The Martins Ferry City Council met in Regular Session on Wednesday, April 6, 2022, 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 Bruce Shrodes, Second Ward Council Member; Suzanne Armstrong, Third Ward Council Member; Rick Rodgers, Fourth Ward Council Member; Tom Burns, Jim Schramm and Jack Regis, Council at Large Members. Bob Hunker, First Ward Council Member, informed President Davis that he was unable to attend this meeting.
Minutes: Minutes of the March 16, 2022 Council Meeting were approved as written.
Correspondence: There was no correspondence.
Reports of Officers of the City:
Mayor: President Davis informed Council that Mayor Davies requested Council’s indulgence to allot a portion of his time to two representatives of the Water Department in order to address the concerns and misguided allegations surrounding the city’s water supply by a local TV Station and the Concerned Ohio River Residents. The Mayor presented a 3 page list of tests that are routinely performed on the city’s water supply. It is required by the EPA that the water be tested for Radium every 6 years. Martins Ferry tests for Radium every 3 months. A test well was built at a cost of $14,000 as an extra precaution to protect the water supply. The Mayor asked the EPA what the city could do to make sure the water is safe because of the recent allegations. The EPA replied that Martins Ferry is going above and beyond what is required by law. The results of the soil tests conducted by the Concerned Ohio River Residents should be dealt with by Austin Masters and 4K Industrial. Mr. Suto, Water Superintendent, said that every test administered, since 2002, has registered non-detected. Every 3 months, water samples are collected and sent to the Ohio EPA for testing. Residents can request paper copies of the recent water test results and this information will also be available on the city’s website. Mr. Suto said if anyone has questions about Martins Ferry’s water, please call the Ohio EPA and they can answer any concerns.
Because of the age of the City Building, it may difficult to make it handicap accessible. If someone is physically unable to attend the Council Meeting because of the stairs, the Mayor recommended moving the meetings to the Dining Room or the Gym of the Recreation Center.
The Martins Ferry Cheerleaders have asked to use the City Park on June 24 for a Pep Rally.
Workers have been busy in the Cemetery cleaning up trees that were knocked down during a recent storm. A Sewer Line has been replaced on Broadway Street.
The Mayor discussed different Paving Projects. He thinks 5th Street and 9th Street could be completed for $600,000. The 5th Street project could probably be done at the same time the city installs a new water and sewer line on that roadway. Mr. Sutak is gathering paving estimates, loan rates/terms and payback methods for these paving projects.
Changes to the AFSCME contract were distributed to Council Members. The current contract expires at the end of April.
The Youth Room at the Recreation Center was painted this week and a ping pong table will be set-up on Thursday. A Pool Table will also be arriving soon. Wrestling mats still need to be installed in the former Racquet Ball Court. The Lions Club has expressed interest is sponsoring a Splash Park. Applications are now being accepted for lifeguards and a Director.
The Mayor spoke to the Contractor who hired the Company responsible for the inferior paving job on South Zane Highway. Currently, the Gas Company is installing a new pipeline on the same road. The Contractor will contract the paving company hired by the Gas Company and hopefully the South Zane Highway Section can be re-done at the same time.
Service Director: Mr. Sutak mentioned that people are very pleased with the State-of-Art Cardio-Room at the Recreation Center. Future Basketball Tournaments may also be planned at the Center. Mr. Burns thanked the Mayor and Mr. Sutak for all their hard work in getting the Recreation Center renovated.
Safety Director: Director Regis announced that Signs will be placed on Madison Street, between Indiana Street and South Zane Highway, stating that parking will only be permitted on the south side of the street, except on Street Sweeper Days. This action is needed to alleviate the traffic congestion when parking is on both sides of Madison Street.
Director Regis gave an update on the remodeling of the EMS Building. He thanked the employees for their efforts to make the building more “homey”.
Auditor: Mr. Regis reported that Auditor Randall was working on Amended Certifications and new accompanying appropriations. She has not received a copy of the AFSCME contract.
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: Mr. Regis reported that a combined Finance and Street Committee Meeting was held on Monday, March 28, 2022. The Committees discussed how to fund the proposed paving projects. Grant funding will be explored. The Mayor and Mr. Sutak will bring a proposal back to the committees and then to Council for approval. Mr. Regis praised everyone involved in getting the new AFSCME contract together and he recommends Council approve the contract. Mr. Regis would like to see the city hire a private grant writer to secure funding to build a new city building or fix the structure we have now. Minutes of this meeting were received and will be filed with these Council Minutes.
Street: Mr. Rodgers added to Mr. Regis’s report that the Street Committee is recommending concentrating on the repaving of 5th and 9th Streets. The committee further recommends removing the railroad ties and installing new water lines on 5th Street. Fifth Street then should be repaired with concrete and asphalt. Possible funding sources include: county permissive money, license plate money, city permissive funds, possible EPA funding and a loan. Minutes of this meeting were received and will be filed with these Council Minutes.
Ordinance: Mr. Shrodes scheduled an Ordinance Meeting for Monday, April 18, 2022 at 5:30 p.m. in Council Chambers.
Sewer/Sidewalk: No report.
Code Administration: No report.
Safety: No report.
Service: A Service Committee Meeting was held on Monday, April 4, 2022. Discussion centered on garbage and run-down properties. Residents need to have their trash bagged in a can with a sealed lid. Mr. Shrodes proposed placing a notice on the Utility Bills reminding citizens of the Sanitation Ordinance regarding garbage collection protocols. The Committee proposed hiring a part-time employee to help clean-up homeowner’s properties. Charges for this service would be placed on the resident’s utility bill. Complaints have been received that vehicles are parking too close to the corner curbs and it is making it difficult for trucks to make turns. The Mayor said as soon as the weather is warmer, he will have crews out painting the curbs.
Cemetery: Mr. Burns has scheduled a meeting with Mr. Sutak on Friday, April 8, 2022 at 10:00 a.m. in Chambers to discuss possibly raising the price of cemetery lots and opening/closing of graves. He is contacting other cemeteries for their prices and will have this information for the meeting.
Public Relations: Mr. Rodgers said the Strawberry Festival has been set for Saturday, June 4. On May 3, 2022, representatives from Heritage Ohio and Main Street America will be present to evaluate 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, commented that East Ohio Regional Hospital must be doing well since they just announced that they are opening a satellite office in St. Clairsville, Ohio. He inquired if any specific plans have been set for the former Staffilino Building. Mayor Davies said plans are being developed for the property and there may soon be an announcement. When asked about new businesses potentially coming to the city, the Mayor replied that developers are renovating properties to attract new enterprises. The city welcomed ten new businesses last year. Mr. Hord asked the city to recognize Rev. William Webster for his 35 years of dedication to Grace Presbyterian Church, the City, and the County. Rev. Webster will be retiring at the end of the month.
Jeremy Shrodes, 1305 North 7th. Street, AFSCME President, thanked Mayor Davies for the negotiations on the proposed new AFSCME contract. Mr. Shrodes feels the contract is very fair and beneficial for the city employees.
Ordinances and Resolutions:
There were no Ordinances or Resolutions to be read.
AN ORDINANCE AUTHORIZING THE CITY OF MARTINS
FERRY TO ENTER INTO A CONTRACT FOR THE ZANE
HIGHWAY 12” WATERLINE CONNECTION TO AETNA
STREET BOOSTER STATION AND DECLARING AN
Mr. Regis suggested scheduling an Auction to sell equipment, electronics, vehicles, and anything else the City no longer uses.
Motion was made by Mr. Regis to allow the Martins Ferry Cheerleaders to use the City Park for a Pep Rally on Friday, June 24, 2022. Motion was seconded by Mr. Burns. A roll call vote was heard with Regis, Shrodes, Armstrong, Rodgers, Burns and Schramm voting yes. The motion carried.
Mr. Rodgers made a motion to excuse Mr. Hunker from tonight’s meeting. Motion was seconded by Mrs. Armstrong. 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. Regis. After an affirmative voice vote, the motion passed.
Mr. Rodgers 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
The Martins Ferry Park District is now hiring lifeguards for the Martins Ferry Pool for 2022. Applications can be picked up at the City Building. All applicants must have their certifications. Certifications are listed below:
Spring Clean up day will be held Saturday, April 23rd from 8-12 at the old city garage at 1st and Center Street. Residents of Martins Ferry only and ID’s or Water Bills must be shown. Box Springs and Mattresses will be $10 extra. No tires, paint, chemicals, etc will be accepted.
Starting April 1, 2022, citizens will be able to go to the Martins Ferry Rec Center to use their gym equipment. Memberships can be purchased starting now but are not to be used until April 1, 2022. The gym memberships will be month long memberships and can be purchased for more than one month at a time. You can stop in the City Building and speak to Betty Suto in the Mayor’s Office to purchase yours. Cash, Check and Money order will be accepted.
The city administration will be holding a Town Hall meeting for our citizens, weather permitting, on Sunday February 6, 2022 at 7 pm at the Rec Center in town. This will give the citizens the opportunity to get any questions about our meter issues answered, along with anything else you may have questions or concerns on.