Cleveland Heights City Council tax budget hearing and regular meeting highlights 7-17-2019

JULY 17, 2017

  • 2018 tax budget presentation
  • Public comments
  • ATM Ordinance
  • Meadowbrook Boulevard waterline replacement bids
  • Meadowbrook Boulevard reconstruction project funding
  • Zoning variance request
  • Medical marijuana ordinance
  • Paris Climate Agreement resolution
  • Access Cleveland Heights cell phone app
  • 2018 Tax Budget approval
  • Mayfield Road signalization project
  • Charter commission applications
  • Cain Park Arts Festival
  • Recycling
  • Lock your cars

All council members were present: Mayor Cheryl L. Stephens, Vice Mayor Jason Stein, Mary Dunbar, Kahlil Seren, Carol Roe, Michael N. Ungar and Melissa Yasinow. The hearing lasted from 7:17–7:48 p.m. The meeting lasted from 7:59–8:38 p.m.

2018 tax budget presentation

City Manager Tanisha Briley explained the annual budget process, which begins with the submission of property tax information to the Cuyahoga County Fiscal Officer in July. Then the county certifies the budget, city council passes it, and finally an appropriations ordinance is passed in December. All budget workshops are open to the public.

Projected revenue for the General Fund for 2018 is $44.1 million. In descending order of amount, revenue sources are: income taxes; property taxes; charges for services; fines and forfeitures; fees, licenses, and permits; state levied and shared taxes; and miscellaneous other sources.

The city uses conservative budget practices, matching recurring revenue with recurring expenses. Most general revenue sources are flat or declining. Property tax revenue, based on assessed valuation, should stabilize as the economic and housing foreclosure crises becomes less severe. The 2018 rate will be 12.42 mills, down from 13.92 mills in 2017 due to the retirement of 1.5 mills for construction of the Community Center. Major operating funds are all improving and better positioned:

  • Ambulance - $850,000
  • Forestry - $1 million (includes road salt and street lights)
  • Local Programing - $530,000 (cable television)
  • Sewer - $41.5 million (collection of an increase effective in October will begin in 2018)
  • Parking - $41.1 million (This is under observation as revenues from meters and permits are declining. Use of the Passport Parking App is expanding.) [The app can be found on the city’s website under Residents/Parking]

Briley concluded that the budget is in a “much better place and marching toward long-term stability.” [The city is] still being prudent and strategic. Several staff positions are still being held vacant.

Public comments

Coventry P.E.A.C.E. Playground: Three children presented and entered into the record petitions totaling 529 signatures, asking to keep the Coventry P.E.A.C.E. Playground and Park as it is. Sophia Ahmadadeen, Chloe Gustin and Jana Gustin each expressed in turn how sad they had been to hear that the property might be sold to a developer.

Coventry P.E.A.C.E. Campus: Jack Valancy of Yorkshire Road, representing the nonprofit tenants of the newly renamed Coventry P.E.A.C.E. (People Enhancing a Community’s Environment) Campus, expressed “a great big thank-you” to the mayor, council and staff for allowing public input as well as time for the tenants to evaluate their needs and develop their vision for the future. The tenants appreciate the city’s collaborative approach.

Valancy presented the results of a survey of 242 neighbors of the campus about their use of and opinions about the playground and building. He urged citizens to attend the public forum at the Community Center on July 27 and the rest of the events of the Coventry P.E.A.C.E. Campus Weekend, July 27–30. Details can be found at

ATM ordinance:Lucas Harris, who has an ATM (automated teller machine) company, stated he had been unaware of Ordinance 19-2017, which enacted “Chapter 753, Non-Bank Automated Teller Machines of the Codified Ordinances of Cleveland Heights,” until some of his customers told him about the fees they are being charged. He requested a dialogue and Mayor Stephens referred him to the city manager.

Meadowbrook Boulevard waterline replacement bids

City Manager Briley notified council that bids had been received for the 2017 Meadowbrook Waterline Replacement. Fabrizi Trucking and Paving Company’s bid of $822,383.46 was the lowest.

Meadowbrook Boulevard reconstruction project funding

Council authorized the city manager to apply for funding through the Ohio Public Works Commission for the Meadowbrook Boulevard Reconstruction project (between South Taylor Road and the eastern border).

Zoning variance request

Director of Finance/Clerk of Council Sabin notified council of a zoning variance request from Travis Cox, 2500 Edgehill Road, to permit a garage with a 0-foot setback to the side lot line; council approved the variance.

Medical marijuana ordinance

Council unanimously passed Ordinance 84-2017 on second reading, enacting “Chapter 711, Medical Marijuana.”

Paris Climate Agreement resolution

With one “no” vote, council passed a “resolution strongly opposing the withdrawal of the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement.” Mary Dunbar, who cast the no vote, stated that, although she was not in favor of the U.S. withdrawal, she does not feel it is appropriate for city council to tell other levels of government what to do.

Melissa Yasinow stated she disagrees with Dunbar, but respects her decision. She feels it is important to make a statement and that “ceremony matters.”

Mayor Stephens, noting that the emblem of the city is a tree, said that Cleveland Heights is a “green” community, which believes in being clean and supportive of environmental sustainability.

Khalil Seren said we do not live in a bubble that will protect us, that this is how bodies like this council express opinions, and that the resolution is not partisan, but is about priorities.

Access Cleveland Heights cell phone app

Seren reminded residents about Access Cleveland Heights, the official CRM (customer relationship management) cell phone application for the city, which can be found and downloaded at:

2018 Tax Budget approval

Council unanimously approved the adoption of the 2018 Tax Budget.

Mayfield Road signalization project

Council authorized application to the Ohio Public Works Commission for funds for the signalization project along the Mayfield Road corridor between Kenilworth and Warrensville Center roads.

Charter Commission applications

Michael Ungar commented on the “wow group” of applicants for the City Charter Commission, noting this is “what is right” about the city. The council will sort through them soon.

Cain Park Arts Festival

Mayor Stephens recognized city staff for the 40th Cain Park Arts Festival. She stated that the festival represents a significant part of Cleveland Heights as a home for the arts. She especially noted that the Feinberg Family was honored for their commitment to Cain Park and the arts. Yasinow joined with congratulations to the Parks and Recreation Department for the festival.


Mary Dunbar noted that the city did well on recycling in a recent solid waste report, especially for leaf composting.

Lock your cars

Melissa Yasinow reminded residents to lock their cars to deter theft.

LWV Observer: Blanche 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.

Read More on Cleveland Heights
Volume 10, Issue 9, Posted 5:45 PM, 09.03.2017