Cleveland Heights City Council meeting highlights 4-3-2023
APRIL 3, 2023 regular meeting
- Public comments
- Mayor’s report
- Clerk of council’s report
- Juanita Brent
- Opioid settlement
- Legislation adopted on first reading
- First readings only (no vote)
- Consent agenda
- 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 public regular meeting ran 45 minutes.
Julie Gierke, of Heights Tree People (https://www.heightstreepeople.com/), Roy Larick, a geologist and archaeologist who runs the Bluestone Heights consulting firm, and Catalina Wagers, co-founder of Cleveland Heights Green Team (https://www.chgreenteam.org/), spoke about clean-up and restoration projects scheduled for Caledonia Ravine and nearby areas including an Arbor Day tree planting at Caledonia Elementary School Friday, April 28, 1 p.m.; Caledonia Ravine clean-up, Saturday, April 29, 10:30 a.m,; and other projects held on the third Sunday of each month. Mr. Larick noted Cleveland Heights’ rich assets including elevation and many streams - more than in any other Cuyahoga County community.
Mayor Seren reported accepting a bid for work on Lee Road and requested permission to bid several future projects. He updated council on the ice rink rehabilitation project, stating that the administration intends to present the project at the next council meeting so that work can be accomplished before next winter’s season.
Clerk of council’s report
Ms. Balester reported an application for a liquor permit by Family Dollar Store, 1915 South Taylor Road, to which there were no objections.
Council invited Ohio State District 22 Representative Juanita Brent (firstname.lastname@example.org) to make a special comment to the community. While she is new to representing Cleveland Heights at the statehouse, she has been a legislator for five years and knows our community well as a graduate of Beaumont School. She invited all residents to a Town Hall Meeting at the CH-UH Main Library, 2345 Lee Road, May 24, 5-7 p.m. She spoke about a few issues currently in front of the general assembly, including the state budget, which will hopefully increase the local government fund, and the implementation of a “211” information and referral service.
On second reading, council approved two ordinances to accept the 2021 National Opioid Settlement Agreement terms with the pharmacies Walmart, Walgreen’s, and CVS, and with the manufacturers Teva and Allergan. These ordinances allow funds to flow into the city and are necessary for the city to join the group receiving settlement money.
Legislation adopted on first reading
Council amended the appropriations and expenditures for the 2023 budget year to update the budget.
Council authorized an easement to the Cleveland Electric Illuminating Company to relocate power lines as part of Cedar/Lee/Meadowbrook redevelopment. This is needed to begin construction.
Council vacated the public right-of-way for Andrews Road and transferred it to adjoining property owners. This road off of Severn Road only accesses these properties and is not needed for any public purpose.
First readings only
First readings, with no vote, of several legislative items included:
- A two-year extension of a long-term agreement with Cuyahoga County for $425,222 in funding through the Home Investment Partnership (HOME) Program for the city’s affordable housing programs.
- Submission of the 2023 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) application to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
- Establishment of an Indigent Drivers Interlock and Alcohol Monitoring Fund to pay for immobilizing devices (ignition interlock) and alcohol monitoring for indigent defendants appearing in municipal court.
- Participation in the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) salt purchasing program for winter 2023-2024.
- A resolution expressing the mayor’s and council’s support of Ohio Senate Bill 36, which requires that prospective owner-occupants and specified non-profit housing organizations be permitted to match winning bids at sheriff’s sales for the purchase of one- to four-unit foreclosed residential properties. The proposed bill would support owner-occupancy of residential properties in the city and promote affordable housing. It is a bipartisan bill sponsored by Republican State Senator Blessing from southwest Ohio.
Council approved a bundle of agenda items to declare May 2023 to be National Preservation Month and Mary Dunbar Bike Month in the City of Cleveland Heights and to appoint three members to the Transportation and Environmental Sustainability Committee.
Ms. Lawson announced a Public Safety and Health Committee meeting on May 17 and the MetroHealth Minority Men’s Health Fair, April 27, 5-8:30 pm. (https://www.metrohealth.org/mmhf)
Mr. Cuda said the Housing Committee met earlier today to discuss vacant and abandoned property. The committee’s next meeting will be Monday, May 1.
Ms. Russell spoke about the Caledonia Ravine project, which will be the topic at an educational “You Talk, I Listen” program, April 15, 10:30 a.m.-noon at the Caledonia Community Cultural Center.
Mr. Cuda requested a tour of the ice rink to better understand the problems.
President Hart spoke about reproductive rights referendum petitions.
Committee of the whole
(held prior to the regular meeting)
Finance Director Andrew Unetic explained the budget amendments to be voted on this evening. More than $50,000 in adjustments involved reallocations, including for ice rink renovations. Mr. Unetic and council discussed his new more transparent budget format. Bonds worth $10.2 million came in and were delivered to the developer of Cedar/Lee/Meadowbrook.
The committee discussed the recent, surprising closing of Heights Community Congress and assembled a team for the ReachingHeights Adult Spelling Bee. They reviewed the Women’s Day program and brainstormed some ideas about next year’s event, which they will start planning earlier in 2024. They went into executive session for about an hour to consider the appointment of charter review commission members.
LWV Observer: Blanche Valancy.
The next council meeting will be April 17. Future meetings of council, committees, boards, and commissions, as well as other city events can be found at: https://clevelandheights.gov/calendar.aspx
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