Westshore Council of Governments (WCOG) meeting, July 11, 2018

This report is not an official statement of the League of Women Voters.

Present: Mayors Kennedy (North Olmsted), Clough (Westlake), Koomar (Bay Village), Bobst (Rocky River), Patton (Fairview Park) and Summers (Lakewood)

Fiscal Officer’s Report: WCOG doesn’t require audit for one year, so will save money this year.

Commission Reports:

RTA: Mayor Clough is president of the board of the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority for one-year term, agency needs to work on transition, search for replacement for Director Calabrese. Agency needs to tighten internal control. It needs a new source of revenue; sales tax accounting for $20 million won’t be available in 2019. For time being, cutting back on positions, planning no additional capital projects, trying to determine what type of tax appropriate to replace revenue. Sales tax is best, but how much needed? Most capital funding comes from federal government; more needed to replace old rail cars. More could come from NOACA; need to have policy conversation around this.  

RTA board needs to identify needs first, then decide how much money needed. They are already in better shape than many other transit systems around the country. There is a shortage of top management skills in the organization, however. Transit has a direct tie-in with economic development, jobs. People need to get to suburban sites as well as those within city. Fairview lost a business considering locating there because there was no transit to site. Use of driverless shuttle might help.

NOACA: A Hyperloop (high-speed train) Progress Report is due soon from the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency.

County Planning Commission: Working with all communities on their individual master plans, will connect to regional master plan. Planning involves Cleveland Metroparks, Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District, other agencies. Plans will include bike paths.

Solid waste is a problem for all communities; they need to work with county. There is much confusion about recycling; need better education to be widely available, in different forms such as visuals on containers. Markets for recycled materials are changing, communities have to readjust. Good statistics in the Solid Waste District's annual report.

Old Business: Update on Jail Services – County is taking over prisoners from Cleveland at $99/day. WCOG wants to manage them on a regional basis, with possibly a central, secure place to hold them for transport back to Cleveland, so police won’t have to leave own communities. Not yet established who will be responsible for their health care, counseling, etc.

New Business: Airbnb is raising problems for some communities, due to increased parking and partying in residential neighborhoods. Rocky River has passed legislation to regulate, requiring rental licenses and inspections, enforceable by police. Mayor Bobst shared it with the group. North Olmsted proposes to pass something similar. Airbnb willing to work with cities to avoid cutting into major tourist areas.

Summers, taking over leadership of WCOG in January, mentioned issues to bring up in future: universal design guidelines; transportation, especially with respect to “aging in place”; changing needs for senior facilities; volunteer opportunities for seniors; recycling awareness. Summers would like to bring in people working on these issues to present their ideas. Next year, meetings will be held in Lakewood Park Women’s Pavilion.

LWV observer Judith Weiss

LWVGC-Rocky River Chapter Chair. Retired librarian, writer, volunteer. Rocky River resident for 9 years.

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Volume 10, Issue 15, Posted 9:52 AM, 08.07.2018