City Council, February 2017

March 1st, 2017  |  Published in Observer Reports

City Council
Feb. 27, 2017

The mayor called the meeting to order at 7:35 p.m. All members were present.  The minutes of the Jan. 23, 2017 meeting were approved.

The mayor discussed changes resulting from Cleveland Water shifting from quarterly to monthly billing. The city has an issue with the high cost of sewer service, which the city is subsidizing with its General Fund. He suggested a modest charge to residents to make up the difference and said that the city would examine whether another approach might be needed.

Public comment on agenda items: Sarah Scivoni expressed support for the second item on the agenda (see below) but also supported the action Council took two weeks ago to wait and look at the resolution more fully as well as allowing for public comment.

The second item was the adoption of a resolution “strongly” opposing a proposal in Gov. Kasich’s 2017-18 budget, which calls for the centralized (state-run) collection of municipal income taxes paid by businesses and professions. Mayor Leiken said this may cause a substantial loss of revenue needed to support the health, safety, welfare and economic development efforts of Ohio municipalities. All Council members were in favor with the exception of Tres Roeder, who said that while the state mandate goes against free market principles, it could save the city money if it used the state system (1% vs. 2% with RITA). He said that while he did not support the resolution, he noted very good points in the proclamation.

Other items on the agenda were unanimously approved:

  • An ordinance amending the city’s Building Code by clarifying categories of building permits and fees
  • An ordinance authorizing the application for and acceptance of a Community Recycling Awareness Grant from the Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District in an amount up to $5,000
  • An ordinance authorizing the execution of a Shared Services Agreement with Cuyahoga County for the sharing of certain capital equipment on an as-needed basis
  • An Ordinance authorizing the execution of a Community Cost Share Agreement with the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District to reimburse the City for the construction of storm water management facilities at the University Hospitals Management Services Center on Warrensville Center Road
  • An Ordinance authorizing a sole source contract with Pierce Manufacturing, without competitive bidding, for the mechanical refurbishment of the city’s 2003 Pierce fire engine, in the total estimated amount of $238,000 for the Fire Department. Elimination of competitive bidding was a concern for Council, but this was a custom-made vehicle and it is best done by the equipment manufacturer. Council members Nancy Moore, Tres Roeder and Rob Zimmerman emphasized that they didn’t like noncompetitive bidding, but that it is a fire truck and it needs to be reliable–and the city does save money by not needing to buy a new one.
  • An ordinance on first reading authorizing the acceptance of a 2016-17 State Board of Emergency Medical, Fire and Transportation Services Grant from the Ohio Department of Public Safety, Division of Emergency Medical Services in the amount of $2,500 for the purchase of EMS supplies for the Fire Department Rescue Squads
  • An application for and acceptance of a 2017-18 State Board of Emergency Medical, Fire and Transportation Services Grant from the Ohio Department of Public Safety, Division of Emergency Medical Services, in a yet-to-be-determined amount, for the purchase of EMS supplies for the Fire Department Rescue Squads
  • An ordinance on first reading authorizing the City’s application for and acceptance of a grant in the total amount of up to $250,000 from the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) for bicycle/pedestrian facilities along Farnsleigh Road in the Van Aken District. Councilman Earl Williams thanked Joyce Braverman for her work on this.
  • Provision for the collection of service payments in lieu of taxes for the Van Aken Shopping Center Project
  • A right-of-way license and the issuance of a permit to AT&T Ohio for work within the right of-way on the treelawn along Nicholas Avenue adjacent to the side-property of 3690 Sudbury Road for a new pole providing the transmission of telecommunication services
  • An ordinance providing for the issuance and sale of industrial development bonds in the maximum principal amount of $750,000 for the purpose of paying costs of constructing an underground storm water management system on property owned by University Hospitals Health System, appropriating the proceeds of the bonds and authorizing the expenditure of those proceeds for that purpose
  • The amending of an ordinance making appropriations for the current expenses and other expenditures of the city for the year ending Dec. 31, 2017
  • The execution of Then and Now Certificates by the Director of Finance and the payments of amounts due for various purchase orders

Public Comment on Other Items

Nine individuals spoke to Council imploring them to pass a resolution declaring Shaker Heights a Sanctuary City. Brandon Cornic, a physician and resident, wanted the city’s elected officials to vote their opposition to President Trump’s executive order and anti-immigration policies, noting that Shaker Heights is an accepting community and home to people with diverse backgrounds and interests. An Iranian physician emphasized to Council that the city’s ability to recruit and retain top scientific talent was affected by the president’s executive order.  She said that the change in federal immigration policy was having a deleterious effect on doctors and their patients. The physician noted that this could lead to a potentially disastrous public health problem and mentioned people not getting immunized because of fear of going to the doctor. She said, “Immigration is not a spectator sport.”

Dana Price, an assistant professor at CWRU, said the executive action on immigration has affected our community and when immigrants fear interactions with police and health care professionals, the community must act. She asked Council to pass a resolution making Shaker Heights a Sanctuary City and requested to meet with the mayor.

Mayor Leiken stated that Council appreciated the speakers and all those in the audience (Council chambers were full) and that he was deeply disturbed by the president’s order, especially in that it expresses so much antipathy to our immigrants, who contribute to our country every day. “It’s not just hostility towards immigrants, it’s hostility towards anyone who’s different and it’s created an environment where people feel empowered to discriminate,” he said.

The mayor said Council will consider their request but can’t act on it at 9:30 p.m.
Audrey Morris

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