March 20, 2017 City Council Meeting

Meeting Highlights

University Tees Economic Grant Approved

Adopted Resolution 8923-17 detailed entering into an economic grant agreement with University Tees, issued in the form of annual rebates not to exceed $100,000. Jeff Frederico, the Director of Finance for University Tees, spoke of the company's mission to Develop People and Change Lives (DPCL), explaining, "the more you invest in a person, it's a win for the person, the company, and the community." Frederico expressed University Tees love of Lakewood and their gratitude for the ability to expand through the grant. Frederico stated the company is growing so rapidly that securing more space is vital for future growth, and this grant will not only provide space but will also encourage new employees to move to the city of Lakewood. The council expressed excitement for the development and requested scheduling a tour of the Screw Factory (13000 Athens Avenue) University Tees facility.

Finance Committee Report:

At the latest Finance Committee meeting, Councilmember Bullock introduced two new ordinances. The first, Ordinance 45-16A, would add three memberships to the list of associations to which the city belongs and pays dues. The organizations include a purchasing co-operative, an HR professional association, and a water infrastructure association, with dues totaling $25, $50, and $1,000, respectively. The Committee recommended adoption upon the legislation's third reading (it was currently on its second reading), and Council deferred it to the following city council meeting.

The second ordinance, Ordinance 16-17, is a Transfer and Advances Ordinance, an "internal accounting mechanism by which the city's funds pay each other back," Councilmember Bullock explained. He clarified that the moving funds supported the Office on Aging, worker's compensation, debt service funds for waste water treatments, and energy efficiency in the building. The legislation was adopted. 

Public Safety Committee Report:

2016 Crime Report

For the most recent Public Safety Committee meeting, Police Chief Timothy Malley reported on law enforcement in Lakewood in 2016. Malley reported that the amount robberies and burglaries was the lowest in Lakewood in over 15 years. However, there was a significant increase in the number of opioid overdoses within city limits. O'Malley reminded the public that both reports are posted on the city's website and encouraged the community to read them.

Medical Marijuana Moratorium

The Public Safety Committee had a healthy discussion regarding Resolution 8916-17, legislation that would extend the medical marijuana moratorium in Lakewood for 6 months. Councilmember O'Malley explained that the city was approached with a potential dispensary operator who was concerned that the moratorium would prohibit him from obtaining a license to operate a dispensary in Lakewood. With the potential dispensary in mind, the committee discussed zoning regulations, fee structures, the impact on public safety, and the impact on the current opioid crisis. Ultimately, the Council’s recommendation was to amend the resolution to be a 3 month moratorium, amending the former 6 month span. The vote passed two to one, with O'Malley's vote dissenting.

O'Malley explained that he voted against the moratorium for two reasons: first, because he does not want to lose a financial opportunity for Lakewood (such as the aforementioned), and second, if bringing medical marijuana to Lakewood is something the council, administration, and people of Lakewood desire, it makes sense to move forward and align with the desires of the community. President O'Leary echoed O'Malley, stating, "if Lakewood decides collectively that it is something that we want and something that our community could facilitate and do well, then we will have done ourselves a disservice by extending the moratorium further." He added his concern for the speculated small number of dispensary operating licenses and desired not to miss an opportunity for a dispensary in the future.

Councilmember Bullock explained that the rationale for extending the medical marijuana moratorium was to provide more time for research into the issues. Councilmember Marx added her commitment to investigating potential issues by the three month deadline to see if a dispensary would benefit Lakewood. She encouraged community members to come out and voice their support or disapproval of medical marijuana in Lakewood. Councilmember Litten explained that the three months would be devoted to researching fees and potential business site issues, questions Mayor Summer posed. He asked the mayor to comment, but he declined.

Vice President Anderson expressed his support of a fixed time, as there is a concrete timeline to report back to the community and the Council and Administration themselves. He remarked that the three month moratorium will be closer to when the Department of Commerce by the State of Ohio will answer questions such as how to register as a licensed dispensary, what the cost of the license is, and how many dispensary licenses will be allowed in Ohio. He empathized with potential business owners struggling to obtain a retail license without any idea of how to register. In the end, the three month medical marijuana moratorium passed 7-2, with O'Leary and O'Malley dissenting.

Community Health Needs Assessment

Councilmember Marx expressed her concern for securing health care for the growing senior population in Lakewood. She expressed the desire to use the Cleveland Clinic Community Health Needs Assessment, visiting with the county health department to best discover a strategic plan for taking care of community health care needs. In addition, she reported that Mayor Summers met with the administration and the County Board of Health to discuss lead paint in older Lakewood homes and how to resolve these issues to make Lakewood a healthier place to live.

City Support for the Affordable Care Act

Councilmember O’Malley provided a resolution affirming strong support for Medicare, Medicaid, and Affordable Care Act. He expressed his disdain for the United States Congress for trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) without a replacement plan for the 14 million affected. O'Malley admitted the ACA is not perfect, but he insisted it aids a significant number of Americans. Resolution 8924-17, a formal resolution opposed attacks to ACA, passed unanimously.

Collective Bargaining Agreement for Dispatchers

Law Director Butler produced Resolution 8925-17, a 3-year collective bargaining agreement for Ohio Labor Council Dispatcher Unit. The Union ratified the agreement, with dispatchers' pay in line with the recently passed firefighter and paramedic benefits (a three percent raise the first year, two percent the two following years, and two years of health insurance). Council adopted the resolution.

Public Works Committe Report

Director Beno proposed AT&T easements on city property in order to place cabinets for their gigapower service program. AT&T would expand the easement in the northeast corner of Madison Park, the northwest corner of the Winterhurst Property parking lot, and at Warren Road between the Board of Education Building and Boston Market. Beno explained that these are the most visually appealing options for what the boxes require. Councilmember Bullock said that there is a streetscape plan for a $50,000 grant from the county, concerned an easement might be in the middle of it. Discussion of entering the agreement with AT&T was referred to the committee for further deliberation.

Severe Weather Awareness Week

Through Resolution 8926-17, Fire Chief Gilman proposed March 19-25 2017 as Severe Weather Awareness Week. He wanted Lakewood to take advantage of the opportunity for a statewide tornado drill in order to test the emergency system. It passed.

Additional Comment

While there was no public comment, Councilmember Anderson, an avid cyclist, shared that starting March 21, 2017, state legislation passed instructing motor vehicles to provide three feet of room for cyclists when passing them on the road. Additionally, President O'Leary expressed excitement in the Downtown Development RFO, with eight expressions of interest for downtown development.

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Volume 13, Issue 7, Posted 5:10 PM, 04.04.2017