University Heights City Council meeting highlights 10-6-2014

OCTOBER 6, 2014

  • Muscular dystrophy collection
  • Renovation meeting
  • Leaf pickup
  • Hazardous waste
  • Bond issue
  • Library levy
  • First Energy
  • Rezoning application
  • Grant acceptance
  • Insurance
  • Financial assistance
  • Master plan
  • Other cities’ grants
  • Ambulance sale
  • Legislation for administrative expenses
  • Vendor contracts
  • Auxiliary police
  • Minute Men Staffing
  • Direct deposit
  • Tree service
  • Street repaving
  • Tree planting bid
  • Garage lighting

All council members were present.

Muscular dystrophy collection

The treasurer of the University Heights Fire Fighters Association reported that this year’s muscular dystrophy collection raised the most money ever, almost $6,500. The executive director of the muscular dystrophy association presented a plaque to the fire department.

The treasurer also noted that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and reminded residents to check smoke alarms.

Renovation meeting

The mayor announced a community meeting at John Carroll University on Oct. 14 at 7 p.m., to discuss the renovation of the high school and two middle schools.

Leaf pickup

Leaf pickup will begin Oct. 15 and continue through Dec. 5.

Hazardous waste

Hazardous waste drop-off will be held Oct. 31 through November 1.

Bond issue

The mayor reminded everyone that a bond issue for the park will be on the ballot on Election Day.

Library levy

Nancy Levin, the director of Heights Libraries, presented an annual report on the libraries. She said that state funding comprises one-third of the budget and property taxes are two-thirds. There is a 2.2 million dollar operating levy on the ballot. This translates into $6.13 per resident on a $100,000 home. Upgrades to the University Heights Library are the primary need, as well as increased services.

First Energy

Terry J. Killeen, the manager of external affairs at First Energy, came to assure University Heights of his commitment to the city, and presented a short video of the services that First Energy provides. The company’s priorities during outages are first the safety of individuals, then services like hospitals, police and fire, and, finally, restoration of residents’ power.

Rezoning application

Larry Weiser presented his proposal again, along with representatives from Waterway Gas and Wash. He wants to rezone four parcels of land from residential to commercial. He already owns the commercial strip adjacent to the lots. Weiser reminded council of the creation of jobs and increased property taxes, [and said the project] would also enhance the entrance to the city. Council just received the traffic study, and some members did not want to vote until they had reviewed the study. Council members Wiseman, Pardee, Cameron and Ertel all wanted more time. Councilwoman English and the mayor wanted to proceed. The vote was to put this on the agenda again at the next council meeting.

Grant acceptance

Council approved the grant of $206,008 for rescue and computer equipment, and health and wellness items.


Council approved paying the Northern Ohio Risk Management Association Self-Insurance Pool $115,718. The premium cost is $83,000 and the rest is in reserve in case a claim arises.

Financial assistance

Council authorized the mayor to seek financial assistance from the Ohio Public Works Commission State Public Works Program to fund a Washington Boulevard rehabilitation project. The city wants funding to rehab the road from Warrensville Center Road to East Carroll Boulevard. If granted, the city would need to cover at least 10 percent of the project.

Master plan

Council authorized the mayor to seek master planning and financial assistance from the Cuyahoga County Department of Development/Planning Commission. Libby Ellis, the city’s grant writer, stated that this grant was just announced, and the city’s current master plan was written in 2003 and needs updating.

Other cities’ grants

A resolution, presented on first reading, would establish a policy that University Heights cannot be named in another city’s grant without prior approval. Many council members felt that the policy would not hinder another city from naming University Heights because this policy would be internal. The mayor disagreed and said it could happen that another city names University Heights in a grant and then if University Heights applies for the same grant, it would be disallowed because another grant was already submitted with the city’s name. This discussion was left until second reading.

Ambulance sale

Council approved putting the third ambulance up for sale on the website. Councilman Ertel asked what happened to the proposal for donating it to East Cleveland. The mayor said she wants to see how much the city can get for it first.

Legislation for administrative expenses

A resolution, authorizing that administrative and other expenses be paid and necessary city council approval for other written contracts, expenses or services, was presented on first reading. Vice Mayor Pardee, who is the finance committee chair, stated that this resolution was approved by the finance committee. The mayor was still confused by the language so the law director said he would take another look at the policy.

Vendor contracts

Council discussed whether vendor contracts still need approval because of the new policy that the finance committee drafted. Council decided that for now every vendor would need a contract.

Auxiliary police

Council approved amending and modifying the codified chapter for auxiliary police unit qualifications. Councilwoman Zucker abstained. Councilman Ertel stated the purpose was to ease hiring and recruiting of auxiliary members.

Minute Men Staffing

Council approved a contract with Minute Men Staffing to assist the service department with leaf pickup. Councilman Wiseman voted No. Wiseman asked about background checks and was told by the police chief that none are done. All members were concerned but did not see how to avoid this because this is the only staffing agency that can send [workers] on demand. Also, there could be a different person every day.

Direct deposit

Council approved putting all employees on direct deposit.

Tree service

Council approved a contract to Valo Tree Service for $36,129 for tree pruning and removal. [The company made] the lowest and best bid and did the work last year.

Street repaving

Council approved a change order for street repaving at Canterbury Road and Meadowbrook Boulevard. There is funding for this patching which will cost around $55,000.

Tree planting bid

Council awarded the citywide fall tree planting bid to Nate Johnson’s Landscaping Inc. for $11,680.

Garage lighting

Council approved Gato Electric Supply to upgrade the mechanics bay garage lighting for $7,777.35. This will save energy and dollars by installing four new light fixtures.

LWV Observer: Michele Weiss.

These meeting summaries are abstracted from LWV observers’ written reports. The summaries have been edited and prepared by Anne McFarland, Charlene Mors, 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 of Greater Cleveland. This disclaimer must accompany any redistribution of these reports.

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Volume 7, Issue 11, Posted 3:58 PM, 10.20.2014