CH City Council identifies priorities for 2018
At its Jan. 22 meeting, Cleveland Heights City Council discussed priorities for the 2018 year. Although the members of council did not change as a result of the 2017 election, council did elect a new mayor and vice mayor at its first meeting of the year on Jan. 2, perhaps signaling a change in direction.
Cleveland Heights has a council-manager form of government, which means that the mayor and vice mayor are the president and vice president of city council, and are elected every two years by their peers on council, rather than by the public. A professional manager, who serves at the will of city council and is not elected by the public, operates the city.
Carol Roe, the city’s new mayor, is a registered nurse and licensed attorney who lives in the Noble neighborhood. She was elected to council in 2015, and is chair of council’s Administrative Services Committee.
Melissa Yasinow, the new vice mayor, is, at 33, the youngest the city has ever had. An attorney with Kohrman Jackson & Krantz, she has served on city council since 2014, and chairs council’s Municipal Services Committee.
In the past, council rotated members and chairs among its council committees when it elected a new mayor and vice mayor; this year, the committees will remain the same—at least for now. Restructuring the committees to better align with the city’s needs is one of the 2018 priorities that council members identified. “Some of the committees only met a few times during the year,” said Roe.
At the Jan. 22 meeting, Council Member Michael Ungar asked each of his colleagues to state up to 10 priorities he or she had for the city in 2018. Each member was given five minutes, uninterrupted, in which to do so. (Mayor Roe said she would reach out to Council Member Jason Stein, who was absent because of illness, to ask him to send council a list of his priorities.) The next step was to compile the priorities for further discussion at a future meeting. Council Member Mary Dunbar suggested that the city agree on no more than five items to prioritize in 2018.
Several themes emerged from the various priorities that council members listed. Among them were addressing the vacant/abandoned properties in the city, particularly housing; implementing the goals stated in the city’s Master Plan; making progress on economic development projects, particularly Top of the Hill; and finalizing the community development corporation agreement.
In addition, several council members wanted to focus on particular neighborhoods, such as Noble and the Tudor/Taylor area, and move forward in enacting policies, such as a foreclosure bond, complete streets policy, or demolition ordinance. Another theme seemed to be the improvement of internal city processes, and council’s need for more data and more reporting on progress toward goals from city staff.
A couple of board members commented on the election of new CH-UH Board of Education members and new leadership in the city of University Heights, saying that it presented a new opportunity to work toward common goals.
Deanna Bremer Fisher
Deanna Bremer Fisher is executive director of FutureHeights and publisher of the Heights Observer.