City of St. Clairsville

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October 1, 2018 Council Minutes

Posted on October 16th, 2018 by

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

COUNCIL MINUTES

October 1, 2018 

St. Clairsville City Council met in Council Chambers on Monday, October 1, 2018 with the following present:

Tim Porter, Council President                           Terry Pugh, Mayor

Perry Basile, Council 1st Ward                          Jim Zucal, Service Director

Mark Bukmir, Council 3rd Ward                       Cindy Henry, Finance Director

Linda Jordan, Council-At-Large                       Richard Myser, Law Director

Beth Oprisch, Council-At-Large                       Jeff Henry, Police Chief

Frank Sabatino, Council 2nd Ward                   Tom Murphy, Planning & Zoning Administrator

Mike Smith, Council-At-Large                         Don Smithberger, Superintendent of Services

Jim Velas, Council 4th Ward

The meeting was called to order by President, Tim Porter

MINUTES:  Minutes of the September 17, 2018 meeting were distributed to Council.  A motion was made by Jim Velas and seconded by Linda Jordan to approve the Minutes of September 17, 2018.

Roll Call Vote:

Basile                          Yes                              Sabatino                      Yes

Bukmir                        Yes                              Smith                           Yes

Jordan                        Yes                              Velas                           Yes

Oprisch                       Yes

Roll Call Vote:           Seven (7) Yes             Zero (0) No                 Motion Approved

CITIZENS HEARING: 

Bill Brooks:  First let me say good evening to the Council.  In the audience today we have some people who are opposed to the proposed school levy.  We are not here to debate whether we or anyone else support this extravagant school levy which is on the November ballot.  The only issue we are addressing at this meeting is the request that our elected City Council Members not voice support for this levy as a body.  How you vote as individuals is your right as an American Citizen.  However a vote by Council as a group in support or against the proposed school levy may well influence some voter’s final decision.  Passage of the levy will bring hardship to many residents in the St. Clairsville-Richland Township School District.  St. Clairsville Citizens have already approved a Senior Citizens Levy, a Park Levy, a Police Levy in addition to a 2.75 continues operating levy for the schools in 2013 with no end date to this levy.  Funds from this operating levy are apparently being used to buy property and fund this year’s campaign for the levy instead of being used to make the repairs that we gave them the levy for in the first place.  A city income tax was put in place by city officials after we the residents of the city had voted it down during an election process.  We have seen a large increase in our electric bill.  Additionally Belmont County Commissioners have increased the cost of license plates for this year.  A County 911 levy was approved by the voters and now the County is in the process of reevaluating the property taxes.  So the figures of this increased taxes given by the School Board are not accurate at all.  At this point in time St. Clairsville- Richland School District is at a total of 35mills.  If the proposed levy for school construction are approved we will be adding 8.56 mills for 37 years.  A bond levy for the construction of a natatorium is 0.91 mills.  They also have a continuous operating levy for 0.5 mills.  Thereby upping the total to 44.97 mills for the School District for the next 37 years.  Nothing remains the same, the cost of living will continue to increase, more levies will be placed on the ballot.  If we continue on this path St. Clairsville stands to lose residents and with the decline in population possible loss of the status of City.  In summary we ask City Council Members as a group to remain neutral and abandon the reading of the Resolution to show support for the School Levy.  We are proud St. Clairsville  people. We don’t mind helping the needy but we will not feed the greedy.  Thank you very much.

Sara Myser:  Good evening, I am the Co-Chair of Build STC a community organization in support of the St. Clairsville School District building project.  Thank you for giving me the opportunity tonight to address all of you.  I understand that tonight there will be a third and final reading of a resolution supporting the School District building project.  My fellow committee members and I are here tonight to ask you for your continued support and for the passage of the resolution this evening.  We are very excited about our community’s opportunity to make a positive impact on our children’s education.  The positive response has been overwhelming having received funding from local businesses and community member donations, signs filling the district and just overall community support.  Again we appreciate that Council is supporting our school system in our wonderful city.  If Council has any questions we will be happy to answer them and we look forward to meeting with Council and having Council support in looking to the future of this building project.  Thank you so much.

Greg Honish:  I appreciate the opportunity to speak to Council tonight.  I am aligned with Bill Brooks on this issue.  Really what I am here for is to urge the Council to remain neutral on this.  As you can see by the folks here there are people on both sides of this issue and it makes sense to me as a representative of all of us in this room to remain neutral and allow the people to make the decision on the 6th of November.  I mentioned that I am not supporting the resolution and there is really two main drivers for that the first is just the overall cost of the project.  We got some numbers from the State that indicates that the two levies that are proposed for this project actually exceed the total combined amount that was spent on the Bellaire, Bridgeport and Martins Ferry facilities that were constructed here recently.  So those three facilities are actually less than the facility that is being proposed under these two levies.  So it is a lot of money.  We all want the best for our children but we have to live within our means.  That is true at home, it is true in the public domain as well.  What I am suggesting here is that this is such a huge amount of money that we are going to put towards this compared to what other school districts have spent that it seems excessive.  I would encourage the School Board reconsider what they are putting together on this.  In my mind the quality of education that we provide for our children in the community, the students at our school is more closely in line with the expertise of our teachers than it is with the extravagance of the facilities.  The first thing is it just seems like a lot of money.  The second thing is I think it is a bad time.  My understanding is that the State of Ohio will contribute very little to this project because of the property valuations that we currently have.  Those property values you can look up on the Auditor’s web site for Belmont County.  They have a financial report for 2017 it shows the assessed values in the County have increased 54% in the last ten years.  A little over five hundred million dollars.  Almost four hundred million of that is tied to the oil and gas exploration and development.  That is not going to be with us forever.  Those things are going to deplete and as they deplete that tax base is going to be erased.  The taxes that we put in place now to fund this bond will fall back on the rest of us.  When the oil and gas folks have picked up and left it comes back to the remaining businesses and to the home owners of the district.  I strongly urge both the School Board to reconsider what their plan is and I would certainly urge you tonight to remain neutral on this.  I appreciate your time.

Tim Porter:  We have heard both sides of the levy scenario.  The bottom line on this School levy is we as a Council are only supporting the endeavor to build their school.  We have seriously nothing to do with the levy.  The citizens are going to vote for this levy.  Obviously everybody in this room is going to vote for this levy.  No matter what we do here it really doesn’t effect it.

Bill Brooks:  You are supporting the people who are on the fence.  You are supporting the levy if you stand up here as a body and say we support it.  People read that as they want it.  We are asking you to stay neutral because we all put you in office to look out for our goodness not one entity.  You are looking out for one side and I am asking every Council member when you vote to let the people decide.

Mayor Pugh:  As the Mayor of St. Clairsville and a 54 year alumni of St. Clairsville High School,

My children went to St. Clairsville, my granddaughter now is going to St. Clairsville.  You have good cities because you have good schools.  You have good schools because you have good cities.  I personally support this.  I support the future of our children.  No one wants to pay more money but you tell me what is good that you don’t pay for today.  My wife is a retired 43 year teacher at Bridgeport Schools.  Bridgeport, Bellaire & Martins Ferry schools were not built in downtown.  In the past the levy that was attempted to build a new school on 80 acres that was offered to the school was turned down because the people wanted the school to stay in St. Clairsville.  Today the security required for schools, this campus is wide open.  Today is not the way it was in the past.  I support this completely because for me this is for the future of the city and above all our kids.

REPORTS:

Service Director, Jim Zucal:  We are working on some very exciting  projects.  We did finish up, it is not completely done but there is a new restroom at the Recreation Center.  It is about 90% complete we have to do some additional painting.  It turned out very nice we encourage everyone to go look at it.  That is a little project but very exciting for the city.

One of the bigger projects the city has undertaken in many years will be the new water tank that is out on Dorothy Place.  That is a half a million gallon tank with a 1.7 million dollar price tag.  It will secure the future of the city on the east end, the St. Clair Commons Area and the area between Rt. 40 & Rt. 70.  That project is being advertised currently.  The bid opening will be October 16th.  There will be three phases of the contract, the site work, the piping and the final building of the tank.  Forever changing the skyline of St. Clairsville as part of that project the tank behind the municipal building that was built in 1929 will come down.  We are anticipating that sometime after the first of the year.

We continue to evaluate our storm sewer issues.  We have taken comments from our constituents we have done some work.  We went out replaced galvanized pipe with plastic pipe and continue to address the storm sewer issues.

We also have on our agenda possibly as early as next week start paving certain alleys in the city in collaboration with Richland Township and the Township Trustees.

We had the highest price tag on city paving this year that we have ever had.  It was a very successful project with Shelly & Sands being the contractor.  If you look around you will see we are committed to doing it properly.  The Mayor and I are committed to milling the streets, putting in catch basins, new curbs.  We want to do things right.  We wrapped up the summer painting more fire hydrants.  Our utility infrastructure is very important to the city.  Those are some of the projects we have wrapped up.  We will continue to move forward.

Mayor, Terry Pugh:  I am sure all of you saw the decorations outside.  We need to thank Cindi Henry, her Mother Mary Taylor and my wife Charlene Pugh for getting us into the swing of things in St. Clairsville for the Fall and Halloween.

Don Smithberger was at the AMP-OH meeting last week and he and his Electric Department received three awards for the City and his department.  The first one is for Main Street, we are leading the way in LED lights on all of Main Street.  The second one is for the Commons Mall Crossing electric service that was put in.  The third and most important is for 21 years he has received the safety award and that above all else one of the most important awards.  Don Smithberger:  I really appreciate the administration and council for giving us the tools that we need to obtain these awards but most of all I would like to thank our citizens and our customers, they are the ones that really make it work.

Police Chief, Jeff Henry: No Report

Finance Director, Cindi Henry: I want to thank Don Smithberger and a few of his employees for helping with the decorations, I certainly didn’t do all of that.  Second I emailed you two resolutions. 2018-29 is the resolution for the appropriation of the money that the American Legion donated to the Police Department to purchase a safe to put in the Resource Officer’s office at the school.  I do have emergency language if possible.  Second is 2018-30 is accepting the rates for 2019.

Planning & Zoning Administrator, Tom Murphy:  The Board of Zoning Appeals met last week.  The Board approved Whiteside of St. Clairsville to establish an accessory parking lot on Newell Avenue.  This evening the Planning Commission met regarding the final site plan for that establishment of an accessory parking lot.

The final item there will be a Planning Commission meeting scheduled for Monday, November 5th at 6:00 p.m.  Laroche Development is proposing a new structure and a parking lot at the vacant lot that is in front of the Knights of Columbus.  Contact me if you want to take a look at those plans.

COUNCIL COMMITTEES:

Finance, Mike Smith:  No Report

Utilities, Frank Sabatino:

We met prior to this meeting.  Once again thanks to Don Smithberger and his crew.  We talked about some issues at the east end.  Some Utility Office issues we need to clean up.

Police, Mark Bukmir:  No Report

Street North Side, Jim Velas: 

I want to go over some streets and alleys that we are planning on paving.  I have several requests.

Street South Side, Beth Oprisch:  No Report

Safety, Beth Oprisch:  No Report

Building and Grounds, Perry Basile:

I did a walk-through of our facilities and I will be doing that over the next month.   As of right now there are no issues.

Planning Commission, Mike Smith: 

As Tom said the Planning Commission met this evening.  On the agenda was Whiteside has purchased a vacant lot and want to pave it.  Jeff Vaughn presented the plan for the water run-off.  The Planning Commission vote yes to the request to pave the lot. It will be a nice improvement.

Recreation, Linda Jordan:  This coming Saturday, October 5th beginning at 11:00 is the annual Bark in the Park.  It is a dog costume contest.  It is a lot of fun.  Next meeting is Monday, October 15th.

Park District, Linda Jordan:

They are now down to one meeting per month since the pool is closed.  The next meeting will be Monday, October 8th.

Fire District, Frank Sabatino:

The Fire District met the third Wednesday in September talked about a few personnel issues and financial issues.  There was a nice picture in the paper of our guys collecting money.  Nest meeting will be Wednesday, October 10th  at 3:00.

ORDINANCES & RESOLUTION: Law Director, Richard Myser

We have three pieces of legislation to address.  The first one is Resolution No. 2018-27.  It is coming before Council tonight on its third and final reading.  This is the legislation supporting the St. Clairsville Richland School District Board of Education endeavor to build a new educational campus.  The next piece of legislation we have is Resolution No. 2018-29.  It is the one that the Finance Director reported to you. It is to make supplemental appropriations within the 2901 Fund for normal expenses. It is up for its first reading tonight but it does have emergency language in it.  The third piece of legislation we have tonight is Ordinance No. 2018-30.  This is an Ordinance to accept the amounts and rates as determined by the Budget Commission and authorizing the necessary tax levies and certifying them to the County Auditor.  No one has ask to go into Executive Session tonight.

There was presented and read to Council on its Third and final reading by title only, RESOLUTION NO. 2018-27; A RESOLUTION SUPPORTING THE ST. CLAIRSVILLE-RICHLAND CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT BOARD OF EDUCATION’S ENDEAVOR TO BUILD ITS NEW EDUCATIONAL CAMPUS.  Jim Velas:  Like everyone on Council I have been approached by several people to either support the School Levy or to not support it.  I am sure one the votes are cast people are going to vote what is in their best consensus or what they feel they can afford and what is best in general in their opinion.  As they have an opinion on anything that is being voted on.  I believe as a City Government we sometimes have to vote on something that is good for the City but we personally may not like, and we sometimes are faced with voting for something that we personally like but it is not in the best interest of the city.  I am a lifelong resident of the City and Jim Clifford, owner of Clifford Motors said something to me once that I agree with 100%.  The three things he believed you had to start the foundation with were: A good fire and Emergency Department, A good Law  Enforcement Department and an Excellent School System.   City Government to provide the best possible community for people to live in.  We want to attract people in, we want them to be happy here and we want them to be safe here.  Now whether or not we agree with the type of school they want to build or we don’t agree with it, our responsibility is to vote as a group what is in the best interest of the city. I personally believe if we don’t have those three things then we are missing the boat.  Beth Oprisch:  I want to thank everyone for being here and showing interest in this matter.  A motion was made by Jim Velas and seconded by Beth Oprisch that Resolution No. 2018-27 be passed by Council.  Linda Jordan:  Before I cast my vote I just want to say that I am definitely in favor of the safety and education of the children and as a musician and lover of the fine arts, I would love to see a fine arts building at the school.  Some of the other additions and amenities would be great as well, however this particular endeavor is a bit extravagant.  Over the last couple of months or so I have been hearing from so many home owners who this will affect financially in a not so good way.  Also considering the fact that the County has already assessed our properties for next year and will continue to reassess every six years with what they call updates done every three years my no vote has become even further solidified.  Frank Sabatino:  I agree with some of what Jim said and some of what Linda said.

Roll Call Vote:

Basile                          Yes                              Sabatino                      No

Bukmir                        Yes                              Smith                           Yes

Jordan                        No                               Velas                           Yes

Oprisch                       Yes

Roll Call Vote:           Five (5) Yes                Two (2) No                  Motion Approved

Resolution No. 2018-27 was declared adopted.

There was presented and read to Council on its first reading by title only, RESOLUTION NO. 2018-29; A RESOLUTION TO MAKE SUPPLEMENTAL APPROPRIATIONS WITHIN THE 2019 FUND FOR THE NORMAL EXPENSES AND OTHER EXPENDITURES OF THE CITY OF ST. CLAIRSVILLE, STATE OF OHIO, FOR THE PERIOD JANUARY1, 2018 THROUGH DECEMBER 31, 2018, AND DECLARING AN EMERGENCY.  Linda Jordan moved that the rules requiring Ordinances and Resolutions to be read on three separate readings be suspended and declaring an emergency; Mark Bukmir seconded the motion.

Roll Call Vote:

Basile                          Yes                              Sabatino                      Yes

Bukmir                        Yes                              Smith                           Yes

Jordan                        Yes                              Velas                           Yes

Oprisch                       Yes

Roll Call Vote:           Seven (7) Yes             Zero (0) No                 Motion Approved

There was presented and read to Council on its third and final reading by title only, RESOLUTION NO.  2018-29.  A motion was made by Perry Basile and seconded by Linda Jordan that Resolution No. 2018-29 be passed by Council.

Roll Call Vote:

Basile                          Yes                              Sabatino                      Yes

Bukmir                        Yes                              Smith                           Yes

Jordan                        Yes                              Velas                           Yes

Oprisch                       Yes

Roll Call Vote:           Seven (7) Yes             Zero (0) No                 Motion Approved

Resolution No. 2018-29 was declared adopted.

There was presented and read to Council on its first reading by title only, ORDINANCE NO. 2018-30, RESOLUTION ACCEPTING THE AMOUNTS AND RATES AS DETERMINED BY THE BUDGET COMMISSION AND AUTHORIZING THE NECESSARY TAX LEVIES AND CERTIFYING THEM TO THE COUNTY AUDITOR AND DECLARING AN EMERGENCY.  Linda Jordan moved that the rules requiring Ordinances and Resolutions to be read on three separate readings be suspended and declaring an emergency; Jim Velas seconded the motion.

Roll Call Vote:

Basile                          Yes                              Sabatino                      Yes

Bukmir                        Yes                              Smith                           Yes

Jordan                        Yes                              Velas                           Yes

Oprisch                       Yes

Roll Call Vote:           Seven (7) Yes             Zero (0) No                 Motion Approved

There was presented and read to Council on it third and final reading by title only, ORDINANCE NO. 2018-30.  A motion was made by Jim Velas and seconded by Frank Sabatino that Ordinance No. 2018-30 be adopted.

Roll Call Vote:

Basile                          Yes                              Sabatino                      Yes

Bukmir                        Yes                              Smith                           Yes

Jordan                        Yes                               Velas                           Yes

Oprisch                       Yes

Roll Call Vote:           Seven (7) Yes             Zero (0) No                 Motion Approved

Ordinance No. 2018-30 was declared adopted,

CORRESPONDENCE: 

The Clerk read a request from St. Mary’s Central School requesting the use and closure of the North end of the National Road Bikeway and a portion of Hutchinson Drive on Saturday, May 11, 2019 to hold the 4th annual spring into Shape 5K benefiting the school.  A motion was made by Jim Velas and seconded by Perry Basile to allow the race for St. Mary’s Central.

Roll Call Vote:

Basile                           Yes                              Sabatino                       Yes

Bukmir                         Yes                              Smith                            Yes

Jordan                         Yes                               Velas                            Yes

Oprisch                        Yes

Roll Call Vote:  Seven (7) Yes              Zero (0) No                 Motion Approved

The Next Council Meeting will be Monday, October 15, 2018 at 7:30 in Council Chambers.

There being no further business to come before Council a motion to adjourn was made by Perry Basile and seconded by Linda Jordan.

Council passed a motion to approve the Minutes of October 1, 2018 at the October 15, 2018 Council meeting.

October 1, 2018 Council Minutes