Martins Ferry Council Approves $10 Million Budget

Martins Ferry Mayor Robert Krajnyak hopes the city will begin to see the first of its new police cruisers in about a month, following Martins Ferry City Council’s approval of a fleet program with Enterprise rental care company.

Also, council approved about a $10 million budget for Fiscal 2018 during its regular meeting Wednesday.

Regarding the fleet, Councilwoman Suzanne Armstrong made the motion to OK the city going ahead with the program which was approved unanimously by council. Councilman Jack Regis Sr.’s absence from the meeting was excused.

During last month’s meeting, there was a short exchange between council and Police Chief John McFarland after McFarland inquired as to whether council was going to approve the program after discussing it for the past several months. He said some of his police vehicles were unsafe. He later added some of the cruisers would be unsafe if driven at high rates of speed.

The fleet program contract still needs to be finalized, Armstrong noted, because it is expected to include vehicles for not only the police department, but water and street departments as well.

“I’m satisfied,” McFarland said after the meeting regarding council’s action. He joked that he planned to buy Armstrong flowers and candy for making the motion.

Krajynyak said the program is expected to save the city about $185,000 over five years.

“The police vehicles will all come equipped,” he added.

In other matters, Ohio-West Virginia Excavating is expected to begin the project to fix the massive North Eighth Street slip in the next two weeks, Krajnyak said.

“With the weather delays all through winter, they thought it would be better to push it to closer to when the asphalt plants would be open,” he said.

The piling wall project is expected to cost about $700,000; funding already has been secured.

Also, council approved spending up to $26,787 with Border Patrol Construction of Richmond for repairs to Bruney’s Alley, which was virtually destroyed during flash flooding last month. A 36-inch culvert is expected to be installed and the road repaired.

“If you haven’t had a chance to go see it, please do. It’s a mess,” Cleary said of the road. “We’re racing the clock here because if we have another heavy rain we have no way of stopping the water. We would like to get it done as quickly as possible.”

Meanwhile, council also approved the Fiscal 2018 budget, which Auditor Rita Randall said totaled just a little more than $10 million. She noted the city’s income tax continues to pull in about $1.5 million.

Amounts budgeted for various departments include: police department, about $1.4 million; street department, $487,460; cemetery, $54,650; and EMS, $626,900; water department, $2.7 million; sanitation department, $882,287; and sewer department, $389,360.

In other business, Cleary said the city is starting to change out old water meters with new ones at residents’ homes. He said they recently did a batch of 24 meters. Residents may have noticed an “E” on their water bills, which stands for estimated reading. Those who have this on their bill may need to have their meter replaced and should call the department. The meters being replaced either have batteries that need replaced or are malfunctioning in general, he added. Cleary noted the meters still are under warranty, so as they are taken out, they are shipped back to the manufacturer, who in turn sends a new meter.

“It’s a slow process between mailing them and having them mailed back,” he noted.

Cleary added, during the past few weeks, the city sewer department has been making repairs to damaged sewerline and stormwater lines from heavy rain storms.

“I’m proud of the guys for stepping up to the challenge. We’ve done pretty well and have a lot of work ahead,” he said.

Cleary added the city’s new $329,000 sewer vacuum truck is slated to arrive next week.