UH mayor proposes 'People First' budget for 2022

Judge Francine Goldberg administered the oath of office to Mayor Michael Dylan Brennan, standing with his wife, Gina Ventre, on Jan. 2. On Jan. 10, the mayor proposed his new budget.

University Heights Mayor Michael Dylan Brennan introduced his proposed 2022 budget—the “Putting People First” budget—on Jan. 10. It next moves to UH City Council, for consideration.

“My budget priorities are what University Heights residents have been asking for over the last few years,” said Brennan.

“Residents want us to do something about flooding. They deserve to have roads fixed. And they insist on a modern and sustainable approach to improved recycling. It’s also time to make new city facilities a reality.

“I’ve heard the residents, and their priorities are my priorities—indeed they are the City’s priorities”

Highlights of the proposed budget include the following goals:

Reduce flooding: “Too often when it rains in University Heights, residents are subjected to sewer backups in their basement,” Brennan said. “In my budget, we’ll use federal funding to begin a manhole separation project, separating access to storm and sanitary lines, with an eye toward the eventual building of separate trenches for the lines. This will reduce backups significantly.”

American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds would be used to remedy or reduce sewer flooding along Meadowbrook Boulevard, with repair work being done on Fenwick, Traymore and Channing roads.

Repair roads: Residents would see major repairs to Cedar and Traymore roads in 2022.

Cedar Road would be resurfaced from South Taylor Road to South Green Road. The Cedar Road project would be done in partnership with South Euclid, and would use funds from federal, state, county and local governments.

Delayed in 2021 due to supply chain issues, the Traymore Road Water Main Project should begin in April of 2022. This $500,000 project would replace the water main along Traymore Road, from Hillbrook Road to Warrensville Center Road.

In addition, the city would resurface Bushnell, White and Glendon roads in 2022, and replace the curbs.

Brennan noted that residents are dissatisfied with the city’s previous failure to replace curbs. “Over time, we will rectify this as resurfacing projects continue,” he said.

Improve recycling: University Heights currently has one of the most inefficient recycling programs in Cuyahoga County.

In the current system, blue bags filled with recyclables are sent to a Kimble facility in Twinsburg for processing. While the materials inside the bags are recycled, the blue bags themselves are ripped open and sent to a landfill. “It’s wasteful, and frankly, it goes beyond the whole intent of recycling,” Brennan said.

The proposed budget would provide for a large recycling cart for each household in University Heights. Residents could put their recyclables directly in the bin, without a blue bag. The University Heights Service Department already has cart flippers on hand for handling the carts.

New municipal facilities: Brennan’s proposed 2022 budget includes a $100,000 transfer to the new facilities fund.

“This budget proposal reflects what we all know,” Brennan said. “City hall is out of date and inaccessible. There is no gathering space for the community. The buildings for our police, fire, and service department are woefully inadequate.”

Brennan said UH City Hall and the city’s fire and police departments ideally would remain at their current location, on the corner of Warrensville Center and Silsby roads.

“Residents need and deserve year-round senior and community programs, and new facilities will allow that to happen,” Brennan said. “The new city hall will be environmentally efficient and ADA compliant, with community spaces.”

Investment in public safety: Public safety remains a priority in the proposed budget, which includes funding for two new police cars, and money to complete the police radio system upgrade. The budget would continue to fund the UH Fire Department’s voluntary Home Safety Inspection Program.

To help ensure that trash is collected efficiently, roads are plowed quickly, and leaves are picked up on schedule, the proposed budget calls for the hiring of two additional UH Service Department employees.

Continue rebranding: The mayor’s budget proposes $125,000 for new signs, in the next phase of the city’s rebranding project. “In 2022, our new logo and branding will be seen on new signs welcoming visitors to University Heights,” Brennan stated.

The proposed 2022 University Heights budget can be viewed on the city’s website, at www.universityheights.com/mayor.

Mike Cook

Mike Cook is the communications and civic engagement coordinator for University Heights.

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Volume 15, Issue 2, Posted 8:48 AM, 02.01.2022