St. C. honors retired cops

T-L Photo/ROBERT A. DEFRANK St. Clairsville Police Chief Jeff Henry, left, and Mayor Terry Pugh, right, recognize retired police officers who each have served the city for multiple decades. Jeff Gazdik, Rich Fodor and Robert Livingston are pictured from left. Mike Clark was also recognized but was unable to attend the meeting this past Monday.

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — City Council kicked off 2019 this week by honoring four retired St. Clairsville police officers, each with multiple decades of service to the city.

The honorees recognized Monday are: Robert Livingston, who retired after 33 years; Rich Fodor, who retired after 35 years; Jeff Gazdik, who retired after 27 years; and Mike Clark, who retired after 21 years.

Mayor Terry Pugh said council wanted to begin the year with the token of gratitude.

“It’s the beginning of the new year, and we’re going back to some old, unfinished business,” Pugh said. “Really, this is something that should have been done years ago. This involves four men that are retired police officers of St. Clairsville, who put a badge on and went out and protected the citizens of St. Clairsville every day, and I can’t tell you how much we appreciate it.”

The full council of Linda Jordan, Beth Oprisch, Jim Velas, Perry Basile, Frank Sabatino, Mark Bukmir, Mike Smith and council President Tim Porter agreed.

“I thank the City Council for this recognition,” Livingston said.

“(I thank the community) for having the faith and trust in me to be their first resource officer and serve the schools for 16 years,” Gazdik said, noting he had served as resource officer for the St. Clairsville-Richland City School District.

In other matters, Pugh said he continues to seek input for an upcoming public meeting with the city’s landlords regarding a response to dilapidated rental properties. In preparation for anticipated economic growth, he intends to hold a public meeting close to the first of the year to discuss the state of many properties around the city and the need to change or enforce ordinances. He also wants to get input from area landlords.

Council also approved budget appropriations for Jan. 1 through Dec. 31, totalling a little more than $21,395,000 — comparable to appropriations for 2018. Finance Director Cindi Henry said it was necessary to pass the budget in the interest of continuing city business.

“We’re not afforded a lot of time to do this every year. We run out of everything to the last week of December, then you hit the ground running. It takes time to get these together. It took me two and a half days to get (the appropriations) together, to balance them. I had done most of the preliminary work as far as salaries, benefits, but it takes time to put it together,” Henry said.

“It’s a lot of information to digest,” Oprisch said.

At Basile’s request, Henry reviewed several individual funds. She added that council can make changes as needed.

Superintendent of Services Don Smithberger reported some power outages stemming from truck colliding with a power pole on U.S. 40 weeks ago continue.

“We’re still trying to make some repairs out there,” he said.“We are in the process of trying to isolate areas.”

Sabatino reported on the Cumberland Trail Fire District’s most recent meeting. The fire board had approved the purchase of a new ambulance for $169,859 through the state bidding program. It will be received within 160 days.

“Our EMTs do quite a bit of transporting, which ends up a lot of miles,” he said.

Safety and Service Director Jim Zucal reported that the city is continuing to pick up discarded Christmas trees.

The park board will meet at 4:30 p.m. Monday at the Home Savings Bank office. And the recreation board will meet at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 28 at the J.B. Martin Recreation Center.