City of St. Clairsville
City of St. Clairsville

November 19, 2018 Council Minutes


November 19, 2018

 St. Clairsville City Council met in Council Chambers on Monday, November 19, 2018 with the following present:

Tim Porter, Council President                         Terry Pugh, Mayor

Perry Basile, Council 1st Ward                        Cindy Henry, Finance Director

Mark Bukmir, Council 3rd Ward                      Richard Myser, Law Director

Linda Jordan, Council-At-Large                      Tom Murphy, Planning & Zoning Administrator

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

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

Jim Velas, Council 4th Ward                            Jim Zucal, Service Director

The meeting was called to order by President, Tim Porter

MINUTES:  Minutes of the November 5, 2018 meeting were distributed to Council.  A motion was made by Beth Oprisch and seconded by Linda Jordan to approve the Minutes of November 5, 2018.

Roll Call Vote:

Basile                           Yes                             

Bukmir                         Yes                              Smith                           Yes

Jordan                         Yes                              Velas                           Yes

Oprisch                        Yes

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


Larry Merry & Jason Baughman

Larry Merry, Director Belmont County Port Authority:  I appreciate you allowing us to speak.  The Belmont County Port Authority with the Commissioners are trying to work to create a local development effort.  We think that using a local building department is a better way just by logistics especially in Eastern Ohio or in the far reaches of Ohio.  My experience is Eastern Ohio.  The County contracts with the Mid-East Ohio Building Department and where it comes into an issue with the Port Authority is we will have a business that has a St. Clairsville address but they are in the Township they are with this building department but if they are in St. Clairsville they are in the State building department.  It is the same rules and regulations, the same requirements, the same inspection.  It is just that with a local department what changes is if you sent a set a plans right now for St. Clairsville it goes to Columbus to the building department and it goes on the bottom of the pile.  They have a process because they do State wide.  They work down the pile and they get to your set of plans.  They look at it and if something needs changed they notify you, your architect or engineer, they make a change and send it back up and guess where it goes, to the bottom of the pile.  It logistically doesn’t work as well.  I have found over my 20 or 30 years of doing this development thing that a smaller department can put more emphasis on and even a priority on a project.  Mid East has been wanting to do that.  We just feel, the Commissioners and the Port Authority that this is a way of putting together more future friendly type of situation to get to the same thing.  This is just for commercial, not residential.

Jason Baughman, Chief Building Official, Mid-East Building Department (Muskingum County)

Thanks everyone for giving me the time today.  I have a pamphlet that gives some direction to you, when you would need a permit, when you would come to our department and our jurisdictions.  When I was hired by the Muskingum County Commissioners, they told me that what they expected me to be was a resource for the community.  They wanted to promote business growth.  They wanted me to make it a streamlined a process as possible to help people get their business up and running as soon as possible.  We make sure they know what to do and that it is done right.  We want more of a small town feel to our department.  It is the same end product, you are going to get the same inspections.  Your building will be reviewed, and be approved.  Hopefully if you choose to go with us it is a more streamlined process, hopefully it is faster more user friendly.  As Larry said you submit plans to Columbus and they go on the bottom of the pile.  Well it is the bottom of my pile as well but my pile is a different size than theirs so I can get to it sooner.  If you call you will get me, I am there 8:00 to 4:30.  We give you the same service as the State but we are allowed to set our own fee schedule.  We are less than the State.  Hopefully we will be more available for you and our fees will be less.  If you have any questions I will be glad to answer them.

Tom Murphy:  How many people do you have on your staff?  Jason Baughman:  We have an office of six.  There is me, I have two office personnel and two inspectors.  Tom Murphy:  Those inspectors, do they go out in the communities to see if anyone is trying to get away with something?

Jason Baughman:  We do, we are all over.  They try to go different routes to get where they are going so they drive the territory as often as possible to see what is happening.  If this is something you would be interested in pursuing there is a process.

Tony Mancari:  I appreciate the opportunity over the past year to help evaluate the water and sewer utility of St. Clairsville.  My name is Tony Mancari, I am the director of business development of municipal services for Aqua Ohio.  We are a 130 year old company in Ohio serving about a half a million people, about 150 thousand homes and businesses throughout the state.  As I discussed upon our analysis we thought it made sense to explore a formal arrangement with the city.  I was going to come back to City Council with a letter of interest that would establish a framework for your consideration as you are making decisions on how to proceed with your water and sewer utility needs.  As the Service Director I am sure will point out and has pointed out they are quite extensive.  I am happy tonight to provide you with that letter of interest on behalf of Aqua Ohio to help Council start the decision making process and explore those options to include a partnership with Aqua Ohio.  I understand this is a process.  This is just the first step in the process and ultimately this helps the city to determine what option is best for the safety, welfare and financial health of their citizens.  So I appreciate the opportunity to deliver this letter of interest to you tonight with the understanding that in the future there is going to be plenty of opportunity to do questions and answers, to meet with the public and to address any issues or concerns and answer any questions that they may have.  I know there will be more follow up questions.


Service Director, Jim Zucal:

Tony has met with Council on numerous occasions.   I appreciate all the work that he has done.  I am sure he is looking at the City of St. Clairsville as a very viable customer in their line of work.  I think it is prudent and very important that the city explore all options when it comes to utilities.  We have to be prepared for the future.  We have had many discussions about that in the past. The administration has prepared a press release and we want to share that with council, all the media and our constituents.  We just feel that it is very important that we look into the future. The EPA monitors our water and wastewater systems very closely.  I have said it many times, we have a lot of documentation on the history and the life expectancy of our water plant, our distribution system, wastewater system.  I enjoy talking about public utilities and the dynamics of it but we have to take care of our customers, we have to take care of the community.  The city and Belmont County will see some unprecedented growth we have to be prepared for that.  Safety is very important to the city for fire suppression.  Water quality is very important and the future of our system and its distribution is very important.  We have undersized lines.  I have shared with council the age and history and I think it is time that we act on this.  I don’t think we should jump into this quickly, we can take time.  I plan to have public hearings.  What Tony has offered tonight is a proposal.  Keep in mind that it cannot be solely for one vendor, we have to put out a request for qualifications, the vendors will need to qualify, and we will have to bid this.  If that is something that council wants to do to secure the future of the city that is my recommendation that we look at it very, very closely.  We are not going to be in a hurry, we are going to think this out and make good decisions.

What Tony has prepared for the city is very important.  I don’t want to see in three to five years that our water plant is not functional at all.  We want to be fiscally responsible but we don’t have millions of dollars to put into our utility system.  We went for many grants, many loans.  We are very much in debt.  In the future there will be more communication, more public meetings, we will call work sessions together and in a matter of a few months you can come to your decision.

Mayor, Terry Pugh:

I want to thank Tony as well for coming tonight for the initial presentation.  Now I have a bunch of people to thank.  I want to thank Tim Porter and the Chamber of Commerce for a wonderful parade and ordering the wonderful weather that went along with the parade.  As far as the City I want to thank Brenda Ponzani and her helpers for checking and preparing all of the Christmas wreaths, all the City Employees especially Don Smithberger and the Electric Department Employees for getting the tree, the lights and all garland up and making sure everything works.  Of course the Street Department for all their hard work with the cleanup before and after the parade.  Of course all of this was going on last week when we had the first water leak we had in a long time.  We had our first snow and ice fall last week so we had our Street Department out tending to the roads.  From the ice and snow and rain that brought down the trees that knocked out the power.  I truly want to thank all the city employees.  Tim Porter:  I want to thank everyone who participated in the Christmas Parade this year.  All of the city employees were fantastic and the Parade went off without a hitch.

Last meeting I handed out the information about trying to identify rental property and who the owners are.  Just want to know if you have any questions. 

Police Chief, Jeff Henry:   No Report

Finance Director, Cindi Hnry:  No Report

Planning & Zoning Administrator, Tom Murphy:             

There is a zone change request before the Planning Commission on December 3rd.  That meeting will be a 6:00 p.m.  The Wodarcyk’s are the owners of 243 West Main Street.  They are requesting that it be rezoned to the Downtown District (DD) to operate an office and a hair salon at that address.

The Northwest Title and the Holsinger & Stevenson Law Office is now located at 135 East Main Street in the Downtown District.  They were a smaller office located further out on East Main Street.  They are expanding into a larger space.

This past Friday I went to a seminar on storm water.  It discussed the importance of capturing your storm water and making sure when new developments occur to be sure there is a zero net runoff.   One way of doing that is underground detention systems.  We have done that quite a bit here in town.  Ashburn Greene has an underground detention system, the Digestive Health Complex has one.  The Whiteside parking lot on Newell Avenue has a small underground detention system and the new development on West Main Street is also going to have an underground detention system.  I think we all can see what happens from years ago no one thought about storm water all that much.  We all are familiar with the problems on Bellview, you can’t go back and clean that up that easily.


Finance, Mike Smith:  No Report

Utilities, Frank Sabatino:  Not Present

Police, Mark Bukmir:  No Report

Street North Side, Jim Velas:

On Main Street in front of the Quilt Shop where we have the split sidewalk, two level sidewalks.  There have been numerous accidents with people stepping off and falling.  We are looking into painting a warning stripe on the curb to let people know that there is an elevation change there.

Street South Side, Beth Oprisch:  No Report

Safety, Beth Oprisch:  No Report

Building and Grounds, Perry Basile:  No Report

Planning Commission, Mike Smith:  No Report

Fire District, Frank Sabatino:  Not Present

Recreation, Linda Jordan: 

Meeting was canceled.  Bantam Basketball Coaches were to select their teams.

Park District, Linda Jordan: No Report

ORDINANCES & RESOLUTION: Law Director, Richard Myser

We have one piece of legislation tonight it is Ordinance No. 2018-32.  It is up for its second reading this evening.  It is to determine the lowest and best bids for the new Reservoir Improvement Project.  I don’t think we will be going into Executive Session tonight.


NEW BUSINESS:  Mayor’s Report to Council

The Mayor’s collection for October, 2018 was $5,655.40.  A motion to accept the Mayor’s Report for October was made by Mike Smith and seconded by Jim Velas.

Roll Call Vote:

Basile                          Yes                             

Bukmir                        Yes                              Smith                           Yes

Jordan                        Yes                              Velas                           Yes

Oprisch                       Yes

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

The Next Council Meeting will be Monday, December 3, 2018 at 7:30 in Council Chambers. 

There being no further business to come before Council a motion to adjourn was made by Mike Smith and second by Jim Velas.

November 19, 2018 Council Minutes