Home » Three contested races in St. C. council | News, Sports, Jobs – Martins Ferry Times Leader

Three contested races in St. C. council | News, Sports, Jobs – Martins Ferry Times Leader

by Arifa Rana

Nov 1, 2021
ST. CLAIRSVILLE — There are three contested races for seat on St. Clairsville City Council in Tuesday’s general election.
Donald Vincenzo is seeking office as the 1st Ward councilman. He has been active in youth sports as a coach and an assistant scout leader for the Boy Scouts. He works for the natural gas company Dominion Energy as a supervisor in St. Clairsville and Cambridge.
“City government has been a part of my family for almost 40 years. I feel this is the right time for me to get involved with city government,” he said, adding that communication and working with others is a major part of his job and he will bring this skill to the job on council. His chief goals would be learning about city operations as the water changeover to Belmont County proceeds.
“I want to learn about all the aspects of the city. I want to learn from your department supervisors and I want to learn the complete function of all the city operations,” he said. Vincenzo said he would promote unity and respect in city leadership.
John Swan is no stranger to council, having served 16 years under the administrations of mayors Rick White and Bob Vincenzo, when he chaired numerous committees. He hopes to work toward harmony on council as 1st Ward councilman.
“I love this city. I love everybody in it. I love the residents because we’ve come a long way through the years,” he said. “A lot of people, of residents including myself, is very upset at the way council has taken part, because of all the hassle. … When they start arguing on the floor and the residents hear about it, that’s when I had an urge to see what I could do. … Residents of St. Clairsville are very unhappy.”
He said more closed-door sessions might be an option for council members to iron out differences. He also believes council members and the public should be better informed about ongoing projects and their cost.
Swan has worked in finance, real estate and education. He said he said the water system, the distribution system and flooding remain top priorities.
Bill Brooks has long been an active member of the community and involved in city politics. He is seeking the 2nd Ward council seat. He is a Marine Corps veteran and a former United Steelworkers union representative.
He said he has advocated for senior citizens. He has opposed a levy for the construction of new school facilities that he believed was excessive, and he was vocal in opposing the proposed privatization of the city water system.
“I’m a fighter. I’m not an arguer, I’m a fighter,” he said, adding he believes greater transparency is needed in the current plan to purchase water from Belmont County. “Excessive spending is going to hurt a lot of people.”
Brooks hopes to bring more community activities to St. Clairsville, such as improvements to South Park, forming neighborhood watch committees for security, creating a dog park and turning the city gardens to the Belmont County Master Gardeners.
“I have the knowledge, experience and love for this city to do the job of Ward 2 councilman.”
Jeff Thrash is also seeking the 2nd Ward council seat. He said he was motivated to seek office when outgoing Councilman Frank Sabatino voted to privatize the city water. He said he would represent the people of his ward and bring their issues to council.
He operates the Ice Shack adjoining the Pizza Shack near St. Clairsville High School, and operates J.C. Tanning.
“I’ve lived in the 2nd Ward my whole life. I’ve run a business in the 2nd Ward my whole life. I think St. Clairsville needs to be run like a business, and that is why I think that I’m the best candidate for this position, because I’ve been in business pretty much half of my life,” he said. “My top goal is to start replacing our waterlines. We had 40 water breaks this year to date. We need to start being proactive, not reactive. We’re wasting our money. We keep repaving, tearing up our roadways, trying to fix. We need to get paving done after we get our waterlines replaced.”
Incumbent 4th Ward Councilwoman Terra Butler said she first sought appointment in a vacant council seat to learn more about local politics and has since acted with the best interest of the city and her ward in mind.
“I learned very quickly that there was a tremendous amount of turmoil and division going on in our city,” she said. “I learned immediately, politics can be very ugly. Making decisions can be difficult.”
Her record includes opposing the sale of St. Clairsville’s water system and continuing to address flooding issues at Bellview Street and Overbaugh Avenue. She said she reached out to Martins Ferry to analyze the video recordings of the pipe. The pipe was also smoke-tested.
“Currently we are actively looking for grants and/or loans along with other engineering problems to alleviate this issue,” she said.
She has a background in food service and is an owner of the Newellstown Diner.
Terry Pugh, who has served as a past mayor and councilman, says he will bring experience and resources to the job if elected 4th Ward councilman. He has been a business owner and he is a military veteran with a background in military intelligence. He said he would benefit projects with both his 4th Ward and the city as a whole, finding resources to address flooding on Bellview Street and Overbaugh Avenue, as well as seeking grants to help upgrade the water distribution system and the ongoing plan to purchase water from Belmont County.
“The biggest issue is answering the final findings and orders from the (Ohio Environmental Protection Agency),” he said, referring to EPA mandates to upgrade the city water system or find an alternate source. “I want to work to help in any way, with my contacts that I’ve developed at the state and local level to improve the infrastructure. We’re going to need grants and loans, because it’s going to be expensive. It’s all on St. Clairsville’s back.”
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