Cleveland Heights City Council meeting highlights

JUNE 5, 2023 regular meeting

  • Public comment
  • Mayor’s report
  • Council action
  • First readings only
  • 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 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 and a quarter hours.

Public comment

Cole Ware, on behalf of the Coventry Living Room Project, urged council to approve the resolution to extend the outdoor dining program.

A resident criticized the style of the planters on Mayfield Road near Warrensville Center Rd. and requested removal.

A resident complained about unmown city property and urged mowing and clean-up as soon as possible.

A resident thanked the city for beautification efforts in the Noble area, particularly through street-level and hanging flowerpots. She also expressed concerns about vandalism at the Roanoke-Noble mini-park and the need for people to feel safe in these public spaces.

A resident bemoaned the ostensible division into two camps among the mayor and council members, fighting with each other instead of conducting city business.

Discussing the impact of climate change, a resident criticized state and national governments for failing to act, offered examples of local government action, and urged the city to switch to clean and renewable energy sources.

A resident complained that city staff told volunteers gathering signatures for a constitutional amendment proposal that they could not operate inside Cain Park. Mayor Seren said that signatures may be gathered in public areas, including Cain Park, but not in performance areas during ticketed events. Instructions have been sent to city staff.

A resident complained about the difficulty of trapping and disposing of rodents in residences and the lack of city response to unkempt properties.

A resident protested damage done to nearby trees and soil by the Cedar-Lee-Meadowbrook project construction.

A resident described recent shootings on her street and requested a greater police presence.

Mayor’s report

Mayor Seren reported numerous good ideas from the U.S. Conference of Mayors annual meeting. He plans to bring these ideas to Cleveland Heights.

He described widespread concern about state legislation preempting local action on issues such as gun violence, pesticides, short-term rentals, and others.

Council actions

On first reading as emergency council:

  • Amended the 2023 budget, increasing it by $1,071,236. Most increases have offsetting reimbursements or grant revenue.
  • Authorized purchase of a 2024 Freightliner crew cab ambulance and chassis for the fire department from Pfund Superior Sales Co., a cost of $362,505. 
  • Appointed Valarie Ross to the Citizens Advisory Committee.
  • Authorized temporary extension of a permit program to allow outdoor dining facilities on private or public property for 2023.
  • Authorized purchase of a compactor/rear loader for the refuse collection division of the public works department from Bell Equipment Company at a cost of no more than $249,638.

On second reading, council approved amendments to the zoning code regarding private parking garages, driveway widths, fences, window transparency, rain barrels and gardens, non-conformities, public notice requirements, fees, and general changes to ensure consistency. Likewise council approved amendments to the building code regarding rain barrels and gardens and general changes to ensure consistency.

Council authorized, on second reading, an agreement with Technology Install Partners to update the city’s surveillance systems at a maximum cost of $1,091,859.86 and an agreement with Cuyahoga County to receive ARPA funds up to $500,000 to contribute to the security update. 

First reading only

Presented on first reading with no vote were:

  • An agreement with GameTime for the purchase and installation of a potable splash pad for Denison Park at a cost of $476,418. 
  • The 2024 tax budget. 
  • An agreement with Cintas Corporation for the purchase of paper products, mats, and cleaning and other supplies, for a five-year term at an annual cost of $25,000 to $30,000. 
  • An agreement with Gridics LLC for the establishment and maintenance of a zoning parcel record data set for the planning and development department for a two-year period at a cost not to exceed $64,000.

At the conclusion of the public meeting, council went into executive session to discuss the appointment of a public official.

Council member comments

Mr. Cuda announced that the Housing and Building Committee is working on legislation related to ARPA funds and short-term rentals.

Ms. Hart announced hearings on June 6 and 7 for nonprofit organizations to present ARPA fund requests. A tax clinic will take place June 8 at the Lee Road library.

Ms. Russell announced the start of several swimming and yoga programs and the city’s Juneteenth and Pride celebrations with details on the city’s website.

Committee of the Whole

Finance Director Andrew Unetic described the 2024 tax budget, including estimated property tax revenue. He offered a major operating funds summary and the schedule for developing the 2024 budget.

A discussion of next steps for appointing members of the Charter Review Commission resulted in a decision to hold an additional executive session.

LWV Observer: Jill Tatem.

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 7, Posted 2:49 PM, 07.10.2023