University Heights City Council meeting 4-3-23
APRIL 3, 2023, regular meeting
- Public comments
- Mayor’s report
- Council actions
- Contracting procedures
- Loose recycling services
- Home rule for gun safety
- Staff reports
- Committee reports
Present were Mayor Michael Dylan Brennan, Vice Mayor Michelle Weiss, and Council Members Barbara Blankfeld, Christopher Cooney, Brian J. King, John P. Rach, and Sheri Sax. Also present were Kelly Thomas, clerk of council; Luke McConville, law director; and Dennis Kennedy, finance director. Council Member Justin Gould was not present. The meeting lasted for about two and one quarter hours, with 17 minutes of that in executive session to discuss labor negotiations.
Four residents spoke in favor of the resolution favoring restoration of home rule on regulation of firearms. One resident sent a statement recommending that the regulation be reviewed to consider all implications and potential for litigation.
A resident supported recognizing Ray Lancaster [assistant aquatic director for the Purvis Park pool] with a memorial for his long term work and dedication to the rec center.
At the March 22 Committee of the Whole (COW) meeting the mayor committed to a competitive bid process to hire the next city engineer, even though this is a mayoral appointment under the city’s charter.
In a presentation, also at the March 22 COW, ZoneCo, LLC, recommended establishing a community vision in order to tailor future development proposals to the city’s needs and desires.
The city has filed a memorandum opposing Alexander Schull’s motion for legal fees. The briefing, declaration, and exhibits are part of the public record.
The mayor said the resolution to restore home rule for firearm regulation comes out of various concerns in the community regarding allowing guns at public places, such as the pools and public events. Concerns have been expressed from both pro and con groups through the years. He said that gun violence continues to increase in the country and gun safety is a matter of local concern.
Council approved a waiver of conflict of interest to allow Board of Zoning Appeals Chair Ari Jaffe to represent CLE Yakar before the City of University Heights and its Boards and Commissions. With this approval Mr. Jaffe will recuse himself from all BZA matters involving CLE Yakar.
Council referred a proposed fourth addendum to the March 4 professional services agreement between the City of University Heights and SAFEbuilt Ohio, LLC to the building and housing department to address questions regarding scope of work, work done by a city planner, overlap with work done by other vendors, and needed staffing.
Council accepted the OCJS (Ohio Office of Criminal Justice Services) 2023 BWC (body worn cameras)Grant Award in the amount of $22,890. Police Chief Dustin Rogers had requested the funds. Council approved the purchase of the BWC Equipment, Licensing, and Warranties from Motorola Solutions in the amount of $22,889.96.
On first reading and on emergency, council amended the city code sections for “Contracting Procedures” and “Professional Contracts; Unique Services and/or Supplies” by adding RFQ (request for qualifications) requirements for project professional service contracts over $50,000. Changes will allow the mayor to accept bids when only one is submitted. For three or fewer bids, the mayor will select the qualifications in the RFQ.If more than three bids are submitted, an RFQ committee will implement a scoring process to reduce the selection to three bids. The mayor will make the final selection from those three. Several carve-outs exempted from the legislation include contracts with the law director, the city prosecutor, the state auditor, and a few other entities or circumstances.
On first reading and on emergency, council approved an ordinance to establish a RFQ process to be implemented every five years for the city engineer.
Loose recycling services
Council referred to committee a proposed agreement with SCS Engineers LLC, in an amount not to exceed $22,000, for developing a plan and associated costs in implementing loose recycling services, as approved at the February 21 council meeting. Council referred this to the Services and Utilities Committee to clarifywhat the $22,000 would cover and identify available alternatives.
Home rule for gun safety
Council referred to committee a resolution that supports restoration of home rule for firearm regulation and calls upon the State of Ohio to ban AR-15 and AR-15 style semi-automatic weapons, among other common sense gun safety reforms. Council referred the resolution to the Safety Committee to review legal complexities and consult the chief of police and legal department for consideration of enforcement and other ramifications.
Finance Director Kennedy reported that, in the first quarter, revenue outpaces expenses. Income tax revenue year-to-date is up from last year.
Fire Chief Robert Perko reported that spring hydrant flushing begins in April.
The construction project at Saybrook/Silsby and Washington begins Monday, April 10 and is scheduled for 45 days to be completed before Memorial Day.
The Community Outreach Committee will meet April 27 to review vendors with proposals for IT services.
The Economic Development Committee met March 22 to discuss zoning diagnostics.
The Recreation Committee met April 3 to review fees for pool passes, maintenance, etc. They also confirmed the Memorial Day parade route and discussed a potential tribute for Ray Lancaster.
The next council meeting will be April 17. Upcoming committee meetings include Community Outreach, April 27; Finance Committee, April 25; Safety, May 1; and Service and Utilities, April 27.
LWV Observer: Tanis Swan.
Meeting packets, legislation, and other information can be found on the city website at: https://www.universityheights.com/council/
Videos of council meetings can be viewed on the “City of University Heights” YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCA82j5L_CkQxK9cXP_qrXvw/videos