LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS / University Heights City Council meeting highlights [online 3-7-2016]
MARCH 7, 2016
- Compensation range of specified staff positions
- Saybrook Road property
- Mayor’s expenditure limits
- Traffic signal replacement
- Consortium purchase
- Truck purchase
- Waterline replacement
- Cleveland Heights Senior Activity Center
- Land bank funding
All council members were present.
Compensation range of specified staff positions
After a lengthy discussion, council updated the annual compensation range of specified positions. This updated ordinance does not change the current pay of any employees, but provides an allowed pay range for directors and those administrative positions not linked to union contracts. An amendment, approved on emergency, requires the mayor to advise council at the council meeting following any pay increases. Councilman Phillip Ertel was the sole vote against the amendment; however, the vote for the ordinance as amended was unanimous. Vice Mayor Susan Pardee made clear that the extensive discussion of this issue by council had nothing to do with any single position or person, but was due to council’s need to practice due diligence by looking at the numbers, budgets and ranges before voting on this issue. Mayor Susan Infeld said that the requirement to notify council was overreach; that, as mayor, she is responsible for personnel; and that she notifies council of current pay rates when council begins to prepare the budget for the following year.
Saybrook Road property
Council accepted a quitclaim deed from Amy Lisa Bug for the property at 2292 Saybrook Road. The estate of Bug is giving the property to the city. The quitclaim deed means that the property is being legally transferred with no guaranty. This is usually done when property is being transferred, but no money is changing hands.
Mayor’s expenditure limits
Council heard a first reading of legislation raising the mayor’s expenditure limit to $7,500 from $5,000. The $5,000 limit was set in 1988. Any expenditure above this amount requires council approval. Mayor Infeld noted that the amount of these limits is a source of inefficiency for the administration, as projects and decisions have to be put on hold pending the next meeting of council. The state limit that is in place for communities not governed by their own charters is $50,000. Vice Mayor Pardee noted that, when she was working on the city’s revised charter, she had researched expenditure limits in Ohio and found that limits vary widely, from broad authorization to councils approving all expenditures. She maintained that council has responsibility to oversee the fiscal standing of the city. Mayor Infeld replied that University Heights is managed similarly to neighboring cities in Cuyahoga County, and not like the small communities in southern and western Ohio.
Council also heard a first reading on legislation dealing with disposition of city property. Currently, the mayor is required to determine the value of any equipment to be removed and, if the value exceeds $2,500, she must get council’s approval. She feels this ordinance, dating from 1989, is restrictive. She stated that, as mayor, her authority is to manage issues of personnel and administration, and that council should examine legislation and research policies instead of scrutinizing the financial decisions of the mayor.
Traffic signal replacement
Council approved the purchase and installation of the traffic signal and related equipment for the intersection at 2180 South Green Road, by Signal Service Company, in the amount of $44,588.25. This is the traffic signal by Heinen’s that was knocked down by a plow driver. Signal Service Company will have to build a new controller, which will take time. The light will be installed in six to twelve weeks. The mayor noted that if she were authorized to spend $50,000, the order could have been placed two weeks ago.
The city joined Mayfield Heights in a bid consortium for the purchase of swimming pool chemicals from SAL Chemical. The price will be essentially unchanged from 2015, with a final cost ranging from $7,000 to $8,000 for the summer season.
Council authorized the purchase of one 2016 Ford F250 4WD pickup truck in the amount of $31,781.99 from Middletown Ford of Middletown, Ohio, via the State Cooperative Purchasing Program. This truck will replace a 1990 truck with 250,000 miles on it. This purchase was included in the 2016 budget.
Council authorized the solicitation of bids for the waterline replacement project on Churchill Boulevard and Loyola Road. Plans are 90 percent complete for this project, and completed plans will be submitted to the Cleveland Water Department for review and approval, before going out to bid. Cleveland Water [Department] will pay for the work at an approximate cost of $1 million.
Cleveland Heights Senior Activity Center
A pilot program allowing 40 University Heights senior citizens to join programs at the Cleveland Heights Senior Activity Center will begin April 1. Senior Transportation Connection can provide transportation to the center.
Land bank funding
Mayor Infeld reported that the city did receive grant funding from Cuyahoga County for five of the six properties to be razed or sold by the county land bank.
LWV Observer: Wendy Deuring.
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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.
League of Women Voters
Observer Corps editor for the Heights Chapter of the League of Women Voters of Greater Cleveland