Posted on: April 8, 2022
The Martins Ferry City Council met in Regular Session on Wednesday, March 16, 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, Jim Schramm and Jack Regis, Council at Large Members.
Minutes: Minutes of the February 16, 2022 Council Meeting were approved as written.
Correspondence: There was no correspondence.
Reports of Officers of the City:
Mayor: The Martins Ferry Civics would like permission to close Zane Highway to 4th Street and 5th Street to Hickory Street in order to have a Car Show on April 30, 2022 (Opening Day of Baseball).
Most of the potholes in town have been patched.
A large waterline has been replaced on Old Cadiz Pike. Another smaller waterline will be replaced near the old City Garage toward the Yacht Club.
A garage at 100 North 5th Street is collapsing and falling into the alley causing an extreme hazard. The current resident cannot get a deed for the property since he bought it on land contract and the owner is now deceased. The current resident is financially unable to have the structure torn down. If the city has to take the structure down, the debri disposal will be the biggest expense since it has to be hauled to the landfill. A lien could be placed on the property but there is already a lien of $12,000 against it for back taxes.
The Recreation Center is 90% complete. The Weight Room and Cardio Room will be ready by April 1, when memberships will start. Two gentlemen have agreed to teach wrestling as soon as the mats are laid in the Racquetball Court. The Mayor would like to open up a room in the Center where kids can have a safe place to hang out.
Part-time workers will begin working in the Cemetery at the end of March or early April. Material has been secured to rebuild some of the cemetery walls. Rebuilding and replacing the cemetery walls will be an ongoing project. An Eagle Scout has offered to rebuild a small wall near the storage shed for his service project.
The Sewer Department will begin work on 12 critically deteriorating Catch Basins. A few Catch Basins will need to be added to be in compliance with the EPA. Capital Improvement Money and American Rescue Money will be used to fund this project.
Mayor Davies said it will cost about $30,000 to build an Impound Lot on the former Rose Café property. The gravel lot will measure about 100’ x 100’ with a 6’ fence with barb wire on top. The Mayor would like to get a loan from the Permanent Improvement Fund to finance this project.
The Mayor proposed borrowing 1.2 million dollars to pave many of the city’s roadways now because material costs will only continue to rise in the future. The 15 year repayment plan of this loan will mainly come from the income tax money and county money. Grant funding will also be searched for to fund this project. The Mayor shared the suggested areas for paving.
Service Director: Mr. Sutak explained the 15 year payback plan for the proposed 1.2 million dollar road paving job suggested by the Mayor. Funding would come from the yearly 4% of city income tax designated for paving, County Permissive Money, and Street Department Funds. Mr. Sutak asked Council to consider this proposal.
Martins Ferry was not selected for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Grant that would have enabled the city to enhance the City Park. Many applications were received which caused considerable competition. Mr. Sutak will contact ODNR for suggestions on how to improve our application and then re-apply next year.
Safety Director: No report.
Auditor: No report.
Law Director: No report.
Police Department: Chief McFarland reported that 2 full-time positions are open at the department and in April an officer will be retiring. Two new officers will be starting at the end of March and one will start in April.
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 on March 8, 2022 to discuss budget appropriations. Adjustments may have to be made due to the Police and AFSCME contracts still being negotiated and the uncertainty of rising fuel costs. Issues with the Street Lights, Parking Meters, and State Route 647 were also discussed. Mr. Regis asked Council to consider passing a motion to repay a $3,500 note and an $800 note from Sanitation to the Permanent Improvement Fund. Minutes of this meeting will be filed with these Council minutes.
Street: Mr. Rodgers scheduled a joint Street Committee and Finance Committee Meeting on Monday, March 28, 2022 at 10:00 a.m. in Council Chambers to discuss the proposed 1.2 million dollar street paving project.
Ordinance: Mr. Shrodes said that the Committee is recommending changes to the Ordinance regarding Notification of Public Business. Mr. Stecker is working on re-wording this Ordinance.
Sewer/Sidewalk: No report.
Code Administration: No report.
Safety: No report.
Service: Mr. Shrodes scheduled a Service Committee Meeting for Monday, April 4, 2022 at 5:30 p.m. in Council Chambers to discuss dilapidated houses and trash violations.
Cemetery: Mr. Burns has spoken to several Funeral Directors and Cemetery Staff about cremations and the need for a Columbarium. He gave a report on the construction, need, and cost of a Columbarium for Riverview Cemetery. Estimated cost to build the building is between $44,000 and $50,000.
Public Relations: No report.
Real Estate/Utility: No report.
Income Tax: No report.
Citizens To Be Heard: President Davis reminded citizens to limit their speaking to 5 minutes.
Michael Bianconi, Pease Township Trustee and a member of the JB Green Team, Belmont County, thanked the Mayor and Council for their efforts in getting East Ohio Regional Hospital re-opened. Mr. Bianconi distributed the 2022 Community Clean-Up Schedule and explained what items are accepted. There will also be a date for Tire Collection. Mr. Sutak offered to host a Tire Collection Day for the JB Green Team later in the year so it could be more accessible for citizens on this side of the County to dispose of tires.
Richard Hord, 915 Virginia Street, heard that the Port Authority was working with Dr. Johnson of East Ohio Regional Hospital on a future project. The Mayor did not know anything about this issue. Mr. Hord was told there are no plans to hire a Director of Development since the city works closely with Bel-O-Mar, an organization that plans community and economic development in Belmont, Ohio and Marshall Counties. When asked about the former Staffilino Property, the Mayor said he and Mr. Sutak met with the owner who would like to meet with other business owners in the area regarding possible ideas for the property. Regarding the re-paving of South Zane Highway, Mr. Hord was told that the Administration was still working on it. Mr. Hord asked if the city could honor Don Falbo who will be celebrating 70 years as a barber and also Ohio Valley Printing, owned by Phil Wallace, which has been in business for 100 years. The Mayor said he has 5 citizens nominated for proclamations of appreciation.
Ordinances and Resolutions:
An Ordinance To Make Appropriations For The Expenses Of The City of Martins Ferry, State of Ohio, During The Fiscal Year Ending December 31, 2022, and Declaring An Emergency.
This Ordinance was given a first reading. Motion was made by Mr. Regis to suspend the rules. Motion was seconded by Mr. Burns. 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. Shrodes to pass the Ordinance as read. Motion was seconded by Mr. Schramm. A roll call vote was heard with Shrodes, Armstrong, Rodgers, Burns, Schramm, Regis and Hunker voting yes. The motion carried and the Ordinance was declared passed.
AN ORDINANCE AUTHORIZING THE CITY OF MARTINS
FERRY TO ENTER INTO A CONTRACT FOR THE ZANE
HIGHWAY 12” WATERLINE CONNECTION TO AETNA
STREET BOOSTER STATION AND DECLARING AN
Mr. Regis made a motion to appropriate $10,000 from the General Fund for the demolition of a garage at 100 North 5th Street, considered to be an imminent danger, with the stipulation that if the cost is over $10,000, the Administration will revisit the issue with Council regarding the additional payment. Motion was seconded by Mr. Burns. A roll call vote was heard with Regis, Hunker, Shrodes, Armstrong, Rodgers, Burns and Schramm voting yes. The motion carried.
Mr. Regis made a motion that Council repay two notes from Sanitation, one for $3,500 and one for $800, to the Permanent Improvement Fund. Motion was seconded by Mr. Rodgers. A roll call vote was heard with Regis, Hunker, Shrodes, Armstrong, Rodgers, Burns and Schramm voting yes. The motion carried.
Mr. Schramm made a motion to appropriate $30,000 from the Permanent Improvement Fund for the cost of an impound lot, with re-payment made from the proceeds. 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. Regis made a motion to allow the Civics to close Zane Highway to 4th Street and 5th Street to Hickory Street in order to have a Car Show on April 30, 2022 (Opening Day of Baseball). Motion was seconded by Mr. Rodgers. A roll call vote was heard with Regis, Hunker, Shrodes, Armstrong, Rodgers, Burns and Schramm voting yes. The motion carried.
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.
When the Water Department replaces the water line near the Martins Ferry Yacht Club, Mr. Rodgers asked Mr. Sutak to check on the water meter and usage at the Club.
Mr. Shrodes moved to adjourn, which was seconded by Mrs. Armstrong. 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