Council approves pool fund

STEUBENVILLE – City Council approved legislation Tuesday night to create a Belleview Pool fund as part of a fundraising effort to open the swimming pool this summer and in future years.

Councilman at large Kenny Davis is spearheading the effort to open the pool in June, July and August.

Davis has scheduled a public meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Martin Luther King Jr. Recreation Center to discuss fundraising ideas.

Council already has heard a proposal from the LaBelle Neighbors Who Care organization, which has offered to hire employees and manage the pool during the three summer months.

“The outpouring of support has been phenomenal. I am very encouraged,” Davis said.

In other matters, council and the audience joined in applause when 5th Ward Councilman Willie Paul said the two police officers who responded to an armed robbery Saturday evening, “should be acknowledged.”

“I would like to thank these two young men. I thank these two young men for the bravery they showed Saturday,” said Paul.

A city man was arrested Saturday after he allegedly robbed a woman at gunpoint on Maryland Avenue.

Two city police officers responded to the robbery call and were fired at by the man. They returned fire and arrested Devon Jones-Hill of 1416 1/2 Maxwell Ave. on one robbery charge and two counts of attempted murder.

The two police officers are on paid administrative leave based on police department policy.

“I also want to express my concern with what Jim Marquis said at his Monday press conference,” added Paul.

Marquis, president of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 1, said Monday the city could be facing “a long hot summer” and indicated the increase in violent crimes in the city is related to the decrease of police officers.

“I just want to see all these problems go away. But I know it won’t be easy,” noted Paul.

In other business, Mayor Domenick Mucci said he still is accepting applications from city residents interested in serving on a charter review commission.

“This charter review commission will only review the current city charter and may recommend changes. It is not going to change the type of government we have. That is an entirely different process,” explained Mucci.

Sixth Ward Councilman David Lalich called for an economic development committee meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday to discuss oil and gas industry issues.

And Third Ward Councilman Greg Metcalf scheduled a service committee meeting for 6:30 p.m. prior to the May 7 council meeting to discuss a new sanitation schedule, a beefed up code enforcement program and recycling in the city.

Code Enforcement Officer Shawn Scott suggested city officials may want to consider a four-day sanitation collection schedule.

“On their fifth day the sanitation crews could pick up bulk items that have been discarded and bill the address. We should not pay people to pick up trash that the property owners should pay for. We cannot afford to continue doing that. It is time for the city to get serious about billing property owners who let trash pile up on their properties,” said Scott.

“I feel the city should not expend its resources until the legal process has played out. To clean up after bad actors is money lost. We need assurances the city will recoup its expenses. And we need to nail down our priorities. A four-day sanitation schedule can be done. We have demonstrated that during holiday weeks,” said Sanitation Superintendent Bob Baird.

“We had a recycling idea that is over a year old. We discussed it but never implemented the pilot plan,” remarked Lalich.

Scott also said Municipal Court Judge Dan Spahn is ready to assign community service workers to assist with the code enforcement office, “to cut weeds and high grass on vacant lots again this summer. Last year we cut 200 lots but there are always more problem areas.”

And City Manager Cathy Davison said she has applied for summer youth workers through the Jefferson County Community Action Council.

“We still need clearance from the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union but I have started the application process,” said Davison.

She also announced the city has a new phone app that will allow residents to photograph and report potholes, high weeds or dilapidated structures.

“When you report the property or problem site it will show GPS coordinates. The person making the report will receive an e-mail giving the street address. That information will go to the city’s IT coordinator with the street address and will be forwarded to the appropriate city department as a service request,” explained Davison.

“This is something our citizens can use to report a problem,” noted Metcalf.

Second Ward Councilman Rick Perkins said residents still can call their council representative.

“The new phone app is nice but it doesn’t eliminate direct contact with council members,” Perkins said.