Observer Reports

Neighborhood Revitalization Committee, April 2017

June 5th, 2017  |  Published in Observer Reports

Neighborhood Revitalization Committee
April 12, 2017

Authorization to Appropriate Funds for Cleveland Foundation Internship Program (Kamla Lewis)

Document link: Authorization to Appropriate Funds for Cleveland Foundation Internship Program

 The city has been selected as one of 19 agencies to participate in the 2017 Cleveland Foundation summer internship program. This is the 18th year of the program and the first time the city would be participating. The Foundation covers all costs associated with the intern up to $6,475. The city hires the intern as a temporary part-time employee for 11 weeks from June to August 2017, and the intern is paid $12 per hour for up to 40 hours per week. The intern in this case would work in the Department of Neighborhood Revitalization on the Moreland Rising project. The city will pay the intern and then be reimbursed for costs by the Cleveland Foundation.

This internship, city officials believe, provides a unique opportunity for a young student to learn about this project, which is helping to transform the Moreland neighborhood into a vibrant community.

Moreland Rising

Vibrant Shaker neighborhoods create a more vibrant Shaker.

Enter Moreland Rising: the city- and neighborhood-led collaboration with arts, business, and development partners to create a Moreland hub of innovation.

The project could:

  • Catalyze entrepreneurship along the Chagrin-Lee corridor
  • Explore new ways for neighbors to connect with neighbors
  • Cultivate an environment that continues to inspire art and artists
  • Encourage innovative housing designs that set the standard for years to come

The recommendation (the acceptance and appropriation of $6,475 from the General Fund to pay for the intern and to be reimbursed by the CF) passed unanimously.

Request to Enter into a Contract with Kay Coaching for Neighborhood Engagement Work (Colin Compton)

Documents: Request to Enter into a Contract with Kay Coaching for Neighborhood Engagement Work

The Economic Development Department requests the Neighborhood Revitalization Committee’s recommendation to enter into a contract with Kay Coaching in the amount of $55,000 to continue neighborhood engagement work in Moreland for the period of April 1, 2017, through March 31, 2018. This allocation will allow Economic Development to continue the neighborhood engagement efforts that are already in place while also developing and implementing new participation avenues for residents. In planning to move forward, Economic Development evaluated two levels of involvement at which Kay Coaching could be used. The first option used Kay Coaching primarily outside of the monthly Neighbor Night event to spearhead outreach to residents and hold other spaces for community gatherings. The second option, in addition to the activities outside of Neighbor Night, added Kay Coaching’s assistance with Neighbor Night itself. This includes leading planning meetings for Neighbor Night, attending Neighbor Night, leading debrief sessions after Neighbor Night, and providing support to resident-initiated projects that may rise out of Neighbor Night. Due to the increased interest from residents both in Moreland and in adjoining neighborhoods and the continued increase in attendance at Neighbor Night, Economic Development proposes to proceed with the second, more involved level of involvement with Kay Coaching in order to ensure that the neighborhood engagement work’s transition to Economic Development is a success.

Kay Coaching, a community development consulting company, wants to reach out to younger adults and youth. In order to do this the consultants plan to use a “boots on the ground” approach that includes talking to Moreland residents at their homes, school bus stops, and school events. While Neighbor Night will remain an integral part of the community network building strategy, Kay Coaching will also organize smaller, less formal gatherings that make it possible for residents and other network members to meet and share interests and information. These could be drop-in sessions at the community center, The Dealership, the library, a coffee shop or a park or playground.

Many of the committee members were concerned that it is difficult to quantify (measure) success of the outreach, thus it is difficult to justify paying for Kay Consulting services. It was explained that this is a process that requires a tremendous amount of hours to implement and at this time Kay Consulting services are needed, as the city doesn’t have the personnel to accomplish this task on its own. The ultimate goal is to teach community “stewards” to do the job that the consultants are now doing. Also, it might be possible that someday volunteers can accomplish the job that Kay Consulting is doing. But for now, it was strongly emphasized that Kay is needed to continue this program, which is vital for the Moreland Rising goal of creating a vital and thriving community.

Request to Establish an Agency Fund for Escrow Accounts and Amend the Housing Code to Charge a Fee for Escrow Disbursements (William Hanson)

Documents: Request to Establish an Agency Fund for Escrow Accounts and Amend the Housing Code to Charge a Fee for Escrow Disbursements

FirstMerit Bank has served as the city’s Designated Escrow Agent since 2010. From 2010 to 2016, a total of 901 escrow accounts were established and $13,447,251 was reinvested in maintaining and improving residential property in the community. The city has been pleased with the agreement with FirstMerit, which did not charge the city for its services, and the only charge to the account holder was a $15 fee for disbursements from escrow. The city would have preferred the arrangement with FirstMerit to continue, but FirstMerit was recently acquired by Huntington Bank, which has informed the city that it wants to discontinue its involvement with Point of Sale escrow accounts. Huntington officials agreed, however, to continue opening new accounts until June 1, 2017, and to disburse funds in existing accounts through the end of the year to allow the city some time to transition to a new escrow process.

The city unsuccessfully reached out to other banks to see if they were interested in handling the escrow accounts.

In order to continue the Point of Sale program, the city will act as the designated agent for escrow accounts and perform the functions previously handled by FirstMerit/Huntington. The bulk of these activities will be handled in-house by the Finance Department, which will be opening escrow accounts and handling disbursements.

The NRC agreed with the recommendation for the authorization of an agency fund for escrow accounts and an amendment to the fee schedule in the Housing Code to charge $15 for each disbursement from an escrow account.

At this time the Finance Department feels that the current staff will be able to manage this additional task but will reevaluate once the change has been made. Also, the $15 charge is the same charge that FirstMerit assessed on disbursement from escrow.
Eileen Anderson

City Council Work Session, May 2017

June 5th, 2017  |  Published in Observer Reports

City Council Work Session & Special Meeting
May 8, 2017

Present: Mayor and all Council Members

The bulk of the meeting was devoted to a presentation by Frank Greenland, Director of Watershed Programs for NEORSD. Also in attendance were Kyle Dreyfuss Wells, CEO of NEORSD, and Jeff Jowett, Watershed Team Leader.

The history of sewers in Northeast Ohio was touched on, and then responsibilities and programs of NEORSD. It came into existence in1972 and includes 52 communities, with 330 miles of sewers under its purview (there are over 3,000 miles of sewers under local control). The district includes three water treatment facilities, and has made $5 billion in investments since 1972. The district deals with 90 million gallons/year of wastewater, with a goal of reducing untreated flow (subject to a consent decree).

The presentation touched on watershed management, erosion issues, water quality, and flooding. It was pointed out that residents are eligible for credits if they install rain barrels or rain gardens, since they help manage storm water runoff.

Discussion of Green Lake dredging also took place.

In the special meeting, an ordinance to fix compensation of City Council members was introduced, on first reading. If passed, the compensation level of $10,400/year will continue (unchanged), taking effect on Jan. 1, 2020.
Kathleen Hickman

Board of Zoning Appeals & City Planning Commission, March 2017

May 2nd, 2017  |  Published in Observer Reports

Board of Zoning Appeals and City Planning Commission
April 4, 2017

Present: Jack Boyle, Kevin Dreyfuss-Wells, David Weiss, Rob Zimmerman, Mayor Leiken
Also present: Joyce Braverman, Dan Feinstein, Planning Department; William Gruber, Law Director

The meeting was called to order by Mayor Leiken at 7 p.m.

BOARD OF ZONING APPEALS

POSITIVE EDUCATION PROGRAM

This was a continuation of a public hearing on the request of Rhonda DiOrio and Kyle Rose, Positive Education Program (PEP), 14201 Southington Road, to install a fence around a proposed garden along Keswick Road. The case was continued at the March meeting in order for the applicant to discuss the proposal with the neighbors. The applicant met with the neighbors and now proposes to install a 6-foot-tall wood-framed wire fence surrounding the garden in one of two locations: the originally proposed location adjacent to the playground and parking lot setback 52 feet from Keswick Road, or an alternate location in the Keswick yard adjacent to the school building 30 feet off Keswick Road. Code requires the fence only be 4 feet tall in the Keswick Road front yard. The fence is proposed to enclose a new therapeutic garden area, which will be utilized by the school’s students. The fence is proposed to be screened along Keswick Road with a mix of bayberry bushes, little bluestem grasses, and St. John’s Wort.

A Keswick resident commented at the public hearing that she appreciated the meetings with the applicant.

As moved by Mr. Boyle, second by Mr. Dreyfuss-Wells, a variation allowing a 6-foot fence and a setback variance of 25 feet was unanimously approved. Staff will approve the landscaping.

HEISER RESIDENCE – 2685 ROCHESTER ROAD

A public hearing was held on the request of Kenneth Fisher, on behalf of Lisa Heiser, 2685 Rochester Road, for a variance to the location and setback requirements for outdoor mechanical units. The applicant proposed to install new pool equipment in the side yard, located 10 feet from the side property line. The existing side yard is 16 feet wide. The pool equipment is no more than 4 feet tall. The code requires that pool equipment be located in the rear yard only and screened from view. The applicant proposes to screen the units with taxus evergreen bushes and a 4-foot-tall fence along the property line.

There was no comment at the public hearing.

As moved by Mr. Weiss, second by Mr. Boyle, the variance was granted unanimously.

CITY PLANNING COMMISSION

PROCESS CANINE – 3178 LEE ROAD

Mr. Boyle recused himself from this portion of the meeting.

This was a continuation of a public hearing on the request of Amanda Graeter, Process Canine, for variances and a Conditional Use Permit in order to operate a dog daycare business. This case was continued from the March meeting in order for the applicant and staff to respond to questions from the Board and neighbors. The applicant met with the neighbors and revised the plans to add fencing and parking lot landscaping, and to relocate the dumpster. The proposed business will utilize indoor and outdoor space at the former Lee Road Nursery property for a dog daycare, training and boarding facility. A Conditional Use Permit is required for a use similar to an animal hospital/veterinarian office. A variance is required to locate this business closer than 100 lineal feet to a residential use. A variance is required to enclose the dumpster with a wood fence instead of the required brick wall and to locate it in the side yard instead of the rear yard. The dumpster has been moved closer to the building. A fence landscaping variance is required for an 8-foot-tall cedar fence facing Lee Road without required landscaping to soften a fence facing the street. Code requires a 20-foot landscape buffer and a 6-foot-tall brick wall adjacent to the residential district along the rear property line. A variance is required to provide an 8-foot-tall solid cedar fence, set back 5 feet from the rear property line, with the existing trees, grass and asphalt area adjacent to the rear property line. Landscaping is required at the south side property line and along the front edge of the parking lot. A 5-foot-wide landscape strip with 2- and 3-foot-tall landscaping has been added to soften the parking lot from the street. Only a wood fence is proposed along the south property line. A parking variance is required as 19 parking spaces are required and 14 are proposed. Council confirmation is required.

Nick Fedor, Executive Director of the Shaker Heights Development Corporation, which owns the property, said that this would be an important business for the Lee Road area. Ms. Graeter has met with the neighbors and businesses and has revised the site plan as recommended at the March meeting. Five businesses have signed a statement in favor of the applicant. The fencing plan and the landscaping plan have been modified. There would not be a need for the 19 required parking spaces, since the patrons would drop off their dogs and would not require long-term parking.

At the public hearing, two of Ms. Graeter’s current customers stated that her current business is always extremely clean, and the dogs are trained and very well behaved.

Several neighbors on Sudbury whose properties abut the rear of this property commented that they were extremely concerned about noise and odors. Others in the Moreland area supported the idea of a new sustainable business in the area. Ms. Graeter said that the building masonry is very thick, and that noise would be contained. Also, special dumpsters are designed to keep rodents out.

Mayor Leiken said that he believed the business will be well managed, and that there will be adequate parking. He moved approval of the variances. It was seconded by Mr. Dreyfuss-Wells, and approved unanimously. The Conditional Use Permit must still be approved by City Council. The business will have 18 months to complete the site plan; staff will approve landscaping.

CITY OF SHAKER HEIGHTS – 19005-20101 FARNSLEIGH ROAD

A public hearing was held on the request of the City of Shaker Heights for a resubdivision of land in order to dedicate right-of-way. The city proposes to resubdivide city-owned property and dedicate right-of-way at the Farnsleigh Road parking lot. The city proposes to dedicate up to 7.2 feet of additional right-of-way to the north side of Farnsleigh Road to accommodate the future Van Aken District Path. The city-owned parcel 736-10-001 will be reconfigured to accommodate the proposed trail. A resubdivision of land requires City Planning Commission review. Council action is required to dedicate the right-of-way.

As moved by Mr. Weiss, second by Mr. Boyle, the request was unanimously granted.

The minutes of the meeting of March 7 were approved on the motion of Mr. Weiss, second by Mr. Dreyfuss-Wells.

The meeting was adjourned at 9 p.m.
Gail Gibson

Finance Committee, March 2017

April 28th, 2017  |  Published in Observer Reports

Finance Committee
March 20, 2017

Present: Council members Nancy Moore, Sean Malone, Earl Williams, Rob Zimmerman; citizen members Martin Kolb, Linda Lalley, Brian Rosenfelt
Also present: Mayor Earl Leiken, Chief Administrative Officer Jeri Chaikin, Assistant Finance Director Cheryl Arslanian, Neighborhood Revitalization Director Kamla Lewis, Economic Development Director Tania Menesse, Housing Director William Hanson

The meeting commenced at 7:30 a.m. with approval of the Feb. 21, 2017, regular meeting minutes.

Agenda Items

  • Approved and authorized the execution of a development agreement with Neighborhood Housing Services of Greater Cleveland (NHSGC) for the sale, rehabilitation and re-sale of the city-owned property at 3625 Ludgate Road, authorizing the disposition of city-owned property no longer needed for municipal purposes without competitive bidding. This sale transaction is cost-neutral to the city.
  • Authorized a maintenance agreement with Van Aken Shopping Center (developer RMS) for the Van Aken District Public Improvements.
  • Authorized a forgivable loan in the maximum amount of $350,000 to McGlinchey Stafford to build out 20,000 square feet in the Van Aken District. McGlinchey Stafford has signed a 10-year lease to occupy office space in the office building anchoring the Warrensville/Farnsleigh retail corner.
  • Authorized the transfer of $17,751 from the General Fund into the Housing Inspection Department contractual services account for the demolition of 3598 Menlo Road.
  • Authorized the execution of certificates by the Director of Finance and the payments of amounts due upon certain contracts for which the Finance Director has issued Then and Now Certificates.

The meeting adjourned at 8:45 a.m.
Patty Knoth

Library Board of Trustees, March 2017

March 30th, 2017  |  Published in Observer Reports

Library Board of Trustees
March 27, 2017

Present: Mr. Anderson, Mr. Cicarella, Mr. Gleisser, Ms. Williams; 6:42 p.m., Mr. Bertsch, Mr. Meinhard; 6:57 p.m., Ms. Williams
Absent: Ms. Garrett

The meeting was called to order at 6:39 p.m. The minutes of the Feb. 13, 2017, meeting were approved.

Board Bylaws updated wording – Mr. Bertsch (motion), Ms. Williams (2nd)

Resolution of Commendation for Board President Chad Anderson, who is leaving the board after serving for nine years. Margaret Simon read a poem to him from the librarians.

Trustee Interviews – Six interviews are pending. Interviews will be conducted with two Library Board and two Board of Education members present. The selected candidate will be named in mid-April.

Financial Statements – Dec. 31, 2016, corrected and Feb. 28, 2017, were approved.

2017 Final Appropriation includes a 1 percent raise for staff, with the exception of the Director.

In response to President Trump’s budget proposal to eliminate Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) funding, the Board of Trustees will send a letter to Rep. Marcia Fudge and other legislators in support of IMLS.

Members of the Library board met with Board of Education members on March 7 to discuss timelines for placing a library levy on the ballot. The earliest the library would go to voters would be May 2018.

Gift for Building Fund – Peter Luton, in memory of Barbara and Michael Luton, $5,000

The meeting adjourned at 8:38 p.m.
Paulanita Barker

Board of Education, March 2017

March 29th, 2017  |  Published in Observer Reports

Board of Education
March 20, 2017

Present: Board members Todd Davidson, Alex Dykema, Jeff Isaacs, Annette Tucker Sutherland; Superintendent Gregory Hutchings, Treasurer Bryan Christman
Absent: Board member William Clawson, who was traveling

This meeting was rescheduled from March 14 (snow cancellation) and combined a regular meeting with the work session that had been scheduled for March 21.

The meeting was called to order at 5 p.m. by Mr. Dykema (president), and began with the introduction of Onaway principal Eric Forman, who listed various activities going on at his school. Following approval of the minutes of the last meeting, Dr. Hutchings recognized various students and staff who had received honors during the past month.

Next came public comments. One of the co-chairs of the district’s new Equity Task Force, Oxford Road resident Lisa Vahey, said that the task force has received applications from 69 people. The task force will include six members of the community, two students, plus teachers staff members, and administrators.

Following the routine approval of personnel items, representatives of the design and roof-repair firms hired by the district and Stephen Wilkins, Shaker’s assistant superintendent of business and operations, gave the board an update on the district’s plans for undertaking capital projects. Many of the plans depend on the passage of the May 2 bond issue/capital improvement levy, but some problems must be handled as emergencies. Most serious right now is the cafeteria ceiling and roof at the Middle School. The deteriorating roof is causing leaks that degrade the ceiling. Although the roof over the cafeteria can be patched, much of the whole building’s roof will have to be replaced. A contract for the Middle School’s roof replacement will be presented to the board in April. Meanwhile, the district will create a five-year plan to handle roof repairs and replacement on any buildings that need fixes.

The May 2 bond issue will raise about $30 million and the levy about $1 million per year, which is enough to cover just some of the capital repairs and improvements the district is facing. A capital-improvements program recommendation will be presented at the board’s April meeting. Mr. Dykema noted that the district’s enrollment is going down, which means the district has to make smart decisions about which school buildings to put the most money into.

Mr. Wilkins and Chris Dewey of Van Auken Akins, the district’s hired architecture/design firm, also made a presentation of new classroom “flexible furniture” options. He said 250 teachers submitted their preferences via a district survey. While the district balances “need vs. want,” the board also wants to meet the staff’s desire for 21st-century classrooms. Choices will be narrowed down at the April 11 board meeting.

The business meeting followed the discussion of capital plans. The following were unanimously approved by the board:

  • A resolution authorizing the district’s participation in the Ohio Schools Council Cooperative School Bus Purchasing Program for the 2017-18 school year. This give Council the OK to advertise and receive bids on behalf of the board for the purchase of four 72-passenger school buses. The district assumes that buses are replaced every 12 years.
  • Amending two of the district’s contracts with Van Auken Akins, one extending the program manager’s contract and increasing its funding from $100,000 to $125,000; the other (a second amendment) expanding the same firm’s work to include 10 additional classrooms. The fee for these services is not to exceed $50,000.
  • Additional holidays and revised summer hours for district employees who belong to the National Conference of Firemen and Oilers
  • Revised summer hours for secretarial and clerical workers (Monday-Thursday)

Also covered at this meeting were a second reading of a motion to adopt and revise certain board policies (no action will be taken on the policies until the third reading in April) and a public hearing on the district’s Internet Safety Policy (no comments were made by members of the public).

At this point, after two hours, I had to leave the meeting. But details of the complete agenda can be found at https://www.boarddocs.com/oh/shaker/Board.nsf

Marcia Goldberg

 

 

Finance Committee Meetings, February and March 2017

March 29th, 2017  |  Published in Observer Reports

Finance Committee
Feb. 21, 2017

Present: Council members Nancy Moore, Sean Malone, Earl Williams, Rob Zimmerman; citizen members Martin Kolb, Linda Lalley
Also present: Mayor Earl Leiken, Chief Administrative Officer Jeri Chaikin, Finance Director Robert Baker, Police Commander Michael Rowe, Fire Chief Patrick Sweeney, Public Works Director Patti Speese, Planning Director Joyce Braverman, Building Department Manager Kyle Krewson

The meeting commenced at 7:30 a.m. with approval of the Jan. 17, 2017, regular meeting minutes.

Agenda Items

  • Authorized the appropriation of $10,000 from the State of Ohio Attorney General for Continuing Professional Training (CPT) for the Police Department.
  • Authorized the acceptance of a Community Recycling Awareness Grant from the Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District in an amount up to $5,000 to purchase recycling magnets. The magnets will be inserted in Shaker Life magazine and will contain recycling information for residents.
  • Authorized an Agreement between Shaker Heights and the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District (NEORSD) to utilize the city’s Community Cost Share over the next seven years to reimburse the city for the construction of storm water management facilities at University Hospitals Management Services Center on Warrensville Center Road.
  • Approved and authorized the execution of a Shared Services Agreement with Cuyahoga County for sharing certain capital equipment on an as-needed basis.
  • Authorized a sole-source contract with Pierce Manufacturing, without competitive bidding, in the amount of $238,000 for the mechanical refurbishment of a 2003 Pierce Fire Engine for the Shaker Heights Fire Department.
  • Authorized the acceptance and appropriation of funds in the amount of $2,500 from the 2016-17 Ohio Department of Public Safety EMS grant.
  • Authorized the application for and acceptance of a 2017-18 Ohio Department of Public Safety EMS grant.
  • Approved amending the city’s building code to better define the fee schedule in four areas—Fire Suppression Systems, Mechanical Exhaust Systems, HVAC, and Gas Lines.
  • Granted a right-of-way license and authorized the issuance of a permit to AT&T Ohio, within the right-of-way on the tree lawn along Nicholas Avenue adjacent to the side property of 3690 Sudbury Road, for a new pole providing for transmission of telecommunication services.
  • Authorized the application for and acceptance of a grant in the total amount of up to $250,000 from the Ohio Department of Transportation for a multi-purpose bicycle/pedestrian path along Farnsleigh Road in the Van Aken District. No local match is required for this grant.
  • Authorized the Issuance of Non-Tax Revenue Bonds to Reimburse the Economic Development and Housing Reserve Fund for its contribution of $750,000 to the University Hospitals Underground Water Retention Facility Project.
  • Authorized the initial payment to RMS under the Development and Use Agreement for Van Aken District Phase 1.
  • Amended the 2017 Appropriations Ordinance.
  • Authorized the execution of 15 Then-and-Now certificates.

The meeting adjourned at 8:35 a.m.
Patty Knoth

Finance Committee
March 20, 2017

Present: Council members Nancy Moore, Sean Malone, Earl Williams, Rob Zimmerman; citizen members Martin Kolb, Linda Lalley, Brian Rosenfelt
Also present: Mayor Earl Leiken, Chief Administrative Officer Jeri Chaikin, Assistant Finance Director Cheryl Arslanian, Neighborhood Revitalization Director Kamla Lewis, Economic Development Director Tania Menesse, Housing Director William Hanson

The meeting commenced at 7:30 a.m. with approval of the Feb. 21, 2017, regular meeting minutes.

Agenda Items

  • Approved and authorized the execution of a development agreement with Neighborhood Housing Services of Greater Cleveland (NHSGC) for the sale, rehabilitation and re-sale of the city-owned property at 3625 Ludgate Road, authorizing the disposition of city-owned property no longer needed for municipal purposes without competitive bidding. This sale transaction is cost-neutral to the city.
  • Authorized a maintenance agreement with Van Aken Shopping Center (developer RMS) for the Van Aken District Public Improvements.
  • Authorized a forgivable loan in the maximum amount of $350,000 to McGlinchey Stafford to build out 20,000 square feet in the Van Aken District. McGlinchey Stafford has signed a 10-year lease to occupy office space in the office building anchoring the Warrensville/Farnsleigh retail corner.
  • Authorized the transfer of $17,751 from the General Fund into the Housing Inspection Department contractual services account for the demolition of 3598 Menlo Road.
  • Authorized the execution of certificates by the Director of Finance and the payments of amounts due upon certain contracts for which the Finance Director has issued Then and Now Certificates.

The meeting adjourned at 8:45 a.m.
Patty Knoth

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

City Council Work Session, February 2017

February 28th, 2017  |  Published in Observer Reports

City Council Work Session and Special Meeting
Feb. 13, 2017

Present: Mayor Earl Leiken; Council members Sean Malone, Nancy Moore, Tres Roeder, Julianna Johnston Senturia, Earl Williams, Rob Zimmerman; Law Director William Ondrey Gruber
Absent: Council member Anne Williams

The meeting opened with a presentation about Justice System Reform by Shaker Heights Municipal Court Judge K.J. Montgomery. The judge explained that the reform push is a national movement and that Ohio Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor is leading the effort as co-chair of the National Task Force on Fines, Fees, and Bail Practices. County Executive Armond Budish, County Court of Common Pleas Presiding Judge John J. Russo, and County Law Director Bob Triozzi are also working to support reform. Judge Montgomery would like to see the county’s mayors and managers involved in the project, too.

Reform plans could lead to a huge overhaul, the judge said, but will probably start with bail changes: making sure there are no “loading” of charges, that bail is set at a reasonable level, and that model criteria (such as those suggested by the Arnold Foundation) be used to set bond. Centralized booking, drug tests and GPS monitoring might help lead to fewer monetary bonds. No one wants to deprive the charged person of his or her livelihood or family, but there is always the chance that the person will “run” and never show up in court. So a lot of issues have to be worked through (and more money will have to be spent) before meaningful changes can be made, the judge said.

Next on the agenda was a big thank-you to one of Shaker’s EMS teams, who helped save the life of Beachwood resident Cary Hodous, 62, who went into cardiac arrest at the Cleveland Skating Club last August–but lived thanks to the help of other club members and to the timely arrival of Shaker firefighters. The five members of the EMS team were presented with a plaque by Mr. Hodous, Dan Ellenberger (director of University Hospitals’ emergency services) and Dr. Marco Costa, president of UH’s Harrington Heart and Vascular Institute (and a Shaker resident).

Finally, Council held a special meeting to discuss the passage of a resolution opposing a particular proposal in Governor John Kasich’s new budget. The governor recommended that the state of Ohio rather than RITA act as the city’s agent in collecting business (not personal) taxes. Mayor Leiken explained that this would prevent Shaker and other municipalities from having control over the tax collection process, and that it is unlikely Shaker could expect to receive from the state the same level of service RITA provides when it comes to making timely payments of tax receipts and collecting delinquent taxes.

While the mayor urged Council to pass the resolution immediately, Mr. Roeder and Mr. Malone said they would like to do a little more research before voting. Mr. Zimmerman said that taking another two weeks before the vote wouldn’t make much difference. Mr. Roeder noted that the state would charge less for collecting the business taxes than RITA does, but Mr. Leiken contended that the difference would not be much help if tax receipts were delayed in reaching city coffers.

 

 

Board of Education, February 2017

February 28th, 2017  |  Published in Observer Reports

Board of Education
Feb. 14, 2017

Present: Board members Mr. Dykema (president), Mr. Issacs (vice president), Mr. Clawson, Dr. Davidson, Ms. Sutherland; Superintendent Dr. Hutchings, Asst. Superintendent of Business and Operations Mr. Wilkins, Treasurer Mr. Christman, Asst. Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction Dr. Breeden, Director of Communications and Public Relations Scott Stephens.

The meeting was called to order at 6 p.m. This observer arrived at 6:30 p.m. Mr. Wilkins presented an update on the Capital Project plans:

The district’s capital needs total approximately $188 million; that amount would bring all district facilities up to OFCC (Ohio Facilities Construction Commission) standards. Of that total, approximately $173 million applies to the district’s schools only. The $30 million bond levy represents just 17 percent of the capital needs for the schools only.

The proposal for itemized expenditures is:

  • $9 million for technology hardware & connectivity
  • $6 million for flexible furniture
  • $5.5 million for roof replacements
  • $4 million for chillers and boilers
  • $2 million for required ADA improvements
  • $2 million for athletic field improvements
  • $500,000 for security cameras & alarms
  • $500,000 for electrical system upgrades
  • $500,000 for parking lots

If the ballot issue is approved in May, the first phase of construction will begin in June and end by mid-August. Resumption of construction will begin in the summer of 2018.

Board members discussed the Memorandum of Understanding regarding the Heights Career Tech Prep Consortium, which is to include the city districts of Bedford, Cleveland Heights-University Heights, Maple Heights, Shaker Heights and Warrensville Heights. The consortium complies with the career-technical education program (CTE) required by the state and will last for a five-year period.

Dr. Breen presented the newly revised and formatted Academic Program Planning Guide (2017-19) for Shaker Heights Middle School and Shaker Heights High School. The guide is to be used by guidance departments and by parents to help determine appropriate academic/curriculum pathways.

Treasurer Bryan Christman presented the monthly financial report. Full accounting and details can be found on the shaker.org website.

Dr. Hutchings noted that the featured speaker at an area meeting of school superintendents was Meryl Johnson, recently elected to the State Board of Education. A retired teacher and the sole educator on the state board, she will represent Shaker Heights and much of Cuyahoga County.

Recognition of Students and Staff 

A group of faculty and staff will present Shaker’s Bridges and Summer Experience Program (SELF—Summer, Exploration, Learning and Fun) at the College Board’s 2017 HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) “A Dream Deferred” Conference with the purpose of sharing how schools can effectively recruit and retain African-American and other minority students in their AP programs.

The district has earned the Auditor of the State Award with Distinction for stewardship of public funds. Only 5 percent of Ohio school districts and local governments receive this award. A number of student recognitions and awards were garnered for performances on the following: Medusa Mythology Exam: 8 out of 13 awards included a senior who earned a Gold Medal for the third year in a row; 21 medals at the National Classical Etymology Exam; a first-time first-place award for the seventh grade Power of the Pen team at the District Tournament; and top awards for three eighth graders at the same tournament.
Anne Batzell