University Heights City Council meeting highlights [3-21-11]
MARCH 21, 2011
- April is spring-cleaning month
- Gesu 8th Grade Boys’ Basketball team
- Sweepstake Terminal Cafes moratorium
- 2011 budget
- Council supports HB114 amendment
- Refuse truck repairs
- Pool chlorine purchase
- Council planning session
- Garbage study
Councilman Steven Sims was excused.
April is spring-cleaning month
Mayor Infeld announced that April is spring-cleaning month, when the service trucks will be picking up yard waste. Details to come via City Watch phone messages.
Gesu 8th Grade Boys’ Basketball team
The Gesu 8th Grade Boys’ Basketball team and their three coaches received certificates of recognition for winning the CYO City Championship for the second year in a row.
Sweepstake Terminal Cafes moratorium
Council passed an ordinance extending the moratorium on Sweepstakes Terminal Cafes for two more months. The state is moving to legislate these cafes and the moratorium covers this delay. Councilman Kevin Patrick Murphy voted against the ordinance.
Council discussed and passed the 2011 budget with Councilman Frank Consolo voting no. He said he strongly opposed the budget because it didn’t represent the promises made by the new administration to reduce costs. He noted that, despite increases, the revenue from fees for street maintenance, street lighting, and sewer maintenance was insufficient to cover those costs, and that the budget requires funds to be transferred to cover those costs. He noted that he is not going to pave the streets and clean the sewers “on the backs of the residents” by raising taxes. He expected the administration to find new and creative ways of covering costs without asking the residents for more money.
Other council members also commented on the budget and the budget process. Councilman Kevin Patrick Murphy noted that the budget had not been revised in response to council’s comments and suggestions. He felt there was no plan for the future and that regional collaboration was needed. Councilman Stephen Bullock said he would vote for the budget because of the regulatory requirement to file a budget by March 31. He wanted neither the city to be out of compliance nor council to pass a “half baked budget.” Councilwoman Susan Pardee said that council wants to help, and that they have ideas and professional skills that could be used to help develop a better plan. She hoped the mayor and council would work together to move forward. Councilwoman Frankie Goldberg stated that the city must become proactive rather than reactive. Councilman Phil Ertel said that the city can’t continue to solve problems with grants, and that he preferred economic development.
Council supports HB114 amendment
Council passed a resolution urging the Ohio Legislature to amend certain provisions of HB114 to reinstate funding for the Ohio Public Works Commission (OPWC), State Capital Improvement Program, (SCIP) and Revolving Loan Program to their previous levels. Councilman Bullock noted that the city can’t continue to look to the state for financial assistance, although these funds were voted for by the citizens of Ohio in Issue 2.
Refuse truck repairs
Council authorized repairs to a 1996 refuse packer truck, which was purchased five years ago. It has significant oil leaks, but the mechanic felt that the truck could run for another four to five years with repairs. The approved bid was $5,616.61. It will take two to three weeks for repairs. The city has a fleet of six trucks and all are needed during the “heavy use” season. Councilman Murphy voted no, saying that it is wrong for the city to pay among the highest tax rates and yet has to purchase used equipment. Councilman Bullock voted yes but is concerned that there is no plan for the future, saying that they can’t keep going with the status quo. Councilman Ertel noted that recommendations for changes would be coming out of the “garbage study,” which was completed in 2009.
Pool chlorine purchase
Council approved the purchase of chlorine for the pool, not to exceed $12,500 as was budgeted. This will be a repeat of last year’s annual purchase with ten communities placing a joint bid for three different chemicals. The city of Mayfield Heights coordinates the bids.
Council planning session
Councilwoman Sue Pardee reported that the priorities as determined by the March 15 council planning session were:
- Shared resources, regionalism
- Economic development commission
- Quality of life as viewed by citizens
- Quality of life pertaining to housing
- Communication and dialogue between council and the mayor.
Mayor Infeld asked councilman Stephen Bullock to have the Safety Committee review the city’s ordinances regarding fireworks. The city’s rules are more restrictive than the state’s rules, creating confusion when outside events are scheduled.
Councilman Phil Ertel announced that three public meetings were scheduled to look at the garbage study and determine what recommendations should be made to council. A survey has been distributed to residents asking them to rank various services offered by the city to determine which are of greatest value to the residents.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
League of Women Voters
Chapter co-chair for the Heights Chapter of the League of Women Voters, Cuyahoga Area