LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS / University Heights City Council meeting highlights

JANUARY 16, 2024 - regular meeting

  • Mayor’s report
  • Council and staff reports
  • Council actions

Present were Mayor Michael Dylan Brennan, Vice Mayor Michele Weiss, and Council Members Christopher Cooney, Brian J. King, John P. Rach, Sheri Sax, and Win Weizer. Threse Marshall was excused. Also present were Kelly Thomas, clerk of council; Luke McConville, law director; and Dennis Kennedy, finance director. The meeting ran for one hour and 53 minutes.

Mayor’s report

The first sustainable-home fair will be Sunday, April 31. It is aimed toward University Heights (UH) homeowners to make homes more efficient, less costly to operate, and more sustainable. This is part of the city’s initiative to reduce the UH carbon footprint by 30 percent by 2030. 

The oath of office was administered to Mike Cicero to continue the role of prosecutor and assistant law director. McConville’s tenure as law director will conclude March 31. A job posting is on the website with applications due Jan. 29.

Chik-Fil-A received approval from the Architectural Review Board and will be on the Feb. 5 council meeting agenda.

The mayor will deliver the State of the City Address Thursday, April 11, 6 p.m.

Council and staff reports

The finance department will start the 2023 audit in the next couple of weeks.

The law department will provide reports on ligation for the eminent domain case, the University Square bankruptcy, and Alexander Shull during executive session.

The fire department will conduct training for winter safety and survival for about 100 firefighters. 

The service department has completed leaf collection and is now in the snow removal season.

Interim Building Director John Cheatham introduced Mark Patterson as the new building director. 

The housing and community development department needs to confirm the status of the TLC Grant submitted to NOACA for the Taylor Road project. Inspections of multi-unit buildings will occur soon. 

The communications/civic engagement department is mailing the next issue of Mosaic the third week of February. It will include an updated business directory.

The economic development department will save its comments for the executive session.

Council actions

Council rejected an agreement with WallacePancher Group to provide engineering services to the city. Council expressed concerns that the mayor chose not to interview all three companies that submitted bids. The mayor interviewed only WallacePancher, as he felt theirs was the best bid and found issues with the other two. WallacePancher’s retainer was significantly higher than that paid to the city’s prior firm and though WallacePancher was asked to review their bid and adjust numbers, they did not lower costs. Some city projects need to be addressed soon and require the services of a city engineer. Win Weizer noted that some projects can move forward, as the mayor has the discretion to an advance any project that is under $15,000. The selection of the city engineer contract is up to the mayor and council’s role is to vote yes or no on the contract selected. 

Council renewed the Human Resources Consulting Services Contract with Clemans Nelson for the year ending Dec. 31, 2024, for an amount not to exceed $65,000. This was an increase of $48,000 from 2023 and was based on a better sense of the work involved, as 2023 was the firm’s first year working with UH.

Council amended, on emergency, the city code Chapter 1424, “Permits and Fees.” The revised fee schedule, which had not been updated for some time, brings the rates more in line with those of other communities in the county. 

Council authorized the fire department to seek bids for a fire department wellness program. 

Council approved a three-year extension of the current Minuteman Contract for service department temporary labor during leaf collection. The extended contract established a maximum spend per year based on need and services rendered.

Council entered an executive session to discuss legal, personnel, and real estate matters.  

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: www.youtube.com/channel/UCA82j5L_CkQxK9cXP_qrXvw/videos

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