Posted on: July 14, 2022
The Martins Ferry City Council met in Regular Session on Wednesday, June 15, 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; and Jack Regis, Council at Large Member. Tom Burns and Jim Schramm Council-at-Large Members informed President Davis that they were unable to attend this meeting.
Minutes: Minutes of the June 1, 2022 Council Meeting were approved as written.
Correspondence: There was no correspondence.
Reports of Officers of the City:
Mayor: Mayor Davies was granted permission by Council to read a Proclamation for Retired Police Office Vern Trigg. Mr. Trigg thanked the Mayor and received a round of applause from Council.
The Mayor recognized a Boy Scout in the audience who was attending the Council Meeting to earn his Citizenship Badge.
Officer Holmes has organized a summer youth program at the Recreation Center. The Program is held Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Over 20 kids attend regularly. The Youth Room is being used quite often.
Crews are working to get caught up on grass cutting in the cemetery. The part-time workers have made the first round of cutting abandoned lots and lots owned by the city. Cross walk and curb lines are being painted and pothole patching is being done as the weather permits.
Mayor Davies is trying to create activities for all citizens, youth and adults, at the Recreation Center. He has contacted a woman who bought a skating rink in Moundsville and she is willing to sell the skates at a reasonable price. This will enable the Recreation Center to offer skating for kids and adults in the gym. A music system has been purchased and Teen Dances may also be offered. A former OVAC wrestling champ contacted Mr. Regis and would like to teach kids wrestling techniques at the Center.
Fireworks in the Park will be held on Saturday, July 2, beginning at 11:00 a.m. There will be a free swim at the pool. Fireworks will begin at dusk. Food Trucks and Craft Vendors will also be present. Vendors will not be charged a fee for space in the Park. Mr. Sutak is working on getting entertainment for the day.
Update on Splash Pad: It will take 4 days to install and 30 days to cure the cement. Mr. Sutak has applied for a $50,000 grant and some money has been pledged from the community for the project.
Service Director: Mr. Sutak is looking for Ohio Public Works and/or EPA funding for the Turf Care Pump Station in order to re-route the sewer line to the E.O.R.W.A. line. There is either a blockage somewhere or the line has caved in.
Crews are working on removing fallen trees from Riverview Cemetery and Border Lane.
Mr. Sutak asked Council to pass an Ordinance allowing the city to borrow $1.2 mil. for street paving. He noted that after these streets are paved, money will be saved since pothole patching won’t be needed year after year.
The Service Director will be meeting with a gentleman who is educated in the physiology of weight lifting. This man is willing to set up some programs for youth and adults at the Recreation Center.
The Administration would like to see the Recreation Center to transform into a Wellness Center which could be a better way to apply and receive funding.
Mr. Rodgers said the railroad tracks need checked on Rt. 7 by Nickles Bakery. The tracks seems to be rough. Mr. Sutak will call the Railroad Company and ODOT and have the tracks inspected.
Next week Mr. Sutak plans to prepare the County Application for permission to use license plate money for paving 9th Street. Water issues on 9th Street may have to be addressed before paving can begin.
Mr. Sutak will contact the Gas Company to see what sections on South Zane Highway they are planning to pave.
Safety Director: No report.
Auditor: Auditor Randall discussed the appropriations on the May Financial Report. The 2023 Budget was given to Council to review but cannot be voted on until after the Public Budget Hearing on July 13.
Law Director: Mr. Stecker introduced Attorney Ty Compton and PACE Representative Christopher Jones. East Ohio Regional Hospital is considering a couple of projects and wants to utilize PACE financing. This involves some legislative action from Council. Mr. Compton and Mr. Jones explained the PACE Program and what is required from Council.
Police Department: Chief McFarland introduced 3 new police officers. He also praised the work and dedication of Former Officer Vern Trigg. One full-time police officer is still needed.
Fire Department: No report.
Code Administrator: No report.
Park District: No report.
Water Department: No report.
Reports of Committees of Council:
Finance and Audit: Auditor Randall will let Mr. Regis know when she needs to meet with the committee.
Street: No report.
Ordinance: No report.
Sewer/Sidewalk: No report.
Code Administration: Before the next meeting, Mr. Regis would like to speak to the Code Administrator about a list of run-down properties in the city that he compiled. Mr. Sutak said that the Land Bank looks for properties to tear down that have “end users”. This means if someone is willing to buy property once a dilapidated house is torn down, then it is looked at more favorably by the Land Bank since the property then would be put back in “tax collection” mode.
Safety: No report.
Service: No report.
Cemetery: No report.
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.
Mike Alica, 816 Delaware Street, reports that some streets are being missed by the street sweeper. Cars are being ticketed for being on the wrong side of the street and the residents aren’t receiving the benefits of the street sweeper. The Mayor said that during vacation times, he sometimes has to put the street sweeper employee on another job.
Tina Martin, 411 Concord Street, asked why residents can’t park their cars back on the side of the street after the street sweeper has passed. She was told that the police don’t know if the street sweeper has passed through a street and that is why they write tickets in the slot of time listed on the posted signs.
John Martin, 411 Concord Street, is concerned that a house is ready to fall into the alley behind Concord Street. If the house collapses, it will block access to the street. Also, the weeds from the house scratch the garbage truck as it goes by. Mr. Shrodes said there are 4 houses in that area that need to come down. The Mayor said he would have the part-time summer help trim the weeds back.
Richard Hord, 915 Virginia Street, asked for comments on the recent Strawberry Festival. Mr. Shrodes replied that the weather was fantastic and the vendors were very pleased with their sales. Mr. Hord asked if there were any future plans for two building in the downtown area. The Mayor said a deal on the PNC Bank Building fell through and there is some interest in the former Dollar General Building. When asked what achievements he was most proud of so far this year, the Mayor replied 1) the cooperation between the Administration, Council, and the city’s work force, 2) the Recreation Center; and 3) Officer Holmes Summer Youth Program.
Teena and Ty Miller, 70064 Sunset Heights, alerted Council to a problem with the Sunset Heights Water Tower. This couple maintains that the tower has been discharging water onto their property for the last two years at almost 15 gallons of water per minute. Mrs. Miller states she has contacted Water Superintendent Bill Suto numerous times, beginning in October, 2019, asking that he fix this problem. Mrs. Miller read a time-line of their efforts to get this problem fixed. The couple estimates this has cost the city around $130,000 annually. This leakage has caused the Miller’s property to be saturated and is washing away their road. The Mayor said he will have someone test the water to see if it is spring water or city water. If it is city water that is leaking onto the Miller’s property, the Mayor assured them that the problem will be fixed.
Todd Dawson, Floral Valley Resident, Scout Master with the Boy Scout Troop #107 in Bridgeport, Ohio, alerted Council that there is a fallen tree at the Park in Floral Valley. The Mayor said he will get someone up there and remove it.
Ordinances and Resolutions:
This Resolution was given a First Reading.
A Resolution Adopting A Budget For The City Of Martins Ferry For The Fiscal Year Beginning January 1, 2023, And Declaring An Emergency.
Mr. Regis made a motion to Suspend the 72 Hour Rule. Mr. Shrodes seconded the motion. A roll call vote was heard with Regis, Hunker, Shrodes, Armstrong, and Rodgers voting yes. The motion carried. This Ordinance was given a First Reading.
An Ordinance Authorizing The Issuance Of $1,200,000 Of Street Improvement Bonds, Series 2022, To Pay Part Of The Costs Of Street Improvements In The City, And Declaring An Emergency.
Because there were only 5 Council Members present, the Rules could not be suspended. This Resolution and Ordinance will go on to further readings.
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 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. Regis made a motion that Council schedules two special meetings next week, one on Tuesday at 6:00 p.m. and one on Thursday at 6:00 p.m. to discuss legislation only. Mr. Shrodes seconded the motion. A roll call vote was heard with Regis, Hunker, Shrodes, Armstrong, and Rodgers voting yes. The motion carried.
President Davis will be out-of-town next week and Mr. Rogers will act as President Pro-Tempore for the two special meetings.
A request has been received, by a citizen who cannot navigate the city building steps, to move the July 13, 2022 Council Meeting to the Recreation Center so he is able to attend. The public hearing for the budget is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. on July 13 before the regular meeting. Since the time and location of the public hearing has already been published in the paper, Council is unable to accommodate this citizen’s request. President Davis said he can attend one of the August meetings. Mr. Stecker said if this citizen has comments, he can submit them in writing.
President Davis asked Council to consider operating from an Agenda. Deadline to submit an item for the Agenda could be the Friday before the Council Meeting. This would enable Council to address topics and to be better prepared to answer any question that may arise.
Mr. Hunker made a motion, and Mr. Rodgers seconded, to excuse Mr. Burns and Mr. Schramm from tonight’s Council Meeting. After an affirmative voice vote, the motion carried.
The Mayor informed Council that he may not be able to attend the July 13 Council Meeting due to his wife having surgery the next day in Columbus.
Mrs. Armstrong made a motion to allow President Davis to evaluate a procedure to operate with an Agenda. Motion was seconded by Mr. Regis. After an affirmative voice vote, the motion carried.
Mr. Rodgers gave Council Members his new phone number: (740) 312-9021.
Mr. Shrodes moved to adjourn, which was seconded by Mr. Rodgers. After an affirmative voice vote, the meeting was adjourned at 7:24 p.m. with a salute to the flag.
Kay H. McFarlan, Clerk of Council Kristine Davis, Council President