Ferry water meter project discussed

MARTINS FERRY – Engineer Jeff Vaughn from Vaughn, Coast and Vaughn made his recommendations for the upcoming water meter installation project to Martins Ferry City Council during Thursday’s meeting.

Bids were discussed at the previous meeting but Vaughn wanted a chance to go over the bids, do some investigation and make his recommendations before council moved forward.

The project consists of three contracts, one for meters, one for meter settings and the last and the one that required the most scrutiny, for the actual installation.

Vaughn recommended the installation contract be awarded to Newman Plumbing from Zelienople, Pa. Newman had the lowest bid at $316,300.

The original low bid for the meter settings was for $234,955.65 from Isco Industries of Solon. Vaughn said the scope of work for the second contract has been reduced to reflect a more simplified installation method and that the bid was $188,114.35.

Utility Service & Supply from Monroe was the lone bidder for the actual meters, coming in at $635,941 for more than 3,250 meters which are being ordered.

The first reading of three separate ordinances for the contracts were read, with Mayor Phil Wallace requesting passage after the next reading.

  • Wallace also informed council that the city is seeking a grant through the Ohio Department of Transportation that will go toward a proposed walking trail in the city, should the grant be received.

The application can be made for up to $200,000 with the city having to cover 20 percent of the costs in matching funds.

Wallace said that since it’s an ODOT grant, Martins Ferry will be up against a multitude of other communities’ projects, so there is no guarantee of funding.

  • The mayor also informed council of safety issues at the city park and Fodor Field.

Chiefly, there is a retaining wall made up of railroad ties near the swings that is of concern. Wallace is hoping to have city workers in the spring remove the wall and re-landscape the hillside.

Wallace also said there is issue with the fencing along the first- and third-base lines of the baseball field. There are pieces of Rebar sticking up that are preventing the fence from rolling under. While the Rebar is serving its intended purpose, it does pose a safety hazard.

The mayor wants to resolve that issue, as well as fix up the back stop at the field.

”It’s in deplorable shape and we have probably 500-600 kids playing ball there,” Wallace said.

In conjunction, Wallace said he’s looking into the possibility of private funding for new swing sets and play equipment for the playground.

Councilman Paul Riethmiller asked Wallace about that because the Martins Ferry Lions Club was also looking into grant funding for the playground and didn’t want to on a similar project for the playground and he didn’t want to double-up on the same project when efforts could be utilized elsewhere.

The two agreed to coordinate on the project.

  • Fire Chief Ed Duke broached the subject of purchasing two additional cameras for use at the city building, one both on the front and rear of the building similar to the ones already in use. Both the police and fire departments would have access to the footage.

The estimated cost is roughly $4,000 for both cameras.

Assistant Fire Chief Jack Regis wished to thank members of council for the resolution allowing a 1 mill, 5-year levy to be placed on the upcoming ballot for the department. The levy will assist the Martins Ferry Fire Department in purchasing a new truck.

Regis explained that more information will be given surrounding the levy as election day grows closer.

  • Councilman Anthony Sarratore inquired of the mayor about the status of the South School property in relation to proposed purchase by Belmont County as the future home for Belmont Senior Services.

Wallace told Sarratore that there had been a few hangups recently, but that the plan was moving forward.

The Belmont County Commissioners were waiting on a few more details to clear up but Wallace said he was “100 percent sure that there will be an official announcement within the next two weeks,” about the property.

Also on Thursday:

  • At the request of the mayor, council approved increasing the city’s contribution to Belmont County for assistance in paying for aerial mapping to be done. Wallace’s reasoning was two-fold. Other communities in the county weren’t willing to offer aid and the mayor noted that Martins Ferry routinely takes advantage of the aerial maps and felt it was the right thing to do.
  • Larry Deaton, with the Park District, reported that use of the rec center has increased the last few months, with daily usage, Monday through Thursday, throughout the day.

Deaton said from Zumba classes and roller derby to the Martins Ferry Senior Center temporarily relocation to the center, usage has been on the rise.

  • A finance committee meeting has been scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 23 at 5:30 p.m.
  • Council voice voted to allow Safety/Service Director John Davies to purchase a new backhoe for the city. The estimated cost is $65,000. The vote passed 6-1, with Shrodes offering the lone no vote. His reasoning was that he would of liked the members of the finance committee to discuss costs and look over the city’s full list of vehicles before giving the OK to the purchase.

Hughes may be reached at mhughes@timesleaderonline.com