City of St. Clairsville

February 1st, 2016 Council Minutes

Posted on February 1st, 2016 by

Once approved, a link to the official council minutes will be at the bottom.


February 1, 2016

St. Clairsville City Council met in Council Chambers on Monday, February 1, 2016 with the following present

Jim Weisgerber, Council President Terry Pugh, Mayor

Mark Bukmir, Council 3rd Ward Tom Murphy, Planning & Zoning Administrator

Linda Jordan, Council-At-Large Don Smithberger, Electric Superintendent

Beth Oprisch, Council-At-Large Richard Myser, Law Director

Jake Olsavsky, Council, 1st Ward Cindi Henry, Finance Director

Frank Sabatino, Council, 2nd Ward Jeff Henry, Police Chief

David Trouten, Council, 4th Ward Shelley Fortney, Utility Office Manager

The meeting was called to order by Council President Jim Weisgerber


Minutes of the January 19, 2016 regular meeting were distributed to Council. . A motion to accept the minutes of the January 19, 2016 meeting was made by Jake Olsavsky and seconded by Linda Jordan.

Roll Call Vote

Bukmir Yes Olsavsky Yes

Jordan Yes Sabatino Yes

Oprisch Yes Trouten Abstain

Roll Call Vote: Five (5) Yes One (1) Abstain Zero (0) No Motion Approved

Jim Weisgerber: At this time I would like to move on with our Committee’s report on filling the Council member seat. I would like to thank all of you people who submitted your name to be considered and with that I would like to commend the committee for the effort and the time they took to come up with a name or names for us. David Trouten: I would like to thank the Committee also Mark Bukmir, Beth Oprisch and I were the Committee. We had eight people put their name forward. All of them were good candidates. We interviewed seven of those candidates. One chose not to be interviewed. Actually one of the things we talked about is it was great to see such interest of people wanting to help out the Community. We did pick one person to nominate. We thought it was the best person for the City going forward and we wish to nominate Mike Smith. He is a resident of the City for 22 years, has served on a number of boards. His area of expertise is finance and gas and oil. A motion was made by Beth Oprisch to nominate Mike Smith to the vacant Council-At-Large position.

Frank Sabatino: Mr. President I have some questions before we vote on that. I agree with Dave we had a lot of good candidates and it is very healthy to see so many when so many other communities are having trouble filling their Council seats. First of all I am the senior person on this Council, Jake and I and I was kind of upset that a senior person was not appointed to that committee. No offense to the committee but two of three of you are new to Council. Quite frankly I question if you know a TID from a TIF and all the issues going on. I just felt like a person’s experience would have been healthy on that. David Trouten: I appreciate the statement but we were asked to serve and we did so. Frank Sabatino: I have some questions. All of the interviews were conducted on the same day? David Trouten: No they weren’t. Frank Sabatino: Why not? David Trouten: One individual was unable to attend on that day. We adjusted our schedules to meet with that person. We thought it would be fair to talk with everybody. Frank Sabatino: All were asked the same questions? David Trouten: In general yes. Frank Sabatino: In General? David Trouten: Obviously in an interview it becomes a conversation that may go down paths that was not otherwise. Beth Oprisch: We started with the same format. We had interview questions with the same format for every single person. Based on the answers that some people gave sometimes it would generate different questions based on the answers but it was the exact same format. Frank Sabatino: Did you write their responses down? What did you do? Did you write them down and give them weight and score them 1 to 3? That leads me to how did you come to your conclusion? How much subjective was it and how objective was it? David Trouten: We did what we thought was best for the City moving forward. We nominated an individual and believe me it was not easy. We interviewed everyone. We didn’t discuss anything until we had interviewed everyone and we weighed all the factors and gradually tried to move it forward and that is where we came up. Frank Sabatino: You mean you would interview people and you would wait until after you were done interviewing seven people and then you got together. How could you remember? David Trouten: It would have been unfair to decide after number 2 that we were done. Frank Sabatino: I know but how did you make notes to separate A from B and C from D? That is my point. Things get lost in the fog of war if you ask me. David Trouten: We are losing sight of the point of this. We were asked to select a candidate, we did. We have brought that candidate to the Council we are prepared to put that to a vote and not micro analyze everything. Frank Sabatino: I am not micro annualizing I am just asking some questions. I wasn’t on the interview committee so before I say yes or no to this person I want to know because this is an important position and I just feel like it has been a state secret. Like I said I am still ticked off at the President of Council for not putting me on there. So no one was allowed to talk I understand the Mayor didn’t even know. So I am just asking questions so I have a background of this Dave. I hope you can understand that and respect it. David Trouten: I would have you ask questions about the candidate proposed as opposed to the process. Frank Sabatino: I am, I am getting to that. Frank Sabatino: All right tell me what factor led to your decision? I understand it was unanimous. All three of you came up with the same? What factor led to that person being your nomination? David Trouten: I am not sure there was one factor. Beth Oprisch: I think David said that we thought that all the candidates were good candidates, we appreciated everybody’s interest but at the end of the day we had to make a decision. Frank Sabatino: Based on what? Beth Oprisch: We made a decision based on the value that we thought this person could bring. When I say this it doesn’t mean that we did not think that the other people did not bring value but we felt that this person was the best person. We thought that the experience with finances was a good thing. We thought that the length of time in the city was a good thing. We thought that he was a worthy candidate and will serve City Council well. That is not to say that other people wouldn’t but in the end of the day we needed to make a decision. Frank Sabatino: And again all three of you came to the same conclusion? Beth Oprisch: Yes we did. Mark Bukmir: Mr. President may I interject something? Jim Weisgerber: You certainly can. Mark Bukmir: Our committee myself, Mr. Trouten and Miss Oprisch were tasked to come up with a nominee. That is what we did. We were not given any directions on how to come to that point. It was left up to us. That is what we did and that is what we are presenting on the floor. I don’t think it is right to be nitpicked by Mr. Sabatino to how we came up with this. The Mayor was gracious enough to sit in Om our interviews and he didn’t seem to have any objections to them. He said I am leaving the room now hash it out, good luck come up with a candidate. That is what we did. Beth Oprisch: The Mayor will also attest to the questions were the same, that he thought the questions were good questions and the questions were fair questions. Frank Sabatino: I don’t want you to feel slighted. I am just asking questions that is my right as a Council person. Myself and the entire city instead of just voting on it I think the entire city would like to know what did you base your decision on to nominate Mr. Smith. That is all I am getting at. I was kept in the dark like all the other Council people including the Mayor so you shouldn’t feel like that Mark. Jim Weisgerber: First of all Frank they as a committee decided not to let it out who they were going to recommend. They touched base with me and I had no problems what so ever with that. I think that the committee has given you the reasons at this point why they chose Mr. Smith. If you were listening you heard them say that his background, his work in the City in the past. One of the main reasons was his accounting background that they came up with this. They recommended this person. As a Council member you have a right to vote no on this when it comes to a vote. Frank Sabatino: I know that. Don’t get me wrong I know Mr. Smith, he is my neighbor. Jim Weisgerber: I think your questions have gone far enough at this point. Frank Sabatino: You think that? Jim Weisgerber: Yes Sir. Frank Sabatino: So what are you telling me? Jim Weisgerber: I am telling you that we need a second for the motion and we need to vote on it. Frank Sabatino: Well I would like to make a motion. Jim Weisgerber: You can’t make a motion, there is a motion on the floor. Beth Oprisch: As a member of the committee I will just say again that it wasn’t an easy decision. We did believe it was the most fair way to go. Instead of just handing it to someone we took the time to interview all the people. We stand by that, the only person we didn’t interview was the person that did not come to the interview. My motion stands that I nominate Mike Smith for the vacant position on City Council. Jim Weisgerber: It has been moved and we need a second. Mark Bukmir: I second the motion. Frank Sabatino: I would like to say one more thing in conclusion. Like I said all good candidates, most of them. I personally would like to thank the person who ran for election and worked and are aware of all the issues on this Council with the TIF the TID the sewage plant and all the issues with the city, I think that person would be much more valuable not only to the city but City Council and most of all to a Mayor who has been in office for just a month. So when we are done I would like to nominate Perry Jones. Jim Weisgerber: Well we have a motion on the floor. Richard Myser: Mr. President, before we go on if I may interject, I understand the council’s concerns and we had this discussion before. I just want to make this clear. The city charter does not provide any specific practice or policy or procedure for selecting. The City charter simply says that once a vacancy is created the council has thirty days to select and elect the replacement for that member. The council must select that replacement by a majority of the remaining members. The remaining members would be 6 the majority would be a vote of 4. Now since we had eight candidates which I think speaks very well of our city that we had eight people step forward that want to be on our Council. Since we had eight people it was necessary to determine which party should be nominated. The city council decided that they would select an ad hoc committee to interview everyone and that is who they came up with. That is how the procedure was followed in this particular case. It was not something that was set out in our city charter. Jim Weisgerber: We do have a motion on the floor so I would like a roll call please.

Roll Call Vote:

Bukmir Yes Olsavsky Yes

Jordan Abstain Sabatino No

Oprisch Yes Trouten Yes

Roll Call Vote Four (4) Yes One (1) No One (1) Abstain Motion Approved

Jim Weisgerber: Is Mr. Smith here tonight? David Trouten: I don’t believe he is. We didn’t instruct anyone to come. We do want to thank again everyone that was interested. It was not an easy decision to make. Everyone brought strength. Jim Weisgerber: I am sure it wasn’t and I do thank the committee for their work.


Service Director, Dennis Bigler – Not Present

Mayor, Terry Pugh

  • We had a long time employee retire last Friday. Rich Spano had been with us 33 years and I think it is very important that not only was I able to thank him last week but that we note at Council what a valuable employee he was of the city and he will be missed and we do wish him the very best in retirement.

  • On the other side of the picture Scott Brown the new Water/Wastewater Superintendent’s first day was today. I think he is coming back tomorrow. He saw what he faced but he is a young energetic, very knowledgeable individual so we are hoping there will be a long association between him and the City of St. Clairsville.

  • I also want to mention some more good news. As of Friday, January 29th we heard that we are getting the approval for the financing for the construction at the Wastewater Plant for the RBC’s. We will be going out to finalize the financing and to issue the contracts for the construction of the RBC’s down at the Wastewater Plant.

  • Most of you realize that Thursday a week ago we had a real problem in this city in that we had a tree come down at 1:30 a.m. It took out most of the power in the city and sheared off two poles. I just want to point out that not only did it start with the dispatcher and go to the police but then Don Smithberger and the electric crew showed up. The street Department crew came out to cut up the tree and haul it away. We also had four water leaks that week and replaced one valve. The water/wastewater department was out in all kind of weather for hours just like everybody else Of course we had a wonderful snow storm over the weekend. All I want to say is we have great employees, they work together as a team and I was so impressed. I want to applaud them along with council and the residents of St. Clairsville. We are really blessed to have the employees that we do especially when we have a situation like we had. Jim Weisgerber: Thank you very much and I second what you said about the good work that the city people do. We really appreciate it. Mayor Pugh: I just want to say as far as these trees in St. Clairsville, I have asked for a list which I have from Jeff, Donnie and Brian Kralovic. We are going to sit down and we are going to become proactive actually starting tomorrow morning to remove some of these trees before we have a real problem with safety issues and someone getting hurt.

  • I would like to ask for your approval of Mark Loy for the Board of Zoning Appeals. You all received a copy of his letter of interest. I wholeheartedly put my support behind

him. A motion was made by Jake Olsavsky and seconded by Linda Jordan to appoint Mark Loy to the Board of Zoning Appeals.

Roll Call Vote

Bukmir Yes Olsavsky Yes

Jordan Yes Sabatino Yes

Oprisch Yes Trouten Yes

Roll Call Vote: Six (6) Yes Zero (0) No Motion Approved

Police Chief, Jeff Henry – No Report

Finance Director, Cindi Henry

  • In regards to what the Mayor said in regarding the RBC’s the OWDA notified us last week that our loan did go through. I have not seen the actual bid packet from Mr. Bigler but it came in at like 1.7. There is actually a resolution here tonight for the engineering cost associated with that. We haven’t technically decided whether this cost is going to come from that additional monies because we went with $2 million. This cost could possibly be added into that or any unassociated things that can happen will be spent with those additional monies.

Planning & Zoning Administrator, Tom Murphy

  • Just two items for Council, the first one the Planning Commission did meet this evening just on a minor matter that popped up. I think all of you do have a report in front of you a report to Council in regards to the Dedication Plat for the Commons Mall Crossing. That is the new road that you see constructed from Route 40 and ends at the top of the hill in a cul-de-sac. That plat is being dedicated and accepted by the City. The Planning Commission has recommended that the City accept that dedication plat and the new Commons Mall Crossing. That is it in a nut shell, if you have any question feel free to ask me. There is an Ordinance here this evening in regards to that.


Finance, David Trouten

  • We will meet next week so I have no report tonight

Utilities, Frank Sabatino

  • I want to thank Don Smithberger and his crew. No pun intended Tom but Murphy’s Law

happened that Friday. I looked out at 3:00 in the morning and the city was totally dark. Then we had the snow storm so credit to Donnie and his crew.

Don Smithberger, Electric Superintendent: As the Mayor and you alluded to we are going

to get that tree down tomorrow and then we will get that circuit back up. Thank you again

to administration and the departments for all of their help and support we really appreciate it.

Frank Sabatino: Thank You.

  • Shelley Fortney, Utility Office Manager: Everything is running really smoothly. To reiterate what Donnie said our tree trimming program throughout the year has been tremendous for keeping our power outages down. The things with our trees they get old and they fall we are just grateful no one got hurt.

  • Frank Sabatino: I want to thank you two for coming to the meeting and we had two citizens attend the meeting this evening.

Police, Mark Bukmir: Chief Henry did not have a report tonight but we will have a small

Meeting tonight after the Council Meeting

Street North Side, Jake Olsavsky:

  • David told me about North Market Street just the other side of the stop sign. David Trouten: I think I talked to Dennis about this before. I think there was a water break there and they were digging it up. It is still really rough there. It is a pretty well-traveled road. They kind of smoothed it out. Don Smithberger: The Street Department was out trying to patch some of those today. David Trouten: That would be great.

Street South Side: Linda Jordan – No Report

Safety, Beth Oprisch:

  • I was able to attend the city safety meeting at the city garage on Thursday. It seems like a really neat program, a valuable program talking about leading indicators, keeping people safe and flagging indicators. There were 17 people from four different departments represented. They were from Recreation, Water/Sewer, Electric & Street. It was a really good program.

Building & Grounds, Mark Bukmir – No Report

Planning Commission – No Report

Fire District, Frank Sabatino

  • The Fire Board met on January 26th

  • Every year the Fire District puts out a nice report. I will just read you a couple of things. It is quite lengthy, I will put it down in the Mayor’s Office. 2015 proved to be very busy year in call volume and activity for the Cumberland Trail Fire District. 2, 466 calls for assistance were answered this exceeded the previous high mark for calls volume in 2012 which was 2,051. Now out of that 2,466 calls 1,956 were E.M.S.and that was the most we have ever done and we had 510 fire calls our previous high was 1998 when we had 535 so it was a very busy year. Estimated dollar loss for 2015 due to fire was $732,000 structural fire was estimated at $526,000 and vehicle fire losses were estimated at $206,000. Just like with the tree thank goodness there were no fatalities. Everyone has been seeing on the news all the fires. Once again make sure those smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors are working and have new batteries.

  • The next meeting will be Monday, February 29th at 3:00 p.m.

  • Jim Weisgerber: That is amazing how the calls have increased since I was on the department in the 70’s and 80’s it has tripled in the number of calls. Frank Sabatino: In 1990 we had 910 E.M.S.calls and 287 fire calls. Jim Weisgerber: That is pretty much what we were having before that.

Recreation, David Trouten:

  • Basketball program was a great success it has ended.

  • Indoor soccer begins this weekend. They have 140 participants.

  • The summer concerts is almost all lined up. They just have one more spot to fill

  • They have something called Rec desk. It is basically on line registration which we did not have until recently. It is working well and everybody is using in.

  • Frank Sabatino: My neighbors are all involved in the Rec Center and what Ms. Piccolini has done down there with the registration on line, she has done a whale of a joy and should be congratulated.

Park District, Linda Jordan

  • The Board voted to approve an estimate from Cattran Electric to make the necessary electrical repairs at all of the shelters.

  • They also voted to approve the renewal policy from Foster Insurance

  • As well as approving a request from Tom Sliva to purchase a pitching machine that will be kept at the Park part time and in the gym the other part of the time. The money will come from three sources The School, The baseball account and a private donor.

  • Last but not least there will be a ½ mill renewal improvement levy on the March 15th ballot. They are doing a compilation of improvements from the past and the future that will go into a flyer that will be made available to the public.

  • The next meeting is next Monday, February 8th.


Law Director, Richard Myser:

  • Tonight we have four items of legislation we need to address. Three of these resolutions that we have this evening were read for the first time two weeks ago at our meeting. The first one is 2016-08. This a resolution that Cindi talked to Council about two weeks ago. It is a resolution basically to transfer money from one fund to another. It will be for its second reading here tonight. Two weeks ago when we had the first reading we didn’t have enough members to suspend the rules and pass it so we are reading it for the second time tonight. It has the emergency language in it so since we have six members here tonight we can move to suspend the rules, read it for the second and third time and pass it tonight and it would take effect immediately.

  • The next bit of legislation is 2016-09. This is a resolution hiring Scott Brown as our Superintendent of the Water/Wastewater Department. Apparently he has already started the position but this will officially hire him. Once again it was read for the first time at our last meeting two weeks ago. Since we only had five members we could not suspend the rules and pass. Tonight if you wanted to we could suspend the rules, pass it tonight and there is emergency language in this particular ordinance so hiring in his position would take place immediately.

  • The next ordinance that I have is 2016-10. This is the ordinance that approves our TIF financing for the Commons Project. This is the legislation that at our last meeting our consultants David Meeks and Melanie Wollenberg were here. I thought there was going to be someone else here this evening to address this also. Mayor Pugh: My understanding is they will be at the next meeting. At the next meeting it will not be read because of some kind of time stipulation. So it will actually be read on the third time on March 7th.

  • The two new items of legislation this evening we have 2016-11. This is the resolution that Cindy and the Mayor were referring to that we are going to be putting out for bids for Engineering and Construction for our Wastewater Treatment Plant. It will be read for the first time tonight. You can suspend the rules and actually pass it tonight and it will take place immediately if you wanted to do that. Dennis is not here do we need to pass this on an emergency measure tonight. Mayor Pugh: I would think you do and the problem that I understand is the reason that nothing was being done was that we still don’t have the approval of how we are going to finance this. Although this engineering company has been involved since the beginning so I would just guess we have got to get the ball moving on it so they are going to be the engineering company no question of that. So I think the sooner you approve them the better off we are to get this whole project moving. David Trouten: This resolution is basically authorizing the Mayor not to have to bid, is that the point of this? Richard Myser: Yes to enter into the contract and get started.

  • The final bit of legislation that we have tonight is ordinance 2016-12. This is an ordinance accepting the dedication of the plat of the Commons Mall Crossing Road. This is what Tom was referring to. Tom has the plat in front of him. It is the road that you see coming from Route 40. Part of that road is ours and part of it is the Township but the city will be responsible for maintaining that road. Before we can go any further on the TIF project of the Commons project this road has to be platted and dedicated. This legislation that we have tonight is to do just that. It will be for its first reading tonight. It also has emergency language in it. If you wanted to suspend the rules and pass it tonight then Tom can go on to the next step to have it dedicated. After we approve it for dedication the County Commissioners also have to approve it for dedication and I imagine Tom wants this passed as soon as possible. Tom Murphy: It would be great if you can it allow us to get moving forward if the city accepts the road. David Trouten: The County can’t act until we do? Tom Murphy: That is right. David Trouten: Why is that.? Tom Murphy: I wasn’t at the TID meetings when that was set up, Fred Bennett the County Engineer was there. I think since the city is accepting it we have to be the first one signing off on it and the County Commissioners have to sign off on behalf of the Township. The Township can’t sign off on roads it has to be the Commissioners. David Trouten: This whole thing is not in the city? Tom Murphy: The majority of it is. There is a small section at the beginning about 400 feet that is not in the city, however the Transportation Improvement District included Dennis from the city and also the Township Trustees and the idea was why have one group maintaining the majority of the road and only a few that the Township would maintain. All of it is in the County but the County won’t be maintaining any of the road. David Trouten: Why does it have to be an emergency? Tom Murphy: Just to get it moving and get it approved. If you don’t feel comfortable doing that it won’t hurt anything except the timeline. Beth Oprisch: So the earliest we could have done this just for my understanding is you are supposed to do things in three readings. Certain things are an emergency for sure so it would just be easier for us? Tom Murphy: No one did come to the Planning Commission meeting, no one ever did voice opposition to it. It is ultimately your decision if you feel uncomfortable for any reason. Mayor Pugh: The thing is people are appointed to be on the Planning Commission. They met and no one objected. The only one who was here tonight was Mr. Stewart and he was all for it. The Planning Commission brought the proposal to Council that they approved. So if you had any questions you should have been at the Planning Commission meeting. David Trouten: Except this is the first time that we have seen this piece of paper. Mayor Pugh: That is right because it was just passed at 6:00 tonight. Beth Oprisch: It is not a concern for me it is just a question of process. Mayor Pugh: As far as Scott Brown he had to put in his resignation with his last employer so that is why it should have been passed on an emergency basis at the meeting before. David Trouten: That is an emergency. Tom Murphy: If you want you can do a first reading on this tonight and leave the emergency language in it and pass it at the next meeting. Whatever you feel most comfortable with. Clerk: We won’t have enough people to pass it on an emergency at the next meeting. Mark Bukmir: If I understand you right Mr. Murphy unless this thing is passed nothing else proceeds out there is that correct? Tom Murphy: This is just the city accepting the dedication plat of the roadway. Ultimately I am sure that will happen. The timeline fo

February 1st, 2016 Council Minutes