Martins Ferry plans finance meeting

MARTINS FERRY – City council took stock after a recent road disaster and took steps to address the city debt during Wednesday’s meeting.

Mayor Paul Riethmiller thanked and commended all of the fire departments, police departments, EMS services, city workers, the Ohio State Highway Patrol and ODOT for their teamwork and heroic efforts during a major traffic accident Monday on Ohio 7.

Councilman Anthony Sarratore also commended the city safety forces for managing traffic during the wreck.

In other matters, a finance committee was set for Feb. 25, 5:30 p.m. Auditor Rita Randall noted the need for a meeting to discuss the city’s debt. She said it may be necessary to obtain a bond rating, which would indicate to investors the city’s ability to repay.

“We’ve got quite a bit of debt,” she said.

The meeting will also look into the tentative budget.

Councilman Russell Armstrong discussed the possibility of utilizing cable finance money to help fund the Division of Development and Code Administration positions. The matter will be discussed during the meeting.

Also, the Martins Ferry Lions Club would like to ask council’s permission to use the park June 1 for the annual yard sale, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Before the council meeting, 61 individuals were cited into court. A total of 48 were cited for speeding on Ohio 7. They were traveling 10 miles over the speed limit or faster. The speed limit of 50 miles per hour will be enforced.

In other matters, Service Director Chuck Bennett reported on a waterline on Elm Drive feeding Colerain. An altitude valve malfunctioned. The road was again washed out and a major slip is putting the line in jeopardy. Numerous other waterline breaks were reported. Icing issues have also required salt trucks.

Also, a catch basin on Kennedy Avenue is being rebuilt. The city radios and repeaters is under way.

In other matters, Fire Chief Jack Regis noted the cooperation of various agencies that took place during Monday’s accident, which created an organized response.

He also praised the high turnout of volunteers to battle a fully engulfed house fire during the freezing weather of Jan. 22.

He also reported that the Liberty Company has performed a final inspection on the new fire truck, which should be received by March 9.

“The truck looks great. It’s going to be a fine asset to our fire department,” he said.

Regarding the city park, Manager Larry Deaton asked for funding to purchase and replace six or seven filters of the current 15 in order to generate the necessary flow to overturn the water. The process should take six to eight weeks. Council will decide during the next meeting.

He reported the park has been heavily booked for activities and events. Also, painting on the dining hall is ongoing. He is looking into flooring options including tiles or a rubber base.

Council will consider the purchase of LED lights for $200 around the building. Deaton said the lights will mean a long-term savings.

Riethmiller also reported that ODOT is responsible for repairs to the sidewalk along Ohio 7 except in the case of a waterline break. This has contributed to damage to the area. An ODOT crew will begin repairs to the sidewalk and a city crew will repair a segment damaged by the break.

Also, council held the third reading of an ordinance establishing minimum wage.

Council held the third reading of a resolution pledging $400 per grave for the perpetual care of 10 graves at River View Cemetery.

Council also motioned to allow the auditor to appropriate the remainder of 2012’s cash carryover for the budget.

Council took a voice vote in support of House Bill 17 with the goal of increasing Local Government Funding.

A sewer meeting is set for Feb. 27, 5:30 p.m.

The city will hold its second annual Easter Egg Hunt in the Park March 23, noon until 2 p.m. in the park. The event is free for all Martins Ferry children as old as 10 years.

DeFrank can be reached at