Ferry dealing with low salt supplies

MARTINS FERRY – City Service Director Chuck Bennett addressed the salt issue that the city is facing at Wednesday night’s council meeting.

Bennett stated in his report to council that there is a severe shortage of salt and the city has been running very low.

“On Sunday, Jan. 26, we were almost out of salt and had to wait until it quit snowing before we could resume snow removal since plowing was turning roadways to ice the minute we plowed,” Bennett said. “We have since gotten the remainder of our Dec. 31 order this past Monday. Orders that should normally have been delivered in five days took over 30 days to receive. That order gives us a small surplus.”

Bennett went on to say that the bad news is that his last order that he placed for salt, which was placed in the third week of January, will not be shipped until the last week of February.

“We are going to have to use our salt sparingly and increase our slag mixture,” said Bennett. “Even ODOT themselves is 100,000 tons short of their order. We will do the best that we can with what we have and try to keep our streets and hills clear.”

Bennett also addressed the issues with the potholes and drainage problems. He stated that these will be corrected but not until the weather breaks.

Mayor Paul Riethmiller stated that on Friday there will be a preconstruction conference on the North Fifth Street sewer and drainage project with the engineer, contractor and businesses involved.

“There will be certain days during the construction period that North Fifth Street will be completely closed, and we will let police, fire and EMS know once those days have been finalized,” said Riethmiller.

Police Chief John McFarland stated in his report before council that the new cruiser is in the auto body shop for paint, and new equipment will be installed. He said it should be finished by the end of the month. He also said that Sgt. Bob Walton, who conducted the ALICE training at Martins Ferry schools several weeks ago, has been asked by other schools for the same training. McFarland added that Officer Vince West was injured while in pursuit of a suspect on foot and has been placed on light duty and is being utilized.

Fire Chief Jack Regis stated in his report that the flags are at half-staff for the two firefighters who were killed in Toledo last week. They were asked to keep the flags at half-staff for two weeks.

Council appropriated $27,900 to the fire department to purchase new turnout gear. The money will come from the Permanent Improvement Fund.

“I just want to thank you for the gear. We really appreciate it, and as always, thank you for your support,” said Regis.

Development Director Kathy Gagin recently was awarded three grants for the Martins Ferry Police Department. The three grants will go towards new technology for the police department, funds to provide food and insurance for Ecko and an NRA grant that will go towards an Eddie the Eagle costume for the department.

Van Dyne can be reached at kvandyne@timesleaderonline.com.