LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS / University Heights City Council meeting highlights [online 2-1-2016]
FEBRUARY 1, 2016
- Park construction
- Employee compensation
- Conflict of interest
- Community survey
- Garbage scooter
- 2016 street repair
- Processing payroll
Vice Mayor Susan D. Pardee was absent.
Mayor Susan Infeld reported that all park construction updates are being posted to the city’s website. The work will resume early in spring as soon as the ground is dry. A number of change orders have resulted in an increase of approximately $22,000 thus far, but the project is still well within budget with room for possible additional changes.
Council tabled updating the compensation rate of specified employees. Councilwoman Michele Weiss asked that further discussion take place in executive session. Councilwoman Pamela Cameron asked that a vote be postponed until Vice Mayor Pardee was present. The purpose of this legislation is to establish a new pay range for positions within the administration, mainly director-level positions, which gives the mayor some flexibility if pay needs to be adjusted. The range was last adjusted two years ago.
Conflict of interest
Council approved waiving any conflict of interest for, and providing informed consent to, Law Director Luke McConville when entering into a consulting agreement with the Cuyahoga County Land Reutilization Corporation (County Land Bank). He has been offered a role with the Land Bank and wanted to confirm an agreement with both the city and the Land Bank that he would recuse himself from any decisions that would be seen as a conflict of interest (primarily if both entities were sued). He will be serving as a consultant and not an employee, and will not be their legal counsel. The Land Bank had already signed the same statement regarding possible conflict of interest.
Council authorized the mayor to expend funds for the printing and mailing of a community survey for the city’s master plan, with an additional clause to limit expenses to $10,000. The mayor was still awaiting a cost estimate to provide return postage for using randomized one-in-five mailers versus return postage on all mailers. The mayor will also look into providing bar-coded envelopes so that only returned surveys are charged postage. The estimated cost thus far was $6,800, but she was asking for approval up to $7,500. Council did not want any further delays for approval of additional costs, but also did not want to provide open-ended approval, so settled on a cap of $10,000.
Council authorized a request to seek bids for a four-wheel utility refuse collection vehicle (a garbage scooter). The city owns six garbage scooters and plans to replace one each year, given their usual six-year life span.
2016 street repair
Council authorized a request to seek bids for the city’s 2016 street repair program, with Councilman Mark Wiseman voting no. Joseph Ciuni, city engineer, reported that with lower oil prices, he is hoping to receive a lower bid for street repairs, enabling the possibility of repairing additional streets or parking lots (primarily the lot adjacent to the new park or the lot by Purvis Park tennis courts). Wiseman expressed concern that the list did not represent the streets in the worst condition. Ciuni and Mayor Infeld explained that the list considers a number of factors including the amount of traffic, the impact on traffic flow when repairing too many streets in one area, and expected waterline replacements. Council has budgeted $1 million for street repairs in 2016.
Larry Heiser, finance director, reported that he is once again processing payroll. ADP processed the first payroll [of 2016] but had multiple problems. The city has only paid them for that one payroll period. ADP is attempting to work out the issues. Two other payroll companies may be able to provide the necessary services, but the pension reporting remains problematic.
LWV Observer: Wendy Duering.
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League of Women Voters
Observer Corps editor for the Heights Chapter of the League of Women Voters of Greater Cleveland