City of St. Clairsville
City of St. Clairsville

October 19, 2020 Council Minutes


October 19, 2020 Meeting

[Teleconference format in compliance with temporary changes to Ohio’s Open Meetings Act]

Jim Velas, Council President                                             Kathryn Thalman, Mayor

Perry Basile, Council, 1st Ward                                         Jeremy Greenwood, Public Service/Safety Director

Mark Bukmir, Council, 3rd Ward                                      Don Smithberger, Super. of General Services

Terra Butler, Council, 4th Ward                                         Annette Williams, Finance Director

Linda Jordan, Council-At-Large                                       Matthew Arbenz, Chief of Police

Beth Oprisch, Council-At-Large                                       Tom Murphy, Planning & Zoning Administrator

Frank Sabatino, Council 2nd Ward                                   Elizabeth Glick, Law Director

Mike Smith, Council-At-Large

The meeting was called to order by Council President Jim Velas at 7:31pm. President Velas led Council in the Pledge of Allegiance. Members of the public were thanked for listening.


Basile              HERE                                     Oprisch           HERE

Bukmir            HERE                                     Sabatino          HERE

Butler              HERE                                     Smith               HERE

Jordan             HERE                     Seven (7) Present                        Zero (0) Absent

MINUTES: President Velas confirmed all councilmembers received the minutes from the last meeting. Councilman Basile made a motion to approve the minutes from the October 5, 2020 Council meeting; motion seconded by Councilwoman Butler.


Basile              YES                                        Oprisch            YES

Bukmir            YES                                        Sabatino          YES

Butler              YES                                        Smith           ABSTAIN

Jordan             YES

Roll Call Vote:        Six (6) YES       Zero (0) NO       One (1) Abstain              Minutes Approved

REPORTS: Mayor Kathryn Thalman discussed CARES Act funding, allocations, and apportionments, as well as small business loan information. AFSCME negotiations continue. The mayor expressed her appreciation for the continued donations being received for the K-9 unit. She also reported that St. Clairsville was recently recognized as one of the most affordable cities for veterans in Ohio. She encouraged all residents to continue remaining vigilant regarding COVID-19 and follow all protocol. Governor DeWine, in his message during a recent AMP teleconference, which the mayor attended, noted numbers are not getting better. The mayor has explored having COVID testing in St. Clairsville.

Councilman Smith asked the status of the Christmas parade. Mayor Thalman stated the Chamber of Commerce canceled the annual parade, but another event is being considered for November.

Service/Safety Director Jeremy Greenwood reported two individuals were hired for the wastewater department: Jacob Hendershot and Brandon Goletz; both started today. Two employees, one in electric and one in water, turned in their resignations. Work started with Civil Service to replace the electric employee. Water employee will not be replaced. Employee meetings continue with six more remaining. Many supplies have been ordered through COVID funding. Technology upgrades for the City are being considered including emails and iPads for Council, as well as additional computers for the police cruisers. Touchless options for restroom fixtures are still being researched. Quotes are being obtained for plexiglass for the Utilities Office. Signage for the Recreation Center is being explored. Mr. Greenwood met with Gabe Hays of Wallace Pancher to discuss future development, connectivity with the City, as well as right of ways. He also met with Jeff Vaughn in continued discussions about the East End Water Connection and sewer lift station. The Street Department will be picking up bagged leaves during the next couple of weeks.

Councilwoman Oprisch asked if COVID funds could be used to purchase iPads, etc., which Mr. Greenwood stated it would be a great use for those funds. Mayor Thalman added having these items would allow the City government to continue operating efficiently, meeting the funds’ criteria. Mr. Greenwood also added that both employees who left the City found other employment at higher pay – with one working closer to their home. He also noted most work completed for the Recreation Center restroom project must be completed by licensed professionals. No data from the 2020 Census is expected to be released until March 2021.

Police Chief Matt Arbenz reported statistics for September: 251 calls and complaints, 67 traffic stops, 12 arrests, and 6 search warrants served. The department’s annual firearms training has been completed. New tires have been installed on all cruisers for winter. The new K-9 unit is working well and has assisted in many cases. All officers have been recertified for LEAD (Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion). Chief Arbenz has been taking bids for next year’s cruiser. The new cruiser is still being outfitted with equipment, etc. Several members of Council gave their commendations.

Finance Director Annette Williams reported the 2019 audit is available to be reviewed online. Work on the COVID funds continues. Ms. Williams explained the legislation before Council.

Councilwoman Oprisch asked about the RITA report recently sent to Council, confirming more money was received this year than last year. Ms. Williams confirmed this. Several members of Council thanked former Finance Director Cindi Henry for last year’s good audit.

Planning & Zoning Administrator Tom Murphy was not present.


Finance Chair Mike Smith reported the committee met this evening. COVID funds amounting to $208,000 must be spent or encumbered by November 20; an additional $185,000 was also received – totaling $393,000. More money may be coming. Mr. Smith recommended tonight’s legislation be passed on an emergency basis.

Utilities Chair Beth Oprisch: No report. Next meeting on November 2 at 6:30pm.

Police Chair Mark Bukmir: No report

Streets – North Side Chair Terra Butler: No report

Streets – South Side Chair Beth Oprisch: No report

Safety Chair Terra Butler: No report. Councilman Basile noted a vine at Crisswill & Talbot.

Building and Grounds Chair Perry Basile reported from a recent meeting between the mayor, Service Director, Dave Mertz, and Gabe Hays that grant money will be sought to refurbish the old train station. Increased commerce, tourism, and education are expected. The mayor and Mr. Greenwood commented as well.

Planning Commission Chair Frank Sabatino: No report

Fire Chair Frank Sabatino reported the Fire Board met on Wednesday, October 14. Per the Chief’s recommendation, the Board promoted Daniel Grady to Assistant Fire Chief; Brian Hall promoted to lieutenant effective October 1. A new full-time firefighter/paramedic was hired. Public notice for the vacancy on the Fire Board has been published in The Times Leader and is posted on the Cumberland Trail website. Applications must be received or postmarked by October 28 at 4pm. All applications to be sent to the Cumberland Trail Fire Department. The Fire Board will hold a special meeting on November 10 at 3pm at the ECOESC to review applications. Next regular meeting on November 18 at 3pm.

Councilwoman Oprisch asked about placing the notice on the City’s website.

Recreation Chair Linda Jordan reported flag football ends this week. This Saturday is the costume contest. Registration starts at 12pm; judging starts at 1pm. Councilwoman Oprisch confirmed COVID safety protocol is in place.  Basketball registration is open online until the third week of November. Games commence early December. Recreation Committee meetings will be held on the third Thursday of the month effectively immediately.

Park District Chair Linda Jordan: No report


A motion was made by Councilwoman Oprisch that the rules requiring three separate readings be suspended on Ordinance No. 2020-34 and that the ordinance be passed on an emergency basis; seconded by Councilman Smith.



Basile                          YES                                        Oprisch           YES

Bukmir                        YES                                        Sabatino          YES

Butler                          YES                                        Smith               YES

Jordan                         YES

Roll Call Vote:      Seven (7) YES     Zero (0) NO   Rules requiring three separate readings suspended

Vote to pass Ordinance No. 2020-34:


Basile                          YES                                        Oprisch           YES

Bukmir                        YES                                        Sabatino          YES

Butler                          YES                                        Smith               YES

Jordan                         YES

Roll Call Vote:            Seven (7) YES                          Zero (0) NO                                     Motion Carried

OLD BUSINESS: Law Director Elizabeth Glick reported a response was received from the Ohio Ethics Commission regarding a letter recently drafted. The Commission stated they cannot render an advisory opinion on the past actions of elected officials, especially where there is no jurisdiction. The letter will be sent to Council tomorrow.

Councilwoman Jordan clarified the letter’s content, asking if the mayor is permitted to make a statement. The Law Director stated the mayor can choose to address or not to address. President Velas encouraged direct dialogue over any disputes.  Mayor Thalman stated she is opposed to racism and that the City of St. Clairsville is a welcoming community.

President Velas addressed concerns about a conflict between a possible St. Clairsville football playoff game and trick or treat falling on the same evening. Due to limits on who can attend the football game, Council agreed not to take action on changing trick or treat.

Councilwoman Oprisch asked if the City would be able to quickly communicate should trick or treat arrangements change. President Velas said the media would be notified.

ADJOURNMENT: With no further business to come before Council, Councilman Sabatino made a motion to adjourn. Meeting adjourned at 8:40pm.

Next meeting will be Monday, November 2, 2020 at 7:30pm via teleconference.

October 19, 2020 Council Minutes