Variety of Financial Matters Top City Council Agenda

Steubenville City Council met behind closed doors for an hour prior to Tuesday’s regular meeting to discuss offers of free legal help regarding the unofficial city logo that has come under scrutiny by the Freedom From Religion Foundation of Madison, Wis.

Law Director S. Gary Repella said council will make a final decision on the logo issue at Tuesday’s council meeting.

During the hour-long regular meeting, council approved emergency legislation authorizing a contract with FirstEnergy Solutions to purchase electrical energy at a competitive rate.

“This will save the city $216,000 and is a great opportunity for cost savings and a fiscally responsible program for the city,” said Davison.

Council also voted to authorize City manager Cathy Davison to advertise for proposals and quotes for a total water meter replacement program.

Fifth Ward Councilman Willie Paul voted against the ordinance and said the city has not yet completed the 10-year-old plan to install remote water meters on the exterior of buildings.

“I think we need to take this a little slower. I believe there are other ways to save money and we should look at all options,” said Paul.

Council authorized the city manager to advertise for bids for professional engineering construction administration services, including inspection and testing services for the Brady Avenue and University Boulevard resurfacing improvement project and the John Scott Highway and Mall Drive improvements.

Several finance ordinances, including amendments to the current appropriations legislation as well as a revenue tax budget for the remainder of 2012, were heard by council members.

But emergency legislation to transfer $50,000 from the city’s safety fund to the general fund was questioned by city resident Lori Mason.

“I don’t get this. You have cash now. What are you going to do next year? Why is this an emergency?” questioned Mason.

“The council has made the decision to allow overtime in the police department to provide continued and extra safety services for our residents, our businesses and visitors to our community,” responded Davison.

A resolution of support for the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce plan to erect a new entrance sign to the city at the Washington Street and Ohio 7 intersection was approved unanimously.

Civil Service Commission Chairwoman Delores Wiggins asked city department heads to not request advertising for jobs “if you don’t intend to hire someone. It costs us money to advertise for tests and to administer those tests.”

A finance committee meeting is set for 6:45 p.m. Tuesday for a discussion on allowing paid advertising on the city’s sanitation packer trucks.

And 3rd Ward Councilman Greg Metcalf asked for a building and grounds committee meeting at 7 p.m. next Tuesday to discuss vacating a city lot in the South End, accepting a property donation and the possible lease of office space in City Hall.