Cleveland Heights City Council meeting highlights 11-20-2017

NOVEMBER 20, 2017

  • New and promoted police officers
  • Public comments
  • Bid authorization
  • Nuisance property
  • Charter review commission
  • Recreation rates and regulations for 2018
  • Small Business Saturday
  • Budget ordinances
  • Cain Park Village security cameras

Council members present were Mayor Cheryl L. Stephens, Vice Mayor Jason Stein, Mary Dunbar, Kahlil Seren, Carol Roe and Michael N. Ungar. Melissa Yasinow was absent. The meeting lasted from 7:39 to 8:35 p.m.

New and promoted police officers

Before the regular meeting began, Police Chief Annette Mecklenburg conducted a swearing-in ceremony for two new police officers and two promoted officers.

Public comments

Sidewalk repairs: Resident Faith S. Hinkelman expressed concern about the costs of sidewalk repairs that must be borne by homeowners, and the implications for those on limited incomes.

Housing inspections and enforcement: Kevin Louise Schaner spoke about housing inspections and the vacant, neglected houses that are preventing new residents from moving into the neighborhood.

Civil immigration enforcement: Three residents commented on this topic. Stuart Greenberg discussed his support for council’s proposed civil immigration enforcement legislation. He stated his belief that everyone should be treated equally, regardless of immigration status, and that equal treatment leads to improved public safety and criminal justice enforcement. Anne Hill reported that, earlier in the day, leaders of the Forest Hill Presbyterian Church attempted to deliver an application for a stay of removal to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office in Brooklyn on behalf of Leonora Garcia. ICE officials refused to receive the application. Hill urged council to take a stand and pass the civil immigration enforcement ordinance. Susan Radbourne also spoke in favor of the legislation.

Support for small businesses: Speaking separately, Angie Hetrick, executive director of the Coventry Village Special Improvement District, and Nancy Levin, executive director of Heights Libraries and vice president of the Heights-Hillcrest Chamber of Commerce, urged support of small businesses throughout the city on Saturday, Nov. 25, 2017.

Liquor permit request: Gil Abercrombie stated his opposition to granting a liquor permit to the Family Dollar Store at 3070 Mayfield Road. The city manager noted that council has already taken action in opposition to this permit application.

Sewer rates and tree preservation: Susan Miller commented on sewer rates and tree preservation.

Coventry P.E.A.C.E. Campus –Lee Chilcote spoke on behalf of the Coventry P.E.A.C.E. Campus initiative regarding the group’s proposal (submitted to council at a meeting on Nov. 6) to extend the occupancy of the Coventry School tenants to June 30, 2019, rather than the current date of June 30, 2018. The group wants to move forward and has developed a strategy that involves Heights Libraries [taking] ownership of the property. The purpose is to make Coventry P.E.A.C.E. Campus successful. Chilcote reported that the library board, which met earlier in the evening, has authorized its executive director to negotiate an agreement. The group is very willing to discuss the details with the city. A meeting with the school board is scheduled for Nov. 21. Chilcote expressed hope that, before the end of 2017, city council will support extending the tenants’ occupancy and will decide to hold back on the issuance of a request for qualifications/proposal from prospective developers for the site. Mayor Stephens noted that council has requested a meeting with the school board for Nov. 27, to discuss the potential transfer or sale of the property to the city, making it possible for negotiations with the group to go forward. That meeting is not yet confirmed. [Since this council meeting, the school board and city council met in executive session on Monday, Nov. 27.]

Bid authorization

The city manager received unanimous approval to go to bid for fire hose purchasing.

Nuisance property

The property at 3267 Meadowbrook Blvd. was declared a nuisance. The property has been vacant since it burned on April 9, 2017, and the owner does not have the financial capacity to renovate or demolish the structure.

Charter review commission

Council Member Roe noted that the charter review commission had its first meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 16, and the facilitator, Larry Keller, gave an overview of the charter review process and answered questions. The video of the meeting is now on the city’s website, on the page devoted to charter review.

Recreation rates and regulations for 2018

Council heard first readings of annual ordinances approving the presentation of entertainment programs in Cain Park and establishing use regulations and rates of admission for the Cleveland Heights Community Center, city parks and Cumberland swimming pool.

Small Business Saturday

Council affirmed a resolution declaring Nov. 25, 2017 as Small Business Saturday.

Budget ordinances

Two budget ordinances were presented on first reading relating to appropriations and expenditures of city funds for the current fiscal year (ending Dec. 31, 2017) and those anticipated in the next fiscal year (Jan. 1 through Dec. 31, 2018). The drafts are still being prepared.

Cain Park Village security cameras

Council authorized the city manager to apply for grant funding under the Cuyahoga County Department of Development’s Community Development Supplemental Grant program to install security cameras in the Cain Park Village commercial district. This is a competitive grant of up to $50,000. The project would include approximately 34 cameras on Taylor Road between Blanche Avenue and Superior Road. The goal is to improve public safety and public perception in the district and help city efforts to redevelop and drive new investment.

Mayor’s comments

Mayor Stephens noted proposed changes in the tax code at the state and federal levels and urged all citizens to pay attention to the implications for local communities. She also thanked representatives of the Coventry P.E.A.C.E. Campus initiative for their contributions to continuing discussions.

LWV Observer: Katherine Solender.

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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.

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Volume 11, Issue 1, Posted 10:45 AM, 01.30.2018