Cleveland Heights City Council regular meeting highlights 3-2-2020
MARCH 2, 2020
- Public comments
- Council actions
- Council Member Yasinow resigns
- School levy proposal on the March ballot
- Arlington House
- City manager’s report
Present were Mayor Jason Stein, Vice Mayor Kahlil Seren, Mary Dunbar, Melody Joy Hart, Davida Russell, Michael Ungar and Melissa Yasinow. Also present were City Manager Tanisha Briley, Clerk of Council Susanna O’Neil, and Law Director William Hanna. The meeting was 36 minutes long.
Resident James Williams spoke about basic hygiene techniques in response to COVID-19 virus, and sang a short song.
Resident Susan Miller asked in detail about several empty properties near her home in terms of questionable ownership and foreclosure bonds. She also requested updates on development of the B&B Medusa property now that Rodger Bliss has withdrawn from the project, and of the Cedar-Lee-Meadowbrook property. Mayor Stein responded that her emailed queries have been received and will be answered. He also noted that many of these items will be on next week’s committee of the whole agenda.
Don King, a resident of the Buckingham Condominiums, asked that council members visit his home to view the esthetics of Top of the Hill from residents’ perspective on a Sunday afternoon. The mayor accepted and assured him that staff will be in touch prior to final actions as well.
Resident Tony Cuda maintained that many city staff behaved badly during last year’s initiative petition drive and that they need a review and reminder of the rules about petitioning, such as where signature gatherers may and may not stand.
On first reading, council approved Resolution 16-2020, authorizing an agreement to develop the Hillcrest-Heights Fire Investigation Unit for fire origin and cause investigation services.
Council also passed, on first reading, Ordinance 17-2020, establishing salary schedules, position classifications, and benefits for officers and employees of Cleveland Heights.
Council approved a consent agenda, which included recognition of March as Red Cross Month and National Women’s History Month.
Council Member Yasinow resigns
At the beginning of the meeting, Council Member Yasinow resigned effective this evening. She spoke of the honor of serving on council for six years and working on many important items, especially the Top of the Hill. Mr. Ungar expressed sadness and loss at Ms. Yasinow’s departure, paying tribute to her leadership, intellect, and wit. Ms. Dunbar said she was surprised and stunned and would have tried to discourage her from resigning. Ms. Russell and Ms. Hart wished her well in the future. Council approved a motion to accept her resignation and thanked her for her service.
At the end of the meeting, Ms. Yasinow thanked the residents again and reminded them to secure their belongings and lock their cars.
School levy proposal on the March ballot
Mr. Ungar issued his strong support of public schools and Issue 26. The State of Ohio put the school district in a terrible position. He stated that taxes are high, but that the city cannot thrive if schools cut teachers, busses, arts, and sports. They are all our kids and our schools, he concluded.
Ms. Hart asked Susanna Niermann O’Neil to give “the good news” about the problem house on Arlington. Ms. O’Neil reported that a committee comprising the directors of housing, planning, and building and their support staff met with the new property owner and contractor to set priorities. Many things are being resolved. They will meet regularly.
City manager’s report
Highlights from the city manager’s report included announcements that a new K-9 Instagram account has been created for following the city’s police dogs, and that marketing of the city-wide CRA (Community Reinvestment Area) has yielded seven applications to date.
Next meeting will be Monday, March 16, 7:30 p.m.
LWV Observer: Blanche Valancy.
This report is written from the video of the meeting. Observer was unable to attend.