City of Martins Ferry

Martins Ferry City Council Meeting Minutes of January 19, 2022

Posted on: February 8, 2022

The Martins Ferry City Council met in Regular Session on Wednesday, January 19, 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; James Schramm and Jack Regis, Council at Large Members.   Tom Burns, Council at Large Member, informed President Davis that he was unable to attend this meeting. 

Minutes:  Minutes of the January 5, 2022 Council Meetings were approved as written.   

Correspondence:  There was no correspondence. 

Reports of Officers of the City:

Mayor:  Regarding the recent snow storm, Mayor Davies thanked the city employees who worked 32 hours straight to keep the roads clear.  During this time, there were no vehicle accidents reported by the police department. 

The gym at the Recreation Center is rented every day in January and every weekend in February.  Dr. Estock opened his office at the Center on Monday. 

A letter, asking for final payment, was received from the Engineer who put in the 12” water line on South Zane Highway.  The water line is working fine, but the Mayor and Council are not happy with the condition of paving job.  A letter was sent to the Paving Company about the condition of the job.  The Paving Company thought it was a great job.  The Mayor would like to get the EPA involved since they provided the money on a forgivable loan. 

The Mayor met with Eastern Ohio Regional Wastewater Authority (EORWA) regarding the extra surcharge of $11.38 added to customer’s bills that have an estimated reading.  These estimated readings are due to broken water meters.  The city ordered new meters in July but the company is unable to fill the order because of supply issues.  Letters are being sent to all customers saying if  an “E” (for estimated) is on your bill, you will need to read the meter and submit this reading to the Utility Office before the end of the month to avoid the extra EORWA charge.  The city’s website will soon contain instructions on how to read the water meters as well as a form to submit the reading to the Utility Office.  If someone is unable to read their meter, personnel from the Water Department will be available to go to the customer’s house and read it for them.  Mr. Sutak asked Council and the citizens to be patient while the employees work through this situation.  Because the city is taking this course of action to fix this problem, EORWA has agreed to omit the surcharge until the June 1st billing. 

The Mayor asked Council to create an Ordinance to place the Water Debt money into the Water Capital Projects Fund that would provide for future upgrades to the Water Plant and Water System. 

Service Director:  Another batting cage has been ordered and will be arriving soon at the Recreation Center.  Time slots will be available for the public to sign up to use the batting cages.  Mr. Sutak is working with a company to place a rubberized flooring in the weight room.  Membership fees are being considered.   Money generated by the Center helps pay utilities and maintenance for the building.  Open gym days for kids, including a meal, are being planned. 

Another 50 tons of road salt will be ordered.  The city has already used over 100 tons of salt this year.

A Town Hall Meeting has been scheduled for Sunday, February 6, 2022 at 7:00 p.m. at the Recreation Center.  Some topics that will be discussed include: Improvements to the Recreation Center, Splash Water Park for the Pool Area, and Banners for Advertising Businesses and Organizations. 

Safety Director:  Director Regis reported the Fire Department had their Annual Meeting on December 11.  Tom Kelly was re-elected as Fire Chief and Ron Hilton was elected as Assistant Chief.  The Department battled a structure fire yesterday.  There were no injuries but the family’s pet died in the blaze. 

There were four EMS calls during the recent snow storm and the new 4-wheel drive ambulance was very useful during that time.  Director Regis would like to “clean up” the EMS lot.  He will speak to the EMA about relocating the Mass Casualty Trailer to St. Clairsville.  The tires are dry rotted and most of the equipment inside is expired.  Council’s permission was requested to sell 3 old ambulances that have been taken out of service. 

Director Regis asked Council for permission to use the City Park (and blocking off part of Zane Highway and Grant Avenue while the Festival is open) on August 3-6 for Betty Zane Days.  Also requested was the use of 4th Street in Front of the Ladder Station for the Annual Fire Department’s Water Battle on August 6.

            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:  No report. 

Street: No report.

Ordinance:  Mr. Shrodes reported the Committee met on January 12, 2022 to discuss the Ordinance clarifying the position of Deputy Auditor and the monthly salary.  The committee decided to recommend that Council pass this Ordinance.  In the future, the committee urged Council and the Administration to have all ordinances brought to the committee for discussion, unless in an emergency.  Minutes of this meeting will be filed with these Council Minutes. 

            Sewer/Sidewalk:  No report.

Code Administration:  No report.

            Safety: No report.

            Service:  No report. 

            Cemetery:  No report. 

Public Relations:  Later in the meeting, Mr. Rodgers scheduled a Public Relations Meeting for Tuesday, January 25 at 9:30 a.m.

Real Estate:  No report. 

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 if Martins Ferry would consider creating a Walking/Biking Trail.  The Mayor said most of the city’s land is being utilized.  The school does have a track that can be utilized by the public.  Mr. Hord asked for an update regarding the relationship between Senior Services and East Ohio Regional Hospital.  The Belmont County Commissioners control the operations of Senior Services.  The Mayor did not know why the Commissioners have not moved forward on establishing a relationship with EORH.  Mr. Hord was told that the Administration has received a report from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) regarding operations at the Austin Masters Plant.  Austin Masters has corrected the four findings that were found.  The Water Department tests the water daily and a test well has been installed as a safe guard.  Nothing is definite yet on what might occupy the former Staffilino Building. 

Kyle Frye, 58940 Glens Run Road, Martins Ferry, asked Council about purchasing property, adjacent to his property, owned by the city.  This purchase would enable him to add an addition to his home.  Council referred this to the Real Estate Committee. 

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 third reading.  Motion was made by Mr. Schramm and seconded by Mr. Shrodes to pass this Ordinance as read.  Mr. Stecker said State Auditors requested this Ordinance to clarify the previous Ordinance.  A roll call vote was heard with Schramm, Regis, Hunker, Shrodes, Armstrong, and Rodgers voting yes.  The motion carried. 






Miscellaneous Business:   

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. Rodgers.   After an affirmative voice vote, the motion passed.  

Mr. Hunker made a motion to roll-over the charge for the water debt to Fund 107 going forward for Capital Improvements.  Motion was seconded by Mr. Rodgers.  A roll call vote was heard with Hunker, Shrodes, Armstrong, Rodgers, Schramm, and Regis voting yes. 

Mr. Stecker will prepare an Ordinance stating that the water debt charge is to be rolled over to Fund 107 for Capital Improvements.

Mr. Schramm made a motion to excuse Mr. Burns from tonight’s meeting.  Mr. Regis seconded the motion.  After an affirmative voice vote, the motion passed.  

            Mr. Regis made a motion to permit the Fire Department to use the City Park for Betty Zane Days, August 3-6, 2022, and to close part of Zane Highway and Grant Avenue when the Festival is in operation. Also, to grant permission to close 4th Street, from Hickory Street to Locust Street on August 6 to allow the Fire Department to hold their Annual Water Battle.  Motion was seconded by Mr. Schramm.  After an affirmative voice vote, the motion passed.  

            Mayor Davies asked Mr. Stecker to respond, in writing, to Eastern Ohio Regional Wastewater Authority regarding the city’s plan with water meter readings. 

            Mr. Regis made a motion to allow the Safety Director to advertise for sealed bids to sell 3 ambulances.  Motion was seconded by Mr. Shrodes.  A roll call vote was heard with Regis, Hunker, Shrodes, Armstrong, Rodgers, and Schramm voting yes.  The motion carried. 

            Mr. Rodgers scheduled a Public Relations Meeting for Tuesday, January 25, 2022 at 9:30 a.m. to discuss drafting a letter to the Belmont County Commissioners regarding Senior Services contracting and utilizing the services of East Ohio Regional Hospital as well as Wheeling Hospital.  The Commissioners have repeatedly said they do not have an exclusive contract with Wheeling Hospital but it is the only hospital being used at this time. 

            Because Council Members have started a new term, each member must complete the Sunshine Law Training on-line.  President Davis will send each member an email with a link to the training. 

            Mr. Rodgers asked if the Code Administrator could begin citing homeowners for not clearing snow from their sidewalks.  Mr. Shrodes said this could create a hardship for elderly residents.  The Mayor said if he enforced this ordinance on businesses, then he would have to enforce it on everyone.  Homeowners and Businesses are responsible to keep their sidewalks clear of snow and debris.  

             Mrs. Armstrong moved to adjourn, which was seconded by Mr. Shrodes.  After an affirmative voice vote, the meeting was adjourned with a salute to the flag.

___________________________________               ___________________________________
Kay H. McFarlan, Clerk of Council                           Kristine Davis, Council President