Marietta council hears COVID-19 presentation, weighs ordinances

During Marietta City Council’s regular business meeting Thursday, 27 individuals were present in the community room of the Armory. (Photo by Janelle Patterson)

Approximately three times the average number of attendees filled the community room of the Armory Thursday for Marietta City Council’s regular business meeting.

Those 27 bodies included five members of the city administration, five voting members of council, the council president, city law director and council clerk, in addition to the Marietta-Belpre Health Commissioner Anne Goon who was the public official invited to speak before regular business.

“COVID just stands for Corona Virus Disease, that’s where the name came from,” said Goon. “When you have community spread, at least one percent have it… that means there’s probably about 600 people walking around that have it or have had it (in Washington County).”

Goon emphasized the preventive measures of social distancing throughout her presentation while standing in front of 12 members of the public.

“Typically one person infects two to three people,” she described. “It just exponentially grows from there.”

Fair Housing Board Chairman Felix Burrows also addressed council to request mediation with the legislative body concerning issues regarding the city development’s moves to remove the board’s funding as allocated through the federal Community Development Block Grant.

Burrows said through articles reported by The Marietta Times, he is worried that the issues the board is experiencing are connected to larger issues regarding federal funding compliance.

Burrows also provided a letter requesting the mediation for the legislative body’s record.

In regular business, council considered 21 pieces of legislation in regular business Thursday, by which time only 17 individuals remained in the room.

Legislation on third readings and available for vote Thursday included:

– Ordinances 37-42: Considered indirect cost allocations to be covered between separate funds in the city coffers. Each ordinance covers only funding for indirect costs to the general fund through the end of 2020.

“There have been many recent discussions about adjusting the cost allocation approach, but given the uncertainty of what’s happening now and what we expect to see our general fund revenue stream we are going to move forward with it as is,” said Councilwoman Cassidi Shoaf. “And then in months to come see how our income has been affected.”

Each ordinance completed its final reading and was unanimously passed by the five voting members present Thursday: Bill Farnsworth, Shoaf, Geoff Schenkel, Mike McCauley and Susan Boyer.

– Ordinance 43: Unanimously adopted updated Aquatic Center rates for the 2020 season.

¯ Ordinance 45: Vacated a portion of an alley between Euclid Place and Grandview Avenue that is currently not considered of future use to the city.

“It’s behind Grandview Avenue houses, and there’s a slip there so bad that we won’t ever be able to use it for anything,” explained Boyer.

The legislation passed unanimously.

¯ Ordinance 52: Authorized by unanimous vote the issuance and sale of bonds totaling a maximum aggregate amount of $3,685,000, for past infrastructure projects. The legislative body spent much of the first two months of the year discussing how the sale of the bonds is prudent with current low-interest rates.

“We are looking to bond the $3.6 million, at this time rates are at a record low,” said Shoaf, noting the intention to sell was to lock in the low rates.

¯ Resolution 14: Authorized by unanimous vote the annual partnership of the city with Washington-Morgan Community Action for the Community Housing Impact and Preservation (CHIP) program.

Legislation on its second reading Thursday included five ordinances, but without six members of the voting body present, the two ordinances including emergency clauses could not be passed.

An emergency clause is a legislative measure to allow for immediate execution of the law or actions allowed by resolution without the usual 30-day waiting period, once signed by the mayor.

Ordinances 50 and 55 both include emergency clauses.

¯ Ordinance 50: Concerns requested authorization for the city administration to enter into a contract with GPD Group to provide engineering design services concerning Safe Routes to School. The ordinance saw no further action Thursday.

¯ Ordinances 53-54: Concerns the creation of five seasonal positions within the public facilities department through funding from the Washington County Job and Family Services summer youth program. Neither ordinance saw no further action Thursday.

¯ Ordinance 55: Also concerns seasonal position creation for four additions to labor, also funded through the Washington County JFS program. The ordinance saw no further action Thursday.

¯ Ordinance 56: Concerns the annual F permit application for the Marietta Riverfront Road to sell beer in the city parking lot between the Lafayette Hotel and the Ohio River this summer.

The ordinance saw no further action Thursday.

Boyer then moved to remove from the table Ordinance 51, which was tabled at the last legislative regular meeting.

She said thanks to further work by City Engineer Joe Tucker and Project Manager Dave Hendrickson, concerns were answered when Tucker changes to the planned widening of a sidewalk along Seventh Street.

Boyer’s action allowed Ordinance 51 to see its final reading Thursday, it was unanimously adopted.

Tucker also explained that he and Hendrickson have adjusted the summer project plan to not change the edge location of the sidewalk curb.

New legislation introduced on first reading Thursday, but seeing no further action included:

¯ Ordinance 60: Concerns a request for a change order with WSP USA for changes to the Lancaster Street project, in an amount not to exceed $4,000.

¯ Ordinance 61: Concerns a right of way request from CAS Cable for the utility company’s expansion of service within city limits.

¯ Ordinance 62: Concerns a request to contract with Pickering Associates for construction management services to oversee the painting, repairs and inspection of the Pine Meadows water tank, East Norwood Water Reservoir tank and the Glendale Water Reservoir tank projects.

¯ Ordinance 63: Concerns requested right of way authorization by American Electric Power for work along Cisler Drive.

¯ Ordinance 64: Concerns $117,969.94 in requested transfers and appropriations. The ordinance included the city development office request to remove fair housing funding from its board. Councilman Mike Scales, chairman of Finance Committee, though not present Thursday, indicated Wednesday that the specific $3.834.70 in federal Community Development Block Grant funds will be reviewed again and potentially removed from the ordinance at its second reading on April 2.

¯ Ordinance 65: Introduced an electric aggregation agreement with Energy Harbor, LLC, (represented by Buckeye Energy Brokers’ Tom Baelish). The ordinance was introduced Thursday without full support by the voting members of council as voiced during the Special Utilities Committee Monday.

McCauley scheduled the next Public Utilities Committee to follow Finance Committee on March 26. Those meetings are scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. in room 10 of the Armory.

Additional business:

¯ Schlicher announced that the second city maintenance “All out, Roll out” program scheduled for the First Ward has been postponed due to the coronavirus community spread. At present, that program was rescheduled to April 7-9 but is subject to change.

¯ Nicholas Earley, of Marietta, also addressed council to ask for city approval work on the veterans memorial rock outside of the Armory for an Eagle Scout project, at no cost to city coffers. Earley was directed to work with the mayor’s office and council’s Lands, Buildings and Parks Committee.


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