Martins Ferry cuts off-street parking fund

MARTINS FERRY – During Wednesday’s meeting, city council approved a resolution eliminating the off-street parking fund, with future revenue from parking rental spaces being deposited in the general fund to aintain the Division of Development and Code Enforcer positions.

In answer to a question from visitor Richard Hord concerning the importance of those positions, Mayor Paul Riethmiller and Finance Committee Chair Robert Hunker pointed out that in prior years the Division of Development was dependent on a CHIP grant of $500,000. While the city had consistently been awarded the grant, it has become more competitive as greater numbers of cities are seeking funding. Also, there is less funding in the grant and the administration may be given over to counties rather than awarded to individual municipalities.

Riethmiller noted the Martins Ferry administration, like that of many other municipalities, has worked to prepare the budget for submission by the end of the month. He said he believes the budget will be ready on time, although cuts from the state continue and income tax brings in less revenue as fewer people are able to work.

Councilman Robert Krajnyak added that while he had been initially opposed to eliminating the off-street parking fund, he recognized the necessity.

“I think this is the only way to keep these departments open,” he said.

The off-street parking committee will be maintained and the fund will likely be re-established when the city finances have improved. Riethmiller added that another 15-20 off-street parking spaces will be created with permanent improvement funds when the weather breaks.

In other matters, Service Director Charles Bennett Jr. reported repairs to water breaks on Ohio 7. He also noted various cold patching projects.

Also, he reported a request from the safety director to designate Vineway a one-way only street starting downhill from 1021 Vineway to Terrace Street as of March 18. Signs have been placed informing drivers of the pending change.

Also, community service workers have collected 60 bags of trash on Ohio 7.

Council passed a resolution in support of House Bill 17, to return government funding to 2005 levels. Councilman Chris Cleary asks residents to contact the governor, state representatives and the Finance Appropriation Committee to voice support for the bill.

In addition, Riethmiller reported that work on a detailed RV park ordinance is nearly complete.

In other matters, Fire Chief Jack Regis reported issues with street parking on Spence Lane near the Polish Club and requested parking be eliminated to prevent blocking of emergency responders.

Riethmiller said the issue has been ongoing and signs and painting are being prepared.

Council approved appropriating $10,000 from the permanent fund for a monument in the park to instead purchase needed turnout gear for the fire department.

Riethmiller reported issues of flooding at the dairy docks and the need for catch basins in a two-to-three block area. The city engineer and members of the street and sewer departments will observe the situation and speculated on the placement of catch basins March 12.

Council members will meet with bond counsel on?March 11. Outside and independent auditors have been invited, along with the city attorney.

The finance committee will meet March 12 at 5:30 p.m.

The park board will meet March 13, 5:30 p.m. at the recreation center.

The zoning committee will meet March 13, 5:30 p.m. A new Zoning Board of Appeals will be appointed.

The service committee will meet March 18, 5:30 p.m.

Regional Income Tax Agency representatives will visit council March 27, 5:30 p.m. to discuss changes in the state tax system.

The 2013 induction ceremony for the Martins Ferry Hall of Honor is set for April 7, 2 p.m. at the high school cafetorium. The public is welcome to attend the free event.

The second annual Easter Egg Hunt in the Park is set for March 23, noon to 2 p.m. The free event is open to all city children 10 and younger. The police department continues to ask for donations for the hunt.

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