City Council Work Session, February 2018

March 3rd, 2018  |  Published in Observer Reports

City Council Work Session
Feb. 12, 2018

Present: Council members Nancy Moore, Tres Roeder, Sean Malone, Julianna Johnston Senturia, Anne Williams and Rob Zimmerman; Mayor Earl Leiken, CAO Jeri Chaikin, Law Director William Gruber, Economic Development Director Tania Menesse
Also Present: Nick Fedor, Executive Director, Shaker Heights Development Corp (SHDC)

The meeting was called to order at 7:02 p.m.

Mr. Fedor was asked to present an update on SHDC work. The update included a history of SHDC from its founding through the present day. SHDC has historically partnered with the city on strategic initiatives and unique funding initiatives designed to spark investment and development in Shaker Heights. SHDC has been staffed since 2015 with full-time employees. The current focus of SHDC include: 1. Chagrin Lee corridor, 2. Van Aken Development, 3. Entrepreneurial ecosystem development.

Chagrin Lee corridor has seen vacancy rates drop and the application of street scaping dollars to improve the look of the district. SHDC partnered with local investors to help locate Process Canine to the area. The Dealership is running at about 85 percent occupancy. Private sector investment has also seen an increase.

In the Van Aken district, the SHDC facilitated a programming survey as well as business owner meetings. They are exploring a Business Improvement District, which would require businesses to contribute and services would be provided to the district.

Looking forward to 2018, Nick Fedor reported that SHDC has received a targeted $50,000 street-scaping grant and is also putting together a Request for Proposal (RFP) for the former car wash site on Lee Road. The Chagrin Lee merchants are evaluating a Merchants Association. SHDC has secured a VISTA employee from AmeriCorps for a year-long assignment. SHDC is also working with Arts Van Aken on programming in the district.

Mayor Leiken asked Mr .Fedor to discuss the difference between Detroit Shoreway and Shaker. Mr. Fedor indicated Detroit has a higher density of business and residents. It also has a historical development focused on a pedestrian neighborhood. A discussion about Business Improvement Districts (BID) indicated that 60 percent of the linear-frontage business owners must agree to the district and they will contribute to fund items such as street-scaping, lighting and ambassadors. Local areas with BIDs include Downtown Cleveland, Gordon Square, Ohio City and three areas in Cleveland Heights.

A story on the the SHDC report was also included on (

Mr. Gruber presented a proposal to extend the city contract with the current natural gas aggregation provider. The current contract ends in March.  The request was to authorize a one-year contract with IGS.  The city will use the year to evaluate whether the city should join NOPEC for gas aggregation. The city uses consultant AmpOhio to evaluate proposals. The charge for AmpOhio is 5 cents per MCL charged through customer rate to fund the program. Currently 6,000 Shaker residents are enrolled in the program. The IGS proposed rate is 100 percent of the market rate plus 32 cents per MCF (includes the distribution fee). Apples-to-apples comparisons on the natural gas website are rates for individuals and not aggregates. Shaker likes to provide a fixed rate with no cancellation fee. So the Shaker rate may be higher but it is guaranteed and residents can cancel with no fee.

Mr. Williams asked if the gas is from Ohio. Mr. Gruber replied that gas is mixed from many locations.

Ms. Williams asked why flexibility is so important. Mr. Gruber replied that customers have indicated that they want the ability to cancel with no fee. The only input the city has received from residents is the desire to be able to cancel, so he made sure that is part of the package.

Mr. Malone asked how much of the market is covered with the aggregate. Mr. Gruber replied that of approximately 12,000 households in Shaker, 6,000 participate.

The contract was approved unanimously.

The meeting was adjourned to executive session for personnel matters at 8:05 p.m.
Sarah Divakarla

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