Westshore Council of Governments (WCOG) meeting, March 11, 2015

This report is not an official statement of the League of Women Voters. Mayor Sutherland’s office prepares official minutes, which are posted on Bay Village’s website.

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

Also present: Fiscal Officer Renee Mahoney; District 1 County Councilman Dave Greenspan; Donovan O'Neil (Ohio Auditor's Office); Mayor Greg Zilka (Avon Lake); Service Directors Scott Thomas (Bay Village) and Paul Quinn (Westlake); Fire Chiefs Chris Lyons (Bay Village), Jim Hughes (Westlake), Chris Huerner (Avon Lake), Tony Raffin (Fairview Park), and John Reese (North Ridgeville); Westshore Enforcement Bureau officials Jeff Capretto (Narcotics), Patrick Fiorelli (SWAT), and Gordie Polando (Hazmat); and Westshore Central Dispatch Center acting supervisor Ronald Barlowe.

Duration: 9:30 a.m.-11:15 a.m.; Mayor Patton excused herself at 10:40, before the WEB presentation.

RTA: Public Square bus stops are being relocated. Service interruptions due to ice have been a problem. The Board is wrapping up CEO Joseph Calabrese's periodic evaluation.

NOACA: External Affairs is doing legislative outreach. A lobbyist is working to obtain ODOT funds. ODOT recently shifted $1.7 million from other Metropolitan Planning Organizations' unfinished projects to reward NOACA for proven efficiency and efficacy. Mayor Summers noted that it is a challenge not only to put projects together, but also to complete them.

Land Bank: The demolition fund has $41 million available, with only $10 million in project applications. The Land Bank is eager to fund projects in the WCOG cities, which are net donor communities. Mayor Clough sought suggestions for helping the proprietor of Dover Gardens Tavern, whose historic building was rammed by a stolen truck, depriving him of his livelihood. Mayor Patton noted that Jim Rokakis' Thriving Communities Institute buys underutilized property and turns it into parkland.

County Planning Commission: On the organizational meeting's agenda are contracts for a Circle Heights Economic Development District and a Cuyahoga County Housing Study, as well as a Solid Waste District report.

Cuyahoga County Mayors & City Managers Association: Mayor Sutherland encouraged attendance at the upcoming reception with legislators in Columbus. Mayor Kennedy suggested WCOG mayors meet with Governor Kasich again this year.

WESHARE: Chief Lyons distributed a report on the WestShore Area Rescue Association benefits and history. North Olmsted, Lakewood and Fairview Park have left the Association after 40 years. Mayor Bobst requested that a discussion of their reasons for leaving be put on next month's agenda; addressing their concerns will help strengthen the organization for the cities that remain.

ShareOhio: Donovan O'Neil of the Ohio Auditor's Office presented an overview of this web-based program, a one-stop shop to inventory, locate, share, track and analyze utilization of equipment. The program is free, flexible and voluntary. It can be used proactively to share rarely used equipment, as well as for mutual aid during an emergency. At present, there are no Cuyahoga County participants.

Three issues must be overcome. The Attorney General has ruled that governments cannot indemnify each other for an unspecified amount when passing risk from the lender to the borrower. The Auditor's Office supports HB5, which would exempt ShareOhio from this requirement. Second, models for charging borrowers are still under development. This is particularly important because a trained operator often goes with the equipment. Finally, the mayors noted the need for a fill-in-the-blank memorandum of understanding whereby Councils could give blanket pre-authorization, making equipment transfers more timely.

Westshore Enforcement Bureau (WEB): SAIC Jeff Capretto presented WEB's annual report. Despite concerted efforts, the heroin epidemic continues. Agent Capretto noted, "We can't arrest our way out of it." Prevention and education are key, as is targeting the 18-to-30-year-old audience.

CSU researchers are partnering with Westshore Young Leaders Network on an Adult Community Perception Survey, available at surveymonkey.com/s/WYLN-CPS. Adults may register to win a $250 gift card. In addition, CWRU is conducting a Youth Risk Behavior Survey that will aggregate data from 75 students in each school district and draw comparisons with national statistics as input to prevention education.

Mayor Summers noted that education on medical marijuana is needed. Agent Capretto characterized today's marijuana as a true hallucinogen, a gateway drug and an impetus to assaults.

Unit Commander Pat Fiorelli discussed trends for the SWAT unit. The team's "look" is being demilitarized to emphasize that they are police. Alert training is being conducted in schools. Robots are invaluable and frequently used to assess threats from abandoned packages. Mayor Summers noted that the Republican National Convention (RNC) is expected to make extraordinary demands on local police forces, although no formal requests have been received.

Hazmat Team Leader Gordie Polando stated that plans for the RNC are being formulated. Extra training for WMDs is underway, along with assessment of needed equipment. Lead agencies are being identified.

Westcom: Westshore Central Dispatch acting supervisor Ronald Barlow presented 2014 statistics. Fire and EMS runs were up in all five cities and 6.3% overall, with a total of 14,058 runs in 2014. Bay Village saw an increase of 11.2%, Fairview Park 5.6%, Rocky River 8.6%, North Ridgeville 4.2%, and Westlake 4.9%.

Mr. Greenspan:Due to underutilization, the $100 college scholarships are being repealed and replaced with a matching program. Mr. Greenspan will hold a town hall meeting on March 19 at 7 p.m. in Fairview Park City Hall with guest County Executive Armond Budish.

The next WCOG meeting will be Wednesday, April 8, at 9:30 a.m. in Bay Village City Hall. All meetings are open to the public.

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Volume 7, Issue 6, Posted 9:43 AM, 03.17.2015