Posted on: November 2, 2023
The Martins Ferry City Council met in Regular Session on Wednesday, October 18, 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 Suzanne Armstrong, Third Ward Council Member; Rick Rodgers, Fourth Ward Council Member; Tom Burns, James Agnew, and Jim Schramm, Council at Large Members. Absent: Bob Hunker, First Ward Council Member.
Minutes: Minutes of the October 4, 2023 Council Meeting were approved as written.
Correspondence: There was no correspondence.
Reports of Officers of the City:
Mayor: Mayor Davies ask for permission to allow Mr. Mike Reece to speak regarding the smoking of the City’s Sanitary Sewer System on October 24 and October 25. This is something that the city needs to do to move forward to become compliant with the Ohio EPA and avoid fines to the city. The purpose is to identify any leaks and any illegal connections of resident’s downspouts into the sanitary sewer system and have them removed. Mr. Reece noted the areas to be tested, explained how citizens have been notified and what residents can expect during the process.
Mayor Davies asked Council to go into Executive Session later in the meeting to discuss employee compensation.
The Town Hall Meeting has sparked some calls to the Mayor’s office. The Mayor clarified some misconceptions with the EMS and stated they are within their budget.
The Heating System for the Recreation Center still needs a breaker but is nearly complete.
The Mayor asked Council to consider an increase in the part-time police officers wage. Most towns are paying $20 per hour, whereas the city is only paying $16 per hour. Council’s approval and an ordinance would be needed for this action.
Service/Safety Director: The annual bonfire, held before the Martins Ferry/Bellaire Football Game, will be held in the same location across from the football stadium. However, it will not be as large as previous years due to safety issues around the new salt bin. The Fire Department will be present to oversee this event.
Mr. Sutak asked Council if Mr. Stecker could prepare an ordinance to authorize an emergency contractual agreement with the company that will be doing the upgrades to the filter bed at the Water Plant. This is the first step for the planned improvements to the Water Plant. Mr. Sutak also asked for permission from Council to meet with lending institution regarding options for borrowing funds for the Water Plant improvements. It is projected that $5,000,000 will be needed for all the upgradess.
Auditor: Auditor Regis distributed the Statement of Cash Position, Payroll Summary and List of New Hires. He also supplied Council Members with a Cost Allocation Plan to review. A motion to approve is needed to accept this plan. Auditor Regis also had a bill for $8,807.36 from Lexipol for policy manuals for the Police Department. These manuals were bought without a purchase order so a voice vote from Council is needed to pay the invoice.
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: No report.
Street: No report.
Ordinance: No report.
Sewer/Sidewalk: No report.
Code Administration: No report.
Safety: No report.
Service: No report.
Cemetery: No report.
Public Relations: No report.
Real Estate/Utility: The Committee discussed delinquent water bills. Letters will not be sent to customers with delinquent accounts. Customers will be notified on their monthly bill that their water service will be shut off.
Income Tax: Mrs. Armstrong thanked everyone that attended the Town Hall Meeting on October 16. She felt the public was well informed of the city’s financial situation and the need for the Income Tax. President Davis thanked Mrs. Armstrong for arranging the meeting and for working to get the informative newspaper article published.
Citizens To Be Heard: President Davis reminded citizens to limit their speaking to 5 minutes.
Richard Hord, 915 Virginia Street, complimented Council on the informative and effective Town Hall Meeting held regarding the Income Tax Increase. The Mayor will check with Mr. Stecker to see if Project Forward is progressing on getting certain areas in the city designated as historical. Mr. Hord asked if the city could cut the vines at 917 Virginia Street and also fill the potholes on the Street. There are no plans to do repairs to the City Building. The Mayor stated the city is concentrating on 1) financial issues and 2) safety of its citizens. The Republican Party is in the process of finding a candidate to fill the 2nd Ward Council Seat that was vacated by Mr. Shrodes.
Ordinances and Resolutions:
There was no legislation 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
Motion was made by Mrs. Armstrong to allow the Service/Safety Director to research funding for the repair of the filter beds at the Water Plant. Motion was seconded by Rev. Agnew. A roll call vote was heard with Armstrong, Rodgers, Burns, Agnew, and Schramm voting yes. Motion carried.
Mr. Schramm made a motion to allow Mr. Sutak to research funding mechanisms for the Water Plant in an amount up to $5,000,000. Mr. Rodgers seconded the motion. A roll call vote was heard with Schramm, Armstrong, Rodgers, Burns, and Agnew voting yes. Motion carried.
Mr. Schramm made a motion that Council authorize the Auditor to pay $8,807.36 to Lexipol for police department equipment. Motion was seconded by Mr. Burns. A roll call vote was heard with Schramm, Armstrong, Rodgers, Burns, and Agnew voting yes. Motion carried.
Mrs. Armstrong made a motion to acknowledge Council has received the Payroll Summary and the list of New Hires. Motion was seconded by Rev. Agnew. After an affirmative voice vote, the motion passed.
Mr. Rodgers made a motion to increase the part-time police officers wage to $20 per hour. Motion was seconded by Mr. Schramm. A roll call vote was heard with Rodgers, Burns, Agnew, Schramm and Armstrong voting yes. Motion carried. President Davis will ask Mr. Stecker to prepare an ordinance for this issue.
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.
President Davis received a call from Aspen Energy advising her of the steps Council would need to take if they are still interested in Electric Aggregation. She told the representative she would relay the message to Council but the work with the income tax and financial issues were taking presentence.
Mr. Rodger made a motion to excuse Mr. Hunker from tonight’s meeting. Mrs. Armstrong seconded the motion. After an affirmative voice vote, the motion passed.
Mrs. Armstrong made a motion to go into Executive Session under Ohio Revised Code 121.22 G1, for employee compensation. Motion was seconded by Mr. Burns. A roll call vote was heard with Armstrong, Rodgers, Burns, Agnew, and Schramm voting yes. Motion carried.
Mr. Burns made a motion and Rev. Agnew seconded to go out of Executive Session. A roll call vote was heard with Burns, Agnew, Schramm, Armstrong, and Rodgers voting yes. Motion carried.
Mr. Burns made to motion to support the Service/Safety Director’s plan in restructuring the Police Department schedules as needed pending approval by the City’s Law Director. Mr. Schramm seconded the motion. A roll call vote was heard with Burns, Agnew, Schramm, Armstrong, and Rodgers voting yes. Motion carried.
Mrs. Armstrong made a motion to reduce the K-9 Officers to 1 pending approval of the city’s Law Director. Motion was seconded by Mr. Burns. A roll call vote was heard with Armstrong, Rodgers, Burns, Agnew, and Schramm voting yes. Motion carried.
Mr. Armstrong moved to adjourn, which was seconded by Mr. Schramm. After an affirmative voice vote, the meeting was adjourned at 7:09 p.m. with a salute to the flag.
The next meeting of the Martins Ferry City Council will be on November 1, 2023 at 6:00 p.m. in Council Chambers at the City Building.
Kay H. McFarlan, Clerk of Council Kristine Davis, Council President