City of St. Clairsville

On behalf of the City, Mayor Thalman accepts “2020 Cooperator of the Year Award” from Belmont SWCD – Read More...

Donations to assist delinquent utility account holders must be directed to the St. Clairsville Council of Churches – Read More...

August 3, 2020 Council Minutes

ST. CLAIRSVILLE CITY COUNCIL

August 3, 2020 Meeting

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

Jim Velas, Council President                                             Kathryn Thalman, Mayor

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

Mark Bukmir, Council, 3rd Ward                                     Annette Williams, Finance Director

Terra Butler, Council, 4th Ward                                        Elizabeth Glick, Law Director

Linda Jordan, Council-At-Large                                       Don Smithberger, Super. of General Services

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

Frank Sabatino, Council 2nd Ward

Mike Smith, Council-At-Large

The meeting was called to order by Council President Jim Velas at 7:31pm. President Velas led Council in the Pledge of Allegiance and thanked those residents listening to the meeting.

ROLL CALL:

Basile              HERE                                     Oprisch           HERE

Bukmir            HERE                                     Sabatino          HERE

Butler              HERE                                     Smith               HERE

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

MINUTES: President Velas confirmed all councilmembers received the minutes from the July 20, 2020 meeting and July 29, 2020 special meeting. Councilwoman Oprisch asked and confirmed the changes requested. Councilman Bukmir wanted the audio verified for wording. Council Clerk made the changes prior to the meeting.

Councilwoman Butler made a motion to approve the minutes from the July 20, 2020 Council meeting; motion seconded by Councilman Basile.

ROLL CALL:

Basile              YES                                        Oprisch            YES

Bukmir            YES                                        Sabatino          YES

Butler              YES                                        Smith               YES

Jordan             YES

Roll Call Vote:            Seven (7) YES                        Zero (0) NO                                 Minutes Approved

Councilman Bukmir stated while the July 29, 2020 minutes are accurate, he did not request an Executive Session on July 20 as Councilman Basile had stated. He clarified that he thought more discussion should take place. Councilwoman Oprisch requested the minutes be amended; Councilman Basile requested the audio be reviewed. Councilman Smith asked that members be clear about their intentions in the future. Council Clerk verified the minutes are a true and accurate account of the meeting.

Councilman Sabatino made a motion to approve the minutes from the July 29, 2020 Special Council meeting; motion seconded by Councilwoman Butler.

ROLL CALL:

Basile          ABSTAIN                                  Oprisch            YES

Bukmir        ABSTAIN                                  Sabatino          YES

Butler              YES                                        Smith               YES

Jordan             YES

Roll Call Vote:      Five (5) YES       Zero (0) NO     Two (2) ABSTAIN        Minutes Approved

Councilwoman Oprisch asked the significance of abstaining from a vote. Law Director Glick clarified it is neither a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ vote for whatever reason.

NEW BUSINESS: Mr. Vince Findley of American Electric Power (AEP) wholesale and Mr. Peter Protopappas of AEP OnSite Partners presented before Council about the possibility of solar generation for the City. See attached presentation.

Councilman Sabatino inquired how this would affect the City’s relationship with AMP Ohio and if the City is legally able to enter into this agreement. Mr. Findley said AMP Ohio provides through contracts three different resources – none of which are behind the customers’ meters. Whatever their contribution to the City is, AEP will continue to supply the remainder. AEP would continue to work with AMP Ohio. He added AEP manages most of the City’s power supply and entering into a solar agreement would be allowed.

Councilman Bukmir asked what risks to the City could become of this project. Mr. Findley stated the risk is taken by AEP investing in the solar panels and technology, for example, if the panels do not perform as expected. Power generation will fluctuate over the years as well. Entering a contract for 30 years would also be a risk since laws change frequently. Mr. Protopappas added that the citizens’ response to solar in their community could also be a risk, especially those who would live closest to the array. AEP would not commence this project without full support of Council and the City’s constituents.

Councilman Basile, verifying the array would provide 5.5% of the City’s electric needs, asked if the tax incentives offset the power generated. Mr. Findley clarified the tax benefits helps AEP lower the price of every Megawatt hour. There would be no change to the amount of energy produced by the project. The City could entertain a larger solar project, lowering the economies of scale, and lowering the Power Purchase Agreement price, but a larger project would require more land. Councilman Basile asked what savings the average homeowner would see. Mr. Findley said it would ultimately be up to the City to decide what savings may be passed to customers, keeping in mind any upgrades that may need to take place. Rate structures would be left to the City. Electricity is already one of the least costly parts of the bill itself. Councilman Basile asked if the savings would ever be negligible. Mr. Findley said that is not expected.

Councilwoman Oprisch asked why St. Clairsville is being considered for the project. Mr. Findley said he has built relationships around the State of Ohio, partnering with the company’s wholesale purchaser base. The City ranks as a customer that may see the most benefit from such a project with the way its contracts are structured. With other issues happening in the City last year, AEP waited until now to present this project. Councilwoman Oprisch asked about potential locations. Mr. Findley said the site in the presentation is just a suggestion and was used as a model for how a project would appear in the City. It is currently privately owned. He and Mr. Protopappas discussed the importance of geography for solar panels. Placing near the City’s distribution would be best. Multiple locations could be used, but to be competitive, one location would be desired. Councilwoman Oprisch asked about the lifespan of solar panels. Mr. Protopappas said the solar arrays typically have warranties that last 30 years. Inverters may need replaced, but not the panels themselves. It would be AEP’s obligation to ensure these are running properly.

Councilman Smith asked about other cities in the state utilizing solar power. Mr. Protopappas clarified the City would be responsible for providing a site for the solar panels either through land already owned, land purchased, or land leased. An easement would be created to allow the arrays. Councilman Smith asked if this would result in lower energy costs. Mr. Findley confirmed that it would, stating the goal is to create a long-term hedge against rising energy costs and a means for the City to generate their own power. Councilman Smith asked about changing technology in the solar industry. Mr. Protopappas said panels typically degrade only 0.5%-1% per year. Innovations in the industry that may happen in the future could be done if the cost benefit is there, but over the last 10 years, significant developments have not happened. Battery storage may be upgraded. Councilman Smith asked about solar panels being installed on residents’ houses and their ability to sell power back to the City. Mr. Findley said panels could be installed on homes, but could not speak as to what the City allows.

Council President Velas asked about acreage for the site. Mr. Protopappas said a location in the range of 3.5-6 acres is desirable. Mr. Murphy let the representatives from AEP know that zoning ordinances would apply when the project gets closer to being underway. All Councilmembers thanked the representatives for their presentation. Mr. Smithberger said he is hopeful that things may work out for AEP and the City, discussing elements to consider.

Superintendent of General Services Don Smithberger reported a few water breaks have happened. Patching streets is underway.

Councilman Sabatino said he would be in touch with Mr. Smithberger about streets to patch.

CORRESPONDENCE: Law Director Glick addressed a letter from citizens dated July 31 received by Mayor Thalman on August 3 via email. The letter requested a public response regarding comments made on private Facebook accounts by Councilman Basile and Mr. Behl. Council and media received the letter as well. The mayor does not have the authority to sanction elected public officials. Due to the issues involved and potential litigation involving the City, a letter is being drafted to the Ohio Ethics Commission requesting an official opinion. Once a response is received, Ms. Glick will update Council. Threats that have been received by Mayor Thalman, Councilman Basile and his family, and Mr. Behl and are being reported to proper legal authorities. President Velas said no further discussion on these matters will take place until a response from the Ohio Ethics Commission has been received.

REPORTS: Mayor Thalman expressed her gratitude to Chief Arbenz and his department for yet another drug bust. Mrs. Austin, owner of the local Chick-fil-A, provided a gratis lunch to the Police Department for their work. The mayor acknowledged and thanked various members of the City for their work and dedication. Water audit training is underway; RCAP is providing free audit software to pinpoint breaks. Information will be relayed to RCAP in 30 days. Mayor Thalman expressed her disappointment in the recent political atmosphere in the City. She lastly recommended Brad Breisch as the newest member of the Board of Architectural Review. Mr. Murphy said he is a property owner in the Historic District, project manager for Breisch & Crowley, and part-owner of Three Labs Salvage. He is very familiar with construction, having studied architecture.

Councilwoman Oprisch made a motion to approve the mayoral appointment of Mr. Breisch to the Board of Architectural Review; motion seconded by Councilwoman Jordan.

ROLL CALL:

Basile              YES                                        Oprisch            YES

Bukmir            YES                                        Sabatino          YES

Butler              YES                                        Smith               YES

Jordan             YES

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

Councilwoman Jordan asked when Council can meet in person again. Law Director Glick said we are still under the governor’s restrictions on social gatherings. Conducting meetings at the Recreation Center would not be conducive due to its acoustics. Councilwoman Butler said she received communication from Daniel Grady of the Health Department that Council meetings could resume in person if the City is able to enforce social distancing and follow all other mandates from the governor’s office. Further guidance will be sought.

Police Chief Matt Arbenz reported results from a drug investigation that resulted in two arrests last year came back positive for 55 grams of fentanyl. A press release was made informing the public of the dangers of this drug. Those suffering with drug addiction issues can stop at the Police Department anytime for assistance. Another drug raid was performed recently. There were 254 calls for service in July. Council expressed their gratitude to Chief Arbenz and the force.

Finance Director Annette Williams has been working to secure COVID-19 grant money for the City. No specific amount is known for the reimbursement. Water collection and RITA collection reports to be forthcoming.

Planning & Zoning Administrator Tom Murphy reported the Board of Zoning Appeals approved the conditional use requested by Campbell Oil/Bellstores. Construction is slated to begin mid-2021, investing over $4 million in the project. Enumerators have commenced training for the Census. He reported the current self-response rate is 71.7%.

COMMITTEE REPORTS:

Finance Chair Mike Smith said financials will be discussed at the next meeting. He would like the committee to meet before the next Council meeting. Councilman Sabatino requested he be updated and involved in financial discussions.

Utilities Chair Beth Oprisch said 18 utility payment plans are in place totaling $12,995.46. She also thanked Anita and her staff for their work. Ms. Robinson said all payment plans are set to be paid off by the end of the year. Seven utility disconnections continue in the City: six vacant properties and one likely vacant. She also advertised the City’s use of CodeRED to alert residents of various emergency situations including: boil orders, power outages, weather alerts, etc. Residents are encouraged to sign up by contacting the utilities office.

Councilwoman Butler discussed the credit card surcharge when paying utility bills online.

Police Chair Mark Bukmir said he spoke with Chief Arbenz and decided a meeting was not necessary at this time; one will be held in the near future. Members will be contacted.

Streets – North Side Chair Terra Butler asked Mr. Smithberger to address issues on North Sugar Street.

Streets – South Side Chair Beth Oprisch: No report

Safety Chair Terra Butler: No report

Building and Grounds Chair Perry Basile asked if committee members would be open to meeting next week to discuss issues.

Planning Commission Chair Frank Sabatino: No report

Fire Chair Frank Sabatino reported the Fire Board met on Wednesday, July 22. Two part-time employees were removed. One full-time and one part-time employee were hired. An $11,000 grant was received for a simulator and a $3,000 grant was received to replace equipment. Next meeting will be held Wednesday, August 26 at 3pm at the ECOESC building.

Recreation Chair Linda Jordan reported the last of the Tuesday evening concert series will be tomorrow. Wednesday evening will be the fishing tournament. Registration is open for flag football, but subject to restrictions. Next meeting will be Monday, August 17. Councilwoman Oprisch confirmed social distancing has been followed at the concerts.

Park District Chair Linda Jordan said the next meeting will be Monday, August 10 at the park.

ORDINANCES & RESOLUTIONS:

Law Director Elizabeth Glick announced the three pieces of legislation before Council. Ordinance No. 2020-22 is on its third reading. Ordinance No. 2020-26 and Resolution No. 2020-27 are both on their second reading. The original date of ‘July 20, 2020’ on Resolution No. 2020-27 has been omitted from the legislation and will be replaced by the candidate’s start date.

Councilman Sabatino discussed the salary and vacation time listed in Resolution No. 2020-27. He noted Mayor Thalman’s remark that the Service/Safety Director candidate set the salary himself. He stated that this is in violation of the City Charter under salaries and bonds. Regarding vacation time, he compared the credited discrepancy between Ms. Williams’ past public service and the candidate’s private service. Councilman Sabatino also stated he received much feedback from constituents concerned about this Resolution.

Law Director Glick advised these matters be discussed in Executive Session. Councilman Sabatino recommended the legislation be tabled, allowing the Finance Committee to meet and recommend a figure. President Velas confirmed any changes made to the legislation will result in the issuance of a new resolution.

EXECUTIVE SESSION was requested per ORC §121.22(G)(1) to discuss personnel matters. A motion was made by Councilman Sabatino to enter Executive Session; seconded by Councilwoman Oprisch.

ROLL CALL:

Basile              NO                                         Oprisch           YES

Bukmir            YES                                        Sabatino          YES

Butler              YES                                        Smith               YES

Jordan             YES

Roll Call Vote:            Six (6) YES           One (1) NO             Executive Session entered 9:54pm

Councilman Sabatino made the motion to exit Executive Session and resume open Regular Session; seconded by Councilwoman Butler. Regular Session resumed at 10:58pm.

A motion was made by Councilman Basile to approve Ordinance No. 2020-22; seconded by Councilwoman Oprisch.

ORDINANCE No. 2020-22: AN ORDINANCE ESTABLISHING GENERAL LIMITATIONS ON BURNING WITHIN THE CITY OF ST. CLAIRSVILLE

ROLL CALL:

Basile                          YES                                        Oprisch           YES

Bukmir                        YES                                        Sabatino          YES

Butler                          YES                                        Smith               YES

Jordan                         YES

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

Ordinance No. 2020-26 was read for its second reading.

ORDINANCE No. 2020-26: AN ORDINANCE PROHIBITING THE FEEDING OF WILDLIFE WITHIN THE CITY OF ST. CLAIRSVILLE

A motion was made by Councilman Basile that the rules requiring three separate readings be suspended on Resolution No. 2020-27 and that the resolution be passed on an emergency basis; seconded by Councilwoman Butler.

RESOLUTION No. 2020-27: A RESOLUTION CONFIRMING THE APPOINTMENT OF JEREMY GREENWOOD AS THE DIRECTOR OF SAFETY AND PUBLIC SERVICES FROM AND AFTER ___________; AND, DECLARING AN EMERGENCY

ROLL CALL:

Basile              YES                                        Oprisch           YES

Bukmir             NO                                         Sabatino           NO

Butler              YES                                        Smith               YES

Jordan              NO

Roll Call Vote:            Four (4) YES              Three (3) NO                    Emergency passage failed

Councilwoman Oprisch requested a special meeting be called to read Resolution No. 2020-27 for its third reading. President Velas said three members of Council must give written request to conduct a special meeting.

OLD BUSINESS: No old business

ADJOURNMENT: With no further action to take and there being no further business to come before Council, Councilman Basile made a motion to adjourn. Meeting adjourned at 11:07pm.

Next meeting will be Monday, August 17, 2020 at 7:30pm via teleconference.

St. Clairsville OH Council Solar Presentation_080320.pptx

August 3, 2020 Council Minutes_including AEP presentation


Resolution Number 2020-27

RESOLUTION NUMBER 2020-27

A RESOLUTION CONFIRMING THE APPOINTMENT

 OF JEREMY GREENWOOD AS THE DIRECTOR OF

SAFETY AND PUBLIC SERVICES FROM AND AFTER JULY 20, 2020;

AND, DECLARING AN EMERGENCY

WHEREAS, pursuant to Article IV, Section 4 of the Charter of the City of St. Clairsville, Ohio, the Director of Safety and Public Services shall be appointed by the Mayor, subject to confirmation of the majority of council for a period not to exceed the Mayor’s term of office; and

WHEREAS, the new term for the Director of Safety and Public Services of the City of St. Clairsville begins on July 20, 2020; and

WHEREAS, the position of Director of Safety and Public Services shall be at-will and serves at the pleasure of the Mayor; the position is in the unclassified service; and shall be subject to removal at any time with or without cause; and

WHEREAS, the Mayor of the City of St. Clairsville, Kathryn Thalman, has appointed Jeremy Greenwood to serve as the Director of Safety and Public Services for the City of St. Clairsville, Ohio; and

WHEREAS, council for the City of St. Clairsville desires to confirm the appointment of Jeremy Greenwood as the Director of Safety and Public Services.

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

Section 1:  The appointment of Jeremy Greenwood as the Director of Safety and Public Services from and after July 20, 2020 is hereby confirmed by council.  Mr. Greenwood shall serve a six (6) month instructional period beginning with the effective date of his appointment.  At the conclusion of the six (6) month instructional period, Mr. Greenwood’s performance shall be evaluated by the Mayor; successful completion of the instructional period shall have no effect on the unclassified status of Mr. Greenwood’s employment.

Section 2:  The salary of the Director of Safety and Public Services shall be Seventy-Eight Thousand and No/100 Dollars ($78,000.00) per year during the instructional period, and shall be paid on a biweekly basis.  Salary shall be increased to Eighty-Three Thousand and No/100 Dollars ($83,000.00) per year based upon successful completion of the instructional period, and shall be paid on a biweekly basis.

Section 3:  Mr. Greenwood shall accrue sick leave as outlined in the City’s Personnel Policy and Procedure Manual or applicable City ordinances and/or resolutions, as amended from time to time.  At the time of retirement from active service with ten (10) or more years of service with the state, any political subdivisions, or any combination thereof, Mr. Greenwood can be paid in cash in accordance with the then current City’s Personnel Policy and Procedure Manual or applicable City ordinances and/or resolutions, as amended from time to time.  Additionally, Mr. Greenwood will be credited with previously accumulated sick leave pursuant to R.C. §124.38.

Section 4:  Mr. Greenwood shall be credited with three (3) weeks of vacation leave immediately upon the effective date of his appointment.  The three (3) weeks of vacation leave shall be available for use immediately upon approval by the Mayor.  After successful completion of his instructional period, Mr. Greenwood shall be credited with an additional one (1) week of vacation leave.  Thereafter, Mr. Greenwood shall be credited with four (4) weeks of vacation leave January 1st of each year, for the duration of his employment unless otherwise amended by City Council.

Section 5:  Mr. Greenwood shall be entitled to all other types of leave and benefits in accordance with the City’s Personnel Policy and Procedure Manual or applicable City ordinances and/or resolutions, as amended from time to time.

Section 6:  Mr. Greenwood shall be entitled to liquidation of leave at the time of separation in accordance with the then current City’s Personnel Policy and Procedure Manual or applicable City ordinances and/or resolutions, as amended from time to time.

Section 7:  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 hiring of the Director of Safety and Public Services.

Legislation was adopted at a meeting of the Council of the City of St. Clairsville on a 4 – 3 vote on this 17th day of August, 2020.

Resolution Number 2020-27

 



City Council Teleconference Meeting tonight, August 17, at 7:30 P. M.

PRESS RELEASE

TO:                Media and Public 

FROM:          Mayor Kathryn Thalman and Council President Jim Velas 

DATE:            August 12, 2020 

RELEASE:      IMMEDIATE

__________________________________________________________________________________________

A FINANCE COMMITTEE meeting will take place on Friday, August 14, 2020 at 7:00 P.M. This will be conducted in a TELECONFERENCE format.  Residents will be in a LISTEN ONLY MODE and may use the same dial-in number and access code provided for the Council meeting listed below.

The ST. CLAIRSVILLE CITY COUNCIL will meet on Monday, August 17, 2020 at 7:30 P.M. via TELECONFERENCE. Residents are encouraged to listen.

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak and the changes that have been made to Ohio’s Open Meetings Act (which temporarily allows public bodies to conduct meetings and hearings electronically during this state of emergency), the public may participate using the phone number and access code below.

Public bodies must provide public access to any meeting or hearing that the public would otherwise be entitled to attend.  Therefore, any resident who is interested in dialing in to the TELECONFERENCE is encouraged to do so.  Again, residents will be in a LISTEN ONLY MODE.

The dial-in number and access code are:

Dial-In Number                       800-338-7154

Access Code                            2756

Mayor Thalman and Council President Velas encourage residents to listen in and be informed.

###

 


City Council Special Teleconference Meeting on Monday has been cancelled

PRESS RELEASE

TO:             Media and Public

FROM:       City of St. Clairsville

DATE:         August 10, 2020

RELEASE:   IMMEDIATE

____________________________________________________________________________________

The St. Clairsville City Council Special Meeting via Teleconference which was scheduled for this evening is being cancelled due to the lack of a quorum.  This special meeting had been called to consider Resolution Number 2020-27 concerning the appointment of a Director of Safety and Public Services.

This legislation will be considered at the regular scheduled Council meeting on Monday, August 17, at 7:30 P. M.  The public will be notified in advance of this meeting of the phone number and access code to be used for public participation.

###


48-Hour Boil Order for Toni Lane beginning at 8:10 PM on Wed.

PRESS RELEASE

TO:                       Media, Residents

FR:                        City of St. Clairsville

RE:                        Toni Lane under 48-Hour Boil Order

DATE:                   August 5, 2020

EFFECTIVE:        IMMEDIATE

_________________________________________________

Beginning at 8:10 PM, a 48-Hour Boil Order is in effect for City of St. Clairsville residents on Toni Lane ONLY.  The boil order is needed due to an unexpected water valve break on Toni Lane this afternoon.

Residents may experience discoloration due to the repair.  Any other utility customer who may have experienced water loss today in this vicinity also should comply with the boil order.

If questions, please call the Municipal Utilities Office on 740-695-1410.  Thank you.

###


July 29, 2020 Council Minutes (Special Meeting)

ST. CLAIRSVILLE CITY COUNCIL

July 29, 2020 Special Council Meeting

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

Jim Velas, Council President                                            Kathryn Thalman, Mayor

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

Mark Bukmir, Council, 3rd Ward                                      Annette Williams, Finance Director

Terra Butler, Council, 4th Ward                                        Elizabeth Glick, Law Director

Linda Jordan, Council-At-Large                                       Don Smithberger, Super. of General Services

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

Frank Sabatino, Council 2nd Ward

Mike Smith, Council-At-Large

Special meeting was called to order by Council President Jim Velas at 7:02pm. President Velas led Council in the Pledge of Allegiance. He thanked residents for listening in to the meeting.

ROLL CALL:

Basile              HERE                                     Oprisch           HERE

Bukmir            HERE                                     Sabatino          HERE

Butler              HERE                                     Smith               HERE

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

President Velas announced the special meeting was called to further discuss personnel matters: a candidate for Service/Safety Director in Executive Session. Monday evening’s Council meeting will feature a presentation from AEP.

Councilman Sabatino asked why a second reading of the Service/Safety Director legislation will take place tonight. He said Council was informed by President Velas that this special meeting was called to discuss the salary of the position; adding that a special meeting’s topic is the only topic that can be discussed. He said he felt he has been deceived. President Velas said there is no guarantee a second reading will take place; it would depend on the outcome of the Executive Session. Law Director Glick had not seen the notice but agreed with Councilman Sabatino regarding his remarks on special meetings.

EXECUTIVE SESSION was called by Mayor Thalman per ORC §121.22(G)(1) to discuss personnel matters. A motion was made by Councilwoman Oprisch to enter Executive Session; seconded by Councilwoman Butler.

ROLL CALL:

Basile                          YES                                        Oprisch           YES

Bukmir                        NO                                         Sabatino           NO

Butler                          YES                                        Smith               YES

Jordan                         NO

Roll Call Vote:          Four (4) YES        Three (3) NO                     Executive Session not entered

President Velas announced Executive Session could not be entered and that discussion could not take place. Councilwoman Oprisch asked for those Councilmembers who voted not to go into Executive Session to explain their vote. Law Director Glick said they may give a reason if they would like, but there is no obligation. Councilman Sabatino said it is Council that decides the salary of Service/Safety Director, which he was not given the chance to provide input. He also called for transparency, adding that he felt the public should be able to listen to the discussions. Law Director Glick stated when discussing salary, it is done in Executive Session.

Mayor Thalman said she called this special meeting to discuss figures related to the position and had Annette Williams provide financials to Council. She resented the comment that she is not being transparent. The mayor said the salary for the candidate is a firm figure set by the candidate himself. She also added that she finds the situation to be beyond frustrating and that City officials have an obligation to work together to better the City.

Councilwoman Oprisch prefaced that there was concern by several Councilmembers regarding the position’s salary and that tonight’s special Council meeting would address these concerns. She cited that the mayor called for this special meeting. The Councilwoman continued that she cannot understand why Council should not go into Executive Session when concerns were originally brought up at last week’s meeting. Councilwoman Butler discussed the precedence set by Council hiring the Chief of Police and Finance Director. In those cases, Council would enter Executive Session to discuss the position or salary and a second reading would take place after; adding that months ago, several members of Council asked why the City had not yet obtained a Service/Safety Director. The Councilwoman expressed her disbelief, calling it ridiculous and tiresome. Councilman Basile noted Councilman Bukmir wanted to go into Executive Session at the last meeting. President Velas said giving opinions are fine, but a vote has already been taken. He apologized if he misled anyone in the email calling for the special meeting.

Councilwoman Oprisch felt the frustration expressed by Council to be justified. She continued that at the last meeting, she asked Councilwoman Butler to rescind her motion and allow Council to go into Executive Session to address Councilman Bukmir’s concerns. She said she believes all concerns should be heard but was fine with Councilwoman Butler’s decision not to rescind her motion. It has been asked several times why the City does not have a Service/Safety Director. She concluded these actions do not advance the City and are obstructionist.

Councilwoman Jordan said the candidate may have the credentials, but the candidate has no experience in the actual position of Service/Safety Director. She added that she does not see the justification in paying a salary on par with candidates who may have 30 years of experience. Councilwoman Oprisch appreciated Councilwoman Jordan’s difference in opinion but expressed her frustration that the discussion was blocked from taking place. Councilwoman Butler made a call for Council to come together, citing some are willing and some are not willing.

Due to the way the communication from President Velas was written, the Law Director confirmed a second reading of the legislation cannot be performed.

ADJOURNMENT: With there being no further business to come before Council, Councilman Sabatino made a motion to adjourn. Meeting adjourned at 7:33pm.

Next meeting will be Monday, August 3, 2020 at 7:30pm via teleconference.

July 29, 2020 Council Minutes (Special Meeting)


July 20, 2020 Council Minutes

ST. CLAIRSVILLE CITY COUNCIL

July 20, 2020 Meeting

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

Jim Velas, Council President                                             Kathryn Thalman, Mayor

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

Mark Bukmir, Council, 3rd Ward                                      Annette Williams, Finance Director

Terra Butler, Council, 4th Ward                                        Elizabeth Glick, Law Director

Linda Jordan, Council-At-Large                                       Don Smithberger, Super. of General Services

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

Frank Sabatino, Council 2nd Ward

Mike Smith, Council-At-Large

The meeting was called to order by Council President Jim Velas at 7:30pm. President Velas led Council in the Pledge of Allegiance and thanked those residents listening to the meeting.

ROLL CALL:

Basile              HERE                                     Oprisch           HERE

Bukmir            HERE                                     Sabatino          HERE

Butler              HERE                                     Smith               HERE

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

NEW BUSINESS: No new business.

MINUTES: President Velas confirmed all councilmembers received the minutes from the June 15, 2020 Regular meeting, July 6, 2020 Regular meeting, and July 15, 2020 Special meeting.

Councilwoman Jordan made a motion to approve the corrected minutes from the June 15, 2020 Regular Council meeting; motion seconded by Councilwoman Butler.

ROLL CALL:

Basile              YES                                        Oprisch            YES

Bukmir            YES                                        Sabatino          YES

Butler              YES                                        Smith               YES

Jordan             YES

Roll Call Vote:            Seven (7) YES                        Zero (0) NO                                 Minutes Approved

Councilwoman Butler made a motion to approve the minutes from the July 6, 2020 Regular Council meeting; motion seconded by Councilman Smith.

ROLL CALL:

Basile              YES                                        Oprisch            YES

Bukmir            YES                                        Sabatino          YES

Butler              YES                                        Smith               YES

Jordan             YES

Roll Call Vote:            Seven (7) YES                        Zero (0) NO                                 Minutes Approved

Councilwoman Butler made a motion to approve the minutes from the July 15, 2020 Special Council meeting; motion seconded by Councilwoman Jordan.

ROLL CALL:

Basile              YES                                        Oprisch            YES

Bukmir            YES                                        Sabatino          YES

Butler              YES                                        Smith               YES

Jordan             YES

Roll Call Vote:            Seven (7) YES                        Zero (0) NO                                 Minutes Approved

REPORTS: Mayor Thalman welcomed Jenn McMillen as the Mayor’s assistant, who started on Monday, July 13. A thank you card was received from Dominic Alexander for being the ambassador for the July 4th parade and for the police hat he received. The Municipal Building has not yet been opened to the public, except by appointment. Belmont County currently has 614 cases of COVID-19. Governor DeWine is urging handwashing, wearing masks, and social distancing, as well as the mayor. The Tuesday concert series at the amphitheater was a success; X’s were marked for social distancing. Sean Hanley, Debbie Reed, and Board Members Jennifer Johnson and Ed Bober helped enforce guidelines. Any new mandates from the Health Department will be implemented immediately.

Mr. Smithberger and the mayor met with Courtney & Co. to review an electric audit and future projections of electric use. The City is expected to use the same amount of electricity for the next four years. No significant changes to electric rates are anticipated. A water audit meeting will be held Monday, July 27 with Wayne Cannon of the Rural Community Assistance Program (RCAP) to help target water loss. Mr. Vaughn and the mayor talked with a Division of Environmental and Financial Assistance (DEFA) representative and EPA attorney Janine Maney regarding funding for the Bellview Street sewer issues. A low interest loan could be obtained, but due to the City’s high household median income, no grant funding would be available. Written records of flooding related to storm or sewage issues need to be kept and sent to the EPA, per Jason Duvall. This has not been done. Letters were sent to all affected residents, asking them to report this information. The mayor thanked Councilmembers Butler and Basile for their help with these issues. The City of Martins Ferry is ready to help us smoke lines if needed. Local engineer Bryan May brought information to the City regarding possible funding for an alternative route around St. Clairsville. Electric shutoffs have resumed. The utilities office is working with customers to help maintain their service. The HEAP Office is available for assistance, if needed. A presentation will come before Council next month about installing solar power in the City to help offset power costs. The mayor also thanked the Police Department who, with the Belmont County Sheriff’s Office, made one of the largest drug busts in county history.

Councilwoman Jordan addressed two issues residents have reached out to her regarding. She firstly inquired about the mayor’s response to Councilman Basile’s social media post addressed at a recent Council meeting. Councilwoman Jordan made a motion that Councilman Basile be removed from Council; motion seconded by Councilman Sabatino. A motion was made by Councilman Basile to remove Councilman Sabatino. Law Director Glick advised that per the City Charter, Council cannot take such action. A recall would have to be made by the voters in that jurisdiction. Councilwoman Jordan cited a recent incident regarding an employee from the Village of Bellaire and their social media post that ultimately resulted in their firing. Law Director Glick clarified that the individual fired from the Village of Bellaire was an employee, not an elected official – and that the individual had identified themselves as an employee of the Village. Councilwoman Jordan requested a vote be taken. President Velas stated since Council does not have this authority, no action could come of such a motion, therefore no vote would take place. He added that only specific offenses allow for the removal of a councilmember. Mayor Thalman added that she responded to Mr. Berher, who had originally written the letter, and believed the issue to be finished.

Councilwoman Jordan introduced her second concern regarding a social media post recently made by Jim Behl commenting on the black community and the media. After reading the post, she remarked that residents have told her they feel that Mr. Behl appears to think he is superior to people of color. She added the City has paid Mr. Behl several thousands of dollars as well as $800 a month; the people do not want someone who feels this way benefiting from their tax dollars. She asked the Law Director what action can be taken for a contracted employee such as Mr. Behl. Mayor Thalman replied that that mayor is allowed to make such administrative decisions and hires. Ms. Glick concurred this is an administrative function and any issues should be brought up with the mayor. Council cannot strike such contracts.

Police Chief Matt Arbenz discussed the recent large drug bust. He reported 13 criminal arrests took place in June – mostly drug related. Calls for service last month: 388.

Several councilmembers gave their commendation to the Police Department for the recent drug bust and all their work. Councilwoman Oprisch asked what drugs were seized and the location. Chief Arbenz said it was mostly meth, but prescription drugs and marijuana as well. The investigation started in the City, leading to the discovery of a stolen vehicle and drugs in Loomis.

Finance Director Annette Williams has worked on retro-pay for some employees. After the coronavirus legislation is passed tonight, she will be working on what reimbursements the City can receive.

Mayor Thalman noted that legislation passed tonight regarding coronavirus reimbursement would go to the County Auditor. The Finance Director also said it is not certain how much money the City would receive, after asked by Councilman Smith.

Planning & Zoning Administrator Tom Murphy noted the Board of Zoning Appeals will be holding a meeting on July 30 at 6pm at the Recreation Center. Social distancing will be required and masks are strongly recommended. A conditional use permit is being sought by Campbell Oil /Bellstores to construct a new two-bay carwash. The current six-unit carwash would be demolished. The plan is to eventually also construct a new store at the gas station, upgrading all facilities. All property owners within 200 feet have been notified. The 2020 Census self-response rate for the City is currently 71.5% compared to 77.7% in 2010. The lower response rate may be due to the recent pandemic. Enumerators will be sent out in August and September.

Mr. Murphy clarified that the gas station is the former BP on Route 9 near the Interstate, after asked by Councilman Sabatino. Councilman Smith asked about the project’s timeline. Mr. Murphy said construction is anticipated to start in 2021. Councilwoman Oprsich asked if there would be any issues with these anticipated improvements. Mr. Murphy explained the changes should not cause any issues or concerns. She also asked had enumerators been working in the field already, would the Census rate be higher than ten years ago. Mr. Murphy noted these figures are the self-response rate: those who voluntarily complete the Census form.

COMMITTEE REPORTS:

Finance Chair Mike Smith noted that RITA collection figures are down from last year. Finance Director Williams added that the tax filing date was extended from April 15 to July 15, which likely adds to the discrepancy.

Councilman Sabatino asked for a copy of the RITA statistics. He also stated he wished he had been consulted and not excluded about the salary for Service Director in Resolution No. 2020-27, especially as a member of the Finance Committee. Councilman Smith said he had also been excluded, but was asked about some figures several months ago. Councilman Sabatino asked whether Council approves the salary. Councilman Smith said yes – through an affirmative vote on the legislation. He added that the previous Service Director made a similar salary when he started. Law Director Glick added if any specific questions need to be discussed, Executive Session is an option. Councilman Sabatino reiterated his request to be involved in the decision-making – as well as utilization of the committees.

Utilities Chair Beth Oprisch discussed recent the utility decisions. Anita Robinson reported disconnections resumed last week, with 44 being made. By connecting customers with different agencies and the payment plan passed by Council, 12 accounts remain disconnected; half are suspected as being vacant. The payment plan was utilized by 17 customers. The amount owed by accounts using the payment plan total $13,000; $3,600 is owed from accounts that have given no feedback. The United Way may be able to provide assistance to residents. Penalties from March through June totaled $29,000, which the City forgave and will not be collecting. The $50 reconnection fee has also been waived. Penalties will resume this month. Many generous residents have wanted to make donations and assist residents who are struggling with their utilities payments; however, the City cannot accept these contributions without legislation allowing for it. Money must be put toward a specific account. The Council of Churches is happy to help and those needing assistance can contact them. An anonymous donor gave $50 cash to the City. This will be transferred to the Council of Churches.

Several councilmembers commended the Utilities Department for all their work.

Police Chair Mark Bukmir said he would talk to Chief Arbenz about whether to have a committee meeting after asked by Councilwoman Oprisch.

Streets – North Side Chair Terra Butler discussed the issues plaguing Bellview Street and Overbaugh Avenue. Those residents affected always reach out to Council, especially after a heavy rain. She discussed temporary solutions to alleviate the situation before a permanent solution can be made. First, disconnecting downspouts that feed into the sanitary sewer system would help alleviate the flooding. A majority of the houses in that area feed their rainwater into the sewer system. Second, cleaning the main should be done, though it does not appear to be too bad. It was cleaned in 2018. Ultimately, separating the sewer system from the storm water must take place, which the City is required by the EPA to complete. Letters have been sent to those affected residents to report issues related to sewer or storm water damage. This will help document issues, especially for the EPA. She thanked Bill Suto and his crew from Martins Ferry for their time, ideas, suggestions, and taking a look at the situation. Councilman Basile noted that houses are situated atop the sewer lines, so when that main line becomes overloaded, it backs up into those houses. There used to be a diverter near the American Legion, which helped to alleviate pressure. Smoking the lines should be done again. Finding a solution must be a priority for the City.

President Velas noted that there is an ordinance in the City that downspouts cannot be tied into the sanitary sewer system. Mr. Murphy added most of these houses have been tied in this way for many years.

Streets – South Side Chair Beth Oprisch: No report

Safety Chair Terra Butler: No report

Building and Grounds Chair Perry Basile: No report

Planning Commission Chair Frank Sabatino: No report

Fire Chair Frank Sabatino reported the next Fire Board meeting will be Wednesday, July 22 at 3pm at the ECOESC building.

President Velas recognized and thanked Lance Rice for his 25+ years of service and his recent retirement. Many councilmembers expressed the same.

Recreation Chair Linda Jordan reported many sports have been cancelled. The concert series on Tuesday was great and well-attended; social distancing was practiced. President Velas estimated 180 people were in attendance. The fishing tournament is still scheduled for August 5. Donations have been received from Advanced Auto in Canonsburg, PA, Cabela’s at the Highlands, Jacob & Sons Meats, and Nickles Bakery. A fall festival is being planned for October in lieu of not having Community Days this summer. Riesbeck’s and Unified Bank are interested in sponsoring. Next meeting will be August 17.

Park District Chair Linda Jordan: No report

ORDINANCES & RESOLUTIONS:

Law Director Elizabeth Glick announced the four pieces of legislation before Council – three pieces on their first reading. Ordinance No. 2020-22 is on its second reading. Resolution No. 2020-25 and Resolution No. 2020-27 both have emergency language. Ordinance No. 2020-26 contains the updated language requested by Council.

Ordinance No. 2020-22 was read for its second reading.

ORDINANCE No. 2020-22: AN ORDINANCE ESTABLISHING GENERAL LIMITATIONS ON BURNING WITHIN THE CITY OF ST. CLAIRSVILLE

A motion was made by Councilwoman Jordan that the rules requiring three separate readings be suspended on Resolution No. 2020-25 and that the resolution be passed on an emergency basis; seconded by Councilman Smith.

RESOLUTION No. 2020-25: A RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING THE APPLICATION FOR AND THE EXPENDITURE OF MONIES RECEIVED FROM COUNTY CORONAVIRUS RELIEF DISTRIBUTION FUND BY THE CITY OF ST. CLAIRSVILLE; AND, DECLARING AN EMERGENCY

ROLL CALL:

Basile              YES                                        Oprisch           YES

Bukmir            YES                                        Sabatino          YES

Butler              YES                                        Smith               YES

Jordan             YES

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

Vote to pass Resolution No. 2020-25: 

ROLL CALL:

Basile                          YES                                        Oprisch           YES

Bukmir            YES                                        Sabatino          YES

Butler                          YES                                        Smith               YES

Jordan             YES

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

Ordinance No. 2020-26 was read for its first reading. 

ORDINANCE No. 2020-26: AN ORDINANCE PROHIBITING THE FEEDING OF WILDLIFE WITHIN THE CITY OF ST. CLAIRSVILLE

A motion was made by Councilwoman Butler that the rules requiring three separate readings be suspended on Resolution No. 2020-27 and that the resolution be passed on an emergency basis; seconded by Councilwoman Oprisch.

Councilman Sabatino opined that the candidate seems to be a fine individual, but he is concerned Mr. Greenwood would not be able to serve the city effectively with his full-time practice. Councilman Bukmir said he thought further discussion should take place. He asked if that is why Council received an Executive Session notice. President Velas clarified the codes were only sent in the event an Executive Session was called. The Law Director said Councilwoman Butler would need to rescind her motion to allow Council to enter Executive Session. Councilwoman Butler stated she would not rescind her motion. She further stated the last Special Council meeting was to ask Mr. Greenwood questions, which she felt were answered satisfactorily. She also added the candidate had already stated he would ensure his time would be devoted to serving the City, spending less time with his practice.

RESOLUTION No. 2020-27: A RESOLUTION CONFIRMING THE APPOINTMENT OF JEREMY GREENWOOD AS THE DIRECTOR OF SAFETY AND PUBLIC SERVICES FROM AND AFTER JULY 20, 2020; AND, DECLARING AN EMERGENCY

ROLL CALL:

Basile                YES                                        Oprisch           YES

Bukmir             NO                                         Sabatino           NO

Butler               YES                                        Smith               YES

Jordan              NO

Roll Call Vote:            Four (4) YES              Three (3) NO                       Emergency passage failed

OLD BUSINESS: No old business

ADJOURNMENT: With no further action to take and there being no further business to come before Council, Councilwoman Oprisch made a motion to adjourn; seconded by Councilman Basile. Meeting adjourned at 9:07pm.

Next meeting will be Monday, August 3, 2020 at 7:30pm via teleconference.

July 20, 2020 Council Minutes


48-Hour Boil Order for Limited Section of East Main Street

PRESS RELEASE

TO:                      Media, Residents

FR:                      City of St. Clairsville

RE:                      Limited 48-Hour Boil Order

DATE:                 August 3, 2020

EFFECTIVE:        IMMEDIATE         

_________________________________________________

At 2:00 P. M., a 48-Hour Limited Boil Order took effect for City of  St. Clairsville businesses and residents on both sides of East Main Street (U.S. 40/National Road) from the first block of North Market Street east to just beyond Spruce Alley, and the north half of the final block of South Market Street, including 126 Main Street, ONLY.  The boil order is needed due to an unexpected water main break in Spruce Alley this morning.  City crews have restored water service.

Businesses and residents may experience discoloration due to the water line break and repair.  Any other utility customer who may have experienced water loss today in this vicinity also should comply with the boil order.

If questions, please call the Municipal Utilities Office on 740-695-1410.  Thank you.


City Council Teleconference Meeting on August 3

PRESS RELEASE

TO:                 Media and Public

FROM:           Mayor Kathryn Thalman and Council President Jim Velas

DATE:             July 30, 2020

RELEASE:      IMMEDIATE

_____________________________________________________________________________________

The ST. CLAIRSVILLE CITY COUNCIL will meet on Monday, August 3, 2020 via TELECONFERENCE, beginning at 7:30 P. M.

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak and the changes that have been made to Ohio’s Open Meetings Act (which temporarily allows public bodies to conduct meetings and hearings electronically during this state of emergency), the public may participate using the phone number and access code below.  Public bodies must provide public access to any meeting or hearing that the public would otherwise be entitled to attend.  Therefore, any resident who is interested in dialing in to the TELECONFERENCE is encouraged to do so.  Again, residents will be in a LISTEN ONLY MODE.

The dial-in number and access code are:

Dial-In Number 800-338-7154

Access Code 2756

Mayor Thalman and Council President Velas encourage residents to listen in and be informed.

###