Cleveland Heights City Council meeting highlights 8-5-2013

AUGUST 5, 2013

  • Swearing in new city manager
  • Phyllis Evans
  • Citizens’ communications
  • Contract awards
  • Citizens’ initiative (Move to Amend) to go onto ballot
  • Cedar Fairmount SID
  • Assessment equalization boards
  • Joint purchasing program
  • Change orders
  • Zoning variances
  • Athletic field signage
  • Streetscape projects
  • 3596 Randolph Road
  • 2013–14 recreation rates and regulations
  • Mayor Kelley will not seek reelection

All council members were present.

Swearing in new city manager

For the first order of business, Vice Mayor Dennis Wilcox administered the oath of office to swear in Tanisha Briley as the new city manager.

Phyllis Evans

Mayor Edward Kelley called for a moment of silence in memory of former council member Phyllis Evans, who passed away on July 31. After Kelley read a proclamation into the record, members of council made individual statements.

Citizens’ communications

League of Women Voters Candidate Forum: Representing the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Chapter of the Cuyahoga Area League of Women Voters, Blanche Valancy of Yorkshire Road announced that the League of Women Voters and FutureHeights will host a candidates’ night Tuesday, Oct. 8, from 7–9 p.m. at the Cleveland Heights Community Center.  All candidates for Cleveland Heights and University Heights City Council and the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education whose names will appear on the Nov. 5 ballot will be invited. 

Tree concerns: Laverne Butler of Lownesdale Road expressed concerns about trees adjacent to her property. Mayor Kelley referred her to Alex Mannarino, director of public.

FirstEnergy representative: Terry Killeen, external affairs manager for Northeast Cuyahoga County and Southeast Chagrin Valley for FirstEnergy, introduced himself, along with his director of operations and senior customer support representative. Killeen’s job is to answer questions about the company’s community involvement activities, programs and resources.

Contract awards

The city manager read two contract awards into the record: the Mayfield Road resurfacing project to Ronyak Paving in the amount of $4,041,173.30, and repairs to the community center’s south rink to Tempest Inc. in the amount of $73,845.

Citizens’ initiative (Move to Amend) to go onto ballot

Last month the clerk of council certified a proposed ordinance titled “Political Influence by Corporate Entities,” which was set forth in an initiative petition circulated by the Cleveland Heights Chapter of Move to Amend. The initiative is a response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, which made it easier for corporations to support political campaigns. Janine Boyd, committee chair, directed the clerk of council to submit the proposed ordinance to the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections for placement on the city’s November 2013 ballot.

Cedar Fairmount SID

Council passed three pieces of legislation relevant to the Cedar Fairmount Special Improvement District (SID):

  • To implement, through assessment, a public services plan for the Cedar Fairmount SID.
  • To levy an assessment for the plan, in which 11 parcels of property will be assessed $66,275 annually, for a total of $331,375 over the five years of the plan.
  • To authorize an agreement in which the city will lend funds in the amount of each year’s assessment and then be reimbursed with the assessments collected from the landowners.

Assessment equalization boards

Council established three assessment equalization boards to hear objections to estimated property assessments and to make fair, impartial decisions on any property assessment disputes. A hearing will be held Wednesday, Aug. 21, at 9 a.m. at city hall.

The three boards are:

  • One for public services plans for the Cedar Lee Special Improvement District. Members will include Jeff Rink, Kenneth Montlack and Jeanne Diamond.
  • One for a portion of the expense of street lighting within the city. The board’s members will be Rebecca Spuhler, Kim Sperling and Joseph Hotchkiss.
  • One for a portion of the expense of improvement of city streets and parkways including grading, draining, curbing, paving, repaving, repairing, sweeping or cleaning, snow removal, and planting, maintaining and removing shade trees. The board’s members will be Rebecca Spuhler, Kim Sperling and Joseph Hotchkiss.

Joint purchasing program

Council amended the Contracts chapter of the city code to authorize participation in a joint purchasing program operated through the National Joint Powers Alliance, a national association of political subdivisions. This will result in cost savings to the city.

Change orders

Council approved several change orders in contracts including:

  • One to a contract with F. Buddie Contracting Ltd. for Cain Park electronic signage. The cost of additional labor is $800, bringing the total contract amount to $46,500.
  • One to a contract with Ronyak Paving Inc. for the 2013 Street Resurfacing project. The project came in $45,000 under budget, reducing the total contract sum to $504,760.
  • One to a contract with Specialized Construction for the 2013 Surface Treatment program. Additional work was necessary to add Bendemeer Road to the project, increasing the contract amount by $45,000 for a total project cost of $759,710.

Zoning variances

Council granted zoning variances to:

  • The Hebrew Academy of Cleveland, 1860 S. Taylor Road, for a 17-space parking lot expansion west of the school’s existing parking lot.
  • Paula King Bohanon, 3369 Berkeley Road, for a handicap ramp to project 23 feet into the front yard.
  • Alan and Becky Medearis, 2301 Coventry Road, for a 16-foot-wide front yard curved driveway with two curb cuts. Vice Mayor Dennis Wilcox recused himself from voting on this item because his property abuts this property.

Athletic field signage

Council amended the zoning code to authorize the planning commission to approve sponsor scoreboard signs for athletic fields, and also temporary sponsor signs at events taking place at athletic fields.

Streetscape projects

Council authorized an agreement with Osborn Engineering and City Architecture for engineering, bidding support and post-bidding design services for the Cedar Fairmount Streetscape Project. The cost will be $280,000, with an additional fee of $50,000 if an environmental assessment is required. Council also authorized an agreement with CDM Smith for engineering, bidding support, and post-bidding design services for the Cedar Lee Streetscape Project. The cost will be $206,934.

With the help of NOACA, both streetscape projects will be supported by $1.5 million grants from the Federal Highway Administration’s Transportation Alternatives Program. These expenditures are the first uses of those funds.

3596 Randolph Road

Council declared the property at 3596 Randolph Road to be a public nuisance and authorized abatement.

2013–14 recreation rates and regulations

Council approved the use regulations and rates for admission and other services for the community center and parks for the 2013–14 fall/winter season. The rates are basically unchanged except for increases for adult fitness classes and softball leagues.

Mayor Kelley will not seek reelection

Mayor Edward Kelley, who has served on council since 1993 and been mayor since 1997, announced that he will not seek reelection. He spoke of his “journey of service” and said he values the time he has spent working on behalf of the city. He thanked his colleagues on council, the city staff and city residents.

LWV Observer: Katherine Solender.

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.

Read More on Cleveland Heights
Volume 6, Issue 9, Posted 12:00 PM, 08.18.2013