University Heights City Council meeting highlights 6-16-2014
June 16, 2014
- Public comments
- Architects’ hiring
- Certificates of recognition
- Concession stand prices
- Park bonds
- 2015 tax budget
- Service dept. agreement
- Council chambers
All council members were present.
New park: Yanina Muzis of Warrensville Center Road asked for more details regarding the proposed park. She wanted to know how this would “boomerang” back to residents. Mayor Susan Infeld responded that the park had been discussed in open public meetings for two-and-a-half years. Of 59 communities in Cuyahoga County, University Heights is the only one without a significant park. Property values rise around community parks. Council approved the purchase of the land, a citizens committee was formed and a plan was formulated. The next step is for council to vote on whether to put the issue on the November ballot.
Wiley Middle School: Patti Carlyle of Ashurst Road, a community education volunteer activist, requested more opportunity for people to ask questions about Wiley and for the city to examine the benefits of using Wiley as a swing space. The children going there will be the residents’ children, and it is important for the city to support the children. Mayor Infeld noted that the city had just received the plans from the school district for the Wiley building and that the plans now need to be reviewed by the planning commission. Copies of the architectural drawings will be distributed to the planning commission and to council with the warning that the commission might make significant changes to the plans.
Mayor Infeld apologized to council for having perhaps violated city ordinances by hiring the architects to draw up design proposals for the park. She believed she was within her rights to make that decision. She will review ordinances with the law director to either clarify or to tighten up the wording so that such confusion will not occur in the future.
Certificates of recognition
Mayor Infeld presented a certificate of recognition to Sister Linda Martin, principal of Gesu School, who is retiring and celebrating her “golden jubilee.” The mayor said that the sister was a civic treasure. Sister Linda thanked council for its years of support for Gesu and for the level of cooperation with the Cleveland Heights-University Heights schools.
Mayor Infeld also presented certificates of recognition to members of the Gesu girls’ softball team for winning the CYO City Championship tournament.
Concession stand prices
Council approved concession stand prices for the 2014 summer season. This action was recommended by the auditor, enabling council to set prices that would allow the city to break even on costs. One council member noted that water will cost more than pop, but no explanation was provided for this.
Council voted unanimously to table the resolution concerning submitting to voters the question of issuing $1.8 million in bonds to construct and equip a public park. Councilman Wiseman reported that the board of elections did not need the legislation before Aug. 6. City Attorney Anthony Coyne countered that the board recommended presenting the preliminary bond issue to the board early enough to allow for a technical review of the language. Vice Mayor Susan Pardee thanked the mayor for scheduling a public town hall meeting on the park issue for the next night. She suggested that, based on the outcome of the town hall meeting, council should consider turning over the legislation to the recreation committee to review before council votes. Coyne noted that if the resolution were not voted on tonight, council would need two special meetings, one to pass the resolution and one to approve the final language of the bond issue. Councilwoman Nancy English urged slowing the process. She is hearing residents ask why this is being rushed and what specifically would the money be used for. She is generally opposed to taxing residents, and wishes that if taxes were going to be used for the park, that city council expand the scope to consider all the city’s recreational needs.
2015 tax budget
Council approved the 2015 tax budget. Finance Director Larry Heiser noted that the park bond had been removed from the final total.
Service department agreement
Council approved the service department agreement between the City of University Heights and the National Production Workers Local 707. This three-year contract will take effect July 1, and includes a rate increase of 1.5 percent, a glove allowance of $50 per year, and a stipend for those employees who maintain a CDL (commercial driver’s license).
Service Director Jeffrey Pokorny reported that, according to the Solid Waste District 2013 report, recycling in University Heights has increased slightly, up 1.7 percent from 2012.
Councilwoman English announced that the technology advisory committee suggested that the city enable free Wi-Fi within council chambers to allow council members to receive their meeting packets electronically to reduce printing costs. The city will also be making improvements to its website.
LWV Observer: Wendy Deuring.
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