City of Martins Ferry

Martins Ferry City Council Meeting Minutes of June 1, 2022

Posted on: June 16, 2022

The Martins Ferry City Council met in Regular Session on Wednesday, June 1, 2022, at 6:00 p.m., at the Martins Ferry Recreational Center.  The meeting was called to order by Council President Kristine Davis with the Pledge of Allegiance recited by those present, 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 May 18, 2022 Council Meeting were approved as written.  

Correspondence:  There was no correspondence. 

Reports of Officers of the City:

Mayor:  The Mayor reported the force main sewer coming out of Turf Care (formerly Lesco) has been broken for a while.  Sewage has been transported by septic truck to First Street in order to be disposed.  Mayor Davies has signed a contract to fix this pipe.  Drilling will have to be done under St. Rt. 7 to determine where the break is located. 

The swimming pool is opened and the Youth Room at the Recreation Center opened today.  The grass at Riverview cemetery was cut and looked great for the Memorial Day weekend. 

Patching was done around the outside of the Water Plant.  Water Transport Trucks caused damage to the sides of the plant and repairs were needed.   The project cost around $12,000.

The crosswalk lines in the downtown area have been painted.  Crews are cutting grass and clearing empty lots. 

The Mayor asked Council’s permission to purchase a new Packer Garbage Truck at a cost of $193,661.88.  A loan could be secured with a 3% interest rate with a down payment of $50,000 and monthly payments of $2,185 for 5 years.  It was estimated it would take 3 months to get the Packer.

The Mayor asked Council to give Mr. Sutak approval to submit an application to acquire the license tag fee money from the County’s Municipal Street Fund to use for the 9th Street Paving Project. 

Mr. Hunker asked for an update on repairing the unacceptable paving job at the south end of the town.  The Mayor said when the Gas Company finishes their pipeline work on Zane Highway, the city will contract with their paving contractor to re-pave this section of South Zane Highway.  Mr. Regis questioned when the Gas Company might be finished with their project.  Mr. Sutak offered to call the Gas Company to see if a completion date is known. 

The Mayor told Mrs. Armstrong he sent a message to the owners of the abandoned house on Seventh Street (next to the Kosky house), and asked what they wanted to do with this property.  The Mayor has not received a reply.  He will try and touch base with the owner again. 

Service Director:  Mr. Sutak informed Council that the City’s Bond Council will be in touch with Mr. Stecker to draft Ordinances for the city to borrow $1.2 million for the proposed paving project. 

Council’s permission was request to allow Mr. Sutak to enter into an agreement with Cory Delguzzo to research and determine who owns the property that St. Rt. 647 runs through.  If the city owns it, it will be easier to de-annex St. Rt. 647 back to the State of Ohio. 

Mr. Regis asked Mr. Sutak to check on two pieces of property on North 9th Street that need weeds cleared and the grass cut.  He also asked that the “dip” near the sub-station on Wood Lane be flattened when the schedule permits. 

Safety Director:  Director Regis spoke to Mr. Sutak regarding traffic concerns on Border Lane. It was agreed to lower the speed limit to 15 mph.  Signs will be installed this week. 

Director Regis reminded everyone that it is ‘Festival Season” and there will be many street closures in the upcoming months.  Please be patient with these little inconveniences since these festivals are good for the city.  The Strawberry Festival will be held on Saturday, June 4 and much of 4th Street and Walnut Street will be closed.  President Davis added to be on alert for children running in the streets, especially near the ballfields. 

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 reminded Council that there will be a public hearing on the Budget on Wednesday, July 13 at 5:30 p.m. prior to the Council Meeting.

Street: No report.

Ordinance:  Mr. Shrodes scheduled an Ordinance Meeting for Thursday, June 9, 2022, at 10:00 a.m. in Council Chambers to discuss the Ordinances for loans to fund the proposed Paving Project.

            Sewer/Sidewalk:  No report.

Code Administration:  No report.

            Safety: Director Regis told Mr. Schramm that out-of-service city vehicles will be included in the City’s Auction.  Councilman Regis will try and meet with the Auctioneer later this month to discuss Auction details. 

            Service:  Mr. Shrodes reported over 40 people were involved in the outstanding preparation of the cemetery for the holiday weekend.  Also, the Poppy Sale, held by the American Legion, was very successful. 

            Cemetery:  Mr. Burns thanked Mr. Shrodes, the Legion and all involved who placed flags on the Veterans Graves in both cemeteries.  Police Chief McFarland has some ideas on how to hook-up the electrical system so that there can be a light on the monument in the cemetery.  Mr. Burns expressed appreciation for the employees who are taking good care of the cemetery, especially in the summer heat.

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.  

Tom Burns, Council-at-Large Member, reported he cleaned up the alley extending from Kroger to the Dollar General Store.  Mr. Burns spoke to Mr. Sutak about putting a sign up on the corner of Broadway and Jefferson Streets, directing truck traffic to the left on Jefferson Street.  Trucks are coming down Broadway and wrapping around to Jefferson Street, many times hitting Mr. Burn’s car. 

Frank Cika, 1105 North 9th Street, inquired about the details on the paving job of North 9th Street.  The Mayor said the road will be dug up with a 2 inch fill but first a water problem will need to be fixed on Ohio Avenue. 

Richard Hord, 915 Virginia Street, asked the Mayor about the new hospital being built in St. Clairsville, Ohio.  The Mayor replied he thought it was a good thing for patients to have emergency care close by.  He doesn’t feel this will effect East Ohio Regional Hospital since most patients transported through St. Clairsville EMS go to Wheeling Hospital.  Plans are in the works to honor Phil Wallace and his company.  The Mayor reviewed a list of houses that have been torn down in the city so far this year and in the months to come.  There is nothing definite on what might occupy the former Staffilino Building.  The Mayor said the owner is working on a few ideas. 

Paul Cantor, 55380 Barnes Road, thanked President Davis for changing the venue of the Council Meeting to the Recreation Center in order to be handicap accessible.  The Mayor said a lift chair is being considered for the city building.  Mr. Cantor asked about the Safety/Fire Plan for the Austin Masters Building.  Director Regis said the Fire Department would access the needs of the situation before taking any action when answering a fire call at the property.  President Davis explained that Council does not have any authority over Austin Masters beyond City Ordinances.  The Mayor received a report today saying the Radon levels in the city’s water supply is “non-detectable”. 

Alexandria Goddard, 910 Carlisle Street, ask Council the status of the complaint that was filed regarding the Ordinance and the violations that were alleged against Austin Masters.  Mr. Stecker said the city in the informal reconciliation process as described in the ordinance.  The Administration met with the Austin Masters Property Owners who shared a draft of their response.  They are finalizing their draft and Mr. Stecker anticipates receiving their response in the next week or so. 

Robert Reed, 701 N. Lincoln Ave, Bridgeport, Ohio, expressed concern about what is in the standing water in the basement of Austin Masters and that there are problems that need to be addressed.  The Mayor explained that the sewers are plugged and the water does not drain off the road.  President Davis said everything regarding the Austin Masters site is being referred to Mr. Stecker.

Beverly Reed, 98 5th Street, Bridgeport, Ohio, reviewed the relationship of the Concerned Ohio River Residents (CORR) and the city administration regarding concerns with Austin Masters Company.  She expressed the desire of the group to work with the Administration in order to put the Groups concerns to rest.  It was stated that ODNR (Ohio Department of Natural Resources) and EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) regulates the operations at Austin Masters.  The Mayor said the test well is currently not being used because the city wants to secure it with a steel block.  Currently, it is capped and locked. 

Jack Regis, Jr., Safety Director, a 30 year member of the Martins Ferry Fire Department and past Fire Chief, commented that the city’s volunteer Fire Department was one of the best in the State of Ohio.  He said if a fire call would be called for Austin Masters, he trusts the entire department to do the right thing to not harm themselves or others. 

Ordinances and Resolutions:  

            There were no Ordinances or Resolutions to be read.






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

Mr. Schramm made a motion to appropriate $193,661.88 from the Sanitation Fund to purchase a new Packer Garbage Truck.  Mrs. Armstrong seconded the motion.  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 approve an agreement with Cory Delguzzo and the Service Director to research properties along St. Rt. 647.  Motion was seconded by Mr. Hunker.  A roll call vote was heard with Regis, Hunker, Shrodes, Armstrong, Rodgers, Burns and Schramm voting yes.  The motion carried. 

Mr. Rodgers inquired about a new public address system for Council Chambers.  President Davis said she contacted Mr. Baker, who is gathering information and will be preparing a quote for a new system.

Mr. Hunker made a motion to authorize the Service Director to submit an application to the County Engineer to use permissive tax money for paving.  Motion was seconded by Mr. Schramm.  A roll call vote was heard with Hunker, Shrodes, Armstrong, Rodgers, Burns, Schramm, and Regis voting yes.  The motion carried. 

The Mayor asked Council if money could be borrowed from the Permanent Improvement Fund to build a Splash Pad at the Pool.  It is anticipated that donations will assist with repayment of this expense.  Mr. Regis made a motion to appropriate dollars, to be determined, from the Permanent Improvement Fund for a Splash Pad.  Motion was seconded by Mr. Burns.   The exact cost for the Splash Pad will be given to Council at the next meeting.   A roll call vote was heard with Regis, Hunker, Shrodes, Armstrong, Rodgers, Burns and Schramm voting yes.  The motion carried.     

Mrs. Armstrong moved to adjourn, which was seconded by Mr. Shrodes.  After an affirmative voice vote, the meeting was adjourned at 7:06 p.m. with a salute to the flag.

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