Council hikes fee for fire boat

The price tag for use of Marietta’s new fire rescue boat to answer a fire call was increased from $25 to $250 per hour for contracted services to businesses or residences by Marietta City Council Thursday.

Council members amended the city code related to contracts for fire protection with individuals or firms to increase the amount to be charged for response by the fire boat.

“We’ve been charging $25 for use of our old fire boat, but now that we have a new $398,000 boat we need to cover our costs for fuel and equipment expenses,” said Councilman Steve Thomas, D-3rd Ward, who chairs council’s police and fire committee.

In other business, council approved advertisement for a second round of bids to lease up to 95 acres of city property to shale oil and gas interests.

“We didn’t receive any bids for the property the first time around, so we’re trying it again,” said Councilman Harley Noland, D-at large, and chairman of the lands, buildings and parks committee.

He noted the enabling legislation passed Thursday would only allow the city to take bids on the property.

“This doesn’t mean we will approve any or all of the bids for this property,” Noland said, adding that the city council can accept any part or reject all bids received.

Councilman Roger Kalter, D-1st Ward, agreed.

“I’m supporting this legislation just because we’re only going out for bids at this time,” he said.

The acreage up for bids includes parcels of city-owned land, Gunlock Park, located behind the Walmart complex and along Goose Run Road in Marietta Township, as well as city garage property off Alderman Street, property at Buckeye Park, and the Kroger Wetlands off Acme Street.

In January MNW Energy, Inc., a local investor/buyer for Tulsa, Okla.-based Protege Energy III, offered to lease 35 acres of the city property, behind Walmart and along Goose Run Road, for $4,750 an acre, plus a 17.5 percent royalty based on any oil and gas product that may be retrieved by Protege by horizontal hydraulic fracturing of Utica and Marcellus shale beds beneath the city property.

During a lands, buildings and parks committee meeting last week, MNW Energy chief financial officer J. Douglas Mallett said he had missed the ad for bids earlier this year, but would definitely submit a bid this time if council approved going out for a second round.

Also on Thursday, council approved change orders totalling $76,500 for additional work by Stantec Consultants on the city’s ongoing wastewater treatment plant upgrade, now in its second phase.

Finally council adopted legislation appropriating $4,587 to resurface the 100 block of Bellevue Street where a major landslip was repaired earlier this year near the intersection of Bellevue and Lancaster streets.