Cleveland Heights City Council meeting highlights 9-6-22



  • Public comments
  • Clerk of council
  • Mayor’s report
  • Racial Justice Task Force
  • Union agreement
  • Legislation presented
  • Lead-safe ordinance
  • Council member comments
  • Committee of the whole


Present were Mayor Kahlil Seren, Council President Melody Joy Hart, and Council Members Tony Cuda, Gail Larson, Anthony Mattox, Jr., Josie Moore, and Davida Russell. Council Vice President Craig Cobb was not present. Also present were Addie Balester, clerk of council; and William Hanna, law director. The meeting ran for one and three-fourth hours.

Public comments

Two residents expressed dissatisfaction with changes to the aquatics program at Cumberland pool and privatization of the Learn to Swim program. They questioned limitations on use of the high school swimming pool by Cleveland Heights residents.

One resident advocated for installation of protected and separated bike lanes. 

One resident suggested a partial solution to the confusion experienced by west-bound drivers at the top of Cedar Hill. Writing the street names of the destination streets (Euclid Heights on the left lane; Cedar Road on the middle and right lanes) on Cedar Road before the split, might lessen confusion and improve safety.

One resident advocated re-opening the south skating rink at the Community Center. 

Clerk of council

Addie Balester was sworn in as clerk of council.

Ms. Balester reported that the Ohio Division of Liquor Control has advised the city that WIZBANG Theatre LLC has applied for a D3 permit.

Mayor’s report

Mayor Seren announced he had toured Caledonia School, which is located in Cleveland Heights but part of the East Cleveland school system, and that a tour for city council members is being planned. He also announced that a youth internship program, a partnership between the city and Cleveland Heights-University Heights school system, has received grant funding. Mayor Seren described the work of Heights Community Congress in making Cleveland Heights an inclusive community and congratulated them on their 50thanniversary. He presented proclamations recognizing the 1972 St. Ann Audit of Real Estate Practices by Suzanne Nigro, Lana Powell, Linda Johnston, Nancy Cappelletti, and Jeanne Martin-Diamond, which demonstrated racial bias and discriminatory practices among real estate companies in Cleveland Heights.

Racial Justice Task Force

Rhonda Davis Lovejoy, Gary Benjamin, Lisa Hunt, and Robert Lampley of the city’s Racial Justice Task Force presented interim reports from the Housing and Economic Mobility, Health and Education, and Public Safety subcommittees.

Council actions

Council approved the following on first reading:

  • An amendment of the 2022 budget, increasing the budget for nuisance grass cutting by $25,000.
  • Authorization to contract with TimeZero Enterprises for facilitation services for council’s retreat, at a cost of $7,500.
  • Three resolutions approving the reports of assessment equalization boards hearing objections to assessments for expenses for 1) street lighting, 2) improvement of streets and parkways, and 3) the Cedar Fairmount Special Improvement District public services plan; and three ordinances implementing assessments for expenses of the above.
  • Recognition of September 22, 2022, as Car Free Day and Park(ing) Day and proclamation of September 19, 2022, as Heights Community Congress Day.

Union agreement

Council approved the compensation rates and benefits negotiated with the Laborers’ Local 860 Laborers’ International Union of North America.

Legislation presented

Several pieces of legislation were presented on first reading without a vote.

  • A resolution accepting the amounts and rates determined by the Cuyahoga County budget commission, authorizing necessary tax levies, and certifying them to the county fiscal officer, along with a resolution requesting the county fiscal officer to advance taxes from the proceeds of the 2022 tax year collection.
  • A resolution authorizing the mayor to contract with Waste Management for recycling processing services. This was referred to the Municipal Services Committee.

Lead safe ordinance

Presented on second reading, but with no vote, was an ordinance requiring rental units constructed before 1978 to be certified lead-safe as a condition for obtaining a rental occupancy permit. Enforcement would be the responsibility of the Cleveland Heights building commissioner. There will be a public hearing Sept. 12 at 7 p.m., after which a third reading will be scheduled.

Council member comments

Mr. Mattox reminded residents to fill out the ARPA Fund survey and announced the next public ARPA meeting for Sept. 21 at 6:30 pm at the Delisle Options Center, 14780 Superior Road.

Ms. Moore reminded voters that Oct. 11 is the last day to register to vote and urged them to confirm their registration details on the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections website.

Ms. Russell announced an ARPA Fund Survey Weekend on Sept. 17-18. Multiple locations and volunteers will be available to assist residents in submitting responses to the ARPA fund survey.

Mr. Cuda expressed concerns about some elements of the process used to revise the Cedar Fairmount Special Improvement District and urged improvements before the next time a SID is expanded. He also advocated starting a discussion about a charter review initiative.

Ms. Larson welcomed Addie Balester and congratulated Heights Community Congress. She also urged interested parties to attend the Sept. 12 public hearing on the lead-safe certification legislation.

Ms. Hart reminded residents of the Oct. 11 voter registration deadline, congratulated Heights Community Congress on its 50th anniversary, mentioned the Sept. 18 Heights Community Congress home tour, and welcomed Addie Balester.

Committee of the whole

An executive session was held to review negotiations with public employees and to consider the appointment of a public official.

Council members discussed a proposal to require multi-unit residences to permit access by political candidates, issue, and voter registration workers. The matter was referred to the Housing and Building Committee.

Ms. Russell distributed draft legislation addressing on-the-job assaults on utility workers. Ms. Russell shared proposed legislation confirming the Mayor’s Action Center. Mayor Seren expressed concerns about some details on the latter legislation.

Appraisal gap legislation was removed from the table for discussion at a future committee of the whole meeting.

Council members discussed the objectives of the planned council retreat and the role of the proposed facilitator.

LWV Observer: Jill Tatem.

The next regular council meeting will be Sept. 19, 7 p.m. with a committee of the whole meeting at 6:30 p.m.

Meeting packets, legislation, and other information can be found on the city website at: 

Videos of council meetings can be viewed on the “City of Cleveland Heights, OH” YouTube channel:

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Volume 15, Issue 10, Posted 2:45 PM, 09.15.2022