University Heights City Council meeting highlights [11-15-10]

NOVEMBER 15, 2010

  • Sewer and water rate increase
  • Senior services
  • City in arrears
  • Results of “garbage study”
  • Traffic calming for Vernon and Lansdale
  • Tax Incentive Review Council
  • Quiznos returns to Cedar Center
  • Traffic study for proposed McDonalds

Councilman Steven Bullock was absent.

Sewer and water rate increase

Resident Judith Weiss was concerned about the impact of a 300% sewer and water rate increase on already struggling families. Joe Ciuni, city engineer, explained that the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District (NEORSD) is trying to comply with the requirements of the E.P.A. to clean Lake Erie’s water. The E.P.A. requires completion in twenty years, but NEORSD is trying to extend it to thirty years to spread out the cost. No government funding is provided.

Senior services

Resident Sarah Wilder expressed her concern for senior services in University Heights. She said Walter Stinson does not have an office, phone or fixed schedule. She appreciated the monthly programs at the library, but felt the needs of the residents were extensive and deserved better services.

City in arrears

Mayor Infeld read an announcement from the Bank of New York Mellon Trust stating that the city was in arrears on “rollback moneys” for the parking garage at University Square. The city was supposed to have paid $30,000 semi-annually from 2006 to 2012, and now owes the entire amount of $420,000.

Results of “garbage study”

Jim Skora of GT Environmental Inc. presented a review of the Solid Waste Collection Analysis, known as the “garbage study,” which they conducted last year. He had been asked to review the findings to help the Services & Utilities Committee make recommendations to council. Skora compared the cost of side door/back door pickup to curbside pickup, and truck options from two-person manual processes to trucks called “one-armed bandits.” Fifty-four percent of communities contract with private sector firms for trash pickup at an average cost of $13.74 per household.

Back-door pickup is the most expensive, averaging $18.89 per household. Curbside pickup averages $16.00 for a municipally provided service. A one-armed bandit truck, which requires one driver and uses a mechanical arm to pick up trash containers, reduces personnel and workers’ compensation costs.  He noted that cities with curbside pickup provided assistance to those physically unable to take their trash to the curb.

Skora recommended that the city improve their website to enable better communication of policies and concerns with the community. There are too many missed pickups due to parked cars or locked gates blocking access to the trash.  There could be greater efficiency by redrawing the routes and using larger capacity trucks. The city should begin recycling paper and cardboard and begin chipping yard-waste as they collect it instead of back in the service yard.  Given the age of the city’s garbage trucks and scooters, this could be an opportune time to switch to more efficient equipment, which would enable the city to save from $180,000 to 280,000 per year.

Traffic calming for Vernon and Lansdale

Council authorized the mayor to submit a grant application to the County Department of Development for the 2011 Community Development Block Grant funding. The grant application would request $254,600 to provide traffic-calming measures, such as a raised island, signage, striping, and speed tables (which are wider than speed bumps) for Lansdale and Vernon Roads. These streets back up to Cedar Center and have become cut-through streets.

Tax Incentive Review Council

Council authorized Mayor Infeld to submit the names of residents to serve on the Tax Incentive Review Council.  Mayor Infeld said she would name former Vice Mayor Adele Zucker, and Michael Bohan, who serves on the citizen finance committee for the city.

Quiznos returns to Cedar Center

Building Commissioner David Menn reported that Quiznos was returning to Cedar Center. Although the independent owner had closed the business, the corporation will reopen it in the same location.

Traffic study for proposed McDonalds

City Engineer Joe Ciuni reported that the URS Corporation had begun the traffic study for the proposed McDonalds.  The study should take four to six weeks to complete and then a report will be presented to council.

LWV observer:  Wendy Deuring.

These meeting summaries are abstracted from LWV observers’ written reports. The summaries have been edited and prepared by Anne McFarland, Charlene Morse and Maryann Barnes. To receive e-mail postings of full reports, send an e-mail to or join through Google groups using “lwv-chuh observer reports” as a search phrase.

These reports contain member observation and selected highlights of public meetings and are not official statements of the Heights Chapter of the League of Women Voters Cuyahoga Area. This disclaimer must accompany any redistribution of these reports.

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Volume 4, Issue 1, Posted 4:49 PM, 12.01.2010