University Heights City Council meeting highlights 7-17-2013

JULY 17, 2013 (Special Meeting)

All council members were present.

Change in demolition cost

Council authorized a change order of $26,906.25 for the demolition of the Fuchs Mizrachi building. The initial proposal did not consider pipes wrapped in asbestos above the very high original ceiling. Engineer Joe Ciuni negotiated a lower price for this additional work, arguing that the people completing the bid should have known some pipes were not accounted for. The project is still below the total budgeted amount.

Consolidation of plats

Council authorized the consolidation of three plats into one at the former Fuchs Mizrachi School. The site had one large plat for the original school and two smaller ones from former homes that were removed to allow for additional parking. The planning commission recommended the consolidation.

Dunkin’ Donuts

Council authorized four variances recommended by the planning commission for the new Dunkin’ Donuts building at 13880–13882 Cedar Road with Councilman Phil Ertel voting no. [He later explained to the LWV observer that he felt that an orange 24-hour drive-through donut shop would not be good for the community.]The variances allow reduced setbacks on all four sides of the property. They are the same as, or improvements over, the current setbacks of the building. The architect and owner of the business were in attendance to present the new site plans. The new design is quieter and intended for residential communities such as University Heights. The primary concern was traffic congestion, with westbound traffic on Cedar Road waiting to turn left into the drive, and then exiting back into westbound traffic on departure. A side street, Vernon Road, has access to the lot as well as access to the Subway on the east side of the street. Council assured residents that the police would monitor the traffic in the area and make changes as needed for the traffic flow.

2007 Jeep Commander

Council authorized the purchase of a 2007 Jeep Commander for the police department. The vehicle is available from the FBI, which had confiscated it as part of a criminal investigation. The city is able to buy the vehicle for the cost of storage and repairs to the transmission, which is currently $6,648 (plus any additional storage until the vehicle is retrieved). This vehicle’s Blue Book value is $15,000. It will be used for surveillance, as it should be less conspicuous than the standard Crown Victoria police vehicles.

2014 Ford Escape

Council authorized the purchase of a 2014 Ford Escape for the building department at a cost of $20,361. This vehicle will replace an older vehicle with mechanical problems. The other department vehicles are 11–12 years old. This vehicle is being bought from a dealer because a comparable vehicle is not available through the state purchasing program, but the price was reduced to match the pricing of the state program. This price will be held until April 2014 in case an additional vehicle is bought. A valued feature of this new vehicle is that it includes Bluetooth, as cell phone use is no longer allowed within the city.

Pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly

Council authorized application to the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency (NOACA) for grant funding from the Transportation for Livable Communities Initiative Study. The mayor wishes to explore ways to make Cedar and Warrensville roads more pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly. This ongoing program offered by NOACA can provide grant money up to $75,000 for studies, with cities providing 20 percent matching funds.

Power Pro ambulance cots

Council authorized application to the Bureau of Workers Compensation (BWC) for grant funding for two Power Pro ambulance cots. The city had been granted funding for one cot, but has learned that they can apply for a second cot, with BWC covering 75 percent of the cost. The city would buy only one power -oad system and one ambulance, but the second cot could be used in the city’s second ambulance and still provide many benefits to emergency services personnel.

Changes in mayoral compensation

Council authorized changes to compensation for the mayor and safety director, effective Jan. 1, 2014. All pay changes must be authorized before the deadline for submitting petitions to run for office. Currently the mayor receives $33,750 as mayor and $36,750 as safety director. As of Jan. 1, the mayor will receive $75,500 as mayor and one dollar as safety director, resulting in a net increase of $5,001 per year. The last pay raise for mayor was 12 years ago. Councilwoman Sue Pardee voted against changing the safety director’s compensation to one dollar, claiming that this devalues the role of that position, which is clearly defined in the city charter as a separate position. She also noted that the two positions have not always been combined into one, and would not necessarily remain so in the future. Councilwoman Frankie Goldberg felt the change was appropriate because the mayor serves as CEO of the city and should be acknowledged as such.

City council compensation

Council compensation will remain unchanged as of Jan. 1, 2014.

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 mbarnes9515@gmail.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.

Read More on University Heights
Volume 6, Issue 9, Posted 11:28 AM, 08.14.2013