ORDINANCE COMMITTEE MEETING
JUNE 30, 2015
Committee Chair Mr. Hoefle opened the meeting at approximately 6:00 p.m. Members of the Committee in attendance were Mrs. Quinn-Hopkins, Mr. Evers and Mr. Hoefle. Present from Council were Ms. Vaughn, Ms. DePledge, Mr. Licht and Council President D’Ambrosio.
In attendance from the Administration were Mayor Morley, Finance Director Slocum and Fire Chief Whittington.
Also in attendance were members of the public.
CHAPTER 505 “ANIMALS AND FOWL”
Mr. Hoefle: This started several months ago in regards to the City of Cleveland’s tethering ordinance and we have been talking with the Mayor about it. We have a resident here this evening – Kim Hope – who has been instrumental in providing us information. We attended a meeting outside the City on this matter. Mrs. Cendroski was really instrumental in gathering all the information and implementing it in legislation. This was submitted to the Law Director who reviewed it and gave his blessings. Hopefully, everyone has had a chance to review it. Are there any questions?
Mr. D’Ambrosio: I think 505.071 “Cruelty to Companion Animals” actually covers just about any type of animal other than just a dog and cat. I think that is good to include – birds, whatever else anyone may have.
Ms. Vaughn: Has anyone seen a dog tethered and in trouble in Eastlake? I have not and I drive around my Ward. But, just because I have not seen any it does not mean there has not been any.
Mr. Hoefle: I contacted the Lake County Humane Society and was advised that Eastlake does not have an issue right now – they have occasionally received calls but nothing bad. But, it is good to have it on the books so our police have something to stand on. I did receive an email from Chief Reik who could not be in attendance this evening. He said “I have read the ordinance and have no problems with the law. We will do our best to enforce it and it will give us some additional latitude to assist with animal complaints. Our issue traditionally was responding to the area at times when the animal was not in distress as it was when it was reported. I am always available.” Chief Reik is on board with it as well.
Mr. Evers: Some of this is vague. Under 505.071 (3) “Regular exercises sufficient to maintain the animal’s good heath” – who is going to determine that?
Ms. DePledge: I think from my experience with some of the animal cruelty cases what they are probably talking about are things like with horses – you can see that a horse has not been regularly exercised. You can have a dog that is incredibly obese or a cat that can’t walk because it is so over weight. Clearly there is an issue with nutrition and exercise. I think it would have to be something that is visible. When you see an animal that is emaciated and cannot function that is an issue of nutrition and exercise.
Mr. Evers: An animal that is being starved is different.
Ms. Vaughn: There was conversation about the length of chains and if they are on two short of a chain they are stuck by the house. This is geared toward dogs – not cats. I think what is being determined as limited exercise is if there is no leeway in movement.
Mr. Hoefle: I think there was a 20 foot tethering length.
Mr. Evers: What about rabbits and the rabbits are not on a 20 foot chain? What about birds which are considered bound because they are kept in bird cages? I totally support what is going on here I just think we tried to overdo it.
Ms. Vaughn: We based this on Willoughby’s.
Mr. Hoefle: We referred to Cleveland’s ordinance, Willoughby’s ordinance whose Law Director approved this. I think most here realize you would not tether a rabbit.
Ms. DePledge: I don’t think anyone is going to come forward and say their neighbor just got a Golden Retriever puppy and has not walked it for six months if the dog is otherwise healthy.
Mr. Evers: The same argument is we have had no complaints in this City.
Ms. DePledge: Right, there have been no complaints – this is more of a protective type of thing than being enforceable. I agree – it would be very difficult to enforce this – how you are exercising your bird – but, I think it is for that extreme case when it is very clear there has been a lack of exercise. And, there would probably be other issues that would come to light before that which would trigger the penalties in the ordinance.
Ms. Vaughn: What is the punishment?
Ms. DePledge: A misdemeanor of the first degree is 6 months in jail and a $1,000 fine. I actually think the penalties are a little low. A minor misdemeanor on a first offense is a $150 fine and there is no time enforced. A misdemeanor of the fourth degree is up to 30 days in jail and a $250 fine and for the third offense it would be six months in jail. It does say if the animal is sick or injured it is automatically a misdemeanor of the first degree.
Ms. Vaughn: I would like to see something more punitive but we have to be realistic.
There were no further questions or comments.
Mr. Hoefle: Committee, should we move this forward?
The Committee was in agreement – this item is moved forward to the next regular Council meeting.
AGREEMENT: EASTLAKE AND TIMBERLAKE: FIRE PROTECTTION AND EMERGENCY SERVICES
Mr. Hoefle: Mr. Slocum?
Mr. Slocum: We have not reached a full agreement with Timberlake but I wanted to cover what we are looking to do and what position we have. I do believe Timberlake will be favorable to this contract and Lakeline’s contract is drafted much the same way but Lakeline is both police and a separate one for fire. This is a three year contract but will have a perpetual one year addition so that we do not have to renegotiate every three years. We have a mechanism built into the Timberlake contract similar to the way it has been priced in the current contract based on the change in the CPI. We have kept that in this contract and it is also in both Lakeline’s contracts. As we determine the Timberlake base rate to be when we last went into a contract – it is really a continuation and a continuation in the change of the CPI. In my opinion it is fairest to both cities. If the cost goes up the cost of the contract goes up – if it goes down… In actually over the last three years of the contract with Timberlake the CPI has not moved much. I think a lot of that can be traced to keeping the cap on the interest rates which they have indicated they will be taking their foot off the brake going into next year so I do anticipate as the interest rates increase that the change in the CPI will also increase. It becomes perpetual contract and both cities after three years have the ability to opt out of the contract annually and give at least one year’s notice. If they want to get out after the end of the initial term they have to tell us after two years – otherwise they will be into it for a fourth year. Hopefully, this will avoid the silly spectacle we had with Timberlake the last time. I have talked with the Timberlake Mayor. He has had this and he indicated they wanted a copy back for their signature. I have a tendency to believe they are interested in this agreement as it is. I wanted tonight to cover conceptually how we are doing this and hopefully I can bring it to Council-as-a-Whole Committee rather than having another committee meeting. I provided both fire contracts to the Fire Chief and the Police Chief has reviewed the police contract. There are no concerns with the final draft.
Mayor Morley: The Chief and I have talked about the cost and he feels it is reasonable. We just want to try to get ahead because we do not know what may happen in the next couple of months. Also coming up is the towing contract.
Mr. Slocum: In all cases the current contracts expire the end of this year. So, we do need to reach an agreement if we are going to continue providing services.
Mrs. Quinn-Hopkins: When are you expecting this to be ready to come to Council for vote – next week?
Mr. Slocum: I think that is a possibility but it probably will not happen – I know Lakeline’s will not be next week. I told them you are going on Council break. As long as we approve this before the end of the year we will be okay. I am going to try to meet with both now and I am meeting with you and unless there are objections we would be ready to proceed. But, I cannot guarantee they will accept this but I think they are going to. I think this is a very fair agreement for both cities and I think they will realize that.
Ms. Vaughn: There is not a meeting next week – it is the 14th so you have more time.
Mr. Slocum: They sent me some minor typographical corrections and I made those corrections.
Mr. Licht: Chief, is there any concern either internal or from Lakeline or Timberlake with the reduction in safety forces and being able to support the additions? I know it is not really a change because we have been doing it. But, you have had reductions in the safety forces.
Chief Whittington: Perhaps because the number of responses. We average 50 responses to Timberlake a year and about a dozen for Lakeline. The thing would be if we were at Timberlake and something happened in Eastlake – that may be something to address. We would handle it as we normally would – I would either call off duty people to come in or mutual aid - if we had three calls at once and one was in Timberlake we would handle it just like if all the calls were in Eastlake. I think for us it almost feels like it is part of Eastlake as far as the response.
Mr. Slocum: I spoke with both Mayors and no one raised the issue of the cuts. It has all been publicized – we are not hiding anything.
Chief Whittington: They would be exposed to the same issues as our residents – with staffing. They have a choice and can contract with someone else if they choose.
Mr. Evers: Here in our City we submit runs to the insurance companies – can we do the same for Timberlake?
Mr. Slocum: Timberlake and Lakeline residents are treated as Eastlake residents.
Chief Whittington: We keep the billing money – we do not send it back to Timberlake or Lakeline.
Mr. Licht: I know our rescue service has stopped taking calls anywhere but Lake West – does that need to get communicated to Timberlake and Lakeline?
Chief Whittington: That procedure has been in place for a while and is not something that will come up. I think the real concern would be a trauma patient and we would then take them to the appropriate facility. If someone wanted to go to Euclid we would not be able to do that. As far as residential issues that is my biggest issue I have to deal with – someone not being able to get to where they want to go – but, most understand.
Mr. Hoefle: How much do we charge for service?
Chief Whittington: The ordinance says $1,100 for a service. But, we are finding that even though we charge that private insurance companies pay to a certain point and subsidized insurance companies pay less. With Obamacare there has been a significant dip. When we called the companies and they ran the numbers we were hit hard by Obamacare. As it happens there are a lot of residents that have shopped insurance and have let go of the Cadillac plan and the carrier is not paying at the same level as the previous one. We have a billing rate and can charge $10,000 a call but will get $800 or whatever the insurance company approves.
Mr. Hoefle: So we would get $800 from the insurance and the resident in Eastlake, Timberlake or Lakeline would not have to pay but someone from Mentor would be billed for the additional?
Chief Whittington: No, everyone is soft billed.
Mayor Morley: We have had residents in the past with no health care and they are not charged anything.
Chief Whittington: We have had some that we received $20 from – that is how it is.
Mr. Slocum: If you went to hard bill – this contract would prevent us from doing that and so would with Lakeline and Timberlake. That may be something we want to consider adding into this contract – that they can be charged similar to what Eastlake residents are.
Mr. Licht: Not saying they would get charged but if we were to change our ordinance. I think you want to cover all your bases.
Chief Whittington: If our ordinances cover what we charge for ambulance runs and we provide EMS protection to them they would almost fall under that ordinance.
Mr. Slocum: If we say specifically in the contract that we would not bill their residents. That may be something we want to change. Not that we will do it but if we do we would want them covered. If you do not mind I will present that as Council’s suggestion.
Mr. D’Ambrosio: I think you should.
There were no further questions or comments.
RITA NOTIFICATION LETTER
Mayor Morley: This notification letter is being posted on the website – there is still confusion out there. Especially with people who live in Willowick and work in Eastlake – when they see RITA they see money out of their pockets because in Willowick they do not have full credit. This states nothing has changed. All we are doing is having RITA administer our taxes – nothing has changed. 2% is 2%.
Ms. DePledge: Who is this letter going to?
Mayor Morley: The web site, my Gazette article – about RITA being at its satellite office in Mentor on Tuesdays and Thursdays and the phone number.
Ms. DePledge: Can we do a press release?
Mayor Morley: We can to that.
RECOGNITION OF PUBLIC
Kim Hope, 38200 Laura Drive, Eastlake
Ms. Hope: Actually, I was very happy with the Service Department yesterday. I want to thank you for working on this and recognizing we needed to be open to change.Back to top
There was no one else who wished to speak.
The meeting was adjourned at 6:25 p.m.