Ferry council targets infrastructure upgrades

MARTINS FERRY – City council reviewed several matters of improvement during Wednesday’s meeting.

Council members approved Jeff Vaughn of Vaughn Coast and Vaughn on a yearly retainer of $2,400 for the 2013 to assist with engineering projects.

Council approved $4,792 to cover a tire changing machine and wheel balance as requested by mechanic Bill Deaton. Last year saw the replacement of 95 tires on city vehicles at a cost of $25 per tire. The availability of such a tool would mean a savings of money and less wait when a tire change becomes necessary.

Service Director Chuck Bennett noted that after the weather improves he will ask for $10,000 for work including storm sewer projects.

Also, he noted the city employees have been occupied with water breaks and snow removal. Stumps and bricks were removed from uptown and the one way traffic control of Suriano’s Shortcut has been completed. A major slippage was completed on Elm Drive.

The city has received FEMA funds for the June 29 storm cleanup. Martins Ferry will receive 12.5 funding from the state.

Water Superintendent Craig Harris reported that the Crawford Heights altitude valve has been rebuilt, but will likely need to be replaced in a matter of months. Cost is about $2,000, but repairs to water breaks caused by a malfunctioning valve would be more. A pump was also rebuilt. Harris will also obtain prices for a water softening unit.

The main water supply Patton’s Run will be shut off during the daylight hours of Feb. 19-20 to allow a business to complete work on its sprinklers.

Also, Harris is working toward his wastewater license and hopes to have it by November.

In addition, council approved $7,000 to cover the cost of a new furnace and piping and a new ice machine for the city garage.

Council approved a 50-cent hourly shift differential for part-time EMS employees. Council also passed an ordinance to raise the pay scale of of the part time employees of the emergency squad 25 cents per hour.

Progress in the demolition of dilapidate houses, including a structure on Dehass Street, continues. Bids for demolition work have been received.

Council held the second reading of an ordinance to establish the minimum wage.

Council held the second reading of an ordinance to establish a permanent fund of $400 for the maintenance of 10 graves.

Council motioned to suspend the 72-hour rule and passed an ordinance providing for the expense not to exceed $190,000 for water treatment system improvement bonds.

Council will also consider holding a meeting at the high school during the day for the purpose of education.

Council will set a date and time to review the budget with the department heads and auditor.

Council will consider the expense of $8,000 for new filter bags for the park district and chemicals for the pool.

Also, the city’s website has been expanded to feature the Hall of Honor. The Hall of Honor induction ceremony will be held April 7, 2 p.m. at the high school.

A finance committee meeting was set for Feb. 11, 5:30 p.m.

A zoning meeting was set for March 13, 5:30 p.m. Mayor Paul Riethmiller noted that it would be necessary to appoint a new zoning board.

A Picnic in the Park meeting will be held March 5, 6 p.m. The Picnic in the Park event will be held June 8, 9 a.m.-9 p.m.

The annual town hall meeting has been reset for Feb. 13, 6 p.m.

DeFrank can be reached at rdefrank@timesleaderonline.com