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Ferry mulls spending federal money for safer meetings

MARTINS FERRY — As COVID-19 cases continue to rise in the region, Martins Ferry City Council members are preparing to start meeting via Zoom to keep themselves and others safe.

After Wednesday’s regular meeting, Council President Kristine Davis said council is planning to discuss spending federal CARES Act funding on the needed equipment during a future finance committee meeting.

She said the city still needs to determine what kind of software and hardware it needs to conduct the meetings via Zoom and broadcast them online for the public to view.

She said the city’s existing website likely will be the site from which the meetings are eventually streamed. Several local villages and cities have opted to either hold teleconference meetings or stream their meetings because of the pandemic.

“They just don’t want to spend COVID money and not be sure about it,” she said, noting council is trying to be conscientious about its spending.

Meanwhile, she said council also discussed getting caught up on separating storm sewers, which is mandated by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

Also, the city’s transfer station will be operating again.

An outside company will pick up the boxes and take them to the landfill, saving time and wear and tear on the city’s garbage trucks.

She noted the city also is investigating funding, with help from an outside agency, to have a waterline installed that would run from the water treatment plant directly to East Ohio Regional Hospital, and possibly some of the downtown business district. The waterline would supply the hospital, which is set to open sometime during the next couple weeks, in the case of an emergency line break in the city.

“We don’t want the hospital to be without water,” she said.

In other matters, Davis said Jack Regis Jr., city safety director and firefighter with the Martins Ferry Volunteer Fire Department, announced that Tom Kelly was named chief 1 of the department and Ron Hilton was named chief 2. The decision was made by the VFD during a recent meeting and vote among its members. Kelly has filled the lead role in the past.

In other business, Davis said council also discussed the city being more strict in enforcing litter laws and property codes regarding trash and junk.

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