Cleveland Heights City Council meeting highlights 1-3-23
JANUARY 3, 2023, regular meeting
- Public comments
- Clerk of council report
- Mayor’s report
- Council actions
- 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., and Davida Russell. Also present were Addie Balester, clerk of council, and William Hanna, law director. The meeting ran for one hour.
Two residents criticized the city’s snow removal efforts.
A resident expressed thanks to Ms. Russell and urged her not to resign from council.
A resident expressed frustration at the lack of follow-up to problems raised during council meetings’ public comment period.
A resident expressed discontent with the new form of government, continuing inequitable treatment of some neighborhoods, and discourteous behavior of some council members in committee of the whole meetings.
Erick Poston, president of Branch 40 of the National Association of Letter Carriers, and a resident, who is a retired letter carrier, described the staffing issues undermining timely mail delivery including vacancies, long hours, and low retention.
Clerk of council report
Ms. Balester notified council that Race Fuel 12404 Inc., at 12404 Cedar Rd., has applied for a C1/C2 permit from the Ohio Division of Liquor Control.
Mayor Seren encouraged students to submit essays, poetry, and artwork to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day contest by January 11. The city’s celebration will be January 19, 7 p.m. at the Community Center.
Mayor Seren invited council members to schedule “ride-alongs” with the police. Following council members, members of the Racial Justice Task Force, and then the public would be able to schedule “ride-alongs.”
Gail Larson was sworn in.
On first reading as an emergency measure, council proclaimed January 11, 2023 as National Human Trafficking Awareness Day.
Offered on first reading, with no vote, was a resolution for an agreement with Schonhardt & Associates to assist the finance department in preparing Annual Comprehensive Finance Reports (ACFRs) for 2022, 2023, 2024. Total fees and expenses are not to exceed $60,000. ACFRs are required by the Ohio auditor.
Council member comments
Mr. Cobb reported openings on several boards and commissions and urged interested residents to apply. He invited residents who have questions or concerns on any city issues to contact him.
Ms. Russell reported that city park shelter reservations for May to September will open January 9. Cain Park is inviting artist applications for the 2023 Cain Park Arts Fest. She described her priorities for 2023 and recent progress, thanked many who partner with her, and invited residents to contact her with questions or concerns.
Mr. Cuda commented on issues raised by Ms. Moore in her resignation from council. He expressed dissatisfaction with administrative responses to council requests for information. He asked council to develop its rules and a shared understanding of its role and to address legitimate concerns and problems. He asked the mayor to support council’s ability to meet with directors and to ask questions via phone calls.
Mr. Mattox challenged assertions of some council members about a lack of information from the administration, voiced dissatisfaction with his own treatment by some council members, and urged honest and open communication. He invited residents to contact him with questions. He announced that the January meeting of the Planning and Development Committee would discuss gap financing and that the Park Synagogue redevelopment would be discussed at the January 17 committee of the whole meeting.
Ms. Larson announced that the January 17 meeting of the Public Safety and Health Committee would discuss sidewalk repair and sidewalk snow removal. She thanked those who had assisted her campaign and voters for electing her. She urged residents to participate in blood drives and consider applying for city boards and commissions.
Ms. Hart announced that the deadline to apply for appointment to the charter review commission is January 17. The deadline for applications for the vacant council seat is January 6. In response to complaints voiced by some council members about others, Ms. Hart urged members to treat each other with respect and to resolve differences in direct conversations.
Committee of the whole
The committee discussed legislation proposed by Ms. Russell related to the Mayor’s Action Center. Ms. Russell said she intended to support the Mayor’s Action Center and expressed her frustration that other council members had not responded to her requests for feedback. Mayor Seren voiced his opposition to the measure as duplicative, as council had already supported the initiative by funding it in the 2023 budget. Ms. Hart requested all council members to email their feedback to Ms. Russell by the end of the week.
Council members discussed the committee meeting schedule for 2023 and deadlines for putting legislation on meeting agendas.
Vacancies on boards and commissions were described, as well as the process and timeline for making appointments and measures to encourage more applicants. The deadline to apply for the charter review commission was extended to January 17.
The next council meeting will be Jan. 17. committee of the whole and the Public Safety and Health Committee will also meet Jan. 17. Administrative Services Committee will meet Jan. 23; Housing and Building Committee, Feb. 6.
LWV Observer: Jill Tatem (watched remotely).
Meeting packets, legislation, and other information can be found on the city website at: https://www.clevelandheights.com/1142/2021-Agendas-and-Minutes
Videos of council meetings can be viewed on the “City of Cleveland Heights, OH” YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/ClevelandHeightsOH