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Ferry council mulls city building

MARTINS FERRY — Martins Ferry City Council is mulling the future of the municipal building while waiting for an estimate for repairs to its facade.

Several large chunks of the city building fell last Saturday, forcing closure of a portion of one street and a city parking lot behind the building. A portion of the roof also is damaged.

Mayor John Davies said Kalkreuth Roofing looked at the damage and is working on an estimate. Davies asked council whether members want to consider leasing or buying another building, try to rehabilitate the structure or new construction.

Most members said it would be wise to consult a structural engineer on the state of the entire building before making a decision.

Councilman Bruce Shrodes said he would not want to move just because a portion of the building is damaged. If it can be fixed and other repairs can be made, he would rather stay.

Councilman Jack Regis Sr. said he also does not want to move just for moving’s sake, but he wonders if it would be cheaper to build a new building than to rehabilitate the current one.

“I can’t see dumping that much money into here,” Regis said.

It was noted that a decade or longer ago an engineering study was done on the building and at that time the estimate renovation cost was $1 million.

In other business, council heard the second reading of a proposed ordinance that calls for reducing the city” income tax credit from 100 percent to 50 percent.

If approved, residents who work outside the city in a municipality that also has an income tax would no longer receive a 100 percent credit for the taxes they pay to that jurisdiction.

Instead, they would receive a 50 percent credit against their Martins Ferry income tax.

The third and final reading, and possible adoption, of this ordinance is slated during council’s next meeting, set for 6 p.m. Oct. 7 at the city building.

“I’ve not heard any negative comments about this,” Councilwoman Suzanne Armstrong said of community members’ reaction to the proposed ordinance.

However, when the legislation was first discussed last month Councilman Robert Hunker said he opposed it, adding he did not think it would be fair to those working lower-paying jobs.

The city’s income tax is 1 percent and accounts for about $1.4 million of its annual budget.

Meanwhile, council also heard second reading of a proposed ordinance that calls for dedicating 8 percent of the city’s income tax proceeds to the Street Department fund.

In other matters, Davies said the city’s free Fall Cleanup is set from 8 a.m. to noon Oct. 17 at dumpsters near the former city garage on First Street. This is for unwanted household items.

Two candidates for political offices this November spoke during the council meeting: Mike Bianconi of Bridgeport, who is running for a Belmont County commission seat, and Cory DelGuzzo of St. Clairsville, running for county recorder.

Council also held a closed-door session regarding personnel matters; no action was taken afterward.

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