Cleveland Heights City Council meeting highlights 10-5-20
OCTOBER 5, 2020
- Public comments
- City manager’s report
- Police chief’s report
- Clerk of Council report
- Sale of bonds
- Public works items
- Mayoral compensation
- October proclamations
- Council member comments
- Committee of the whole meeting
Present were Mayor Jason Stein, Vice Mayor Kahlil Seren, Mary Dunbar, Melody Joy Hart, Davida Russell and Michael Ungar. Also present were Acting City Manager Susanna O’Neil, Clerk of Council Amy Himmelein, and Law Director William Hanna. The meeting lasted 45 minutes.
Public comments are accepted as emails.
A resident who lives half a mile from Severance Center asked the city to stop allowing outdoor concerts at Severance Town Center. A concert on Saturday, Sept. 26, went from 1 to 7:30 p.m. He claimed the volume was extremely loud and disturbing to many and suggested the concert violated the city’s noise ordinance. The police were called twice. The resident was told the police did ask the concert producers to turn down the volume, but the resident noticed no difference. Mrs. O’Neill said this was the final approved concert. She explained that on windy days the sound travels more. She also said the staff will talk to the concert giver next year to make sure outdoor concert volume levels do not impact residents. Police Chief Mecklenburg added that the police did check the decibel levels when they received the resident’s call.
A resident asked about the tax impact of an ordinance on residents. Clerk of Council Amy Himmelein said she would respond to the questioner. (For reference, this is one of several ordinances that provide for the issuance and sale of bonds, which are up for first reading at this meeting).
City manager’s report
Ms. O’Neill was authorized to bid for the Delamere Drive Basement Flooding Relief project and to issue a request for qualifications and preliminary development proposals (RFQ/RFP) for a Neighborhood Redevelopment Program.
Mrs. O’Neill announced Halloween will occur October 31 between 6 and 7:30 p.m. Notices will go out regarding safety and the option not to participate (i.e. turn off porch lights).
Police chief’s report
Police Chief Mecklenburg updated council on recent murders. The Oakdale Road case is still under investigation. Police have arrested and charged three individuals for the Noble Road murder. Police have no leads or information on the Taylor Road case. They are sending video of the shooting to law enforcement partners for images enhancement.
They are investigating an early Sunday morning incident in the 2600 Block of Euclid Heights Blvd. It began as a domestic violence incident, then moved out to the parking lot where shots were fired. An adult woman, struck in the leg, is recovering.
Recent shootings on Staunton and on Westover are under investigation, but no one is cooperating with the police.
The Cleveland State University (CSU) contract with Dr. Dunn and the Diversity Institute should be finalized and submitted for review to the law department this week.
Data has been sent to Dr. Dunn on crime statistics for 2019 to the present. Court data will be sent shortly. Officers will attend training in November and December.
PADCO, an outside consultant group, is reviewing the psychological assessment used by the city to improve and enhance evaluations used in hiring new officers.
Ms. Dunbar requested an update on a recent shooting on Lee Road. Chief Mecklenburg said there was no new information. Police are getting no cooperation from the residents, but will continue to investigate.
Ms. Russell requested a copy of Chief Mecklenburg’s report. Th chief will send it to all Council members.
Clerk of Council report
Ms. Himmelein notified council of supplemental Fiscal Officer’s Certificates for refunding certain of the city’s outstanding Various Purpose Bonds, series 2014-2017. These were given a first reading in the committee reports section of the meeting.
Sale of bonds
Ordinances providing for the issuance and sale of bonds for the purpose of refunding certain of the city’s outstanding Various Purpose Bonds received a first reading. The link to the specific Ordinances can be found at https://www.clevelandheights.com/1225/2020-Ordinances.
Public works items
Council passed several items related to public works:
- An agreement with GPD Group for utility engineering services associated with the replacement of water lines on East Overlook Road.
- A fourth amendment to the agreement with Wade Trim, Inc. of Ohio for professional engineering services relating to the City’s Sanitary Sewer Overflow Control project and the EPA partial consent decree.
- An application to participate in the Ohio Public Works Commission State Capital Improvement and Local Transportation Improvement Programs.
- Approval and support for the development of State Bicycle Route 80. The approved resolution further requested that the route be officially designated by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials.
On second reading, council approved a $115,000 annual compensation of the office of the mayor for the term commencing January 1, 2022. As Ms. Hart is considering running for mayor, she requested clarification from Law Director Hanna, about whether she should vote on the legislation. Mr. Hanna said she could vote, as this is a possible future plan.
In a consent agenda, council proclaimed October 2020 National Breast Awareness Month and Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
Council member comments
Mayor Stein asked the law department to confirm the accuracy of the figures as printed on the agenda for the bond sales. Mr. Hanna read the correct amounts and said they are correctly published on the city’s website as developed by the Davenport Group.
At the beginning of the meeting, Mayor Stein announced that council had no announcement after their two-hour executive session to consider an appointment to the vacant council seat, but said they were “getting closer.”
Ms. Hart announced that residents are invited to sign up for the mayoral forum on October 8, via Facebook. Mr. Ungar took exception to this because the forum is not a city-sponsored event; he had received complaints from people who thought it was because it was called Cleveland Heights Mayoral Forum. Mr. Ungar advised Ms. Hart that it was a bad idea to call it that as she has indicated her possible run for mayor. He feels the title misrepresents who initiated the forum, and no council members were notified or associated with it. Ms. Hart advised Mr. Ungar that it is a location reference and is not sponsored by the City of Cleveland Heights.
Ms. Dunbar reported that her Transportation Committee had met virtually and is reviewing speed limits on Cleveland Heights streets with staff to increase safety. She acknowledged October 6 as Walk to School Day.
Ms. Russell announced that the Police Reform Task Force applications will be released soon when Law Director Hanna has completed his review.
Mr. Ungar thanked Ms. Dunbar for her leadership on all things bicycle. He acknowledged the work the city manager is doing to focus on recent shootings.
Mr. Seren is disheartened by the recent shootings and encourages all to “find a better way” to solve problems. He appealed especially to men not to show strength through violence when they are upset, unless defending themselves. He mentioned the Peacemaker’s Alliance as a possible connection to be made to collaborate on reducing gun violence in the city.
Committee of the whole meeting
A committee of the whole meeting met before the regular meeting. Prior to the start of a two-hour executive session, Mr. Seren asked council to consider a rank order vote to move forward with appointment of a new council member. Ms. Hart had requested the same thing on September 8. Mr. Seren also asked to open the meeting to the public, and should agreement on an appointment fail, to reopen the application process. Council voted to go into executive session without considering these suggestions.
The next meeting will be October 19, 2020. Both regular and committee of the whole meetings can be viewed on the “City of Cleveland Heights, OH” YouTube channel.
LWV Observers: Gail Larson, Blanche Valancy.