Posted on: May 19, 2022
The Martins Ferry City Council met in Regular Session on Wednesday, May 4, 2022, 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,; Suzanne Armstrong, Third Ward Council Member; Rick Rodgers, Fourth Ward Council Member; Jim Schramm and Jack Regis, Council at Large Members. Bruce Shrodes, Second Ward Council Member and Tom Burns, Council at Large Member informed President Davis and President Pro Tempore Rick Rodgers that they were unable to attend this meeting. Councilman Rodgers reserved his right to vote.
Minutes: Minutes of the April 20, 2022 Council Meeting were approved as written.
Correspondence: There was no correspondence.
Reports of Officers of the City:
Mayor: The Mayor asked the Council Clerk to read the Declaration of Proclamation for the Rev. William O. Webster. Rev. Webster came to Grace Presbyterian Church in November, 1987 shortly after Clerk McFarlan’s father retired from Grace Church. Rev. Webster thanked the Mayor and said it was a privilege to give back to the city and community. Rev. Webster received a standing ovation.
The City Clean-Up, held at the city garage, went well and the Mayor praised the employees who worked that day. Curbside clean-up will be held in the fall.
Crews are patching potholes in-between raindrops. Grass cutting has begun in the cemeteries and work will begin soon on the wall in Riverview Cemetery.
The Grant Avenue catch basins are finished. Part of a sewer collapsed on Broadway Street and has now been repaired. Work on the Impound Lot has begun.
The City Park was cleaned and the grass cut for the Opening Day of Baseball/Softball Season on April 30, 2022. The Mayor announced the members of the Park Board. The diving board, at the swimming pool, will need repaired or replaced.
A water line project will begin next week near Wilson Blacktop and the old city garage.
The Youth Room at the Recreation Center is almost ready to be opened. The Mayor made a plea on Social Media for a number of items needed such as a pool table, air hockey table, gaming devices, etc. and the response was overwhelming.
The back of the third reserve Packer is in bad shape and repairs would cost about $90,000. The estimated cost of a new Packer is $194,000. The Mayor and Service Director are working on funding options for a new Packer.
The State of Ohio has $500,000,000 to be given to Appalachia Communities. Contacts have been made to see what monies the city might be eligible to receive.
Mr. Sutak continues to work on a paving plan. Currently the city has enough County Permissive Tax money to pave 9th Street. The Mayor asked for Council’s permission to advertise for paving bids for 9th Street, Crawford Heights, Hillendale and Floral Valley. He also outlined a funding plan for a $1.2 million paving project for next year.
The one-story dilapidated house on Broadway Street has now been declared a public nuisance and hazard by the Safety Director. A letter has been sent to the owner stating this issue will be sent to court. The Mayor stated this house must be demolished.
Mr. Regis reported that he saw 4 kids exiting the rear of the former Curley House. This house needs to be torn down. The Mayor will again send city employees to board up doorways and windows to secure the property.
Mr. Rodgers asked for an update on the sewer line at Floral Valley. The Mayor said that Ohio/West Virginia Excavating couldn’t locate that pipeline and had to use a special procedure. No completion date is known but the project is moving ahead.
Service Director: Mr. Sutak said the Mayor covered everything in his report.
Safety Director: People were concerned when they heard the fire engine and police car sirens this past weekend. It is a tradition that when one of the high school teams win a championship, it is celebrated with a mini parade through town.
Director Regis will meet with the Police Chief and Fire Chief to develop a protocol on when to activate the Emergency Siren and for what situations such as tornado, hazardous material spill, etc.
Director Regis would like Council’s permission to move forward with an auction for vehicles and other equipment the city is no longer using. Councilman Regis has a lot of experience with auctions and has offered to help.
It was also mentioned that code enforcement is becoming a big issue for the city. Ideas are being explored to pressure citizens to be more accountable for their property’s maintenance.
Auditor: The Financial Report for April as well as the 2023 Budget was distributed to Council. Auditor Randall explained that she wanted Council to have time to look over the 2023 Budget and encouraged them to ask questions. This budget must be submitted to the Belmont County Auditor by July 20th. It was proposed to cancel the July 6th and July 20th Council Meetings and schedule a Public Hearing on July 13 at 5:30 p.m. followed by a Council Meeting to approve the budget. Mr. Sutak would like to have a Budget Hearing with the County Budget Commission to discuss funding that may or may not be coming to the city.
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 schedule a meeting when it is convenient for Auditor Randall.
Street: No report.
Ordinance: No report.
Sewer/Sidewalk: No report.
Code Administration: No report.
Safety: Mr. Schramm spoke to Chief McFarland regarding the high number of miles on some of the Police Cruisers. The Mayor is meeting with a representative from Enterprise on May 19. After this meeting, a decision will be made whether to continue with the service of Enterprise or revert to the city directing purchasing police vehicles.
Service: No report.
Cemetery: No report.
Public Relations: No report.
Real Estate/Utility: No report.
Income Tax: No report.
Citizens To Be Heard: President Pro-Tempore Rodgers reminded citizens to limit their speaking to 5 minutes.
Shannon Kosky, 211 North 7th Street, notified Council that she lives next to the house at 225 North 7th Street and it has become a nuisance property. Parts of the house are falling in and a menagerie of animals live in the structure. The Mayor said he has spoken to the owner and they said the grass would be cut once every two weeks. This is a huge house and it would cost a lot to tear it down. The Mayor will send a crew to the house and board up the broken windows/doors to secure the property.
Richard Hord, 915 Virginia Street, asked if there has been any business prospects for the vacant lot on the corner of 5th and Hanover and the former Staffilino property. The Mayor replied there are no definite plans for either properties at this time. Mr. Hord also inquired if there were any prospects for the former Valley Vending Services Building on the corner of 4th and Jefferson Street. He was told the building is being used for storage. Mr. Hord thanked the individuals responsible for the creation of the plaque honoring all the chiefs of police in Martin Ferry. When asked his opinion on yesterday’s Primary results, the Mayor said he doesn’t see a lot of change for the city until the general election.
Ordinances and Resolutions:
There were no Ordinances or Resolutions to be read.
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 cancel the July 6th and the July 20th Council Meeting and schedule a Council Meeting for July 13th in order to pass the 2023 Budget. A public hearing on the budget will be held at 5:30 p.m. before the July 13th meeting. The motion was seconded by Mr. Schramm. A roll call vote was heard with Regis, Hunker, Armstrong, Rodgers, 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 Mrs. Armstrong. After an affirmative voice vote, the motion passed.
Mr. Rodgers acknowledged all teachers, in both the private and public sectors, for National Teacher Awareness Week.
Mr. Rodgers made a motion to excuse Mr. Burns, Mr. Shrodes and President Davis from tonight’s meeting. Motion was seconded by Mr. Hunker. After an affirmative voice vote, the motion passed.
Mr. Regis made a motion to allow the administration to advertise for bids on the paving project of North 9th Street, Hillendale, Crawford Heights and Floral Valley. Mr. Rodgers seconded the motion. A roll call vote was heard with Regis, Hunker, Armstrong, Rodgers, and Schramm voting yes. The motion carried.
Mr. Schramm moved to adjourn, which was seconded by Mr. Hunker. After an affirmative voice vote, the meeting was adjourned at 7:03 p.m. with a salute to the flag.
Kay H. McFarlan, Clerk of Council Kristine Davis, Council President