City of Martins Ferry

Martins Ferry City Council Meeting Minutes of May 3, 2023

Posted on: May 19, 2023

The Martins Ferry City Council met in Regular Session on Wednesday, May 3, 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 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; Tom Burns, James Agnew, and Jim Schramm, Council at Large Members.   President Davis reminded Council that Mr. Rodgers would be presiding as President Pro-Tempore at the May 17, 2023 meeting. 

            Minutes:  Minutes of the April 19, 2023 Council Meeting were approved as written.  

Correspondence:  There was no correspondence. 

Reports of Officers of the City:

Mayor:  Mayor Davies reported the Street Sweeper is being repaired again and should be back in operation on Monday.  No citizens were given tickets this week for not moving their cars for the sweeper.  Clean-up Day is scheduled for Saturday, May 6, 2023, 8:00 a.m.-12:00 Noon, across from the old city garage on First Street.  No paint, tires or hazardous material will be accepted.  There is a $10 Fee for each mattress and box spring which must be wrapped in plastic. 

The Mayor asked that a Street Committee Meeting be scheduled for discussion on the future of State Route 647. 

An email from Chris Goddard, Project Engineer, was distributed regarding his assessment of the current state of the hillside movements near Rider Alumni Road and Ayers Limestone Road.  Both of these roads are on the Ayers Property and lead to the school campus. 

The Mayor hoped that the weather would start getting nice so the seasonal workers could begin cutting grass in the cemetery.  He would like the cemetery to look nice for Memorial Day. 

Service Director:  Mr. Sutak asked Council to pay the final bill of $25,000 from the Permanent Improvement Fund for the new Fodor Field Ballpark lights.  When the grant money amounting to $18,750 is received from ODNR (Ohio Department of Natural Resources) it will be refunded to the Permanent Improvement Fund.  Council was asked to forgive the remaining $6,250. 

Regarding the direct water line to the hospital and business district, Mr. Sutak is setting up a meeting with Senator Sherrod Brown’s office to explore funding and options for this project. 

The company that installed the Splash Pad will be coming this week to set-up the site for the summer season. 

            Auditor:  Auditor Regis discussed the 2023 budget deficit in the General Fund and options that would help the shortfall.  Another meeting will be scheduled with the Finance Committee after Mr. Regis reviews the data.  The Committee will then make recommendations to Council. 

Safety Director:  Director Regis asked for Council’s permission to sell an old ambulance that was converted to a utility truck to the Wheeling Police Department for $8,500. 

The Fire Department’s Memorial Service will be held on Sunday, May 7, 2023 at 9:00 a.m. in the City Park to honor and remember those members who have passed away in the past two years.  Two of the names on the list have a combined service record of 120 years to the city’s Fire Department. 

Director Regis spoke to Congressman Bill Johnson’s office regarding the Assistance to Fire Fighters Grant that was submitted last March for new turn-out gear.  Congressman Johnson has sent a letter of support to FEMA for the grant.  This grant is a 95% Federal Funds and a 5% Local Funds match.  If the grant is received, the Fire Department’s portion would amount to around $31,000. 

Temporary patch work has been completed on the Vigilant Fire Station’s roof but it will need replaced.  An estimate of $72,599 was received to replace the roof, gutters, downspouts, etc.  This issue will be addressed at the next Finance Committee. 

The auction of unused city vehicles and equipment will probably be held in late June, 2023. 

            Law Director:  No report. 

            Police Department:  Interim Police Chief Murphy reviewed the Police Department’s summary of activity for April, 2023. 

            Fire Department: No report.

Code Administrator: No report.

            Park District: No report.      

            Water Department:  No report.       

Reports of Committees of Council:   

            Finance and Audit:   In addition to the 2023 Budget shortfalls, the committee also discussed the Splash Pad reimbursement to the General Fund and the notification from the Engineer’s Office that the City will have $37,543.99 to do street paving. 

Street: The Street Committee met with the Finance Committee and it was agreed to fill the potholes and paint lines on the roads leading to the school campus.  Mr. Rodgers set a Street Committee Meeting for Thursday, May 11, 2023 at 10:00 a.m. to discuss the future of State Route 647. 

Ordinance:  Mr. Shrodes mentioned that Council will later consider an Ordinance regarding the credit for taxes paid to other Municipalities. 

Sewer/Sidewalk:  No report.

Code Administration:  No report.

            Safety: No report.

            Service:  No report.

            Cemetery:  Mr. Burns scheduled a Cemetery Meeting for Wednesday, May 10 at 10:00 a.m. in Council Chambers. 

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, has arranged a Town Hall Meeting with the Belmont County Commissioners for Tuesday, August 1, 2023 at 6:00 p.m. at the Recreation Center.  The Mayor said the Administration is working through the steps needed to hire a new Police Chief.  Code Enforcement is being done and tickets have been issued.  Currently, the city is not able to hire a Recreation Director.  Mr. Hord reported that the James Wright Festival was a success this year after being cancelled the past couple of years due to COVID.  The Mayor said he thought the Sheet Metal Workers Union Building was going to be for sale.

Ordinances and Resolutions:  

            An Ordinance To Amend Section 193.06 (A) Of The Codified Ordinances Of The City Of Martins Ferry Regarding The Credit For Taxes Paid To Other Municipalities And Declaring An Emergency.   

This Ordinance was given a first reading.  Mr. Hunker made a motion and Mr. Schramm seconded to table this ordinance. A roll call vote was heard with Hunker, Shrodes, Rodgers, Burns, Agnew and Schramm voting yes.  Mrs. Armstrong voted no.  The motion carried and the Ordinance was tabled.






Miscellaneous Business:   

Mr. Schramm moved to appropriate $25,000 from the Permanent Improvement Fund to pay for the lights in Fodor Field, with $18,750 to be repaid with Grant Money and $6,250 to be forgiven.  Mr. Burns seconded the motion.  A roll call vote was heard with Schramm, Hunker, Shrodes, Armstrong, Rodgers, Burns, and Agnew voting yes.  The motion was declared passed.

Mr. Shrodes made a motion to allow the Fire Department to sell an old ambulance that is no longer needed to the Wheeling Police Department for $8,500.  Motion was seconded by Mr. Rodgers.  A roll call vote was heard with Shrodes, Armstrong, Rodgers, Burns, Agnew, Schramm, and Hunker voting yes.  The motion carried.

Mr. Shrodes asked if a study could be done to possibly reduce some of the extra lighting in the downtown area in order to reduce electricity costs. 

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. Rodgers asked Mr. Sutak if the Sanitation Workers could remove an old mattress laying on County Road 4, across from Floral Valley. 

Mr. Burns made a motion to note that Council has received and accepted the payment of bills as noted in the Check Register for the month of April, 2023.  Council has also received and reviewed the financial reports for the month of April, 2023.  Mr. Hunker seconded the motion.  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 meeting was adjourned at 6:53 p.m. with a salute to the flag.

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Kay H. McFarlan, Clerk of Council                           Kristine Davis, Council President Date: _