Posted on: October 5, 2023
The Martins Ferry City Council met in Regular Session on Wednesday, September 20, 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.
Minutes: Minutes of the September 7, 2023 Council Meeting were approved as written.
Correspondence: The Walter Drane Company notified the Clerk that it’s time for the next update to the Codified Ordinances. The Clerk sent the requested material.
Reports of Officers of the City:
Mayor: Mayor Davies asked for Council’s approval for an upgrade to the Skadis Water System which will cost $196,000. This upgrade is an emergency. The system had another shut down yesterday. Payments can be made in 4 phases.
The line stop and fire hydrant on Carlisle Street/10th Street needs repaired at a cost of $37,000 and a permanent stop on the 20” line will cost $39,000. If this isn’t fixed, it will cause problems in the winter.
The Mayor asked for approval to award Cast and Baker the bid for the Street Paving jobs.
According to the EPA, trees need to be removed from around the Grandview Water Tank. An estimate of $5,400 was received from LaRoche Tree Service.
There will be no bonfire on 1st Street this year because of the danger it imposes on the City’s Salt Bin and parked vehicles nearby. The High School has been notified.
Curbside Clean-Up Day will be September 25-29, 2023. Items will be picked up on the customer’s regular collection day. A list will be published noting the items that cannot be collected. It was noted that people pick through the trash for metals and then leave piles of garbage everywhere. The Mayor asked Council to make a Resolution to prohibit people from rummaging through garbage set out for collection.
The city is looking for a person or company to pick up and haul salt to the city.
The Annual Trick or Treat event will be held on Tuesday, October 31, 2023, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
The After-School Program at the Recreation Center is going very well with over 50 kids attending daily. Donations or food and water have been received from the community.
The Mayor explained multiple problems plaguing the city’s aging Water Plant. The cost to upgrade the entire system will be between 5 and 6 million dollars. Multiple bids are being received. Upgrades can be done in stages. A gate will also be placed across the road next to the old pump house to restrict access to that area. No one should use that road except for city employees.
Service Director: Mr. Sutak said a lot of the adjustments and upgrades to the Water Plant will save money on utilities and other items. The Capital Projects Improvement Line item will help with the repair costs.
Mr. Sutak explained the construction process and the funding mechanisms for the Turf Care Sewer Line Project. He is also working with the hospital to get joint funding through Appalachian Grants to offer more programs at the Recreation Center.
Mr. Sutak asked Council to pass the Ordinance to provide special assessments to be levied on property taxes next year.
Safety Director: No report.
Auditor: Auditor Regis distributed his report to Council. He asked Council to make a decision on the future of the Police Dispatchers so his department can determine how to fund them. The Finance Committee will discuss the Police Dispatchers at their next meeting. Also, the future of the EMS dispatchers and the funding for the Recreation Center needs to be decided. Auditor Regis asked Council for a motion to approve two Purchase Orders and another motion to approve the check register that was distributed at the last meeting.
Law Director: No report.
Police Department: Chief Murphy reported his department, along with other Police Agencies, escorted the “Eyes of Freedom” display into Barnesville where it is being displayed at Barnesville Middle School. The “Eyes of Freedom” is a traveling memorial for a group of Marines that were killed in Iraq. He encouraged Council to take time to view the exhibit. The department was also asked to assist in the escort of the remains of a WWII soldier, discovered in New Guinea, to Wilson’s Funeral Home.
The on-line auction of the sale of equipment yielded $4,230. Impound Lot revenue remains at $4,385 and preparations are being made to forfeit 6 vehicles that have been abandoned at the lot. In the future, Chief Murphy would like this revenue to be put in certain budgetary line items to assist with the purchase of new cruisers and equipment.
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. Hunker set the next Finance Committee for Monday, September 25, 2023 at 10:00 a.m. in Council Chambers.
Street: The Street Committee met on Monday, September 18 and prepared a list of additional streets that need paved. The list was given to the Mayor and Service Director. Mr. Sutak asked Auditor Regis what was the amount of paving money left. Mr. Regis said he would get that figure to Mr. Sutak tomorrow.
Ordinance: The issue of separating the metal from the trash, especially on clean-up days, was referred to the Ordinance Committee. The reporter from The Times Leader was asked to note in the Trash Clean-Up Day article that metal should be separated from the garbage.
Sewer/Sidewalk: No report.
Code Administration: No report.
Safety: Mr. Schramm reported he is waiting for information from Director Regis before scheduling a meeting.
Service: No report.
Cemetery: No report.
Public Relations: No report.
Real Estate/Utility: No report.
Income Tax: The Town Hall Meeting is scheduled for Monday, October 16 at 6:00 p.m. in the Dining Area of the Recreation Center. Mr. Stecker has agreed to preside over this meeting. Mr. Stecker, Mrs. Armstrong, and Kailey Carpino (from The Times Leader) will meet on Wednesday, September 27 to prepare a “Question and Answer” type article for the newspaper. Mrs. Armstrong asked Council Members to consider attending this meeting and to also send her questions and answers that they would like to see in the article.
Citizens To Be Heard: President Davis reminded citizens to limit their speaking to 5 minutes.
Richard Hord, 915 Virginia Street, asked why Belmont County’s financial situation was doing well but the cities and towns in the County are struggling. The Mayor and Mr. Sutak said the County has different sources of revenue than cities or towns. Mr. Sutak elaborated on this question since he served as the County Auditor for many years. Mr. Hord thanked Mr. Shrodes for his service on Council. When asked if the Town Hall Meeting could also include a “Meet the Candidates” session, many Council Members felt this should be two separate meetings. Mr. Hord noted that Don Falbo, long-time barber in the city, will celebrate his 90th birthday on Friday.
Ordinances and Resolutions:
A Resolution Authorizing Mayor John Davies To Apply For, Accept, And Enter Into A Water Pollution Control Loan Fund (WPCLF) Agreement On Behalf Of The City Of Martins Ferry For Planning, Design And/Or Construction Of Wastewater Facilities; And Designating A Dedicated Repayment Source For The Loan.
This Resolution was given a first reading. Motion was made by Mr. Rodgers to suspend the rules. Motion was seconded by Mr. Schramm. A roll call vote was heard with Rodgers, Burns, Agnew, Schramm, Hunker, Shrodes, and Armstrong voting yes. The motion carried. Motion was made by Mr. Schramm to pass the Resolution as read. Mr. Burns seconded the motion. A roll call vote was heard with Schramm, Hunker, Shrodes, Armstrong, Rodgers, Burns, and Agnew voting yes. The motion carried and the Resolution was declared passed
An Ordinance Providing For Assessments To Be Levied And Authorizing The Service Director To Certify Those Assessments To The Belmont County Auditor And Declaring An Emergency.
This Ordinance was given a first reading. Motion was made by Mr. Hunker to suspend the rules. Motion was seconded by Mr. Rodgers. A roll call vote was heard with Hunker, Shrodes, Armstrong, Rodgers, Burns, Agnew and Schramm voting yes. The motion carried. Motion was made by Mr. Rodgers to pass the Ordinance as read. Mr. Burns seconded the motion. A roll call vote was heard with Rodgers, Burns, Agnew, Schramm, Hunker, Shrodes, and Armstrong voting yes. The motion carried and the Ordinance was declared passed.
A Resolution Accepting The Amounts And Rates As Determined By The Budget Commission And Authorizing The Necessary Tax Levies And Certifying Them To The County Auditor.
This Resolution was given a first reading. Motion was made by Mr. Hunker to suspend the rules. Motion was seconded by Mr. Rodgers. A roll call vote was heard with Hunker, Shrodes, Armstrong, Rodgers, Burns, Agnew and Schramm voting yes. The motion carried. Motion was made by Mr. Burns to pass the Resolution as read. Mr. Schramm seconded the motion. A roll call vote was heard with Burns, Agnew, Schramm, Hunker, Shrodes, Armstrong, and Rodgers voting yes. The motion carried and the Resolution was declared passed
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. Burns made a motion to authorize replacement of the Skadis System at a cost of $196,000 to be paid in four payments from the Capital Improvement Line 107. Motion was seconded by Mr. Hunker. A roll call vote was heard with Burns, Agnew, Schramm, Hunker, Shrodes, Armstrong, and Rodgers voting yes. The motion carried
Mr. Schramm made a motion to allow the Mayor to award the paving bid to the Cast and Baker Corporation. Motion was seconded by Rev. Agnew. A roll call vote was heard with Schramm, Hunker, Shrodes, Armstrong, Rodgers, Burns, and Agnew voting yes. The motion was declared passed.
Mr. Burns made a motion to approve the payment of two invoices, one from AirTech for $17,884 and one for Water Ways of Southwest Pennsylvania for $4,019. Motion was seconded by Mrs. Armstrong. A roll call vote was heard with Burns, Agnew, Schramm, Hunker, Shrodes, Armstrong, and Rodgers voting yes. The motion carried
Mr. Stecker will prepare an Ordinance for the purchase of a valve exerciser. Auditor Regis was asked to send Mr. Stecker the details.
Mrs. Armstrong made a motion and Mr. Rodgers seconded to note that Council has received and accepted the Payroll Summary, Cash Position Statement and the New Hire Summary. After an affirmative voice vote, 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 Rev. Agnew. After an affirmative voice vote, the motion passed.
Mr. Hunker motioned and Mr. Burns seconded to note that at the September 6 Meeting, Council received and reviewed the Check Register for the August, 2023 bills. After an affirmative voice vote, the motion passed.
Mr. Shrodes received thanks and appreciation for his service on Council from President Davis and Mayor Davies. He told Council it was a pleasure working with everyone. Mr. Shrodes received a standing ovation.
Mrs. Armstrong moved to adjourn, which was seconded by Mr. Shrodes. After an affirmative voice vote, the meeting was adjourned at 7:10 p.m. with a salute to the flag.
The next Martins Ferry Council Meeting will be held on Wednesday, October 4, 2023 at 6:00 p.m. at the City Building.
Kay H. McFarlan, Clerk of Council Kristine Davis, Council President