City of St. Clairsville
City of St. Clairsville

January 19, 2021 Council Minutes


January 19, 2021 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 Councilwoman Oprisch at 7:35 pm. Councilwoman Oprisch 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: Councilwoman Oprisch confirmed all councilmembers received the minutes from the last meeting. Councilman Basile made a motion to approve the minutes from the January 4, 2021 Council meeting; motion 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                  Minutes Approved

NEW BUSINESS: Councilwoman Oprisch advised that the Park Board appointment was made by Council. Councilwoman Jordan made a motion to reappoint David Trouten Jr.; motion seconded by Councilman Sabatino.


Basile              YES                                        Oprisch            YES

Bukmir            YES                                        Sabatino          YES

Butler              YES                                        Smith               YES

Jordan             YES

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

Betty Jo Sproul, Nurse for COVID-19 Testing, has tested at the City building since November 20, 2020 and since then has come 16 times. She reports that she has performed over 107 tests, 7 resulting in a positive and 2 questionable results; test results then go directly to the Health Department. Nurse Sproul informs the positive and questionable individuals that they will be contacted by the Health Department for quarantine guidelines and contact tracing. Nurse Sproul has 2 handouts including: safety precautions and why get the Covid-19 vaccine. Kroger will begin vaccinating [Moderna] Thursday (January 21st) for 70 and above. With approximately 40 tests left, testing will be available at the City on Thursday, January 21st for City employees and families.

Councilman Basile asked if the vaccine at Kroger Pharmacy is for elderly of 70 or 80 and above.  Nurse Sproul stated that regulations vary around the state of Ohio. Councilman Basile asked if there is a fee for the vaccine; Nurse Sproul said no fee.

Councilman Smith asked if the Health Department gives official documents after being tested positive/negative for Covid-19. Nurse Sproul said that she is not aware of any official documentation, and if documentation of test results is needed to contact the local Health Department.

Councilwoman Oprisch thanked Nurse Sproul for her service to the City and willingness to speak to the Council.

REPORTS: Mayor Kathryn Thalman reports that she had appointments to evaluate insurance and met with various companies to ensure the best value for the City. The mayor spoke with Margie at the HEAP office to ask if there were funds available to assist with rental or heat for residents who lost their jobs due to Covid; she reports over 200 people on the list for assistance and no funding is available at this time. She attended 2 virtual days of Mayor’s Court training and will receive the certification soon. The Water and Street Departments will be trained on the new leak detection equipment to find leaks before they become larger.  The mayor also thanked Betty Jo Sproul for her service to the City. The mayor issued a proclamation on National Slavery and Human Trafficking (attached to minutes).

Councilman Sabatino asked when Mayors court will begin. Mayor said she plans to hold court after February 1st; she is waiting on the certification.

Service /Safety Director Jeremy Greenwood reports of several meetings- including with the insurance agents about insurance options and awning companies for the utility window. Chris Oats (Mueller Leak Detection) is training the Street department, Water, and Wastewater on the leak detection system. Mr. Greenwood has discussed with the building committee renting out the Landscape and Grounds office building [S. Sugar St.] to Belmont County Soil and Water.  They would like to negotiate rent; if anyone would like to discuss it, please contact him. Mr. Greenwood reports that he is working on legislation to present to Council for transferring the fire department building to Cumberland Trail Fire District. The City and Rec Center restrooms will be updated with touchless fixtures. When Mayor’s Court begins, we will address issues with building codes and City ordinances. Mr. Greenwood is working on several projects with the Police committee and Chief, and with ODOT for retiming traffic signal lights. Mr. Greenwood sent an email to Council regarding hiring additional staff; if anyone has question, please contact him. Mr. Greenwood wants to update the Administrative Policies and Procedures manual which was last updated in 2017. Budget meetings continue for all departments.  The East End Water Connection has been submitted to the State and the EPA. It has been submitted to State of Ohio Governor’s Office of Appalachia and a grant agreement with the state will need executed. Advertisements for bids for this project in late February or early March, and we will have further discussion with the County for rates. Completed projects include: utility window, iPads for Council, and AFSCME contract are formatted and will be distributed. Finishing on EPA findings with additional issues being worked on. Mr. Greenwood is meeting with [Belmont County] EMA to discuss Emergency Action Plans. Part-time utility clerk position is advertised and have received 9 resumes, Utilities committee is scoring the resumes and top 2 or 3 will be brought in for interviews. Electric department is doing service work. Senior Suites has reported water smell and we have tested water 5 times: no issues with 4 of the tests, and we are waiting on the result of the 5th. All results are above OEPA’s requirements. Street department is patching holes weather permitting. Mr. Greenwood thanked the crews for keeping the streets clear from the recent snow, and reminds all residents to keep vehicles off the streets when it snows and to not shovel snow into the roadway. Law Enforcement Appreciation Day (January 9th), Mr. Greenwood thanks all officers for everything they do. Mr. Greenwood thanked Rotary for putting up the veteran banners again.

Councilman Smith asked how long the Soil and Water building has been unoccupied. Mr. Greenwood stated it has been unoccupied for at least 2 years due to the grant only allowing the building to be used for soil or conservation. Councilman Smith asked if we continue to heat the building. Mr. Greenwood stated yes because water is in the building.

Councilman Sabatino stated that The Times Leader had a list of final approval of plans for the East and wastewater. Councilman Sabatino asked what the renewal of the wastewater permit was regarding; Mr. Greenwood stated he would have to investigate it but believes it is in regard to renewal of licenses. Councilman Sabatino asked who proposed the increase in salary to Ordinance No. 2020-40. Mr. Greenwood said that he would have to investigate the increase also. Ms. Williams stated that she and the Mayor discussed the increase after noticing Anita performing in a supervisorial position but status and pay as a collection clerk.

Mr. Greenwood presented before Council 2 issues regarding the US Department of Labor not extending the Families First Coronavirus Relief Act (FFCRA) to cover leave days, and donating the Police Crown Vic Cruiser to the Belmont Police Department. Mr. Greenwood explained that 2 employees were out due to possible exposure and with payroll due the days were listed as Covid sick days. Council is asked on how to address employee leave when exposed to Covid or in quarantine.

Councilwoman Jordan asked what the issue with the cruiser is.  Mr. Greenwood stated it is higher mileage and the cruiser can no longer perform to our department needs. Chief Arbenz explains that when we get a new cruiser, older cruiser begins to cost our department more money and is either bid out or donated.  Two law enforcement agencies, who do not have a large operating fund, contacted Chief Arbenz expressing they could still get use out of the cruiser. Councilman Smith states as long as the value is low, he agrees to donate it to another department for use. Councilman Bukmir states that the cruiser should be put out for bid even though the cost is low, the City will make a small profit. Councilman Sabatino agrees that it should be sold for a small profit, and if it is voted to donate to Belmont Police Department it should be as is; he also suggested recycling old vehicles.

Motion was made by Councilman Basile to donate the cruiser to Belmont Police Department; motion was seconded by Councilwoman Butler.


Basile              YES                                        Oprisch            YES

Bukmir            NO                                        Sabatino          NO

Butler              YES                                        Smith               YES

Jordan             NO

Roll Call Vote:            Four (4) YES              Three (3) NO              Motion passed

Mr. Greenwood explained that the Families First Coronavirus Relief Act (FFCRA) covered any Covid-19 sick-related time off. The Act was not extended past December 31st. Councilman Sabatino stated as long as we are within legal guidelines he agrees. Councilman Bukmir asked if the contract addresses it and are we requiring documentation for test results. Mr. Greenwood stated the contract does not address anything regards to a pandemic. Mr. Greenwood said that if the employee has an exposure the City asked them to stay home until they can be tested by the City nurse or they can provide us with a negative result. All Council members agree that if the employee is asked to stay home or is exposed they will be compensated. Councilwoman Oprisch stated that to get control of the pandemic, we must ask people to stay home if exposed or ill; she added that we need to put policy in place.

Police Chief Matt Arbenz reports there were 307 calls, 57 traffic stops, and 15 accidents. The drone program is in the process of obtaining licenses and waivers required by the FAA. All officers are taking operator training and policy and procedure training. The K9 fund received a $5,000 donation from a City resident. Chief Arbenz and Councilwoman Oprisch have been working on the juvenile program and plans for funding.

Councilwoman Oprisch thanked Chief Arbenz on behalf of Council for Law Enforcement Appreciation Day.

Finance Director Annette Williams reports that she is working to close out year 2020 and will get the final report to the Finance Committee. Ms. Williams welcomed the new members to the committee and thanked the outgoing members for their help.

Councilman Sabatino asked Ms. Williams if all our books are balanced. Ms. William reported that they are almost balanced, a few adjustments are needed. Councilman Sabatino also asked if we need assist from the State Auditor. Ms. Williams said we do not need assistance from the State Auditor, and we contracted out a visiting clerk to assist with finances due to Covid money being time consuming.

Planning & Zoning Administrator Tom Murphy reports that the 4-year term of a Board of Zoning Appeals is ending, and Mr. Murphy makes the recommendation to reappoint Jared Sloan. He mentions that this is a mayoral appointment. Mr. Murphy is working on updating the GIS mapping system. Members of various City departments will be meeting tomorrow, January 20, for assistance on how to use the mapping system, how to make edits, and to get feedback from the departments.

Mayor made a motion to appoint Jared Sloan to the Board of Zoning Appeals.


Basile              YES                                        Oprisch            YES

Bukmir            YES                                        Sabatino          YES

Butler              YES                                        Smith               YES

Jordan             YES

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

Councilwoman Oprisch asked if we will get the status of the census in March. Mr. Murphy was informed by the census employee that we should receive it by March 31.


Finance Chair Mike Smith: Finance committee met tonight and discussed the Family First Act. Mr. Greenwood and Ms. Williams will be working on budgets with the department heads. Councilman Smith thanked the outgoing members and welcomed the new committee members.

Utilities Chair Terra Butler: No report

Police Chair Beth Oprisch: Councilwoman Oprisch reports that she met with Chief Arbenz. Next police committee meeting will be February 1st after the Council meeting. The Police committee members are looking at alternative dates to hold the committee meeting for the department.

Streets – North Side Chair Perry Basile: Councilman Basile has met with Chief Arbenz regarding speeding on Legion Road and discussing further options.

Streets – South Side Chair Frank Sabatino: Councilman Sabatino reported that the weather has taken a toll on the streets.

Safety Chair Frank Sabatino: No report

Building and Grounds Chair Perry Basile: Councilman Basile has met with Mr. Greenwood regarding renting out building on S. Sugar to Soil and Water; no further plans have been made.

Planning Commission Chair Frank Sabatino: No report

Fire Chair Frank Sabatino: Councilman Sabatino reports that the fire committee had a meeting January 13th. Discussed was personnel issues and fiscal appropriations for the year 2021 was submitted to the Belmont County Auditor’s office and was approved. Next meeting is February 10th at 3pm in the ESC building.

Councilwoman Oprisch asked who the Richland Township fire board representative is; Councilman Sabatino said Greg Clark.

Recreation Chair Linda Jordan: No report. Next meeting is Thursday, January 21, 2021.

Park District Chair Linda Jordan: No report.

ORDINANCES & RESOLUTIONS: Law Director Elizabeth Glick addressed two pieces of legislation before Council.



Basile                          YES                                        Oprisch           YES

Bukmir                        YES                                        Sabatino          NO

Butler                          YES                                        Smith               YES

Jordan                         NO

Roll Call Vote:         Five (5) YES       Two (2) NO                          Motion passed


ADJOURNMENT: With no further business to come before Council, Councilman Basile made a motion to adjourn. Meeting adjourned at 8:46pm.

Next meeting will be Monday, February 1, 2021 at 7:30pm via teleconference.

January 19, 2021 Council Minutes