Westshore Council of Governments (WCOG) Meeting, April 13, 2021
This report is not an official statement of the League of Women Voters. Mayor Cooney's office prepares official minutes.
Present: Mayors Cooney (Fairview Park), Bobst (Rocky River), Clough (Westlake), George (Lakewood), and Koomar (Bay Village). Mayor Kennedy (N. Olmsted) and WCOG Fiscal Officer Renee Mahoney were unable to attend.
The meeting was held at the Gemini Center in Fairview Park, Mayor Cooney presiding. It was called to order at 9:38 a.m.
Fiscal Officer’s Report: Fiscal Officer Mahoney was unable to attend because of training for the new financial reporting system. Retiring Westshore Enforcement Bureau Special Agent in Charge (SAC) Jeff Capretto will continue on a part-time basis through May. Incoming SAC Matt Vanyo will begin on June 1. Fiscal Officer Mahoney will report on any budget adjustments next meeting.
RTA: Mayor Koomar reported that the RTA board of trustees was going forward with the purchase of new vehicles for the Euclid Avenue Health Line. Service redesign effective in June should enhance connectivity and increase access to employment for individuals.
NOACA: Mayor Bobst reported that Bay Village will receive a Transportation for Livable Communities Initiative (TLCI) implementation grant in the amount of $140,500 to reconfigure the intersection of Wolf and Cahoon roads. The total projected cost of the project is $175,451. Rocky River will receive a TLCI implementation grant in the amount of $95,500 for the Beachcliff/Lake Road Pedestrian Crossing Improvement Project. The total projected cost of the project is $118,805.
NOACA has released a draft of its long-range plan, "eNEO2050: An Equitable Future for Northeast Ohio," and is seeking public input. A lot of information is available on NOACA’s website, eneo2050.com.
Land Bank: Mayor George reported that the Cuyahoga County Land Bank announced Round 2 of the Housing Construction Gap Grant Program to build new single-family housing. The Land Bank is also working on a preliminary development concept for expanding single family housing in East Cleveland.
County Planning Commission: Mayor Bobst announced that "Our Communities: The 2021 Data Book" is out. It may be accessed online or a paper copy may be downloaded and printed here: countyplanning.us/resources/data-books/our-communities. It is an invaluable resource for grant applications.
The Lakefront Public Access Plan continues. Conceived by County Executive Armond Budish in 2019, the early work concentrated on public meetings to assess public interest in improving public access to the lakefront. Cuyahoga County has provided a $350,000 grant to advance the next stage of planning: determining how this access can best be achieved in an environment where much of the lakefront is privately owned. The consultant, SmithGroup, will receive $300,000 to design a feasible plan; Cuyahoga County Planning Commission will receive $50,000 as administrator of the grant.
The County Planning Commission, Lakewood, Rocky River, Metroparks, and NOACA have joined to conduct a Community Confluence Study to rationalize access to the Metroparks Rocky River Reservation, especially by pedestrians and cyclists, and to better connect it to surrounding neighborhoods. The study is funded by a TLCI grant from NOACA. The problem is complicated by the topography of the Rocky River valley and awkward intersections with the Detroit, Clifton, and Hillard bridges. The contract has recently been expanded and increased to complete the study.
Diane Bickett has resigned as CEO of the Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District and Beth Biggins-Ramer will take over. She is local, having previously worked for Cuyahoga County for 10 years. She has served as coordinator of the Medina County Solid Waste since 2014. She will be invited to a WCOG meeting in the fall.
Cuyahoga County Mayors and Managers Association: Mayor Bobst reported that the Mayors and Managers Association discussed with elected officials continuing issues regarding place of business for local income tax purposes because of Covid-related temporary work situations. They also discussed SB 9, which requires arbitrary cuts on regulatory standards. Skepticism was expressed whether arbitrary regulatory cuts made sense.
Cuyahoga County Board of Health Commissioner Terry Allan spoke to the Mayors and Managers about accessing Covid statistics online. A wealth of information can be found at coronavirus.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/covid-19/home. Cuyahoga County Covid information can also be found on the Board of Health website: ccbh.net/covid-19-information-and-resources.
Attorney General Yost spoke to the Mayors and Managers about recruiting and training police, including the possibility of licensing police. Currently, police are not licensed in Ohio, but maybe they should be. Firefighters are licensed. AG Yost also discussed working with police academies to create a more uniform curriculum.
The Mayors and Managers anticipate talking with legislators soon about Ohio school funding bill HB1.
Cuyahoga County has taken the lead on making Covid vaccinations available to the public. In general, the mayors have not been involved in tracking or providing vaccinations by or for their employees.
Not much progress has been made to celebrate the 50th anniversary of WCOG. Mayor Bobst will draft a press release.
The mayors anticipate that most summer celebrations will go forward in some form. Events should follow Covid guidelines, but they are, mostly, outdoors. Bay Village will do what it can for Memorial Day, but Bay Days will take place and there will be fireworks. Westlake will have a Memorial Day parade, have summer concerts in the park, and celebrate the Fourth of July. Rocky River will not have a Memorial Day parade but will do some kind of ceremony at the cemetery, and they expect to hold other summer events like concerts. Lakewood will have no July 4 parade but they will have fireworks, and they hope to have other events in July and August. Fairview Park expects most summer events to go forward.
The meeting was adjourned at 10:17 a.m.
The next WCOG meeting will be Wednesday, May 12, at 9:30 a.m. in the Gemini Center. All meetings are open to the public.
historian, legal historian, former tax lawyer, author of Bankruptcy in an Industrial Society: The History of the Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Ohio (Akron University Press, 2014)