City of Martins Ferry

Martins Ferry City Council Meeting Minutes of July 13, 2022

Posted on: August 11, 2022

The Martins Ferry City Council met in Regular Session on Wednesday, July 13, 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; Jim 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. 

Before this meeting, a budget hearing was held for the Public at 5:30 p.m.  No one voiced any concerns at this meeting. 

President Davis thanked Mr. Regis for arranging the purchase and assembly of the new chairs for Council Members.  She also announced this was the first time the Council Meeting was live streamed on Facebook. 

            Minutes:  Minutes of the June 15, 2022 Regular Council Meeting and the June 21, 2022 Special Meeting were approved as written.  

Correspondence:  There was no correspondence. 

Reports of Officers of the City:

Mayor:  Mayor Davies reported the city has received the 1.2 million dollars paving money.  Mr. Sutak is finalizing the specs for the streets to be paved with the engineers.  The job will then be advertised for bid.  The Mayor thanked Council for their support on this project.

Crews are clearing the cemetery of fallen trees and keeping up with the grass cutting.  Pothole patching was halted when the Roller’s motor died but has since been replaced.  The Street Sweeper has been sent to the garage for repairs.  Part-time laborers are mowing the 52 vacant lots in town that the city maintains. 

The Mayor applauded Officer Holmes for the phenomenal job he is doing with the summer youth program, Monday-Friday, at the Recreation Center.  Twenty to Fifty kids are involved every day.   Some damage was done to the Cardio Weight Room at the Center.  Parts have been ordered to repair the equipment.  The Splash Pad will hopefully be installed by July 27.  Three people volunteered to oversee the Free Skate Event today at the Center. 

The Celebration in the Park on July 2 went well with no complaints.  The Fireworks were fantastic!

Service Director:  Mr. Sutak reiterated that the paving job specs were being examined by the engineering company and a legal ad will placed in the paper for bids.  The ad will run for two weeks.  Grants will be sought from the Ohio Public Works Commission to possibly pave additional city streets.

The air conditioning unit for the dining room and kitchen area at the Recreation Center has failed.  Bids have been received to replace the old unit with two separate units.

Safety Director:  Director Regis

            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 announced that the third reading of the budget resolution will be read tonight.  Two copies will be sent to the County Auditor.  Later in the meeting, a Finance Committee Meeting was scheduled for Monday, July 18 at 5:00 p.m. to discuss Personnel Issues. 

Street: No report.

Ordinance:  No report.

            Sewer/Sidewalk:  No report.

Code Administration:  No report.

            Safety: No report.

            Service:  Mr. Shrodes scheduled a Service Committee Meeting on Thursday, August 11, 2022, at 5:30 p.m. 

            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.  

Richard Hord, 915 Virginia Street, expressed his appreciation for the plaque honoring the past Fire Chiefs of Martins Ferry.  He said that since this is an election year, the Belmont County Commissioners would “pass” on having a town hall meeting in the city.  The city was thanked for the recent signage and road striping installed on South Zane Highway and Euclid Avenue.  Striping of South Broadway will be delayed until after work is completed by the Gas Company.  The Mayor is still working on getting the unacceptable paving job of South Zane Highway fixed.  There was nothing to report on the Staffilino Property.

Dr. Yuri Gorby, Piedmont, Ohio, is a scientist working with the Concerned Ohio River Residents (CORR).  He has taken ground samples and done radiological surveys in the area surrounding Austin Masters.  A former worker of Austin Masters provided CORR with clothing that he wore to work and samples of the soil from these items were sent for analysis.  Dr. Gorby showed Council a chart with his findings.  Concerns included:   1) airborne particles outside of Austin Masters; 2) the source water below the facility and 3) workers at the Plant. 

Silverio Caggiano, Middle Ridge, Ohio, Retired Fire Chief, shared his experience with Austin Masters when the company tried to locate in Youngstown, Ohio.  Mr. Caggiano spoke to Austin Masters representatives and assured them inspectors would be there on a regular basis.  Shortly after this conversation, Austin Masters decided to move to Martins Ferry.  Mr. Caggiano emphasized the need for Martins Ferry’s Fire Department to have a plan should Austin Masters catch on fire or an emergency arise at the plant. 

Ordinances and Resolutions:  

This Resolution was given a Third 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 pass the Resolution as read and Mr. Rodgers seconded the motion.  A roll call vote was heard with Regis, Hunker, Shrodes, Armstrong, Rodgers, and Schramm voting yes.  The motion carried and the Resolution was declared adopted. 

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.  Mr. Regis made a motion to suspend the rules.  Mr. Shrodes seconded the motion.  A roll call vote was heard with Regis, Hunker, Shrodes, Armstrong, Rodgers, and Schramm voting yes.  Motion carried and the rules were suspended.  Mr. Schramm made a motion to pass the Ordinance as read.  Mr. Hunker seconded the motion.  A roll call vote was heard with Schramm, Regis, Hunker, Shrodes, Armstrong, and Rodgers voting yes.  The motion carried. 






Miscellaneous Business:   

Mr. Regis commented that the next Council Meeting, on August 3, coincides with the start of Betty Zane Days and the 5K Race.  Mrs. Armstrong made a motion and Mr. Schramm seconded to cancel the August 3 Council Meeting.  A roll call vote was heard with Armstrong, Rodgers, Schramm, Regis, Hunker, and Shrodes voting yes.  The motion carried.  A Special Meeting can be called if any business needs addressed.  The next regularly scheduled meeting of Council will be on August 17. 

Mr. Regis asked for an update on the demolition of the house on the “S” Curve of Broadway Street.  The Mayor said the owner is tearing down the structure himself and as long as the work is progressing, the city would not demolish the house and put a lien on it. 

Mr. Regis assured Council Members and the audience that the Fire Chiefs have discussed the Austin Masters Facility and are formulating a Fire and Emergency Plan. 

Mr. Schramm made a motion to appropriate up to $17,000 from the Permanent Improvement Fund to replace the air conditioner in the Kitchen and the Dining Area of the Recreation Center.  This is contingent on Mr. Sutak assuring Council that there is adequate funds in the Permanent Improvement Fund to cover this expenditure. Motion was seconded by Mr. Hunker.  A roll call vote was heard with Schramm, Regis, Hunker, Shrodes, Armstrong, and Rodgers voting yes.  The motion carried. 

Mr. Shrodes aired his concerns about 4 houses near his home that are dilapidated and need torn down.  He would like the Council Members to compose a list of dilapidated houses in the city and submit the list to him so these properties can be discussed at the Service Committee Meeting on August 11.  Mr. Shrodes would like to see violations assessed against the owners of dilapidated structures and make them accountable for the upkeep of their properties. 

Mr. Regis asked the Street Committee to consider setting a list of guidelines for any Utility Company that does road work in the city.  These guidelines would specify the way the street should look after the Utility work is finished.  Mr. Sutak will call the Gas Company and ask when they are going to start paving the Zane Highway.  Law Director Stecker will check to see if Council could pass an Ordinance requiring any company doing work that disturbs city property, to put up a bond to cover the cost to repair said property. 

Mr. Regis reported old/unused city vehicles will be taken to an auctioneer to auction off.  The city will get the proceeds.  Instead of turning the old Rose Café property into an Impound Lot, the Mayor suggested using the EMS Lot.  This action would be less costly to the city.  Only fencing would be needed.  This issue was referred to the Service Committee. 

Mr. Shrodes made a motion to excuse Mr. Burns from tonight’s meeting.  Mr. Rodgers seconded the motion.  After an affirmative voice vote, the motion carried. 

Mr. Hunker made a motion to go into Executive Session under Ohio Revised Code 121.22, G1, Compensation of a Public Employee.  Motion was seconded by Mr. Regis.  A roll call vote was heard with Hunker, Shrodes, Armstrong, Rodgers, Schramm, and Regis voting yes.  The motion carried. 

Motion was made by Mr. Rodgers and seconded by Mr. Regis to go out of Executive Session. A roll call vote was heard with Rodgers, Schramm, Regis, Hunker, Shrodes and Armstrong voting yes.  The motion carried.

Mr. Schramm 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. Regis.   After an affirmative voice vote, the motion passed.             

             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

Date:  ______________________________