University Heights City Council meeting highlights 1-20-2015

JANUARY 20, 2015

  • Jim Price
  • WOW! upgrade
  • Citizen committees
  • The mayor’s state of the city address
  • City jail medical director
  • Community engagement committee
  • Senior transportation
  • Demolition project
  • Street striping
  • Sale for scrap
  • Tree pruning and removal

All council members were present.

Jim Price

A moment of silence was held in honor of Jim Price, who passed away. He was involved in numerous citizen committees in University Heights.

WOW! upgrade

WOW! plans to upgrade its equipment from analog to digital. The company is offering one digital adaptor at no cost to each of its subscribers.

Citizen committees

All citizen committees are still open for members. Anyone interested should contact city hall.

The mayor’s state of the city address

University Heights is now financially solvent with a surplus of $2.1 million from 2014.

Grant funding has supplemented the city’s tax revenue. This includes:

  • A Community Development Block Grant to help pay for development of a new master plan for the city. The master plan was last updated in 2003.
  • Grant funding in 2014 for bulletproof vests, fire safety equipment, and motorized cots for the ambulances.
  • A grant received this year from Ohio to rebuild some of the tennis courts.

A strong relationship exists between the city and John Carroll University. The summer band concerts were held on the grounds of the university this past summer—a popular new location.

Continuing work includes new development along Cedar Road, work to make Warrensville Center and Cedar roads more pedestrian- and bike-friendly, and the development of the new city park on Fenwick Road, with no increase in cost to the residents.

There were two areas of concern. University Square Shopping Center was sold at auction in 2013 and the new owners have neither paid taxes nor acted on numerous suggestions of possible new tenants. Wiley Middle School will transition into a temporary high school for two years, with an increase from 400 middle school students to more than 2,000 high school students and staff. Cuyahoga County Sheriffs, along with an increased presence from University Heights police, will be providing additional security to maintain the safety of all.

City jail medical director

An agreement with Dr. Arnold Feltoon to continue as medical director of the city jail was tabled because council members felt the contract lacked specifics. The contract presented only a monthly rate, which was $500. As the current medical director, Feltoon sees or consults on 250–300 prisoners per year. According to Police Chief Steven Hammett, many prisoners complain of medical problems in an effort to speed up their release, but if the prisoner were taken to the emergency room many tests would be conducted at the city’s cost. Feltoon is available 24/7 and has been very helpful. Councilman Mark Wiseman asked whether Feltoon was required to show proof of insurance and what would be the city’s liability if a prisoner died while in custody.

Community engagement committee

Council approved a one-year special council committee for the purposes of community engagement.

Senior transportation

Pending further research, council tabled a contract with the Senior Transportation Connection to provide rides for senior citizens in University Heights. The service is being used for only 53 rides per month on average, but the city is paying for 80. The new contract offers 50 individual and 10 group uses per month at the cost of $25, with the passenger paying an additional $3 per ride, or $24 with the passenger paying an additional $4.

Demolition project

Council approved the demolition permit requested by Larry Weiser for the four properties on Cedar Road just east of Warrensville Center Road. Building Commissioner Eric Tuck-Macalla had inspected the four homes and reported that they had no electricity, some lacked furnaces, and some had been stripped of copper. The walls were intact but there was much debris left behind by former tenants. He considered the homes to be a public nuisance. Police Chief Hammett said they are periodically called to the properties to re-secure them.

Street striping

Council authorized the city to receive bids for street striping in collaboration with the city of Shaker Heights. The bids are for three-year contracts and are overseen by Shaker Heights. Street striping was included in the budget based on 2014 rates.

Sale for scrap

Council approved the sale, for scrap value, of a Crane Carrier rubbish packer truck with a 1986 drive train on a 1996 frame with a 25-yard packer body. The truck had been listed on gov.deals.com but the bids received had not exceeded the scrap value of the vehicle, previously valued at $4,650. Service Director Jeffrey Pokorny will again seek out scrap values and accept the best offer.

Tree pruning and removal

Service Director Pokorny announced that tree pruning and removal is progressing. The service department is also continuing to pick up Christmas trees with the regular trash, but the trees are separated out and sent to a recycler to be turned into mulch.

LWV Observer: Wendy Deuring.

[NOTE: There will be no LWV report for the Feb. 2 University Heights City Council meeting. Weather complications prevented the attendance of a League observer.]

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 email postings of full reports, send an email 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 3, Posted 1:34 PM, 02.10.2015