Ferry ratifies three-year employee contract

MARTINS FERRY – During its Wednesday meeting, city council ratified a tentative agreement between the city and the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees, Ohio Council 8, Local 1260 on a three-year contract covering approximately 48 service employees.

The representatives agreed to a modification of several articles, including hours of work, seniority, discipline, sick leave, union dues, discrimination/coercion, and vacation scheduling. Bargaining unit employees will receive wage increases of 45 cents per hour effective May 1, 2013, 50 cents per hour effective May 1, 2014, and 55 cents per hour effective May 1, 2015.

Changes to language describing health care coverage were also agreed to, which provides consistency with police and EMS agreements. The agreement is effective May 1, 2013 to April 30, 2016.

A draft will be placed before them within seven days.

In other matters, Mayor Paul Riethmiller noted one reason for the failure of last year’s grant proposal for work on North Zane Highway from the south to north ends of town was the decision of the District 18 Ohio Public Works Integrating Committee not to award local points to the city. The committee now has new members. Riethmiller said the city will contact them to outline the city’s needs and the importance of repairs to the main thoroughfare through town in the largest city in the county.

Riethmiller added that traffic on the highway will continue to be strictly enforced. He reported that of the 192 individuals cited into mayor’s court this past month, 138 were arrested for speeding on Ohio 7 from 60 to 93 miles per hour.

Also, the survey has been completed for the off street parking lot on Hanover North. Construction will begin within the next week. A total of seven of the 23 available spaces have been reserved.

Service Director Charles Bennett Jr. reported the road has sunk on sewer manholes on Grant Avenue. Employees crimped off a water leak from a service line to halt the problem.

Also, the concrete wall and collection site at the sanitation transfer station has been poured and will be fully functional by next week. Bennett also reported obtaining additional help for summer work. Repairs were also made to two sanitation trucks, two sweepers, and a backhoe after breakdowns.

Next week the crews will move starting times from 7:30 a.m. to 7 a.m., so sanitation must be out earlier.

Thanks went to State Attorney General Mike DeWine for providing funds for the demolition of dilapidated houses. Code Administrator Betty Suto noted that $4,200 remains for the project.

Council motioned to allocate up to $5,000 out of the permanent improvement fund to refurbish the city park fountain.

Park District Manager Larry Deaton reported that the sidewalk along the rec center has settled and water damage is being done on a wall. Estimated cost of work to replace the sidewalk is $2,400.

Pool cleaning will begin this week.

Thanks also went to Georgi Riser and the swim team parent organization for raising $1,300 for the pool. A pancake breakfast will also be held at the rec center May 18, 9 a.m. to noon.

Council passed the 2012 residential property maintenance code.

Council held the second reading permitting a recreational vehicle park in the industrial park area.

Flag planting on Riverview and Walnut cemeteries will begin May 20, 5 p.m.

Development Director Kathy Wade-Gagin acknowledged Martins Ferry High School’s Step Up program, which volunteered time and fundraising efforts to benefit the park.

Auditor Rita Randall reported beginning work on the 2014 budget. A public hearing for the budget is legally required.

Council noted that the Civil War Roundtable will hold a presentation at the American Legion during the Picnic in the Park. Also, the Belmont County Tourism Council was thanked for providing a $2,000 grant for Picnic in the Park.

The street committee met to look into available funds for paving. It will be necessary to apply for grant funding.

The finance and ordinance committee will meet Friday, 6 p.m.

The cemetery committee will meet May 7, 6 p.m.

Council received a letter of thanks from State Rep. Jack Cera, 96th District, for the city’s support in the effort to restore local government funds.

All are invited to the National Day of Prayer celebration today at noon at the corner of Hanover and South Fifth Street.

DeFrank can be reached at rdefrank@timesleaderonline.com