University Heights City Council meeting highlights 11-19-2018

NOVEMBER 19, 2018


  • Mayor’s comments
  • Storefront renovation grant
  • Current financial reports
  • Fund transfers
  • Department of Housing and Community Development
  • Call to amend the US Constitution
  • Electronic parking permission process


Present were Mayor Michael D. Brennan, Vice Mayor Susan Pardee, Pamela Cameron, Phil Ertel, Steven Sims, John Rach and Mark Wiseman. Also present were Law Director Luke McConville, Finance Director James Goffe and Clerk of Council Kelly Thomas. The meeting was held from 7 to 9:40 p.m., at which time council went to executive session.

Mayor’s comments

Mayor Brennan reported that 1-888-OhioComp donated 100 turkeys to the city, which were given away within minutes to residents in need. This was the first time this was done in University Heights. He also noted that, in addition to the key rings with the city’s new logo, the city also has knit hats, tote bags and plush chickens available for purchase.

Storefront renovation grant

Susan Drucker, recently hired economic development director for the city, received approval from council to apply for a grant to fund storefront renovations from the 2019 Cuyahoga County Community Development Supplemental Grant Program. This is the program that distributes casino revenue funds in grants of $50,000.

Current financial reports

Mr. Goffe initially requested a motion to acknowledge receipt of financial reports for September and October. Council discussed options, and it was decided that simply reporting to council and having that report recorded in the minutes would create a sufficient record. In addition to reconciling accounts for 2018, Goffe is also working to reconcile 2017, which was not done by the previous finance director.

Fund transfers

Council approved the transfer of funds for 2018, moving funds to pay Workers Comp, which was higher than budgeted, and making other miscellaneous transfers into the correct funds. (Ordinance 2018-69)

Department of Housing and Community Development

Council authorized the establishment of a new Department of Housing and Community Development and positions for director of the department and housing inspector.

The building department will continue to focus on inspections and will now be able to act more proactively to help home, apartment, and commercial building owners. The housing department will focus on enforcing the housing code, including the new rental ordinance. It will also build relationships with vendors and outside resources to better help the residents. Mr. Grogan-Myers will lead this new department, which includes his current work on community development. Jim McReynolds, building commissioner, stated he is pleased to have this additional support for housing in University Heights and looks forward to being better able to serve the residents of the city.

Amend the U.S. Constitution

Ms. Cameron and Mr. Wiseman presented a request from resident Scott Walker, who was not present at the meeting, for the city to approve an ordinance asking Congress to amend the U.S. Constitution to establish that corporations are not people and money is not speech. The proposal is that the city conduct a bi-annual review of the impact of the U.S. Supreme Court Citizens United decision on local residents and businesses, hold a “Democracy Day” event, and call on Congress to make a change. There was discussion about whether this could be done by Congress, or if it would require a constitutional amendment. There was also concern about obligating future administrations to conduct this activity without an end date. This proposal was presented on first reading and will be discussed further.

Electronic parking permission process

Police Chief Rogers announced that the city will be developing a web-based process to allow people to request overnight street parking electronically instead of calling the department. The police department receives some 2,300 permission requests annually.

Executive session

The council went into executive session at 9:40 p.m. to discuss legal and real estate matters.

LWV Observer: Wendy S Deuring.

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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 12, Issue 1, Posted 4:37 PM, 12.17.2018