University Heights City Council meeting highlights 2-4-13
FEBRUARY 4, 2013
- Citizen comments
- State of the City
- Heritage Home Program
- Wire transfer agreement
- Senior Transportation Services
- State legislation on tax collection
- Road salt usage
- Fuchs Mizrachi demolition
- Gearity Elementary School
- Ed Wittenberg
Councilman Steven Sims was absent.
Proposed fire department merger: Three residents commented on the proposed merger of the University Heights and Shaker Heights fire departments. All were opposed, arguing that firefighters would be laid off and questioning whether a merger would generate efficiencies. Resident Winifred Weiser wanted a vote from constituents on the merger.
Mayor Infeld assured the audience that currently there is only a memorandum of understanding (MOU), with no decision. This has been a two-year process funded by the Cleveland Foundation, which had mapped out four models as guidelines. There is no rush to vote on the merger.
State of the City
The mayor reported the following major points in her speech:
- A $2.2 million surplus, the largest in the history of the city, will be reinvested in items such as street paving, services, programming and equipment in order to benefit residents.
- The city is researching the possibility of establishing new green space where the former Fuchs Mizrachi school property sits. Also, there is new green space on Silsby Road near Allison Road.
- The city’s planning and zoning code will be updated in 2013. It was last updated 60 years ago.
- Consolidation of fire services and a regional dispatch center for police services is being investigated.
- There is an ongoing dialogue with the school district to keep an elementary school within the city boundaries.
- Maintaining a strong relationship with John Carroll University, the city changed the name of North Park Boulevard to John Carroll Boulevard.
- The city has a new website and Twitter and Facebook presence.
Heritage Home Program
The Cleveland Restoration Society presented the Heritage Home Program to council. For $4,200, the city can enroll its residents in the Heritage Home Program. Under the program, a homeowner can obtain a home improvement loan at a rate as low as 1.4 percent for a minimum of $3,000 to a maximum of $200,000 for up to 12 years, as long as the home is at least 50 years old. The agency offers financial help as well as home repair consultations, on-site visits and contractor referrals. The basis for the loan is from the equity of the house, but it can be appraised after completion of the work. The cost is within the range that the mayor can approve without a council vote. However, at the request of the mayor, council voted and approved the program.
Wire transfer agreement
On second reading, council approved a wire transfer agreement with Fifth Third Bank.
Senior Transportation Services
Council approved a one-year agreement with Senior Transportation Services for 80 riders per month. This was the same contract as last year. Flyers will be put in the mailboxes of current users and in apartments with elderly tenants.
State legislation on tax collection
Proposed legislation to turn collection of income taxes over to the state is up for debate in the Ohio Senate. Mayor Infeld is traveling to Columbus next week for a mayors meeting and stated that all of the cities are against the issue and will voice their opinion.
Road salt usage
The public service director said that the city would use an estimated 2,300 tons of salt this year and has used 1,150 tons to date.
Fuchs Mizrachi demolition
Bids will be open for the demolition of the Fuchs Mizrachi building. These bids are only for demolition costs. Nothing has been decided on what to do with the space yet. Discussion of green space has begun.
Gearity Elementary School
Councilman Phillip Ertel was happy to announce that Gearity School is included in all future configurations of the facilities plans for the Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District. He feels it is important for the city to have an elementary school within its boundaries. Councilwoman Pamela Cameron is also on the committee.
Councilwoman Frankie Goldberg recognized Ed Wittenberg from the Sun Press who will be leaving that position to take a new position at the Cleveland Jewish News. This will be his last meeting. She and the other council members praised his reporting.
LWV Observer: Michele Weiss.
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 email@example.com 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
Observer Corps editor for the Heights Chapter of the League of Women Voters, Cuyahoga Area