MARTINS FERRY - City council discussed the beginning stages of the planned installation of cameras at the Ohio 7 and Hanover Street intersection during its Wednesday meeting.
Mayor Paul Riethmiller asked council to move forward with the plan and asked that the ordinance would be read the full three times. He said related issues discussed during upcoming council meetings. He said he hopes for input from the public.
He added that the city would look into a variety of companies that could provide such services. The city attorney will also look over the contracts.
T-L Photo/ROBERT A. DEFRANK
COUNCILMAN Bruce Shrodes spoke Wednesday for the service and safety committees on the planned installation of cameras at the intersection of Ohio and Hanover Street.
"There's still a lot of footwork to be done. This isn't anything we're going to rush into," he said.
He noted the hazards surrounding the area and high frequency of accidents, fatalities and instances where people have had to be extracted from crushed vehicles.
"The purpose of the speed and red light cameras at Route 7 and Hanover has everything to do with safety in our community," he said. "Drivers trying to beat the light and speeding through that intersection are two of the main reasons in the numerous traffic accidents at that site."
Riethmiller said the mayor's court has seen 504 speeding tickets this year, with an average speed of 64 miles per hour in a 50 miles per hour zone.
Speaking for the safety and service committees, Councilman Bruce Shrodes noted that since the highway was established in the late 1960s and early 1970s, it has seen continuous fatalities and accidents.
He commended the police on their efforts to keep order at the intersection, but said the situation is daunting enough to call for the cameras. He said the cameras would observe vehicles, not drivers, and there will be signs notifying motorists of their presence.
"We have tried every imaginable thing in the last 50 or 45 years to stop the accident and create a safer environment in that intersection," he said. "This is not a punishment for the people of this city, this is something trying to save lives."
The cameras could be installed February or March.
In other issues, council passed ordinances to purchase media for the water plant's filtration beds and appropriated permanent improvement funds totalling $168,900, $10,000 for the engineering fee and $3,000 for invoices. The funds will be paid back by the water department during 10 years at 1.5 percent interest.
In other matters of finance, the finance committee will meet Jan. 28, 5:30 p.m. to prepare for the new year.
At the next meeting, Auditor Rita Randal will present temporary and end of year appropriations.
In police matters, Sgt. Chip Ghent reported two officers are taking free cellular phone forensic courses.
Also, the city EMS will offer a 50-cent per hour shift differential for part-time employees. Council will also consider raising the salaries of the EMS captain from $27,500 to $30,000 and the EMS supervisor's salary from $24,999 to $27,500.
Regarding the fire department, an availability date is expected to be released soon for the new fire truck. It is expected to be in town by the end of January. Council approved advertising the old fire truck for bids beginning the first of the year.
The fire department also reported a successful Christmas parade with 74 units.
The next fire department meeting will be held at Dec. 8, 7:30 p.m.
Regarding the water department, Shrodes reported the service committee is looking into a new roof for the city garage. Cost would be $70,000-$80,000. The roof leaks and creates structural damage at the concrete building. They are looking into prices for a steel building.
Also, city zoning was last updated in the 1950s and requires further updates. Committees are looking into the matter.
In other matters, council voted against placing a proposed co-op plan through Volunteer Energy on the ballot. Councilman Chris Cleary said residents should not be required to join the co-op.
DeFrank can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org