University Heights City Council meeting highlights 12-1-2014

DECEMBER 1, 2014

  • Public comments
  • Wiley construction
  • Wheel loader purchase
  • Ladder truck repair
  • Equipment sale
  • Debt policy
  • Tax collection
  • Budget legislation
  • Cedar Road sidewalk work
  • Paperless council
  • Community engagement committee

Councilman Steven Sims was absent.

Public comment

Wiley issues: A resident wanted reassurance that needed adjustments for security and commuting issues for use of the Wiley Middle School building as a temporary high school could be done. He was concerned that there is only a bus route on Cedar Road and that an influx of students would be difficult to manage with the surrounding homes and businesses. He also suggested that the school board make a construction variance to bus the high school students. The police chief and Steven Zannoni, the architect and management consultant for the project, both stated that the plan is flexible.

Wiley construction

Council approved the planning commission’s recommendation to accept the Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District’s application to convert Wiley Middle School into a swing space to accommodate high school and middle schools students for four years, with several conditions. A discussion was held based on the resident’s comments. During restricted times, Miramar Boulevard would not be a through street in order to minimize congestion. Vice Mayor Susan Pardee abstained from voting, as she is an employee of the school district. Councilwoman Pamela Cameron, who has two children attending the high school, said she was upset by talk of “thugs” and safety concerns. Councilman Mark Wiseman said he was in full support of the motion and wants to focus on the students and what will benefit them.

Wheel loader purchase

Council authorized purchase of a wheel loader for the service department. The current wheel loader is more than 16 years old and needs $12,000 worth of repairs. The best bid was from JCP for $120,978. However, the city will be trading in the current machine, which will bring the purchase price down to $104,478. The life expectancy of the new machine is 20 years. Excess [funds] in the tree, general, and capital funds creates room in the budget for this purchase. Also, there is a placeholder of $180,000 in next year’s budget. Responding to Councilwoman Cameron’s question about next year’s capital expenditures, the service director said that the city is looking into purchasing a salt truck, a rubbish truck and a rubbish scooter. The rubbish truck was budgeted to be purchased in 2014 and will, hopefully, be purchased by the end of the year.

Ladder truck repair

Council authorized the repair of the fire department ladder truck by Finley Fire Equipment at a cost of $5,672.50. The fire chief explained that the ladder must stay fully opened for one hour without lowering more than one and a half inches. The ladder fell two inches; therefore it needs to be repaired.

Equipment sale

Council authorized sale of a 2000 Crown Victoria, Glider rubbish truck, and a Ford pickup truck on gov.deals.com. The service director said that none of the equipment is working.

Debt policy

Council approved a debt policy for the city on second reading.

Tax collection

Council accepted the amounts and rates as determined by the budget commission and authorized the necessary tax levies for the new park. The city can now begin to collect the bond money.

Budget legislation

Council amended the budget for a net effect, created a special revenue fund known as the Park Fund 206, and heard a first reading of legislation to appropriate funds for expenses for the park for the period Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2015.

Cedar Road sidewalk work

Sidewalk work on Cedar Road between Belvoir Boulevard and South Green Road should be finished this week. Temporary concrete may need to be poured because of the temperature. The gas company hit the traffic signals in error when the gas lines were installed. There are some minor issues that will be addressed, such as unacceptable paving that is creating ponding water in some places.

Paperless council

The technology committee is recommending purchase of 16 iPad Air tablets and 16 keyboards along with software to establish a paperless council. The annual savings of paper, copier, clerk time and police delivery time would be around $5,000 annually. Tablet use would only be allowed in a Wi-Fi area so that the city does not incur data charges. Councilwoman Cameron asked about other paper items, such as those for the planning commission, but Nancy English, technology committee chair, stated that for now it would be only for council use. The decision was made to put this expenditure into the 2015 budget.

Community engagement committee

The governmental affairs committee wants to create a special committee for community engagement with the goal to improve communication between officials and residents. This would amend the charter of the current committee, which is for all purposes defunct because no meetings have been held in anyone’s memory. The mayor was concerned that this new committee would not have citizens nor the mayor as part of the committee. Councilman Wiseman stated that the goal is for citizens and that the idea will be put on the agenda for the next council meeting.

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 Morse and Maryann Barnes. To receive e-mail postings of full reports, send an e-mail to mbarnes9515@gmail.com 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.

Read More on University Heights
Volume 8, Issue 1, Posted 7:14 PM, 12.16.2014