LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS / University Heights City Council meeting highlights for Oct. 5, 2016 [online]
OCTOBER 5, 2016
- Sgt. Donald Epstein
- Conservation, recycling
- CH-UH City Schools proposed levy
- Credit card payments to the city
- Tree maintenance and planting
- County health services
- Executive session
- Next meeting
Sgt. Donald Epstein
Mayor Susan Infeld began the meeting with a proclamation honoring Auxiliary Police Sgt. Donald Epstein, who is retiring after 47 years of service. Members of the auxiliary police force were on hand to honor his service.
The mayor called attention to new annual reports, on display on the first floor [of City Hall], including reports from the Cuyahoga Soil & Water Conservation District and the Cleveland Restoration Society. The mayor announced that the county recently received a grant to create recycling banners with verbiage from the Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District, which will help constituents recycle properly.
The mayor reported that rallies supporting Issue 109, the [proposed] CH-UH school levy, would be held on Oct. 6 at local public elementary schools, middle schools and the high school to show support for students and the district. On Oct. 11, there will be a school levy community forum at Noble Road Presbyterian Church.
Credit card payments to the city
Council approved a contract with Government Payment Service (GPS), Inc. to provide credit card payment options for the city. Motorists receiving a traffic ticket now have the option of paying the fine online. Larry Heiser, finance director, explained the contract. He chose GPS because it includes a convenience fee with each ticket, meaning the city does not lose money in fees, and is secure (the payment icon takes the user directly to the GPS website). The service will only be used by the Police Department, but can be expanded to pay for garbage fees. Councilwoman Pamela Cameron asked Heiser if he had done any research on other vendors. Heiser responded that he had researched three, but that GPS offered the best deal. Councilman Mark Wiseman asked for, and received, confirmation that when users pay their fines through GPS, the money comes back to University Heights. Vice Mayor Susan Pardee suggested that the service could be used to pay for pool passes in the future, noting that the issue of convenience fees would need to be addressed. Mayor Infeld suggested holding a meeting in the future to address this.
Tree maintenance and planting
Council authorized a contract for the 2016-17 tree fall pruning and removal program. Jeffrey Pokorny, service director, reported one bid from VanCuren Tree Service for $32,567, which he recommended. Councilman Steven Sims asked why there was only one bid, and Pokorny replied that he didn’t know. Sims also asked how the bid compared to recent bids, and Pokorny reported that it was very similar to previous bids. Councilwoman Cameron asked if there were prohibitions against inquiring as to why other companies didn’t submit bids; Pokorny said there were not. Councilman Philip Ertel thanked Pokorny for his work on the fall pruning and removal program.
Council authorized a contract for the 2016-17 tree fall planting program. Pokorny reported that, after working with four bidders, he recommended approval of the Greenleaf Group’s bid of $80,483. He said they provided the best service and included the species of trees the city had requested. Other bidders wanted to use substitutes. Sims asked why the price was double that of the previous year. Pokorny explained that many trees were removed last year and need replacement. He also noted that tree prices have increased. Wiseman suggested that the arborist give a presentation next spring before moving forward with the spring bidding/planting process. Mayor Infeld agreed, reminding the council that these presentations had been given in the past.
County health services
Council authorized a contract with the Cuyahoga County Board of Health for health services in an amount not to exceed $55,781. Mayor Infeld reported that the contract was required because the city lacks its own health department. Vice Mayor Pardee questioned whether University Heights was receiving the best services it could. The mayor suggested having someone from the county health department give a presentation about the program and answer questions. Councilwoman Michele Weiss asked if the city could publicize the services the county board of health offers, and Sims suggested that the board of health offer a presentation to the community on opiate abuse. Mayor Infeld was enthusiastic about both suggestions, and suggested moving forward with these ideas in a future meeting.
Motion to hold an executive session immediately following the meeting for the purpose of discussing personnel, legal and real estate matters was tabled.
Council authorized, on emergency, payment in the amount of $121,831 to the Northern Ohio Risk Management Association Self-Insurance Pool, Inc. The fee to participate increased by $2,000 since last year. Sims asked how self-insurance was working for the city. Heiser said that although the city is committed to the program for another year, he is starting to look at other programs, even though he believes that, operationally, the program has been good. For example, when traffic lights went out in the city, University Heights was reimbursed.
Council will next meet Wednesday, Oct. 19 at 7 p.m. The change from Monday is due to a holiday.
LWV Observer: Siobhan Leftwich.
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 email@example.com 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.
League of Women Voters
Observer Corps editor for the Heights Chapter of the League of Women Voters of Greater Cleveland