Cleveland Heights City Council meeting highlights 3-20-2023

MARCH 20, 2023 regular meeting


  • Mayor’s report
  • Council actions
  • Opioid settlement -first reading
  • New business
  • Committee reports, member comments
  • Committee of the Whole


Present were Mayor Kahlil Seren, Council President Melody Joy Hart, Council Vice President Craig Cobb, and Council Members Janine Boyd, 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 half hour.

Mayor’s report

Mayor Seren announced acceptance of a $757,958 bid for Lee Road rehabilitation.

He introduced Joe Sinott, city administrator, who announced that he was leaving his position because he has a compelling opportunity to work in Pennsylvania where he is from. He thanked council, expressed the hope that his leaving would not be taken as having negative connotations against the city. Mr. Seren praised his contribution during his tenure.

Council actions

On second reading, council authorized an agreement with Wade Trim, Inc. of Ohio, for professional design engineering services relating to control of sanitary sewer overflows CH-13 (Hampshire Lane at Euclid Heights Blvd) and CH-61 (Hampshire Road) and illicit connections on Hampshire Road, at a cost of $340,460. 

On second reading, council authorized an agreement with Cleveland Compaction for acquisition and installation of a new transfer station compactor for the public works department’s refuse and recycling division, at a cost of $217,039.12., which is less than originally budgeted.

On second reading council acknowledged receipt from the Coventry Village Special Improvement District (SID) of a five-year plan for public services and improvements and returned the plan to the SID’s board of directors without comments or recommendations for changes.

[Errata: contrary to our last report, the above three pieces of legislation were not approved at the March 6 meeting. They were first readings only at that time - LWV editor]

On first reading, council amended the 2023 city budget appropriations and expenditures due to salary adjustments and additional recreation programs (Ordinance 37). Staff raises will begin April 1, starting with union contracted positions.

On first reading, council passed an ordinance to establish salary schedules, position classifications, and other compensation and benefits for city officers and employees. There will be a two percent across the board raise, and positions will be added and removed corresponding to the budget adjustments in the above Ordinance 37. Mr. Cuda voted no stating he did not have sufficient information about some of the raises over two percent at the time of the vote.

Council passed a consent agenda declaring April as National Poetry Month, Fair Housing Month, and Autism Awareness Month. Also, they declared April 23-29 as National Library Week, April 2 as World Autism Day, and April 10-14 as National Community Development Week. 

Opioid settlement-first reading only

Presented on first reading only (no vote) were ordinances related to the OneOhio Memorandum of Understanding consistent with the July 21, 2021 National Opioid Settlement Agreement. The ordinances deal with accepting and ratifying material terms of the settlements with pharmacy chains CVS, Walgreens, and Walmart and manufacturers Teva and Allergan. While the agreements do not involve a large amount of funds, they do go on for many years. They are based on the size of the community and the effects it has suffered from opioid abuse disorders.

New business

President Hart announced Ms. Boyd’s committee assignments: Municipal Services, chair; Community Relations and Recreation, vice chair; and Planning and Development.

Ms. Russell passed along a constituent request from school bus drivers and others to reevaluate the school zone in front of the Jewish day school on Warrensville Center Road, as it causes traffic slow-down and there are never any children walking there. The law department will look into whether there is any flexibility in such situations.

Committee reports, member comments

Ms. Larson described Public Works Director Collette Clinkscale’s report about sidewalk repair and plowing programs in other cities. The director stated the city has no capacity to implement such services until funding legislation is passed.

Ms. Russell announced that the Women Out Walking program begins Sunday, May 7 and will continue for 17 weeks. Up to 150 women can participate. She will be attending the National League of Cities Conference in D.C. at her own expense.

Ms. Hart will have the reproductive rights ballot initiative petition at the Stone Oven this Saturday for voters to sign.

Committee of the Whole (COW)
(held prior to the regular meeting)

The COW discussed all legislation, a letter to Key Bank from council, and Mr. Cuda’s proposal to support Ohio Senate Bill 36, a bipartisan bill regarding purchase of foreclosed housing:

Finance Director Andrew Unetic attended the committee of the whole to explain details of the budget and salary legislation to be introduced this evening.

Council went into executive session for one hour to consider sale or lease of city-owned property and appointment of public officials (Charter Review Commission members).

The next council meeting will be April 3, 2023.

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 16, Issue 5, Posted 11:02 AM, 04.20.2023