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City Council Continues COVID-19 Prep

ST. CLAIRSVILLE – Safeguards during the coronavirus pandemic and progress in water service were some leading issues during Monday’s teleconference meeting of the St. Clairsville City Council, as well as the need for a new clerk in 2021.

Council members congratulated Jason Garczyk, clerk of council, who carried the vote last week in the race for Belmont County Recorder. City leaders wished him well and will begin looking to fill his position, since he intends to step down in order to devote himself full-time to the job.

Council President Jim Velas said Garczyk did an exceptional job since being appointed council clerk earlier this year.

“It’s been very enjoyable working with him. He’s been a very big help. I think he’s been very efficient. He’s done an excellent job and I personally want to commend him and thank him,” Velas said.

“I’m honored,” Garczyk said. “It’s been a pleasure serving.”

Mayor Kathryn Thalman and other council members wished him well and commended the prior clerks of council for their service. Garczyk will work with the next clerk candidate to ensure a smooth transition.

“I know you’ll be awesome for the county. You were great for the city,” Councilwoman Linda Jordan said.

“This has been a very busy two-week period,” Thalman said, adding St. Clairsville approached the end of the encumbrance period for COVID-19 allocations, due at the Belmont County Auditor’s office Nov. 20.

“Everything is encumbered, spoken for or already spent,” Thalman said.

“We’ve pretty much spent every single dime that we could,” Safety and Service Director Jeremy Greenwood said, adding these went to measures including disinfectant machines, plexiglass partitions, and technology to conduct meetings.

“We were trying to spend the money as efficiently as we can and get as much equipment as we need,” Greenwood said.

She also reported meeting with agencies including the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, W.E. Quicksall & Associates regarding progress on a water tank and connection at the east end of town. The overall plan continues to purchase water from the county and eliminate the surface reservoirs and water treatment plant, as mandated by the EPA.

Greenwood reported water loss was at 36 percent this month, up from an average of 30 percent likely due to some waterline breaks.

The city is also considering closing the city recreation center, since schools are now closed, in order to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

“The governor will be announcing this Thursday if bars and restaurants will once again be closed. This decision rests on the COVID numbers, which are once again exploding,” Thalman said. She urges all residents to comply with masking, sanitary precautions and social distancing.

“Please be patient until a vaccine is announced. I personally know four people that have this,” Thalman said.

“Rapid tests are now in the municipal building,” Thalman said, adding priority for the testing will go to law enforcement and first responders. “We’ve also sent tests to the school.”

Thanks also went to Council Members Terra Butler and Mike Smith for training others in use of an air sanitizer.

A community tree-lighting service is set for Sunday, Nov. 22.

A fire truck is also being scheduled to drive through town to mark the holidays. Anyone wishing to drive a decorated vehicle behind the truck may call the city at 740-695-1324.

“It will be a mini-trip through town in case kids cannot visit Santa at the mall,” Thalman said.

In addition, Greenwood said the city is also looking into renting out two building on S. Sugar Street and St. Clair Street to Belmont County Soil and Water for office facility and equipment storage.

Greenwood is also looking into the possibility of turning over the firehouse to the Cumberland Trail Fire District, adding this could enable the district to obtain grants for needed repairs to the firehouse.

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