Finance Committee, Dec. 9, 2019

January 8th, 2020  |  Published in Observer Reports

Members Present: Council members Sean Malone (chair), Nancy Moore, Earl Williams, and Robert Zimmerman; citizen member Anthony Moore

Others present: Chief Administrative Officer Jeri Chaikin, Interim Director of Finance Frank Brichacek, Assistant Finance Director Cheryl Arslanian, Director of Economic Development Laura E. Englehart, Director of Recreation Alexandria Nichols, and Senior Economic Development Specialist Katharyne Starinsky

The meeting was called to order by Mr. Malone at 7:37 a.m.

Agenda—Committee actions:

Mr. Malone presented the minutes of the Nov. 18 Finance Committee meeting and corrected minutes of the Oct. 21, 2019, meeting for approval. Both meeting minutes were approved.

Ms. Nichols requested that the Finance Committee recommend to Council the approval of a contract with Senior Transportation Connections (STC) to provide transportation services for senior Shaker residents who are financially or physically unable to transport themselves. The contract term is Jan. 1 through Dec. 31, 2020, with a cost not to exceed $110,000. This amount is included in the 2020 proposed budget for senior transportation. Mr. Williams noted that 65% of senior trips last year were medical-related and asked if most were to South Pointe Hospital or the University Circle hospitals. Ms. Nichols confirmed that they were. Nancy Moore added that she had questioned the funding of this service in the past but has learned from many of our long-time resident seniors that they are critically dependent on the service, not only after losing their ability to drive but particularly when they have difficulty walking or cannot walk at all. Many cannot afford taxis or cannot afford smart phones to arrange rides online. They become prisoners in their own homes where they dream of aging in place. Anthony Moore asked if there were eligibility requirements other than age and residency. Ms. Nichols replied that physical disabilities could qualify a non-senior. Mr. Moore asked if a resident was automatically eligible if they met the age requirement. Ms. Nichols replied that they must first register with the city to confirm eligibility. Mr. Moore asked if a senior was limited to one-way trips. Ms. Nichols answered that a senior can make a round trip, but it is charged as two trips. The request was approved.

Ms. Starinsky requested that the Finance Committee recommend to Council that the city enter into an agreement with the county and federal Small Business Administration (SBA) to accept Round 3 SBA-Muni-County Small Business Finance Initiative funds in the amount of $150,000 and appropriate $50,000 from the Economic Development and Housing Reserve Fund to participate in the Round 3 initiative. Shaker Heights was one of two cities to successfully pilot the first round of these loans in 2014. Since then the city has invested $356,346 in forgivable loans, which resulted in $2,425,009 in total financing for new small businesses. Round 3 will emphasize attracting locally run small businesses, rather than franchises, to the Chagrin-Lee area. Mr. Williams remarked that Protem Healthcare was a home run from the first round of funding and asked if this business was really able to employ 50 people in its small office. Ms. Starinsky replied that Protem had many employees who would check in at the office and then travel to individual homes where their services were provided. Mr. Williams then asked if Protem would need to move to a larger building. Ms. Starinsky replied that Protem had inquired about expansion but were not planning to move. The request was approved.

Mr. Malone adjourned the meeting at 8 a.m.

Frank Goforth, LWV observer

Comments are closed.