Council introduces legislation

STEUBENVILLE – City Council members used their cell phones Tuesday night to see each other and the documents they were reviewing after a fast-moving storm knocked out power to parts of the downtown area.

Council met in executive session in dark chambers for approximately an hour to review personnel issues. And after hearing from Wastewater Assistant Superintendent Chuck Murphy, council members agreed to start a year-long process to purchase a $770,000 sludge belt filter press.

Murphy said the city currently pays $138,000 a year to lease a 30-year-old sludge press.

“If we purchase a new sludge press with a 10-year loan we would pay $90,000 a year. It would be much more effective to buy a brand new press,” Murphy reported.

Murphy said the city has been leasing the press since 2011.

“If you agree we should purchase a new sludge press it will take at least about a year from order to delivery. We are currently taking care of the maintenance of our machine. The maintenance costs are not bad at all. We will be much more efficient with a new machine and will save money on our operational costs. The life span for one of these machines is approximately 20 years,” Murphy explained.

He said the sludge press is used to compact the sludge material retrieved from the wastewater plant.

“Once it goes through the machine it is taken to a landfill for proper disposal,” Murphy noted.

Sixth Ward Councilman David Lalich introduced the ordinance authorizing the advertisement for bids and purchase of the sludge press.

The legislation will be heard during three readings.

Lalich also introduced an emergency ordinance adopting a tax budget for the 2014 fiscal year.

Mayor and Acting City Manager Domenick Mucci said the tentative tax budget includes five possible retirements in the city employee ranks.

“We aren’t sure at this point, but we are projecting that as a possible number,” Mucci noted.

“This is not our final operating budget for 2014. This is the tax budget we are required to submit to the county by the end of July. This tax budget does set a tone for how we will operate in 2014,” Mucci said.