Posted on: January 25, 2024
The Martins Ferry City Council met in Regular Session on Wednesday, January 10, 2024, at 6:00 p.m., in 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. President Davis welcomed everyone to the first Council Meeting of 2024. Mayor Davies then proceeded to give the oath of office to Mrs. Armstrong and Mr. Echemann. Answering Roll Call were Bob Hunker, First Ward Council Member, Spencer Echemann, Second Ward Council Member; Suzanne Armstrong, Third Ward Council Member; Rick Rodgers, Fourth Ward Council Member; Ben Neiman, James Agnew and Jim Schramm, Council at Large Members.
Mr. Rodger motioned and Mr. Neiman seconded to retain Kay McFarlan as Clerk of Council. A roll call vote was heard with Rodgers, Neiman, Agnew, Schramm, Hunker, Echemann and Armstrong voting yes. The motion carried.
Mrs. Armstrong made a motion and Mr. Schramm seconded to nominate Mr. Rodgers as President Pro-Tem. A roll call vote was heard with Armstrong, Neiman, Agnew, Schramm, Hunker, and Echemann voting yes. Mr. Rodgers abstained. The motion carried.
President Davis reviewed the procedures and rules followed by Council which have been adopted through Roberts Rules of Order and the Ohio Revised Code.
Minutes: Minutes of the December 21, 2023 Council Meeting were approved as written.
Correspondence: There was no correspondence.
Reports of Officers of the City:
Mayor: Mayor Davies reported the city has 225 tons of road salt in stock. The house at 710 Elm Street burned over a year ago and cannot be repaired. The insurance company sent the city a check to be held until the structure gets torn down. To date, it is still standing. A contractor was contacted and the city was told the structure could be taken down for $19,000. The Mayor does not think the property owner will tear down the rest of the house because he has been cited in Mayor’s Court and has never shown up or paid the fines. The Mayor will ask Attorney Stecker if the city can force the demolition of this property.
The city has received the $5,000,000 bond for water plant repairs which was placed in the Water Capital Projects line item. The Mayor explained the urgency to address repairs at the Water Plant. There are 3 important systems at the plant and if any one of the 3 systems fail, the Plant shuts down. The Mayor asked Council for permission to proceed with the plan of emergency repairs and replacements at the Water Plant.
The city has a copy of the deed noting the transfer of ownership of Alumni Road from the School District to the City. However, the Mayor stated he has not seen a document that says the city assumes care of Alumni Road, which is currently slipping over the hill. City officials met with the School Board regarding the safety of Alumni Road. The decision was to stop traffic on Alumni Road, except for School Buses and Emergency Vehicles. Signs, stating the road is closed, were erected but have now been destroyed. People are going around the signs and driving on the road. The Mayor is asking Council to deed the Alumni Road back to the school. The School Board said they would then help the City to find funding to fix the road. The Mayor also had questions about gas royalties paid for the last 17 years on the road’s 11 acres of property and why wasn’t the royalty money put back into the road to keep it safe.
Service Director: Council was shown a picture of the slip on Alumni Road. Mr. Sutak reviewed the extensive process, procedures and cost of applying for funding for Alumni Road. He stated the city needs to find funding that would not have to be paid back. Discussion on the Alumni Road dilemma continued for 35 minutes. The city will continue to work with the School Board to find a solution to the Alumni Road problem.
Auditor: Mr. Regis distributed the first Statement of Cash Position with MTD Totals of the year. A meeting of the Finance Committee was also set for Monday, January 22 at 10:00 a.m.
Law Director: No report.
Police Department: Chief Murphy provided Council with an end of December monthly report and a proposal for the Village of Yorkville to provide police services since the Village is currently without a Police Department. On January 5, Officer Beth Scales retired after 31 years of service to the city. Next month, the Civil Service Promotional Exam for Police Sargents will be given to qualified officers eligible for promotion.
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 scheduled a meeting for Monday, January 22 at 10:00 a.m.
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: Mr. Echemann plans to research and learn how he can expand on the aspect of Public Relations for the city.
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, complimented Beth Scales for her 31 years of service to the city. The Mayor said he is planning to recognize her service. Stanley Stein, who served years ago as the Planning and Development Director for the city, passed away. Mr. Hord expressed appreciation for patching the potholes on Virginia Street and asked if a hole, that consistently retains water, be checked. The Mayor listed his major accomplishment for 2023 and his primary goals for 2024. Mr. Hord asked if the city might consider a “Meet the Candidates” session this year. This subject was referred to the Public Relations Committee.
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. Schramm made a motion to give permission to the Mayor and Service Director to spend up to the entirety of the $5,000,000 borrowed for emergency repairs at the Water Plant until the final appropriation is complete. Mr. Echemann seconded the motion. A roll call vote was heard with Schramm, Hunker, Echemann, Armstrong, Rodgers, Neiman and Agnew voting yes. The motion carried.
Mr. Hunker made a motion to direct the Mayor and Service Director to proceed with the plan of emergency repairs and replacements at the Water Plant in accordance with the ORC 735.051 as advised by our Law Director (See Attached List of Projects). Rev. Agnew seconded the motion. A roll call vote was heard with Hunker, Echemann, Armstrong, Rodgers, Neiman, Agnew and Schramm, voting yes. The motion carried.
Mrs. Armstrong motioned and Mr. Neiman seconded to instruct the Mayor and Service Director begin the process of deeding Alumni Road back to the school. A roll call vote was heard with Armstrong, Rodgers, Neiman, Schramm, Hunker, and Echemann voting yes. Rev. Agnew abstained. 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 Mr. Hunker. After an affirmative voice vote, the motion passed.
Mr. Rodger made a motion and Mr. Schramm seconded to change the January 17 Council Meeting to January 24. A roll call vote was heard with Rodgers, Neiman, Agnew, Schramm, Hunker, Echemann and Armstrong voting yes. The motion carried.
Mr. Hunker moved to adjourn, which was seconded by Mr. Echemann. 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 Wednesday, January 24, 2024 at 6:00 p.m. in Council Chambers at the City Building.
Kay H. McFarlan, Clerk of Council Kristine Davis, Council President