City of St. Clairsville prepping projects

T-L Photo/ROBERT A. DeFRANK St. Clairsville Mayor Terry Pugh and Finance Director Cindi Henry discuss matters during Monday’s city council meeting.

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — Council members were updated on the progress of numerous projects in St. Clairsville on Monday.

Planning and Zoning Director Tom Murphy reported the zoning board is expected to hear a traffic study regarding a proposed zoning change to 100 High St. so that a business may open there.

The next Board of Zoning Appeals meeting will be held 6 p.m. March 1. The meeting will also hear a request to open a business at 251 E. Main St.

Murphy also reported meeting with the Belmont County Land Reutilization Corp. board, also called the “land bank.” Properties on Neffs Street and Jefferson Street may be eligible for demolition.

The city held the second reading of an ordinance to extend the time to file the final plat for the St. Clair Commons. The final plat is being extended for six months for weather and organization issues, but construction has been approved.

Council held the first reading of an ordinance authorizing Mayor Terry Pugh to approve execution of the housing relocation revolving loan fund. Murphy noted the program assists residents in rehabilitating structures if they meet income guidelines.

Council held the first reading authorizing the city to enter into an agreement with the state auditor’s office for their 2016 Government Accounting Procedures report for the city, preceding the 2016 independent audit. The cost of the audit will be $16,000.

Council also held the first reading of an ordinance for an addendum to the city’s cooperative agreement forming a tax increment financing district. The cooperative agreement includes the city of St. Clairsville, the Columbus and Franklin County Finance Authority, Senior Suites and St. Clair Commons LLC, and Huntington National Bank.

Mayor Terry Pugh noted the initial TIF ordinance was passed in 2016. A port authority in Cincinnati had originally been set to finance the TIF, but the bonding company is now working through the Columbus Port Authority. It has since become necessary for the city to change TIF attorneys because their prior attorney had worked for the Columbus authority, leading to a conflict of interest.

The matter will be further discussed at a special work session at 7 p.m. Monday that will also include discussion of possible rate increases for services.

Pugh also presented the draft of a proposed ordinance regulating vicious dogs, requiring they be fenced in and kept on a leash. Pugh noted two incidents had come before him in mayor’s court involving dogs that had bitten other dogs, one involving a pit bull and another involving a mixed-breed pit bull.

Pugh said the draft defines what the term “vicious dog” entails, and what “fencing” entails. He said in his opinion, a physical fence, not just an electric one, would be necessary.

Councilman Frank Sabatino reported on the fire district board’s Jan. 28 meeting, which included the annual report.

“2016 proved to be another very busy year, both in volume and activity, for the Cumberland Trail Fire District,” said Sabatino, noting 2,669 calls for assistance were answered, exceeding 2015’s mark of 2,516.

A total of 621 were fire calls, while 2,048 were medical emergencies. There were 135 motor vehicle crashes. Of the 2016 calls, 934 were from St. Clairsville and 1,539 were from elsewhere in Richland Township.

The next fire board meeting will be 3 p.m. Feb. 28.