Posted on: December 23, 2021
The Martins Ferry City Council met is Special Session on Thursday, December 23, 2021, at 6:00 p.m., at the Donald Myers Council Chambers. The meeting was called to order by Council President Pro Tempore Rick Rodgers 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; Rick Rodgers, Fourth Ward Council Member; Tom Burns, Jim Schramm and Jack Regis, Council at Large Members. Suzanne Armstrong, Third Ward Council Member; informed President Davis and President Pro Tempore Rick Rodgers that she was unable to attend this meeting. Councilman Rodgers reserved his right to vote.
Minutes: Minutes of the November 17, 2021 Council Meeting were approved as written.
Correspondence: There was no correspondence.
Mr. Regis moved to change the agenda of the meeting and to read legislation first. Motion was seconded by Mr. Schramm. A roll call vote was heard with Regis, Hunker, Shrodes, Rodgers, Burns and Schramm voting yes. The motion carried.
Ordinances and Resolutions:
Mr. Regis made a motion to suspend the 72 Hour Rule for all legislation. Mr. Shrodes seconded the motion. A roll call vote was heard with Regis, Hunker, Shrodes, Rodgers, Burns and Schramm voting yes. The motion carried.
An Ordinance To Make Appropriations For The Expenses Of The City Of Martins Ferry, State Of Ohio, During The Fiscal Year Ending December 31, 2021, and Declaring An Emergency.
This Ordinance was given a first reading. Mr. Hunker made a motion to suspend the rules. Mr. Burns seconded the motion. A roll call vote was heard with Hunker, Shrodes, Rodgers, Burns, Schramm, and Regis voting yes. The motion carried. Mr. Schramm made a motion to accept the Ordinance as read and Mr. Hunker seconded the motion. A roll call vote was heard with Schramm, Regis, Hunker, Shrodes, Rodgers and Burns voting yes. The motion carried and the Ordinance was declared passed.
An Ordinance to Make Temporary Appropriations For The Expenses of The City of Martins Ferry, State of Ohio, During The First Quarter of The Fiscal Year Ending December 31, 2022 and Declaring An Emergency.
This Ordinance was given a first 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, Rodgers, Burns and Schramm voting yes. The motion carried. Mr. Regis made a motion to pass the Ordinance as read and Mr. Burns seconded the motion. A roll call vote was heard with Regis, Hunker, Shrodes, Rodgers, Burns and Schramm voting yes. The motion carried and the Ordinances was declared passed
An Ordinance Clarifying The Position Of Deputy Auditor And Establishing The Monthly Salary Therefore, Effective January 15, 2019.
This Ordinance was given a first reading. This Ordinance will go to a second reading.
Approval of 2021 Transfers By Council :
From the General Fund:
Cemetery Fund: $ 20,000
EMS Fund: $ 40,000
General Fund To Street Fund for Truck Usage: $ 19,715
Recreation Fund: $ 25,000
Motion was made by Mr. Rodgers that these amounts be taken from the General Fund and placed in the appropriate listed funds. Mr. Hunker seconded the motion. A roll call vote was heard with Rodgers, Burns, Schramm, Regis, Hunker, and Shrodes voting yes. The motion carried and the Resolution was declared passed.
Reports of Officers of the City:
Mayor: Mayor Davies said the Water Department has been dealing with some water breaks. A waterline on West Lawn Avenue has been replaced. It is hoped that a waterline on Old Cadiz Road can be replaced before the end of the year.
Crews have been working on the Recreation Center. The Dining Room and Bathrooms have been remodeled. Lots of painting has been done and all the ceiling tile has been replaced. The tile floor in the hallway has been removed and will be replaced with an epoxy floor. The old sauna room is being converted into a weight room. The School District has donated the weights. A verbal agreement has been made to rent space to a Physical Therapy Physician three days a week. Batting cages have been erected. The Gym has been rented every weekend in January and February for Basketball Tournaments. Signs are being made saying that if a group damages anything in the building, the group will be banned from the building.
The Street Sweeper will be run in the business district tomorrow to remove the leaves and debris.
The Administration is again working on fixing the force main sewer line coming from the Lesco Pump Station. Once again, it is broke. The city has spent $100,000 on this line already this year. The Administration is waiting on details from Eastern Ohio Regional Wastewater Authority about hitting the side of the pump station in Floral Valley.
The city is still not able to get new water meters. The Administration has met with the Badger Company and an estimate was received but was higher than what the Mayor thought was originally discussed. Mayor Davies will contact them to discuss the estimate. Unfortunately Eastern Ohio Regional Wastewater Authority passed legislation that allows them to charge $5 or more per customer for estimated readings. The city wants to purchase analog meters because they can still be read by a water department employee if needed. A digital meter can’t be manually read.
Plans are being made to replace a few catch basins. The city has an ample amount of salt for the beginning of the winter season.
Service Director: Mr. Sutak said batting boxes are needed to help protect the grass carpet on the batting cages. Hourly rates for use of this equipment will soon be decided.
Martins Ferry did not get the Brick Grant which would have helped with creek problems. Only two entities in the State of Ohio received this grant. Mr. Sutak said a Nature Works grant was received this year. An application has been submitted for the State House Bill 168 to help with the direct water line to the hospital and a sewer project. The City is in the top 9 cities being considered for this grant.
Mr. Sutak reported that beginning this month, the water debt that is being taken out of the water operating line item is being reduced. This will help build up the water fund a little more. The Mayor would like to see the customer’s water bill stay the same and take the money that was designated for “water debt” be place into a Capital Outlay Line Item. That way if money is needed for a major project, there would be a reserve and customer rates might not have to be raised to fund the project. Mr. Regis asked that an Ordinance be prepared to clarify this request. Mr. Shrodes scheduled an Ordinance Meeting for January 4 at 5:30 p.m. to consider this matter.
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 will set up a Finance and Audit Committee meeting sometime in January.
Street: No report.
Ordinance: Mr. Shrodes scheduled an Ordinance Meeting for Tuesday, January 4 at 5:30 p.m. in Council Chambers.
Sewer/Sidewalk: No report.
Code Administration: No report.
Safety: No report.
Service: No report.
Cemetery: No report.
Public Relations: No report.
Real Estate: No report.
Utility: The Utility Committeemet on Tuesday, December 7 to discuss unpaid Utility Bills. Mr. Sutak informed the committee that there has been 216 delinquent Utility bills. At that time there were 30 outstanding bills that haven’t been paid. The Mayor said as of yesterday, there were 16 delinquent customers. Shut-Off notices have been sent out, along with the new termination guidelines. A copy of the new guidelines are attached to the committee meeting minutes which will be filed with these Council Minutes.
Income Tax: No report.
Citizens To Be Heard: President Pro Tempore Rodgers reminded citizens to limit their speaking to 5 minutes.
Richard Hord, 915 Virginia Street, asked the Mayor if an agreement has been reached between East Ohio Regional Hospital and Belmont County Senior Services. Mayor Davies has not heard anything from the Commissioners but they have assured him it’s not an exclusive deal but currently there is only one entity involved. Plans are not known about how the former Staffilino Chevrolet building will be used. When asked to list his proudest achievements for 2021, the Mayor replied the joint effort of Council, the Administration and the Employee Unions to work together. Council funded several demolition and infrastructure projects. Next year’s goal is focus on paving city streets and to continue replacing sewer and water lines. Mr. Hord asked Council to consider honoring Jim Nicholson for his years of service to the city. Attorney Nicholson will be closing his office at the end of the year.
Rob Reed, 701 North Lincoln Ave., Bridgeport, Ohio, reported his daughter was rudely treated recently by a city official when she asked for some documentation on the Austin Masters Company. The document requested was the response from Austin Masters on what the company was doing to be in compliance with the Martins Ferry City Ordinances. The Mayor gave Mr. Reed a copy of the letter received from Austin Master stating that the company was visited by Mayor Davies and DNR and they believe they are in compliance. Mr. Reed also asked the status of the water lines on the Washington Blvd. area. He installed a water filtration system in a house he owns on Washington Blvd. and when he recently took out the filter it was filled with mud. The Mayor didn’t know if there had been a water break in that area but he would check with Mr. Suto, Water Superintendent.
Beverly Reed, 98 – 5th Street, Bridgeport, Ohio, asked the Mayor to clarify the “Lesco Line” that he spoke about in his report. Mayor Davies said this is a forced main sewer line that is directed to Lesco only. The city doesn’t have any updates on Austin Masters Sewer line. The Mayor said Radon tests came back two days ago and it is the same level as it was previously which is non-detectable. Ms. Reed asked about the protocol for notices of public meetings. She was directed to check the city’s website where the codified ordinances are listed. Mr. Rodgers also said that his Ordinance Book in on his desk and she is welcome to come in and look through it. Ms. Reed said the Ohio River Concerned Citizens would like to continue the conversation of the water and air concerns at Austin Masters next year.
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. Shrodes made a motion to excuse Mrs. Armstrong from tonight’s meeting. Motion was seconded by Mr. Rodgers. After an affirmative voice vote, the motion passed.
Mr. Hunker moved to adjourn, which was seconded by Mr. Regis. After an affirmative voice vote, the meeting was adjourned with a salute to the flag.