Members of Marietta's City Council set goals for the upcoming year for city government during a planning, zoning, annexation and housing committee session Wednesday.
"Many of these ideas were developed during our election cycle at the end of last year, but due to other city business that took priority, we haven't been able to bring this meeting about until now," said committee chairman Roger Kalter, D-1st Ward.
He said each council member and the council president had been asked to develop a list of goals they would like to see accomplished during the current two-year term that began in January of this year.
Council president Walt Brothers' goals included modernizing the city's governmental software system and increasing information available to citizens and employees on the municipal website.
He said council should also encourage development of a five-year capital improvement budget process, take a positive approach to identifying and solving common problems of the public, and take a proactive role in business development for the city.
"I want to work closely with civic organizations to promote Marietta, and aggressively pursue state and federal funding for infrastructure projects," Brother said.
If you go
- Marietta City Council members will meet as a committee of the whole at 6:30 p.m. today, followed by the regular city council meeting at 7:30 p.m. in the community building at Lookout Park. All council meetings, except executive sessions, are open to the public.
- More information is available on the city website at http://www.mariettaoh.net/
Councilman Harley Noland, D-at large, would like to see more tracking of out of town contractors who work within the city to make sure they're paying the required city income tax, he said.
City safety-service director Jonathan Hupp said city treasurer Valerie Holley and her staff make significant efforts to ensure the income tax is being paid by those doing work inside the city limits.
"But we need to get 100 percent of those contractors paying their share," Kalter added.
Councilman Tom Vukovic, D-4th Ward, noted there are many smaller contractors who slip through because their work may not require obtaining a building permit.
Noland suggested a master plan be developed for the use and maintenance of city parks, and that regulations for installation of solar panels and wind turbines be added to the city building code. He also noted the city has a rating system to track the condition of city streets, but there is no such system to track the condition of city buildings.
"We need to update the inventory of under-used structures within the city, and along with that, make incentives like tax abatements and community reinvestment areas known to developers," Noland added. "And tourism is at a slow ebb now-we have to change that. We can bring tourists back to this area."
He recommended using one of the city's three cable access channels to broadcast up-to-date information about local events and attractions on television sets in guest rooms at area hotels and motels.
Noland, Vukovic and councilman Denver Abicht, D-at large, expressed concerns related to the oil and gas industry's trucking of hydraulic fracturing materials and equipment through Marietta.
Noland and Abicht said a road use agreement should be developed with the companies that would ensure any damage to city streets would be repaired.
Vukovic agreed, and added that some type of protective regulation should be put in place to govern the transport of hazardous materials through town.
"Also, we need to be concerned about the silica sand that is used in the hydraulic fracturing process," Abicht said. "Breathing in the sand can cause silicosis, which, like asbestosis, may affect the lungs years after it is breathed."
Kalter noted the sand is still being spilled onto Greene and Warner streets from trucks hauling the material to and from a storage site in the former Remington Rand complex on Greene Street.
Abicht added that he wanted council to continue support for local contractors on city projects, and to include responsible bid criteria in city contracts.
Vukovic's other priorities included developing a strategic plan for water and sewer line replacements, evaluating cost savings from in-sourcing or out-sourcing work on city projects, developing an effective infrastructure maintenance plan, and providing updated training for employees.
"I would also like to see city council have its own home," he said. "This meeting room is an embarrassment."
Council chambers are expected to be included in the upcoming renovation of the city hall building.
Kalter's goals included completion of a survey of city sidewalk conditions, the removal of junk cars from properties within the city, and a better evaluation system to track whether nuisance complaints have been addressed.