City of St. Clairsville

October 16, 2023 Council Meeting Minutes

Posted on November 7th, 2023 by

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

Jim Velas, Council President                                             Kathryn Thalman, Mayor

Don Vincenzo, Council, 1st Ward                                 Jeremy Greenwood, Public Service/Safety Director

Kristi Lipscomb, Council, 3rd Ward                                Don Smithberger, Super. of General Services

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

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

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

JC Thrash, Council 2nd Ward                                            Elizabeth Glick, Law Director

Mike Smith, Council-At-Large        

The meeting was called to order by Council President Jim Velas at 7:00 pm. President Velas led Council in the Pledge of Allegiance. Members of the public were thanked for their attendance.


Butler                   HERE                                     Smith                   HERE 

Jordan                  HERE                                         Thrash                  HERE

Lipscomb           HERE                                               Vincenzo         HERE

Oprisch               HERE

Seven (7) Present                          Zero (0) Absent

MINUTES: Council President Jim Velas confirmed all Councilmembers received the minutes from the October 2nd Council Meeting. Councilwoman Butler made a motion to approve the minutes from October 2, 2023, Council Meeting; motion seconded by Councilwoman Lipscomb.


Butler                   YES                                        Smith                   ABSTAIN       

Jordan                  YES                                                 Thrash                  YES

Lipscomb           YES                                                  Vincenzo         YES

Oprisch               YES

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

Motion Carried  


CITIZEN HEARING: Newly appointed Clerk of Courts, Laura Zupko, addressed Council to discuss her recent appointment and background. She also mentioned her candidacy for the upcoming primary election.



Mayor Kathryn Thalman reported a line break on Sugar Street last Friday, which crews fixed by 11:30 PM. Additionally, she noted that she met with Eric and Tom Murphy to discuss some paperwork that needed to be filled out and some concerns in the City. Mayor Thalman reported she attended. The art walk in town was a huge success, and she thanked the Chamber for organizing it. The Mayor also participated in a party at the governor’s residence, where she had the chance to inform him about what was happening in the City and pitch ideas for future developments. She participated in the Rosary rally at St. Mary’s Church, a beautiful opportunity to pray for the country and the world. Don Smithberger asked the Mayor to mention that the paper bag cleanup will begin shortly. There are still a lot of leaves on the trees, so a route has yet to be set. Please call Jen at the city building for more information. I want to address the issue of the Mayor’s court. She has received questions from people about why we are not doing Mayor’s court. She noted that she regularly holds the Mayor’s court every third Wednesday at 4 PM. In 2015, the Mayor’s court brought in $19,000, and they are currently on track to bring in $13,494.50 this year. In 2022, they brought in $12,362. However, the Mayors reminded everyone that the police department is not a profit-generating entity. With the recent increase in drug crimes, they are dealing with a lot of work.

Councilwoman Jordan asked for clarification that the Mayor Court was not generating around $45,000 annually like in previous years.

Mayor Thalman invited Councilwoman Jordan to look at the books to see the money generated from Mayors Court. She also noted that her information needed to be corrected and that the Mayor’s Court did not generate $45,000 annually.

Councilwoman Jordan stated she had figures from previous years that showed the revenue generated from the Mayor’s Court and that she would be happy to provide that information.

Service/Safety Director Jeremy Greenwood [ABSENT] No report.

Police Chief Matt Arbenz provided some important reminders about upcoming events that will affect traffic on certain streets. On Wednesday, the 18th, there will be a domestic violence march on West Main Street from 6:00 to 7:00 PM, which will result in the street being blocked during that time. On the 27th, the Chamber Halloween Bash will take place on West Main Street between 5:00 and 8:00 PM, which will also result in the street being closed. Additionally, on the 27th, there will be a Memorial Park run, and the gate will be closed at 5:30 PM until the run is concluded. Finally, on the 31st, trick-or-treating will take place from 5:30 to 8:00 PM, and while officers will be present to manage traffic, you can still expect some slowdowns.

Finance Director Annette Whealdon No report.

Planning & Zoning Administrator Tom Murphy reported that the Courtyard Apartments are located at the corner of South-North Marietta and West Main Street. The apartment owner is handling everything related to the structure, and they are looking for additional funding to renovate the interior. As part of the renovations, they may replace the windows and some doorways. If the Council opposes the project, it will need a majority vote to stop it. However, Mr. Murphy noted that it is a good project as it involves renovating an existing structure of rental apartment units. The Mayor and Jacob received a letter about the project. Mr. Murphy reported that Tom Simons, the managing member, was contacted to discuss the specifics. The renovation process will require approval from the city and the State Historic Preservation Office because of the funding proposal and the location of the historic district. Additionally, the DORA committee meeting will occur tomorrow at 6:00 PM in the Council Chambers, and all are welcome to attend. Beth may not be able to attend due to personal reasons, but JC and Christie will be in attendance. Anyone else is welcome to attend. The Mayor will submit DORA guidelines to the state code if the Council decides to come up with them. The Board of Zoning Appeals will meet on November 1st at 6:00 PM in the Council Chambers. Three items are on the agenda: One Care Funeral Home is requesting a fencing variance, Frosty’s Frenzy is requesting a condition of use to establish a temporary business in the drive-up window, and the Parks and Rec department is requesting a sign variance. All are welcome to attend the meeting.

Councilman Smith asked if there were any potential candidates for the open position on the Board of Zoning Appeals. Mr. Murphy stated that the Mayor has been receiving applications from potential candidates and that he would work closely with her since she is the one who ultimately makes the appointment.


Finance Chair Don Vincenzo reported that expenditures are at 51%, and the revenue is at 72%. Although there is no audit report, it is expected to be released soon. Annette discussed the 2024 temporary budget and explained that they needed to go line by line to identify the items the superintendents and others require. All council members will be involved in this process, and their thoughts will be reviewed. There was also a discussion about paving questions and the allocation of funds for next year. They will continue to work on this and provide updates.

Utilities Chair Terra Butler No report.

Police Chair Mike Smith No report.

Streets – North Side Chair Mike Smith No report.

Streets – South Side Chair JC Thrash No report.

Safety Chair JC Thrash No report.

Buildings and Grounds Chair Beth Oprisch provided an update on their progress, saying there haven’t been any meetings since their last one. However, they are still in discussion and sincerely appreciate the support of this administration in working towards the betterment of junior sports. They are currently working with a small group of representatives from junior sports to update a contract that dates to 1983. They aim to present the updated language to the administration’s legal team and have it gone through the buildings and grounds committee for review. This will ensure that everyone involved in junior sports knows who is responsible for what. They are still working on figuring out the gas and oil rights that come with the properties, but they are hopeful that this is just the beginning of a productive relationship between the city and junior sports.

Planning Commission Chair Kristi Lipscomb announced that the Planning Commission had scheduled a meeting on November 13th at 6:00 PM to discuss the development of guidelines for temporary businesses, including food trucks and shed-type businesses. She urged council members to attend this meeting and provide their input and points of view. Additionally, the Cumberland Trail Fire District will seek site plan approval for structural additions and parking lot improvements. It will appear before the Planning Commission at the meeting scheduled for December 11th.

Fire Chair Linda Jordan No report.

Recreation Chair Kristi Lipscomb announced that the Rec Department Halloween event will occur this Saturday, starting at 6:30 PM. The event will be held at the amphitheater located behind the Rec Center. Pre-registration is required for the event, and it can be done through the Rec Center’s website. Thanks to Unified Bank for sponsoring this event. Boo at the Bike Trail will be on Tuesday, October 24th, from 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM. The Rec Department will hand out candy at the tunnel, and pre-registration is not required.  Registration is currently open for Bantam basketball, which is a program that is open to boys and girls in grades K through 6. The next Rec meeting is scheduled for this Thursday, October 19th, at 4:30 PM at the Rec Center.

Park District Chair Linda Jordan No report.

ORDINANCES & RESOLUTIONS: Law Director Elizabeth Glick

No Ordinances or Resolutions

Councilwoman Oprisch expressed her concern about Ordinance 2016-26. She pointed out that the Ordinance was limiting citizens from addressing the Council as they deemed necessary. Though she suggested repealing the Ordinance entirely, she sought input from other council members on their thoughts regarding the matter. After a lengthy discussion among council members and the Law Director, the Law Director agreed to draft legislation for the next meeting incorporating the changes desired by the Council. The Law Director also mentioned that the legislation could undergo a first reading and could still be adjusted, if necessary, without the need to start over.

ADJOURNMENT: With no further business to come before Council, Councilwoman Butler made a motion to adjourn; seconded by Councilman Thrash. The meeting was adjourned at 8:15 P.M.

The next meeting will be Monday, November 6, 2023, at 7:00 P.M. All Councilmembers will be present at the City Building for the next meeting. Members of the public are encouraged to attend the meeting in the Council Chambers.