LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS / Cleveland Heights City Council meeting highlights [online 7-18-2016]
JULY 18, 2016
- Public Hearing on FY 2017 tax budget
- Regular Meeting
Council members Mary Dunbar and Michael N. Ungar were absent.
Public Hearing on FY 2017 tax budget
City Manager Tanisha Briley gave a PowerPoint presentation on the tax budget, to be voted on during this evening’s council meeting. The presentation may be viewed on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=10LuuMCTc_A&sns=em.
Briley said the city’s financial forecast was prepared and presented to council in June. Revenue projections that substantiate the city’s need to levy the full amount of property taxes is being presented now, and the appropriations budget would be adopted in December. State law mandates tax budget submission to the Cuyahoga County fiscal officer in July.
It is hoped that the passage of the income tax rate increase last fall will enable the city to get through this year’s process without significant cuts. The full effect of the increase will be realized in 2018. Income taxes are projected to provide more than half of city revenue, at $25.2 million. Property taxes, which will total $6.5 million and continue at 13.92 mills, will decrease slightly and then remain relatively flat. No changes are recommended.
Council members had no questions. Resident Mark Pultusker, who has been buying real estate for rental property, observed that every house he bought resulted in a loss of property taxes to the city because the purchase price made it easy to negotiate lower taxes. He also noted two other problems for the city: delinquent taxes and lower income taxes resulting from lower property costs as residents with lower incomes move in.
Mayor Cheryl Stephens responded that council is aware of what he describes. She and the city manager, along with the school system, are working with the county on changing procedures and on the delinquencies.
Lakewood to Cleveland Heights comparison
Council member Melissa Yasinow made a statement of unity to counter a recent series of [Cleveland.com] articles comparing and contrasting Cleveland Heights and Lakewood. She said that . . . “cities don’t fight,” and that Lakewood and Cleveland Heights are not in competition, both are dedicated to regionalism, and both are vibrant, proactive, inner-ring suburbs which welcome collaboration and cooperation.
Change in committee appointments
Mayor Stephens announced that Council Member Ungar has been appointed chair of the Finance Committee and Council Member Jason Stein has moved to chair Community Relations and Recreation, at their request.
Council approved adoption of the tax budget for 2017.
Council approved the appointments of Keba Sylla to the Fair Practices Board and Mike Gaynier to the Master Plan Steering Committee, the latter to replace Ungar who was appointed to the council.
Mayor Stephens said that citizen committees increase transparency and involvement in planning. She specifically spoke about the Economic Development Committee, which is chaired by Gary Benjamin. Its first public meeting was July 20. Staff discussions with merchants in the Cedar-Lee area have led to an offer for free parking the last weekend of each month and an expansion of valet parking.
Tribute to safety forces
The mayor gave tribute to the safety forces, noting a community forum on safety concerns to be held later this summer. Meanwhile, a Night Out with the Police Department was planned for Aug. 2. This is part of a national Night Out across the country held each year on the first Tuesday in August.
LWV Observer: Blanche B. Valancy.
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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