University Heights City Council meeting highlights 11-1-10

NOVEMBER 1, 2010

  • Disrespectful behavior at a council meeting
  • Guest speakers
  • Senior transportation
  • New Year’s Day observance
  • Depreciable asset threshold
  • Flood control ordinance
  • Fund transfers
  • Code updates for ORC sections
  • Unused sick time
  • Bellefaire building demolition
  • High school games at JCU
  • Reimbursement from Cleveland Water
  • GAAP
  • Acting service director

Kevin Patrick Murphy was excused.

Disrespectful behavior at meetings

The mayor granted Councilman Phillip Ertel’s request to read a prepared statement at the beginning of the meeting. Ertel said he is honored to be a member of council, but is becoming less engaged in the city’s business because of increasing disrespectful behavior at meetings. The mayor apologized, referring to the behavior of council members at the previous Wednesday’s committee-of-the-whole-meeting, and said such a display of rude public behavior would not do.

Guest speakers

An hour before the regular council meeting, Kevin O’Brien from Cleveland State University spoke with council about infrastructure. The next invited guest, David Hart of D.B. Hart, Inc., Planning and Development Consultants, will speak on Nov. 15.  

Senior transportation

Janice M. Dzigiel, executive director of the Senior Transportation Connection (STC) program answered council's questions about the services her company provides to University Heights’ senior and disabled citizens. The contract has expired but remains in effect one month at a time. The current plan for UH charges the city $3,667 per month for up to 167 rides. Currently, the city allows citizen-rides to exceed that number and pays for the extra rides. Riders are charged an additional $3 to travel within UH and $5 for trips to other suburbs. Some cities restrict the number of rides, offer group shopping times, and set times for two round trips per week. STC has contracts with 22 suburban communities. Councilman Consolo will study questions about the shape a new contract should take, in particular, where council must decide between providing service and considering financial cost.

New Year’s Day observance

Council amended the city code so that New Year’s Day will be legally observed the following Monday, when it falls on a Saturday. It also amended the service union contract so that the 2011 holiday will be observed on Monday, Jan. 3.

Depreciable asset threshold

Council passed an ordinance to increase the depreciable asset threshold from $500 to $5,000.

Flood control ordinance

Council amended the city code to comply with requirements of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. This change is merely a formality because the city has no flood plain areas.

Fund transfers

Council authorized the transfer of funds from the general fund to the police and fire pension funds.

Code updates for ORC sections

Council amended the city code to update it with referenced Ohio Revised Code sections.

Unused sick time

Council amended the city code to clarify the notice requirement to receive cash payment for unused sick time upon termination of employment.

Bellefaire building demolition

Council approved the demolition of building M at Bellefaire Jewish Children’s Bureau (JCB). The cost to bring the building up to code would be $1,000,000. Music students had been moved to another building because of the discovery that the ceiling rafters were not secure. JCB would like to demolish the building by Thanksgiving weekend. The foundation would be filled in and a lawn would be sown. The building commissioner, fire chief and city engineer emphatically confirmed that the building was dangerous and needed to come down as soon as possible.

High school games at JCU

Representatives of John Carroll University (JCU) spoke regarding a motion to allow the university to use Shula Stadium for a high school play-off game. The motion had become a mute issue because Willoughby, which requested use of the stadium, had already committed to play at Austintown. The JCU representatives pointed out the need for quick action in order to host play-off games, or they would go elsewhere. Currently, the university must make a formal request at a council meeting, but since council generally has fixed meeting times, the school is apt to lose opportunities to host games, and the city would lose the economic benefit that accompanies attracting visitors to the city. After a long discussion, council members agreed that a new agreement needed to be forged to cover future requests.

Reimbursement from Cleveland Water

Finance Director Jennifer Esarey reported that the city would be reimbursed $74,000 by the end of the year for over-payments to Cleveland Water.


Esarey also reported that conversion to GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles) began in January 2010 and would be finished by March 2011. She will have more information for council at the Nov. 15 meeting.

Acting service director

Mayor Infeld welcomed Acting Service Director John Pucella [Mr. Pucella replaces Christopher Vild who had been let go]. He reported that leaves would be picked up from Nov. 15 through Dec. 1. Salt for the city is already available in storage in Cleveland Heights.

LWV Observer: Carol Gibson.

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 3, Issue 12, Posted 1:11 PM, 11.12.2010