Posted on: January 5, 2022
The Martins Ferry City Council met in Regular Session on Wednesday, January 5, 2022, 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 and Jim Schramm, Council at Large Members. Mr. Jack Regis, Council at Large Member informed President Davis that he was unable to attend this meeting.
All Council Members were sworn into office by Mayor John Davies before tonight’s Council Meeting except Mr. Regis who was absent.
Minutes: Minutes of the December 23, 2021 Special Council Meetings were approved with the following correction: On page 2, instead of “A Resolution for 2021 Transfers To Be Approved By Council” it should read “Approval of 2021 Transfers By Council”.
Correspondence: There was no correspondence.
President Davis thanked everyone for running for office this year and expressed her appreciation for Council working together for the betterment of the city. She encouraged everyone to refresh themselves with Martins Ferry Code 111 that deals with the responsibilities of Council.
Mrs. Armstrong made a motion to re-hire Kay McFarlan as the Council Clerk. Mr. Rodgers seconded the motion. A roll call vote was heard with Armstrong, Rodgers, Burns, Schramm, Hunker and Shrodes voting yes. The motion carried.
Mr. Burns made a motion to elect Mr. Rodgers President Pro-Tempore. Mr. Schramm seconded the motion. A roll call vote was heard with Burns, Schramm, Hunker, Shrodes, Armstrong and Rodgers voting yes. The motion carried.
President Davis informed Council that they should have received a Financial Disclosure Form through email or paper correspondence. The filing deadline is Monday, May 16, 2022.
Reports of Officers of the City:
Mayor: Mayor Davies reported on the following Departments:
Water Department – Spare motors were purchased for every pump house in the city. If a motor would fail, another one could be immediately installed insuring no disruption of water to citizens. The Scada System was also upgraded with a camera so if the system fails, the camera is activated and the operator can see the activity of the tanks. This is an extra precaution of safety for the water system. Two test wells have been drilled near the old water works building to use as a safe guard in the event of contamination. The water department uses chlorine gas in the purification of the water. The city is going to change to liquid chlorine since the chlorine gas price has increased 30% this year.
Street Department – A sink hole has developed on Luke Road due to a culvert collapse. The Mayor hope to run a new 42” line beginning at St. Myers Terrace down to the creek. Boxes for road salt have been installed on three plow trucks in anticipation of snow at the end of this week.
Recreation Center – Improvements to the Recreation Center are 95% finished. A Physical Therapist tenant will be moving into the building sooner than expected, possibly next week. Rubber mats are needed for the weight room. The batting cage is up and the High School Girls Softball Team used it today. Other income generating opportunities for the Recreation Center are being explored.
Because of safety concerns, Mr. Burns thanked the Mayor for the temporary shut-off valve on Grant Street.
Due to a higher volume of people using the Recreation Center, Mrs. Armstrong inquired about liability issues, especially since the pool still had water in it during the winter months. The Mayor said all the doors leading to the pool are secure.
Mayor Davies told Mr. Rodgers that the furnace in his office will hopefully be repaired soon. The temperature has reached a low of 61 degrees.
Clarification was given to Mr. Shrodes on the appropriation of the $25,000 from the General Fund to the Recreation Fund.
The wall in Riverview Cemetery is collapsing. Council agreed to allow the Mayor to use the sandstone brick, salvaged from the house that was demolished on Center Street, to rebuild the wall.
The city has been trying to get new water meters but the meter companies are unable to obtain them. Eastern Ohio Regional Wastewater Authority is now charging customers an additional $11 more for an estimated reading. Mayor Davies proposed going with a flat water rate or raise the minimum usage rate. Council suggested contacting the city’s Law Director for guidance. Also, Mr. Shrodes set a combined meeting of the Service Committee and Utility Committee for Thursday, January 13 at 5:30 p.m. to discuss this matter.
Service Director: Mr. Sutak expounded on the improvements to the Recreation Center. The restrooms have new tile and sinks. Green turf was acquired for the batting cage and a rubber “home plate” mat will be purchased. A rubber matting will be purchased for the weight room to protect the floor and the weights. There has been an inquiry on renting space for yoga classes. The Recreation Center is rented out every day in January.
Mr. Sutak plans to sell banners advertising local businesses in the City and Valley. The banners will be sold the first year and then a yearly “rent” fee will be charged thereafter if the business still wants the banner displayed inside the gym.
The Mayor said the Recreation Center improvement are two-fold: 1) it give the citizens someplace to go for recreation and 2) hopefully the center can generate $32,000 of income or more to cover the cost of utilities which then would “free up” $32,000 in the General Fund to use for other projects. The goal is to “break even” and provide a service to the citizens of Martins Ferry. Mayor Davies praised and thanked the diverse workforce for all their hard work in getting the center improvements completed. A future goal is to have an “open gym day” for the youth, including serving a meal.
Mr. Sutak distributed a Permanent Improvement Debt Pay Back Schedule to Council and reviewed some of the items. A copy of this schedule will be included with these minutes.
Safety Director: No report.
Auditor: Monthly Financial Reports were distributed to Council. Auditor Randall explained the temporary end-of-year appropriations to Council. She also asked Council to approve two purchase orders that were not approved before the items/services were acquired. Purchase Orders include: 1) $4,841.54 for Northern Panhandle Pipe and Supply, Inc. for 2 inch Sows for the water line project in West Lawn and 2) $6,513 for Panhandle Cleaning and Restoration for contract cleaning at 913 Monroe Street. This house had been approved by the CHP Grant Program with a revolving loan and had to be restored before it could be sold. Bel-O-Mar handles all the paperwork for this program. Knowing that the funds were available, Bel-O-Mar hired Panhandle Cleaning and Restoration, not realizing a purchase order was needed. Mr. Sutak was never notified of this action and will speak to the Bel-O-Mar representative about securing a purchase order in the future.
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: No report.
Street: No report.
Ordinance: Mr. Shrodes set up an Ordinance Meeting for Wednesday, January 12 at 9:00 a.m. in Council Chambers.
Sewer/Sidewalk: No report.
Code Administration: No report.
Safety: No report.
Service: Mr. Shrodes set a combined meeting of the Service Committee and Utility Committee for Thursday, January 13 at 5:30 p.m. in Council Chambers.
Cemetery: No report but Mr. Burns agreed with the wall being re-built with the sandstone bricks salvaged from the demolition of the house on Center Street.
Public Relations: No report.
Real Estate: No report.
Utility: The Utility Committee will meet with the Service Committee on Thursday, January 13 at 5:30 p.m. in Council Chambers.
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 again about an updated on an agreement between East Ohio Regional Hospital and Belmont County Senior Services. The Mayor said this decision has to be made through Senior Services and the Belmont County Commissioners. Mr. Hord asked if it was known what might occupy the former Staffilino Chevrolet Property. The Mayor said he has heard rumors but nothing is definite as of yet. A couple of months ago Council had approved a request to move the Gazeebo on the corner of 5th and Hanover Street to the little park across the street in order to make way for a new business. The Mayor said the weather has delayed this move and nothing is known about what kind of business might occupy the space. It was noted that radon tests on the city’s water supply have continued to read non-undetectable. Mr. Hord was told that a vacation schedule for the city was listed on the City’s Website. He was also given a list of all members on Council Committees by President Davis.
Ordinances and Resolutions:
An Ordinance Clarifying The Position Of Deputy Auditor And Establishing The Monthly Salary Therefore, Effective January 15, 2019.
This Ordinance was given a second reading. This Ordinance will go to a third reading.
Mr. Schramm made a motion to approve an expenditure of $6,513 to Panhandle Cleaning and Restoration for contract cleaning at 913 Monroe Street. Mrs. Armstrong seconded the motion. A roll call vote was heard with Schramm, Hunker, Shrodes, Armstrong, Rodgers and Burns voting yes. The motion carried.
Mr. Hunker made a motion to approve the payment of $4,841.54 to Northern Panhandle Pipe and Supply, Inc. for water pipes. Mr. Rodgers seconded the motion. A roll call vote was heard with Hunker, Shrodes, Armstrong, Rodgers, Burns, and Schramm voting yes. The motion carried.
Mr. Rodgers made a motion to excuse Mr. Regis from tonight’s meeting. Mr. Hunker seconded the motion. After an affirmative voice vote, the motion passed.
Mr. Schramm made a motion to appropriate $22,000 from the Recreation Fund. Motion was seconded by Mr. Shrodes. A roll call vote was heard with Schramm, Hunker, Shrodes, Armstrong, Rodgers and Burns voting yes. The motion carried.
Mr. Shrodes made a motion for Council to go into Executive Session under Ohio Revised Code 121-22, G1. for Contracts. Mr. Burns seconded the motion. A roll call vote was heard with Shrodes, Armstrong, Rodgers, Burns, Schramm and Hunker voting yes. The motion carried.
Mr. Schramm made a motion to go out of Executive Session. Mr. Burns seconded the motion. A roll call vote was heard with Schramm, Hunker, Shrodes, Armstrong, Rodgers and Burns voting yes. The motion carried.
Mr. Schramm 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. Burns. After an affirmative voice vote, the motion passed.
Mrs. Armstrong moved to adjourn, which was seconded by Mr. Rodgers. After an affirmative voice vote, the meeting was adjourned with a salute to the flag.