City of St. Clairsville

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Christmas is coming to St. Clairsville

PRESS RELEASE

FROM:             CITY OF ST. CLAIRSVILLE

DATE:              NOVEMBER 20, 2019

SUBJECT:        CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS AND PARADE

RELEASE:        IMMEDIATE

St. Clairsville’s Electric Department crew installed and decorated the City’s Christmas tree in advance of the holiday festivities this coming weekend.  The annual Christmas parade and Christmas tree lighting will be held on Sunday, November 24, beginning at 4:00 P. M.

The St. Clairsville Police Department has issued the following directives regarding street parking on November 24, in preparation for the parade.  No vehicles are to be parked on Main Street (U.S. 40) between Sugar and Marietta Streets.  And, starting at 1:00 P. M., no street parking is allowed on South Marietta Street between Main Street and Woodrow Avenue.  Beginning at 1:00 P. M., any vehicles violating the above parking bans will be towed.

If you have any questions during normal business hours on Monday through Friday, please call 740-695-1324.

For more details on the parade and related festivities, please follow this link (http://www.stcchamber.com/pages/Home) or check out the St. Clairsville Area Chamber of Commerce’s facebook page.

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October 21, 2019 Council Minutes

COUNCIL MINUTES

October 21, 2019

St. Clairsville City Council met in Council Chambers on Monday, October 21, 2019 with the following present:

Perry Basile, Council, 1st Ward                         Jim Zucal, Director of Public Services

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

Linda Jordan, Council-At-Large                       Terry Pugh, Mayor

Beth Oprisch, Council-At-Large                       Cindi Henry, Finance Director

Frank Sabatino, Council, 2nd Ward                   Mike Troullos, Police Lieutenant

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

Jim Velas, Council 4th Ward

The meeting was called to order by President Pro-Tem Frank Sabatino:  I am going to turn the meeting over to Mr. Myser.

Richard Myser, Law Director:  I want to welcome everybody who is here tonight.  First I want to introduce Kimberly Bojko and Joshua Peterson.  They are the two attorneys that were instrumental in negotiating our two contracts with Aqua, Oh.  Our contracts for the water system and the sewer system.  They are going to be answering questions from the Council tonight in a give and take discussion.  That is what we are going to do first.  This type of meeting session normally would be conducted in Executive Session but in order to give as much full disclosure as we can to the news media and too the community and make this as transparent as we possibly can we are going to do this in an open session tonight.  There is going to be discussion between an Attorney and the Attorney’s client.  I have already discussed with Council some of the answers to some of the questions that may involve privileged communications.  If it is the type of communication that should not be divulged, they will not be answering that particular question.  This is not intended nor are we going to conduct it as if it were a town hall.  We will not be entertaining questions from the news media or from the citizens.  This is not an attempt to stifle questions from the Citizens.  If you have any questions after the meeting tonight please put them in writing give them too me or too your Council member and we will see to it that they get too legal Council Members and we will see to it that those questions are answered.  What we are going to do is the President-Pro-Tem is going to give ten minutes to ask questions of legal Counsel, and time for Counsel too answer those questions.  After the question and answer session is completed, the citizens who are on our agenda too address Council will do so.  After they address Council we will go ahead with the rest of our meeting tonight.

Frank Sabatino, Council Pro-Tem:  As Mr. Myser stated we are going to turn the floor over too our two attorney’s.

Kimberly Bojko:  Thank you for having me here today again.  I was happy to answer questions last time we were here.  Now that the contract is final I am available too answer your questions again.  I would caution that if there is something that was confidential during settlement discussions that cannot be explained to the public we will not be able to answer those questions.  We will answer all the questions that we can about the contract itself, the transaction and anything that is contained in those documents.  Too that end we have in fact received six pages of questions from a Council woman and we have answered those questions in spreadsheet form the same that we received them.  We are handing those out too Council.  Beth Oprisch:  I assume those are my questions?  Kim: Yes.  I am happy to go through that document and answer any follow up questions you might have.  Too speak a little bit about my background and how I became involved in this project.  I have over 21 years of experience in utility and energy industry.  I started my career in private practice then went too Ohio Consumers Council and represented residential consumers for years, after that I went to the Public Utilities Commission, I actually was an administrative law judge that sat and heard cases in front of the Commission.  After that I became Chief of Staff of the Public Utilities Commission.  After leaving the Commission I started my own practice working on some renewable projects and because I was not allowed to practice before the Commission for a stay out period.  I worked with the City with some electric issues they had and I have worked with many Municipalities, Townships and Counties over the years to help them with utility type issues.  I am very versed in public utilities process and am happy to answer any of those questions.   I have been in proceedings on the other side of Aqua many times and I am happy to answer questions regarding the industry and the utilities in the State of Ohio and how the Commission regulates those utilities because once Aqua takes over it is important to note that Aqua is regulated by the Public Utilities Commission and anything that Aqua does with some few exceptions will be Regulated by the Commission.  Josh Peterson is with me, he heads our Real Estate Corporate.  A lot of this contract deals with real estate issues, closing documents and real estate transfer.  Frank Sabatino:  Thank you, we appreciate you being here.  You have done well for the City and we appreciate that.

Council Question & Answer:  Linda Jordan:  My first question is from a constituent and it is regarding liability.  If we are to sell, once Aqua takes ownership is the city under any liability at all if something would happen.  Kim:  Do you mean to the water system?  Linda:  anything.  Kim:  There is a closing period however once the closing is finalized the water system is now under the control and ownership of Aqua.  So any concerns about water quality, water safety, if some kind of accident would happen causing harm to a person it would be on Aqua not the City.  Linda:  Have you know Aqua too charge exorbitant rates including fees or surcharges?  Kim:  Except for the rates that are set by ordinance by law all rates of Aqua have to be approved by the commission.  The commissions mission is too charge just and reasonable rates.  The commission has rate case proceedings and the statute requires the commission too charge just and reasonable rates.  The answer is No.  Linda:  Have you heard of them having any billing issues?  Kim:  I would not have been specifically involved in any complaint cases so I don’t think it would be fair for me to speak too that.

Mike Smith:  Beth’s questions addressed some of mine.  One question I had was about the buy-back period.  Kim:  There is a buy-back provision in the contract and the buy-back provision is 15 years after the date of closing.  You have to provide two years notice before the end of that period and you would buy it back at the cost that you were paid for it.  Mike:  When would Aqua take over and when would their billing cycle start?  Kim:  I don’t know that because I don’t know when the PUCO will give an order approving the transfer.  There was a new law passed this year that requires rules to be propagated by the PUCO and the PUCO is currently in the rule making process.  I did attend the rule making workshop and they went through many provisions and suggestions from the utility companies and consumer groups about what should be included in those rules.  Once that rule making is finalized then thy will start ruling on cases.  Aqua has filed another case with the commission from the city of Campbell and that case was filed on August 21, 2019 and that case is currently pending.  Mike:  When you were here previously I asked they have a plan, how much of that will be put into the system and how will we know that they are spending that kind of money?  I don’t think there is anything in the contract on whether we can hold their feet to the fire too prove that they spent what they said they were going to spend.  Kim:  There are provisions in the time track that the city is going to be involved in the planning of those capital improvements and the oversite of those capital improvements so I think there is some ability to insure that those things happen.  There is a list that will be made public and considering and the active public here in St. Clairsville I can’t believe that the public won’t hold our feet to the fire on the capital improvements.

Beth Oprisch: I will look at the answers you provided.  Is this a public record?  Kim:  It is in your hands, there is nothing I can do to make it not a public record.  Beth:  I think you kind of addressed the closing period.  There is not a typical time frame?  I mean is there a ballpark, a couple of months or it just depends?  Kim:  This is a new law that was just passed in the spring so there isn’t a typical case yet.  Usually the Commission can act within a month too six months it just depends of the type of case and the amount of stake holders that intervene in the case.  Cases that are fully settled could be resolved within a month before the Commission, it just depends.  Beth:  Did I understand that the City is responsible for the water department until that closing date?  Kim:  Yes because they haven’t submitted the assets.  Beth:  We only received one bid for our water from Aqua, how are we assured that this is a good amount, a fair market price?  Kim:  The fact that you only had one bid should in and of itself tell you something.   Believe you have to look at the value of the system.  I think the City has looked at the value of the system, I think that you have to look at the experts that have been looking at the books of the municipality and have made that evaluation and they believe the price is a fair market value for the system.  Beth:  When you are talking with Aqua is that Aqua Ohio, Aqua America?  Kim:  Aqua Ohio is a utility company that is regulated by the PUCO, Obviously Aqua America is the parent company so a lot of the people who work for Aqua America obviously work for Aqua Ohio.  I have to say that my dealings are specifically with Aqua Ohio because they are regulated by the PUCO.  Beth:  If Aqua buys our water can they sell it to someone else?  Kim:  Aqua in order to sell the system that it purchased from you would have to have permission of the PUCO to transfer the facility to a new owner.  There is a greater process that a utility would have to go through it is called abandonment of facilities.  So there is a process that has to go on and the Commission would have oversight of that process.  Beth:  So they could there is just a process.  Kim:  If the Commission allows it.  Beth:  If that would happen in the first five years would they assume the rates?  Kim:  Any good attorney would make sure that your contract is assumed in a transfer.  My assumptions are that those contracts would be assumed and the company would have to honor that contract.  Those rates are frozen for six years. Beth:  A couple of my questions there are pages that say Exhibits would be added but they are blank.  Kim:  That is typical, you have to go to the Courts to get these old documents they will be included before it is transferred.  Josh Peterson:  Ultimately the descriptions are already public record so you can pull those descriptions Beth:  So that would not be anything that would make the contract not complete.  Back too just and reasonable rates.  For six years we are locked into these and any rate increases after that will go too PUCO.  Kim:  Right now the contract says that it may roll into PUCO rates.  The benefit of going with PUCO is if the City would need a five million dollar reservoir that cost would be spread among all of Aqua’s customers.  If you keep your rates separate then any improvements would be borne only by St. Clairsville’s residents.  So it depends on how you choose to have those rates after that six year period.  It is more common than not too roll your rates in with other AQUA customers.  That is something that will have to be worked out with Aqua.  Beth:  The contract also refers to two outstanding litigations that the city has.  Kim:  I wouldn’t call them litigations, one is an Attorney General investigation.  It is an investigation of an incident that happened in the water/wastewater department. It is something that is ongoing in the A.G.’s office.  The A.G. does not comment on ongoing cases.  If you question is when will we know then the answer is we don’t know.  The A.G.’s office will not tell us.  The other thing is that the City has an insurance claim for the same matter.  The City has asked for an extension on that matter so they will not lose their rights too that claim in case there is some kind of fraud investigation that would relieve the City of any liability that would relieve the city of any liability and hopefully strengthen the insurance claim.  Beth:  Could either of those impact this contract?  Kim:  No. They have nothing to do with this contract.

Perry Basile:  One question pertains to the meeting we had with the EPA.  Their concern was the water plant, they were not concerned with run-off or sewage.  What I was able too ascertain from the conversation was the City of St. Clairsville is going to be on the hook for the repairs to the water plant.  From what I understand it is going to be quick.  They are not going to sit on their hands.  What responsibility will Aqua have during this time period they are going too expect a lot from us very quickly?  What responsibility will Aqua have in this period of time?  Is there a time period while they close the deal?  From what I am hearing from the EPA they are talking like we need to start pretty quick.  My question is how long is it going to take too close this and how quick will Aqua start doing   the work?  Because if they don’t get started pretty quickly all the repairs will be on the city.  So where does that fit in Aqsa’s plan?  Kim:  Unfortunately I was not here for Mr. Butler’s presentation and have not spoken to him.  A couple of things can happen.  The EPA if they know the City has approved the contract and you get proof of sale, the EPA could wait and provide their plan too Aqua and they could ask Aqua too start working on the modifications.  No whether Aqua does that or doesn’t do that prior to any environmental action, I just can’t be certain.  One thing Aqua could is ask for expedited treatment in their application because of these issues.  I think Aqua has the desire to take care of the plant because anything that is delayed is going to make it worse and probably more expensive. I think we could probably work with them and see if there are things that the City could and Aqua could do.  I understand your concern but I don’t know the time limit the EPA has given you.  I am not privy to that timeline but I am sure that we can work with the EPA in extending that timeline to insure Aqua can take control.  They are used to working with Aqua, they have purchased a lot of the facilities around the State and they purchase distressed facilities.  I think that the EPA is comfortable with Aqua.  Perry:  The other question I have has to do with several of the neighborhoods that are having problems with sewage and drainage.  I remember looking at a spreadsheet that gave a breakdown on what Aqua is going to spend yearly at the rates we are charging.  It doesn’t seem like the amount they are going to spend yearly is enough to take care of some of the problems we are having in the communities.  Kim:  You are referring to the 10 year capital investment.  It is in the bid package.  I think that you all had it the last time I was here because you were asking me questions.  I guess I don’t know what you mean.  I am a Lawyer not an engineer, I can’t know what it will cost too fix the problem you are talking about.  I look at their capital investment plan and it is pretty robust.  Now that Aqua owns it they can use their own money.  Aqua is a pretty big company and has its own capital.  They can get funds and loans.  Perry:  Say in the first year we required a $10 million investment, is that something they would do or would they put that off until our legislation expired on our rates?  Kim:  I guess it just depends on what the capital investment is, if it is something the EPA is requiring them to do it of the PUCO is requiring them to do it then they are going to have to spend the money and do it.  Just because your rates expire it doesn’t mean you will no longer get just and reasonable rates, remember I told you that after your ordinance rates expire if you roll into the PUCO rates, they have to be approved and they have to be just and reasonable rates.  Perry:  I think my biggest concern is there are some pretty big necessities with our distribution and our sewage and if I am correct in thinking Aqua is not responsible at all for our drainage it is just sewer and water.  Kim:  That is correct.  Mayor Pugh:  Storm water has nothing to do with this bid.

Jim Velas:  The understanding I got from the meeting with the EPA, there are considerable mandates that have to be done at the water plant.  I think how much we have to spend is going to be determined by whether or not the system is going to be retained by the City or whether or not it is going to be sold.  If the city is going to maintain the water plant then we are going to be responsible for everything that has to be done there and that large expenditure is going to fall on us.  If we are going to decide to sell the system then the mandates that need to be done immediately will be issued too St. Clairsville and we will work with Aqua on the long term.  Kim:  That is my understanding.  Jim:  On the rates, in your experience with just 2,500 customers, do you think it would be better to sell the system and then at the end of the five years go with the PUCO rates so it is spread out.  Because if we get into something very expensive and we try to bill the 2,500 customers there will be some pretty big rate increases.  Kim:  They have it state wide of by regions.  Obviously spreading it over 10,000 customers is better than 2,500.  There are other components of the Commissions rates so I am not going to sit here and say it is that simple but the commission does balance the interest of the customers and the utility.  They have to give the utility a fair return but they also have to be aware of the customers’ bills and they don’t want to see customers’ bills go up Too much. They will be cautious of that in their just and reasonable determination.  Jim:  If I understand it right the sale of the wastewater system will hold an escrow of $500,000 which will be turned over to the City to go along with the $800,000 that we got on a loan that the sewage problem on Bellview will be corrected and Aqua will pay $500,000 too that million three for the project.  Kim:  That is correct.

Mark Bukmir:  Thank you for coming down too St. Clairsville again.  You negotiated the contract on our behalf and I am sure we did not get everything we wanted out of it.  What points would you feel you wished you could have got more out of?  Kim:  I think that goes too confidential Attorney client privilege.  I cannot tell you how the negotiation occurred or why one party accepted or declined.  Too answer your question more broadly, of course each party askes for more than they ultimately get in a contract.  Aqua asked for more than they got in the contract.  We asked for more than we got in the contract.  A contract is a negotiated document there are pluses and minuses, you win some and you lose some.  I will say that above and beyond the purchase price we get more value through the contract then just the boiler plate contract that they gave us initially.  I think we were able to get more value to the contract.  There are some real good benefits to the city.  Those are in the contract I could list them for you what I consider value add items.  I think taking over your employees is a huge value, they did not have to do that.  That is not typical, particular if they are Union employees.  Letting the employees choose if they were going to be consumed by Aqua and the fact that they get go keep their benefits.  I think paying an employee what is up to 40 hours now, I think that is a huge win, because during this transition you employees get too help and you get paid for that and it is my understanding the rate for that is it includes overhead and benefits.  Mark:  Overall do you feel it is a good contract for both parties involved?  Kim:  I believe that any contract that has been signed by two parties I believe by signing the contract they believe it is fair.  Mark:  What if Aqua would become insolvent?  What happens in our particular case?  Kim:   Once the assets have been turned over too Aqua it becomes a part of PUCO.  The Commission has lots of rules in place to handle an emergency situation.  If the commission has an emergency rate case, the commission can order rates too make sure that they are just and reasonable.  The commission can raise rates then they would no longer be insolvent.  Mark:  Would you explain the buyback too me because it seems to me that they are giving us a piece of cake and eating it too.  If we buy back the system 10 years from now all we have to pay is the purchase price, we don’t have to pay for any of the improvements that they have made?  Kim: Yes.  It is pretty rare too have a 15 year buy back for the purchase price.  They did agree too that so give kudos too them for doing that at our request.  Mark:  Once Aqua takes over, I do realize we will still own the real estate, will they be able to sell water to the fracking companies?  Or will they be able to use our wastewater plant to dispose stuff from fracking?  Kim:  Once they have the rights to the water they can sell it as they see fit so the answer is yes, however as a PUCO regulated utility they will be under an obligation to provide reliable service to the residents.  So if the sale of the water was affecting the service to the residents.  If it affects the water it would not be allowed.  There is a big difference in the regulation that he PUCO have too up hold and what a Municipality would do.  The PUCO is much more Stringent.  Mark:  Thank you that is all I have.  Frank Sabatino:   I had a Citizen call me.  His question was also about the buy back.  My question is, there seems to be a rumor going around that if our fire department was fighting a massive fire here in St. Clairsville and they had to use a large amount of water that Aqua would charge us for that water.  Kim:  The contract specifically states that all fire protection services will not be charged a fee.  I want to thank both of you for being here.  Beth Oprisch:   On page five the buy back page.  I thought the buyback would be more than what we paid, that there would be other costs.  Kim:  I apologize you would have to pay the undepreciated amount which would vary depending on what was added.  I appreciate being able to come here and speak too all of you, I think that we worked hard to do something considering the current state of the Municipal’s water system and I think that reflected in the purchase price and the contract.  I think us added value and too maybe lessen the burden of your EPA requirements.   Cindi Henry:  When we put this bid packet our only company that actually bid was Aqua Ohio.  Are there other entities in Ohio?  Kim: As I stated before RCAP-OH is the only other large water utility that I can think of that would come in and purchase a municipal system.  Obviously there are other Municipal Systems so a County or a City could purchase your system and operate it with theirs.  That would be you’re only other option and who would want to come into your part of the state and take over your system?  Cindi:  Thank You.

CITIZENS HEARING:  Gabrielle Fillon & Kathy Wood

Both Women made many derogatory and untrue remarks about the Mayor and Council that we deemed inappropriate for City Council Minutes which are the City’s permanent record.  The President Pro-Tem asked them to please refrain from personal attacks.

REPORTS:

Service Director, Jim Zucal

At previous council meetings since July of 2016 I have outlined the condition of our 90 year old water treatment plant and distribution system.  I think most of you now understand the dire condition of our water/wastewater systems and realize no matter what it needs tens of millions of dollars in investment.   For each of the last three months I have informed you that we have lost more treated water that we were able too deliver too our customers thanks too leaks that plague our distribution system.  We don’t have the funds too pay for the work that is needed and we must at a minimum double our rates too be able too pay back any loans and maintain the system if we try too do it ourselves.  Again I shared we are not eligible for grants.  In a Council meeting last week with EPA Chief Craig Butler he said “They expect to see drastic action from the City” within a short period of time.  I have stressed every time that we must double our rates if we intend to take it on ourselves.  Tonight our legal team was able to answer your questions about our legal agreement.  If passed it will get our residents out from under the burden of paying the debt of updating the plants and systems.  There are other important elements too the agreement.  It requires Aqua too invest one million dollars in our system each year.  It assures that programs to improve efficiency and repair our crumbling distribution and collection systems can begin as early as next summer.  It dictates manageable rate increases a dollar or two until 2026.  One thing is clear the City needs too take decisive action now too update both our water and wastewater systems.  This is not just about selling the water.  Our residents deserve better than what we have been able to deliver too them.  They deserve better.

Mayor, Terry Pugh

The water tank at the commons was completed last week.  They started filling it on Friday, gradually.  I heard today that it is about half full.

Tonight I expect Council will vote on a resolution too slow down our decision on our crumbling water system.  Last week four officials from the Ohio EPA met with the administration and most of City Council.  They covered several important points that I would like to summarize for those of you who were not there.  The Ohio EPA won’t express an opinion on whether or not St. Clairsville should privatize or try too dig ourselves out of our current situation.  Their concern is that our systems are brought into compliance as soon as possible too insure the health, safety of our water and protect the environment.  They will be involved in bringing us into compliance whether Aqua of the City is paying the bill.  While there are loans available too help fund our needed projects in order to qualify the City would have too show an ability to repay those loans and our current rates are close to what they need to be.  They said clearly that the time for studying and deliberation is long past.  The EPA expects to see dramatic action and they want to see general engineering plans, not studies.  I have said it many times over the past few years, the city has neglected the systems for decades.  If you won’t listen to me, I hope you listen to the state EPA.  Now is the time too face the facts?  It is time that each of us be leaders and take action.

Police Chief, Jeff Henry:  Not Present

Finance Director, Cindi Henry:  No Report

Planning and Zoning Administrator, Tom Murphy: Not Present

COUNCIL COMMITTEES:

Finance, Mike Smith:  I gave Council some papers too look at

Utilities, Frank Sabatino:  No Report

Police, Mark Bukmir:  No Report

Street North Side, Jim Velas:  Several alleys being patched

Street South Side, Beth Oprisch:  No Report

Safety, Jim Velas:  Meeting Thursday at 9:00 at City Garage for employees or any Council

Building and Grounds, Perry Basile:  Where are we with the Rec. Center doors?  Jim: Will Check with Shawn

Planning Commission, Mike Smith:  No Report

Fire District, Frank Sabatino:  Met last Wed. Took one man from part time too full time.

Received an ODNR grant too replace equipment.  New squad should be in by Thanksgiving.

Recreation, Linda Jordan:  Next meeting Monday, November 18th

Park District, Linda Jordan:  Next meeting, Monday Nov. 11th at Home Savings Bank

Law Director, Richard Myser:

Tonight we have three pieces of legislation too consider.  First is Resolution No. 2019-22.  That is the piece of legislation that is on its third reading and up for action tonight.  The second piece of legislation is Ordinance No. 2019-25 on its second reading.  The last piece of Legislation is   Ordinance No. 2019-26 also on its second reading.

There was presented and read to Council on its third and final reading  by title only, Resolution No. 2019-22  A RESOLUTION RECOMMENDING THE CITY ADMINISTRATION WORKING WITH THE CITY COUNCIL UTILITY COMMITTEE, EXPLORE FURTHER OPTIONS WITH WE. QUICKS ALL ENGINEERING COMPANY AND THE OHIO RURAL COMMUNITY ASSISTANCE PROGRAM FOR THE FUNDING AND IMPROVEMENT OF THE CITY WATER AND SEWER SYSTEMS AND DECLARING AN EMERGENCY. Beth Oprisch moved that the rules requiring Ordinances and Resolutions too be read on three separate readings be suspended and declaring an emergency; Perry Basile seconded the motion.

ROLL CALL VOTE:

Basile                           Yes                              Sabatino                                   No

Bukmir                         No                               Smith                                        Yes

Jordan                          No                               Velas                                        No

Oprisch                        Yes

Roll Call Vote:  Three (3) yes     Four    (4) No                         Motion Not Approved

There was presented and read to Council on its second reading by title only, ORDINANCE NO. 2019-25; AN ORDINANCE AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR TOO ENTER INTO AN ASSET PURCHASE AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE CITIES OF ST. CLAIRSVILLE, OHIO. AS SELLER AND AQUA OHIO WATER, INC., AS PURCHASER, AND AUTHORIZING THE ASSIGNMENT OF THE CITY’S RIGHTS AND OBLIGATIONS THEREUNDER AND DECLARING AN EMERGENCY.

There was presented and read to Council on its second reading by title only; ORDINANCE NO. 2019-26. AN ORDINANCE AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR TOO ENTER INTO AN ASSET PURCHASE AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE CITY OF ST. CLAIRSVILLE, OHIO, AS SELLER AND AQUA OHIO WASTEWATER, INC., AS PURCHASER, AND AUTHORIZING THE ASSIGNMENT OF THE CITY’S RIGHTS AND OBLIGATIONS THEREUNDER AND DECLARING AN EMERGENCY.

We will go into Executive Session tonight as authorized by the Ohio Revised Code Section 121.22 (G) (1) providing that we can discuss the election of our new President of Council due to the October 10, 2019 resignation of Tim Porter.  Beth Oprisch:  I don’t know if it is necessary to go into executive session.  Richard Myser:  You are absolutely right and if you want to vote not to go into executive session we don’t have to.  If you want to vote on filling the vacancy it has to be done in open session. A motion to nominate Jim Velas as Council President was made by Beth Oprisch and seconded by Linda Jordan.

ROLL CALL VOTE:

Basile                           Yes                              Sabatino                                   Yes

Bukmir                         Yes                              Smith                                        Yes

Jordan                          Yes                              Velas                                        Abstain

Oprisch                        Yes

Roll Call Vote:  Six (6) yes     One (1) Abstain                          Motion Approved

Richard Myser:  We just voted to replace the President of Council, at our next meeting Mr. Velas will be our presiding president.  What that does is create an open seat for one of our members.  According to our Charter, Council has 30 days starting today to replace that vacancy.

A motion was made by Beth Oprisch and seconded by Perry Basile to accept applications for the vacant 4th ward seat.  They should be in by Monday, October 28th by 4:30 p.m.  Applicants will be interviewed by the entire Council.

ROLL CALL VOTE:

Basile                           Yes                              Sabatino                                   Yes

Bukmir                         Yes                              Smith                                        Yes

Jordan                          Yes                              Velas                                        Yes

Oprisch                        Yes

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

NEW, OLD & OTHER BUSINESS:

Trick or Treat Night on Wednesday, October 30th from 6:00 to 7:30.

Next Meeting will be Monday, November 4, 2019

There being no further business too come before Council a motion to adjourn was made by Jim Velas and seconded by Mark Bukmir.

Council approved the October 21, 2019 Council Minutes at its regular scheduled meeting on November 18, 2019.

October 21, 2019 Council Minutes


Leaf pickup update

PRESS RELEASE

DATE:                 NOVEMBER 12, 2019

FROM:               CITY OF ST. CLAIRSVILLE

SUBJECT:          UPDATE ON ST. CLAIRSVILLE’S LEAF PICKUP

RELEASE:          FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The City of St. Clairsville’s Street Department has begun its loose and bagged leaf pickup service.

Any loose leaves must be raked within 10 feet of the curb but not placed on the sidewalks or streets.  An important reminder, please do not rake — or use a leaf blower to push — leaves into the street drains; this practice causes maintenance problems for the storm sewer system.  Loose leaf pickup will continue until further notice.

All bagged leaves must be in paper lawn and leaf bags (not plastic) since these bags can be composted easily.  Many local stores sell the required paper lawn and leaf bags.  All bagged leaves should be placed near the curb but not on the sidewalk or street.  The City crews will continue the collection of bagged leaves through some time in December.

The City provides this service in the fall for leaf pickup ONLY.  City crews are unable to accept any yard clippings, garden waste, tree and/or shrub debris of any kind at this time.

Thank you.

###

LEAF PICKUP UPDATE_NOV 12 2019


October 16, 2019 Council Minutes (Special Meeting)

COUNCIL MINUTES

October 16, 2019

St. Clairsville City Council met in Special Session in the Council Chambers on Monday, October 16, 2019 with the following present:

Perry Basile, Council, 1st Ward                       Jim Zucal, Director of Public Services

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

Linda Jordan, Council-At-Large                     Terry Pugh, Mayor

Frank Sabatino, Council, 2nd Ward                 Cindi Henry, Finance Director

Mike Smith, Council-At-Large

Jim Velas, Council 4th Ward

Council President Pro-Tem, Frank Sabatino opened the meeting and turned it over to Law Director, Richard Myser.

Law Director, Richard Myser:  I do not have any legislation to come before Council tonight but it has come to my attention that we need to go into executive session tonight pursuant to the Ohio Revised Code section 121.22 (1) too consider the appointment of an elected official and Section 121.22 (5) pertaining to matters of Federal and State Law that need to be held in confidence.

Executive Session: A motion was made by Jim Velas and seconded by Mark Bukmir to go into Executive Session per Ohio Revised Code Section (121.22 (1) Too consider the appointment of an elected official and  & 121.22 (5) pertaining to matters of Federal and State Law that need to be held in confidence.

Roll Call Vote:

Basile                          No                                           Sabatino                      Yes

Bukmir                        Yes                                          Smith                           No

Jordan                         Yes                                          Velas                           Yes

Roll Call Vote             Four (Yes)                   Two (2) No                 Motion Approved

Mike Smith:  I would like to have Jeff Vaughn stay for the Executive Session.  Richard Myser:  The procedure that we have followed, who the Council wants to have in the Executive Session pursuant to our charter is up too Council.  Customarily they just have the members of the Administration stay.  If you want someone else to stay that is up too Council.  I guess Council needs to take a vote on that.  Jim Velas:  Is there a reason?  Mike Smith:  Jeff explains thing pretty well and later on if I have a question I would like to refer to him.  A motion too have Jeff Vaughn present for the Executive Session was made by Mike Smith and seconded by Perry Basile.

Roll Call Vote:

Basile                          No                                           Sabatino                      Yes

Bukmir                        Yes                                          Smith                           No

Jordan                         Yes                                          Velas                           Yes

Roll Call Vote             Four (4) Yes                Two (2) No                 Motion Denied

A motion to return too Regular Session was made by Mark Bukmir and seconded by Jim Velas.

Roll Call Vote:

Basile                          Yes                                          Sabatino                      Yes

Bukmir                        Yes                                          Smith                           Yes

Jordan                         Yes                                          Velas                           Yes

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

There being no further business too come before Council a motion to adjourn was made by Mark Bukmir and seconded by Jim Velas.

October 16, 2019 Council Minutes


October 7, 2019 Council Minutes

COUNCIL MINUTES

October 7, 2019

St. Clairsville City Council met in Council Chambers on Monday, October 7, 2019 with the following present:

Perry Basile, Council, 1st Ward                       Jim Zucal, Director of Public Services

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

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

Beth Oprisch, Council-At-Large                     Cindi Henry, Finance Director

Frank Sabatino, Council, 2nd Ward                 Jeff Henry, Police Chief

Mike Smith, Council-At-Large                        Terry Pugh, Mayor

Jim Velas, Council 4th Ward                           Mike Troullos, Police Lieutenant

Don Smithberger, Director of General Services

The meeting was called to order by President Pro-Tem Frank Sabatino

Minutes:  September 3, 2019, September 10, 2019, September 16, 2019

A motion to approve the minutes of the September 3, 2019 Council Meeting was made by Jim Velas and seconded by Linda Jordan.

ROLL CALL VOTE:

Basile                          Yes                              Sabatino                                  Yes

Bukmir                        Yes                              Smith                                       Yes

Jordan                         Yes                              Velas                                       Yes

Oprisch                       Yes

Roll Call Vote:            Seven (7) yes     Zero (0) No   Motion Approved

A motion to approve the minutes of the September 10, 2019 Special Meeting was made by Linda Jordan and seconded by Mark Bukmir.

ROLL CALL VOTE:

Basile                          Yes                              Sabatino                                  Yes

Bukmir                        Yes                              Smith                                       Yes

Jordan                         Yes                              Velas                                       Yes

Oprisch                        Yes

Roll Call Vote:            Seven (7) yes     Zero (0) No   Motion Approved

A motion to approve the minutes of the September 16, 2019 Meeting was made by Jim Velas and seconded by Perry Basile.

ROLL CALL VOTE:

Basile                          Yes                              Sabatino                                  Yes

Bukmir                        Yes                              Smith                                       Yes

Jordan                         Yes                              Velas                                       Yes

Oprisch                        Yes

Roll Call Vote:            Seven (7) yes     Zero (0) No   Motion Approved

Citizens Hearing: 

Frank PaPini:  I am Frank PaPini from Wallace Street and I thank you for allowing me to address you tonight.  My concern is with the water situation in our city.  I am not here to rehash everything that has been said before, nor too point fingers.  I am asking that some type of compromise be reached with this Council and the citizens of this city.  I have been enlightened as too the deteriorating conditions at the water plant and agree that something needs to be done too our antiquated system.  I just don’t feel privatization should be the first and only answer to this problem.  I feel the citizens are being ignored in this process and we are the ones who are ultimately going to foot the bill.  This is a tough situation that we find ourselves in today.  Having been involved in negotiations and mediation for a long time, I feel that some type of common ground can be reached to satisfy everybody.  I have asked the County Commissioners how long it would take for their new system too be on line and although they had no immediate time table, they said that they are going through the process of obtaining USDA loan/grant money.  They just closed on the sewer side and are going through the process for the water side. Their new system will have a nine million gallon capacity as long as there is a water supply.  An upgrade will be done on the pump station on Route 9 which will be critical too supplying water to the city of St. Clairsville.  I feel a makeshift application can be done too our system in the interim.  We should also look too submit a compromised plan of adjustments to the EPA for future considerations and possible wavers.  This avenue should be considered until the county system goes on line.  The County will then have the distribution system available to the city.  If this is not an option for consideration, then I purpose the citizens of St. Clairsville vote on a levy to tax themselves in order to pay for a new system.  That too me is by far the more fair and equitable way.  If the Citizens decline the levy and tax increases that would be needed to cover the costs, then a structured privatization plan with an opt-out-clause must be negotiated.  This would allow us to withdraw from the agreement if we are not satisfied with the terms and conditions of service.  We need some type of control over our own utilities and as elected officials you owe us that much.  A final option for us is that if privatization is implemented by this Council, we as citizens can and should use a referendum too our city charter that allows us to file a petition within 30 days of your vote to collect the allotted percentage of signatures that will by our own charters language overturn your decision.

Pam Grey:  Good evening we are the people of Bellview Street.  We have heard thru the grapevine that if AQUA doesn’t get brought into the city, that our Bellview Project will go away.  Also heard that some of the council has switched over against AQUA, we are curious.  We also heard that they want to hire another Engineering Company, Why, they have already spent the money & know where the problem is.  We have been flooded 3 times in 1 year not with rain water but sewage.  How would you like that in your basements?  Some of us have lost a great deal and we fear every time it rains hard.  We shouldn’t have to live that way.  Karen has too live with 30 sandbags in her yard too try to help keep water out.  I basically lost everything in my basement in the last year.  Now I live with washer, dryer & freezer on concrete blocks.  Everything on shelves 2 up from the bottom.  Lyndsie Hindman has the sewer cover in her front yard and ends up with toilet paper and worse every time we get flooded.  She also has a 7 year old daughter that plays in that yard!  Bill Piper lost his living quarters in the basement literally thousands of dollars, now his wall is caving in.  Yes I know we aren’t the only ones with problems but we have been told over and over this will be fixed.  Maybe we should call the Council members next time to come over and help us clean up.  Other people on our street have been affected also.  It’s not fair we pay our taxes for this city & get no results too our problems.  Will this ever be fixed?  We would like an answer from the Council in the near future.

Mark Poindexter:  I am Mark Poiindexter and I have had two St. Clairsville lives.  I grew up here and moved back five or six years ago.  As I walked into the room I saw Coach Jones, he will always be Coach Jones too me.  We are a very competitive city.  You forget that if you leave for a while and then come back.  But as we are competitive we are surrounded by a lot of good people.  One of the first folks we ran into when we moved back was Linda Jordan.  We sat next to her at a Belmont County Board of Elections training session.  She was so nice, helped us along with the paperwork, and helped us with where to go and what to do.  As time went by we would see her sing and we had her at our church.  It is knowing people and building relationships that really helped us along with getting reconnected here in St. Clairsville.  There are lots of good people sitting here.  I hope that we think about our history here.  I joke and I tell people that I have 40 year old memories.  I left here in my early 20’s and now I am back.  So I remember who lived in certain houses and who owned certain gas stations or ice cream parlor.  As I look around this room there are some people here who will leave some terrific legacies.  Mr. Bukmir was my neighbor.   What a wonderful legacy his Father and Mother will leave for this community.  Sometimes you have to think about the good people that are representing us and how tough it has to be.  We are a very competitive community, always were and always will be.  Sometimes it is ok too sit back, take a breath, walk around the building do whatever you have to do and just think maybe if I just looked at things from a different perspective.  I am proud of everybody up here, I think you ae doing the best that you can do.  I think the support for this AQUA deal has been fabulous, I don’t think we have had this many people here trying to move their ball forward.  Thank you for your time, please think legacy.

Kathryn Thalman:  I certainly am not a stranger here, I have been coming to the meetings for about six months when I was asked very serendipitously too be on a water board by the Mayor.  As I went through the materials it just did not look like a good deal.  We have all fought a good fight, we have brought information, we have brought anger, passion and this is where it has brought us.  So tonight is not a time for passion or anger, it is a night of sadness and sorrow and frustration.  Why should we be sad?  Because some of our elected representatives have chosen political expediency over their sworn duty to represent the constituents they were elected to represent.  Sadness because we are watching our city stagnate Sadness because politicians have chosen to defy rather than unify our community.  I have to tell the story Mr. Sabatino, Mr. Velas and Mr. Bukmir my phone has been ringing off the hook with peoples frustrations that they are not getting return phone calls.  They are not getting passion from you why you are holding so steadfast.  I have such passion for this.  I love this little town and I don’t want to see it go down this road, I don’t want it to be the only town in Belmont County when the prosperity that is coming does come too our County.  Why do you think we got a Seventy Five Million Dollar grant? It is because of the prosperity and the infrastructure that is coming.  We are going to be the only town that has sold our most precious commodity.  That makes me sad but I get back to what I just said.  Help us understand when we have had the EPA in here with alternatives, we have had RCAP in here with alternatives, we have had citizens, we have had representatives bring in alternative information and I am asking you right now if you would answer me.  People are calling me day and night asking why you are holding this stand and won’t let us hold off too look at alternatives.  Can you answer me right now because I would like to take this back, I have taken phone numbers.  Jim Velas:  When it comes too alternatives no matter what people chose to believe or not believe we have been doing that.  Too this point there has been no definite decision made.  We just got the last bid in the form of a contract which everybody got in the last few days.  I don’t think anybody has really gone over it and that contract has to be compared with what we have found too this point what the other alternatives are.  So it is not that other alternatives have not been looked at, the main  plan is too attempt to give very safe water at as low a rate that can possibly be provided and too find the best solution to do that.  Privatize it then that is what we have to do.  Not too privatize it and do it ourselves then that is what we need to do.  We are in the process of looking at that at this point so that is basically all I can tell you.  Kathryn Thalman:  I appreciate you answering.  Jim Velas:  I can’t speak for anyone else but I have returned every phone call every message anybody has left.  I have kept copies of emails, I have talked to people on the phone for hours, and I have told other people too give people my home phone number.  If I am not there leave a message I will return the calls.  Kathryn Thalman:  Mrs. Jordan why with all the information you have received why do you still think that giving us a little bit of time to explore another alternative is a bad idea?  Linda Jordan:  Well because we have taken more than three years.  I echo Mr. Vela’s thoughts actually.  Frank Sabatino:  Every meeting I hear you say you ask questions.  If you have any questions the Mayor and the Service Director you go too their office and they will answer any question you want.  For the public, if you get on the website the facts and figures are there.  We have been transparent and I will correct you, we are not voting on that tonight.  I will use facts, figures and data too make the decision for the betterment of the city of St. Clairsville and it citizens.

Bill Brooks:  Asked for applause for retired Police Chief, Martin Kendra.  I am not going to take up Council’s time since I notified Council of this water situation in September 2018.  I am going to say that I have always respected Mr. Sabatino and Mrs. Jordan.  I remember when in October 2018 Council voted to support Build STC’s efforts to pass the school levy.  Mr. Sabatino and Mrs. Jordan both voted against the motion because they stated it wasn’t about what they wanted, it was about what the citizens want.  I hope when the vote comes up too sell our water system, they vote against it or at least vote to abstain until more information is provided.

Greg Honish:  I am a resident of St. Clairsville and I appreciate a chance to address you and express my thoughts on the water situation here.  Everybody in this room realizes we have a problem.  We have an old system that is in need of repair.  I commend Mayor Pugh, Director Zucal and this Council for addressing this issue.  It has been long overdue.  We got it out there now and we are working on it.  I don’t agree with the thought of selling this system to a private entity at this time.  My understanding is the only qualified bid we received was from AQUA-OH.   A project of this magnitude and too have this impact, we can’t go forward with that with just one bid.  Whether it is a good deal or not we don’t have anything to compare it too.  We need some more bids, either that means expanding the bidder list, maybe some changes in the specifications, I don’t know but I can’t believe that AQUA-OH is the only entity that we can go privately.  Please take that into consideration.   We need some more bids to see if this is a good deal.  The second point is how this fit does statically.  Bill Brooks is the one who brought my attention to this.  Is this what we really want to do for the long term is too privatize the water?  Other communities are doing that but I have a lot of questions about it.  What kind of rates of return could AQUA build into what they charge our residents?  It is almost like a hidden tax.  They are paying for whatever profit they will get from us.  There has been some discussion about possibly partnering with the County or outside entities too help us get funding in fact I think AQUA is contemplating doing that.  The final thing is that we don’t feel pressured by the Ohio EPA too move forward with the sale.  The other thing is the class three Operator.  Wait until you get more information.

REPORTS:

Service Director, Jim Zucal

At the last Council meeting, I outlined the condition of our 9- year old water treatment plant and distribution system.  Our systems have exceeded their useful life and some parts are literally crumbling.  In August, we lost more treated water than we were able to deliver to our customers.  More than 9 million gallons of water was lost too leaks throughout our system.  Not only do we not know where these leaks are, we don’t have the budget too fix them if we did.  Crumbling infrastructure isn’t our only problem and as you know, the Ohio EPA notified us of 26 violations and 18 recommendations in our water and wastewater systems dated September 9th.  We’re addressing many of them, but we simply don’t have the funds or expertise to address them all.  Mayor Pugh and I recently met with Craig Butler, Chief of the Ohio EPA’s Southeast Ohio office and others from his office.  They ae not going away and are here to stay.  The water plant has exceeded its useful life and needs major repairs or a plan to replace it.  They are going to keep a close eye to make sure the needed improvements get done correctly in a reasonable timeframe.  They acknowledge that we have done a good job of taking care of the dozens of violations some that were pointed out too the last administration.  But we still have many problems.  Thankfully, they approved our plan for our Class 3 operator of record.  This means we can share multiple operators to cover a seven-day week as long as their combined time totals forty hours.  This isn’t an ideal solution but it allows us to share these scarce operators either other jurisdictions for the time being.  Regretfully, they said we’re not currently eligible for grants.  Loan amounts will need to be in the tens of millions of dollars because our distribution system is as bad as our plant.  They confirmed earlier advice we’d received and stated, your bills need to be within 1.8-3.0 % of your median household income too compete for loans.  They recommend for St. C too be at 2.5% Median household income and we are currently at .8%.   That would mean doubling our rates.  Finally they suggested they should come too address Council as a whole too discuss these issues.  We expect to set up a meeting between Council and OEPA officials soon.  Tonight the proposed Asset Purchase Agreements for the purchase of our water and wastewater systems will receive their first of three readings.  Mayor Pugh is going to discuss what those agreements will and won’t do.  We know the systems need millions of dollars of investment.  Millions we don’t have and can’t get without at least doubling our rates.  AQUA is able to leverage their resources and keep rates much lower.  For whatever reason, some people would prefer to double or even triple our rates too keep the government in control of these utilities.  Doubling our rates too qualify for loans means our minimum bills would jump from 41.48 too well over $100 a month or more over the next several years.  Too vote against these agreements is too say that: You trust that the same institution that got you into this mess, will get us out and you believe that political entity, in spite of Neglecting the system for the past 30 years, preferring to pay for seemingly endless studies over making real investments.  It assumes that our elected officials of the future will buckle down, make the tough decisions and have the expertise to make the right decisions.  Too update our water system, it will cost the city between $20 and $25 million.  Not to mention, we’re carrying over $3 and a half million in debt for past water and sewer projects.  It all comes down to this: over the next few years, our water and wastewater systems need millions of dollars of investment and we don’t have the money.  Whatever we do, the city needs to take decisive action now too update both our water and our wastewater systems.  I want our constituents too have clean safe drinking water at a reasonable price.  Doubling our rates is not fair and I can’t support such a plan.  I believe Aqua is the right choice for this city.  Bill Brooks:  Is that a report or a lie?  Frank Sabatino:  Bill you are out of order, I will have you removed.  Beth Oprisch:  The only thing I can say about this is it is just not healthy, you are calling someone a liar.  Bill Brooks:  We have been hearing the same bull.  Beth Oprisch:  All I am saying is I disagree with half the stuff but there is a way too be respectful in this room and that is the point I am making.  Bill Brooks:  Should I take my shoe off and throw it like they do in other countries?  Frank Sabatino:  Bill that is enough.  Beth Oprisch:  Is this the time to talk about the contract?  Frank Sabatino:  No.  Beth Oprisch:  Jim brought it up in his report. Jim Zucal:  I am not prepared now.  Beth Oprisch:  That is my point we have had the contract for five days.  They have had three months to negotiate it I would just ask that we don’t have the first reading tonight until we have time to read the contract.

Mayor, Terry Pugh

Presented a Safety Award too Don Smithberger and his Electric Department that was awarded too them at the recent AMP Conference.  A resolution was awarded to the Electric Department at the Conference for going too Woodsfield too help restore power in May.

Read the Police Report for August:  Report is available in the Mayor’s Office.  Commended the Police Department for their hard work.

This past week the city employees with Richland Township employees completed paving work on several alleys in St. Clairsville and this cut the cost in half.  In return we will help the Township with projects.

We have a special meeting scheduled for next Wednesday, October 16th at 6:30.  Officials from the EPA have requested too have an Executive Session with Council.  If the public has any questions they should get them too their Councilman.

At our meeting on October 21st Kim Bojko, our Attorney will be here too answer questions about the contract.  If anyone has questions they should get them too their Councilman.  This will be in the public meeting.

Tonight Council will take its first step toward solving our water and wastewater problems; problems that threaten our financial stability and the health and safety of our customers and our environment.  I worry about major failures at our water plant or distribution system.  I worry about the possibility of a breakdown that demands immediate repair and we can’t afford too fix or even band-aid it now.  I care deeply about this community and my roots are deep here.  Jim and I have been talking about this since my first year in office.  Jim has discussed our water and wastewater problems with council meeting since August 2016.  Some claim we’re rushing into our decision to solve these problems.  I can’t tell you how much it frustrates me too hear that.  These aren’t new problems.  I’ve literally been asking the city to take these problems seriously for years.  We began exploring options to pay for the millions of dollars we need more than three years ago.  Selling the system wasn’t even a consideration then.  But we moved slowly, deliberately.  Of those of you who think we rushed to this point, I’m glad you are finally paying attention.  We’ve literally been looking at the problems and possible solutions for years.  The City has neglected these systems for decades.  Now is the time too face facts?  It is time for each of us too be leaders and take action.  Too those who suggest we delay decisions even more with the excuses like:  “we should do more studies” or we should think about this more. I have to ask you this:  When is enough, enough.  Do we have to make national headlines like the City of Toledo?  Do we wait until we have to quadruple our rates too fix it ourselves?  More studies and discussions ae just delaying tactics to avoid making decisions.  It is time to take action.  And if you don’t act to approve this agreement, Council better start planning too double or triple rates.  Too turn your back on this opportunity is too continue to gamble with the future of this community, our financial viability and our environment or too double utility bills to be able to get loans and be able to pay them back.

Contrary to what some people have claimed, the asset purchase agreements that will receive their first reading tonight does not “sell the City’s water.”   It doesn’t sell either of our reservoirs or the spillway or even the land where the water and wastewater treatment plants are located.  What this agreement would sell, if passed, are the treatment plants themselves including the pipes, tanks and valves.  It would sell the forty miles of mains, fire hydrants and sanitary sewer pipes that network through the city.  Most importantly, it would get the city out from under the burden of paying too update those plants and system.

Police Chief, Jeff Henry – No Report

Finance Director, Cindi Henry

I do have two documents too present tonight.  Resolution No. 2019-24 This is the Resolution that I emailed you about last week.  This is the Resolution for our new water tank.  When this project was put forth it was estimated to be 2.4 million dollars.  After the bids and everything shook out it came down to 1.9 million.  What happens though is all the funding metrologies change too.  So OPWC got decreased because they go on the total project.  What was 2 .4 is now 1.9.  As a result of that we lost over $200,000 of that anticipated funding. This has to be passed tonight.

Ordinance No. 2019-27 is accepting the rates that the Budget committee put together.

Planning and Zoning Administrator, Tom Murphy – No Report

COUNCIL COMMITTEES:

Finance, Mike Smith:  No Report

Utilities, Frank Sabatino:  Met Tonight, Congratulate Don Smithberger and Crew

Police, Mark Bukmir:  No Report

Street North Side, Jim Velas:  Several alleys in my ward

Street South Side, Beth Oprisch:  No Report

Safety, Jim Velas:  The safety meeting for the month was general safety. Good for the workers.

Building and Grounds, Perry Basile:  No Report

Planning Commission, Mike Smith:  No Report

Fire District, Frank Sabatino:  The meeting was September 25th and we were told by the Chief that the new squad car would be in by the end of November but we were told there would be a delay on that.  The next meeting will be Wednesday, October 16 at the main station.

Recreation, Linda Jordan:  Flag football is ending on Sunday, The costume contest is October 26th if any Council people would like to judge that they would really appreciate it.  The next meeting is October 21st at 4:00

Park District, Linda Jordan:  The Park is in the process of installing a new splash pad.   The meetings are now once a month and the next one is October 14th.

Law Director, Richard Myser:

Tonight we have six pieces of legislation first is Resolution No. 2019-22.  That is the piece of legislation that is on its second reading.  The second is Resolution No. 2019-24 on its first reading.  Ordinance No. 2019-25 is on its first reading.  Ordinance No. 2019-26 is on its first reading.  Ordinance No. 2019-27 is also on its first reading.

There was presented and read to Council on its second reading by title only, Resolution No. 2019-22  A RESOLUTION RECOMMENDING THE CITY ADMINISTRATION WORKING WITH THE CITY COUNCIL UTILITY COMMITTEE, EXPLORE FURTHER OPTIONS WITH WE. QUICKS ALL ENGINEERING COMPANY AND THE OHIO RURAL COMMUNITY ASSISTANCE PROGRAM FOR THE FUNDING AND IMPROVEMENT OF THE CITY WATER AND SEWER SYSTEMS AND DECLARING AN EMERGENCY. Beth Oprisch and seconded by Perry Basile.

ROLL CALL VOTE:

Basile                          Yes                              Sabatino                                  No

Bukmir                        No                               Smith                                       Yes

Jordan                         No                               Velas                                       No

Oprisch                        Yes

Roll Call Vote:            Three (3) yes     Four   (4) No                         Motion Approved

There was presented and read too Council on its first reading by title only, RESOLUTION NO. 2019-24; A RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR OF THE CITY OF ST. CLAIRSVILLE, TOO APPLY FOR, ACCEPT, AND ENTER INTO A WATER SUPPLY REVOLVING LOAN ACCOUNT AGREEMENT FOR CONSTRUCTION OF THE NEW RESERVOIR.  Linda Jordan moved that the rules requiring Ordinances and Resolutions to be read on three separate readings be suspended and declaring an emergency; Jim Velas seconded the motion.

ROLL CALL VOTE:

Basile                          Yes                  Sabatino                                  Yes

Bukmir                        Yes                  Smith                                       Yes

Jordan                         Yes                  Velas                                       Yes

Oprisch                        Yes

Roll Call Vote:            Seven (7) Yes              Zero (0) No.    Motion Approved

There was presented and read to Council on its first reading by title only, ORDINANCE NO. 2019-25; AN ORDINANCE AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR TOO ENTER INTO AN ASSET PURCHASE AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE CITY OF ST. CLAIRSVILLE, OHIO. AS SELLER AND AQUA OHIO WATER, INC., AS PURCHASER, AND AUTHORIZING THE ASSIGNMENT OF THE CITY’S RIGHTS AND OBLIGATIONS THEREUNDER AND DECLARING AN EMERGENCY.

There was presented and read to Council on its first reading by title only; ORDINANCE NO. 2019-26. AN ORDINANCE AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR TOO ENTER INTO AN ASSET PURCHASE AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE CITY OF ST. CLAIRSVILLE, OHIO, AS SELLER AND AQUA OHIO WASTEWATER, INC., AS PURCHASER, AND AUTHORIZING THE ASSIGNMENT OF THE CITY’S RIGHTS AND OBLIGATIONS THEREUNDER AND DECLARING AN EMERGENCY.

There was presented and read too Council on its first reading by title only; ORDINANCE NO. 2019-27; RESOLUTION ACCEPTING THE AMOUNTS AND RATES AS DETERMINED BY THE BUDGET COMMISSION AND AUTHORIZING THE NECESSARY TAX LEVIES AND CERTIFYING THEM TOO THE COUNTY AUDITOR AND DECLARING AN EMERGENCY.  Jim Velas moved that the rules requiring Ordinances and Resolutions too be read on three separate readings be suspended and declaring an emergency; Mark Bukmir seconded the motion.

ROLL CALL VOTE:

Basile                          No                               Sabatino                                  Yes

Bukmir                        Yes                              Smith                                       Yes

Jordan                         Yes                              Velas                                       Yes

Oprisch                        Yes

Roll Call Vote:                        Six (6) Yes                  One (1) No      Motion Approved

There was presented and read too Council on its third and final reading by title only; ORDINANCE NO. 2019-27.   A motion was made by Jim Velas and seconded by Linda Jordan the Ordinance No. 2019-27 be passed by Council.

ROLL CALL VOTE:

Basile                          No                               Sabatino                                  Yes

Bukmir                        Yes                              Smith                                       Yes

Jordan                         Yes                              Velas                                       Yes

Oprisch                        Yes

Roll Call Vote:            Seven (7) Yes              Zero (0) No     Motion Approved

Ordinance NO. 2019-27 was declared adopted.

NEW, OLD & OTHER BUSINESS:

Trick or Treat Night on Wednesday, October 30th from 6:00 to 7:30.

Next Meeting will be Monday, October 21, 2019

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

October 7 2019 Council Minutes


Resolution Number 2019 – 29_Second Reading

RESOLUTION NUMBER 2019 – 29

A RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING PARTICIPATION

IN THE ODOT CONTRACT (018-20) FOR

ROAD SALT AND DECLARING AN EMERGENCY

 

            WHEREAS, the City of St. Clairsville, Belmont County, Ohio, (hereinafter referred to as the “Political Subdivision”) hereby submits this written agreement to participate in the Ohio Department of Transportation’s (ODOT) annual road salt bid (018-20) in accordance with Ohio Revised Code §5513.01(B) and hereby agrees to all of the following terms and conditions in its participation of the ODOT road salt contract:

  1. The Political Subdivision hereby agrees to be bound by all terms and conditions established by ODOT in the road salt contract and acknowledges that upon of award of the contract by the Director of ODOT it shall be bound by all such terms and conditions included in the contract; and
  2. The Political Subdivision hereby acknowledges that upon the Director of ODOT’s signing of the road salt contract, it shall effectively form a contract between the awarded salt supplier (American Rock Salt) and the Political Subdivision; and
  3. The Political Subdivision agrees to be solely responsible for resolving all claims or disputes arising out of its participation in the ODOT road salt contract and agrees to hold the Department of Transportation harmless for any claims, actions, expenses, or other damages arising out of the Political Subdivision participation in the road salt contract; and
  4. The Political Subdivision hereby requests through this participation agreement a total of 300 tons of Sodium Chloride (Road Salt) of which the Political Subdivision agrees to purchase from its awarded salt supplier (American Rock Salt) at the delivered bid price per ton awarded by the Director of ODOT; and
  5. The Political Subdivision hereby agrees to purchase the above requested salt quantities from its awarded salt supplier during the contract’s effective period; and
  6. The Political Subdivision hereby agrees to place orders with and directly pay the awarded salt supplier on a net 30 basis for all road salt it receives pursuant to ODOT salt contract; and

NOW, THEREFORE, be it ordained by the following authorized person(s) that this participation agreement for the ODOT road salt contract is hereby approved, funding has been authorized, and the Political Subdivision agrees to the above terms and conditions regarding participation on the ODOT salt contract.

Section 1:        That the participation agreement for the ODOT road salt contract is hereby approved, funding has been authorized, and the Political Subdivision agrees to the above terms and conditions regarding participation on the ODOT salt contract.

Section 2:        That this Resolution is declared to be an emergency measure necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health and the safety of the residents of the City of St. Clairsville regarding the ODOT contract for road salt.


Resolution Number 2019 – 28_Second Reading

RESOLUTION NUMBER 2019 – 28

A RESOLUTION APPROVING A PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN

THE CITY OF ST. CLAIRSVILLE, OHIO, AND THE 

BELMONT COUNTY SOIL AND WATER CONSERVATION DISTRICT

 

WHEREAS, the State of Ohio, through the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, regulates storm water management along with the City of St. Clairsville, within the municipal limits of St. Clairsville; and

WHEREAS, the City of St. Clairsville would like to educate the public on the importance of storm water management within the municipal limits and develop a partnership with the Belmont County Soil and Water Conservation District.

            NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF ST. CLAIRSVILLE, OHIO, as follows:

Section 1:        That the City of St. Clairsville understands the importance of educating the public regarding storm water management.

Section 2:        That the City of St. Clairsville has met with the Board of the Belmont County Soil and Water Conservation District regarding a partnership between the two entities to educate the public on storm water management.

Section 3:        That the Board of the Belmont County Soil and Water Conservation District approved the partnership and will work with the City of St. Clairsville to help educate, collaborate and promote storm water management to the public through seminars and pamphlets

Section 4:        That this Resolution shall take effect and be in force from and after the earliest period allowed by the Charter of the City of St. Clairsville, Ohio.

 


City Council Vacancy in 4th Ward – action needed soon

Release Date:  October 23, 2019

With the election of 4th Ward Councilman Jim Velas to serve as the President of St. Clairsville’s City Council, the 4th Ward Council seat is vacant.  Council is seeking letters of interest from residents of the 4th Ward ONLY.  The 4th Ward is the northwest quadrant of the City which falls between the north side of U.S. 40 / Main Street and the west side of North Sugar Street to the City limits.  Letters of interest must be directed to Kathy Kaluger, Council Clerk, either in person or by email (kkaluger@stclairsville.com) by the Council-imposed deadline of 4:30 P. M. on Monday, October 28, 2019.  If questions, please contact the Council Clerk by calling 740-695-1324 or by email.


Trick-or-Treat Night

Trick-or-treat will be Wednesday, October 30th, from 6-7:30 pm.  Also, the Sheriff’s Office will be scanning candy bags at the Courthouse after trick-or-treat.


September 16, 2019 Council Minutes

COUNCIL MINUTES

September 16, 2019

 

St. Clairsville City Council met in Council Chambers on Monday, September 16, 2019 with the following present:

Tim Porter, Council President                         Terry Pugh, Mayor

Perry Basile, Council, 1st Ward                        Jim Zucal, Director of Public Services

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

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

Beth Oprisch, Council-At-Large                      Cindi Henry, Finance Director

Frank Sabatino, Council, 2nd Ward                  Jeff Henry, Police Chief

Mike Smith, Council-At-Large

Jim Velas, Council 4th Ward

The meeting was called to order by President, Tim Porter

Minutes:  September 3, 2019 minutes not available

Citizens Hearing: 

Jody Williams:  Thank you for the opportunity to speak to you all tonight.  Tonight I would like to address my comments specifically to the Mayor, Mr. Zucal and City Council.  My name is Jody Williams.  I am representing myself and my husband Jim Williams.  We are under contract to purchase a house within St. Clairsville city limits we have much concern on the quality and condition of the water system.  I have attended almost every council meeting in the last five months and I am dismayed at the condescending responses that have often been made by Mayor Pugh and Service Director Zucal to the city Council legitimate concerns and questions.  I find it very frustrating that there is a reluctance to answer questions with concrete data and information that can be understood and then explored.  Options were publicly discussed during the August 28 council meeting by the Engineering Firm Quicksall.  The engineers conceded that St. Clairsville is not a unique situation, that almost all municipalities are experiencing water and infrastructure concerns.  Due to this concession how many municipalities are we working with too uncover options that are pertinent too our water conditions?  Wouldn’t it make sense and serve all local communities too come together in order to explore all safe water alternatives?  Have any of our neighboring towns found that selling their water is the most equitable solution?  Julie from ARCAP also presented financing alternatives for the contradictions regarding interest rates and proposed water rates, were they ever resolved?  My career as a pharmaceutical representative providing me with training that emphasized the importance of concrete data, safety information and demographics too make informed decisions.  You can’t just say something you have to prove it.  Have you proven too City Council and the Citizens of St. Clairsville that the selling of our water is the only solution?  I believe that water is a very precious resource and that the quality, safety and access are all citizenry entitlement.  Those entitlements Mayor and Service Director are your responsibility.  After the executive session on September 10th at the open meeting Mayor Pugh and Service Director Zucal stated that everyone needs to work together.  I would like too completely agree with that, however, please define everyone.  Is it just you two and AQUA, is it you two and four of the Council Members?  Please define everyone.  It would be my limited political understanding that everyone would include every resident in St. Clairsville.  You consistently state that we keep kicking the can down the road.   Who are you referring too when you say we and what is the can and where is the road?  Basically according to the EPA this kicking is coming to an end.  The only solution you are proposing is too sell our water.  This is being decided without adequate due diligence.  This is a major economic and health related decision.  Mr. Zucal, as Service Director can you supply documents of improvements and maintenance too our water system in the three years that you have been Service Director?  Mr. Zucal and Mayor Pugh have you explored the alleged law suits that AQUA is involved in and the legal concerns that AQUA faces?  Can AQUA meet the EPA time line in a satisfactory way?  Why is the EPA suddenly issuing ultimatums and deadlines when past water samples have met their standards?  There are just too many unanswered questions and too many contradictions.  In order to get the citizens of St. Clairsville behind this project will you obtain third party too explore all options and present a written proposal a full report with three viable solutions, include all costs, financial alternatives, increased resident rates and long term feasibilities.  This would enable council to compare apples to apples and then too make an informed knowledgeable decision.

Mike Osovich:  I want to thank everyone for being here tonight and taking time out of their evening.  I am a forty year resident and forty year business person in St. Clairsville.  I have a lot of concerns about a lot of different things.  We don’t even have time to get into all of my concerns.  I remember as a young man I had a car that had a bad tire on it, every other day I had to put air in it.  I remember my dad telling me get that tire fixed before you get stranded.  Guess what that tire blew out on a cold rainy night and regretfully I knew I had to call dad.  I was in the Athens area and it was pouring down rain.  I remember my dad saying son, bad judgement and incompetency your part does not constitute an emergency on my part.  He left me sit there for longer that he probably should have.  Isn’t that what we are really dealing with here today?  Why hasn’t the water situation been looked at long before now by the current administration?  Deterioration, rusty pipes do not happen overnight.  In addition to that why hasn’t a class 3 operator been hired?  We know we have needed one since March.  Why the closed door meetings?  Here is my take.  In my opinion I have seen the City millions of dollars in debt and the AQUA sale a bail out for the current administration.  Among residents that I have had the pleasure to speak with believe that the Mayor, Mr. Zucal and some of the Council Members thought that AQUA was in the bag.  The residents of this fine community would just fall victim too it all.  That is why an operator wasn’t hired in my opinion.  Would it be AQUA’s problem?  Maybe.  Now because of the lack of proper execution we are faced with staggering fines from the EPA of $100,000 per day until we employ one.  It is very obvious that the Mayor and Mr. Zucal have been caught with their pants down and we the residents are expected to pay the price again. As a resident and business man like many others here I am appalled and embarrassed by the current administration and many of the Council Members.  It is our water, we need to keep it our water.  If we don’t do something pretty soon my concern is the sign on the east end of town that says city of St. Clairsville is going to say village of St. Clairsville.

Kathy Osovich:  I am a Realtor, I have been a realtor for about 24 years now.   Before that Mike and I started Prime Time Video we were in business for about 40 years.  We have taken the punches with the City over the years.  I have stayed quiet up too now because of my profession because I don’t know who is for and who is against.  I try not to be political.  Now is time to talk about it.  Regarding the water system, everything that Jody just said is spot on and everything Mike just also.  I am not going to repeat any of that.  Why I am standing here before you is I have had numerous people with the negative face book stuff going on, there is stuff in the newspaper, stuff on TV.  It is affecting our values.  It has not affected them yet so much but I am afraid it is going too.  I have a listing right now here in town, it is close to $400,000 and their comment to me was I glad we are selling now, glad to get out of here.  I used to get calls from people who only wanted to live in St. Clairsville now thy say anywhere but in St. Clairsville.  As a realtor, as a business person for 40 years watching how this has all happened and like Mike said it hasn’t happened over night.  I don’t think we should be making this decision right now just because.  The other thing I am going to touch on is the Community Garden.  I am very concerned about it.   Once again it is a St. Clairsville epic fail.  A lot of money was put into it and it is just trash now.  Nobody does anything with it.  I am an avid Gardner and I have supported it every year and I volunteered every year and it is just going down the drain.

Kathryn Thalman:  I am a concerned Citizen and I just want to say that I have gotten into this and the more I peel back the layers of the onion the worse it gets.  Mr. Zucal and Mr. Pugh said at the last meeting we will do everything for the good of St. Clairsville.  I have a report drinking water source assessment from the City of St. Clairsville from June of 2017.  Drinking water quality monitoring summary.  It revealed that the system had no water quality violations from 2000 to 2016.   We now have a list of violations as long as my arm.  I think it is time for the Pugh administration to go and let this town begin to heal not just the water, the trees, and the crisis in the Police Department.

REPORTS:

Service Director, Jim Zucal

At the last two meetings we discussed the poor condition of our Water and Sewer Treatment Plants and water distribution and waste water collection system.  For anyone who questions the need for investment in these systems the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency issued the last notice of violations which outlined several serious deficiencies that we face.  Again these mandates come from the Ohio EPA.  I would like to update you on three main issues of that report, the efforts that we made, attempting to hire a class 3 operator for our water treatment plant, the status of our responses to the EPA and the most recent list of violations and how I am going to address those and the state of negotiations with AQUA, Ohio.  We have been looking for a class 3 operator since March through professional contacts and EPA recommendations.  We believe the EPA would be flexible with us on our requirement to hire a person with this certification because we have two class 2 operators who are perusing their class 3 and the EPA realizes there is a shortage of these operators across the state of Ohio.  This is a state wide problem no different than the infrastructure problem that we are facing here, all over Ohio and all over the Country.  Until a recent survey of the plant by EPA personnel and subsequent letter that we saw the condition of the plant, they monitor it monthly.  Since the survey we have increased our effort to find a class 3 operator.  The universe that these individuals operate in is very limited.  We have a list of all the qualified people in the area and I have been reaching out to them individually.  In case there is someone outside the Ohio Valley that is looking for a job change we are advertising in five Ohio publications and on our website.  So far we have not found an operator interested in joining our operation.  Based on the feedback that we have been getting I believe there are two main reasons we are having trouble attracting Talent.  The first is the condition of our plant and distribution system and no commitment to find necessary improvements.  If a person signs on too lead our operation at the plant they are putting their professional reputation on the line.  People understand the failing condition of our plant and know we don’t have the resources to make the needed investments.  If we hire someone and we have a catastrophic failure in the treatment plant it will leave a permanent mark on someone’s professional reputation.  The second reason I think we are having trouble attracting someone into this position is even though AQUA has agreed to hire our employees if we reach an agreement, I think it is a lot to ask someone to make a career change and maybe move their family when it isn’t clear who will own the system over the next few years.  It may be a difficult decision to make when you don’t know who your boss is going to be and there is no security involved.  As far as notifications of violations from the EPA, the next item I would like to address are those items.  The treatment and distribution system that we currently maintain, as required in the letter, I plan to respond to them in writing within the next thirty days.  We are working on more manageable issues as we acquire revenue, however there ae issues that we simply are not equipped to address without additional resources like reducing our water loss from 30% to 40% to 15%.  The month of August our water loss percentage was 52%.  As I told Council recently finding the leaks is one thing but the real challenge is when we find them.  We need the resources to fix them.  In addition to this incredible water loss too our system, we do not have the modern firefighting pipe lines that we need.  25% of our system is 4 inch water pipe and we know that many of these pieces of pipe are leaking throughout the City.  We just don’t have the funds to take them on.  When you take up water pipe today you must rebuild the streets too State standards and Federal standards and American with Disability Act Requirements.  Items like repairing the leak in the holding tank in the lower level of the water plant those are small issues compared to others.  Evaluating the main reservoir, provident reservoir, establishing a back flow prevention program, etc.  Our Utility Department is not equipped to undertake many of these problems and we don’t have the resource too outsource them.  Frankly our hope is too pass the responsibility off too an organization that has experience with massive projects such as these as well as the expertise and resources to implement them successfully.  The Mayor and I are meeting with the Chief, Craig Butler from the Ohio EPA on Friday of this week.  We plan to discuss the challenges that we are facing with trying to hire a class 3 operator as well as violations at the meeting.  I will brief Council as I get additional information.  Without big rate increases we do not meet the qualifications to raise the millions of dollars we need.  Let me restate all options for funding are still on the table should Council decide to raise the rates too meet requirements for assistance.  Only this Council has the authority to take that action.  We can’t afford to wait years for Belmont County too build their new plant.  We have no guarantee that they will be able to fill all of our needs if we do wait.  The City has delayed fixing our crumbling system.  The need to increase rates has been there for decades.  The situation is critical as the plant and our system reaches the end of its useful life, I am quoting the EPA.  The administration hopes to bring you the proposal for the first reading and your eventual consideration.  The City needs to decide on a clear direction very soon or face significant consequences for noncompliance with the EPA.   Councilman Oprisch asked me for a letter where she had some questions, I am going to give that too her tonight.  I did answer all of those for her.

I have had several phone calls today.  For those of you who have seen rather large water trucks going through the city from the water plant to the wastewater plant.  That company is Zimba Brothers Inc. They are a vac system company.  They have three large trucks running.  As mandated by the Ohio EPA we are vacing out our carbon lagoons taking out all the sediment from the water plant and as permitted by the Ohio EPA putting that material on our sandbag filters at the wastewater plant with a price tag of between $70 & $100 thousand dollars.

Perry Basile:  Last Friday Myself, Tim Porter, Jeff Vaughn. Jeff is an Engineer and works directly with the County on their water system.  I wanted to sit with him and take a look at all the violations that were given by the EPA.   I asked him what is the remedy too this and what is the cost?   Some of the issues are operations and some are administrative like record keeping, missing information, etc.  There are many things that can be fixed without a lot of money.  Many things have not been maintained.  Our plant is in bad shape but we can keep it long enough with repairs until the County gets their water plant complete, then we can go on County water which we will do anyway.  It never has been in the cards to build a new plant.  All we have to do is get the plant up and running too where the EPA can approve it and then we concentrate on the distribution.  We do have some more costly issues.  Perry gave a report on what he feels can be fix so we can keep our plant as least until the County water is readily available.  Jim Zucal:  The fixes that Perry is talking about are not easy fixes.  There are water problems all over the State of Ohio.  Our system is not unique.  The manageable issues that Perry brought up, we are taking care of them.  Almost a third of our water system has 4” pipes.  The EPA states that by law that you cannot have a fire hydrant on a 4” water main.  In that report they are telling us we have to remove and replace 10.4 miles of 4” water main.  That doesn’t mean you go out with a backhoe and start digging. You have to have it engineered, you have to have a permit to install from the EPA, You have to advertise for bids, you have too award bids and have a general plan.  It could take years if not decades to replace 10.4 miles of water main.  You would have to take a street blow it out from curb too curb new water lines, new sewer lines, new water taps, you have to put in a new road system, you have to build it too Federal Law too ADA compliance.  Millions of dollars, it doesn’t matter who is here that is what you have to do.  The EPA says the Provident Reservoir has to be cleaned up or abandoned.  I don’t want to downplay Perry’s suggestions.  The gasket in the clarifier is a $100,000 fix.   The seal is so old it had to be custom made.  We had to shut the system down and buy County water.  My job is to inform Council and make hard decisions. 

Mayor, Terry Pugh

I just want to thank all the crews for all the hard work.  Street Department has been out painting all the stripes.  We had a big wind storm a couple of weeks ago, all the departments were out collecting debris from that.  Last night a driver was texting and took out two of our electric poles, knocked out power too part of the City.  I want to thank our Electric Department who were out too early hours in the morning.

Everyone should look at the new water tank that is going up at the Commons.  It is starting to look like a water tank and they are moving ahead.

With the help of Richland Township we will be paving some of the alleys in the City hopefully next week.

Trees:  Beth Oprisch:  I have gotten a lot of comments from people upset with the trees on Main Street.  Terry Pugh:  My feeling on these trees is some of them were the wrong trees, the sidewalks were raising, and the trees had never been trimmed.  I was getting complaints from some of the business owners.  We went out for bid and this company was the low bidder.  In fact Mike Osovich had a tree by his house that another tree trimmer would not even give us a bid on.  It was on city right of way and this company took care of it for us.  

Police Chief, Jeff Henry – No Report

Finance Director, Cindi Henry

I emailed you Ordinance no. 2019-23.  It is a move of $200,000 from the Permanent Improvement fund too Repairs.  It needs to be done on an emergency basis.

Planning and Zoning Administrator, Tom Murphy

Pizza Milano is moving along.  They are doing a lot of inside work now.  They hope to be open by the end of the year.  Many of you I am sure have seen the framing of the new structure in front of the Knights of Columbus.  That structure is going to house the Olympic Tae-Kwan-Do Academy and another office.  Things are moving along there as well.

COUNCIL COMMITTEES:

Finance, Mike Smith:  I am going to meet with Jim and Cindi to go over projected water rates.  Cindi has the Rec. Center accounts running pretty good now.

Utilities, Frank Sabatino:  No Report

Police, Mark Bukmir:  No Report

Street North Side, Jim Velas: 

Glad to hear that we are going to get the paver too do some of the alleys.  Some of the alleys that are in bad shape are Newell Avenue Extension and the alley by King’s Auto Glass.

Streets South Side, Beth Oprisch:  No Report

Safety, Jim Velas:  The next safety meeting will be held on the 26th at the City Garage at 9:00.  The program will be CPR and First Aid.

Building and Grounds, Perry Basile:  No Report

Planning Commission, Mike Smith:  No Report

Fire District, Frank Sabatino:  The next meeting will be September 25th at 3:00 at the Main Station.

Recreation, Linda Jordan:  Our new Program Coordinator Debbi Reed seems to be working out very well.  Olivia stepped down too go back to school for her master’s degree.

Park District, Linda Jordan:  The Park is now closed.

Law Director, Richard Myser:

Tonight we have three pieces of legislation first is Resolution No. 2019-20.  That is the piece of legislation that is on its third and final reading.  The second is Resolution No. 2019-22 on its first reading and Ordinance No. 2019-23 on its first reading.

There was presented and read to Council on its third and final reading by title only, Resolution No. 2019-20; A RESOLUTION DECLARING THE OFFICIAL INTENT AND REASONABLE EXPECTATION OF THE CITY OF ST. CLAIRSVILLE ON BEHALF OF THE STATE OF OHIO (THE BORROWER) TO REIMBURSE ITS PERMANENT IMPROVEMENT PROJECTS FUND FOR THE BELLVIEW SANITARY AND STORM SEWER SEPARATION PROJECT, OPWC PROJECT NUMBER CR30W, WITH THE PROCEEDS OF TAX-EXEMPT DEBT OF THE STATE OF OHIO AND DECLARING AN EMERGENCY.  A motion was made by Linda Jordan and seconded by Jim Velas that Resolution No. 2019-20 be passed by Council.

ROLL CALL VOTE:

Basile                                    Yes                                         Sabatino                                              Yes

Bukmir                                 Yes                                         Smith                                                    Yes

Jordan                                  Yes                                         Velas                                                     Yes

Oprisch                                 Yes

Roll Call Vote:   Seven (7) yes     Zero (0) No         Motion Approved

Resolution No. 2019-20 was declared adopted.

There was presented and read too Council on its first reading by title only, RESOLUTION NO. 2019-22; A RESOLUTION RECOMMENDING THE CITY ADMINISTRATION, WORKING WITH THE CITY COUNCIL UTILITY COMMITTEE, EXPLORE FURTHER OPTIONS WITH W.E. QUICKSALL ENGINEERING COMPANY AND THE OHIO RURAL COMMUNITY ASSISTANCE PROGRAM FOR THE FUNDING AND IMPROVEMENT OF THE CITY

WATER AND SEWER SYSTEMS AND DECLARING AN EMERGENCY.  Perry Basile moved that the rules requiring Ordinances and Resolutions to be read on three separate readings be suspended and declaring an emergency; Beth Oprisch seconded the motion.

ROLL CALL VOTE:

Basile                                    Yes                                         Sabatino                                              No

Bukmir                                 No                                          Smith                                                    Yes

Jordan                                  No                                          Velas                                                     No

Oprisch                                 Yes

Roll Call Vote:                   Three (3) Yes                     Four (4) No.        Motion Not Approved

There was presented and read to Council on its first reading by title only, ORDINANCE NO. 2019-23; AN ORDINANCE TOO MAKE REALLOCATIONS (SUPPLEMENTAL APPROPRIATIONS) WITHIN THE FUNDS FOR THE NORMAL EXPENSES AND OTHER EXPENDITURES OF THE CITY OF ST. CLAIRSVILLE, STATE OF OHIO FOR THE PERIOD JANUARY 1, 2019 THROUGH DECEMBER 31, 2019 AND DECLARING AN EMERGENCY.  Beth Oprisch moved that the rules requiring Ordinances and Resolutions to be read on three separate readings be suspended and declaring an emergency; Mike Smith seconded the motion.

ROLL CALL VOTE:

Basile                                    Yes                                         Sabatino                                              Yes

Bukmir                                 Yes                                         Smith                                                    Yes

Jordan                                  Yes                                         Velas                                                     Yes

Oprisch                                 Yes

Roll Call Vote:                   Seven (7) Yes                     Zero (0) No         Motion Approved

There was presented and read to Council on its third and final reading by title only; ORDINANCE NO. 2019-23. A motion was made by Mike Smith and seconded by Jim Velas that Ordinance No. 2019-23 be passed by Council.

ROLL CALL VOTE:

Basile                                    Yes                                         Sabatino                                              Yes

Bukmir                                 Yes                                         Smith                                                    Yes

Jordan                                  Yes                                         Velas                                                     Yes

Oprisch                                 Yes

Roll Call Vote:                   Seven (7) Yes                     Zero (0) No         Motion Approved

Ordinance No. 2019-23 was declared adopted.

NEW, OLD & OTHER BUSINESS:

Calvary Presbyterian Church requested permission to block St. Patrick’s Alley from 1:00 p.m. too 5:00 p.m. for their annual Fall Festival.  A motion was made by Linda Jordan and seconded by Mike Smith to allow the closing.

ROLL CALL VOTE:

Basile                                    Yes                                         Sabatino                                              Yes

Bukmir                                 Yes                                         Smith                                                    Yes

Jordan                                  Yes                                         Velas                                                     Yes

Oprisch                                 Yes

Roll Call Vote:                   Seven (7) Yes                     Zero (0) No         Motion Approved

Trick or Treat night was discussed.  October 31st is on Thursday, The football team is playing an away game on Thursday.  We have had requests mainly from the school to have Trick or Treat any day other than Thursday.  After discussion a motion was made by Beth Oprisch and seconded by Jim Velas to hold Trick or Treat Night on Wednesday, October 30th from 6:00 to 7:30.

ROLL CALL VOTE:

Basile                                    Yes                                         Sabatino                                              Yes

Bukmir                                 Yes                                         Smith                                                    Yes

Jordan                                  No                                          Velas                                                     Yes

Oprisch                                 Yes

Roll Call Vote:                   Six (6) Yes                           One (1) No          Motion Approved

There being no further business to come before Council a motion to adjourn was made by Perry Basile and seconded by Mike Smith.

At a meeting of City Council on the 7th of October, 2019, Council adopted the minutes of the September 16, 2019 regular meeting.

September 16, 2019 Council Minutes