Cleveland Heights City Council meeting highlights 5-3-2021
MAY 3, 2021 regular meeting
- Public comments
- City manager’s report
- Council member comments
Present were Council President Jason Stein, Council Vice President Kahlil Seren, Craig Cobb, Mary Dunbar, Melody Joy Hart, Davida Russell, and Michael N. Ungar. Also present were City Manager Susanna Niermann O’Neil, Clerk of Council and Finance Director Amy Himmelein, and Law Director William Hanna. The meeting lasted 50 minutes.
Comments, submitted by email, included a request for a public park at Lee and Meadowbrook, one objection to open fishing at Lower Shaker Lake, a petition signed by 342 citizens supporting fishing, and a request for speed bumps and traffic detectors to counter discriminatory policing practices. One resident, noting that bulk trash pick-up would take place only one week per month, asked if dumpsters would be available.
Five residents of Buckingham Condominiums, which is located next to the Top of the Hill (TOH) project under construction, asked for signage, such as “permit parking only,” in the parking garage where the city promised them preferential parking. They also asked council to reconsider a dog park plan, to which condo residents will not have access. Council Members Russell and Hart have reached out to these residents to hear their concerns
A resident questioned the use of an emergency vote for two pieces legislation, a proposed charter amendment [for filling a council vacancy] and the establishment of council standing rules, claiming that the charter amendment wording was unclear and the standing rules were a reaction of one council member. A second resident also disagreed with the wording of the proposed charter amendment and maintained that the amendment should include a 60-day limit for consideration of an appointment and then, if unfilled, a decision by the mayor or council president.
An apartment resident asked council to address lack of parking for renters, saying that parking enforcement was inconsistent and did not allow for multiple drivers in units.
Krista Hawthorne of Reaching Heights gave highlights about the Heights public schools: the recent Spelling Bee raised $5085 for Reaching Heights programs; May 3-7 is National Teacher Appreciation week; May 7, Swim Cadets will perform and be live-streamed; June 2, staff awards will be granted; June 3, graduation will take place outdoors and be live-streamed; Noble School will be the site of a pilot project for a Community Learning Center starting in the fall; and the District Quality Profile for 2020 is now online.
City manager’s report
Ms. O’Neil said that she and staff will address the garage signage and dog park problems noted by the Buckingham condo residents. Also, staff will work on signage for the Cedar Hill traffic pattern change [due to TOH construction] to avoid accidents.
An ordinance proposing a charter amendment for filling a vacant council seat had a first reading.
Council approved the Temporary Standing Rules for Council ordinance with Mr. Seren voting no. He said the rules should not be adopted as written and needed further discussion. Two amendments to the legislation were approved unanimously.
Council approved three resolutions:
- To support laws and implementation of policy for advancing tax fairness and improving public service.
- To support Ohio House Bill 1, Fair School Funding Plan.
- To support the federal Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act.
Council amended the budget for fiscal year ending December 31, 2021. Ms. Himmelein reported that expenses were up for the TOH bond, but revenues have increased as well. Other expenses increased due to a rise in indigent burials and the addition of an intern to help the municipal court digitize records.
Using a consent agenda, council approved three resolutions: authorizing the purchase of a Storage Access Network and Support, proclaiming May 2021 as Bike Month, and declaring May 2021 as National Preservation Month.
Council member comments
Referring to the standing rules legislation and the rule requiring the support of two council members for the introduction of proposed legislation, Mr. Seren had said before the vote that if the standing rules passed, he would support any other council member’s legislation.
Mr. Ungar said that several council members had asked him to write up the Temporary Standing Rules for Council and that the next council [to be election November 2021] should decide whether these rules are acceptable.
Ms. Hart commented that she has always collaborated with other advisers, staff, and council members when introducing new legislation.
Ms. Russell said she appreciated the guidelines within the standing rules as introduced by Mr. Ungar. She also thanked bus drivers as today is their Day of Appreciation and it is Worker’s Memorial Day for those who have died on the job.
The next regular city council meeting is Wednesday, May 19.
LWV Observers: Gail Larson and Blanche Valancy.
Meeting packets, legislation, and other information can be found on the city website at: https://www.clevelandheights.com/1142/2021-Agendas-and-Minutes
Videos of council meetings can be viewed on the “City of Cleveland Heights, OH” YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/ClevelandHeightsOH