University Heights City Council meeting
JUNE 5, 2023 regular meeting
- Public comment
- Mayor’s report
- Committee appointments
- Charter Review Commission
- Council actions
- Committee reports
Present were Mayor Michael Dylan Brennan, Vice Mayor Michelle Weiss, and Council Members Christopher Cooney, Brian J. King, Threse Marshall, John P. Rach, and Sheri Sax. Barbara Blankfeld has resigned from council. Also present were Kelly Thomas, clerk of council; Luke McConville, law director; Dennis Kennedy, finance director; and Joseph Ciuni, city engineer. The meeting ran for nearly three and three-quarter hours.
A resident noted inconsistency in the rubbish collection process and requested results of the survey regarding collection.
A resident praised ranked choice voting [proposed by the Charter Review Commission] as a positive change inspiring cooperation.
A third resident thanked the Charter Review Commission for their work in developing forward thinking amendments favorable to the citizens of University Heights.
Kyle Herman, executive director of Rank the Vote Ohio, thanked the Charter Review Commission for including ranked choice voting as one of the proposed amendments. He offered his organization as a resource for information and support as University Heights goes through the review.
The mayor announced several events including: Sing Out! at Severance Center to benefit the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center, Thursday, June 8; Bike with the Mayor and Council Member Brian King, Sunday, June 11; opening of the summer concert series, Thursday, June 15; and the 2nd annual Juneteenth celebration to be held at the Walter Stinson Park, Sunday, June 18.
The mayor gave testimony in front of a Cuyahoga County Council committee regarding proposed countywide pay-to-stay legislation, which would allow tenants to pay back rent and a reasonable fee before execution of an eviction.
Vice Mayor Weiss announced the appointment of new Council Member Threse Marshall as Chair of the Safety Committee and as member of the Finance and of Economic Development Committee. Weiss will chair the Building and Housing Committee until the council position vacated by Barbara Blankfeld is filled.
Charter Review Commission
In their final report, the Charter Review Commission proposed 10 amendments to the city charter to be placed on the November 7 General Election ballot. The proposed amendments are titled Gender Neutrality, Eliminating Term Limits, Law Director Appointment and Removal, Decennial Charter Review, Department Name Modernization, Ranked Choice Voting, Recall Elections, Initiative and Referendum, Council’s Presiding Office, and Anti-Discrimination. Following a robust discussion, council voted to accept the final report and plans to vote on the amendments at the next council meeting on June 20. The proposed amendments, along with detailed explanations for each topic can be found in the commission’s final report, which is in this meeting’s Agenda Packet at https://www.universityheights.com/council/agenda-and-minutes/
Council approved several contracts:
- Renewing citywide traffic signal monitoring services with Single Service Company, not to exceed $3,102.
- Accepting the bid for the 2023 street road improvement program from C.A. Agrest.
- Accepting Emergency IT Support and Service from Starfish Computer for the month of June, not to exceed $5,500.
Council modified the budget for the Washington-Silsby-Saybrook Intersection Community Cost Share Project; approved additional funding for the 2023 Juneteenth Celebration for additional security personnel, structures, and portable toilets; and authorized execution of “land lease and easement” with Heights Jewish Center.
Council approved a resolution Calling Upon the State of Ohio to Ban the AR-15 and AR-15 Style or Semi-Automatic Weapons, among other Common Sense Gun Safety Reforms.
A first reading of the 2024 Alternate Tax Budget was presented.
Finance Committee: The draft audit was filed on time; additional work will be completed in the next few weeks with a final report filed by June 30. The city received the RITA refund in the amount of $218,000. Preliminary May numbers came in with revenue exceeding expenses.
Law Committee: Several ordinances coming out of the Building and Housing Committee meeting will be ready for first reading at the next council meeting
City Engineer: The 2023 street striping project was approved, and work has started.
Service and Utilities Committee: SCS Engineering did a presentation at the May 24 committee meeting and recommended an in person visit to review the recycling collection process and assess needs. Ms. Sax confirmed that residents having questions can contact the service department by email, email@example.com, or by calling (216) 932-7800, ext. 215
LWV Observer: Tanis Swan
Meeting packets, legislation, and other information can be found on the city website at: www.universityheights.com/council/
Videos of council meetings can be viewed on the “City of University Heights” YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/channel/UCA82j5L_CkQxK9cXP_qrXvw/videos