Davis urges support for pool

STEUBENVILLE – Councilman at large Kenny Davis is calling on the community to help him open the Belleview swimming pool for three months this year.

Davis called for a recreation committee meeting at 6:30 p.m. next Tuesday prior to the scheduled council sunshine meeting.

“We have been talking about our recreation, and now it is time to try and raise $40,000 so we can open the pool for June, July and August. I am asking everyone in the community who has an interest in the pool to join us Tuesday night to discuss ideas for raising the money,” Davis said.

“We have some ideas for raising the money. And, I feel we have to do something. We have been talking about this since the pool closed last year, and it’s time to try to do something to open the pool for this summer,” Davis added.

City officials announced earlier this year the pool would remain closed because of city budget issues.

Two weeks ago, Davis raised the possibility of a campaign to raise funds to re-open the swimming pool and said he recently met with a major oil and gas company, “Which talked about funding what we can do to make money. We can organize a fundraiser, and the company will fund it. I would like to do something at the amphitheater with several bands to raise money to operate the pool. I say don’t give up. We can work for 2014 and there is still an outside chance for this year.”

Davis said opening the pool and hiring seasonal workers would not violate the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 2015 labor contract, “because no AFSCME member is laid off.”

The AFSCME contract prohibits part-time or seasonal workers from working if any AFSCME represented employee is on lay off status.

“We have to try something. We can just let that pool stay closed this year,” said Davis.

In other business Tuesday night, council members appear ready to approve a 77-cent-an-hour pay raise for a Municipal Court clerk.

Council had amended a new table of organization ordinance two weeks ago to reject the pay raise.

But after a 20-minute meeting Tuesday night with Municipal Court Judge Dan Spahn, council members said they would discuss the issue again.

“I asked for the pay increase because I thought the pay for that position was inappropriate for the position,” said Spahn.

“I have eliminated the drug court as part of my budget cuts and that saves the city $22,000. The person who has the job is not taking the city’s health care, which saves another $12,500. I felt this was a good time to adjust the salary,” said Spahn.

“I have also talked to the leaders of the police, firefighters and AFSCME unions and they indicated my request wasn’t a problem for them. I am hoping this increase will bring the position into line with other positions in the city,” noted Spahn.

“Had we heard this information prior to finalizing the budget we wouldn’t be here tonight. You have cleared all of this up,” said 2nd Ward Councilman Rick Perkins.

During the regular meeting, council unanimously approved a resolution proclaiming April as National Minority Health Month in the city.

“This program has been in our area for a number of years. If we are more successful with preventive care we will save lives,” said 4th Ward Councilwoman Angela Suggs.

The minority health program is sponsoring a health fair from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on April 30 at the John F. Kennedy apartment building on North Sixth Street.

In other business, Mayor Domenick Mucci asked city residents interested in serving on Charter Review Commission to contact his office.

“As long as they meet the requirements laid out by the council they are eligible to be on the nine-member commission. I hope to finalize the list of candidates for the commission within the next 30 to 60 days. I want to see a fair and balanced commission,” said Mucci.

The legislation establishing the charter review commission states the nine member panel cannot include current city employees, elected officials or city board or commission members and persons doing business with the city.

Council approved a recommendation by City Manager Cathy Davison to accept a $396,452 bid from Lash Paving of Colerain for the 2013 Community Development Block Grant street paving program.

City Engineer Michael Dolak has recommended finishing the remainder of Oak Grove Avenue from Pittsburgh Street to the west terminus, Darlington Road from Oakland Way to the north terminus, Edgewood Place from Oakland Way to Maple Way, Oakland Way from Darlington Road to Edgewood Place, Superior Street from Edgewood Place to North Seventh Street and Maple Way from Darlington Road to Edgewood Place. We are also looking at resurfacing Highland Avenue from North Street to its north terminus and Dock Street from Highland Avenue to North Seventh Street, Logan Street from North Seventh Street to the railroad tracks and Ross Street from North Seventh Street to the railroad tracks.

Council met in executive session for an hour Tuesday night with attorney Rob D’Anniballe to discuss upcoming negotiations with the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 1 Ohio Labor Council.

The current police contract expires in May.