Posted on: November 17, 2021
The Martins Ferry City Council met in Regular Session on Wednesday, November 17, 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; Jim Schramm and Jack Regis, Council at Large Members. Mr. Burns informed President Davis he was unable to attend this meeting.
Minutes: Minutes of the November 3, 2021 Council Meetings were approved as written. Since the approval of the October 20th minutes was overlooked at the last meeting, Mr. Hunker motioned and Mr. Rodgers seconded to approve the October 20th minutes. After an affirmative voice vote, the October 20, 2021 minutes were approved.
Correspondence: There was no correspondence.
Reports of Officers of the City:
Mayor: Mayor Davies said potholes are being patched when the weather permits. On Monday, city workers began working at the Park and Recreation Center. Some of the improvements planned include: scrub and paint the basketball court, paint the downstairs of the center, put new ceiling in the dining area, and perform a maintenance check on the boilers. A schedule of membership fees and prices for difference activities is being prepared. Programs are being planned for all age groups. Martins Ferry High School gave the Center a batting cage and the Mayor would like to purchase another one as well as a Golf Simulator. The Weight Room will be renovated and weights have been donated. The elevator also needs inspected. The Mayor asked Council to appropriate up to $25,000 toward improving the conditions at the Center. It costs $35,000-$50,000 a year to operate the Center which includes heat, electricity, and repairs. The goal is to recoup some of this money and off-set these costs. Mayor Davies signed a Gas Lease for the Park. The city will be receiving about $1,000 from this lease. The Mayor anticipates about $60,000 will be coming from the Gas and Oil Royalties that the Port Authority has and will be placed in the General Fund.
A meeting with the Eastern Ohio Regional Wastewater Authority and the E.P.A. is being planned to discuss the sewer line that runs through National Lime and Stone. The Mayor believes the line is crushed underneath and it will be impossible to find the break. He said there is a couple of options that can be considered.
The city has applied and received an $18,750 grant for new lights in Fodor Field. City employees will likely install the new lights.
Project Forward is asking Council for permission to close 4th to 5th Street on Hanover Street and Walnut Street to Carlisle Street on 5th Street for a Winterfest Celebration on Saturday, December 4. They would also like these streets closed for part of December 3 to set up.
The Mayor mentioned that the budget looks good. It is projected that the General Fund will have over $400,000 at the end of the year.
As of today, Senior Services has not signed a partnership with East Ohio Regional Hospital.
The city supported the hospital in submitting a grant for 2 back-up generators. There is a good chance the hospital will receive this grant.
The city has plenty of road salt for winter and five trucks are available for snow removal, including three new trucks recently purchased by the city.
Mr. Regis asked if the Finance and Audit Committee could look at the receipts and audit the books of the Recreation Center. The Mayor would like to have someone from Council be a liaison with the Center. Unified Bank has donated $25,000 toward improvements to the Park.
The city is having a problem getting new water meters from the Master Meter Company. The company is having supply problems. Another company has been contacted for an estimate. The Mayor was told the wait time for a new fire hydrant is 5-6 months.
Service Director: Mr. Sutak asked Council to consider passing the Resolution authorizing application for funds for recreation from the Federal Land and Water Conservation Fund. This is a 50/50 matching grant. If received, the city could possibly build a barn for batting cages, move and upgrade the basketball court, erect a picnic pavilion, and upgrade the stage and restrooms in the Park.
The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) needed a temporary easement last year when the slip was fixed on State Route 250, from Bridgeport to Crawford Heights. Mr. Sutak will complete the needed paperwork and the State of Ohio will then pay $1,000 for the easement.
Crews will be finishing up maintenance to a waterline. This will make a total of 7 waterlines that have had upgrades this year. These upgrades will elevate breaks and disruption of water service to the citizens.
Mr. Sutak will be working with the city engineers to create a Storm Water Plan as it is mandated by the EPA.
Mr. Regis asked Mr. Sutak to check on an open hole with an exposed pipe by the 6th Street Sub-Station.
Mr. Rodgers asked when the fire hydrant by the Alert Fire Station will be fixed. Mr. Sutak said it is on the Water Superintendents to-do list but there have been a few water breaks and other issues that have needed immediate attention.
Mr. Sutak is looking into grant funding for new hires for the Police Department.
Safety Director: No report.
Auditor: No report.
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 reported the committee will have to meet with Auditor Randall at her convenience to look over the budget.
Street: No report.
Ordinance: No report.
Sewer/Sidewalk: No report.
Code Administration: No report.
Safety: Mr. Schramm reminded Council of the Fire Department’s Christmas Parade on Friday, November 26. Line-up begins at 4:30 p.m. and the parade starts at 6:00 p.m. Also, the Fire Department’s Annual Meeting will be on December 11 at 7:30 p.m. at the Recreation Center.
Service: No report.
Cemetery: No report.
Public Relations: Project Forward will hold their Annual Winterfest on Saturday, December 4, 2021. Also, after the Christmas Parade there will be free hot chocolate and fresh baked cookies.
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, noted that the former Staffilino Property has now been sold and asked the Mayor if he knew who bought it. The Mayor said Mike Ferns bought the building but doesn’t know how the property will be used. Mr. Hord asked for clarification on the EORH Ambulance Service in relationship to the city’s EMS Services. The Mayor stated EORH’s will mainly be transporting mental health patients to other facilities. The hospital’s ambulances are not currently 911 compliant. There has been no agreement yet between EORH and Belmont County Senior Services. Mr. Hord inquired about Auditor Randall since she hasn’t attended the last couple of Council Meetings. He was told she is having health issues but is in daily contact with the office.
Beverly Reed, 98 – 5th Street, Bridgeport, Ohio, commended the city on being mentioned in a recent EPA newsletter for their efforts on the Source Water Protection Plan. She wanted to know about the process of the plan and if there is going to be a committee or a public process. The Mayor said this would be Water Superintendent Bill Suto’s decision. Ms. Reed wanted to let the Administration know that the owner who leases the land to Austin Masters has a responsibility to monitor the water since contaminates were found in a soil sample in 2015. She has not seen any water monitoring results since 2015.
Ordinances and Resolutions:
Mr. Schramm made a motion to suspend the 72 Hour Rule. Mr. Rodgers seconded the motion. A roll call vote was heard with Schramm, Regis, Hunker, Shrodes, Armstrong, and Rodgers voting yes. The motion carried.
A Resolution Authorizing Application For Funds From The Federal Land and Water Conservation Fund.
Mr. Regis made a motion to suspend the rules. Mr. Shrodes seconded the motion. A roll call vote was heard with Regis, Hunker, Shrodes, Armstrong, Rodgers and Schramm voting yes. The motion carried. Mr. Hunker made a motion to pass the Resolution as read. Mr. Schramm seconded the motion. A roll call vote was heard with Hunker, Shrodes, Armstrong, Rodgers, Schramm, and Regis voting yes. The motion carried and the Resolution was declared passed.
Mr. Shrodes made a motion to authorize the Service Director to sign paperwork as secretary of the City of Martins Ferry, granting an easement to ODOT from St. Rt. 250 in Bridgeport to Crawford Heights. Mr. Hunker seconded the motion. A roll call vote was heard with Shrodes, Armstrong, Rodgers, Schramm, Regis and Hunker voting yes. The motion carried.
Mr. Schramm made a motion to appropriate up to $25,000, from the General Fund, for the Mayor and Service Director to make improvements to the Recreation Center. Motion was seconded by Mr. Regis. A roll call vote was heard with Schramm, Regis, Hunker, Shrodes, Armstrong, and Rodgers voting yes. The motion 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. Hunker. After an affirmative voice vote, the motion passed.
Mr. Rodgers made a motion to allow Project Forward to close Hanover Street from 4th Street to 5th Street and 5th Street from Walnut to Carlisle Street on December 3rd and 4th for Winterfest. Mrs. Armstrong seconded the motion. A roll call vote was heard with Rodgers, Schramm, Regis, Hunker, Shrodes and Armstrong voting yes. The motion carried.
Mr. Regis made a motion to go into Executive Session under Ohio Revised Code 121.22, section 1, Personnel. Motion was seconded by Mr. Hunker. A roll call vote was heard with Regis, Hunker, Shrodes, Armstrong, Rodgers and Schramm voting yes. The motion carried.
Mr. Rodgers made a motion to go out of Executive Session. Motion was seconded by Mr. Regis. A roll call vote was heard with Rodgers, Schramm, Regis, Hunker, Shrodes and Armstrong voting yes. The motion carried.
Mr. Shrodes made a motion to excuse Mr. Burns from tonight’s meeting. Motion was seconded by Mr. Schramm. After an affirmative voice vote, the motion passed.
Mr. Regis made a motion to suspend the 2 regular December Meetings. A special meeting will be scheduled when needed. Motion was seconded by Mrs. Armstrong. A roll call vote was heard with Regis, Hunker, Shrodes, Armstrong, Rodgers and Schramm voting yes. The motion carried.
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.