City Council, November 2018

December 3rd, 2018  |  Published in Observer Reports

City Council Meeting & Work Session with Finance Committee
Nov. 26, 2018

Present: Council members Tres Roeder, Sean Malone, Nancy Moore, Juliana Johnston Senturia, Anne Williams, Earl Williams and Rob Zimmerman; Mayor David Weiss, CAO Jerry Chaikin, Law Director William Gruber, Finance Director Robert Baker, Finance and Administration Committee members Linda Lalley and Martin Kolb

The meeting was called to order by Mayor Weiss at 7:03 p.m. Mr. Weiss offered the city’s condolences to Aisha Fraser’s family, children, and co-workers. He requested a moment of silence to honor Ms. Fraser.  He also reported that Officer Adam Flynt, injured at the crime site, is recovering.

Item 1:  Mr. Roeder was appointed as an affiliate trustee of the Board of the Nature Center at Shaker Lakes. Ms. Moore and Ms. Williams previously served in this role.

Item 2:  The minutes of the Oct. 9 and Oct. 22, 2018, meetings were approved.

There was no public comment on agenda items.

Item 3:  Police Chief Jeffrey DeMuth presented a proposal for the acceptance of funds from the Cuyahoga County OVI Task Force for additional traffic enforcement patrols. Chief DeMuth indicated that the contract had been renewed and that the funds have been included in the police operating budget. He requested that the agreement be approved on first reading with a suspension of the rules as an emergency measure due to the timing of accepting the grant. The suspension of the rules and the service agreement were approved unanimously.

Item 4 : Joyce Braverman, Director of the Planning Department, requested approval of a Conditional Use Permit for two units on one lot as part of an infill located on Hildana Road.  The City Planning Commission has approved the permit with conditions.  Mr. Zimmerman commented that the Planning Commission was pleased with the plan and infill and recommended approval.  Ms. Braverman requested a suspension of the rules as an emergency measure due to the timing of construction. The suspension of the rules and the Conditional Use Permit were unanimously approved.

Item 5: Ms. Braverman presented an application for a Cuyahoga County Supplemental Grant for Van Aken District Busway Improvements. This grant money would help improve pedestrian and transit rider safety in the busway area. This grant does not require a local match.  Grants will be awarded in January 2019.  Ms. Braverman indicated that the City Planning Commission and the Finance Committee have reviewed and approved the request to file the application.  Sean Malone asked for clarification that at some point in the future, the RTA is planning line improvements in the area; however, the scope of those improvements is not yet known. Ms. Braverman requested a suspension of the rules as an emergency measure due to the timing of permit application.  The suspension of the rules and the grant application were unanimously approved. Mr. Williams wanted to make a note on the record that the Planning Department is diligent in looking for outside sources of funding.

Item 6: Recreation Director Alex Nichols presented the contract proposal for Senior Transportation Connections (STC) services for rides for senior residents. A study of the use of the service revealed that over 4,000 trips have been taken this year (as of September 2018). The majority of the trips are for medical appointments and it seems to be a valued service for Shaker’s seniors. STC requested a rate hike and the Recreation Department negotiated a lower rate hike. The cost to users will remain the same this year.  The Finance Department has identified this as a critical service for our residents. The contract has a cost “not to exceed” $100,000.  Mr. Roeder asked if ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft had been considered.  The ridership has remained steady and the seniors appear to be staying with STC. Mr. Malone stated that the Finance Department has approved this with the stipulation that the contract could be terminated early if other services become available and more cost-effective for the city. Ms. Moore wanted to commend Ms. Nichols on negotiating and not accepting the higher rate increase. Ms. Nichols requested a suspension of the rules as an emergency measure due to the timing of contract approval.  The suspension of the rules and the grant application were unanimously approved.

Item 7: A proposed liquor permit for Bottles on 25 LLC, located at 3441 Tuttle Road, Stall #301, did not require action because Council did not object to the permit.

Mayor Weiss adjourned the Council meeting at 7:28 p.m. and at 7:30 p.m. opened Council’s joint work session with the city’s Finance Committee.

Finance Director Bob Baker indicated that the proposed budget is preliminary due to uncertainty in November revenue collections. Currently, revenue collections are running below budget and it is not known how much less the collections will end up below projections. The Finance Department is closely watching reported revenues from RITA and will update the budget projections as more numbers come in.

Ms. Chaikin presented the total capital budget, which is currently proposed to be $8. million. The sources of funding were discussed and include using the General Fund, Sewer Capital Fund, and state- issued loans at 0 percent–as well as NEORSD grant money for sewer work.

Police Chief DeMuth requested funds for the annual replacement of vehicles. The Police Department has a regular replacement schedule to ensure that the police have working and reliable vehicles.  The proposed $262, 000 is to replace six vehicles per year.  Mr. Zimmerman asked if they looked at using hybrid vehicles. The chief replied that the additional cost could not be justified by the savings in fuel costs.

Ms. Braverman presented a joint request from Planning, Public Works and Police for traffic and pedestrian improvements at Warrensville Center Road and Shaker Boulevard. The funding would include a Transportation for Livable Communities Initiative (TCLI) grant of $200,000 and a city match of $173,000.  The work will include closing access and reworking the lanes at these intersections. Chief DeMuth requested $30,000 for the Chagrin/Lynnfield Pedestrian Improvement plan.  Following citizen requests for assistance and a traffic study, the police have identified some traffic-calming measures that could slow/organize traffic and identify pedestrian pathways. Ms. Chaikin clarified that if funding is received for both projects, public meetings will be held before the work is completed. The chief agreed that the plans are conceptual and subject to change following public input. Mr. Roeder asked the chief to explain how projects are selected. The chief stated that signal studies, traffic patterns, and pedestrian studies are performed as well as a review of traffic accident data. Ms. Williams asked for the timing of the TCLI grant. It is due in December. Mr. Zimmerman asked when they may look at the Warrensville Center and South Woodland intersection. The chief responded that the cost estimate is over $100,000 and would involve reworking traffic to reduce the number of streets entering Warrensville (possibly make Almar one way). He indicated that they did try the less expensive change in light timing and it did not work. Both Mr. Zimmerman and Mr. Malone indicated that they feel traffic calming is a priority for residents and it is a quality-of-life issue for them.

Fire Chief Patrick Sweeney requested $10,000 to continue the department’s breathing air cylinder replacement program. Approximately 14 bottles per year have been replaced in order to keep the air cylinders up to date. The 2001 Pierce Fire Engine is due for replacement. The Fire Department has negotiated a seven-year lease/purchase agreement that will spread the cost $117,000 per year, over the term of the lease. Mr. Williams asked for the life-cycle of the fire truck. Mr. Baker said expected life is 10 years. With care, the Fire Department has extended the service life to 15-20 years.

Public Works Director Patricia Speese presented requests to replace a mower ($15,000) and a Leaf Vac ($50,000).  Public Works also asked to replace a 2006 Packer Truck ($175,000), scooter ($30,000), snow plow ($10,000), 2002 dump truck ($125,000), mechanics lift ($20,000), and 2000 aerial truck ($130,000), which are all at the end of their life. Photos were presented to show the decay of the vehicles and the need for replacement. Linda Lalley questioned why so many vehicles needed to be replaced.  Ms. Speese responded that replacement has been deferred with maintenance and these vehicles have gone long beyond their service life. Mr. Roeder asked if Public Works has ever looked at sharing equipment with the school district.  Ms. Speese said that Public Works uses them during daylight hours and would not have time to share them. Ms. Chaikin said that the city is talking to the schools about having the schools mow city fields that are near the schools.

Public Works also requested $2 million for street resurfacing, which includes ADA ramps, curbs, and street large-area repairs.  Public Works is working with the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District on a Northeast Quadrant sewer liner project, which requires $1.5 million as well as $500,000 for other capital repairs. When sewers are being updated, Public Works is making comprehensive repairs and upgrades to sewers, trees and laterals before resurfacing.  The Huntington Road project has a cost of $850,000, with $425,000 coming from an NEORSD grant. Cleveland Water Department has plans at Avalon and Strathaven in 2019 with 100 percent funded by Cleveland Water.

Director Braverman presented the combined two year budget for City Hall and Former Fire House renovations to update the space and consolidate employees at City Hall.  Phase 1 is second-floor renovation for Building and Housing as re-allocate space on the first floor.  Phase 2 will be reconfiguring the first floor.  Mayor Weiss stated that spreading the project over two years seemed to be the most efficient approach.  Cost for Phase 1 is $225,000 (plus $225,000 from 2018) for $450,000 total.

Public Works Facilities Management requested $130,000 for the generator replacement at Stephanie Tubbs Jones Community Building.  The building is the emergency shelter for the city and needs to have a working generator in case of emergency.  The Police Court Elevator needs modernization for $80,000.  Fire Station 2 also needs a generator replacement of its 43-year-old generator for $75,000.  The Service Center yard needs pavement work for $150,000.  The Transfer Station which stores that salt has structural issues and will be fully evaluated in the spring once it is emptied of salt.  The estimated cost for structural work is $400,000.  The Shaker family Center exterior painting is peeling and needs to be scraped and repainted for $60,000.

Recreation Director Nichols presented requests for $5,000 to restain Around the World Playground to seal the treated lumber and improve the life of the equipment.  Pool replacement lines at Thornton need to be replaced at $5,000 and the pool building heaters need to be replaced for $10,000.  Further upgrades at Thornton include electric Zamboni overhaul ($20,000), Picnic area shade structure and slab replacement ($25,000), replacement of pool slide ($75,000) and Ice Arena Cooling Tower ($60,000).  Trail improvement is needed at the Town Center Trail ($30,000).  Councilman Malone asked that Recreation Department evaluate the trail at Lower Lake for any needed improvements as well as baseball fields that are annual not in shape when baseball starts.

The Information Technology Department requested $38,000 for updated Windows software as well as $36,000 for computer workstation replacements.  The city buys through the State Cooperative Purchasing Program.  Hardware storage equipment is needed for $50,000.  The police and courts data is kept on secure hardware storage equipment.  Director Baker presented the request for a timekeeping scheduling system that will work for Police, Fire and Public Works.  This system will be integrated with the current payroll system used by the city.  This system will save time from manually maintained schedules that are currently used.  The System costs $95,000.

CAO Chaikin presented a proposal for public meeting live streaming from the second story of City Hall.  It will include integration with the website and will include links to documents that are presented at meetings.  This will include cameras in the council chambers.  The Live Streaming System is $51,000.

Projects funded previously or with other sources: Waterlines at Avalon ($1,100,000), Green Lake and Lower Lake (NEORSD, $2,002,391), Warrensville Center Streetscape (NOACA grant $1,500,000, State Capital Budget $490,000, City Match $487,376), and Fairhill Combined Sewer Overflow ($75,000).

Mayor Weiss restated that the budget will have to be reduced based on new revenue estimates as those become available. Councilman Zimmerman asked the process.  Mayor Weiss state that the admin will come back with recommendations for additional cuts.  Council will review and approve as approrpriate.  Mayor Weiss said he hopes to continue to look for outside sources of funding.

Mayor Weiss opened the meeting to public comment on the proposed budget.

Sara Schiavoni of Morley Road requested that the city revisit South Woodland and Warrensville Center Road. She acknowledged that the full project is estimated at $125,000 however on $34,000 is required to get the updated signal box that could ease the timing of lights.  This intersection had 6% of city accidents (52 accidents) in a recent study.

A resident from Trayham road stated that she would encourage the city to implement the traffic calming measures at Lynnfield.  She also thanked the council for a timely replacement of the stop sign near Shaker Family Center.

9:10 pm public comment period was closed. Mayor Weiss reviewed the sunshine calendar.  The budget discussion will continue 12/3.

9:12 pm Mayor Weiss moved the council into executive session.
Sarah Divacarla

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