MF tax hike ordinance read again

MARTINS FERRY – The ordinance that would raise the city’s income tax by a quarter of a percent was read for a second time at Wednesday night’s council meeting.

The ordinance will go through a third reading at the next council meeting.

With the cutbacks that were made to local government funding by the state, Martins Ferry lost a substantial amount of money from its general fund. This loss is the reason for the proposed tax hike .

The council also spoke about cuts and layoffs. One of the departments that has been targeted is the police department and dispatchers. The police are paid out of the general fund.

In an effort to save money, the Fraternal Order of Police has decided to forfeit this year’s compensation pay that would have been paid out at the end of March.

“I wanted to make sure I thanked the FOP for stepping forth and volunteering to amend their contract to help us out as far as the situation with overtime pay,” said Councilman Chris Cleary. “We really appreciate it, and it’s a great example of how we can come together.”

No cuts have been made yet, according to Council President Kristine Davis.”They are still in the works.”

“Just because we are passing an income tax ordinance and just because we are passing the budget, we are not ignoring that there are hard cuts that have to be made,” said Councilman Jack Regis. “Everybody in here is beating their brain and looking at it, and we appreciate these citizens’ input. We are doing everything that we can to keep the services that the citizens of Martins Ferry are used to and we are also looking at cuts that have to be made.”

Service Director Chuck Bennett reported that last week, that Robison Pipe Cleaning Co. out of Pittsburgh outlined solutions and the next steps for the drainage issue at Cemetery Road. It will begin hot patching the potholes next week if the weather continues to warm up.

The next meeting will be held on April 10 at 6 p.m. in council chambers.

Van?Dyne may be reached at kvandyne@timesleaderonline.com