City of Martins Ferry

Martins Ferry City Council Meeting Minutes of November 1, 2023

Posted on: November 27, 2023

The Martins Ferry City Council met in Regular Session on Wednesday, November 1, 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, 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 October 18, 2023 Council Meeting were approved as written.  

Correspondence:  There was no correspondence. 

Reports of Officers of the City:

Mayor:  Someone has contacted the city about purchasing the property on Broadway Street (the former Booster Club Property).  They want to know if they pay for the survey, would the city accept $3,000 for the property, even though the city stated a minimum bid of $5,000.  Mr. Stecker said another bid would have to be prepared and advertised.    

The city has received a check for $16,952.04 for lease on the property in the Crawford Heights.  To date, no royalties have been received. 

The bulk water sales to tankers have increased from 1¢ to 2¢ per gallon.

Currently, the city has 150 tons of road salt and another 50-100 tons to be delivered soon.

The Mayor informed Council of issues at the Water Plant.  A new high service pump had to be ordered.  It will take 7-10 days for delivery.  Cost is $69,000.  This purchase will be paid from Fund 107-Capital Projects-Water.  The Water Plant improvements are progressing but it takes time for these major upgrades.

The Mayor asked for Council’s approval to put the Force Main Project out to bid.  This pipe comes down from Lesco under Rt. 7 and the railroad tracks and taps into a manhole in Floral Valley.  It has ruptured somewhere and needs fixed. 

The Mayor proposed running the street sweeper just two weeks in the Spring (to pick up debri, salt and cinders from the winter months) and then another 2 weeks in the Fall (to pick up leaves).  There isn’t the manpower to run the sweeper every week and citizens complain about having to move their cars because there’s no place to park.

The EMS Supervisors asked that the part-time EMS worker’s wages increase by $1. 

Trick or Treating went well.  The EMS, Fire and Police Departments were praised for patrolling the streets and keeping everyone safe. 

Service Director:  Mr. Sutak asked Council Members to review the Preliminary Legislation regarding the replacement of the Pedestrian Bridge across Route 7.  He would like this ordinance passed at the next Council Meeting.  The Ohio Department of Transportation will pay for the cost of the bridge.  A logo could be place on both sides of the bridge but this would be at the city’s expense.  The price of the logo work is extremely expensive so other options will be explored.  

Mr. Sutak updated Council on the immediate needs and planned improvements for the Water Plant.  He is seeking financial options and funding of 6 mil. dollars for the necessary upgrades to the city’s water facility. 

Mr. Sutak asked for Council’s approval to create a new rental contract for the house in the cemetery.  The current contract hasn’t been updated since 2016. 

Adjustments will be made to the tow motor on Friday and maintenance is being done on other equipment to prepare for the winter season.

Police Department:  Chief Murphy gave the end of October Police Department Report including  activity at the Impound Lot and vehicles that were sold at auction.  The Chief reported he has successfully completed the mandated 40 hours of training for New Police Chiefs.  All active police officers are on track to complete mandated professional trainings by the end of the year.  Two officers have submitted their resignations.  Chief Murphy asked Council for directions on how to proceed with these vacant positions.    

Auditor:  Auditor Regis said the Police Department expenses are still being paid through the levy money and should last through November.  In December, the Police Department expenses will come from the General Fund.  The EMS Supervisors were praised for their hard work in securing transports.  It is hoped that raises could be secured for the part-time EMS employees.  After the election and results are known regarding the income tax, meetings will be scheduled to prepare the budget for next year.  Auditor Regis noted he will close the books on November 22.  Departments have been notified to think ahead of items they might need in December and order them now. 

Safety Director:  No report.   

            Law Director:  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:  Mr. Burns will contact Bruce Shrodes regarding flags to be placed on Veterans’ graves for Veterans Day.  Volunteers will be sought from the Police Department and the High School to help with this project.   

Public Relations:  No report.

Real Estate/Utility:  No report.

Income Tax:  Mrs. Armstrong contacted R.I.T.A. and asked how many employees, who pay the city income tax, are Martins Ferry residents.  Unfortunately they could not give her that information.  However, Mrs. Armstrong learned that the Martins Ferry School District has 254 employees, of which 2/3 live outside of the city.  She hopes that citizens realize that a large group of non-residents who work in Martins Ferry, pay the income tax, which benefits the city.

            Citizens To Be Heard:  President Davis reminded citizens to limit their speaking to 5 minutes.  

Richard Hord, 915 Virginia Street, was told that Council is hopeful that the increase in the city’s income tax will pass.  The Mayor listed the areas where the smoking of the City’s Sanitary Sewer System has occurred.  There were no updates on the future of the former Staffilino property.  The Republican Party is taking applications for the vacant 2nd. Ward Council seat.  An announcement will be made after their next meeting.  No qualified applicants have been received for the Water Superintendent position.  Normally the rest rooms on the second floor of the City Building are kept locked to reduce vandalism. 

Ordinances and Resolutions:  

            An Ordinance To Revise The Codified Ordinances By Adopting Current Replacement Pages, 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. Burns.  A roll call vote was heard with Hunker, Armstrong, Rodgers, Burns, Agnew and Schramm voting yes.  The motion carried.   Motion was made by Mr. Hunker to pass the Ordinance as read.  Mr. Rodgers seconded the motion.  A roll call vote was heard with Hunker, Armstrong, Rodgers, Burns, Agnew and Schramm voting yes.  The motion carried and the Ordinance was declared passed.






Miscellaneous Business:   

President Davis reminded Council to let her know if they would like to serve on a particular committee or would like to be removed from a committee that they are currently serving on.  She will make committee assignments after the election. 

Mr. Rodgers made a motion to raise the wages of the part-time Supervisors by $1 per hour.  Motion was seconded by Mr. Schramm.  A roll call vote was heard with Rodgers, Burns, Agnew, Schramm, Hunker, and Armstrong voting yes.  The motion carried.   Mr. Stecker will prepare an ordinance for the next meeting regarding this motion.

Mr. Schramm made a motion to allow the Service Director to develop a new rental contract for the house on the cemetery property.  Motion was seconded by Mr. Hunter.  A roll call vote was heard with Schramm, Hunker, Armstrong, Rodgers, Burns, and Agnew voting yes.  The motion carried.  

Mr. Hunker made a motion and Rev. Agnew seconded to allow the Service Director to research and borrow up to $6,000,000 for upgrades to the Water Plant.  A roll call vote was heard with Hunker, Armstrong, Rodgers, Burns, Agnew and Schramm voting yes.  The motion carried.  

Mr. Schramm made a motion to allow the Service Director to advertise for bids for the Force Main Project at the Lesco Facility.  Motion was seconded by Mr. Burns.  A roll call vote was heard with Schramm, Hunker, Armstrong Rodgers, Burns, and Agnew 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 Rev. Agnew.   After an affirmative voice vote, the motion passed.  

The bid for the former Booster Club property on Broadway Street was discussed.  Mr. Stecker said this would need to be advertised again since the minimum bid is being lowered.  The bid would have to be re-stated to say the minimum price is $3,000 plus any expenses associated with the sale, which would include the survey. 

Mrs. Armstrong made a motion and Mr. Burns seconded to allow the Mayor to readjust the Street Sweeper schedule to Spring and Fall.  A roll call vote was heard with Armstrong, Rodgers, Burns, Agnew, Schramm, and Hunker voting yes.  The motion carried.   The street sweeper schedule for the rest of this year will remain the same. 

Council will wait until after the election to decide on whether to replace the 2 police officers who resigned since they will have a better understanding of future finances. 

             Mr. Hunker moved to adjourn, which was seconded by Mrs. Armstrong.  After an affirmative voice vote, the meeting was adjourned with a salute to the flag.

            The next meeting of the Martins Ferry Council will be on November 15, 2023 at 6:00 p.m. in Council Chambers at the City Building. 

___________________________________               ___________________________________
Kay H. McFarlan, Clerk of Council                           Kristine Davis, Council President