City of St. Clairsville

September 7, 2021 Council Minutes

Posted on September 21st, 2021 by

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


September 7, 2021 Meeting

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 7:30 pm. President Velas led Council in the Pledge of Allegiance. Members of the public were thanked for their attendance.


Basile                   ABSENT                                 Oprisch           HERE

Bukmir                 HERE                                     Sabatino          HERE

Butler                   HERE                                     Smith              HERE

Jordan                 HERE             Six (6) Present                  One (1) Absent

MINUTES: President Velas confirmed all councilmembers received the minutes from August 2nd Council meeting. Councilwoman Butler made a motion to approve the minutes from August 2, 2021, Council meeting; motion seconded by Councilwoman Jordan.


Basile                  ABSENT                                               Oprisch            YES

Bukmir                YES                                                      Sabatino             YES

Butler                  YES                                                     Smith                   YES

Jordan                 YES

Roll Call Vote:    Six (6) YES    Zero (0) NO    One (1) Absent

Minutes Approved

MINUTES: President Velas confirmed all councilmembers received the minutes from August 16th Council meeting. Councilwoman Butler made a motion to approve the minutes from August 16, 2021, Council meeting; motion seconded by Councilman Smith.


Basile                  ABSENT                                               Oprisch            YES

Bukmir                YES                                                      Sabatino          ABSTAIN

Butler                  YES                                                      Smith               YES

Jordan                YES

Roll Call Vote:    Five (5) YES    Zero (0) NO    One (1) Absent   One (1) Abstain

Minutes Approved

NEW BUSINESS:  President Velas stated that for the foreseeable future, masks would be required at all City meetings due to the rise of COVID-19 in Belmont County.

Councilman Sabatino informed President Velas that he became aware that Councilman Basile is working out of state and living out of state. Councilman Sabatino stated that the Charter states that an individual must be a resident of the City to serve on City Council. With that information, Councilman Sabatino questioned President Velas on why Councilman Basile has not resigned or been removed from his seat on Council. President Velas stated that currently, Councilman Basile is still a resident of the City, and Council cannot remove Councilman Basile unless he misses four consecutive meetings unexcused. Councilman Sabatino stated that he believed that Councilman Basile does not meet the requirements as a resident of the City based on the Charter, nor does he believe that Councilman Basile can meet the needs of the citizens of his ward. President Velas reaffirmed that no action could be taken as long as Councilman Basile is a registered voter in Belmont County and has a residence in the City or missed four consecutive meetings unexcused.

REPORTS: Mayor Kathryn Thalman reports that the water bypass line has been successfully installed and is operational. The bypass repair was conducted on the night of August 26. The Mayor would like to thank the employees of the City, Jeff Vaughn, A.C. Wiethe, Service Director Jeremy Greenwood, and the Border Patrol Company for their work on the bypass line. The Mayor met with Mr. Dan Wukich from Senior Suites regarding their concern about the water smell on their property. Water tests have been drawn, and the results are anticipated. The Mayor stated that with the recent spike in COVID cases in the County, protocols are being evaluated regarding the City Building.                                                                                                       

Service/Safety Director Jeremy Greenwood asked that Council go into an executive session to discuss the appointment of the new Rec Director. Service Director Greenwood stated negotiations took place this week with the Fraternal Order of Police representative regarding the contracts for the Police Officers. Mr. Greenwood reported that an issue occurred when installing the bypass line, but the issue was resolved without any more difficulties. Hydrants in the City were flushed to alieve the discoloration of the water due to the changeover. Repairs are taking place on the Efaw lift station. A Civil Service Police exam will take place on October 5th, and a Police Promotion exam will be determined later. The Electric Department has had a preliminary resignation, and applications will be taken. The Police Department has received their new SUV police cruiser and is currently being outfitted with equipment. Mr. Greenwood announced Ms. Anita Robinson, the Utility Department Manager, as the September Employee of the Month. Mr. Greenwood reported that two employees are out with possible COVID exposure.

Councilman Sabatino asked Mr. Greenwood the interest rate and payment for the East End Connection Project loan. Mr. Greenwood stated that the interest rate was 1.28%, with an estimated payment of $5,064.

Councilman Sabatino asked Mr. Greenwood for the cost of the project for the temporary bypass waterline. Mr. Greenwood stated that the City has not yet received the bill, but the City has a purchase order for $300,000 for the project expenses.

Councilwoman Oprisch asked Mr. Greenwood when the paving was expected to start. Mr. Greenwood stated that the low-cost bidder asked if they could move the project into next year, which Mr. Greenwood stated was not ideal, so he is working with the contractor to see if they can meet the schedule for finishing the paving project by the year’s end.

Councilwoman Oprisch asked Mr. Greenwood when the deed for the Firehouse would be transferred over to the Fire Department. Mr. Greenwood stated that by the next meeting, the deed should be transferred to the Fire Department.

Councilman Bukmir asked Mr. Greenwood if there was a potential risk of not getting the paving done due to the shutting down of the asphalt plants for the season. Mr. Greenwood stated that not getting asphalt is a potential risk, but he hopes to avoid it.

Police Chief Matt Arbenz reported 438 calls for service in August, 14 accidents, 20 arrests, two warrants served, six domestic violence cases, and 138 traffic stops. Chief Arbenz announced the retirement of Lt. Mike Troullous and thanked him for his 25 years of service to the people of the City.

Finance Director Annette Williams asked the Council to pass Ordinance No. 2021-25 on an emergency so she could certify the tax levy rate with the County Auditor.

Planning & Zoning Administrator Tom Murphy reports that the Bell Store Project is moving along quickly. Construction to the addition of Convenient Food Mart is proceeding. Mr. Murphy reminded Council that on October 4th at 6:00 pm, the Planning Commission is having a public hearing regarding the zoning issues of various parcels within the City.

Councilwoman Oprisch asked Mr. Murphy about the status of the business being renovated on the corner of South Sugar Street and National Road. Mr. Murphy stated that they are finalizing things with State Building Codes and plans on opening soon in the future.


Finance Chair Mike Smith reports that the final audit is not in yet from the state, and when it is in, they will be sure to provide it to the Council Members. The next meeting will be held Monday, August 20th at 6:45 pm.

Utilities Chair Terra Butler reports that Donnie Smithberger provided the committee with an eight-step procedure for opening the water valves. Yellow-colored Code Red inserts will be in all utility bills with information on signing up for the Code Red alert system.  Utility Manager Anita Robinson provide the August billing report to the committee.

Police Chair Beth Oprisch No report [Next meeting is Monday, September 13th at 7:00 P.M.]

Streets – North Side Chair Perry Basile [ABSENT] No report.

Streets – South Side Chair Frank Sabatino No report.

Safety Chair Frank Sabatino No report.

Building and Grounds Chair Perry Basile [ABSENT] No report.

Planning Commission Chair Frank Sabatino No report.

Fire Chair Frank Sabatino reports that the last meeting was Wednesday, August 25th; there were three promotions from lieutenant to captain. The roof at the main station and station two has been completed. The annual preventative maintenance on the fire suppression apparatuses and the aerial hose and ground latter tests have been completed. The next meeting is Wednesday, September 22nd at 3:00 pm at the ESC building.

Recreation Chair Linda Jordan reports that a Christian organization would like to hold an exercise program at the Rec Center. The Rec board has approved the request, and she hopes that the organization will start soon.

Park District Chair Linda Jordan No report.

ORDINANCES & RESOLUTIONS: Law Director Elizabeth Glick



Councilwoman Oprisch made a motion to pass Ordinance No. 2021-19; Seconded by Councilwoman Butler.

Vote to pass Ordinance No. 2021-19:


Basile                   ABSENT                          Oprisch            YES

Bukmir                 YES                                 Sabatino          NO

Butler                   YES                                 Smith               YES

Jordan                  NO

Roll Call Vote:    Four (4) YES    Two (2) NO    One (1) Absent

Motion Carried



A motion was made by Councilwoman Oprisch that the rules requiring three separate readings be suspended on Ordinance No. 2021-25 and that the ordinance be passed on an emergency basis; seconded by Councilwoman Jordan.


Basile                  ABSENT                           Oprisch              YES

Bukmir                YES                                  Sabatino          YES

Butler                 YES                                   Smith                   YES

Jordan                YES

Roll Call Vote:    Six (6) YES    Zero (0) NO    One (1) Absent

Motion Carried

Rules requiring three separate readings suspended

Vote to pass Ordinance No. 2021-25:


Basile                   ABSENT                           Oprisch               YES

Bukmir                 YES                                  Sabatino             YES

Butler                   YES                                  Smith                  YES

Jordan                  YES

Roll Call Vote:    Six (6) YES    Zero (0) NO    One (1) Absent

Motion Carried

EXECUTIVE SESSION was recommended by Law Director Elizabeth Glick per ORC 121.22 (G)(1) To consider the appointment, employment, dismissal, discipline, promotion, demotion, or compensation of a public employee or official, or the investigation of charges or complaints against a public employee, official, licensee, or regulated individual, unless the public employee, official, licensee, or regulated individual requests a public hearing.

A motion was made by Councilman Smith to enter Executive Session; seconded by Councilwoman Butler.


Basile                   ABSENT                                              Oprisch               YES

Bukmir                 YES                                                     Sabatino             YES

Butler                   YES                                                     Smith                   YES

Jordan                  YES

Roll Call Vote:    Six (6) YES    Zero (0) NO    One (1) Absent        Motion Carried

Executive Session entered at 8:35 pm.

Councilman Smith made a motion to exit Executive Session and resume open Regular Session; seconded by Councilwoman Oprisch. Regular Session resumed at 9:07 pm.

ADJOURNMENT: With no further business to come before Council, Councilman Sabatino made a motion to adjourn; seconded by Councilwoman Butler. Meeting adjourned at 9:11 P.M.

Next meeting will be Tuesday, September 20th, 2021, at 7:30 P.M. All Councilmembers will be present at the City building for the next meeting. Members of the public are welcome to join the in-person meeting in the Council Chambers, masks are required.