Cleveland Heights City Council meeting highlights 5-18-2015
MAY 18, 2015
- Public comments
- Loan agreement with Gloree Group
- Forestry services and system
- Water system management
- Nuisance properties
Council Member Jeff Coryell was absent.
Resident Paul Greenberg expressed concern about the vacant property located at 3344 Beechwood Road. Council has declared the property a nuisance, but demolition has not yet occurred. Mayor Dennis Wilcox indicated that action will be taken. Greenberg also complained about the properties at 3234 and 3238 Euclid Heights Boulevard.
Loan agreement with Gloree Group
Council heard on first reading a proposed agreement with Natebee Partners LLC for the purchase of a commercial loan between the city and Gloree Group LLC. On June 1, 2009, council authorized a loan to Gloree Group under the city’s Revolving Loan Fund Program, to assist in the renovation of the commercial premises at 2140 South Taylor Road. Gloree Group is now in default; if approved, this agreement will allow Natebee Partners to purchase the loan from the city for $120,000.
Forestry services and system
Council approved an agreement with Knowles Municipal Forestry LLC, for a street tree inventory system, management plan, and tree tracker software. The price for these professional services shall not exceed $57,750 and the price for the software shall not exceed $1,800.
Water system management
Council heard a first reading of legislation calling for a non-binding letter of intent for leasing the city’s water system to a private firm, Aqua Ohio Inc., for operation and maintenance. There will be a public forum about the proposed partnership on Tuesday, May 26, 7–9 p.m. at the Community Center. The meeting will include a short presentation. Representatives from Aqua Ohio will answer questions and address concerns. The meeting will be taped and shown on the government channel (Channel 20 on Time Warner Cable) and on the city’s YouTube channel. The letter of intent will be posted as well.
Later in the meeting, Mayor Wilcox explained the background for this action. Despite the best efforts of the city manager, council and staff to find ways to improve the performance of the water system, current operations are losing money. The city has determined that investment in the system would be the best way to cut inefficiencies, but the city lacks the capital. Rather than borrowing up to $20 million or turning the system over to the City of Cleveland, council proposes a partnership with a private entity, as outlined in the non-binding letter of intent noted above.
Wilcox listed a number of considerations and goals, including resolving the deficit, securing capital for improvement and continuous investment to avoid water system issues, maintaining high levels of service to residents, stabilizing rates, respecting the existing work force and [its] dedication to the city, and protecting options for future city leadership.
The mayor said that the overall goals are safe drinking water at reasonable rates and bringing the system back up to where it should be. The most important thing the city can do now is to convey information to residents and hear their feedback. He welcomed citizen input at the meeting on May 26.
Council declared two properties to be nuisances needing abatement: 3432 Altamont Ave. and 896 Greyton Road.
LWV Observer: Katherine Solender.
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