LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS / University Heights City Council Meeting highlights, October 19, 2016 [online]
OCTOBER 19, 2016
- Public comments
- Arborist report
- Water service transfer
- Halloween, leaf pickup and paper shredding
- Police body cameras and server
- Video surveillance
- Sale of vehicles
- New building commissioner hired
- Fire training
Councilman Phillip Ertel was absent.
New park: A resident told council that he wasn’t initially sure about the need for a park but he, and his dog, are now enthusiastic users. He gave two suggested improvements: the addition of doggy “poop” bags, and markings on the path to indicate distance. Mayor Susan Infeld said that the path is 0.3 miles long, but agrees that both suggestions are good and that she welcomes all suggestions for improvements.
Tom Morgan, the city’s arborist, gave a report on the state of the city’s trees and the process used to review the trees. He has been in the urban forestry program for more than 30 years. Many of the trees are [old] and in a state of decline. He goes through the city block by block, tree by tree, to determine which are okay, which need to be trimmed, and which need to be removed. Removal is always the last option considered. The tree’s branches must be at least nine feet above the sidewalk and 12 feet above the curb. But, they tend to prune to 15 feet to ensure clearance for all vehicles, and to allow for a branch to “sag” after trimming. Proper removal of weaker sections of a tree can improve the overall vigor of the tree. Councilman Mark Wiseman noted that homeowners are responsible for caring for new trees planted in their tree lawn, ensuring that they have sufficient water, but this is often not communicated to homeowners. Morgan said he would look into informing homeowners regarding needed care.
Water service transfer
Mayor Infeld announced a public meeting with the Cleveland Water Department at the Dolan Science Center of John Carroll University to discuss the transfer of water service from Cleveland Heights to Cleveland.
Halloween, leaf pickup and paper shredding
Halloween trick-or-treating will take place on Halloween from 6 to 8 p.m. Fall leaf pickup has already begun, and this year’s second paper shredding and hazardous waste weekend will be Nov. 4 and 5. The list of hazardous waste items which are accepted can be found on the city’s website.
Police body cameras and server
Council approved the purchase of 20 body cameras for the Police Department. The purchase will be made via state contract through L3 Mobile-Vision, Inc. for a price not to exceed $15,558.50. Steve Hammett, police chief, reported that they currently have four body cameras that are older and need to be updated. More cameras are needed now that officers are seeing their value. Luke McConville, law director, concurred, saying that the cameras are helping to expedite the hearing process and are reducing litigation. Both the officers and residents can find it illuminating to see a recording of how they were actually reacting in a situation.
Council approved the purchase of a server for the Police Department via state contract from L3 Mobile-Vision, Inc. at a cost not to exceed $28,790.48. The current server is at maximum data and the use of the new video cameras will cause older data to be dumped. The current server is also no longer being supported by the manufacturer.
Council approved purchase of a closed-circuit television system for the University Heights municipal complex via state contract from i2c Technologies, at a cost not to exceed $62,682.86. The city was admonished in reviews for lack of sufficient video surveillance, including in the city’s jail. The city would need to outsource care of the prisoners if they didn’t add more cameras. There are also no cameras currently in city hall or the new park, and cameras would greatly improve employee’s ability to respond to unexpected situations. Hammett noted an incident in which a man was found wandering around in council chambers when nobody was present. When challenged by the chief, he said he was looking for a bathroom. The cameras would be monitored by the Police Department. It was noticed that Purvis Park was not included in the plan. Hammett will go back to i2c Technologies for a price estimate on video surveillance for Purvis Park, but will proceed with this initial purchase.
Sale of vehicles
Council authorized the sale of the city’s two Dodge Chargers on the deals.gov website. The vehicles had been listed and the listing ended. After it ended, the city received requests for donations, as well as a purchase offer from Florence City, Colo. The cars were initially listed at $12,000 each, and Florence City is offering $21,500 for both of them. Council accepted the offer. All identifying signs will be removed from the cars, and Florence City will be responsible for transporting the vehicles to Colorado.
Joseph Ciuni, city engineer, reported that the road projects are done and the contractor is now completing the “punch list” of final corrections. There is money left over from the initial contract which will be used for some large patching.
New building commissioner hired
Mayor Infeld announced that a new building commissioner [will] take his position in approximately one month.
The mayor also reported that the Fire Department had used the three homes behind the University Heights Library for fire training before they were torn down. The homes have been cleared and the library construction project has begun.
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