Cleveland Heights City Council meeting highlights 6-15-2015

JUNE 15, 2015

  • Public comments
  • Truck purchase
  • Storm drain stenciling
  • Blood drive
  • Independents Week
  • CDBG funding
  • Severance Town Center
  • Council members defend city efforts

Council Member Jeff Coryell was absent.

Public comments

Resident Diane Hallum expressed concerns about budget shortfalls, water department problems, failing schools, the sale of a loan to address a defaulted loan for a Taylor Road building, and the possibility of two tax issues being placed on the November ballot. She described council’s solutions as “frantic” and felt that the issues she brought up had not been faced directly at the outset. She mentioned the city’s recently lowered bond rating and announced a fundraising meeting of her organization, the Citizen’s Leadership PAC, on June 24 at the Mad Greek.

Truck purchase

Council approved the purchase of a 2016 International tow truck (chassis and body package) from Rush Truck Centers at a price not to exceed $110,000. The purchase is for the police department and was made through the Ohio Department of Transportation Cooperative Purchasing Program.

Storm drain stenciling

The Doan Brook Watershed Partnership will sponsor storm drain stenciling on June 27. [Storm drain stenciling is a marking program to educate the public on runoff pollution.]

Blood drive

There will be a Red Cross blood drive at the Community Center on July 6, 2–7 p.m.

Independents Week

Council declared the week of July 1–7, 2015 to be Independents Week, to celebrate and promote independent businesses throughout the city.

CDBG funding

Council approved the following agreements for Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Year 41 funding for the period of July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016:

  • Start Right Community Development Corporation - $5,000 for the payment of operating expenses for its Food Bank Program.
  • Heights Youth Club Inc. - $35,000 to provide funding for assistance with its Project Learn: The Educational Enhancement Program, which serves approximately 500 young clients.
  • Lake Erie Ink - $6,780 to provide funding for assistance with the organization’s after-school writing program at Noble School.
  • Heights Community Congress - $3,500 for assistance with its educational programs on Diversity in our Community.
  • Gesher - $5,000 for operating expenses. The mission of Gesher is to help eliminate cultural barriers to applying for benefits in the service area of Cleveland Heights, University Heights and South Euclid.
  • Open Doors Academy - $8,000 for assistance with the organization’s year-round enrichment program for 80 youths living at risk.

Severance Town Center

Mayor Dennis Wilcox reported that the city is meeting with the court-appointed receiver for Severance Town Center. The note and mortgage of the center restricts the type of businesses that can occupy the center but new ownership may be able to expand the types that can be established.

Council members defend city efforts

Council Members Cheryl Stephens, Melissa Yasinow and Mayor Wilcox commented about council and staff efforts to address the city’s financial issues. They noted that there have been no raises for most city staff, small raises for safety forces, positions left empty, and equipment stretched beyond its expected life. Mayor Wilcox also pointed out the $6.7 million loss of state funding over the last ten years. He said many cities have sought income and property tax raises to fill the gaps. He also mentioned that former city council member Janine Boyd, now a member of the Ohio House of Representatives, is working hard on these problems from a legislative perspective in Columbus. [He said] there would have to be a decision between cutting city services and raising taxes.

LWV Observer: Blanche Valancy.

Please note: YouTube videos of Cleveland Heights City Council meetings may be accessed at

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 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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