University Heights City Council Candidate Katie Nelson Moody
Education: M.S., Community and School Counseling, Winona State University; B.A., German, minor in management, Hope College; Upper Arlington High School
Current occupation: Mental Health Therapist
Qualifications: In my work as a mental health therapist, I have the privilege of getting to know and understand people and the systems in which individuals and families learn, work, worship, and live in community. While I am new to government, my passion for equity and justice are long-standing. I care about people and want to ensure that each member of the University Heights community (especially folks who have been historically excluded from participation in government and other systems) has a voice and an opportunity to participate in the functioning of our government. I value respectful and open communication, and I know the importance of asking and working through difficult questions and situations.
What do you consider to be an effective working relationship between the Mayor and the members of Council, and what do you consider to be an effective working relationship among members of Council?
Productive, healthy relationships require honesty, communication, and transparency, both within the city government and with the public in accordance with Ohio's Sunshine Law. When disagreements occur (as they will and should!), the Mayor and Council members will benefit from taking a humble learning stance, which includes approaching differing opinions with curiosity to understand the basis for a person's perspective. As representatives of University Heights, the Mayor and Council have a responsibility to be actively engaged in regular meetings and community activities. Council committees should meet regularly, as that is how work gets done and we are able to meet the needs of UH residents.
What should be the priorities for the city’s budget?
In our city, there are residents who face food and housing insecurity, and I want to ensure that these folks know they can approach their local government in times of need. While some of these services are outside the scope of UH, we can make space to meet identified needs locally. The City's infrastructure (roads, sewers, signage, etc.) is an ongoing expense, and the budget must include adequate funds for upkeep and improvement. Our police, firefighters, and the service department deserve a fair living wage with competitive benefits and continuing education (including mental health training and de-escalation techniques).
What opportunities do you see for regional collaboration between University Heights and other local governments to provide services or facilities?
I support University Heights merging our dispatch center with the Chagrin Valley Dispatch Center to handle 9-1-1 calls directly. Our local government will benefit from continued collaboration with the CHUH school district to make new use of existing sites (like the Wiley building) to ensure that UH buildings are accessible for all residents.
What, if any, specific actions would you recommend the city take to maintain the quality of its housing?
"The City of Beautiful Homes" needs continued assessment and accountability for our residents. At the same time, residents need communication and transparency to access government supports already in place to maintain safe housing. I support restoration of the Property Maintenance Grant Program, an income-based program that supports residents in correcting housing violations identified by the city. The Council declined to fund this program in 2021, and I will vote to fund it in 2022.
What role should environmental considerations play in the city’s policies and actions?
University Heights should invest in programs supporting renewable energy installations, including solar panels on homes and charging stations for electric vehicles. Our recycling program needs improvement, and the Mayor and Council need to work together to overcome identified barriers--from relying on blue plastic bagged recycling to ensuring that senior residents or folks with mobility issues are able to take care of their recycling. A possible solution would be to look into loose recycling bins, like those used in Shaker Heights (backyard) or Beachwood (curbside).