University Heights City Council meeting highlights 10-15-2018

OCTOBER 15, 2018


  • Public comments
  • New city logo
  • Fund transfers
  • Releasing University Square for development
  • City hall chair lift
  • Executive session for real estate matters
  • Director reports


Present were Mayor Michael D. Brennan, Vice Mayor Susan Pardee, Phil Ertel, John Rach, Steven Sims, Michele Weiss and Mark Wiseman. Also present were Law Director Luke McConville, Finance Director James Goffe, and Clerk of Council Kelly Thomas. The meeting was held from 7 to 8:45 p.m. at which time council went to executive session.

Public comments

A man who introduced himself as “Nobody” presented a statement to council that suffrage (the right to vote) should be granted to all people aged five or above, and that all students from the age of accountability are capable of voting intelligently.

New city logo

Guide Studio has been working with members of the administration, council, and the community to develop a new brand and logo for the city of University Heights. A brand is what people think of when they hear a name; it is more than just a logo. After many listening sessions, discussions, and surveys, Guide Studio developed a design which is an artistic capital U with an H bisecting it, mimicking the shape of the intersection of streets bordered by Tyndall, Fenwick, Saybrook and Meadowbrook. The sections are colored in vibrant jewel tones reminiscent of stained glass. The appearance is modern yet conservative. In anticipation of tonight’s affirmative vote by council accepting this new design, the mayor had keychains made with the new logo and put them in envelopes in each of the council member’s desk drawers, and beneath each audience member’s seat. The current door knocker logo has reportedly been in use for at least forty years.

Fund transfers

Mr. Goffe reported again 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 a petition is submitted 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 now authorized, after this second reading, 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

Releasing University Square for development

The council heard on second 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 county prosecutor by November 16. The new plans are not yet finalized but are closer than they have been for many years.

City hall chair lift

The administration has looked at the possibility of adding an elevator to city hall, but it has been cost-prohibitive and architecturally challenging. However, there was a recent failure of the current chair lift, which was installed thirty years ago, making replacement essential. Mr. Ciuni had sought an informal bid six months ago and was given a price of $62,000, but that bid has now expired. Council approved a request for bids for the project. A new lift will probably be very similar to the current lift in style and function.

Director reports

Finance Director Goffe reported that he is seeking health insurance pool options that the city could join, which offer a way to ensure privacy under HIPAA laws for such a small number of employees.

Attorney McConville praised members of the Board of Zoning Appeals who were able to mediate a highly contentious dispute between two neighbors, enabling them to come to a seven-point agreement and to pledge to work with one another going forward.

Fire Chief Perko reported that the ladder truck committee met in Columbus to work out the requirements for a new ladder truck, given the dimensions of the fire station and the needs of the city, and that good progress was made.

Mike Cook, head of Communications and Civic Engagement, announced that the Trash Tribune will now be mailed to senior citizens; emailed to others, including residents of apartments; and delivered to local businesses. He also said the citizen committees are starting up once again.

Susan Drucker, economic development director, reported that the new logo will be included with any new city signage, and that the streetscape project for the Cedar-Taylor intersection is moving forward.

The council went into executive session at 8:45 p.m. to discuss real estate matters.

LWV Observer: Wendy S Deuring.

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These reports contain member observation and selected highlights of public meetings and are not official statements of the Heights Chapter of the League of Women Voters of Greater Cleveland. This disclaimer must accompany any redistribution of these reports.

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