Cleveland Heights City Council meeting highlights 9-2-2014
SEPTEMBER 2, 2014
- Public comments
- Law director resignation
- Award for financial reporting
- Public works purchases
- Liquor license transfer
- Payday loan businesses
- Dobama loan amended
- Outstanding Citizen of the Month
- Tax resolutions
- Cedar Road paving
- City water infrastructure
- Larry Shaw
All council members were present.
Tree commission: Former resident Laura Marks, who recently attended the Ohio Department of Public Resources Tree Commission Academy, recommended the establishment of a tree commission in the city, in addition to the office of the forester. Marks also presented a petition from her former neighbors thanking the city for the new park at Cadwell and Hampshire roads and requesting that the missing sidewalk around the park be replaced soon.
Fairmount traffic issue: Resident Richard Hollis pointed out that there have been multiple accidents and near accidents at the median strip near Ruffing Montessori School. With little explanation, he also expressed concern for people who live alone with dogs and the need for a municipal dog registry.
Law director residency: Resident Diane Hallum referred to the appointment of Jim Juliano as a part-time acting law director, to replace the full-time law director who recently resigned, and stated that the [city] charter requires the law director to be a city resident. Mayor Dennis Wilcox said this was incorrect.
Ward proposal: Hallum also maintained that council members ignore her and the group she represents on many serious issues in the city. She accused council members of picking whom they will work with and not being objective. She is circulating a petition to create wards in Cleveland Heights and feels that wards would improve communications between council members and citizens. She hopes to get the proposal on the ballot for the May 2015 primary election.
Law director resignation
The city manager announced the resignation of the law director the previous Tuesday and the hiring of Juliano as, once again, the acting law director.
Award for financial reporting
The city has received an award “with distinction” for financial reporting from the Ohio state auditor.
Public works purchases
Bids have been awarded for the purchase of a refuse transfer trailer and a forestry crane.
Liquor license transfer
Council was notified that application had been made for a liquor permit transfer from Case Western Reserve University to Bon Appetit Management for the Rough Rider Room and Main Dining Room at 11892 Carlton Road.
Payday loan businesses
Council repealed, with reluctance, an ordinance that had imposed a moratorium on the operation of any new business that proposed to issue “payday” loans without being licensed under the short-term loan law. The moratorium was to last until the Ohio Supreme Court issued a ruling in Ohio Neighborhood Finance, Inc. v. Scott. The repeal was necessary to bring city law into compliance with the court’s June 11, 2014 decision. Council Member Jason Stein expressed council’s disappointment with the court decision, which, he claims, fails to protect Ohio citizens.
In response, council passed a resolution requesting that the Ohio General Assembly enact legislation subjecting payday lenders to the provisions of the Ohio Short Term Loan Act of the Ohio Revised Code, in order to regulate the issuance of payday loans and to protect borrowers from excessive interest rates. This would prohibit payday lenders from registering under the Mortgage Loan Act.
Dobama loan amended
Council amended a loan agreement, made under the City’s Revolving Loan Fund Program to Dobama Theatre, to extend the loan and change repayment terms. The loan balance of $21,989.44, due to mature on Dec. 1, 2014, will be extended and repaid in 60 monthly payments of $366.49 each. It will be secured by a lien on Dobama’s machinery, equipment and furnishings.
Outstanding Citizen of the Month
Council Member Stein’s September Outstanding Citizen of the Month Award has gone to Susan and Steve Paulini, who removed snow last winter for neighbors who could not do so themselves. He urges citizens to nominate their neighbors for future awards.
Carl Campbell Jr. and Susan Ford were reappointed to the Recreation Advisory Board, and Margaret Lann was appointed to the Landmark Commission to fill the unexpired term of Chuck Miller.
Council accepted the amounts and rates, as determined by the Cuyahoga County Budget Commission, authorizing the necessary tax levies and certifying them to the county fiscal officer for the 2015 fiscal year tax budget. Council also requested the county fiscal officer to advance taxes from the proceeds of the 2014 tax year collection. Council Member Melissa Yasinow commented that these two resolutions represent how Cleveland Heights will spend its money in 2015 and how it will get its money for the rest of 2014.
Cedar Road paving
Council authorized application to the state of Ohio for Ohio Public Works Commission funds for the Cedar Road Pavement Rehabilitation Project, which includes the road within the city limits and is scheduled for 2017. The Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency is providing 80 percent of the cost, and this grant, if awarded, will cover 20 percent. Mayor Wilcox noted that Cedar Road will receive temporary repairs later this year.
City water infrastructure
Council authorized an agreement with Energy Systems Group, LLC (ESG) of Newburgh, Ind., for a detailed engineering evaluation of the city’s water system infrastructure in order to develop a proposed project scope designed to reduce non-revenue water loss. The city estimates it is losing 50 percent of the water it purchases from the City of Cleveland, resulting in excessive billings. ESG has proposed an agreement to perform an engineering study for $120,000. However, this will not have to be paid unless the engineer can design an improvement plan guaranteed to create a $250,000 first-year positive cash flow, as defined by the parties in the contract. Mayor Wilcox pointed out that this study covers the billing system as well as the hardware.
Mayor Wilcox said that the Forest Hill Park softball complex will be renamed to honor Larry Shaw and his 33 years of dedicated service in the recreation department.
LWV Observer: Blanche Valancy.
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