Posted on: February 2, 2023
The Martins Ferry City Council met in Regular Session on Wednesday, January 11, 2023, 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, 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 December 21, 2022 Regular Council Meeting were approved as written.
Correspondence: A letter was received from Wheeling Health Right regarding the Everson Grant Challenge. Also, a check was received from Jean Harris for the upkeep of Riverview Cemetery in memory of George C. Myers.
Reports of Officers of the City:
Mayor: The Mayor presented a Proclamation to Mr. Phil Wallace, owner of Ohio Valley Printing. Ohio Valley Printing has been in business for over 100 years in the city.
Members of the Lions Club presented the City with a donation of $2,500 towards the cost of the Splash Pad. The Lions Club also honored the City’s First Responders with a donation and thanked them for all they do for the city. The Mayor thanked the Lions Club and all the organizations that support the city when there is a need.
The city has been informed that the Gas Company is going to start replacing lines, beginning with Pearl Street, which was just paved 2 months ago. The Mayor told the company when their job is finished, they must pave the entire street, not just patch it. Should the Gas Company choose to go underneath the road to replace the lines, the city will insist that the hole they dig to do the job be filled with concrete. The Administration, with Council’s permission, would like the Gas Company to put up a road bond in case the road is not replaced to the City’s satisfaction. The Mayor suggested a $50,000 bond for every city block that the Gas Company would be working on. This year, a list of street paving projects will be submitted to the Gas Company to insure a newly paved street isn’t torn up for a Gas Line replacement project. The Gas Company will be contacted regarding the specifications on replacing sidewalks. The city follows the National Building Code Guidelines.
City crews are working on repairing water lines breaks and repairing/building catch basins in town to alleviate flooding.
The owner of the house on the “S” curve of Broadway Street has been working on taking the rest of the structure down. The owner must continue to make progress on the clean-up. If progress stops, the city will take the rest of the building down. When the demolition is complete, a fence must be installed to secure the property.
During inclement weather, city crews are painting the Recreation Center Pool Bathrooms and applying epoxy on the floors to make it look more presentable. The Mayor is gathering ideas for activities and classes at the Center.
The Land Bank is in the process of demolishing two house, one on 7th Street and one on Park Street. Mr. Shrodes scheduled a Service Committee Meeting to discuss other houses in the city that need taken down.
Service Director: Mr. Sutak asked Council to approve spending $13,800 from the American Rescue money for the purchase of cameras for the impound lot. This money is part of the $30,000 that Council has already approved for the Impound Lot.
Council approval was requested to pay $11,455.36 to the law firm Eastman and Smith, LTD that assisted the city with the Austin Masters water safety dispute.
Mr. Sutak met with East Ohio Regional Hospital regarding grant funding for the purchase of generators. The next meeting will be on January 25.
Safety Director: Director Regis reported that the Fire Chiefs are requesting the Department be allowed to acquire a credit card. Two Fire Engines have had to make several trips to Columbus for repairs that needed done at the factory. If there would be an emergency on one of these trips, such as towing or a flat tire, there is nothing in place to allow for these expenses. The Mayor would like every department to have a credit card since that would make tracking expenses easier. Ideas and procedures on credit card usage were discussed. Later in the meeting, this issue was referred to the Finance Committee.
Director Regis reported on a Labor Management Meeting with the EMS. Staffing issues were discussed at length. There are two full-time EMS positions available.
Auditor: No report.
Law Director: Regarding the appointment of a new Auditor, Mr. Stecker notified Council that the statues have recently changed. It is the responsibility of the central committee for the political party that nominated the last Auditor to name the replacement. In the case of Auditor Randall, that would be the Democratic Party. The party has 45 days from the date of Auditor Randall’s resignation to appoint someone to finish her unexpired term.
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 would like the committee to meet with Management to discuss any upcoming expenses that the city may incur this year so plans can be made. When the certification is received from the Belmont County Budget Commission, Mr. Sutak will give every Council Member a copy.
Street: No report.
Ordinance: No report.
Sewer/Sidewalk: No report.
Code Administration: No report.
Safety: No report.
Service: The next meeting will be on Tuesday, January 24 at 9:00 a.m.
Cemetery: No report.
Public Relations: No report.
Real Estate: No report.
Utility: No report.
Income Tax: No report.
Citizens To Be Heard:
Richard Hord, 915 Virginia Street, asked if the Austin Masters water issue has been settled. The Mayor replied that there was never an “issue” to begin with and he was upset that the city had to pay huge attorney fees to deal with the situation. Mr. Hord asked if the city could patch potholes on Monroe Street, from Virginia Street to Zane Highway. The Mayor said he would try and get this done in the next couple of days if the weather cooperated. There are no updates regarding the former Staffilino Building. Mr. Hord thanked the Mayor for honoring Phil Wallace and Ohio Valley Printing and asked if something could be done to honor retired Auditor Rita Randall.
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 approve $13,800, from the original $30,000 appropriated from the American Rescue Fund Money, for cameras for the Impound Lot. 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.
Motion was made by Mr. Schramm that Council authorize the Service Director to pay $11,455 from the Water Fund to Eastman and Smith, LTD, for legal services. Motion was seconded by Mr. Burns. A roll call vote was heard with Schramm, Regis, Hunker, Shrodes, Armstrong, Rodgers and Burns voting yes. The motion carried.
The issue of Department credit cards was referred to the Finance Committee.
President Davis reminded Council that if they are going run again for office, Declaration of Candidacy Petitions are due February 1 and Financial Disclosure Forms are due by April 3 of this year. She also recommended reviewing the Rules of Council in Chapter 111 of the Martins Ferry Codes.
Mr. Regis made a motion to note that Council has received and reviewed the financial reports for the previous month of December, 2022. Mr. Hunker seconded the motion. After an affirmative voice vote, the motion was declared passed.
Mr. Burns made a motion to note in the minutes that Council has received and accepted the payment of bills as noted in the Check Register for December, 2022. Mr. Rodgers seconded the motion. After an affirmative voice vote, the motion was declared passed.
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. Burns. After an affirmative voice vote, the motion passed.
Mr. Hunker moved to adjourn, which was seconded by Mr. Shrodes. After an affirmative voice vote, the motion carried and the meeting was adjourned at 6:58 p.m. with a salute to the flag.
Kay H. McFarlan, Clerk of Council Kristine Davis, Council President