Cleveland Heights City Council meeting highlights

FEBRUARY 20, 2024 - regular meeting

  • Public comment
  • Mayor’s report
  • Council actions
  • Council member comments
  • Committee of the Whole

Present were Mayor Kahlil Seren, Council President Tony Cuda, Council Vice President Davida Russell, and Council Members Janine Boyd, Craig Cobb, Gail Larson, Anthony Mattox Jr., and Jim Petras. Also present were Addie Balester, clerk of council; William Hanna, law director; and Danny Williams, city administrator. The meeting ran for one hour and 55 minutes, the Committee of the Whole met for one hour and 43 minutes.

Public comment

Several residents spoke for and against road camera surveillance services. Most speakers were in favor, citing the need for security in business districts and gunshot incidents in residential and commercial areas. One woman expressed concern about misuse of footage by third party monitors who can see private activities of residents.

Adam Dew, representing the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, along with four Cleveland Heights and University Heights residents praised proposed funding for lifeguards to open the high school pool for public swim hours. 

An adult member of the LGBTQ community and a grade school aged child who identifies as transgender expressed support for the resolution opposing Ohio House Bill 68, which restricts gender-affirming care for Ohio transgender youth. The student noted how safe she feels in Cleveland Heights and in her school. Ohio Representative Juanita Brent thanked council for opposing HB 68, gave a legislative update, and said residents could receive her weekly email update by texting her at 216-413-8932.

Seven residents, including former council president Melody Hart, expressed desire for a council resolution supporting an Israel-Gaza cease-fire. One resident, while dismayed about the war, felt a city resolution would not help. 

Two tenants of the Cleveland Metropolitan Housing Authority building at 25 Severance Circle complained about malfunctioning equipment and rodent infestations and asked why the city has not taken this to court. President Cuda told one tenant, with whom he had spoken in the past, that he would call him the next day to address this.

Residents asked about a timeline, contractors, and other details about Cumberland Pool repairs.

A lifelong resident said the closure of the deteriorated Lennox Garage represents the need to repair small problems before they get too big.

Mayor’s report

Mayor Seren announced that the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency (NOACA) will be placing electric vehicle fast charger ports at two locations in the city: the Lee Road Library and City Hall. 

Council actions

Two legislative items were presented on first reading with no vote:

  • A resolution to apply for up to $500,000 in grant funds through the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) for the Doan Brook Restoration Park Improvements, in coordination with the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District’s Doan Brook Restoration, would fund two trails. Shaker Heights is preparing a complementary project request to ODNR for the same trails within their jurisdiction, which could possibly double the award amount. 
  • An ordinance to establish a living wage for employees of Cleveland Heights.

The following six legislative items were passed on first reading.

Council renewed a subscription agreement with Flock Group Inc. for a specialized road surveillance network, including license plate readers, for $50,000 per year for five years. The cameras will not have facial recognition capability

Council authorized an agreement with All City Management Services Inc. for crossing guard services, at a cost of $140,481. Cleveland Heights-University Heights School District would reimburse one-half of the costs ($70,240.50).

Council reappointed Steve Cummings and Jody Taslitz to the Commission on Aging.

Council condemned the enactment of Ohio House Bill 68 as discriminatory, harmful to transgender youth, and a violation of parental rights. HB 68 bans medically necessary treatments such as hormone blockers, gender-affirming hormone therapy, and surgery for transgender youth. The resolution states that such legislation not only discriminates against transgender individuals but also undermines the principles of equality and freedom, potentially threatening the rights of all citizens who may at some future point find their health care decisions subject to a political debate. 

Council adjusted the 2024 Budget to receive two grant awards for the Lead Safe Fund, transfer ARPA Funds approved by council to the correct line item, and to increase the budget for the Police Locker Room Project.

With Cobb, Mattox, and Boyd voting no, council authorized funding, up to $25,000 for the period of Sept. 1 through May 31, for lifeguard positions for community swim events at the Cleveland Heights University Heights High School Pool. Cobb, Mattox, and Boyd opposed saying they wanted more information. The four to three vote means that it did not pass as an emergency, which had been proposed so that applications for the positions could begin immediately. 

On second reading, council authorized submission of the amended Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) entitlement application and plan for the year beginning Jan. 1, 2019, and also, the submission of theCDBG entitlement application for the year beginning Jan. 1, 2024.

There was a third reading, but no vote, for legislation regarding short term rentals including rules, penalties, and a 3 percent occupancy tax. Upon passage, this would take effect Aug. 1.

On fourth reading, council authorized the agreement with WXZ CPV LLC for redevelopment of the Tudor-Taylor buildings.

Using a consent agenda, council recognized March as Red Cross Month and Women’s History Month and March 8 as International Women’s Day.

Council member comments

Mr. Mattox stated he is planning to introduce to council a resolution supporting a cease-fire in the Israel-Gaza war.

Ms. Larson announced that the Amazing Women of Cleveland Heights event will take place at the Community Center on March 21. She urged the public to nominate deserving women; the application is available at:

Ms. Russell announced a Pathway to Home Ownership workshop at Urban City Codes, Mayfield at Lee Road, on March 2.

Committee of the whole.

At the Committee of the Whole (COW), Development Officer Brian Iorio reviewed the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) recommendations issued by the Citizens Advisory Committee for the dispersal of $1.55 million in 2024.

Two representatives of the Thriving Communities Program spoke about the Land Bank’s Green Spaces Property Inventory that is currently under way in Cleveland Heights. Three teams of two surveyors each are deployed around the city taking photos and classifying the condition of every building in the city. They have vests and ID badges, will be working until approximately the end of April, and are happy to talk to residents.

The legislative review was lengthy including a contentious discussion of the speed for pushing the lifeguard funding ordinance.

Discussion of council rules was deferred because the CoW had already run overtime.

LWV Observer: Blanche Valancy.

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:

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Volume 17, Issue 4, Posted 12:06 PM, 03.28.2024