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Officials provide updates

Photo by Janelle Patterson With warm weather shining down on East Muskingum Park, walkers, cyclists and four-legged friends populated the River Trail Wednesday before the park was a topic of discussion in Marietta City Council.

From grant opportunities to zoning process, and active city litigation to financial change orders the agendas and subsequent discussions before members of Marietta City Council were full Thursday.

Grant opportunity

In Police and Fire Committee, Chairman Bill Gossett supported both proposals coming out of the Marietta Fire Department.

Marietta Fire Chief C.W. Durham demonstrated early council involvement in planning and achieving buy-in as he looks to the hope of expansion of his staff up to nationally-recommended standards.

“What we have proposed for the grant would be to try and ask for two firefighters over the three-year life of the grant,” explained Durham. “They have waived matching fees. So in essence, the three-year SAFER (Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response), if awarded, will be 100 percent match. We would not incur any of the base salary costs.”

Durham was asked to meet individually with members of the finance committee in advance of next week’s regular session to review cost projections so that a vote on March 4, could enable the grant application to be completed if supported with an emergency clause.

The chief also received support from council to bring forward legislation to purchase a new ambulance.

He explained that some of the purchasing of equipment slated for 2020 was delayed due to coronavirus uncertainty but noted that in addition to the ambulance purchase from builders in Columbus, he’s eyeing spends in the $280,000 range for replacement air packs, cylinders and other required respiratory equipment both for traditional firefighting and for hazmat incidents; and another $50,000 earmarked for a replacement hazmat unit.

Zoning process

In Planning, Zoning, Annexation and Housing Committee, Chairman Geoff Schenkel summarized the next steps in addressing zoning concerns at a foundational level, first, before the legislative body considers any future changes to zoning maps.

“I think that the three branches of government are in relative agreement that we’re going to draft an RFP (request for proposals) or an RFQ (request for qualifications). (Law Director) Paul (Bertram) and I will do that next week,” summarized Schenkel. “We will write about the process changes that we’re looking for a company to help us write. But there is still some question as to what exactly we are seeking in an RFP about the definitions portion of the second portion of our deliverables in an RFP. Paul, and I will attempt to draft that, bring it back to committee and see if our committee is in agreement on what it is we’re seeking consultation for on the definition as part of the deliverables in an RFP.”

Active litigation

Bertram and Finance Chairman Mike Scales also noted two different active legal questions outstanding from 2020 throughout discussions Thursday.

Scales noted that part of his next committee meeting Monday will retreat into executive session concerning the River Trail’s summer 2020 failure at Duck Creek.

That failure and its impacts upon sewer mains in the area also prompted council support of additional immediate work that may also offer the city greater capacity to accept refuse from planned townhouse development in the Reno area.

Note: The River Trail and an additional $40,000 in change orders was also discussed Thursday concerning the renovation work in tandem with recent public meetings concerning the Start Westward Monument.

Bertram also reported following the conclusion of committees Thursday that the mediation discussion between the city and legal counsel for Oriana House Inc., and the Woman’s Home, did occur last Friday, with progress toward a resolution.

He stated that no final resolution was reached.

He also noted that the city lawsuit concerning the Rose/Hart blighted properties at 115 and 117 Gilman Ave. are to see additional filings from him by Monday.

Council is next scheduled to meet in Finance Committee on Monday at 4 p.m. via teleconference.

Janelle Patterson may be reached at jpatterson@mariettatimes.com.

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