University Heights City Council meeting highlights 12-17-2013

DECEMBER 17, 2013

  • Citizen of the Year
  • Public Servant of the Year
  • Current expenses
  • Health insurance
  • Lot consolidation
  • Change orders
  • Removal of hazardous tree

All council members were present.

Citizen of the Year

Robert Walton was honored as Citizen of the Year. Walton has been a volunteer magistrate for the Juvenile Diversion Program in University Heights for many years. He serves as a defense attorney during the day, but on Wednesday evenings he meets with juvenile offenders in council chambers, issuing sentences of community service and essays. According to Detective Sergeant Dale Orians, none of the people who have appeared before Walton have come before him a second time.

Public Servant of the Year

Vice Mayor Frankie Goldberg was honored as Public Servant of the Year. Goldberg has served 12 years on council, and was vice mayor for the past four years. She was praised as a strong advocate for the city, particularly regarding safety issues. She was noted as an independent thinker and a calm voice during contentious discussions. Female council members were grateful for her mentorship and guidance. Goldberg is stepping down due to term limits.

Current expenses

Council approved an ordinance for current expenses and other expenditures. Larry Heiser, finance director, had neglected to post the offsetting revenue and expense entries for the debt service fund for calendar year 2013. There is no change to the financial reports for the city, but the entries were needed to be in compliance with GAAP (generally accepted accounting principles) requirements. Council adopted a temporary budget to appropriate funds for current expenses and other expenditures for the period Jan. 1 to March 31, 2014.

Health insurance

Council authorized participation in the Cuyahoga County Benefits Regionalization Program. The county is now offering cities an option to join the regional employee benefits plan. This initiative, started by County Executive Ed Fitzgerald, has the potential to lower health insurance costs by 4 to 11 percent, depending on the plan selected. There is at least one plan that meets the requirements of the city’s current labor contracts. At this point, the city is looking at a premium increase of $300,000 from its current insurance provider. Mayor Infeld would have to sign a three-year contract, but there is no cost to end the contract in less than three years.

Lot consolidation

Council approved the planning commission’s recommendation for a lot consolidation at 2472 Charney Road. Kristine Bryan, who owns two adjacent lots, is adding an addition to her home that would violate setback requirements on the single lot. Consolidation of the two lots into one is in line with city and county ordinances.

Change orders

Council authorized two change orders from Noce Enterprises Inc. for the Lansdale and Westwood waterline replacement project. According to Joe Ciuni, city engineer, as they were finishing the water main next to the Dollar Bank parking lot, a lateral line that had not been recorded was broken and had to be repaired at a cost of $4,800. On Westwood Road, two sinkholes had formed in the pavement and had to be repaired at a cost of $2,400.

Removal of hazardous tree

Council authorized payment of $6,500 to Ardmore Tree Service for removal of a rear yard tree at 3837 Northwood Road, a rental property. The tree is virtually dead and becoming a safety hazard. The owner, although notified, has failed to remove the tree. The tree’s trunk is six feet in diameter, making it difficult and expensive to remove. The cost of removing the tree will be applied as a lien by the county.

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 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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