University Heights City Council meeting highlights
NOVEMBER 21, 2016
- Congratulations to John Carroll University football
- Update on NOPEC agreement
- Information bags distributed to households
- Transfer of funds
- Cedar Taylor shopping district revitalization
- Purchase of carpeting for the fire station
- New budget funds proposed
- Requested improvement to city parks
- Status on accepting credit card payments
- Update on building department commissioner
- Agreement reached with Chagrin Valley Dispatch
- The next meeting
Mayor Susan Infeld and council members Susan Pardee (vice mayor), Pamela Cameron, Phillip Ertel, John Rach and Michele Weiss were present. Councilmen Mark Wiseman and Steven Sims were absent.
Also present were Luke McConnell, law director; Larry Heiser, finance director; and Kelly Thomas, clerk of council.
The meeting took place 7–8:28 p.m.
Congratulations to John Carroll University’s football team
Mayor Infeld congratulated the John Carroll University football team for advancing to the playoffs for the first time since [it‘s season] ended in a three-way tie for first place in 1994. The team defeated Mount Union, ending Mount Union’s 112-game winning streak.
New agreement for NOPEC
Mayor Infeld announced that NOPEC (Northeast Ohio Public Energy Council), an electricity aggregator for many communities, has reached an agreement with a new electricity provider. With this new agreement NOPEC will be able to continue to provide electricity to customers. She suggested that residents use the price comparison that is available on the Pubic Utilities Commission of Ohio website.
Information bags distributed to homes
Mayor Infeld and her staff have compiled packets of information, including a booklet listing all of the businesses located within University Heights. The materials have been placed in a blue re-usable bag and distributed to homes by the service department. City employees did all of the work to produce the materials.
Transfer of funds
Finance Director Larry Heiser presented an ordinance to transfer funds from the General Fund ($286,729.24) to the Street Fund ($90,000) and the Capital Projects Fund ($196,729.24.) This was presented on first reading and will be voted on at the next meeting. This is a standard government accounting process.
Cedar Taylor shopping district revitalization
This issue was added to the agenda as a motion. It will continue to be discussed at the Dec. 5 council meeting, [at which] business owners and residents are invited to provide feedback. The mayor, members of council, and the development director have been working to revitalize the northeast corner of the Cedar Taylor district. The available buildings present environmental hazards for new businesses and options are being sought to resolve the problem. The city is also seeking funding to widen the sidewalks and narrow the intersection. Councilman Rach, who has been meeting with business owners in the area, noted that the business district improvement process is significantly different from the process followed by Cleveland Heights, which borders on the west side of Taylor, and business owners are having difficulty moving forward with plans. Cleveland Heights is proposing overflow parking for their businesses.
Mayor Infeld has made improvements to the firehouse, where the firemen live during their shifts. This included the purchase of carpeting, but the invoice for the carpet was issued as a single invoice instead of two, and therefore exceeded her spending authority. Members of council and the LWV Observer went next door to see the improvements, which include paint and new mattresses. The payment of $5,824.40 for the carpet was approved, but Councilwoman Weiss asked the mayor to notify council of any future projects instead of breaking them into smaller portions in order to stay below her spending limit. Councilwoman Cameron suggested revisiting the spending limit issue at a future meeting, perhaps in conjunction with budget discussions.
New budget funds
The finance committee is considering establishing a Gateway Development Fund as part of the budget, for allocating funds ($25,000 perhaps) to improve the gateway areas of the city. Also under consideration is $10,000 for equipment to enable electronic display of maps, drawings, spreadsheets, and such during council meetings so that everyone can see what is being discussed.
Requested upgrade for city parks
Councilwoman Cameron, recreation committee chair, asked the tech committee to look into adding Wi-Fi to the new community park and the Purvis Pool areas.
New agreement with Chagrin Valley Dispatch
Councilman Ertel, chair of the safety committee, announced that the city’s new dispatch center has entered into an agreement with the Chagrin Valley Dispatch to provide back-up help and a shared advisory role as the centers continue to develop.
Status on accepting credit card payments
Larry Heiser reported that the city is currently testing its ability to accept credit cards online for the payment of traffic tickets. If the new process is successful it will be expanded to allow credit card payments for other city fees.
Update on new building commissioner
Mayor Infeld announced that the new building commissioner, Lawrence Brown, will start work on Dec. 1 and will be at the Dec. 5 council meeting. Eric Tuck-Macallam, the former commissioner, has continued to help out when he could, until the new commissioner arrives.
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.