Cleveland Heights City Council regular meeting highlights 10-19-2020

OCTOBER 19, 2020


  • Public comments
  • City manager report
  • Clerk of council report
  • Police chief report
  • Council actions
  • Council member comments


Present were Mayor Jason Stein, Vice Mayor Kahlil Seren, Mary Dunbar, Davida Russell, and Michael Ungar. Melody Joy Hart was absent. Also present were Acting City Manager Susanna O’Neil, Clerk of Council Amy Himmelein, and Law Director William Hanna.

Public comment

Ms. Himmelein read three emails:

A first time homeowner who lost their job during COVID feels their $4500 property tax bill is high, and that they got “little to no help” from city departments they contacted through the website about some problems with trees. This was referred to the city manager, who will contact the writer.

A resident inquired why council is still short a seventh member, stating there had been enough time with no progress. The writer suggested that public, rather than secret, meetings including a vote, might hasten the process.

A homeowner inquired whether city code forbids construction work on Sundays. He finds a neighbor’s work disturbs his Sunday. Apparently, the neighbor’s building permit states it is not allowed, but does not clarify if that only applies to contractors, not to residents doing their own work. Mayor Stein wondered if this is a remnant of old “blue laws” and referred this to the city manager.

City manager report

Saturday’s semi-annual shredding day was so well attended that some residents had to be sent away when the one available truck was full. Ms. Niermann O’Neil has contracted for two trucks for the shredding dates in June and October 2021.

The fall Focus will be out soon.

The community center's north rink needs repairs before icing. The older south rink will be ready for ice soon.

The county board of elections will place ten voting precincts at the community center on election day.

The Selwyn Road water line is completed and the Delamere Road water line project is going out for bids soon.

Clerk of council report

At the request of Police Chief Annette Mecklenberg, council objected to an application to transfer the liquor license for the 7 Eleven, 3983 Mayfield Road, 44121. Multiple disturbances have occurred at that location over time, including shots fired, overdoses in the parking lot, robberies, and theft. Police met with the previous owners and changes were made that improved the situation. The 7 Eleven corporation has taken over management of the store, and the law director explained that the permit transfer must be opposed again to ensure the new owners will continue the cooperation agreement.

Police chief report

Chief Mecklenberg announced that:

  • The case of shots fired on Westover has been solved; a 19-year-old male has been charged.
  • No suspects have been identified in the October 6 incident when shots were fired at a house on Yellowstone.
  • On October 16, two teen suspects robbed a woman of her vehicle at gunpoint at Cedar Hill Sunoco. The victim was not injured and gave descriptions. Minutes later, the car was recovered on Chatfield. Fingerprints were lifted from the car and witnesses interviewed.
  • Shots were fired on October 16 at 1650 Coventry with no injuries.
  • The Cleveland State University Diversity Institute contract has been received. The total cost for training conducted over one year will be $47,300. The training will commence in three weeks and include eight hours of cultural competence training for all officers, implicit bias training, policy analysis, traffic stop data analysis, community engagement, and recommendations for a civilian review board.

Council actions

Council approved the following: 

  • Permission for the city manager to issue a Request for Qualifications and Preliminary Development Proposals for the redevelopment of Cedar-Lee-Meadowbrook
  • An agreement with Black and Veatch for professional consulting on the Sanitary Sewer Overflow Control Project and Sewer Evaluation Survey, not to exceed $85,000
  • Renewal of an agreement with the Cuyahoga County General Health District for public health services, not to exceed $251,359. Mr. Ungar commented on the nine-page array of “amazing services,” that can be found in today’s meeting packet (dated Oct. 14, 2020). [See 2020 Agendas and Minutes page for city council on the city’s website,]
  • An agreement with James G. Zupka, CPA, Inc., for audit services for fiscal years 2020 and 2021 for a total sum of $76,362
  • Ordinances refunding five series of outstanding Various Purpose Bonds including Series 2014 to 2017, which total nearly $13 million.

Council member comments

Responding to the public comment regarding the vacant seventh council seat, Mr. Seren said council has tried to reach agreement and concurs that a public discussion might spur progress. He believes that utilizing rank choice and a public vote might forward the process by allowing public pressure. The Administrative Services Committee is preparing a document for transition to direct election of a mayor.

Ms. Dunbar recognized the many improvements, like ADA-compliant crossings. She said that recommendations and improvements instituted by Chief Financial Officer Amy Himmelein are putting the city in a better financial position.

Ms. Russell said Racial Justice Task Force member applications, as well as help to small business owners for COVID related situations, will be available soon. The Recreation Advisory Board, which is meeting soon, needs four new members. COVID tests will be available October 21 at the Community Center. The Youth Council will meet October 24 at the Coventry PEACE Park. Ms. Russell encourages all citizens to vote on or before November 3.

Mr. Ungar said that a Public Safety and Health Committee meeting that met to discuss murders, gunshots, and violent crimes included the mayor, police chief, and a police captain.

Council meetings are virtual, streamed on the city’s YouTube channel, and recorded for later viewing.

LWV Observers: Blanche Valancy and Gail Larson.

Read More on Cleveland Heights
Volume 13, Issue 12, Posted 11:58 AM, 11.30.2020