Water main topic for City Council

STEUBENVILLE — City Manager Jim Mavromatis said Tuesday night the city’s low- pressure system tank on Adams Street had about 6 inches of water and was being filled slowly and carefully before the downtown residents will see water coming from their faucets.

“We need to reach the 25- foot level in that tank before the low-pressure system will start working,” Mavromatis said.

“I am asking downtown residents who have been without water the past several days to please be patient.

“Do not open your faucets, because if the water comes on we don’t want it running smoothly. And, I am asking for our residents to continue to conserve water while we stabilize our system,” said Mavromatis.

“We have an old system that should have been replaced years ago and we are now dealing with the aging pipes and valves. Once the water is restored, the downtown customers will be under a water boil advisory until further notice.

“I also want to thank Weirton City Manager Travis Blosser, who called me and offered assistance, and the Jefferson County Commissioners who also offered their assistance during this crisis,” noted Mavromatis.

Third Ward Councilman Eric Timmons said the time has come to stop putting band- aids on the problems with the water infrastructure.

“We need to fix these problems now. If raising the rate or putting an infrastructure charge in place is the answer, then we need to do it. The entire water system needs an overhaul,” declared Timmons.

The city manager also was questioned about snow plows and the salting of certain streets.

“Sunset Boulevard and the main streets looked fine on Saturday. But, several streets remain snow covered and Rear Arlington has never been touched. Foster Place is impassable. If it is a case of manpower, we gave the city manager the authority to hire more people. We also need to look at website updates to keep people informed about water line breaks and issues with clearing the streets,” cited Timmons.

“The issue is we go two snow storms in one day. The emergency routes have to be done then the street crews start working their way into the neighborhoods. These aren’t major streets. When snow is coming, prepare for what you need. Our crews can’t snap their fingers to clear the streets,” continued Mavromatis.

“We have talked about emergency notification calls. I checked the city website through the weekend to see if press releases were posted there and it was never updated. We need to move forward on how we can notify our citizens. The more information people have the less fearful they are. We need to solve this problem quickly,” remarked Councilwoman at large Kimberly Hahn.

“It is frustrating to have citizens call me and I don’t have any information to give them,” added Timmons.

First Ward Councilman Gerald DiLoreto announced he was going to cancel a Utility Committee meeting set for Tuesday to discuss the city’s water infrastructure until the administration can prepare a financial report.

“There is no question about raising rates. But we need to get our congressman in here along with the Environmental Protection Agency to provide us help,” DiLoreto said.

An ordinance amending city law governing domestic pets which are kept outside during extreme weather conditions was approved Tuesday night by council.

Sixth Ward Councilman Bob Villamagna had introduced the measure last week, citing a dog that had been chained up in a resident’s yard during the recent frigid weather.

“This will prohibit anyone from keeping a pet caged or tied up outside if temperatures exceed 90 degrees or drop below 32 degrees,” said Villamagna.

An ordinance to create the Belleview neighborhood conservation district received a first reading Tuesday night.

Also receiving a first reading was an ordinance repealing an ordinance approved late last year requiring citizens to register with the city council clerk prior to speaking during the public forum portion of a council meeting.

And, legislation was introduced authorizing the city manager to advertise for bids for the 2018 Community Block Grant street improvement program.

DiLoreto introduced an emergency ordinance authorizing the city manager to sign a new ground lease with the Steel Valley Regional Transit Authority.

Council held a Safety Committee meeting prior to the regular meeting and heard from Police Chief Bill McCafferty and Fire Chief Carlo Capaldi, as well as K-9 Officer Sgt. Rob Cook.

And, two representatives from Right At Home Care offered to provide a dementia virtual tour training for the city police and fire department at no cost.