University Heights City Council meeting highlights 10-3-2018
OCTOBER 3, 2018
- Public comments
- Releasing University Square for development
- Finalizing the CIC
- Fund transfers
- Software Solutions contract
- Change to the city’s CRA
- Tree pruning/removal and planting
- Cleveland Jewish Publication Company contract
Present were Mayor Michael D. Brennan, Pamela Cameron, Phil Ertel, Steven Sims, Michele Weiss and Mark Wiseman. Vice Mayor Sue Pardee was absent. Also present were Law Director Luke McConville, Finance Director James Goffe and Clerk of Council Kelly Thomas. The meeting was held from 7 to 10 p.m. at which time council went to executive session.
Community Internet service: Founders of the Citizens for Heights Municipal Broadband notified council that they are working to establish a community internet service provider that would ensure net neutrality and privacy. It would be revenue neutral, charging only enough to cover the cost of the equipment and maintenance. They presented their proposal to Cleveland Heights and the school board, where the vice president of the board—a resident of University Heights—urged them to include University Heights in their plan. They are currently working to get funding to conduct a feasibility study.
Releasing University Square for development
The council heard on first reading a proposal to release University Square from the city’s lien, which was put in place to ensure the collection of funds for the bondholders. This will enable the bondholders to work with a new developer to redevelop the property at the southeast corner of Cedar and Warrensville. Mayor Brennan will present this proposal on three readings to ensure that the public has the opportunity to be fully informed. The decision must be presented to the prosecutor by November 16.
Finalizing the CIC
At the recommendation of council, the independent University Heights Community Improvement Corporation (CIC) was increased from five to seven members. Although including some council members in addition to community members, the CIC will function independent of council. The plan was approved, authorizing the mayor to file the articles of incorporation with the state. Council will then appoint the members of the CIC who will then meet and adopt a code of regulations and policies.
Mr. Goffe reported that the state recently simplified the process for transferring money from funds no longer in use back to the general fund. In the new process, the city submits a petition to the Ohio Tax Commissioner’s office, explaining where the funds are being moved from and to, and the original source of the funds. Mr. Goffe is authorized to move the small remaining balances from the ODNR Recycling grant fund, the Community Emergency Planning grant fund, the NOPEC grant fund, and the Issue 2 Public Works grant fund to the general fund.
Software Solutions contract
Council accepted the bid from Software Solutions for the VIP Accounting and Payroll Processing Software for $153,400. This program is less expensive and offers better functionality than the other proposed program, and will enable the city to begin processing its own payroll once again, saving $5,000 per month. There is an annual service fee of $20,750, which includes technical support and system updates. ADP, the current software in use, was unable to provide the needed pension reports so the city was having to run a parallel payroll system to generate those reports.
Change to the city’s CRA
Council voted to remove the University Square property from the Community Reinvestment Area (CRA) because the property might require another TIF (Tax Incremental Financing), which is contrary to the tax abatement authorized by the CRA.
Tree pruning/removal and planting
The bid from Parks Tree Inc. was accepted in the amount of $18,903 for the tree pruning and tree removal contract. The bid from Johnson Landscaping of Mentor in the amount of $22,760 was accepted for the city-wide fall tree planting project. Both companies were the lowest best bid and have done work in the city previously.
Cleveland Jewish Publication Company contract
Council authorized the Cleveland Jewish Publication Company to begin producing a glossy magazine every four months for the city of University Heights, similar to the magazines produced for South Euclid and Lyndhurst. The city will provide the content for up to 32 pages, and the publisher will produce and distribute the magazine at the cost of $5,500 per issue plus postage. The city can anticipate receiving $1,000 per issue in advertising revenue. This will be in addition to the city’s current newsletter, which will now be emailed or mailed to homes and apartments instead of being delivered by the garbage crews.
The council went into executive session at 10 p.m. to discuss personnel and real estate matters.
LWV Observer: Wendy S. Deuring.
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