Posted on: October 20, 2021
The Martins Ferry City Council met in Regular Session on Wednesday, October 20, 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 October 6, 2021 Regular Council Meeting were approved as written.
Correspondence: There was no correspondence.
Reports of Officers of the City:
Mayor: Mayor Davies reported maintenance at the cemetery is wrapping up for the season. Some dead trees still need to be removed. Potholes are being patched in the north end of the city.
Someone turned the Pit off on Patty Mine Road in Crawford Height. By the time city crews arrived, the Pit had been turned back on. Unfortunately, this produced air in the lines and caused 3 water breaks. When air isn’t bled out of the line, it destroys the system.
Three new dump trucks were purchased this year and the third one should arrive next week. City trucks are being serviced and prepped for the winter season. Currently, the city has 100 tons of salt and an additional 300 tons has been ordered and should be arriving soon.
The Mayor contacted ODOT and asked that the weeds be cut back from Route 7, particularly south of Hanover Street. Under the bridge on Center Street, weeds and brush will be pushed back 20 feet.
After monitoring the truck traffic at Austin Masters, the EPA reported there were no big discrepancies. The Mayor met with ODNR and toured the Austin Masters Plant. He explained to Council the the workings of the company, their procedures and safety precautions. The Mayor asked Council’s permission to build a monitoring well to detect any potential problems early in the system.
The Mayor would like to purchase a Skid Steer on tracks. The city currently has a brush hog that fits on a Skid Steer. It does a great job but is unstable on slopes. Prices ranges from $49,000 – $62,000. The cost of the machine can be divided by 4 different departments.
The Finance Committee met before the Council Meeting and the city finances are in good shape.
Dan Stephens owns the Gazeebo at the corner of 5th and Hanover Streets. He would like to donate the Gazeebo to the city and have it moved across the street. Mr. Stephens plans to develop the land that the Gazeebo currently sits on.
Mr. Regis noted the traffic lights at the Intersection of Hanover and Rt. 7 are not timed correctly and asked if a study could be done. He feels that timing is off for south bound traffic. The Mayor said he would check with Auditor Randall to see if the city is paid by kilowatt hours or by the pole.
Mr. Rodgers asked how many fire hydrants were out-of-order in the city. The Mayor said he would have to get that information from the Water Superintendent. Also, Mr. Rodgers inquired about repairs to the back wall on the city building. The Mayor said they are going to use the Fire Department’s bucket truck and build a wall on the roof and waterproof it with sealant.
The Mayor thanked Council for working well with the Administration. The year is ending with a strong budget.
Service Director: Mr. Sutak said the cemetery was in good shape and the summer help is now cutting the city owned lots. Maintenance is being done at the Park to get it ready for the Lions Club Fall Festival on Saturday. City crews are patching potholes and repairing catch basins. Mr. Sutak will also “lock-in” the price for another 300 ton of salt if needed. If the salt isn’t used, the city is not charged for it. Mr. Sutak estimated the cost of salt was about $72 a ton.
Safety Director: No report.
Auditor: No report.
Law Director: No report.
Police Department: Chief McFarland thanked Mr. Sutak for finding a grant to purchase Fire Extinguishers for the police cruisers. A grant for Officer Training is also being sought. The training classes will be held next year. Estimated cost for training classes, room and board is $5,000.
Fire Department: No report.
Code Administrator: No report.
Park District: No report.
Water Department: No report.
Reports of Committees of Council:
Finance and Audit: The Committee met at 5:30 p.m. before tonight’s Council Meeting and addressed appropriations and line items that are coming up short. Mr. Regis checked into issues with the Caretakers House at Riverview Cemetery. The gentleman that rents the house cuts some of the cemetery grass and pays for all his utilities and home repairs. He also keeps watch for illegal dumping and vandalism. Mr. Regis asked that Council consider these services before raising the rent. Mr. Rodgers asked that the contract be reviewed and these duties be included in the rental agreement.
Street: No report.
Ordinance: Mr. Shrodes asked the Mayor to explain the Resolution being consider in support of Belmont County Senior Services working with East Ohio Regional Hospital (EORH). Mayor Davies explained that last week the Belmont County Commissioners partnered with WVU Wheeling Hospital to provide services to the Senior Services Centers in the County and in doing so excluded East Oho Regional Hospital. The Mayor feels all area Health Care Facilities should be utilized and has voiced his opinion on social media. He is not against the Senior Services Levy but would like to see the County’s Government Officials support EORH and stop outsourcing services to out-of-county and out-of-state facilities.
Sewer/Sidewalk: No report.
Code Administration: No report.
Safety: No report.
Service: The Service Committee met on Thursday, October 14. It was agreed that the creation of an Impound Lot is a good idea. Mr. Shrodes encouraged the Finance Committee to seek funding for this project. The Mayor thinks the city workers could do most of the construction of the fence. The committee also agreed that the Park District will maintain the pool and concession stand. The city will assume responsibility for the Recreation Center and Park. New ideas for use of the facilities was also discussed.
Cemetery: Mr. Burns
Public Relations: No report.
Real Estate/Utility: The Mayor has had a few inquiries about the Former Rose Café property. An 8ft. wide sewer runs through this property. If this property is sold, it needs sold to a business developer. To build revenue for the General Fund, the Mayor thought maybe the land could be used for storage sheds. Mr. Shrodes suggested waiting a little while to decide what to do with the property. A total of $18,978.32 was spent on the demolition of the 3 buildings demolished by the Mayor.
Income Tax: No report.
Citizens To Be Heard: President Davis reminded citizens to limit their speaking to 5 minutes.
Richard Hord, 915 Virginia Street, went to the Belmont County Commissioner’s Meeting today and asked about the partnership between Senior Services of Belmont County and WVU Wheeling Hospital. Commissioner Dutton said that East Ohio Regional Hospital may possibly be considered for future involvement but nothing specific was mentioned. The Mayor said that EORH is putting together some programs to take services directly to the high rise apartment buildings. Seniors that are transported to EORH by Martins Ferry EMS do not pay any out-of-pocket cost for transportation. Medicare will be billed and any remaining amount due is taken care of by a levy that voters have in place. State Representatives and the Governor will be notified of this action taken by the Belmont County Commissioners. Mr. Hord noted that the former Staffilino Chevrolet Building is for sale. He hopes something positive will happen on the site. Mr. Hord inquired if there has been any interest in the former PNC Bank. The Mayor said Unified Bank owns the property and because of the type of lease, no other bank is allowed to occupy the building.
Rev. James Agnew, 100 North 8th Street, announced that he is one of the candidates running for the Martins Ferry School Board. He has lived in Martins Ferry for 42 years and is the Pastor of the Tree of Life Church on Virginia Street. He believes in the children of Martins Ferry and wants to do a good job for them. If elected, he will be fair and work hard with the other Board Members to insure unity and a good future for the children.
Beverly Reed, 98 – 5th Street, Bridgeport, Ohio, spoke on behalf of the Ohio River Concerned Citizens Group. The group is opened to having a follow-up meeting on the water testing with Dr. Gorby and the Administration. Dr. Gorby can give the city recommendations on how to conduct the water testing. She asked that a copy of the water test results from Austin Masters be made available to Dr. Gorby to see what is being tested, what depths the tests are being performed, and what tests might still be needed. She would like to learn more about the Ozone treatment used at the Martins Ferry Water Plant. The Mayor offered to give her a tour.
Rob Reed, 701 North Lincoln Street, Bridgeport, Ohio expressed appreciation for the meeting between the Mayor and the Ohio River Concerned Citizens Group. He told Council that in the next few months more trucks hauling toxic material will be on the road. He predicts that Austin Masters will be receiving a tremendous volume of materials in the next few years. It is hoped that businesses are doing the best they can to limit citizens to exposure to hazardous elements.
Ordinances and Resolutions:
An Ordinance to Revise the Codified Ordinances By Adopting Current Replacement Pages, and Declaring An Emergency.
This Ordinance was given a second reading. Mr. Regis made a motion to suspend the rules. Mr. Hunker seconded the motion. A roll call vote was heard with Regis, Hunker, Shrodes, Armstrong, Rodgers, Burns and Schramm voting yes. The motion carried. Motion was made by Mr. Schramm 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.
Mr. Hunker made a motion to Suspend the 72 Hour Rule. Motion was seconded by Mr. Shrodes. A roll call vote was heard with Hunker, Shrodes, Armstrong, Rodgers, Burns, Schramm, and Regis voting yes. The motion carried.
An Ordinance For Providing for Assessments To Be Levied And Authorizing The Service Director To Certify Those Assessments To The Belmont County Auditor And Declaring An Emergency.
This Ordinance was given a first reading. Mr. Shrodes made a motion and Mrs. Armstrong seconded to suspend the rules. 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 pass the ordinance as read. Mr. Burns seconded the motion. A roll call vote was heard with Rodgers, Burns, Schramm, Regis, Hunker, Shrodes and Armstrong voting yes. The motion carried and the Ordinance was declared passed.
Mr. Hunker made a motion to suspend the 72 hour rule. The motion was seconded by Mr. Regis. A roll call vote was heard with Hunker, Shrodes, Armstrong, Rodgers, Burns, Schramm, and Regis voting yes. The motion carried.
A Resolution In Support Of Belmont County Senior Services Working With East Ohio Regional Hospital.
This Resolution was given a first reading. Mr. Schramm made a motion to suspend the rules. Motion was seconded by Mr. Regis. A roll call vote was heard with Schramm, Regis, Hunker, Shrodes, Armstrong, Rodgers and Burns voting yes. The motion carried. Mr. Burns made a motion to pass the Resolution as read. Mr. Regis seconded the motion. A roll call vote was heard with Burns, Schramm, Regis, Hunker, Shrodes, Armstrong and Rodgers voting yes. The motion carried and the Resolution was declared passed.
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. Shrodes. After an affirmative voice vote, the motion passed.
Mr. Regis moved to allow the Gazebo to be moved across the street to the small city park. 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.
Mr. Burns made a motion that Council allow the Mayor to look into the purchase of a new Brush Hog Skid Steer. Mr. Hunker seconded the motion. A roll call vote was heard with Burns, Schramm, Regis, Hunker, Shrodes, Armstrong and Rodgers voting yes. The motion was declared passed.
The Mayor announced that the city will be receiving about $50,000 in gas and oil royalties which will be placed in the General Fund.
Mr. Shrodes inquired about the company interested in logging on Memorial Park Road. The Mayor said he hasn’t heard from the company.
The Mayor said he will get estimates on building a test well and report back to Council.
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.