Cleveland Heights City Council meeting highlights 3-17-14

MARCH 17, 2014

  • Public comments
  • Fair housing audits
  • Housing council appointments
  • Nuisance bar
  • Employee compensation
  • First Suburbs Development Council
  • St. Baldrick fundraiser
  • Fair Housing Month
  • Community announcements
  • Capital improvements
  • Denison Park field project
  • Public works purchase

All council members were present.

Public comments

Emergency legislation: Resident Diane Hallum criticized council for having so many agenda items slated for action “as an emergency.” Mayor Dennis Wilcox explained that most of the legislation was for a first reading.

Toxic chemicals: Resident Joan Spoerl, a member of Beyond Pesticides Ohio, pointed out that the crumb rubber infill at Denison Field has toxic chemicals. She asked that council have a third party test the grass and crumb fill for chemical content, warn families how to reduce exposure to the chemicals, and start a plan for the disposal of these materials if they are found to have unacceptable levels of toxic chemicals.

Fair housing audits

Council approved a contract with the Heights Community Congress to conduct fair housing audits with $8,500 in Community Development Block Grant funds.

Housing council appointments

Council appointed residents Amanda Schaffer and Ben Hoen to three-year terms on the Community Reinvestment Housing Council, beginning March 20. Mayor Wilcox announced the appointment of Council Members Mary Dunbar and Cheryl Stephens to the housing council for three-year terms ending April 1, 2017.

Nuisance bar

Council declared a bar at 2230 Noble Road a nuisance following more than 78 police department visits since January 2012. The owner was arrested for drug trafficking. As part of the nuisance declaration, council called for revocation of the business occupancy permit.

Employee compensation

Council established a salary schedule, sick and vacation pay, and other compensation for city officers and employees. The plan covers all employees and becomes effective April 1, assuming there is sufficient revenue to fund the proposal.

First Suburbs Development Council

Council amended the administrative code to create a mechanism to accept and process funds to support participation in the First Suburbs Development Council.

St. Baldrick fundraiser

Council Member Melissa Yasinow congratulated the citizens of Cleveland Heights who participated in and supported the St. Baldrick Fund for pediatric cancer research. The event raised a record $106,000.

Fair Housing Month

Council declared April to be “Fair Housing Month,” reaffirming Cleveland Heights’s commitment to open housing. This is the 46th year since passage of national fair housing legislation. The resolution recognized the city’s nine-point plan, approved in 1976, to make the city a full service inclusive community.

Community announcements

Council Member Jeff Coryell announced several city and community events:

  • Loose leaf pickup will resume between March 31 and April 25;
  • The Reaching Heights Adult Community spelling bee has been rescheduled for April 2 at Wiley Middle School;  
  • Heights Community Congress is sponsoring “Heart of the Lion,” a film about racial tension in Europe at the Cleveland International Film Festival on March 26. The festival, which began at the Cedar Lee Theatre in Cleveland Heights, will honor Rick Whitbeck.

Capital improvements

The city will undertake nearly $3.3 million in capital improvements with funds raised by issuing bonds later this spring. Eleven pieces of legislation, each identifying a specific bond amount for a specific capital expenditure, were presented on first reading. Council action on these will take place at a later meeting.

The proposed purpose and amounts of the bonds to be issued are as follows:

  • Motor vehicle purchase for the public works department, $950,000.
  • A complete facelift to the Cedar Lee and Cedar Fairmount districts, replacing sidewalks, curbs, storm water improvements, and landscaping, $595,000.
  • Resurface city surface parking areas, $600,000.
  • Acquire and install computer hardware and software needed for city management and administrative functions, $255,000.
  • Acquire motor vehicles needed for the police department, $220,000.
  • Install traffic signals and security cameras, $175,000.
  • Construct and install new HVAC systems in the city’s fire stations, $130,000.
  • Acquire equipment for the city’s recreation facilities, $150,000.
  • Improve the Lennox/Surrey parking deck, $105,000.
  • Improvements at city hall, $95,000.
  • Renovate and improve the city’s solid waste transfer station, $55,000.

Denison Park field project

Council approved a change order with Marous Brothers Construction for the Denison Park Soccer Field Project. The $2,080 increase was needed to resolve an unanticipated drainage issue.

Public works purchase

Council approved funds, not to exceed $119,000, for the purchase, through the Department of Transportation Cooperative Purchasing Program, of a truck cab, chassis, and wet line kit for the public works department.

LWV Observer: Susie Kaeser

Please note: YouTube videos of Cleveland Heights City Council meetings may be accessed at

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.

League of Women Voters

Observer Corps editor for the Heights Chapter of the League of Women Voters, Cuyahoga Area

Read More on Cleveland Heights
Volume 7, Issue 5, Posted 1:40 PM, 04.08.2014