LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS / University Heights City Council meeting highlights [1-17-2017]

JANUARY 17, 2017

  • Public comments
  • Board of zoning appeals meeting
  • Judge reports on bail reform
  • Update on 3505 Tullamore Road
  • Bids for janitorial services
  • Ordinance to amend advertising for bids
  • Finance director search
  • Ladder truck repairs complete
  • Black History Month speaker

Mayor Susan Infeld and council members Susan Pardee (vice mayor), Pamela Cameron, Phillip Ertel, John Rach, Steven Sims and Mark Wiseman were present. Councilwoman Michele Weiss was absent.

Also present were Kelly Thomas, clerk of council. .

The meeting was held from 7:05 to 8:25 p.m.

Public comments

Council minutes: A resident asked council why University Heights no longer posts city council meeting minutes on a timely basis. He noted that since 2015, the minutes have not been posted on a regular basis and said it was his understanding that they should be posted by law. Mayor Susan Infeld noted his concern, but said that minutes are not posted until all discrepancies are addressed, which sometimes takes months.

Board of zoning appeals meeting

The mayor announced a special board of zoning appeals meeting on Jan. 19 to address a proposed group home on Belvoir Boulevard and a proposed religious bathhouse on Green Road.

Judge reports on bail reform

Shaker Heights Judge K. J. Montgomery gave a presentation on bail reform in Cleveland’s east side suburbs. The judge reported that the suburbs are struggling with determining appropriate penalties for those who can’t pay fines for petty crimes. She expressed frustration that the suburbs, unlike the City of Cleveland, do not have the resources for services like mental health counseling, GPS tracking and house arrest. Montgomery said that while she agrees that people should not languish in jail over minor offenses, suburban courts are ill-equipped to shoulder the financial burden of those who can’t pay their fines.

Update on 3505 Tullamore Road

Mayor Infeld reported that the Cuyahoga Land Bank is determining if 3505 Tullamore Road will be demolished or rehabilitated. Councilman Sims asked if a date had been set to assess the property’s fate. The mayor shared Law Director Luke McConnell’s report that the property is on the top of the land bank’s list but that no date had been set. Councilman Wiseman expressed concern that the land bank process is not moving forward quickly enough.

Building Commissioner Larry Brown reported that he has received four quotes for demolition of the property, per the council’s motion to demolish the property within 60 days if the land bank is unable to resolve the property’s fate within that time frame. The quotes are for $22,338, $17,800, $14,680 and $12,530. The mayor reiterated hope that the city would not have to demolish the property, since the land bank has acquired the title and has pledged to move quickly.

Bids for janitorial services

Council approved a motion to advertise for janitorial services. The city has recently acquired an additional building and has only one person to service four buildings and the newly built park. The city will advertise for the position in the Plain Dealer, the Sun Press and the Call and Post. Councilman Rach asked if the current janitor would be replaced, and the mayor said she would need to determine that and would report her findings to council.

Ordinance to amend advertising for bids

Council heard a first reading of an amendment to an ordinance for advertising for bids. Councilman Sims asked that council ensure that advertising for bids is placed in publications that attract women and minorities. The ordinance will be presented on second reading at the Feb. 6 meeting.

Finance director search

Mayor Infeld announced that she is currently interviewing a replacement for Finance Director Larry Heiser, who recently accepted a job with the City of Beachwood. She expects to hire a replacement soon.

Ladder truck repairs complete

Fire Chief Douglas Zook reported that repairs to one of the fire department’s ladder trucks have been completed.

Black History Month speaker confirmed

Councilman Rach reported that Sandy Womack Jr., the director of principal leadership and development for the Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District, will give a Black History Month presentation at the Feb. 6 city council meeting.

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 email postings of full reports, send an email to mbarnes9515@gmail.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.

 

Read More on University Heights
Volume 10, Issue 3, Posted 3:18 PM, 02.28.2017