Ferry City Council met in Regular Session on Wednesday, October 6, 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 15, 2021 Regular Council Meeting and the September 21, 2021 Special Council Meeting were approved as written.
Correspondence: There was no correspondence.
Reports of Officers of the City:
Mayor: Mayor Davies reported the grass in the cemetery should be trimmed by the end of the week. Hopefully, the grass will not need mowed too much longer this year. Dead trees still have to be removed this year.
The Rose Café and the Center Street house demolitions are 99% done. As excess dirt is acquired through water breaks, etc., it will be taken to these sites to fill in the empty spaces.
Trash Clean-Up Day went very well. Everyone was happy and there were no complaints. About 450-500 tons of sanitation was received compared to a normal 70 tons of weekly sanitation.
Deeds that were in the Port Authority’s name were recorded by the Mayor. The total royalties should net the city about $50,000.
While the weather is still nice, crews are trying to finish patching potholes.
The Census Certificate was received this week noting that Martins Ferry has a population of 6,260 residents, thus making the city the largest in Belmont County.
Two grants have been applied for: 1) A dedicated water line extending across the foot bridge to the hospital and the business district and 2) a sewer line replacement on Jefferson Avenue.
The Mayor sent a letter to Austin Masters noting the Administration’s expectations from the company and a copy of the Ordinance regarding water safety. A copy of the results testing the radium levels from a raw water sample (from the Aquafer) and a treated water sample was also provided to Austin Masters. Both samples had levels that were considered non-detectable by the EPA. The Mayor told a representative from Austin Masters that the water will be tested every 3 months and the Representative offered to pay half of the cost for the testing.
Police Chief McFarland and the Mayor would like to create an impound lot on First Street. A quote of $31,000 was received for a fence measuring 200’ x 60’. Cameras would also need to be installed so the area could be monitored. The Mayor believes the money received would quickly cover the initial investment. If Council approves, spaces could also be rented to people who need a place to park their boats, RVs, campers, etc.
The city will assume the maintenance of the Recreational Center and the grounds. The Park District would still manage the pool. Council will need to take applications for a Director for the Recreational Center.
Mr. Shrodes set a Service Committee meeting for Thursday, October 14 at 5:30 p.m. in Chambers to discuss the Impound Lot and the management of the Recreational Center.
Service Director: No report.
Safety Director: No report.
Auditor: Auditor Randall informed Mr. Regis that she would like to meet with the Finance Committee.
Law Director: No report.
Police Department: Chief McFarland applauded his officers for successfully serving two search warrants last week. He is also working on getting a cost estimate for sending a few officers to training classes. The Chief hopes to present a proposal at the next Council Meeting.
Fire Department: No report.
Code Administrator: No report.
Park District: Mr. Howard gave a financial report for the Park District and also informed Council of upcoming events and programs at the Recreational Center. The Park District’s Fiscal Officer turned in her resignation effective December 31, 2021.
Water Department: No report.
Reports of Committees of Council:
Finance and Audit: Mr. Regis scheduled a Finance Committee Meeting for Wednesday, October 13, at 5:30 p.m. in Council Chambers.
Street: No report.
Ordinance: No report.
Sewer/Sidewalk: No report.
Code Administration: No report.
Safety: Mr. Schramm contacted the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) regarding potholes on the north bound lane of Route 7. The Mayor also contacted ODOT regarding weeds blocking the speed limit signs on Route 7.
Service: Mr. Shrodes set a Service Committee meeting for Thursday, October 14 at 5:30 p.m. in Chambers earlier in the meeting.
Cemetery: Mr. Burns will check on the holes that he filled in at both cemeteries and make sure they haven’t settled. He also commented that the workers have done a great job in maintaining the cemetery grounds.
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, asked the Mayor if the Land Bank has torn down any houses in Martins Ferry this year. The Mayor said 2 buildings are supposed to be torn down but he doesn’t know the exact dates. There will be no Trick or Treating in the Park this year. Mr. Hord asked about the positive impact the Meter Attendant/Enforcer has had on the city. The Mayor replied the Attendant has taken pressure off the Police Department and while she is out looking for sweeper violations, she also reports code violations. Mr. Hord also asked for an update on the South Zane Highway paving job. The Mayor said he spoke to representatives from Ohio Valley Paving and told them he was not satisfied with the roadwork. The representatives insisted that nothing was wrong with the job. The company has not been paid in full and the issue has been forwarded to the city’s Law Director.
Ordinances and Resolutions:
An Ordinance to Revise the Codified Ordinances By Adopting Current Replacement Pages, and Declaring An Emergency.
This Ordinance was given a first reading. This Ordinance will go to a second reading.
Mr. Burns gave a report on the Military Banner Project. He proposed having the banners up by Memorial Day, 2022 with a dedication on July 4, 2022. A commemoration booklet and biographies will also be available. Order forms, flyers and a story for the newspaper are being created. A report on the Military Banner Project will be included with these minutes.
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. Schramm asked if a curb machine has been found. The Mayor replied that he has not found one at a price he wants to pay and they may possibly rent one.
Mr. Rodgers wanted to know if the Police and City Employee contracts were scheduled for negotiations next year. The City Employee contract ends on April 30, 2022 and the Police contract is scheduled to expire sometime next year.
Mr. Rodgers has been reviewing the Financial Reports and noticed that the rental income for the Sexton’s House in the Cemetery has been $300 per month since March 31, 2006. He would like Council to look at the rental contract and consider increasing the rent to be in-line with other rentals in town. The Mayor declined to participate in negotiating this contract since he had a conflict of interest. His brother-in-law lives in the house. President Davis referred this issue to the Finance Committee.
Auditor Randall said that Council approved lending $23,000 from the Permanent Improvement Fund for a new cot for EMS. She reminded Council that an Ordinance is needed to outline the amount, the pay-back method, and if interest will be charged. This issue was also referred to the Finance Committee. The Mayor asked that the first payment not be due until next year since the EMS finances are a little low at this time. Mr. Shrodes said he would call an Ordinance Committee Meeting after the Finance Committee has met.
President Davis asked Council Members to think about the Committees they serve and if they would like to change next year, please let her know.
Mr. Hunker moved to adjourn, which was seconded by Mr. Shrodes. After an affirmative voice vote, the meeting was adjourned with a salute to the flag.