St.C. council welcomes new member

ST. CLAIRSVILLE City council kicked off the new year with the swearing in of Terry Pugh as president of council. Council Members Frank Sabatino and John Bukmir were also sworn in, and the board welcomed new council member David Trouten.

Sabatino was nominated president pro-temp and Kathy Kaluger was nominated clerk of council.

In other matters, Bruce Fink addressed council concerning the placement of an unsightly utility pole in the front yard of his property. He added that the pole will likely attract lightning strikes and damage the electronics in nearby residences. He added that he was not notified of the installation.

Service Director Dennis Bigler said the pole was one of the gateways for the planned automated meter reading system. The site was picked by Cooper Power and the city had a right-of-way. In answer to several questions from council members, the pole could not be moved, since all of the gateways must have line-of-sight with the old water tower. All but two of the gateways have been installed.

Pugh noted that they seemed to be at an impasse, but would continue to review the matter and look for a solution.

In other matters, council noted that Christmas tree collection and chipping would start soon. Residents are asked to leave their trees at the curb and ensure all wires and other metal objects are removed.

Bigler also noted last fall’s purchase of a global positioning system has proven valuable to city employees during issues such as repairing water breaks.

In addition, Tony Kelich is retiring from the water plant. His job will be posted for bidding. The city is also looking into hiring added police.

In other business, Pugh reported touring the city’s infrastructure with the mayor. He suggested arranging a tour for the whole council to view the facilities later this year.

“These are things we’re voting on here in council and I think it’ll make a big difference for us,” he said.

Mayor Robert Vincenzo noted that the city will begin seeing potholes after any period of extreme cold. He also urges residents to check on their neighbors during the current freezing period.

“It’s going to be a very cold situation. It’s a dangerous time,” he said.

The police committee will meet Thursday.

The fire district will meet Jan. 22 at 4 p.m. During the past meeting, Mark Sommers was named interim acting chief and Jennifer Lohan as fiscal secretary. Greg Bizarri took on the role of acting chair, with Sabatino as vice-chair.

Council also passed a motion amending an ordinance to address violations for jake braking, squealing/peeling of tires, excessive engine noises, and crackling exhausts.

Council approved appropriations totaling $13,926,381.91.

Thanks went to an anonymous donor who paid the utility bills of several people in need during the holiday season.

DeFrank can be reached at