Cleveland Heights City Council meeting highlights 10-3-22

OCTOBER 3, 2022, regular meeting


  • Public comments
  • Clerk of council report
  • First reading adoptions
  • Crossing guards
  • First readings, no vote
  • Lead hazards ordinance
  • Council member comments
  • Committee of the whole


Present were Mayor Kahlil Seren, Council President Melody Joy Hart, Council Vice President Craig Cobb, and Council Members Tony Cuda, Gail Larson, Anthony Mattox, Jr., Josie Moore, and Davida Russell. Also present were Addie Balester, clerk of council, and William Hanna, law director. The meeting ran for three hours and 12 minutes.

Public comments

None of the six comments related to the evening’s agenda.

A resident, concerned that infill homes in the Caledonia neighborhood have not yet started, expressed her feeling that other areas are favored, and that redlining and broken promises may reflect prejudice against Reverend Jimmie Hicks and the Start Right Community Development Corporation he leads.

A resident thanked Ms. Larson for her help with a problem property and went on to decry the lack of inspectional services and animal control in Cleveland Heights.

Peter DeGolia of the Commission on Aging asked council to approve a listening forum for seniors on October 24 at 10:00 am. When told council does not need to approve this, he stated that Senior Center staff had indicated otherwise.

A resident thanked the city for moving forward with projects in the Desota area and expressed support for the same in Caledonia.

A resident implored council to focus on the needs of citizens rather than council and mayor interactions and communications, stating that citizen needs are more important. She felt it was reasonable for the council leadership and the mayor to formulate the memorandum of understanding and asked that all do their jobs and rise above pettiness.

A father and youth hockey coach requested that the city restore ice on the South Rink at the Community Center. He explained various programs and outreach to youth, stating there is a high demand for ice time.

Clerk of council report

The clerk of council reported one liquor control application for the Social Room, 2261-63 Lee Road.

First reading adoptions

Council approved several pieces of legislation on first reading including:

  • Changes in expenditures and appropriations, moving money from one line in the budget to another.
  • A declaration of November 26 as Small Business Saturday.
  • Authorization for the mayor to apply to NOACA, jointly with South Euclid and University Heights, for a grant to fund the Heights Regional Neighborhood Greenway Project/Initiative. This would fundsignage, buffered bicycle lanes, and connector pathways.
  • Authorization for the mayor to apply to the Cuyahoga County Planning Commission for grant funding for creating a Template for Neighborhood Planning. This would help strengthen local planning and promote best practices in individual neighborhoods. Where this process will start is undetermined, but once the grant is obtained, what is learned in one area can be applied to others. 

Crossing guards

On second reading, council authorized an agreement with All City Management Services, Inc., for crossing guards. The term of this agreement is July 1, 2022, to June 30, 2023. It extends backward in time because the police department was negotiating the best deal, $135,819.00 per year, to be shared equally with the school district. The contract is renewable, but not automatic.

First readings, no vote

Several pieces of new legislation were presented including:

  • Ordinances related to the Cedar-Lee-Meadowbrook development, which declare certain improvements to be a public purpose and exempt from real property taxation, make provision for the collection of service payments in lieu of taxes (PILOT), establish an urban redevelopment tax increment equivalent fund (TIF) for the deposit of such service payments, and authorize a compensation agreement with the Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District.
  • Ordinances authorizing the transfer of three properties to FutureHeights for rehabilitation and resale. These were referred to the Planning and Development Committee.
  • The appointment of Andrew Unetic as director of finance, commencing October 24. Council will meet with the candidate before voting on his appointment. 
  • The 2022-2027 update of the Cuyahoga County All-Hazards Mitigation Plan (AHMP). This will be discussed in the Oct. 17 Public Health and Safety committee meeting.
  • An amendment to the Impounding of Vehicles sections of the city code to be consistent with current state and local law; specifically, front license plates are no longer required in Ohio.

Lead hazards ordinance

The lead hazards ordinance has had four readings but is not yet ready for a vote and was sent back to the Public Safety and Health Committee for additional changes. It will be voted on at the next regular council meeting.

Council member comments

Ms. Russell thanked the volunteers and staff who produced the Happy 5K Run to raise money for youth sports scholarships.

Ms. Moore announced the annual EcoFair at Coventry PEACE Campus for Cleveland Heights, Shaker Heights, and University Heights, a Neighborhood Leadership workshop October 12 at FutureHeights, and the October 17 Halloween Fest at Cedar-Lee. 

Mr. Mattox urged residents to complete the ARPA funds survey on the city website. The next engagement meeting will be October 18 in the Caledonia neighborhood.

President Hart reflected on the October 1 council retreat at which they discussed roles, relationships, and rules. She is hoping for increased cohesion and collaboration on council.

Committee of the whole (CoW)

CoW lasted one and one half hours, including an executive session to consider the appointment of a public official and the sale or lease of city-owned property.

There was a lengthy discussion of the voluntary and non-binding memorandum of understanding worked out by Council President Hart and Vice President Cobb with Mayor Seren. The process for making requests, timing of replies, and method for mediating disagreements were defined. There was considerable disagreement over the process used to write the memorandum, but Mayor Seren endorsed it as collaborative, cooperative, and a good compromise.

A presentation by Clerk of Council Balester about new software had to be postponed until next week due to the late hour.

The next regular council meeting will be Monday, Oct. 17. The Public Safety and Health committee will meet Oct. 17.

LWV Observer: Blanche Valancy.

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:

Read More on Cleveland Heights
Volume 15, Issue 11, Posted 2:07 PM, 10.31.2022