Ferry talks finances, repairs

MARTINS FERRY City council updated financial plans and reviewed upcoming projects during the Wednesday meeting.

Auditor Rita Randall and the finance committee submitted an altered appropriation ordinance for approval. The finance committee proposed additional funds for the Division of Development, $4,000 for safety services. A total of $44,041 was added for police, with $15,000 for auxiliary. Finance Committee Member Robert Hunker said if the funds line up with the plans, the city will have a carryover of $100,000.

“$100,000 is normally not enough,” Hunker said. “We have to be very cautious with our spending, but right now it’s a lot better than I thought it would be.”

He added that water expenses continue to stand out. Council approved the appropriations.

Council also approved the appropriation of funds for repairs to Adams Street from South Tenth and Virginia streets.

In other matters, Mayor Paul Riethmiller gave an update on the JB Green Team’s planned curbside recycling test project for the first ward. Informational letters will be sent to 755 residents next week. The first 400 that respond by returning the letter will participate.

The project will be implemented early October for one year.

Also, Service Director Chuck Bennett reported that the culvert repair project will be completed next week, followed by the sewer drain issue in the 400 block of North Zane Highway. Also, the creek culvert under North Fifth Street has been cleaned and blocked with a chain link fence.

The city is still dealing with issues of potholes. Weather and traffic are taking a toll and 50 tons of hot mix asphalt has been used during the past three weeks.

The city is planning a fall clean-up day at the city garage, hopefully to combine it with an electric recycling day. The announcement may be ready with next month’s utility bills. Recycling old-style televisions will carry a charge. More than 8,000 pounds of electronics was collected last year.

An ordinance covering and specifying EMS call out pay will be prepared by the next meeting.

Council passed a resolution for PERS pickup for the fire and police pension to reflect the changing rate to 7.75.

Development Director Kathy Wade-Gagin reported on OPWC funding. Instead of a grant request, the city will submit a grant and loan application to pave Zane Highway, Fifth Street from Hanover to Center, North Ridge from Dare Road to South Ridge, Grant Avenue from Zane Highway to Clinton, Fox Avenue, North 10th Street, and West Jefferson.

The local match was altered from last year’s $126,000 to $91,666. $15,000 of license plate fee money would be utilized yearly for 30 years. It is a zero-interest loan.

Riethmiller pointed out repairs must be made to Dix Addition in Pease Township before winter. He noted that damage resulted from the city improperly restoring the road after repairing a waterline break. Randall noted a legal opinion has been received stating that permanent improvement funds may be used for repairs to the street. Prices must be obtained and an ordinance passed. Shrodes noted the service committee suggested trying to obtain emergency funding from the state. Council members noted that the waterline must be repaired before the road.

Service Committee Member Bruce Shrodes reported on an Aug. 28. He reported that filter bed at the water plant can be placed online. One bed is still inoperable but can be used in an emergency.

City representatives were invited to Charleroi, Pa to view the manufacturing of a high-density polyethylene continuous pipe proposed to alleviate waterline breaks.

A guest complained that the city failed to notify him or shut off water to his property as requested after he had evicted a tenant. The matter will be looked into.

The performance audit is on schedule.

A safety committee meeting was set for Sept. 23, 5:40 p.m.

A cemetery committee meeting will be held Sept. 16 5:30 p.m. to establish a five-year plan.

can be reached at rdefrank@timesleaderonline.com