LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS / Cleveland Heights City Council meeting highlights [online 10-2-23]

OCT. 2, 2023 - regular meeting

  • Public comment
  • Mayor’s report
  • Council actions
  • Committee reports
  • 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 hour.

Public comment

Four speakers, who support restoration of Horseshoe Lake, urged council to not pass the appropriation legislation for the design phase of the new urban park around the restored Doan Brook stream. They advocated seeking grants to maintain the lake as an alternative.

A resident thanked council for recognizing October as LGBTQ+ History Month.

One resident urged using ARPA funds to restore the beauty and diversity of the Coventry commercial district. 

A resident complained about construction debris left on a tree lawn at 3744 Berkeley for over a month. The mayor agreed it was unacceptable and will get the property owner to clear the debris. 

A resident said he had to go to city hall to arrange an appointment with inspection services; he urged automating this process. Another resident claimed that city staff was unresponsive and suggested computer applications to track contacts and responses. There was discussion with the mayor about these last two comments; apparently automating constituent relations is being developed and will be available soon. Mayor Seren urges use of the Mayor’s Action Center and said that council has approved funding for a new tool.

Mayor’s report

Shredding Day is Saturday, Oct. 14, 8 a.m to noon. Those showing up will enter City Hall from the entrance facing Mayfield Road and be limited to 10 boxes per person.

The U.S. Justice Department has awarded the city a $300,000 grant to assist with programs with Cleveland Peacemakers Alliance, a violence interruption and mental health agency that has had success in other jurisdictions; partners in this endeavor will include the CH-UH school district, Heights Libraries, and the County Board of Health. The mayor thanked Sen. Sherrod Brown, city staff, and others for help attaining this grant.

Horseshoe Lake

On first reading, with Ms. Russell abstaining, council authorized agreements among Cleveland Heights, Shaker Heights, and the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District (NEORSD) for the NEORSD to proceed with design of the Doan Brook restoration near Horseshoe Lake Park and the amenities agreed upon and funded by the two cities. Shaker Heights passed this legislation last week. Passage by Cleveland Heights will allow the Sewer District to start without having to later amend the design agreement. Cleveland Heights’ cost will be approximately $168,327. Ms. Hart commented that she had wanted to keep the lake but has to represent the best interests of the city’s residents. Ms. Boyd commented that she sits on the Doan Brook Watershed Board and is impressed with the commitment to protect wildlife.

Other council actions

Council approved, on first reading, submission of a joint application with University Heights and East Cleveland to the Northeast Ohio Area Wide Coordinating Agency for funding the Taylor Road Corridor Road Reconfiguration. 

On first reading, council recognized October 2023 as LGBTQ+ History Month. 

Renewal of an agreement with the county board of health for public health services to Cleveland Heights residents for two years was presented on first reading with no vote.

Committee reports

Ms. Larson reported that the Municipal Services and Environmental Sustainability Committee will meet Oct. 16 at 10 a.m.

Mr. Cuda’s Housing Committee discussed short-term-housing legislation and ARPA-funded housing programs. The committee is looking at legislation for housing department reform. He commented that council should consider what process can best engage the community in economic development projects. 

Mr. Cobb announced an Administrative Services Committee meeting for Wednesday, Oct. 4, at 4:30 p.m. to discuss the proposed Arts Advisory Commission.

Ms. Russell announced the next landlord/tenant session, Saturday Oct. 14, 10:30 a.m. 

Committee of the Whole (CoW)

The CoW ran a little over one hour. After previewing tonight’s legislation, council discussed reinstatement of council member comments, a process to determine what causes should be promoted through resolutions, council members’ interaction with the administration, and establishment of updated council rules. Despite a history of volatility, they agreed to reinstate member comments, if concise and presented with self-control. Comments will be limited to about four minutes with the president reminding speakers to wrap up, if necessary.

LWV Observer: Blanche Valancy.

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.

Read More on Cleveland Heights
Volume 16, Issue 11, Posted 10:14 AM, 10.27.2023