November 15 Committee of the Whole and City Council Meetings

Committee of the Whole

At the November 15 Committee of the Whole meeting (agenda):

Councilmembers discussed the legislation that would be read and, in some cases, voted upon later in the evening at the City Council meeting. There was brief discussion about the pricing of the new fire truck. The city manager will be providing more information about that to council members.

Councilmember Cobb asked whether council is interested in continuing work on pay-to-stay legislation, which Councilmember Ungar had begun. All councilmembers, including councilmembers-elect, indicated that they were in favor of adopting pay-to-stay legislation and that Ungar should continue his work on this.

Councilmember Cobb also asked about council’s thoughts on a resident’s request for legislation requiring proof of vaccination in restaurants and bars; council did not indicate a clear position on this.

Council then discussed the need for positions to be filled on the Racial Justice Task Force, the Planning Commission, the Citizens Advisory Committee, and other committees. It was agreed that the city and Council Vice President Seren would announce the vacancies with a request for applications and that councilmembers should try to encourage people to apply.

Council then discussed the impending open council seat that will become vacant when Kahlil Seren is sworn in as mayor. Council discussed whether the City could begin accepting applications soon so a decision could be reached as quickly as possible in 2022. It was agreed that applications could be accepted prior to the vacancy taking effect; council, with councilmembers-elect, will discuss the decision-making process and application requirements at the upcoming Committee of the Whole meeting on November 29.

Regarding the Resolution of Concurrence with NEORSD’s recommendations for the Horseshoe Lake dam, scheduled for first reading that night, Councilmember Ungar requested language be included discussing the City’s due diligence in seeking advisement from Gannett Fleming, as well as altering language regarding “probable loss of life” to “possible loss of life.” Councilmember Hart requested language be included acknowledging the meaningfulness of Horseshoe Lake to many residents and requesting NEORSD be open to alternative ideas from the community prior to and during the design and planning phases that might preserve Horseshoe Lake while also protecting public safety, effectively managing stormwater, and not placing any financial burden on the City. Law Director Bill Hanna confirmed that the new language does not obligate anything specific but agreed to discuss the language with NEORSD.

The Committee of the Whole then adjourned.

City Council Meeting

At the November 15 City Council meeting (agenda):

Council President Jason Stein moved the Council President’s report to the beginning of the meeting, then turned it over the Council Vice President Kahlil Seren, who moved to appoint Councilmember-elect Josie Moore to the vacant seat, the election for which she had won; all 6 councilmembers voted in favor, and Josie Moore was sworn in and took her seat at the dais.

The council then heard public comments from citizens: 

  • four people (one a statement read by another from her phone) advocated for restoring Horseshoe Lake; 
  • one advocated for mandating proof-of-vaccination at restaurants and bars; 
  • representatives from the Cedar-Fairmount SID (special improvement district) thanked council for the upcoming legislation to approve a $35,000 loan to help the SID cover expenses after revenue shortfalls due to the pandemic; 
  • one discussed a large tree, planted by the city many years ago, in their tree lawn that has displaced their sidewalk and they requested that the city remove it; 
  • one discussed the development project at Cedar-Lee and expressed that he would like the red maples between the parking garage and residents/homes to be saved;
  • one discussed a neighboring burned-out home, which was purchased by an investor, that is a nuisance to the neighborhood and should be demolished;
  • one reported on an incident with police on Sycamore Road in which she felt scared and intimidated;
  • One told council about the curb in front of his home that is insufficient to ensure safety;
  • One communicated dissatisfaction with lack of investment in northern Cleveland Heights, citing lack of trees on tree lawns, poor public services, and many vacant lots;
  • One discussed the community initiative to place legislation on the ballot that would mandate that the vacant lot at Cedar-Lee-Meadowbrook be developed into a park.

In the Report of the City Manager, Susanna Niermann O’Neil stated that she, city staff, and the police chief would follow up to address all public comments relating to city services and recent/ongoing issues.

Councilmember Cobb, reporting for the Public Safety and Health Committee, presented the following legislation:

  • Resolution 143-2021: First Reading. A Resolution to suspend enforcement of Section 351.09 of Part Three (Traffic Code) of the Codified Ordinances of the City of Cleveland Heights for the period ending December 31, 2022, or such earlier date as Council may hereafter prescribe on specified streets in the City; providing for on-street overnight permit parking on specified portions of Kensington, Hillcrest, Belmar, Glenmont, Eddington, and East Overlook Roads; and declaring an emergency. Passed 7-0
  • Resolution 144-2021: First Reading. A Resolution authorizing the City Manager to enter into an agreement with FARO Technologies, Inc. for the purchase of Three-Dimensional Focus Laser Scanners and associated materials and equipment for the Police Department through the United States General Services Administration; and declaring an emergency. Passed 7-0

Council Vice President Seren, for the Administrative Services Committee, presented the following legislation:

  • Ordinance 145-2021: First Reading. An Ordinance amending Ordinance No. 20-2021, “Wage and Salary Ordinance,” providing for salary schedules, position classifications, and other compensation and benefits for officers and employees of the City, to add a salary schedule, position classification, and other compensation and benefits for a City Administrator. This will be voted on after a second reading at the December 6 City Council meeting at 7:30pm.

Seren also announced that positions are open and need to be filled on several committees and commissions, including the Racial Justice Task Force, the Planning Commission, and the Citizens Advisory Committee. He directed residents to APPLY on the city’s website to serve on a city board, commission, or committee.

Councilmember Russell, for the Community Relations and Recreation Committee, had no legislation to present. Russell made a statement announcing her intention to seek the position of council president or vice president of the incoming council.

Councilmember Hart, for the Finance Committee, presented the following legislation:

  • Ordinance 146-2021: First Reading. An ordinance to amend certain subparagraphs of Ordinance No. 127-2020 (F) and subsequent amending ordinances, relating to appropriations and other expenditures of the City of Cleveland Heights, Ohio for the fiscal year ending December 31, 2021 and declaring an emergency. Passed 7-0
  • Ordinance 139-2021: Second Reading. An Ordinance to make appropriations for the current expenses and other expenditures of the City of Cleveland Heights, Ohio, for the period of January 1, 2022 through December 31, 2022. This will go to a third reading at the December 6 City Council meeting, after the November 29 Finance Committee meeting at 6pm.
  • Ordinance 140-2021: Second Reading. An Ordinance authorizing the allocation, appropriation and expenditure of ARPA funds for sewer infrastructure improvement projects; and declaring an emergency. Passed 7-0

Councilmember Josie Moore first made a statement expressing her excitement to be on council and to work with the incoming council and future mayor. Then, for the Municipal Services Committee, Moore presented the following legislation:

  • Resolution 147-2021: First Reading. A Resolution authorizing the City Manager to enter into an agreement with Wade Trim, Inc. of Ohio, for professional engineering services relating to the City’s Sanitary Sewer Overflow Control project and the EPA Consent Decree; providing compensation therefor; and declaring an emergency. Passed 7-0
  • Resolution 148-2021: First Reading. A Resolution authorizing the City Manager to enter into an agreement with Valley Freightliner & Western Star, for the acquisition of a Freightliner 114SD Tandem Axle Cab and Chassis for the Department of Public Works; providing compensation therefor; and declaring an emergency. Passed 7-0
  • Resolution 149-2021: First Reading. A Resolution authorizing the City Manager to enter into an agreement with Advantech Services and Parts LLC, for the acquisition of a 2022 E-One HR 100ft Aerial Ladder Truck for the Fire Department; providing compensation therefor; and declaring an emergency. This will be voted on after a second reading at the November 22 Special City Council meeting at 7:30pm.
  • Resolution 150-2021: First Reading. A Resolution authorizing the City Manager to enter into an agreement with Gledhill Road Machinery Company, for the acquisition of a 14-Foot Stainless Steel Dump Body with Salt Spreader and Plow Package for the Department of Public Works; providing compensation therefor; and declaring an emergency. Passed 7-0

Councilmember Mike Ungar, for the Planning and Development Committee, presented the following legislation:

  • Resolution 151-2021: First Reading. A Resolution to concur in the proposal of the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District (NEORSD), as a part of its regional stormwater management program, and at its cost, to remove Horseshoe Lake Dam and return the lake bed to its naturalized state, including streams, plantings, trees, and other amenities, following a public planning process undertaken in concert with the cities of Shaker Heights and Cleveland Heights; and to rebuild the Lower Shaker Lake Dam to meet Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) criteria for a Class I dam; and declaring an emergency. This will be voted on after a second reading at the November 22 Special City Council meeting at 7:30pm.
  • Resolution 152-2021: First Reading. A Resolution authorizing the City Manager to enter into a loan agreement with the Cedar Fairmount Special Improvement District under the City’s Economic Development Loan Fund Program to assist the SID with a temporary budgetary shortfall due primarily to the COVID-19 pandemic and its resulting effects; and declaring an emergency. Passed 7-0

Councilmember Ungar then expressed support for the incoming council and mayor.

Council President Stein then adjourned the meeting.