City of Martins Ferry

Martins Ferry City Council Meeting Minutes of May 1, 2024

Posted on: May 16, 2024

The Martins Ferry City Council met in Regular Session on Wednesday, May 1, 2024, at 6:00 p.m., at the Martins Ferry Recreational Center.  The meeting was called to order by Council President Pro-Tempore 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, Spencer Echemann, Second Ward Council Member; Suzanne Armstrong, Third Ward Council Member; Rick Rodgers, Fourth Ward Council Member; Ben Nieman, James Agnew and Jim Schramm, Council at Large Members.   Mr. Rodgers reserved his right to vote.  President Davis let Council know at the last meeting that she was unable to attend this meeting.

            Minutes:  Minutes of the April 17, 2024 Council Meeting were approved as written.  

Correspondence:  There was no correspondence. 

Reports of Officers of the City:

Mayor:  Mayor Davies distributed a letter that was written in response to the school attorney’s letter regarding the Annex Agreement.  The letter states the city feels they are in compliance with the maintenance and repairs and will continue to salt, plow and patch potholes on the school road as well as continue to look for funding to replace the road if necessary. 

The Street Sweeper has finished running until November. The Mayor said workers are hot-patching potholes.  If Council members see any potholes that need patched, please let the Administration know.

The company that built the Splash Pad is coming Tuesday to set it up for the summer. 

The city was unable to receive a grant to assist in purchasing fencing and other material to secure the Well Fields on First Street.  The city will move forward with the needed security measures. 

The Mayor asked for guidance regarding grass cutting for city owned lots as well as other private lots that are neglected. 

Public Service Director:  Mr. Sutak gave a report on updates to the Contact Tanks, Well #5 and the Skadis System at the Water Plant. 

The city submitted a request to FEMA for a generator for East Ohio Regional Hospital.  Bids have been received and have been given to the Engineer to review and make recommendations. 

Council was asked to sign a letter to ODNR regarding the Austin Masters situation.  Copies of this letter will be sent to other state and local officials and entities in hope that they will support Martins Ferry and agree that the Austin Masters Plant is not located in the right place.  Mr. Sutak spoke with the Chief of ODNR and explained the situation and concerns of the city regarding Austin Masters.  The Chief said that ODNR has to go through their litigation process and will keep the city informed on what transpires. 

            Auditor:  Mr. Regis asked Council to consider passing the legislation regarding 1) re-establishing the position of EMS Captain and 2) Part-time wage increase for EMS workers and 3) increasing the salary of the Director of Public Service.  He also asked that Council review and pass the Payroll Summary and New Hire Report. 

Law Director:  Mr. Stecker request Council’s permission to close the following roads for the Strawberry Festival on Saturday, June 8: 4th Street from Hanover Street to Locus Street, Walnut Street from 3rd Street to 5th Street, Hickory Street from 4th Street to 5th Street and the Parking Lot located next to Mr. Stecker’s Law Office (42 South 4th Street). 

Mr. Stecker reported that the Academic Awards Banquet honoring 454 students (who either go to a school within the Martins Ferry School District or live within the Martins Ferry School District) will be held on Tuesday, May 7 at the Wesbanco Arena.

            Police Department:  Chief Murphy distributed the end of April’s Police Department Report.  He is applying for grant funds to help with hiring of (2) police officers.   Letters, to be included with the grant proposal, are needed from city officials (City Administrators and the Mayor) for support of these additional police officers. Mr. Sutak suggested passing a Resolution supporting the hiring of two additional police officer.  The Resolution would be signed by every Council Member and be included with the Grant Proposal. Mr. Rodger will consult President Davis on this matter.  The Martins Ferry Police Department was also recognized for excellence in policy management and training by Lexipol, the nation’s leading provider of policy training and wellness support for first responders and public servants. 

Fire Department: No report.

Code Administrator: No report.

            Park District: No report.      

            Water Department:  No report.       

Reports of Committees of Council:   

            Finance and Audit:   The Finance Committee met on Wednesday, April 24 and reviewed the budget.  The Committee recommends the purchase of a new Lawn Tractor for the cemetery be paid out of the General Fund.  Minutes of this meeting will be filed with these minutes.

Street: No report.

Ordinance:  Rev. Agnew said that passing an Ordinance prohibiting Hazardous Waste Facilities to move into the city may not be legal.  Law Director Stecker is researching this issue.   

            Sewer/Sidewalk:  No report.

Code Administration:  No report.

            Safety: No report.

            Service:  No report.

            Cemetery:  No report.

Public Relations:  Mr. Echemann will be setting up a meeting regarding summer events in the city. 

Real Estate/Utility:  Mr. Hunker scheduled a committee meeting for Wednesday, May 8 at 10:00a.m. 

Income Tax: No report.

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

Richard Hord, 915 Virginia Street, congratulated Chief Murphy and the Martins Ferry Police Department for being recognized for excellence in policy management and training by Lexipol and achieving Gold Level status, the highest level of recognition offered.  Mr. Hord asked for an update on sites in the city possibly being designated as historical.  Mr. Stecker said the process is still ongoing and surveys still need to be completed.  Code enforcement is being worked on by Terri Leasure and Officer Starkey.  The Mayor told Mr. Hord that East Ohio Regional Hospital seems to be doing well.

Beverly Reed, Bridgeport, Ohio, commended Council for writing letters to State and Local government representatives regarding the Austin Masters situation.  She gave Council a copy of a newly published book “Petroleum-238” by Author Justin Nobel that deals with how the U.S. oil and gas industry has avoided environmental regulations and created a dangerous and radioactive public health crisis.  Mr. Nobel will be speaking at the Ohio County Public Library Auditorium on Wednesday, May 15 at 6:00 p.m.  This event will be live streamed. 

Ordinances and Resolutions:  

This Resolution was given a second reading.

An Ordinance Increasing The Hourly Wage For Certain Part-Time Positions In The EMS Department.

Mr. Schramm made a motion to suspend the rules.  Rev. Agnew seconded the motion.  A roll call vote was heard with Schramm, Hunker, Echemann, Armstrong, Rodgers, Nieman and Agnew voting yes.  The motion carried.   Motion was made by Mr. Hunker and seconded by Mr. Neiman to passed the Ordinance as read.  A roll call vote was heard with Hunker, Echemann, Armstrong, Rodgers, Neiman, Agnew and Schramm voting yes.  The motion carried and the Ordinance was declared passed.

This Resolution was given a second reading.

A Resolution Declaring It Necessary To Levy A Tax In Excess Of The 10 Mill Limitation And To Renew A 3.0 Mill EMS Levy For Five Years And Declaring An Emergency. 

            This Resolution will go to a third reading.

This Ordinance was given a first reading. 

An Ordinance Re-establishing the Positions of EMS Captain and Declaring an Emergency. 

Mrs. Armstrong made a motion to suspend the rules.  Rev. Agnew seconded the motion.  A roll call vote was heard with Armstrong, Rodgers, Neiman, Agnew, Schramm, Hunker, and Echemann voting yes.  The motion carried.   Mr. Echemann made a motion and Mr. Neiman seconded to pass the Ordinance as read.  A roll call vote was heard with Echemann, Armstrong, Rodgers, Neiman, Agnew, Schramm and Hunker voting yes.  The motion carried and the Ordinance was declared passed. 

This Ordinance was given a first reading.

An Ordinance Increasing the Salary of the Director of Public Service, effective April 1, 2024.

Mr. Hunker made a motion to suspend the rules.  Mr. Schramm seconded the motion.  A roll call vote was heard with Hunker, Echemann, Armstrong, Rodgers, Neiman, Agnew and Schramm voting yes.  The motion carried.   Mr. Schramm made a motion to pass the Ordinances as read.  Mr. Echemann seconded the motion.  A roll call vote was heard with Schramm, Hunker, Echemann, Armstrong, Rodgers, Nieman and Agnew voting yes.  The motion carried and the Ordinance was declared passed. 

This Resolution was given a first reading.

A Resolution in Support of Sending Letter to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and Other Elected Officials and Agencies regarding Austin Masters.

Mr. Hunker made a motion to suspend the rules.  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.   Mr. Schramm made a motion to pass the Resolution as read.  Mr. Hunker seconded the motion.   A roll call vote was heard with Schramm, Hunker, Echemann, Armstrong, Rodgers, Neiman and Agnew 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

EMERGENC       

Miscellaneous Business:   

Mrs. Armstrong made a motion to close 4th Street from Hanover Street to Locus Street, Walnut Street from 3rd Street to 5th Street, Hickory Street from 4th Street to 5th Street and the Parking Lot located next to Mr. Stecker’s Law Office (42 South 4th Street) on June 8 for the Strawberry Festival.  Motion was seconded by Mr. Echemann.  A roll call vote was heard with Armstrong, Rodgers, Neiman, Agnew, Schramm, Hunker, and Echemann voting yes.  The motion carried.   

Since this Council meeting was at the Recreation Center, live streaming was not available.  At the last meeting, the live stream had no audio but the picture was very clear.  Mr. Echemann will contact ForeFront Technology and ask them to address the audio issue and how to live stream when we have the Council Meeting in a difference venue.    

Mrs. Armstrong made a motion to note that Council has reviewed and accepted the Payroll Summary, New Hire Report and the Statement of Cash Position.  Rev. Agnew seconded the motion.  A roll call vote was heard with Armstrong, Rodgers, Neiman, Agnew, Schramm, Hunker, and Echemann voting yes.  The motion carried.   

Mr. Rodgers asked Council to consider having the next Council meeting at the Recreation Center to support Mr. Neiman’s health condition.  Hearing no objections, the next Council Meeting will be held on May 15, 2024 at 6:00 p.m. at the Recreation Center.  Mr. Neiman thanked Council for the meeting location change.

Mrs. Armstrong moved and Mr. Echemann seconded to approve the purchase of a tractor (up to $20,000) for the cemetery.  This purchase will be paid out of the General Fund.  A roll call vote was heard with Armstrong, Rodgers, Neiman, Agnew, Schramm, Hunker, and Echemann, voting yes.  The motion carried.   

Applications are being accepted for summer help for grass cutting.  Mr. Sutak would like to have 5-6 workers possibly beginning on May 6.  Mr. Stecker explained that grass cutting is needed for city owned lots as well as another 68 lots that have been neglected or abandoned and have become a hazard for the neighborhood. 

The Mayor asked Council if a decision has been made regarding selling the lot on the corner of 9th Street.  If it’s not sold, the city will have to cut the grass.  Mr. Hunker said this issue will be addressed at the Real Estate and Utility Meeting next Wednesday. 

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.      

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

            The next meeting of the Martins Ferry Council will be on Wednesday, May 15, 2024 at 6:00 p.m. in the Recreation Center.    

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

___________________________________
Date


Martins Ferry City Council Meeting Minutes of April 17, 2024

Posted on: May 3, 2024

The Martins Ferry City Council met in Regular Session on Wednesday, April 17, 2024, 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, Spencer Echemann, Second Ward Council Member; Suzanne Armstrong, Third Ward Council Member; Rick Rodgers, Fourth Ward Council Member; James Agnew and Jim Schramm, Council at Large Members.   President Davis reported Mr. Neiman was unable to attend this meeting but he hopes to make the next meeting.  The meeting location may need to be changed to accommodate Mr. Neiman’s condition. 

            Minutes:  Minutes of the March 27, 2024 Council Meeting were approved as written.  

Correspondence:  There was no correspondence. 

Reports of Officers of the City:

Mayor:  As soon as asphalt is available, hot patch will be used to fix potholes.  The Street Sweeper will run this week and next week.  It will then run again for 2 weeks in November.  Pease Township Park District donated $5,000 towards the repayment of the loan from the Permanent Improvement Fund for the repairs to the city’s swimming pool. 

Service/Safety Director:  The city recently had a company do a survey of the well field to distinguish the property lines.  An application has been filed with the EPA for funding to put a fence around the well field to secure the area.  Funding is also being sought from Belmont County EMA (Emergency Management Agency) to help with the cost of cleaning up debri and fixing slips from the flooding.  Mr. Sutak reported on the upgrades to the Water Plant.  The Ohio Drilling Company is cleaning and making improvements to Well #5.  On April 29, work will begin on upgrades to the Contact Tanks and the Ozone Generators. 

            Auditor:  Mr. Regis asked that the position of Part-Time EMS Captain be examined and the benefits clearly defined.  Mr. Stecker will be consulted on this task.  Mr. Regis will create a table of organization positions and ask Council and President Davis to review.  A Finance Committee Meeting was scheduled for Wednesday, April 24 at 10:00 a.m.

            Law Director:  No report. 

            Police Department:  Chief Murphy gave the end of March report.  March fees from the Impound Lot totaled. $875.  March revenue from auction of impound vehicles totaled $3,000.  There has been positive feedback for the recently enacted Department’s 12 hour work shifts which has resulted in overtime being lower.

            Fire Department: No report.

Code Administrator: No report.

            Park District: No report.      

            Water Department:  No report.       

Reports of Committees of Council:   

            Finance and Audit:   The Finance Committee will meet on Wednesday, April 24 at 10:00 a.m.

Street: The Street Committee met with the Law Director on Monday, April 15.  Issues with Alumni Road and School Road need to be discussed.  A meeting with School Officials was being planned.

Ordinance:  The committee, along with Mr. Stecker, is working on an Ordinance prohibiting businesses from bringing hazardous waste into the city. 

            Sewer/Sidewalk:  No report.

Code Administration:  No report.

            Safety: No report.

            Service:  No report.

            Cemetery:  No report.

Public Relations:  The Committee will meet soon to discuss ideas to expand on some of the summer events planned in the city, i.e. Fourth of July Celebration, Betty Zane Days, etc. 

Real Estate/Utility:  No report.

Income Tax: No report.

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

Robert Reed, 701 S. Lincoln Ave., Bridgeport, Ohio, conveyed appreciation to the Administration for the improvements to Water Department.  He expressed his thoughts on the recent flooding on 1st Street of the city, specifically surrounding the Austin Masters Plant which contains hazardous waste.  He asks that Council and the City Administration send a letter to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) and ask for assistance to clean up the toxic material at the Austin Masters Plant.    

Before Ms. Reed spoke, President Davis explained the rights of citizens to speak and asked for new information only regarding the Austin Masters Issue.

Beverly Reed, Bridgeport, Ohio, distributed an article from the Pittsburgh Post Gazette regarding the Austin Masters issues.  Mr. Sutak said he will send a copy of this article to ODNR.  Ms. Reed asked the city to tell ODNR that the city doesn’t want another facility like this again and the Austin Masters facility needs cleaned up.  The City has tried to contact the ODNR and the EPA at ask how this situation got overlooked but no response has been received.  The Mayor said today was the deadline for the waste material to be removed from the Plant.  If the waste is not removed, Austin Masters is in violation of the court order and fines will begin to accrue.  Ms. Reed believes the company will file for bankruptcy.  If the company does file for bankruptcy, ODNR will be responsible for cleanup.  The drainage and flow of water, when the river floods, was discussed.  President Davis said Council will write a letter to ODNR asking for help in the waste cleanup of the Austin Masters Plant.  Mr. Sutak asked Belmont County Commissioner Jerry Echemann (who was in the audience) if the Commissioners could write a letter to ODNR to support Martins Ferry in the clean-up effort of Austin Masters.  The Commissioner’s letter, along with tonight’s meeting minutes and the city’s letter, as well as letters from other towns and villages in the area, will be bundled together and sent to ODNR.  Ms. Reed said the Concerned Ohio River Residents (CORR) have already sent a very comprehensive letter to ODNR which she is willing to share with the city administration.  The Peace Township Trustees have already sent a letter.  Ms. Reed suggested once this package of letters is sent, to contact the media and make it public.  Mr. Sutak hopes that representatives from ODNR, the EPA and the Attorney General’s Office could come to Martins Ferry and meet face-to-face to discuss this situation. 

Jennifer Compston-Strough, Managing Editor of The Times Leader, Martins Ferry, stated the Pittsburgh Post Gazette gave her permission to re-print the Austin Masters Article.  If anyone needs access to the article in an electronic format, they can go to timesleaderonline.com and share the link.

Richard Hord, 915 Virginia Street, asked for an updates on Columbia Gas activities and road striping.  The Mayor said the Gas Company is working on Delia Avenue and crews were out striping the streets today.  Mr. Hord inquired about the building that currently houses the Ceramic Shop across the street from the city building.  The Mayor said he owns the building and he has no plans to have tenants again but he is looking into an historical grant to bring the building back to its original state.  Mr. Hord asked when all the waste is removed from the Austin Masters building, will it have to be demolished?  Mr. Sutak said the first big step is to remove the waste and he is certain there is policies and guidelines that have to be met to reopen the building for other operations. 

Jerry Echemann, Belmont County Commissioner, 427 Elm Street, asked for a copy of the letter the city plans to send to ODNR so the Commissioners could consider writing a similar letter.  He also wanted to know who was responsible for the upkeep of Aetna Street.  He was told it is Bridgeport’s responsibility. 

Ordinances and Resolutions:  

            Mr. Hunker made a motion to waive the 72 hour rule for reading the Resolution.  Mr. Rodgers seconded the motion.  A roll call vote was heard with Hunker, Echemann, Armstrong, Rodgers, Agnew and Schramm voting yes.  The motion carried.   This Resolution was given a first reading.

A Resolution Declaring It Necessary To Levy A Tax In Excess Of The 10 Mill Limitation And To Renew A 3.0 Mill EMS Levy For Five Years And Declaring An Emergency. 

            This Resolution will go to a second reading.

Rev. Agnew made a motion to suspend the 72 hour rule for reading the Ordinance.  Mr. Echemann seconded the motion.  A roll call vote was heard with Agnew, Schramm, Hunker, Echemann, Armstrong, and Rodgers voting yes.  The motion carried.   This Ordinance was given a first reading.

            An Ordinance Increasing The Hourly Wage For Certain Part-Time Positions In The EMS Department.

            This Ordinance will go to a Second Reading

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

EMERGENC       

Miscellaneous Business:   

The Mayor reported the Broadway property (the former Booster Club property) has sold for the asking price. The buyer is going to do the survey and Mr. Stecker will get the deed prepared. 

The Mayor recommends the city purchase a new tractor for the Cemetery with an estimated cost of $20,000.  This issue will be discussed at the Finance Committee Meeting. 

The live streaming of the Council Meetings are being recorded and saved on U-Tube.  Recorded meetings can be found on the U-Tube channel entitled “The City of Martins Ferry”.  Unfortunately the volume needs to be a little louder.  Mr. Echemann will follow-up with the IT Company that installed the system and see if the volume can be adjusted.

Mr. Echemann made a motion to excuse Mr. Neiman from tonight’s meeting.  Rev. Agnew seconded.  After an affirmative voice vote, the motion passed. 

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.  

Both President Davis and Mr. Sutak received calls from companies regarding energy aggregation.  Council will need to take action soon if this issue is to be on the ballot in November.  Mr. Sutak will email information to council members to consider at the next meeting.  President Davis suggested maybe having a public meeting to discuss the matter. 

Council received an email from a citizen inquiring about the requirements for electric bicycles, scooters and helmet requirements.  President Davis stated there is an Ordinance that addresses this issue but it needs reviewed and updated since electric bicycles were not popular at that time.  This issue was referred to the Ordinance Committee. 

Mr. Hunker made a motion to go into Executive Session under the Ohio Revised Code G121.22, G3, regarding the subject of pending or imminent court action.  Mr. Echemann seconded the motion.  A roll call vote was heard with Hunker, Echemann, Armstrong, Rodgers, Agnew and Schramm voting yes.  The motion carried.   

Mr. Schramm made a motion to go out of Executive Session.  Mr. Rodgers seconded the motion.  A roll call vote was heard with Schramm, Hunker, Echemann, Armstrong, Rodgers and Agnew voting yes.  The motion carried and Council went back into regular session.   

             Mr. Hunker moved to adjourn, which was seconded by Mrs. Armstrong.  A roll call vote was heard with Hunker, Echemann, Armstrong, Rodgers, Agnew and Schramm voting yes.  The motion carried.  The meeting was then adjourned with a salute to the flag.

            The next meeting of the Martins Ferry Council will be on Wednesday, May 1, 2024 at 6:00 p.m. in Council Chambers. 

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

___________________________________
Date


Martins Ferry City Council Meeting Minutes of March 27, 2024

Posted on: April 18, 2024

The Martins Ferry City Council met in Regular Session on Wednesday, March 27, 2024, 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, Spencer Echemann, Second Ward Council Member; Suzanne Armstrong, Third Ward Council Member; Rick Rodgers, Fourth Ward Council Member; James Agnew and Jim Schramm, Council at Large Members.   Ben Neiman, Council at Large Member, informed President Davis that he was unable to attend this meeting.             

            Minutes:  Minutes of the March 6, 2024 Council Meeting were approved as written.  

Correspondence:  There was no correspondence. 

Reports of Officers of the City:

Mayor:  Council approved changing the order of the meeting so Mayor Davies could read a proclamation honoring retired Sergeant Beth Scales, recognizing her 31 years of service to the Martins Ferry Police Department.   The Mayor also swore in Micah Armstrong to the position of Sergeant to replace retiring Officer Scales. 

The American Legion is asking for permission to hold a Poppy Day on Friday, May 24.  Sales will be conducted from 11:30 – 5:30 p.m.

The Street Sweeper will run only during the last two weeks of April and November.  Street signs have been adjusted to note the new dates/hours that residents must move their vehicles.  Cars not moved on designated Sweeper days will be ticketed. 

Saturday, April 6 will be Clean-Up Day from 8:00 – 12:00 noon.  Items needs to be taken to the old City Garage on 1st. Street.  There will be an extra charge for Mattresses and Box Springs.  No tires, batteries or hazardous waste will be accepted. 

            Approximately 2/3 of the turf has been laid for the Splash Pad.  The rest will be completed when weather permits.

            Council was updated on the closing of the Austin Masters facility located on 1st Street.  The company took in an excess of 10,000 tons of debri over what their permit allows.  The Plant is currently locked down and security is present to insure no one enters the building.  The Mayor will meet with the EPA next week and ODNR will be consulted on the next steps to remedy this situation. 

Service/Safety Director:  Mr. Sutak updated Council on the upgrades to the Water Plant.  Air Dryers are scheduled to be delivered on April 10.  The  High Service Pump #4 will be installed in the next couple of weeks.  Dehumidifiers and heaters have been ordered and should be in soon.  The Engineer has approved all the submittals.   Updated equipment is being ordered for the lab.  Comcast internet has been upgraded to meet the expectations of the Skadis Water System. 

            Auditor:  If Council chooses to approve the Operator of Record Ordinance, the salary will be backdated to February 1.  Mr. Regis commented on a few projects in the budget.  Council was reminded that the budget needs to be submitted to the County by the end of the month and the Payroll Summary and the New Hire Report needs approved.  Mr. Regis reviewed options for the Perpetual CD coming due at Unified Bank.  In an effort to cut back on paper and outgoing mail, paystubs will now be sent by email. 

            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:   The committee met on March 22 to review the budget which will have to be monitored closely this year.  A carry-over for next year will be available as long as there are no unforeseen expenses.  The Committee recommends passage of the budget for 2024.  Minutes of the meeting were submitted to the clerk and will be included with these minutes.

Street: No report.

Ordinance:  Recommendations from the committee, regarding fines for repeat offenders of property codes, were distributed to Council Members.  These recommendations will be given to the Law Director so an Ordinance can be created. 

            Sewer/Sidewalk:  No report.

Code Administration:  No report.

            Safety: Mr. Schramm met with the Fire Chief to discuss the roofing problems at the Vigilant Fire Station.  It was discovered that a downspout was clogged causing water to leak into the engine room.  The leak in the kitchen area still needs addressed. 

            Service:  No report.

            Cemetery:  No report.

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.  

Alexandria Goddard, 906 Carlisle Street, spoke regarding the violations that shut down the Austin Masters Facility on 1st. Street.  She read a press release from David Yost, Ohio Attorney General, regarding his concerns about the city’s water system.  When asked what the city plans to do, Mayor Davies said ODNR issued the permit and only they can revoke it.  Ownership of the company has changed although the name remains the same.  City Administrators have a meeting with the EPA next week and they will also be in contact with ODNR. 

Beverly Reed, Bridgeport, Ohio, stated there is an imminent threat to the public for radiation contamination from the Austin Masters Facility and has concerns for the water supply.  The Mayor doubts that company officials will speak to anyone and the company will probably file bankruptcy.  The Mayor said the City will move forward to find a solution to this problem.

Ron Reed, Bridgeport, Ohio, presented the media with a flash drive containing pictures from the Austin Masters Plant that were taken 3 years ago. 

Richard Hord, 915 Virginia Street, reported that the property at 917 Virginia Street has been sold and the front yard has been cleaned up.  However, there is still a pothole that need filled on the road in front of this house.  In retrospect, the Mayor said the city could have insisted on inspection reports from Austin Masters to insure the company was in compliance.  There is no information on the future of the S.M.A.R.T. Building on 5th Street owned by Mr. Young.  No decision has been made on which streets will be paved in 2024. 

Ordinances and Resolutions:  

An Ordinance Amending The Salary For The Position of Temporary Operator of Record.

             This Ordinance was given a second reading.  Motion was made by Mr. Hunker to suspend the rules.  Motion was seconded by Rev. Agnew.  A roll call vote was heard with Hunker, Echemann, Armstrong, Rodgers, Agnew and Schramm voting yes.   The motion carried.   Motion was made by Mr. Schramm to pass the Ordinance as read.  Mr. Echemann seconded the motion.  A roll call vote was heard with Schramm, Hunker, Echemann, Armstrong, Rodgers and Agnew voting yes.  The motion carried and the Ordinance was declared passed.

            An Ordinance to make appropriations for the expenses of the City of Martins Ferry, State of Ohio, During the Fiscal Year Ending December 31, 2024, 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. Schramm.  A roll call vote was heard with Hunker, Echemann, Armstrong, Rodgers, Agnew and Schramm voting yes.   The motion carried.   Motion was made by Mr. Echemann to pass the Ordinance as read.  Rev. Agnew seconded the motion.  A roll call vote was heard with Echemann, Armstrong, Rodgers, Agnew, Schramm and Hunker voting yes.  The motion carried and the Ordinance was declared passed.

Mr. Hunker made a motion and Mr. Rodgers seconded to suspend the 72 hour rule.  A roll call vote was heard with Hunker, Echemann, Armstrong, Rodgers, Agnew and Schramm voting yes.  The motion carried and the 72 hour rule was suspended.  This Resolution was given a first reading. 

            A Resolution Requesting The County Auditor To Certify To The City Of Martins Ferry The Total Current Tax Valuation Of The City Of Martins Ferry And The Dollar Amount Of Revenue That Would Be Generated By A Three (3.0) Mill Renewal Levy And Declaring An Emergency. 

             Motion was made by Mr. Hunker to suspend the rules.  Motion was seconded by Mrs. Armstrong.   A roll call vote was heard with Hunker, Echemann, Armstrong, Rodgers, Agnew and Schramm voting yes.   The motion carried.   Motion was made by Mr. Rodgers to pass the Resolution as read.  Mr. Echemann seconded the motion.  A roll call vote was heard with Rodgers, Agnew, Schramm, Hunker, Echemann and Armstrong 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

EMERGENC       

Miscellaneous Business:   

Mr. Schramm made a motion and Rev. Agnew seconded to cancel the April 3, 2024 Council Meeting.  After an affirmative voice vote, the motion carried.

Mr. Echemann informed Council he would not be available the week of April 24 should an emergency meeting be scheduled. 

Mrs. Armstrong made a motion and Rev. Agnew seconded to accept the New Hire Report and Payroll Summary.  After an affirmative voice vote, the motion carried.

Mrs. Armstrong asked if there were plans for the departments that were exceeding their budgets.  Auditor Regis said these departments’ budgets are being watched and if anything is out of line, Council will be notified. 

Mr. Hunker made a motion to allow the American Legion to conduct a “Poppy Day” on May 24, 2024.  Sales will be conducted from 11:30 – 5:30 p.m.   Mr. Rodgers seconded the motion.  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 Mr. Hunker.   After an affirmative voice vote, the motion passed.  

Rev. Agnew made a motion to excuse Mr. Neiman from tonight’s meeting.  Motion was seconded by Mr. Echemann.  After an affirmative voice vote, the motion carried.

             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.

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

___________________________________
Date


Martins Ferry City Council Meeting Minutes of March 6, 2024

Posted on: April 2, 2024

The Martins Ferry City Council met in Regular Session on Wednesday, March 6, 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 with a prayer by the Clerk.   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; James Agnew and Jim Schramm, Council at Large Members.   Ben Neiman, Council at Large Member, informed President Davis that he was unable to attend this meeting.  President Davis noted this meeting was a “soft opening” for the live-streaming system. 

            Minutes:  Minutes of the February 21, 2024 Council Meeting were approved as written.  

Correspondence:  There was no correspondence. 

Reports of Officers of the City:

Mayor:  The Street Sweeper recently had some minor issues fixed and was running today to pick up grit on the heavily traveled streets.  It will officially begin running in April.  Tickets will only be issued to vehicles parked on the wrong side of the street in April and November, which will be the only 2 months the Sweeper will run. 

Mayor Davies asked Council to consider raising the Part-Time EMS/Paramedics salary by $1.  Mary Greer has accepted the full-time EMS supervisor position at $40,000 per year with no benefits.  Mr. Stecker said she may have to sign a waiver of the benefits since it is a policy for supervisors to receive benefits. 

Repairs to the Swimming Pool are estimated at $27,000.  A decision regarding funding for this project needs to be made quickly if the pool is to open on time and be ready for the Swim Team. 

The Fire Department will partner with the City to secure funding for the fireworks for the July Celebration in the Park (July 6) and Betty Zane Days (August).   The Mayor also asked Council for permission to hold a food drive on the corner of Zane Highway and Carlisle Street. 

The issue of trash in the city was addressed.  The Mayor proposed beginning in April, if a bag of trash is on the ground and not in a covered trash can, $3 per bag will be added to the homeowner or landlord’s utility bill.  If it’s not paid, utilities will be ceased.  Currently, there is over $79,000 in delinquent water bills. 

The Mayor asked for an Executive Session towards the end of the meeting to discuss contracts and personnel. 

Service/Safetly Director:  Mr. Sutak and some of the Water Department Employees will be meeting soon with the Engineers to review the submittals for the upgrades to the Water Plant.  This will insure all improvements are accurate and safeguards are in place. 

Senator Sherrod Brown’s office has supplied the city with a packet of possible funding opportunities for the Alumni Road Repair Project.  Mr. Sutak will review this material to see if any of the funding specifically fits the situation with the school roads.  If a grant is found, Mr. Sutak will check with Senator Brown’s office to see if it fits the criteria, and if it does, he will apply for the funding. 

Council was then updated on the progress of the Water Plant improvements.  

            Auditor:   Auditor Regis supplied Council with the most recent Financial Reports.  He also shared Belmont County’s E-911 Centralized Dispatch Final Plan Report, noting that Martins Ferry was the only city not represented on the County’s Advisory Board.  The budget should be sent to Council for review by March 15.  Present Davis noted that there may not be enough Council Members present on March 20 to suspend the rules to pass the budget.  Consideration to change the March 20th meeting will be addressed under Miscellaneous Business.

            Auditor Regis informed Council that $27,000 from the Permanent Improvement Fund could be used for the pool repairs.  As donations and fundraising monies are received, the Fund can be reimbursed.  This can insure repairs can be made timely and the pool can open as scheduled. 

            Auditor Regis praised the well behaved Martins Ferry Students who traveled to Union Local High School to cheer on the Basketball Team to victory on March 5. 

            Law Director:  No report. 

            Police Department:  Chief Murphy gave the end of February Police Report.  The phone recording system has been updated and installed. Employee training on the system is complete. 

            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 will schedule a Finance Committee Meeting after Council Members have a chance to review the Budget. 

Street: No report.

Ordinance:  Rev. Agnew will schedule a Committee Meeting next week to create an Ordinance on “Progressive Fining” which would help in dealing with violations in Mayor’s Court. 

            Sewer/Sidewalk:  No report.

            Safety: No report.

            Service:  No report.

            Cemetery:  No report.

Public Relations:  Councilman Echemann attended the Fire Department’s 300 Club Party.  It was a wonderful community event. 

Code Administration:  No report.

Real Estate/Utility:  The Real Estate Committee met on February 22.  The committee recommends not selling the property in Crawford Heights at this time.  This area can be used as a “lay down yard” for the contractor who will be doing road work in the area.  If the property is sold, the city would be charged a fee to store the equipment someplace else. 

The Mayor and the Safety/Service Director informed the Committee that many of the city’s properties have transfer, deed and survey issues.  The Committee recommends the Service/Safety Director hire a Real Estate Attorney to research and resolve the city-owned property issues. 

Income Tax: No report.

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

Michael Bianconi, Pease Township Trustee, distributed information on the Township’s Free Clean-Up Day on March 23.  Mr. Sutak said he would put this information on the city’s website.  Mr. Bianconi also thanked the Mayor, Service Director and Council for working with the Township on the road project in Crawford Heights. 

Richard Hord, 915 Virginia Street, mentioned Belmont College would be conducting classes in the city again which was very positive.  The Mayor clarified the Street Sweeper will only run in the months of April and November.  Retired Sargent Beth Scales will be honored at a future Council Meeting. Future plans for the old Lamplighter property and the adjoining parking lot were not known.  The Mayor told Mr. Hord the Aetnaville Bridge will be torn down sometime next year and that is all that is known at this time.

Ordinances and Resolutions

An Ordinance Amending The Salary For The Position of Temporary Operator of Record.

             This Ordinance was given a first reading.  The Ordinance will go to a second reading.

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

EMERGENC       

Miscellaneous Business:  

Mr. Schramm made a motion to appropriate a $27,000 loan from the Permanent Improvement Fund to be used for the replacement of the swimming pool pump.  Rev. Agnew seconded the motion.  A roll call vote was heard with Schramm, Hunker, Echemann, Armstrong, Rodgers, and Agnew voting yes.  The motion carried.  The President of the Aquatic Club thanked Council for this motion.  He said fundraising will begin shortly to raise money to help payback this loan from the Permanent Improvement Fund. 

Mr. Echemann made a motion to approve the February, 2024 Financial Reports and the Check Register as received from the Auditor’s Office.  Motion was seconded by Mr. Rodgers.  A roll call vote was heard with Echemann, Armstrong, Rodgers, Agnew, Schramm, and Hunker voting yes.  The motion was declared passed. 

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.  

            The Mayor asked Council to consider advertising the property at 1200 North 9th St. for bid.  Mr. Sutak will check on the original value of the property and recommend a minimum bid and any other requirements that might be needed.  This will be discussed at the next Ordinance Committee Meeting. 

            Mr. Schramm made a motion to move the March 20th Council Meeting to March 27th .  Mr. Hunker seconded the motion.  A roll call vote was heard with Schramm, Hunker, Echemann, Armstrong, Rodgers, and Agnew voting yes.  The motion carried. 

            Mrs. Armstrong asked the Mayor and Service/Safety Director to research Real Estate Attorneys and bring in recommendations to the next Council Meeting. 

            At the next meeting, Mr. Stecker will bring in an ordinance for a $1 salary increase for part-time EMT, EMTB and Paramedic employees.  Effective date will be when the ordinance passes. 

            Mr. Hunker made a motion for Council to go into Executive Session under Ohio Revised Code 121-22, G1 and G2 for Contracts and Personnel.  Rev. Agnew seconded the motion.  A roll call vote was heard with Hunker, Echemann, Armstrong, Rodgers, Agnew and Schramm voting yes.  The motion carried and Council went into Executive Session.  

            Mr. Hunker made a motion to go out of Executive Session.  Mr. Schramm seconded the motion.  A roll call vote was heard with Hunker, Echemann, Armstrong, Rodgers, Agnew and Schramm voting yes.  The motion carried and Council returned to regular session. 

            Mayor Davies told Chief Murphy that Council approved the implementation of a new Sargent. 

Mr. Echemann made a motion and Rev. Agnew seconded to excuse Mr. Neiman from tonight’s meeting.  After an affirmative voice vote, the motion passed.            

             Mr. Hunker moved to adjourn, which was seconded by Rev. Agnew.  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 held on Wednesday, March 27, 2024 at 6:00 p.m. in Council Chambers. 

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

___________________________________
Date


Martins Ferry City Council Meeting Minutes of February 21, 2024

Posted on: March 11, 2024

The Martins Ferry City Council met in Regular Session on Wednesday, February 21, 2024 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, Spencer Echemann, Second Ward Council Member; Suzanne Armstrong, Third Ward Council Member; Rick Rodgers, Fourth Ward Council Member; and James Agnew; Council at Large Member.  Ben Neiman and James Schramm informed President Davis that they were unable to attend this meeting.  Live streaming was not available for this meeting.  Council Members were invited to attend “Streaming Training” scheduled for Thursday, February 22, 2024 at 2:00 p.m. 

            Minutes:  Minutes of the February 7, 2024 Council Meeting were approved as written.  

Correspondence:  There was no correspondence. 

Reports of Officers of the City:

Mayor:  The Mayor expressed appreciation for the Street Department Employees who cleared snow from the roads this past weekend.  Demolition of the house at 710 Elm Street has been completed. 

Mayor Davies met with the Martins Ferry School Board regarding Alumni Road.  Hopefully an agreement can be reached soon and funding can be secured to get the road repaired.  The Mayor gave a stern warning that if anyone is caught traveling Alumni Road, they will be fined! 

Council was asked to review the Ordinance amending the salary for the position of temporary operator of record which had to be amended due to PERS (Public Employee Retirement System) rules.   

Council was informed that a buyer is interested in purchasing the parking lot and the small park on the corner of Hanover and 5th Street. 

The Mayor distributed a Memorandum of Understanding between the City and the Police Department allowing officers to work six twelve (12) hour shifts and one eight (8) hour shift for a total of eighty hours every two-week work period. 

Safety/Service Director:  Mr. Sutak asked Council to consider putting a piece of city-owned property in Crawford Heights up for bid.  A family is interested in building a house on the property. 

Mr. Sutak informed Council on the progress of the Water Plant Improvements.  He asked Council to give a voice approval to contract with W. Quick-Sol to review submittals on the upgrades to the Water Plant to make sure that everything is satisfactory for the Plant.  An application, for a Water Protection Grant, has been submitted to the EPA for fencing around the wells and gates for the roadways.  Mr. Echemann thanked everyone for their hard work in getting these upgrades in place. 

            Auditor:  Mr. Regis asked Council to approve the New Hire List, Payroll Summary and Statement of Cash Positon with MTD Totals.  Two Purchase Orders need to be approved since they exceeded the $3,000 limit.   One is for $27,809 for extra charges on work for Well #13 and the other is for a generator amounting to $6,088.80.  Work is being done on the Appropriations. 

            Law Director:  No report. 

            Police Department:  Chief Murphy reported on two recent incidents/arrests.  At the recent State Auditor Meeting, the issue of ticket reconciliation was discussed.  This matter has been resolved and new tickets have been purchased.  Each ticket is now numbered and tracked. Next week the phone recording system will be replaced and employees will be trained on usage of the system. 

            Fire Department: No report.

Code Administrator: No report.

            Park District: No report.      

            Water Department:  No report.       

Reports of Committees of Council:   

Finance and Audit:  A meeting was held on February 14, 2024.  The committee would like to have a line item in the budget for the revenue from the Impound Lot.  Council will need to decide how this money can be spent.  The budget will need to be passed on or before the March 20, 2024 Council Meeting to enable the Auditor to get it to the Belmont County Auditor’s Office.  Minutes of this meeting will be filed with these minutes. 

Street: No report.

Ordinance:  Rev. Agnew is working on gathering information for an Ordinance on “Progressive Fining” which would help in dealing with violations in Mayor’s Court. 

            Sewer/Sidewalk:  No report.

Code Administration:  No report.

            Safety: No report.

            Service:  No report.

            Cemetery:  No report.

Public Relations:  No report.

Real Estate/Utility:  A meeting was held on Wednesday, February 14, 2024.  The Committee recommends when property is being advertised for sale, a minimum bid must be stipulated as well as any requirements for purchasing the property as set by the Service Director.  Minutes of this meeting will be filed with these minutes.   Later in the meeting, Mr. Hunker scheduled a meeting for Thursday, February 22, 2024 at 10:00 a.m. 

Income Tax: No report.

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

Richard Hord, 915 Virginia Street, asked about a recent incident at the Recreation Center.  He was told there was some superficial damage to ceiling tile so the program was shut down for a couple of weeks.  It has since reopened and things seem to be going well.  Mr. Hord thanked the city for demolishing the house at 710 Elm Street.  The Mayor said the Street Sweeper will now only run April 15-30 and then November 1-15.  There were no updates regarding buildings in the city being designated as historical. 

Ordinances and Resolutions:  

            An ordinance was emailed to Council yesterday but there were not enough members present to suspend the 72-hour rule. 

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

EMERGENC       

Miscellaneous Business:   

Mr. Echemann recently attended a Wheeling Nailer’s Hockey Game where the Martins Ferry High School Choir/Performing Art Students performed the National Anthem.  They did a wonderful job.

The Mayor asked Council to review and let him know their feelings on the schedule changes for the Police Department.

Mrs. Armstrong made a motion and Rev. Agnew seconded to accept the reports from the Auditor (Payroll Summary, New Hire List and Financial Report).  After an affirmative voice vote, the motion passed.  

Mr. Rodger made a motion and Mr. Echemann seconded to approve payment of $27,809 for the purchase order to Ohio Drilling Company for Well No. 13.  A roll call vote was heard with Rodgers, Agnew, Hunker, Echemann and Armstrong voting yes.  The motion carried.

Mrs. Armstrong made a motion and Mr. Hunker seconded to approve payment of $6,088.80 to the W. Quick Sol Company for the engineering generator.  A roll call vote was heard with Armstrong, Rodgers, Agnew, Hunker, and Echemann voting yes.  The motion carried. 

Mr. Echemann 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. Hunker motioned to allow W. Quick-Sol to proceed with the submittals for the upgrades to the Water Plant.  Mr. Rodgers seconded the motion.  A roll call vote was heard with Hunker, Echemann, Armstrong, Rodgers, and Agnew voting yes.  The motion carried. 

Mrs. Armstrong made a motion to allow the Service Director to proceed with the process of advertising bid specs, including minimum bids, for both the Truman Avenue Property in Crawford Heights and the 5th and Hanover Street properties (small park and parking lot).  Motion was seconded by Mr. Hunker.  A roll call vote was heard with Armstrong, Rodgers, Agnew, Hunker, and Echemann voting yes.  The motion carried.   Mrs. Armstrong then amended this motion to include a lot at 1200 North 9th Street.  After an affirmative voice vote, this motion was amended to include the property on 9th Street. 

Rev. Agnew made a motion and Mr. Echemann seconded to excuse Mr. Schramm and Mr. Neiman from tonight’s meeting.  After an affirmative voice vote, the motion passed.            

             Mrs. Armstrong moved to adjourn, which was seconded by Mr. Hunker.  After an affirmative voice vote, the meeting was adjourned at 6:41 p.m. with a salute to the flag.

            The next meeting of the Martins Ferry Council will be held on March 6, 2024 at 6:00 p.m. in Council Chambers.

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

___________________________________
Date


Martins Ferry City Council Meeting Minutes of February 7, 2024

Posted on: February 22, 2024

The Martins Ferry City Council met in Regular Session on Wednesday, February 7, 2024, 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, Spencer Echemann, Second Ward Council Member; Suzanne Armstrong, Third Ward Council Member, Ben Neiman, James Agnew and Jim Schramm, Council at Large Members.   Rick Rodgers, Fourth Ward Council Member, informed President Davis that he was unable to attend this meeting. 

            Minutes:  Minutes of the January 24, 2024 Council Meeting were approved as written.  

Correspondence:  There was no correspondence. 

Reports of Officers of the City:

Mayor:  Alumni Road has been deeded back to the School District and the city is waiting for confirmation that School Road has been successfully deeded back.  The Mayor will speak at the School Board Meeting on Feb. 13.  He feels the city, being better equipped, should continue with snow removal and pothole patching for School Road to ensure safety for the children traveling this road.  The city does clear Alumni Road to an extent so emergency vehicles can access the Hillendale/Crawford Heights area quicker.  The Mayor discussed issues with the 2006 Annexation Road Agreement between the city and the School District.  He was concerned that the School Administration requested that School Road be cleared on a Sunday because there was basketball practice scheduled.  This created overtime payroll expense for the Street Department that called out employees to clear the road. 

A sewer collapsed on Grant and Washington Streets.  The Mayor described how the city will proceed to fix this situation.  It will be costly for the city and should be repaired by next week.

A new pump, which costs about $17,000, is needed for the swimming pool and must be installed by professionals.  The Recreation Department does not have funds to purchase the pump and Council may be approached for financial help.  If a new pump isn’t secured, the pool may not be able to open.

The Mayor said it will cost around $11,000 to provide Fireworks and Entertainment for the Fourth of July Celebration in the Park this year.  Letters have been sent to businesses and organizations asking for donations. 

Service Director:  Items for improvement at the Water Plant, have been ordered.  It may take 4-12 weeks for the materials to arrive since some of the things need to be built specific to the Plant.                          

Last year, Mr. Sutak assumed the Safety Director’s responsibilities, which did not include a pay increase.  He asked Council to consider budgeting some of the original funds of the previous Safety Director Position into the Recreation Center funds to help with the swimming pool pump.  The suggested amount was $5,000. 

The EMS Levy needs to be voted on again in November, otherwise there will be no tax dollars for 2025.  Mr. Stecker said Council will need to decide whether they want the EMS Levy to be a 5 year levy or make it a continuing levy. 

The DEFA funding loan is set and will be for the sewer project near Turf Care. 

After 4 months in the repair shop, the new Garbage Packer is back and seems to be running well.  Law Director Stecker was consulted about approaching the Packer Company and asking for an extension of the warranty due to the months the city was without the services of the Packer. 

Auditor: Auditor Regis could not attend this meeting but did supply Council with a Statement of Cash Position with MTD Totals as of February 7, 2024. 

Law Director:  No report. 

            Police Department:  No report.

            Fire Department: No report.

Code Administrator: No report.

            Park District: The Park Board met on Thursday, February 1 to pass a few items for the New Year and discuss temporary appropriations.  They will meet in a few weeks to discuss and pass permanent appropriations.  Two Members may possibly be added to the Board.  Mr. Sutak hoped the media would publicize that the city is looking for sponsors to help with the expenses of the Annual 4th of July Celebration in the Park.  Sponsor Names will be placed on a banner and displayed at the Park during the festivities. 

            Water Department:  No report.       

Reports of Committees of Council:   

            Finance and Audit:  Since Auditor Regis could not attend this meeting, a report was given to Mr. Hunker.  Mr. Hunker and the other committee members had questions about this information so a Finance Committee Meeting was scheduled for Wednesday, February 14 at 10:00 a.m.  There will be a post-audit meeting on February 8th at 10:00 a.m.

Street: No report.

Ordinance:  No report.

            Sewer/Sidewalk:  No report.

Code Administration:  No report.

            Safety: Mr. Schramm will meet next week with the Fire Chief regarding what funds might be available to repair the roof at the Vigilant Fire Station. 

            Service:  No report.

            Cemetery:  No report.

Public Relations:  It was discovered that the library will have a “Meet the Candidates” Night for Congressional Candidates on Monday, February 12.   Therefore, the Committee will not be moving forward with a Candidates Night at this time.  Mr. Echemann attended the benefit dinner for Tom Kelly and reported it was a great event. 

Mr. Stecker noted that the Chamber of Commerce Annual Banquet will be held on March 18 at the Recreation Center.  Tickets will soon go on sale.  Dr. Joseph Maroon will be the guest speaker.

Real Estate/Utility:  No report.

Income Tax: The Income Tax Committee met on February 1.  The meeting was designed to convey information only.  There were no decisions or recommendations. 

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

Richard Hord, 915 Virginia Street, said there will be a “Meet the Candidate” session at the Martins Ferry Public Library on February 12 at 6:00 p.m.  These candidates will be vying for the office vacated by Ohio Representative Bill Johnson.  Regarding the house at 710 Elm Street, the Mayor said the city has entered into a contract with Edge Co, Inc. to demolish the structure.  Mr. Hord asked the city to check on the deteriorating conditions at 917 Virginia Street.  There were no updates on the former Staffilino Property.  There are no plans to replace the Water Superintendent at this time.  President Davis was hopeful that the next Council Meeting will be live streamed. 

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

EMERGENC       

Miscellaneous Business:   

Mr. Neiman spoke to a citizen, living on Pearl Street, who is afraid his neighbor’s tree branches are encroaching on his property and house.  Mr. Stecker said this is a civil matter and the city cannot get involved.  Mr. Neiman was concerned about junk on the property at 418 North 5th. Street.  The Mayor was very familiar with the property since numerous letters and fines have been accessed to the owner.  The Mayor said he will send another letter tomorrow.  The idea of “Progressive Fining” for property violations was discussed (i.e. 1st offense, $250, 2nd offense, $500, 3rd offense, $1,000).  Council was asked to create an Ordinance dealing with “Progressive Fining” which would help in dealing with violations in Mayor’s Court.  President Davis referred this issue to the Ordinance Committee. 

The issue of the pool pump was referred to the Finance Committee. 

Mrs. Armstrong made a motion to place the EMS levy on the ballot as a 5 year renewal levy.  Mr. Schramm seconded the motion.  A roll call vote was heard with Armstrong, Neiman, Agnew, Schramm, Hunker, and Echemann voting yes.  The motion carried. 

Mr. Echemann noted that Council has reviewed the 2006 Annexation Road Agreement between the City and the School District. 

Mr. Hunker motioned and Rev. Agnew seconded that Council approve the January Financial Reports.  A roll call vote was heard with Hunker, Echemann, Armstrong, Neiman, Agnew and Schramm, voting yes.  The motion carried. 

Mr. Echemann motioned and Mr. Hunker seconded to approve the bills paid as evidenced by the check register received by Council.  A roll call vote was heard with Echemann, Armstrong, Neiman, Agnew, Schramm, and Hunker 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 carried.  

The Mayor will check with the Belmont County Auditor’s Office regarding the process to begin foreclosure procedures on the property at 418 North 5th Street.  The property taxes have not been paid for a couple of years.  Mr. Sutak said this will not go through the Land Bank since there is no building on the site. 

             Mr. Echemann motioned and Rev. Agnew seconded to excuse Mr. Rodgers from tonight’s meeting.  After an affirmative voice vote, the motion carried. 

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

            The next meeting of the Martins Ferry Council will be held on Wednesday, February 21, 2024 at 6:00 p.m. in Council Chambers. 

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

___________________________________
Date


Martins Ferry City Council Meeting Minutes of January 24, 2024

Posted on: February 8, 2024

The Martins Ferry City Council met in Regular Session on Wednesday, January 24, 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.   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 and James Agnew, Council at Large Members.   Mr. Schramm had informed President Davis that he was unable to attend this meeting. 

            Minutes:  Minutes of the January 10, 2024 Council Meeting were approved as written.  

Correspondence:  There was no correspondence. 

President Davis turned the meeting over to Mayor Davies who then swore into service 3 police officers and 8 gentlemen to the Fire Department including Fire Chief I and Chief II. 

Reports of Officers of the City:

Mayor:  A pre-construction meeting was held regarding the Force Main Project which will cover  the pump station to the force main down to Floral Valley.  The construction agreement will be signed on February 7 and the project will be completed by May 7.  A man-hole, near Grace Church, will soon be moved and replaced.  Cost will be around $20,000. 

About 240 tons of road salt have been used this year.  There is still 180 tons of salt in Cleveland that was purchased a few years ago which will be delivered to the city soon. 

The Mayor explained the problems with the new Garbage Truck (Packer).  This issue may have to go to litigation.

The Recreation Center has many bookings and rentals dates scheduled.  Open skating on Sundays and the After School Program has resumed. 

Next week the Mayor and Service Director will meet with the EPA to discuss Water Plant issues and possible growth to the system.  They also met with Peace Township and the Engineers on the Beretta Drive Project.  The funding for this project be awarded July 1, 2025 and the Mayor wants all the bids received by January, 2025 so the project can begin in the Spring. 

One of the owners of the 711 Elm Street property has signed a demolition agreement.  The city is holding $19,240 which was received from the insurance company for demolition.  Demolition companies have been contacted for bids. 

The Mayor will attend a School Board Meeting on February 13 to discuss the road situation.  The paperwork has been done to deed over Alumni Road to the School District.  Regarding School Road, the Mayor said the city is better equipped to maintain this street (snow removal, paint lines) and would be willing to continue to do this to ensure the safety of the kids traveling that road.  The Mayor wants to deed School Road back to the School District and then work out some kind of agreement with the school and property owner to get both roads fixed.  A Real Estate Attorney may be needed for this situation. 

Service Director:  Mr. Sutak updated Council on the current upgrades and work being done at the Water Plant (filter beds, contact tanks, #2 Service Pump, Ozone Room Specialized Equipment).

Mr. Sutak asked Council’s permission to enter into an agreement with ForeFront Technology to set up Cyber Security for the Water Plant’s computer systems.  This is need for insurance liability coverage. 

A funding grant has been submitted to the Department of Development for a sewer line project on Jefferson Street. Other sewer lines that need completed include Floral Valley to Turf Care (funding process started) and Hanover Street.  Mr. Sutak will continue to keep Council abreast of what work is being done and why it is being done. 

            Auditor:  Auditor Regis supplied Council with the current Payroll Summary and a Statement of Cash Position with MTD totals.  Beginning with the next meeting, these reports will only be projected on the screen during the live broadcast.  If a Council Member would like a paper copy, please notify Mr. Regis.   The State Auditors said they would be available to meet with Council for a Post-Audit Meeting on February 6, 7 or 8. 

            Law Director:  No report. 

            Police Department:  Chief Murphy reported the 25% Matching Grant that was awarded to the Police Department to purchase laptop computers and accessories for the cruisers expired December 31, 2023.  However, an extension deadline of February 29 was approved so the city could have more time to consider how to financially accept this grant.  The awarded amount is $25,000, of which the city would be responsible for $6,250.  Currently, 3 cars have been forfeited at the Impound Lot.  These cars are currently listed on an online auction.  Chief Murphy would like the money received from the sale of abandoned vehicles at the Impound Lot and any storage fees collected, to be placed in a separate line item designated for the purchase of new police cruisers. 

            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 stressed that the budget is tight and Council needs to watch it very closely this year. 

Street: There was no Street Department report but Mr. Rodgers wanted to remind citizens and businesses that they are responsible to remove snow from their sidewalks. 

Ordinance:  No report.

            Sewer/Sidewalk:  No report.

Code Administration:  No report.

            Safety: No report.

            Service:  No report.

            Cemetery:  No report.

Public Relations:  Mr. Echemann spoke to Mr. Hord regarding the “Meet The Candidates” Night and will make plans to move forward with this project. 

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, was given an update on code administration enforcement in the city.  Mr. Hord was told that the S.M.A.R.T. Building has been sold to a local business man and the Mayor does not know the future plans for the structure.  Mr. Echemann was thanked for his assistance in setting up a “Meet the Candidates” night.  Mr. Hord heard there have been discussions by the local Historical Society to get some buildings in the city designated as historical.   The Mayor said the process takes time and a lot of paperwork needs completed.  The former Curley property has been sold and will become a parking lot. 

Ordinances and Resolutions:  

Mrs. Armstrong made a motion and Rev. Agnew seconded to suspend the 72 hour rule.  A roll call vote was heard with Armstrong, Rodgers, Neiman, Agnew, Hunker and Echemann voting yes.  The motion carried and the 72 hour rule was suspended.  This Ordinance was given a first reading. 

An Ordinance Amending Ordinance 2014-17 In Regards To The Operator Of Record. 

              Motion was made by Mr. Hunker to suspend the rules.  Motion was seconded by Mr. Echemann.  A roll call vote was heard with Hunker, Echemann, Armstrong, Rodgers, Neiman, and Agnew voting yes.   The motion carried.   Motion was made by Mr. Rodgers to pass the Ordinance as read.  Rev. Agnew seconded the motion.  A roll call vote was heard with Rodgers, Neiman, Agnew, Hunker, Echemann and Armstrong voting yes.  The motion carried and the Ordinance 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

EMERGENC       

Miscellaneous Business:   

Mr. Echemann made a motion to note that Council has received and reviewed the Payroll Summary and the Statement of Cash for period ending January 24, 2024.  Mr. Hunker seconded the motion.  A roll call vote was heard with Echemann, Armstrong, Rodgers, Neiman, Agnew and Hunker voting yes.  The motion carried.  

Mrs. Armstrong made a motion and Mr. Neiman seconded to allow the Mayor to proceed with the transfer of the School Road Property back to the Martins Ferry School District.  A roll call vote was heard with Armstrong, Rodgers, Neiman, Hunker and Echemann voting yes.  Rev. Agnew abstained.  The motion carried.

Mr. Echemann made a motion to excuse Mr. Schramm from tonight’s Council Meeting.  Rev. Agnew seconded the motion.  After an affirmative voice vote, the motion passed.

Mr. Hunker made a motion to allow the Service Director to enter into a contract agreement with ForeFront Technologies for Cyber Security for the Water Plant.  Motion was seconded by Mr. Echemann.  A roll call vote was heard with Hunker, Echemann, Armstrong, Rodgers, Neiman, and Agnew voting yes.   The motion carried.  

Council set Thursday, February 8, 2024 at 10:00 a.m. to meet with the State Auditors for an exit interview.

Chief Murphy’s request for assistance with the Laptop Grant was referred to Auditor Regis to see if the funding can be acquired from the Permanent Improvement Fund.  Council will re-visit this issue at the February 7th Meeting.

Council was reminded of the Spaghetti Dinner Fundraiser for Tom Kelly.  Proceeds from this event will help Mr. Kelly with his medical expenses.  The dinner will be held at the American Legion on Saturday, February 3, 2024 from noon to 6:00 p.m.

Council Members were reminded that they should have received a notice about filing a financial disclosure statement for 2024.  This statement needs filed by May 15. 

Mr. Regis suggested that Council Members meet and do the Sunshine Law Training together in Chambers.  President Davis asked Council Members to look at their schedules and let her know of a date they would like to meet. She will announce the date at the next meeting. 

Mr. Hunker 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.      

             Mrs. Armstrong moved to adjourn, which was seconded by Mr. Echemann.  After an affirmative voice vote, the meeting was adjourned at 7:06 p.m. with a salute to the flag.

            The next meeting of the Martins Ferry Council will be on February 7, 2024 in Council Chambers at the City Building.

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

____________________________________
Date


Martins Ferry City Council Meeting Minutes of January 10, 2024

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

EMERGENC       

Miscellaneous Business:   

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

___________________________________
Date


Martins Ferry City Council Meeting Minutes of December 21, 2023

Posted on: January 11, 2024

The Martins Ferry City Council met in Special Session on Thursday, December 21, 2023, at 4:30 p.m., in the Donald Myers Council Chambers.  The Meeting was for general purposes to include consideration of the final 2023 and the temporary 2024 budgets.  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, Spencer Echemann, Second Ward Council Member, Rick Rodgers, Fourth Ward Council Member; Tom Burns, James Agnew, and Jim Schramm, Council at Large Members.  Excused: Suzanne Armstrong, Third Ward Council Member. 

            Minutes:  Minutes of the December 6, 2023 Council Meeting were approved as written.  

Correspondence:  There was no correspondence. 

Mayor:  Council agreed to change the order of the meeting to allow Mayor Davies to swear in Officer Vincent West as Sargent.  Applause followed the pinning ceremony by Sargent West’s father (a former Martins Ferry Police Officer) and his wife.  President Davis congratulated Sargent West on his promotion.

The Mayor asked Council to make a decision on School Road.  Alumni Road will be shut down before school re-opens due to continued slippage.  Currently School Road is open to all commercial vehicles.  Mr. Schramm made a motion to allow the Mayor and Service Director to continue to handle the School Road situation and make decisions with the full support of Council.  Mr. Burns seconded the motion.  A roll call vote was heard with Schramm, Hunker, Echemann, Rodgers, and Burns voting yes.  Rev. Agnew abstained.  The motion carried.   The Mayor will try and set up a meeting next week with School Superintendent Fogle to discuss this matter. 

Funding in the amount of $198,000 has been received for the Force Main Project.  Currently the city is paying $4,000 a month to remove sludge from the tank. 

Service Director:  Mr. Sutak reported 20 tons of road salt has been delivered and he would like to get 2 more load which would give the city 60 tons.  Council was thanked again for allocating money from the Permanent Improvement Fund to build the storage bin to protect the salt from rain and snow.  Mr. Sutak asked Council to pass the Resolution regarding the Sanitary Force Main Extension Project. 

An update was given on the improvements to the Water Plant.  Wells #13 and #11 have been cleaned and Well #5 will be serviced next.  In the future, well cleaning will be every 3 years.  A new service pump should be operational in early January.   Mr. Echemann thanked Mr. Sutak and the Water Department Staff for their hard work in the maintenance of the facility.  Mr. Echemann was invited to make an appointment to tour the Water Plant to see firsthand the improvements that are needed.

            Auditor:  Auditor Regis asked Council to pass the Ordinance for the 2023 year end budget and the Ordinance for the 2024 temporary budget.  The cash carry-over will amount to around $370,000 which is better than expected but Mr. Regis cautioned the finances will have to be monitored closely next year.  Members were reminded that a motion is needed to note the Payroll Summary has been received and review by Council. 

Ordinances and Resolutions:  

            An Ordinance To Make Appropriations For The Expenses Of The City Of Martins Ferry, State Of Ohio, During The Fiscal Year Ending December 31, 2023, And Declaring An Emergency.

             This Ordinance was given a first reading.  Motion was made by Mr. Rodgers to suspend the rules for reading the Ordinance.  Motion was seconded by Mr. Echemann.  A roll call vote was heard with Rodgers, Burns, Agnew, Schramm, Hunker, and Echemann voting yes.  The motion carried.   Motion was made by Mr. Hunker to pass the Ordinance as read.  Motion was seconded by Mr. Schramm.  A roll call vote was heard with Hunker, Echemann, Rodgers, Burns, Agnew, and Schramm voting yes.  The motion carried and the Ordinance was declared passed. 

            An Ordinance To Make Temporary Appropriations For The Expenses Of The City Of Martins Ferry, State Of Ohio, During The Fiscal Year Ending December 31, 2024, And Declaring An Emergency. 

This Ordinance was given a first reading.  Motion was made by Mr. Schramm to suspend the rules.  Motion was seconded by Rev. Agnew.  A roll call vote was heard with Schramm, Hunker, Echemann, Rodgers, Burns, and Agnew voting yes.  The motion carried.   Motion was made by Mr. Echemann to pass the Ordinance as read.  Mr. Hunker seconded the motion.  A roll call vote was heard with Echemann, Rodgers, Burns, Agnew, Schramm and Hunker voting yes.  The motion carried and the Ordinance was declared passed.

Mr. Hunker made a motion suspend the 72 Hour Rule.  Motion was seconded by Rev. Agnew.  A roll call vote was heard with Hunker, Echemann, Rodgers, Burns, Agnew, and Schramm voting yes.  The motion carried and the Resolution was given a first reading.    

A Resolution Authorizing The Mayor Of The City Of Martins Ferry To Enter Into Contracts For The Construction Of The Sanitary Force Main Extension And Declaring An Emergency. 

            Mr. Rodgers made a motion to suspend the rules.  Motion was seconded by Mr. Echemann.  A roll call vote was heard with Rodgers, Burns, Agnew, Schramm, Hunker and Echemann voting yes.  The motion carried.  Motion was made by Mr. Schramm to pass the Resolution as read.  Rev. Agnew seconded the motion.  A roll call vote was heard with Schramm, Hunker, Echemann, Rodgers, Burns, and Agnew 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

EMERGENC       

Miscellaneous Business:   

Since this was his last meeting, Mr. Burns addressed Council and thanked everyone who supported him during the last 6 years of his service as a Council-at-Large Member.  President Davis and Mayor Davies personally thanked Mr. Burns for his service. 

President Davis passed out the new committee assignments.  A correction was made to Mr. Echemann’s phone number.  His area code is (304) not (740). 

Mr. Echemann made a motion to excuse Mrs. Armstrong from tonight’s meeting.  Rev. Agnew seconded the motion.  After an affirmative voice vote, the motion passed.  

Mr. Schramm thanked Police Officers Cory Barrett and Fred Owens for participating in the “Shop With A Cop” at Walmart on Sunday December 17.  These officers received a round of applause. 

Mr. Rodgers made a motion and Mr. Echemann seconded to note that Council has received and reviewed the Payroll Summary as of Pay Period Ending December 21, 2023.  After an affirmative voice vote, the motion passed.  

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 announced that Live Streaming of the Council Meetings will begin in January.  Once installed, citizens will be able to go to the city’s website and with one click be able to watch live Council Meetings.

Mr. Schramm made a motion to reschedule the January 3 meeting to January 10.  Rev. Agnew seconded the motion.  A roll call vote was heard with Schramm, Hunker, Echemann, Rodgers, and Agnew 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 10, 2024 at 6:00 p.m. in Council Chambers at the City Building. 

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

____________________________________
Date


Martins Ferry City Council Meeting Minutes of November 15, 2023

Posted on: December 7, 2023

The Martins Ferry City Council met in Regular Session on Wednesday, November 15, 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 November 1, 2023 Council Meeting were approved as written.  

Correspondence:  There was no correspondence. 

Reports of Officers of the City:

Mayor:  After Council approved changing the order of business, Mayor Davies swore in Spencer Echemann as the new Second Ward Council Member, who was appointed by the Republican Central Committee. 

The Mayor reported that Martins Ferry has a very good chance of receiving funds for the Beretta Drive Guardrail Project.  The city has partnered with Peace Township to get more points to increase the change of being awarded the grant.  If the grant is received, paving, replacement of guard rails and slip repair will take place from County Road 22, down Beretta Drive to State Route 250. 

The EPA visited last week and were pleased with the upgrades to Water Plant and the exercising of the valves with the new equipment.  A maintenance plan is also being prepared and should be finalized soon. 

The Street Sweeper Season ended today.  Next year the Sweeper will only run in the months of April and November.  Street signs will be adjusted to note this change.

Riverview Cemetery looks good.  Seasonal workers will finish up this week.  Decorations can now be placed on the graves.

Service/Safety Director:  Mr. Sutak asked Council to pass the Ordinance to borrow $4,000,000 for upgrades and other related costs to the Water Plant.  Because of arbitrage, the city is limited to only borrowing $5,000,000 per year. 

Mr. Sutak also asked Council to pass legislation to replace the bridge and staircase of the pedestrian bridge over SR 7.  Construction costs will be borne by the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT).  Discussions will be held with ODOT regarding the cost of placing the city’s name on the fencing of the bridge. 

The city is checking on purchasing a machine that will help fix the fire hydrant valve on Carlisle Street.  The plan is to replace older valves in the city so when there is a water break, the water can be shut off easily and the line fixed quicker.    

            Auditor:  Auditor Regis reminded Council that the city’s books will be closed on November 22.  He plans to meet with the Finance Committee, sometime after Thanksgiving, and begin planning for next year.  The Safety Committee will be asked to attend this meeting.  The Auditors hope to have a Closing Meeting with Council and City Officials before the end of the year to discuss and answers any questions regarding the 2022 Audit. 

            Law Director:  No report. 

            Police Department:  Chief Murphy gave the Police Department Report for the first 2 weeks of November and elaborated on a few of the calls.  Mayor Davies expressed his appreciation for the work performed by the city’s police force. 

            Fire Department: Fire Chief Kelly ask Council for permission to block off Zane Highway from  Grant Avenue to Hickory Street and Hickory Street to 4th Street for the Fireworks and activities in the Park after the Christmas Parade on Friday, November 24.  Chief Kelly confirmed that the Fire Department’s Annual Meeting will be on December 9 at the Liberty Fire Station. 

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: Mr. Schramm reported that an Amish Contractor is expected to submit a bid on fixing the Vigilant Fire Station’s roof by early next month. 

            Service:  No report.

            Cemetery:  Mr. Burns participated in the Veteran’s Service at the Riverview Cemetery on November 11.  Following the service, a reception was held at the American Legion.

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, asked what changes the city could expect since the income tax levy failed.  The Mayor preferred not to speculate.  He will wait until final numbers are available and formulate a plan with city officials to move forward.  Mr. Hord asked the Mayor to consider acknowledging Becky and Jim Brown who have operated the Christian Village Store for 46 years which is now closing.   There were no additional city employee retirements to report.  Mr. Hord congratulated Mr. Echemann on his appointment and expressed his appreciation to Council Members and the Administration for their hard work. 

Tom Burns, Council at Large Member, shared with Council that he and Mr. Rodgers attended a Veteran’s tribute and dinner on November 11 at the Elk’s Club.  Also, on November 13 Mr. Burns served as a judge at the Spelling Bee Competition between the St. Mary’s School in Martins Ferry and the St. Mary’s School in St. Clairsville.  The winner was from the St. Clairsville School and the runner-up was from the Martins Ferry School.  Both students will compete in the Belmont County Spelling Bee. 

Ordinances and Resolutions:  

An Ordinance To Approve The Replacement Of The Superstructure And Staircase Of The Bridge Over The SR-7 Carrying Pedestrian Traffic And All Necessary Approach Work On Both Sides Of The Bridge.  The Project Will Be Constructed Under A Pedestrian Detour, While Maintaining Traffic Along SR-7.  The Construction Duration Will Be Approximately 180 Days.  The Entire Cost Of The Subject Project Will Be Borne By The Ohio Department Of Transportation. 

Motion was made by Mr. Schramm to suspend the rules.  Motion was seconded by Mr. Burns.  A roll call vote was heard with Schramm, Hunker, Armstrong, Rodgers, Burns, and Agnew voting yes.  Mr. Echemann abstained.  The motion carried.   Motion was made by Mr. Hunker to pass the Ordinance as read.  Mr. Burns seconded the motion.  A roll call vote was heard with Hunker, Armstrong, Rodgers, Burns, Agnew and Schramm voting yes.  Mr. Echemann abstained.  The motion carried and the Ordinance was declared passed.

Mr. Hunker made a motion and Rev. Agnew seconded to dispense with the 72 hour rule.  A roll call vote was heard with Hunker, Armstrong, Rodgers, Burns, Agnew and Schramm voting yes.  Mr. Echemann abstained.  The motion carried and the 72 hour rule was suspended. 

            An Ordinance Increasing The Hourly Wage For Certain Part-Time Positions In The Police Department.
              Motion was made by Mr. Schramm to suspend the rules.  Motion was seconded by Mr. Hunker.  A roll call vote was heard with Schramm, Hunker, Armstrong, Rodgers, Burns, and Agnew and voting yes.  Mr. Echemann abstained.  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, and Armstrong voting yes.  Mr. Echemann abstained.  The motion carried and the Ordinance was declared passed.

Mr. Hunker made a motion and Mrs. Armstrong seconded to dispense with the 72 hour rule.  A roll call vote was heard with Hunker, Armstrong, Rodgers, Burns, Agnew and Schramm voting yes.  Mr. Echemann abstained.  The motion carried and the 72 hour rule was suspended. 

            An Ordinance Combining The Positions Of Director Of Public Service And Director Of Public Safety, And Establishing The Annual Salaries Therefore, Effective November 1, 2023. 

Motion was made by Rev. Agnew to suspend the rules.  Motion was seconded by Mr. Hunker.  A roll call vote was heard with Agnew, Schramm, Hunker, Armstrong, Rodgers, and Burns voting yes.  Mr. Echemann abstained.  The motion carried.   Motion was made by Mr. Burns to pass the Ordinance as read.  Rev. Agnew seconded the motion.  A roll call vote was heard with Burns, Agnew, Schramm, Hunker, Armstrong and Rodgers voting yes.  Mr. Echemann abstained.  The motion carried and the Ordinance was declared passed.

Mr. Burns made a motion and Mr. Hunker seconded to suspend the 72 hour rule.  A roll call vote was heard with Burns, Agnew, Schramm, Hunker, Armstrong, and Rodgers voting yes.  Mr. Echemann abstained.  The motion carried and the 72 hour rule was suspended. 

An Ordinance Determining That A Real And Present Emergency Exists In The Water Department And Authorizing The Mayor And Service Director To Enter Into A Contract With Aqua Aerobic Systems For The Partial Rebuild Of Two Traveling Bridge Filters, 16” X 74” With 12” Cells And 22” Of Media.

Motion was made by Mr. Schramm to suspend the rules.  Motion was seconded by Mr. Rodgers.  A roll call vote was heard with Schramm, Hunker, Armstrong, Rodgers, Burns, and Agnew and voting yes.  Mr. Echemann abstained.  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 and Armstrong voting yes.  Mr. Echemann abstained.  The motion carried and the Ordinance was declared passed.

Mr. Burns made a motion and Mr. Rodgers seconded to suspend the 72 hour rule.  A roll call vote was heard with Burns, Agnew, Schramm, Hunker, Armstrong, and Rodgers voting yes.  Mr. Echemann abstained.  The motion carried and the 72 hour rule was suspended. 

An Ordinance Authorizing The Issuance Of $5,000,000 Of Water System Improvement Bond Anticipation Notes, Series 2023, To Pay Part Of The Costs Of Water Well Upgrades, Water Plant Upgrades, Pumping Station Upgrades, And Other Related Costs And Improvements, And Declaring An Emergency. 

Motion was made by Mr. Rodgers to suspend the rules.  Motion was seconded by Rev. Agnew.  A roll call vote was heard with Rodgers, Burns, Agnew, Schramm, Hunker and Armstrong voting yes.  Mr. Echemann abstained.  The motion carried.   Motion was made by Mr. Schramm to pass the Ordinance as read.  Mr. Hunker seconded the motion.  A roll call vote was heard with Schramm, Hunker, Armstrong, Rodgers, Burns, and Agnew and voting yes.  Mr. Echemann abstained.  The motion carried and the Ordinance was declared passed.

Mr. Hunker made a motion to accept the most recent Cost Allocation Plan, dated September 2023, by Schonhardt & Associates.  Motion was seconded by Mr. Rodgers.  A roll call vote was heard with Hunker, Armstrong, Rodgers, Burns, Agnew and Schramm voting yes.  Mr. Echemann abstained.  The motion carried and the Cost Allocation Plan was approved.

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

EMERGENC       

Miscellaneous Business:   

President Davis distributed a quote from ForeFront Technology that would allow Council Meetings to be streamed with just a click from the city’s website.  This Streaming System would also allow Council to do trainings and public service announcements.  Mr. Schramm made a motion and Mr. Burns seconded to proceed with the purchase of the hardware/software as attached in the ForeFront Technology Quote of $4,445.00.  Payment would be made from the Permanent Improvement Fund.  A roll call vote was heard with Schramm, Hunker, Armstrong, Rodgers, Burns, and Agnew and voting yes.  Mr. Echemann abstained.  The motion carried.

Mrs. Armstrong made a motion to note that Council has received and reviewed the Payroll Summary and the Statement of Cash Position.  Mr. Hunker seconded the motion.  After an affirmative voice vote, the motion passed.  

Mayor Davies asked Council to consider selling the Quarry Street Property.  He is still seeking a quote to rectify the unacceptable paving job of South Zane Highway. 

Mrs. Armstrong notified Council she would not be able to attend any Council Meetings in December.  She also asked for clarification on charges to organizations using the City Park.  Mr. Sutak explained the Park District’s funding and why vendors are charged to set-up in the Park.  Representatives from the Lion’s Club also clarified some recent misunderstandings that have been circulating on Social Media regarding their use of the City Park.    

Mr. Burns made a motion and Rev. Agnew seconded to allow the Fire Department to close Zane Highway from Grant Avenue to Hickory Street and Hickory Street to 4th Street during and after the Christmas Parade.  After an affirmative voice vote, the motion passed.  

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. Rodgers.   After an affirmative voice vote, the motion passed.             

             Mrs. Armstrong moved to adjourn, which was seconded by Mr. Hunker.  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, December 6, 2023 at 6:00 p.m. in Council Chambers at the City Building. 

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

Date  _______________________________