LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS / University Heights City Council meeting highlights

NOVEMBER 6, 2023 - regular meeting

  • Public comment
  • Mayor’s report
  • City council committee reports
  • Actions
  • Oct. 2 minutes

Present were Mayor Michael Dylan Brennan, Vice Mayor Michele Weiss, and Council Members Christopher Cooney, Brian J. King, Threse Marshall, John P. Rach, Sheri Sax, and Win Weizer. 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 about two hours.

Public comment

Two individuals spoke against the Chick-Fil-A proposed for the location of the Waterstone Medical Building. The co-owner of Bialy’s Bagels emphasized that another chain restaurant goes against the city’s commitment to local ownership and civic engagement. Another person said the proposed business would violate current zoning regulations and create significant traffic issues on Cedar Road. An individual from South Euclid expressed her concern about traffic on Miramar, Cedar, and Warrensville Center roads with the construction of apartments at University Square and a possible community center at Wiley. 

A final speaker spoke to thank and recognize the work of the service department and its director, Alan Pennington, and the members of the police and fire departments. He also recognized the engagement of all council candidates and thanked the mayor and council for the work they accomplished.

Mayor’s report

The mayor said the state awarded the city for excellence and compliance in financial reporting and the state auditor recognized another clean audit. Thanks were given to Dennis Kennedy and his team, administrative staff, and council members who follow financial best practices. 

The 2023 Civic Awards will be given Nov. 15 at the Jardine Room at John Carroll University.

There will be another zoning meeting Nov. 29, 6 p.m. at Wiley. 

City council committee reports

The Economic Development Committee will meet Nov. 29 at 7 p.m.; Services and Utilities will meet Dec. 15 at 6 p.m.


After an executive session to discuss personnel matters, labor counsel Michael Zhelesnik presented an ordinance documenting the current rate of pay and providing wage increases for non-bargaining unit employees. Michele Weiss requested that the applicable job descriptions and the current pay ranges be sent to council before the next meeting. She also noted errors in the pay for the clerk of council and service director. The matter was accepted on first reading.

Council recognized Heights High senior Nathaniel Tisch for his accomplishment attaining the rank of Eagle Scout.

Council appointed Sean Belt, Emily King and Charles Kennison to fill three vacancies on the Lay Finance Committee. 

Council approved, on emergency, amending the bylaws of the Norma Self-Insurance Pool—an insurance consortium of which the city is a member—to allow for remote meetings.

Council approved a new two-year proposal from NOPEC for natural gas service rates. The current contract expires Nov. 30. The new proposed price is lower.

Council approved, on emergency, five amendments to the University Heights municipal tax code to make the city compliant with Ohio House Bill 33 passed by the state legislature in June. The changes are:

  1. Individuals under the age of 18 are exempt from municipal income tax. That provision was already in University Heights’ code, but this ordinance changes the administration of the policy at the request of RITA. 
  2. Businesses with remote workers can, for tax purposes, elect to report the location where the employee works or any other location in the state where the employer has a presence. This does not apply to withholding. 
  3. Businesses that had already filed for a six-month federal filing extension may have an additional one month extension. Individuals already have that right. 
  4. The city may implement a $25 fine for late filing which is subject to refunding to a first offender. 
  5. Businesses may opt out of the municipal code for the state code if they have multiple locations within the state.

There was a first reading of an ordinance placing limits on campaign contributions, which would be the same for both mayoral and council candidates. Contributions from individuals will be limited to $2,500, PACs to $500, and city employees to $100. Violations would result in civil penalties. An independent financial review board comprising three non-resident members would deal with complaints referred by the law department.

Council approved the bid from Fabrizi Trucking & Paving for work to eliminate sanitary sewer overflow into the storm sewer. The amount is reimbursable from grants, mostly from the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District

Council approved change orders for Agresta Construction Company for the 2023 road project. Some work required remediation due to damage from the August storm. Also, removal of a school district mobile unit, which had been in place for 30 years, revealed the absence of curbing and a slab inconsistent with the road pavement.

At the request of Fire Chief Robert Perko, council approved purchases of a new cardiac monitor, a responder utility vehicle, and a new ambulance. 

At the request of Police Chief Dustin Rogers, council approved purchases of four new police vehicles and related equipment and approved trade-ins for existing vehicles.

Council approved a bid from Johnson’s Landscaping for tree planting. The company had worked with the city in the past and their bid was the lowest of three received. 

Oct. 2 minutes

Sheri Sax and Mayor Brennan had disputed the Oct 2 meeting minutes regarding what he said in response to her allegations about changes to Council Chambers. Sax said she had listened to the recording of the meeting and that her request for a change was in error; she moved to accept the minutes as written. Council approved the motion with Mr. Cooney abstaining.

LWV Observer: Marilyn Singer.

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.

Read More on University Heights
Volume 16, Issue 12, Posted 10:20 AM, 11.28.2023