Cleveland Heights City Council meeting highlights 5-2-22

MAY 2, 2022


  • Public comments
  • Mayor’s report
  • Clerk of council report
  • Actions passed on first reading
  • Passed on second readings 
  • Purchases approved on second reading
  • Taylor Tudor Plaza
  • Declarations
  • Committee reports and member comments
  • Council president’s report
  • Susanna Niermann O’Neil


Present were Mayor Kahlil Seren, Council President Melody Joy Hart, Council Vice President Craig Cobb, and Council Members Tony Cuda, Gail Larson, Anthony Mattox, Jr., Josie Moore, and Davida Russell. Also present were Susanna Niermann O’Neil (performing clerk duties in Ms. Himmelein’s absence) and Law Director William Hanna. The meeting ran about one hour and five minutes.

Public comments

There were no comments on agenda items, but several comments on other topics, which were presented at the end of the meeting.

A resident of the Cleveland Metropolitan Housing Authority building at Severance Circle complained about a judgment in Cleveland Heights Municipal Court.

Fran Mentch urged the public to vote yes on Issue 9 on [the May 3] ballot.

Penny Allen, an officer of Friends of Horseshoe Lake, announced that they will be presenting an alternate plan from their engineers and experts for the future design of Horseshoe Lake. Another resident noted the amendment to the Horseshoe Lake ordinance that encourages openness to alternative plans, thus obligating council to consider such proposals. Another resident stated that there is a pattern throughout the region of NEORSD not showing regard for public facilities and parks. A fourth person opined that the alternate plan would actually save money.

Mayor’s report

Mayor Seren announced three bid acceptances for streets projects, including:

  • Street Resurfacing and ADA Curb Ramp Replacement with Chagrin Valley Paving of Chagrin Falls, $840,163.10
  • Pavement Striping with J.D. Striping and Services of Ravenna, $790,431.63
  • Hot-in-Place Asphalt Recycling with Angelo Benedetti of Bedford, $298,442.90

Mr. Seren thanked Susanna Niermann O’Neil for performing the duties of clerk of council on this last evening before her retirement.

Clerk of council report

Ms. Niermann O’Neil informed council of two notices from the Ohio Department of Liquor Control regarding applications from:

  • Mongolian Barbeque, 1854 Coventry Road, 44106
  • Kulture Restaurant and Lounge, 3962 Mayfield Road, 44121

Actions passed on first reading

On first reading, council passed items that:

  • Revised revising budget appropriations and other expenditures. This involves items transferred from one line to another or covered by grants and does not increase expenditures.
  • Authorized a contract with Janus Small Associates for council retreat facilitation services, in the amount of $2,700. Mr. Mattox voted no without an explanation.
  • Authorized an agreement with Energy Management Specialists, Inc. for professional services for HVAC systems maintenance. This is a three‐year contract at $48,500 per year ($145,500 total). 
  • Appointed Josie Moore to the Doan Brook Watershed Partnership board.
  • Recognized the 46 years of service of City Manager Susanna Niermann O’Neil and named the city hall atrium in her honor. A ceremony and reception took place after the meeting.

Passed on second readings 

Council authorized participation in the NOPEC Green Community Choice Program for the residents, businesses, and other electric consumers in the city for the city’s electric aggregation program starting January 2023. 

Council authorized agreements with Wade Trim, Inc. for professional engineering services for the Sanitary Sewer Overflow Control Project. Each is for different areas of the project; one is not to exceed $294,118 and the second not to exceed $738,000.

Purchases approved on second reading

Council authorized the purchase of a full-sized pickup truck from Valley Ford truck for the Utilities Division of the Public Works Department for $72,980, a dump truck from Valley Ford Truck for the Forestry Division of the Public Works Department for $70,770, and a Freightliner 114SD Tandem Axel Cab and Chassis for the Public Works Street Maintenance Division from Valley Freightliner for $106,791. 

Taylor Tudor Plaza

Also on second reading, council authorized the mayor to negotiate a memorandum of understanding with WXZ Development, Inc. for the redevelopment of Taylor-Tudor Plaza. WXZ was chosen from four proposals because it was considered to be the most qualified respondent with the most comprehensive vision for the area.


Council declared May 2022 as National Preservation Month and as Mary Dunbar Bike Month. The latter will be an annual event in Ms. Dunbar’s honor.

Committee reports and member comments

Community Relations and Recreation: Ms. Russell discussed the committee meeting held at 10 a.m. today in order to allow senior citizen participation. She announced a VERGE summer youth employment program for about 200 young people, 18 to 24 years old, in partnership with local businesses. The positions will pay $15 per hour. Ms. Russell praised Susanna Niermann O’Neil as an inspiring community activist, always ready to share her knowledge.

Housing and Building: Mr. Cuda mentioned a meeting earlier this evening to discuss foreclosed and tax delinquent properties on which $18 million is owed. He urged voters to vote in the primary election and praised Susanna Niermann O’Neil.

Municipal Services: Ms. Moore reported that, at its April 25 meeting, the committee discussed increasing sidewalk shoveling and tree canopy. There will be a Tiger 5K and Fun Run May 19. Every Sunday at 10 a.m. there is an invasive species cleanup at Lower Shaker Lake. She praised Ms. Niermann O’Neil as kind, compassionate, and generous.

Planning and Development: Mr. Mattox said the committee discussed the Taylor-Tudor project last week. He urged residents to engage by submitting ideas for the renovation project. He spoke about Ms. Niermann O’Neil, crediting her with where he is today because of the way she welcomed him as a student intern. He said he can never repay her for her contribution to his life.

Public Safety and Health: Ms. Larson has discussed the lead certification project with Law Director Hanna. This will be the topic of the June 21 committee meeting.

Ms. Hart had no report for Finance and Mr. Cobb no report for Administrative Services.

Council president’s report

Ms. Hart encouraged voting tomorrow, reported on the Arbor Day tree planting last Saturday, welcomed Joe Sinott to the city administration, and wished Ms. Russell a happy birthday. She announced that council will discuss council rules at their next retreat. She praised Ms. Niermann O’Neil, stating it is fitting that the atrium be named for her as her sprit permeates city hall. 

Susanna Niermann O’Neil

Ms. Niermann O’Neil spoke at the end of the meeting, thanking council for naming the atrium in her honor, adding she was astounded and grateful. She said our town was founded on opinions, with an emphasis on social justice and civil rights, that commitment is our heart and essence, and we have to keep caring. She concluded that nowhere else measures up. She said the 45 years went fast and thanked city law directors for helping her get things right.

LWV Observer: Blanche Valancy.

Meeting packets, legislation, and other information can be found on the city website at: 

Videos of council meetings can be viewed on the “City of Cleveland Heights, OH” YouTube channel:

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Volume 15, Issue 6, Posted 8:52 AM, 05.16.2022