Finance Committee Minutes from August 30, 2016

FINANCE COMMITTEE MEETING

AUGUST 30, 2016

 

Committee Member Mr. Evers opened the meeting at approximately ­­­6:30 p.m. Members of the Committee in attendance were Mr. Evers, Mr. Hoefle and Mr. Zuren. Present from Council were Mr. Meyers, Mr. Kasunick, Mr. Spotton and Council President Ms. DePledge.

 

In attendance from the Administration were Mayor Morley, Fire Chief Whittington, Police Chief Reik, CBO Menn, Service Director Rubertino and Finance Director Schindel and Law Director Klammer.

 

Also in attendance were members of the public.  

 

Mr. Evers: Before we go ahead with the meeting I am going to turn it over to our Finance Director Mrs. Schindel. It’s important to understand that we received a report this week from Moody’s.  It is important to understand its function.  Mrs. Schindel?

 

Mrs. Schindel: We just received this last night and I apologize for sharing it sooner. Moody’s has affirmed that we are still a B-AA2 rating.  There are very few cities with low of a rating in Ohio.  The one thing that they did state was that we were revised to stable from the negative outlook.  They state that they were willing to do that because of our willingness to reduce expenditures to forestall grater loss of liquidity.  What would cause us to be downgraded again is any further narrowing of the cities liquidity position.  They expect that the cities financial position, although it will still be a narrow margin for liquidity, that management will continue to take the steps necessary to prevent further deterioration.  So that is the front cover of what I got last night.  What that means for us is that because there are so few cities out there with this kind of a rating.  Should we need to borrow the confidence level is not there as it would be for somebody else.  But it also means that we are going to pay a higher interest rate, because we are a higher risk.  That is really what this does for us.  Again I apologize it came in late last night.

 

Mr. Evers: Thank you Mrs. Schindel. We also got the report from the State Auditor.  That report was very favorable in the cities position.  That money is being accounted for and being spent where they should be spent.  Mayor Morley?

 

Mayor Morley: We just got the report yesterday and I started looking over it with Mrs. Schindel today. We got that late yesterday and it does show that it is favorable.  We have been doing everything and the audit is clean for the last couple of years that they went through.  We are ready to move on from there.

 

PROPOSED:

To discuss reciprocity.

Mr. Evers: I am going to go ahead and open up the meeting. I want to caution everybody at this table to please raise your hand and be recognized before you speak.  I have had a request from our Council Clerk that some of the meetings are where two or three people are talking together and she has a very hard time deciphering that.  So if we could keep that in mind.  As of the last Finance Committee Meeting all members of Council agreed to move reciprocity forward.  Now there have been some changes so I would like to go around the table and find out what those changes are.  Have them discussed openly, respectfully and let’s see where we are at.  Mr. Zuren?

 

Mr. Zuren: I want to address my concerns with reciprocity. I understand the cities position that we need revenue.  We have lost…or budget has decreased 40% over the last six to eight years.  I know that there has been a loss of service personnel, police and fire.  I know that equipment is outdated and it needs repaired.  I know that there have been very few new vehicles purchased for the Police and Fire Departments.  There is a great need and there has been neglect in the city in supporting the services.  I fully understand that but reciprocity is a tax on 8,600 people in the city.  For people who live in the city and work outside of the city and if we consider reciprocity of $2.5 or $1.25 Million, on just those 8,600 people the maximum is $300.00 per year.  It is basically doubling the tax that they pay currently to the city on their property taxes.  This is a significant tax increase on the people who would pay it.  I think there are some major mistakes that we could make with reciprocity.  I think that we have to be four sided and we have to realize that if we pass this we are setting the city up for disaster and this is what I believe.  I believe that we do not have the support of the people on reciprocity.  I believe that there is a small percentage, but I am sure that there are 8,600 people that are not going to like reciprocity.  They are not going to like that they are paying a total bill.  They are probably paying about double the tax that they are paying now to the city.  I believe that it would be over turned.  We could try and package it up in a nice bow.  We could get our legal council to call it some fancy name, or we could make it an administrative emergency.  We can try and protect it so that it cannot be over turned.  But the fact of the matter is people are bright and they are going to go for an initiative, where they can create new legislation to put it over the reciprocity and we won’t be able to collect it. They will have taken that away.  I believe the research I did that it is about 550 signatures to put on the ballot.  That is a real concern that if we pass this and it is eliminated in March or May.  We have alienated 8,600 people that are probably upset.  Far more than that, that are no longer going to support us, then the money is gone.  A Charter Amendment is another possibility.  If the people are so upset by what we do they could just strip us of our power, then we won’t be able to help the city in the future.  I think that these are some major concerns.  The biggest concern of them all is the union contracts that are coming up.  We’re considering passing a massive tax increase on the people who voted us into office to represent them.  When we go into the contracts we’re going to say that we just passed $2.5 Million tax increase.  If those attorney’s are savvy for the unions they are going to take up a large portion of that, or at least a portion of it.  Then if it rescinded in March or May we have just dug a giant hole for the city and we are going to have to cut police and fire.  This is a huge concern.  I think that we have to do a 180 and I think that we have to look in a new direction.  The new direction is going to be alternative revenue sources for the city.  We really have to think outside of the box.  I know it’s been six to eight years for the police, fire and service.  You have been cut, cut, cut and your stuff hasn’t been fixed.  You have old vehicles, water leaking in your roof, and your telecommunications equipment has a tarp over it to protect it.  I understand all of these things and they have got to be addressed.  For once we have to stand together and we have to do something right.  I believe we need to generate alternative revenue’s and Mr. Spotton, Mr. Meyers and myself have come up with three ideas that we could implemented quickly to help the city go in the right direction.

 

Law Director Klammer has now joined the meeting.

 

Mr. Zuren: The first one came up at the Economic Development Meeting, which was last Tuesday. We invited realtors, brokers, builders, rehabber’s.  It was well attended.  One of the attendee’s is someone who owns twenty homes in the city.  They stood up and said that they would like a rental property inspection, exterior only in the city for landlords.  They said that they take care of their properties and there are a lot of slum lords out there that are bringing the properties down.  They are buying the properties and they live in a different state.  They put somebody in the house right away and they don’t fix them.  A rental property inspection would address that issue and bring up the values of the neighborhoods.  It would get rid of properties that have severe issues.  It would help the city, it would take a couple of years, but it would be a big boost to the city.  We are so fortunate that Mr. Menn actually started and ran a program in Cleveland Heights, which is exactly what we are talking about rental property inspections.  He is an expert on it and I am asking him to speak once I am done regarding this program.  I am estimating it would generate about $200,000.00 per year after expenses an inspector and a secretary to run the program.  Mr. Menn has all of the details on it and I briefly talked to him.  I think that this is one avenue that we need to go in.  The second thing is photographic traffic enforcement freeway only.  This is being used in Newburgh Heights and in Linndale.  There is recent legislation on this issue and it does require a traffic study.  It also requires that a full-time police officer to operate it.  That is actually a good thing.  If we hire one more full-time police officer right off the bat and it is paid for immediately out of this program.  If there is an emergency in the city we could pull them off of the freeway and send them to the emergency.  It is an immediate positive thing for the city.  Mr. Spotton went down to Newburgh Heights and spoke to officer in charge of the program.  He is going to give a little presentation on what he found out and what it could generate for the city.  From our conversation this is $1 Million a year annually to the city.  That is after expenses. This is a huge impact and it is based on only taking on the freeway.  It is based on fifteen miles over the speed limit, which is a safety issue.  If you are doing fifteen mile over the speed limit…when Eastlake residents are getting off and they are zooming by it is a safety issue.  This is another avenue that we really have to research.  I am officially requesting a legal opinion on Eastlake’s options, legal risks and how to set up a process to protect violaters’ rights from our legal advisor Mr. Klammer.  The third option is a Mayor’s Court.  I have a lot of statistics on Mayor’s Courts.  There are six of them in Lake County and there are seventeen in Cuyahoga County.  The Mayor’s Courts in Lake County include: Fairport Harbor, Grand River, Madison, Perry and Willoughby Hills.  You might ask yourself “why are there twenty-three Mayor’s Courts in Lake and Cuyahoga County.  They make a ton of money.  These cities don’t farm out their legal issues to other cities, where the other city takes half of the money.  They keep all of the money inside.  We shouldn’t be giving away what the city need to run.  That’s what’s been happening.  I found statistics from the News-Herald on this and the closets city who has it, which is Willoughby Hills.  In 2014 the cost reported in the newspaper for Willoughby Hills was $158,000.00 to run the Mayor’s Court.  For the magistrate and for whomever else they have in there.  The revenue, which is right here for everyone to read is $1, 244,945.00 and it is a profit $1.1 Million.  That is revenue for the city of $1.1 Million. Do you know how many police, fire and service…and vehicles that we could purchase every single year?  This money isn’t…this isn’t reciprocity where we are going to lose it possibly in March or May.  This money is permanent.  We have a Mayor’s Court and it is permanent it goes hand in hand with the photographic traffic enforcement and with rental property.  If there are ordinance violations or tickets they are all coming through our court in Eastlake.  We could keep the revenue in our court in our city to help pay for expenses.  Mr. Meyers is going to over the Mayor’s Court in more detail.  I believe that we really need to take a hard look at these three ideas.  This is over $2 Million a year that we could bring into the city.  This is revenue generate…this isn’t taxing the people who don’t have a vote on it.  This is actually going out and finding a solution.  Mr. Meyers, Mr. Spotton and I had one week to prepare for this and we found three really good ideas.  If we had more time we would have had more ideas.  We need to start running with some of these ideas.  The start up costs is a question so I have the answer for it.  The startup cost for the rental inspection is probably $150,000.00. The startup cost for photographic traffic enforcement is virtually free; there is no cost to it.  The startup cost for the Mayor’s Court is probably $200,000.00.  This equates to $350,000.00 that we need to find to start these three programs.  I went through the budget and believe me I looked.  There is no money in this budget and there is no money to cut.  This budget has been cut every year for the last six to eight years.  I can’t find $350,000.00 in there.  Even though we got the bad news about Moody’s I am asking the finance Director Schindel to obtain terms and conditions for $350,000.00 loan for the city.  So that we have the information on what the cost will be if we start these programs.  I would like to finish by showing a few things.  So that everybody can see this…does everybody know what this building is?  It’s the Police Station it’s the DePledge Safety Center.  This is an iconic building in our city.  Everyone respects this building and they are behind this building.  I have not heard a complaint about this building.  Can anyone tell me what this is? It’s the stadium and it’s the most divisive thing that we face in the city.  Whenever Councilmen or anybody who works for the city needs something, or wants help, or won’t pass a levy.  The first thing that people say is no the stadium and I don’t trust you guys and fifteen years ago you ran this through.  We don’t trust you, we don’t believe in you and we don’t support you.  That is what we hear all the time and it is because of the stadium.  I’m telling you that reciprocity is this.  This is what reciprocity is we are going to lose the trust of the citizens and they are not going to support us.  We do this and fifteen years from now when we are all gone and there is a new Mayor and new Council they are going to have to deal with this.  They are going to say that you built two stadiums in the city.  You built a stadium then fifteen years later you shoved this tax down our throat and we didn’t want it.  You had alternatives and you went with this.  I am asking and begging the Council to consider some income ideas from different sources.  I know we’re in a box and we’ve been beat on.  I know that you need money and you need to hire staff.  If we take the right approach we build a bridge.  The bridge could simply be the Mayor’s Court, the traffic, the rental program, a levy and a levy for police or fire.  We have a path to a future where we could build something and it is a foundation.  This isn’t going to go away.  Reciprocity is going to go away and that is what I think.  I support that we follow a path to a future where we could build something.  So that when we hire police and fire they won’t get laid off.  When the budget comes at the end of the year you could say to yourself I can sleep at night, because I’m not worried that they are going to cut it.  I know that money is there and it’s been there for year after year.  That program is permanent.  I am asking you to please consider this.  Thank you.

 

Mr. Evers: Mr. Spotton?

 

Mr. Spotton: I would just like to reiterate my opinion is a stance that I think that stuffing this through is basically the same actions as the stadium. It is just doubling down on the same behavior and that is a hurdle that we have to deal with in the city right now and it is going to be even worse.  Mr. Meyers and I went down to Newburgh Heights and it is the closest department that deals with laydar photo traffic enforcement.  Laser guns in laymen’s terms it is basically a laser with a camera on the side of it.  I talked to the Police Chief along with the officer who runs it.  You can set it up to any speed that you want.  Theirs is set up to 75 mph in a 60 mph zone.  They can click the laser gun as much as they want and it will only take the picture and record at their thresh hold.  It goes to a tablet and the officer then has a discursion to accept or cancel it.  At that point it then gets taken into the department and they use a wireless link to approve it again.  They send it off Gasgo and they do the whole thing.  There is no start up cost.  They have one unit and they are anywhere from 30 to 300 tickets a day on Route 77 with a guys spending about three to four a day on it.  Their average tickets range from as low as $150.00 to $300.00.  You can do the math on how much money that could bring in.  That is all that I have on that.

 

Mr. Evers: Mr. Meyers?

 

Mr. Meyers: I would like to follow up on a couple of things with the traffic cameras. First of all since Newburgh Heights has implemented them they have taken the approach as safety issue to reduce speeding on Route 77.  The average number of citations that they are right now is down about a third since they have implemented the program.  Like Mr. Spotton has said they are out there for a few hours a day.  Like he said the citation is from $150.00 and up.  It is based on how fast the people are going.  These are civil fines they are not criminal offenses and there are not traffic offenses and no points are involved.  Basically they just mail them a ticket then they pay the fine.  Regarding the Mayor’s Court again Willoughby Hills is at $1.2 Million last and they are expecting to pull in $1 Million this year.  Obviously we don’t have ticket going that Willoughby Hills does.  However, we are sending our money to Willoughby, when we could be keeping it in the city.  If you decide that you are going to go with the building inspection program all the appeals would go to Willoughby rather than keeping them here.  We would like to keep them here and the same thing with the traffic enforcement.  People do have the right to appeal and if you are heard by a magistrate we would like to keep that here in the city.  It would keep the revenue in the city rather than having it appealed and sent out of the city.

 

Mr. Evers: Mr. Menn do you have anything to add about the building inspection?

 

Mr. Menn: Mr. Zuren has asked me and we talked about it after the meeting. One gentleman stood up and said something about a rental program and we talked the next day.  I want to say that it was University Heights not Cleveland Heights.  I came from University Heights and we had a rental program that did take a while to get started.  This is not going to be an instant…if this is put on me it is not going instant dollars.  Just to give you a little bit on where they are at right now is that they have about 859 rental properties in the city.  Last year the fees that were paid were $100,900.00 plus $9,500.00 in late fees.  So far this year they’ve collected $91,200.00 with a total of $3,100.00 in late fees.  I could design a program any way that you want it.  Up there it is an interior and exterior inspection.  It could be done on just exterior alone and if this goes through whatever Council would like.  It would take obviously some money to start it up like Mr. Zuren stated.  I know that I have had people commenting about a rental program, but again no matter what you do some people are going to want it and some people aren’t going to want it.  I think that what you have to realize is that if you start a program like this and you cite someone ultimately if they don’t do anything what is going to happen to them?  So there has to be a way to come to that end with the violations.  Where I came from we used Shaker Court but they actually had Housing Court.  I don’t think that Willoughby per say has Housing Court, but if you do the Mayor’s Court things like that would go to the Mayor’s Court.  In the end like I said after so long and so many violations people will have to end up in court somewhere.

 

Mr. Evers: Do you have the personnel at this time to implement this program?

 

Mr. Menn: No not at all.

 

Mr. Evers: What do you feel it would take?

 

Mr. Menn: At least two more people. That would be one secretary and one…when I hired a guy in University Heights there is one guy running all of the rentals and a secretary helps with the paper flow and everything.

 

Mr. Evers: Okay.

 

Mr. Menn: I would assume that our rentals are going to be more than 859. It takes time to get there.  If this is asked of me it is not going to be…and you can design the program anywhere.  Up there it is every two years when people have to get a rental inspection.  Some cities do it once a year and some do it every three years and they collect a fee every year.  There are different ways of doing it.  If that is what is asked of me and in the end I will do what I’m asked.

 

Mr. Evers: Chief Reik has anybody got in contact with you about radar situation?

 

Chief Reik: I was included on the email from Mr. Klammer and I am not sure which of the Councilmen were also in the group. Just briefly they were looking into some of that.

 

Mr. Evers: Your thoughts on that please.

 

Chief Reik: That specifically?

 

Mr. Evers: That specifically.

 

Chief Reik: I don’t know the exact mileages but a mile and a quarter tops on Route 2. We don’t have Route 77 and we don’t have Route 271 to Route 60 like Willoughby Hills does.   They are writing three to three hundred tickets a day is that they number?

 

Mr. Spotton: Thirty to three hundred.

 

Chief Reik: Thirty to three hundred. I could put a guy out there in the next couple of weeks for a four hour block.  I would guess that two to five an hour would be really good.  There are guys that spend when they do have the rare down time there are a couple of guys that do some freeway time.  Their thresh hold is about the same about the fifteen mile an hour.  Once you implement this that is only going to go down because people won’t understand that that the area is coming up.  If you have five an hour I think that would be outstanding.  You’re talking a four hour block that would be an average of twenty.  I don’t know how that would relate.  You’re talking about hiring a guy for that.  You’re talking about adding a sixty to eighty-five thousand dollar expense right off the top to get that guy there.  I guess that he would be able to be moved and they would have to be a full-time guy to coincide with contractual agreements.  You would also have regular time off.  I wouldn’t want to put a brand new guy on the freeway running traffic all day.  You put somebody within the amount of time on then you have additional time off responsibilities.  I don’t know how Newburgh gets the three hundred a day.  Linndale has a stigma for a reason.  Traffic cameras have a stigma for a reason.  We’ve talked about this with the former Mayor and we don’t have many accidents on the freeway, and occasionally we do have them.  We have far less than Willoughby does but it probably corresponds with the amount of road way that we have.  There are a lot of expenses that go into it and I don’t know if it would hit anywhere near the numbers that other cities may get with a larger area.

 

Mr. Evers: Mr. Zuren?

 

Mr. Zuren: We do have the actually traffic daily and Mr. Spotton has it on that stretch of freeway.  He could give you that if it would be helpful at all.  Also I think that the actual traffic might be useful to see what that might generate.

 

Mr. Evers: Mr. Spotton?

 

Mr. Spotton: In 2014 Lake County averaged a twenty-four hour traffic volume for Route 2 in Eastlake at 26,580 vehicles. These particular units that Newburgh Heights uses they are not inciting traffic stops.  Taking the picture and if it is over the speed it gets uploaded and they get a ticket in the mail.  There’s not the twenty minutes of traffic stop going on.  That is how they can generate the volume.

 

Mr. Evers: Mr. Zuren?

 

Mr. Zuren: My other comment was that I did look up on the internet and I don’t know how reliable the internet is, but it said that the cities that impose this type of traffic system had a statistic of 94% of the people who received a ticket did not live in the city. According to the study 6% of the residents would possibly get the ticket and 94% are people who are going through our city.  People are going through that section of the freeway that is through our city.

 

Mr. Evers: Chief Reik?

 

Chief Reik: We talked about this a civil forfeiture instead of point forfeiture. I believe that was what they did, because they didn’t want people to fight the tickets.  They make it as easy as possible to waive it, because it is easier than to fight the government to give them $150.00 and not have any points on their license.  I don’t think that the civil forfeiture is for any other purpose other than to prevent people fighting the ticket.  But if they fight the ticket that is where the cost comes from and all of the filing and stuff that we pay through Willoughby Court right now.

 

Mr. Evers: Mr. Klammer?

 

Mr. Klammer: I don’t want to get into the red light thing I don’t have a particular preference or anything. I don’t want to speak for the Chief but I know in the past there has always been some debate.  Some people oppose the idea of just starting a program to issue people tickets for the purpose of fund raising.  And when we talked about these things in the past, which was an objection that we heard from the residents. On the building inspection things one thing that we need to consider and I don’t know if we’ve done that is the city can only impose a cost for a fee for inspections.  That replicates the cost to the city to perform the inspection.  Because if there is anything in excess that is beyond a reasonable excess beyond what it costs the city to do the inspection.  It is what we call a “clop hill terms”.  Attacks in which case it’s unconstitutional so those numbers I always question them.  Although they appear as though they are providing some great revenue number, if they are not replicating the cost to the city to perform those inspections.  We end runned it around imposing a tax. You end up in a lawsuit, because they come in and they say “why are you charging us $100.00, when it takes you five minutes to do an inspection?”  But if it costs more than $100.00 or it takes more than five minutes to do the inspection you are now breaking even in an essence.  And it doesn’t have that revenue generating component, because the expenses are going to replicate the cost that run the program.  So those are just things that have to be flushed out.  We can’t just impose $200.00 fees and expect that we are going to keep it all.  If it’s not costing the city somewhere near that to perform that work.  That just needs to be considered if we are going to move it forward on that.

 

Mr. Evers: Mr. Menn?

 

Mr. Menn: I did forget to say that this was based on $300.00 per rental home. Then they had for every month that you are late for your rental inspection or you didn’t sign up there was a $200.00 fee on top of it.

 

Mr. Evers: Chief Reik?

 

Chief Reik: Just to go back to what Mr. Klammer was saying, when we ran into this with the overdue tax collections. People weren’t paying their taxes so we a giving the summons so they could show up for court and not pay their taxes.  One specific business I must have made about eight stops myself.  I don’t know if it ever got collected or settled.  You still have to get the people to court and you still have to do all the process.  With the rental houses some of them I think are going to be owned by people out of state and things like that.  I think that it just makes it that more difficult. 

 

Mr. Klammer: We did have litigation regarding the multy unit inspections, which are the apartments. The long and short of it we ended up reducing on our inspection fee to closely replicate the city. It was a revenue generator in the sense of a pan see if that is going to solve these other problems.  It is certainly one good idea that maybe with some messaging has some usefulness.  I just caution that it’s not always that simple of an analysis.

 

Chief Reik: Just for my personal knowledge. Reciprocity is that…as Councilmen Zuren was saying is that something that could be put on the ballot and overturned?

 

Mr. Klammer: It depends. It depends on how it is passed.  If it is passed as an emergency and an appropriate manor, then the referendum provisions aren’t necessarily as available.  This is an issue that most certainly is a safety and emergency question for the city.  We are in a desperate state. These are all good discussions we must have had six months of debates over rental inspections.  We may have had a year’s worth of debates over rental inspections before.  In all actuality the community was split.  There were people that were offended as to why we aren’t inspecting homes.  Because a lot of the homes are worse than the rental homes and you guys rember those debates.  These aren’t easy questions and everybody knows that and I’m not telling you what you already know.

 

Mr. Evers: It took us a year, because I am the one that did the original write up on the rental inspections. It was over a year.  Mr. Zuren?

 

Mr. Zuren: I just want clarity on and I am asking legal counsel Mr. Klammer. No matter how we word reciprocity if an initiative is put on the ballot and the people vote it through.  Will that not overlap reciprocity and eliminate it?

 

Mr. Klammer: You’re saying you said initiative I assume you mean referendum. I will have to give it some more thought and give you a legal opinion.

 

Mr. Evers: That was a question that should have been presented before the meeting so that he could….

 

Mr. Zuren: I apologize it was just a topic as discussed.

 

Mr. Evers: I have a question for Mr. Zuren. You stated that Willoughby Hills operating cost is $185,000.00.

 

Mr. Zuren: I got it from the News-Herald.

 

Mr. Evers: I am going to throw out some facts and figures at you on a Mayor’s Court that we looked into back in 2008. The operating start up cost was estimated between $350,000.00 and $500,000.00.  When you operate a Mayor’s Court per the state you must tie into the Bureau of Motor Vehicles computers.  You are looking at all new computers and this is something that we need to look at. 

 

Mr. Zuren: Ok.

 

Mr. Evers: Also an ITT guy to set it up. I can see that their operating cost now per year would be that, but their initial start up cost and you quoted a figure of somewhere about $350,000.00 for all programs.  Correct?

 

Mr. Zuren: Yes.

 

Mr. Evers: You’re asking Mrs. Schindel to offer a loan for that. We only have $265,000.00 in the budget.  We would go into a negative spending.  How do you propose today to come beyond the negative spending to get these infrastructure things that we have needed to be fixed for years done?  We cannot keep putting them off.  The roof in the Fire Department is leaking and you’re going to have a mold issue over there.  This is where these guys live.  They live there.  The tripping hazard on the floor…when they put on a hundred pounds of equipment.  And I know that you’ve looked at it.  We need to get these things fixed now.  We can’t keep putting them off.  That is the best way that I can put it to you.  That’s my opinion.  Chief Reik?

 

Chief Reik: Since you brought up the Mayor’s Court keep in mind that Willoughby Hills runs part-time officers exclusively for all of their traffic. They go out there and they write tickets and that’s it.  We’re having issues now getting guys out to have some time to run traffic.  The talks about hiring more men we don’t have any provisions to hire part-time officers to do traffic.  With the way the call volume is right now the first couple of part-time officers that will be out there running traffic, they would be the first ones to pull in case of an emergency.  That would lower that in addition.  The majority of Willoughby Hill’s officers are focused on Route 90 and Route 271, which is a lot of out of town travelers.  Who are going to typically wait around for a court date?  They have a perfect storm where they are at and they are running their city off of that system.  Without that system they would be in worse shape than we are.

 

Mr. Zuren: I would like to respond to a couple….

 

Mr. Evers: Please wait. Mayor Morley I would like you to inject your thoughts.

 

Mayor Morley: Where do you want me to start?

 

Mr. Evers: This is your city to run. It is the Administrations responsibility.

 

Mayor Morley: Everyone at this table knows and since I was a Councilman and since I’ve become Mayor that I have never been a component of reciprocity. My first year in office we laid off seventeen people the employee’s and the Director’s said then we need to do the reciprocity.  I didn’t ask Council to do it.  Just so the people in the audience that when it came and before they went on break in July I asked for a Police and Fire Levy.  I have talked to all of Council and I’m not throwing people under the bus, but Council at the time and for those in the room know that our resident’s failed eleven straight levies in the city.  The one in 2013 was for a $1.23, when all of the controversy about the swimming pool.  When I was Council President and City Council shut the pool down and we took an enormous amount of beat up on that.  Councilman Hoefle said at the time let’s put a levy on for a $1.23 to a $1.47 and that failed.  The most recent failures in our city, even though the school and Lakeland passed last November.  Eastlake and Willoughby Hills were the only two cities where the school’s failed.  Although we are getting the two schools again our city voted no against any increase.  With Lakeland we were one of three cities where the levy failed.  From my perspective I guess the only good thing out of that is just not something that the city wanted to do for tax increase.  The city doesn’t want any new taxes.  Lately with the conversations that I have been having with the residents, when they have called in and telling me that they voted no for all of the levies are upset that we cut some services.  My answer has been I’m not upset that voted the levies down please don’t be upset with me that I had to cut services.  Two people have said to me that I never really looked at it that way.  Mrs. Schindel ran some numbers today and we all know what our taxes are on our home.  I always use mine as an example.  Our General Fund Levy brings in $425,000.00 a year that doesn’t even run the city for a month.  I will use my taxes as an example.  My taxes for my home are $3,300.00.  The City of Eastlake out of that gets $259.00 from me.  A lot of people don’t see that when I get calls that the streets aren’t plowed or we didn’t cut the grass.  They will say I paid you $3,300.00.  I don’t into a debate with our residents, but I know…I know that when you hear this number of 425,000.00.  Everyone knows what they pay on their property taxes.  You go wow that can’t be right, but that’s it.  That’s what we get from property taxes.  The reciprocity is a double edged sward.  At the last meeting I told them that I was very surprised when I brought up…we had until August 10 to put on the Police and Fire Levy that I was asking for.  When I looked at it I didn’t say let’s try and get a General Fund.  What I asked Mrs. Schindel was and I talked with the Chief’s especially and we didn’t put in the entire Department’s.  What we said was to try and get a levy that is going to generate those two departments to operate and not take money from them.  The Chief’s great example is okay were going to pass a levy and I’m going to take a million dollars from them out of the general fund.  Because a million dollars is generated through the levy we will say.  So that’s a concern from everyone.  I agree that we are coming down a road where we are one disaster away from where ever we are going to be.  I’m not a component but again I will use this example since there are more people here.  So far this year two firemen have resigned, one police officer resigned, and one person in the Building Department resigned.  Mr. Menn has worked the whole summer by himself, because we can’t someone to come and work here.  One is that they know that they are at the bottom of the barrel and a lot of people know that we lay people off and we don’t hire.  Someone is not going to leave a job to come here and work for us.  The inspector who left went to a different city and started out with $7,000.00 than what they made here.  They talked about negotiations coming up and our employee’s have not had a raise in ten years.  Eventually through arbitration or through consolation they are going to get a raise.  And if that happens with or without a tax increase we are going to have to find the money if the arbitrations say that they deserve…let’s just use a small 1% raise over the next three years.  It would be 3% total.  There are no more people to layoff.  I am done and there can’t be anymore layoffs.  Unfortunately through the years we have laid off 42 people since 2011.   When people ask why our services are are down…people are what we have.  I had a call because someone was not in the building on Friday.  When Mr. Menn or when Mr. Rubertino’s secretary goes on vacation there isn’t a fill-in for them.   When people call in and get an answering machine…I get a ton of phone calls because I answer the phone and I return my calls.  I have eliminated my secretary over a year ago, which I have no issue with eliminating her, but between all of us at this table there are days that all I do is deal with resident verses resident because they don’t like each other.  I send this guy out to go to a person’s house over garbage cans.  This guy went out yesterday with people that he had to pull out to respond to a mutual aide in Willowick.  The Mayor of Willowick said to me today I can’t believe that your Chief was the guy that came driving the truck, because we don’t have the employee’s.  I’m not happy that we don’t have the employee’s but I live with what we have to do.  I know that the Director’s are not happy with me and the city, because they know that I’m not a big component to just put a tax on.  Most of our income is from the 2%...$425,000.00 and the other $9 Million is coming in from income tax.  I understand what Council wanted to do.  The funny thing is and they know is that we have been doing a lot better with business coming in and with business expanding.  But it is still going to take more time to generate revenue.  We are meeting with a company tomorrow that just bought two buildings on Lakeland Boulevard.  They are going to come in and talk to us about what business they want to put in.  We’ve had High Tech Metal, Easy Pull and Suburban Manufacturing.  Everyone is expanding and staying in our city.  The favorite of ours is that we’ve had business from Menor coming to Eastlake.  Not because they love Eastlake better.  Most places that come in look for the building it has nothing to do…it’s like when you’re looking for a house.  Most people aren’t going to go and look and say we are going to look at the taxes.  We don’t do that and that is another example.  People are like well why can’t we be like Willowick?  We pull in about seven mills a year.  Willowick’s taxes are…they’ve had another quarter percent on this levy…the increase another levy in Willowick and they will be at nineteen mills compared to our seven.  They don’t get full credit for their taxes.  When someone says why can’t we go like Willowick?  That’s the reason why we can’t be like Willowick.  Willowick spends $650,000.00 in Recreation and we spend $20,000.00 if that.  Do I know that we need to do something, absolutely?  When I told everyone that we are continuing to get the business and get that moving…people have asked me are you going to veto it if we pass it?  I look at it that if the seven Council Members come to say that this is what they think is best I would probably not veto it.  It’s not something that I want to see.  Again we’ve talked about the Mayor’s Court before and we talked about the traffic when I was on Council and we talked about the rental fees before.  Everything is implementation and everything is getting the money to come in.  I don’t know and I’ve asked what do our resident’s want?  And I know that they don’t want a tax increase.  What do we want as a city to move forward?  That is the other problem.  For us to become a Willowick or Willoughby we would have to go out and ask for a twenty mill levy.  If we’re not going to pay a $1.23 then we’re not going to pay $50.00 or $100.00 a month on increased taxes.  The Chief made a good point when the school levy passed which I think is another $200.00 for the year.  The Chief said well people aren’t leaving the city and they aren’t going foreclosure over $200.00.  I don’t know what to do to pass an issue.  I don’t know if it’s possible.  As Council man Zuren said the biggest things that I get are about the stadium.  The stadium has been there….someone from the News-Herald gave me this bit of information, because I never really looked at it.  The vote of the stadium was when Mayor DiLiberto ran against Steven Komarjanski in 1999.  Mr. Komarjanski was against the stadium and Mayor DiLiberto was full blast.  Mayor DiLiberto won 73% to 27%.  Although our residents say that they didn’t get a vote on the stadium that was the vote.  I never looked at it until the News-herald said something to me about that.  Obviously 73% to 27% is a big beating when you are running for office.  That is my thing on the stadium.  We deal with the stadium every year.  The Captain’s Lease is up in 2026 and the stadium is paid off in 2031.  The debt service on the stadium is $1.4 Million and we take out almost $900,000.00 a year to pay for the stadium.  So $900,000.00 is a good amount of employee’s.  But again the stadium is not going away it’s just not.  We can continue to blame the stadium and blame all of the people.  I don’t take it personally and I’ve told everyone and I really don’t think that it’s because they don’t like us or that they don’t trust us.  It’s just that no one wants a tax increase.  You can’t want the services and have the services without the bodies.  We don’t have the bodies.  I have said it at the last Council Meeting that every Director in here goes above and beyond, and they do thing that no other Chief’s do, or what no other Service Director does, or no other Finance Director and no other Building Official.  Our Law Director has taken many cuts over the last five years.  I don’t now…we just plug along and hope that there isn’t a disaster.

 

Mr. Evers: Mr. Hoefle then I will get down to you Chief Whittington.

 

Mr. Hoefle: Once of the things that I want to remind everybody is that Willoughby Hills does not offer full credit either. They collect another half percent and Willowick is an extra quarter.  Now a couple of years ago we tried to do the levy to raise the tax to 2 ½% and of course that was shot down like the last ten or twelve.  I contacted the Finance Director and if that would have passed it would have brought in just from the individual residents $1.1 Million.  That is what it would have brought in for revenue just for the people who work in Cleveland.  Cleveland is looking at going to 2 ½% now.  If they pass it we are back to acquire one and we would lose $211,000.00 in revenue right there.  Those are the numbers that we had.  Even if we take our tax and go to the levy and vote it go to 2 ½% once Cleveland goes to 2 ½% all of the other cities are going to follow.  We are going to be back at square one and back at these meetings all over again.  There are a lot of cities that don’t give a full credit on the reciprocity.  That is revenue that you will always have coming in to the city.  That is why I was in support of the reciprocity to at least get something coming back into the city from our residents.  My house hold is going to affect me and my wife.  It will hit us heavy but I am willing to do it to support the city.   That is all that I have to say.

 

Chief Whittington: Thank you. My position is well known and I stand behind it.  Before I get into that I want to clarify one thing that Mr. Zuren said.  He talked about negotiations and contract negotiations and made a statement that the union would take a large portion.  I want to make sure that everybody understands that is not true.  It is not a true statement.  First and foremost it is a negotiation between the city and the unions.  So any kind of increases or anything that would happen would be negotiated on both sides.  It is not an automatic and even if there was a pay increase.  The reciprocity was put in that pay increase is not going to take a large portion.  Let me further say that if there is a group of people that deserve raises in the city it’s the employee’s that have worked here for the last ten years, that haven’t had one.  I know that it might be tough for some people in this room to hear.  Let me tell you that when you don’t have staff and you’re laying people off, then the services that are required for the people that live in the city continue to grow.  We still try everyday to meet those demands that is something to be said.  I want to make sure that everybody understands that.  I don’t belong to the union but I am trying to raise a family.  When the cities that are around us are giving 2% or 3% over the last year, that is compounded when most of my colleagues are getting 30% or 32% raises over the last ten years.  I am trying to raise a family like everybody in this room.  I want everybody to know that it’s not a union issue.  It’s an employee issue.  I want to make sure that everybody understands that and I don’t want it to get ahead of us here.  That could be a negative connotation when we talk about things.  I’ve worked in the city for eighteen years and I have been the Fire Chief for eight and a half years.  Since I’ve been the Chief I’ve done nothing but move the Fire Department backwards.  It’s not something that I choose to do that is something that I’ve had to do.  When I had to lay-off and reduced our staffing to an eight man minimum.  We’ve made adjustments where we’ve made it to seven men minimum to make adjustments.  We’ve made it to a six man minimum we made adjustments and when we went to five we applied for a grant.  We explained the situation to the federal government and they recognized the fact of how desperate of a situation that this city was.  They gave us money to bring three of those guys back.  I have a very though time meeting the needs of the community with six people.  The mission of the department isn’t set by me or my people.  It is set by everybody that lives in the city, works in the city or visits the city when the call 911.  The expectation is that when you call 911 that someone is going to come and help you.  It is getting tougher to do that.  It’s not uncommon for us to run double digit days, where we have multiple incidences going on.  We’re sending single people to these responses.  I’m sure that everybody in this room is probably blessed and hasn’t had to use the fire or ems.  I am great full that you don’t.  That is not the case for everybody that lives in the city.  Especially the heroin epidemic that is going on in the city, there is a significant heroin problem in the city.  Right now I would say that we have somewhere between ten and twelve deaths that are accredited to heroin this year.  We probably have almost one hundred responses to heroin overdoses and that is every day.  That takes people to do that.  When you increase that call volume on top of the fact that we still have residents that have medical issues that need to be addressed.  It is very, very hard.  One of the things that I try to do and I work with the Mayor about is that I try to look in the future.  My stance on reciprocity has nothing to do with the raise, union contracts all of that would be beneficial for me as an employee.  I am just letting everybody and I’ve told Council this.  When I lose those three guys again, because of the grant next summer, this city is going to have significant problems.  We can’t do with six and I am telling you right now there is going to be a significant loss when we go down to five.  That might mean that we have to start stacking calls.  So when you call 911 you might be told that we will get you an ambulance when it gets there.  That is what people in the city want and that is what they think is except able in the city, then that is what we are going to get, because that is where we are heading.  We are right there.  Not too long ago I had to call the Mayor because we had to borrow an ambulance from another city, because our ambulance’s are broke down.  I try to be professional and try to provide a professional service to the city.  If that is what people think is professional then you have to let me know.  That is where we are at.  Before we use the fire engine we have to fill it with air, because the brakes are locked on it.  So we have an air compressor sitting next to it.  Everybody knows about the leaky roof that leaks into a phone system that was put in during the 1980’s.  The last time we had a lighting strike and the company came out and we had to go on Ebay to buy parts.  That is what we do in this city.  I know that it’s unpopular but every day I want everybody in this room to know that I have to make unpopular decisions.  When I have to drive a fire engine myself along with one of my other officers to another house is on fire in another community.  Because we rely on them heavily now and again I think that we are better than that.  When I talk about this understand that it’s about what I see in the future.  The future is very scary.  When I push the Mayor and Council…I am open with my opinions understand that it is because I am very concerned.  I am concerned for the people that live here and for my people.  I don’t know how much thinner I can spread them out.  I just want to make sure that as we go along…in that eight and a half years and Chief and being here for eighteen years…not to take away from the efforts of the three Councilmen.  We have talked about all of these before.  Trust me that in these eighteen years and most of which this city suffered, any feasible or thoughtful process of generating revenue has been brought to this table and we discussed it.  Nothing is working and you can’t do that.  I know that Mr. Zuren talks about not having the trust and support of our residents.  We put out twelve levies and we don’t have their trust and support.  That is a fact and it is right now.  It is not about reciprocity or the stadium.  Right now we don’t have that.  We’re not loosing anything, because we haven’t gained it back yet.  I am not sure where that puts us as a community.  I told the Mayor that when he took over…I almost wonder if we had a psychologist come in and really look at this and I think that is where we are at.  The persona with the stadium was with the past administration and it was done when the city was healthy for the most part.  Was it done unexpectedly I don’t know?  Like the Mayor said the guy that did it got re-voted back in.  Since that time the city has suffered significantly.  We’ve lost people and services and the city doesn’t have that persona that it used to.  When you talk about the stadium understand that it was done when the city was healthy.  So when you talk about it now you are talking about an unhealthy city.  It’s there and god forbid the Captain’s leave, because then you will have a building that will not be used and we are still going to pay a $1 Million a year on it. I think that we need to at least look at that collectively.  I want to make sure that Mr. Zuren knows that appreciate the effort.  But as someone who has been at this table I’ve heard those come by again and again and again.  Nothing has come to furbishing and that is why I want the residents to know that is my position on reciprocity.  I know that some of you may feel that it’s not fair.  I am telling you that the future of the Fire Department and what we have to deal with in less than a year is very, very scary.  I stand behind that position.  For those that are in the room I am willing to sit down and talked with you.  I will show you everything if you come to visit the Fire Station and I will try to defend my position.  I’m not saying that I want you to agree with me or think that you should agree with me.  I am just willing to defend my position to you.  I think that is all that I can offer to you as your Fire Chief with my willingness to defend my position.  That is all that I have to say.

 

Mr. Evers: Mr. Zuren?

 

Mr. Zuren: Chief Whittington I appreciate what you’ve said and I fully believe in you, Chief Reik, the Directors and everyone who works in the city. I do think that we need the trust of the people.  That is the most important thing that we have.  I think that we can get it back and we have to go in a different direction.  With the photographic traffic enforcement I was asked how long is it going to take to generate revenue?  This is the quickest route and it is almost immediate.  There is no cost up front and they supply everything.  There are multiple companies that we printed off.  They come in and they supply all of the equipment and the training and the revenue starts coming in.

 

Mr. Evers: There is an upfront cost.

 

Mr. Zuren: What is the upfront cost?

 

Mr. Evers: We are going to have to hire a police officer.

 

Mr. Zuren: That is true. We have to hire a full-time police officer.  The second thing is the $350,000.00 that I estimated…terms and conditions and that is the only way that we can decide on what the true cost.  Is it going to be a ten year loan?  Is it going to be $30,000.00 a year? Is it going to be $40,000.00 a year?  That’s what the cost would be out of the budget per year with the projected income coming in.  I’m suggesting that we call these companies and we have them come into the next Finance Committee Meeting to at least give a presentation.  To tell us what they have to offer.  I know that everyone says that the looked into these things before but things change.  Technology changes and the world are changing.  We have to do our due diligence and we have to find out if this is feasible for the city.  If this is going to bring in $1 Million or $500,000.00 that is our job.  We’ve been elected and we need to check this out.  This is our responsibility.  I am not excepting that we looked at it seven years ago that is not accept able.  We need to do our due diligence on all of these.  I think that we are really fortunate today that there is somebody in this room who is a Councilman in the City of Madison who has lived through reciprocity.  I don’t know if he wants to say anything and I fully respect if he does or doesn’t.  Mr. Hamercheck has lived through reciprocity. 

 

Mr. Evers: He will be recognized during the public portion of the meeting.

 

Mr. Zuren: I am just making the statement that he is an expert and he has lived through it. He is a leader in his community.  He would be great to talk and explain what has happened in his city.

 

Mr. Ever: That will be recognized during the public portion. Chief Reik?

 

Chief Reik: Not surprisingly a lot of the stuff that I took notes on is what Chief Whittington touched on. First of which was the repulsive nature that the raises to the union were talked about.  You want to talk about being an expert on something I have been here for 24 years and six years as Police Chief.  The first twelve years here were pretty year of reasonable raises.  They were never as big as other cities but they were reasonable and nothing to complain about.  The last ten years have been pretty much nothing.  Everyone who has been here any period of time has seen this city at its best and worst.  They have their own expertise on that.  When I took over as the Police Chief I was given the plans from John Ruth about the garage header.  It could be falling over as we speak or it could last another ten years I don’t know.  We already know that it is unsafe.  God forbid if somebody falls in and gets hurt and the liability…it is already a $60,000.00 cost.  We just filled up a garbage can again from the roof with the last rain storm.  The phones are…our air conditioning which most people would consider a luxury and since we do have prisoners.  We wouldn’t be able to have a jail if can’t guarantee that the environment to be a certain…the grades…somewhere else then.  The amount of money is $6,000.00 to $10,000.00 a year that we make by housing our own prisoners.  That would no longer be there.  Everything that we take away does have a cost that is already associated with it.  Mr. Klammer may know more about this but I know that Willoughby Court is following some things that after the Ferguson situation there are new legislation that is out there.  That when people cannot pay the courts are not making them pay.  How that applies to the civil forfeiture and the new stuff who knows.  I am assuming that will catch up if it isn’t already there.  We talk like we are losing thrust.  He said it and when did we ever have it?  There hasn’t been anything that we’ve done…the people of the city are still beating their first wife even though they are married for the fourth time.  It doesn’t matter who gets in here they are saying the same thing over and over.  You can tell them a hundred times about what Governor Kasich did, talk about CEI closing and all of the other things that were a part of this problem.  Nobody wants to hear it.  They are paying $3,100.00 or $5,000.00 in taxes when really they are only paying between $300.00 and $500.00 a year to the city.  We talked about looking at a levy but for six to seven months out of the year not one person talked about the levy.  We tried to impose it at the beginning of the year that even though we have new Council this was an impending problem that you guys walked into. Ten months after I became Chief we had the first layoffs in the history of the Police Department.  I understand about walking into a crappy situation.  That is what you have and that is what you signed on for and that is what I signed on for.  That is what we have to deal with.  The pre-stadium and post-stadium can’t pass the levy it doesn’t matter.  I didn’t matter before Mayor DiLiberto and it doesn’t matter after him.  The same people who don’t want their taxes reduced will not except any reduction in service.  We still have people expecting us to do surveillance at the bus stops.  We tell them that we have two officers on their own and they don’t care.  They don’t want to hear that is their response.  I don’t want to hear how many guys you have.  I want to be honest with people and I don’t want tell them that we can do something that we can’t do.  The overdoses are at least two officers and four or five squad guys.  We are taking care of that but to really take care of it you have to find out where the stuff is coming in at.  You’re talking surveillance and things that aren’t even remotely an issue.  When the County lost all of their personnel they went to a self reporting system.  Your tires got slashed come in the station where there is a monitor there.  You go down to Erie Street and look at how we have it now you type in your own report and print it off.  You can pretty much sit at home and do it on a Microsoft Word document and save on the gas mileage.  You are self reporting your own crime and it gets enter into the records and that is it.  You don’t see a deputy, a clerk or a janitor.  You self report your own stuff unless its…any of those Townships that have voted and they don’t have the extra police service that’s the service that they get.  Unless it is life threatening and it is not statutorily required they do not offer it.  They have been doing that for quite a while now.  A couple of years ago Chief Whittington and I ended up on the same overdose.  Where he is driving the only squad and I was driving the available police cruiser.  It was kind of sad at the time and the amount of time that has happened since then has almost become a regular thing.  I’m trying to hire a guy now to get ready for a guy who is leaving.  One of the things that I am looking at and I am sure that Chief Whittington is doing the same thing, I have two younger guys one is a great candidate.  Who you know and if I am him I’m not stopping to take a test and I’m not doing thirty years with the last ten years without raises, when I could go next door and have their patrolmen make what our Lieutenants make.  It would be foolish if the kid would ask me I want to stay here and I like what you guys are doing and everyone is friendly.  If you were me would you stay here and I would be lying to him if I said yes. I would be lying to him if I said that I wouldn’t be exploring other options.  I would hope that they would stay but I couldn’t give them that information.  It would be horribly unfair.  The past two things and I am not sure which person in our government said this “people don’t always get the government that they want; they always get the government that they deserve.”  That’s the point that we are at.  We are not at a point of…we’ve asked we’ve walked streets, pounded on doors and tried to set up meetings and whether it is apathy or lack of time.  This is the most people that I have ever seen in a meeting since the pool.  We tried and we offered a remedy so that we could sustain a service like that for an active group of voters and it didn’t go through.  The last thing and I am an analogy guy.  This city has cancer and you guys are offering Advil and chemotherapy sitting on the table.  To think outside the box and bring in extra revenue and that revenue produces the things that we think it may or hope that it may.  Then you could always roll things back that same way you roll it up.  We don’t need to take certain money that we don’t need, but to think that we are going to operate with what two cops on the road?  We have three and I am snagging three or four calls a day.  Chief Whittington said too and I don’t know if my successor is going to be doing this.  If you think that for the next twenty years we are going to run this way.   The Chief of Police is going to come in and he is going to work Saturday’s and Sunday’s, he is going to prevent the overtime there.  Then on top of that he is going take stolen license plate reports, work on murder investigation and do other things that usually come from a detective bureau.  We are so far passed that I don’t even know how else to explain it other than the way Chief Whittington said it.  If you want to come over and see the problems and come out and ride to see the problems, that is where they are at and it is not changing.

 

Mr. Evers: Mr. Rubertino you are the only Director that I haven’t heard from tonight.

 

Mr. Rubertino: I have a hard time following either one of these guys. I don’t want to get myself or my department lost in the shuffle.  Obviously the Safety Forces are the utmost.  In the long run without the Service Department we are not running either.  We are running twelve guys in a twenty hour snow storm with three guys on the road.  They can’t work more than twelve hours plowing the road.  We don’t have the personnel to do the work that is required here.  We went from forty-seven guys to twelve guys.  We can’t keep running the way that we are running.  We need employees.  We get the complaints just like everybody else and we are not doing the services that they want.  They don’t want to hear anything that you can tell and I don’t tell them what they should be told, I tell them what makes it easier to get by.  I’m not a confrontational guy.  In the long run dealing with you people you have to understand that everything that we have is at bare minimum.  There is no bottom, because there is no more bottoms there.  We’re looking at a Service garage and when you talk about the Fire Department having a leaking roof…I’ve worked here twenty-five years and twenty of those years that roof has been leaking on our mechanics.  They literally work in the rain.  When it rains outside that building is pouring.  If anybody wants to take a look at a roof this building here is missing hundreds of shingles.  This roof is not long very shortly we are going to have a catastrophe at a $350,000.00 roof.  The three year term and if it works and it is all good and everything comes in and gels exactly right.  We are still three years out.  We don’t have three years on these roofs.  We don’t have three years on personnel.  You have to understand that other communities…I don’t want to get into the union and the raises.  Other communities’ employees are starting at what our top guy is making, because for ten years they haven’t been getting it.  We have twelve guys that are doing the work of forty something people.  They are busting their backs and there is no appreciation outside, there is none.  They don’t realize that when you say I don’t have anybody and it is going to be a week before I can get to that catch basin or tomorrow before we can plow your roads.  Nobody wants to hear it.  We don’t get any support.  It is frustrating on our end.  My guys are killing themselves and they are literally working themselves to the bone doing the work of four guys.  We are behind every single day.  Like the Chief’s I am out there 24/7.  If something comes up and I can’t get a guy on the phone…because they need their time too.  I am always available.  I am always out here trying to get done what needs done, so that the residents get what they want and deserve.  In the long run they are getting what they deserve.  It is a lack of services, but it is across the board.  I don’t want to get lost in the shuffle.  These guys are more important in the justification of the Safety Forces.  But the services are also important.  We have a $1 Million and it is just a rough figure for my equipment, roofs, air condition units on the top of the Police Department are bad.  These are things that are coming up and it is $1 Million.  Three years down the road it’s going to be $2 Million or $2.5 Million.  These roofs…we are skimming by on that service garage, which every guy over there could sit there and have a complaint.  They don’t do it; they work around the puddles and the rain on their head every day.  When this building goes I will bet you that there will be a bigger call.  This roof is not far from lasting much longer.  Interior and maintance on these buildings, we don’t have the people to do the maintance.  We are spending outside the box to have sub-contractors to come in and do the work that we should be doing.  That is because the money is not here.  We are spending more money to have someone else do it, because we don’t have the employees.  That is all that I have.  We are here for everybody.  We just need the support and we don’t know where it is at.  The residents aren’t giving it to us and I am not sure if we are getting it on this end.  I am just looking for help.  I don’t think that three years is an answer.  I don’t think that possibilities of making this revenue in three years over hope that we have the $30,000.00 coming in from the tickets.  Along with the money coming in from everything else is going to be the answer in three years.  I just don’t see it happening.

 

Mr. Evers: I don’t think that anybody is saying that the ideas that were brought to the table today are bad ideas.

 

Mr. Rubertino: But we have heard them.

 

Mr. Evers: We’ve heard them before and the thing that is missing is this. Operation costs to start up and implement, we are out of time.  Ms. DePledge?

 

Ms. DePledge: I to have heard these ideas before along with these suggestions. If I understand our Law Director correctly the real estate inspection is basically a wash.  You are not allowed to make a profit on that type of endeavor.

 

Mr. Klammer: You’re allowed a reasonable surplus on your fees against costs. Certainly there are cities that over charge and sooner or later they get sued.

 

Ms. DePledge: That’s risky. It is a nice thing to do and I think that the program itself is probably beneficial to the community.  But that isn’t something that we are going to be able to look at and say that we can make a profit on this, or save our budget or put a fireman back on the job.  I think that is an issue.  The photographic freeway with the police, we have had tremendous kick back on red light cameras before.  The residents did not want it and they have spoken out about it and they have been very vocal about it.  However, if it is a free start up and it is going to generate some money, I don’t even know how we would begin to do that as far as putting an officer on it.  It is something that I think that we could look at and we could entertain and it’s reasonable.  With the Mayor’s Court we have looked at several times before and the start up cost was always too high.  One thing that has not been said is that there are political ramifications that nobody ever wants to talk about.  We do have a great relationship with Willoughby and they do have our backs a lot of times.  We help them out too.  I don’t know if we really want to spit in their face, which is kind of what a Mayor’s Court does and nobody really wants to say that out loud.  It is a fact and it is one of the considerations that we have to consider.  We have a great relationship with them.  Again we can look at the numbers, but the start up numbers and taking out a loan to do it is something that I don’t know.  We cannot deficit spend.  I don’t know if we would be able to do that as well.  It is something that would require a lot of investigation and a lot of time.  My suggestion would be that leave reciprocity on the table or that we move forward with it.  However, that we continue to explore these three options.  If they are going to generate money for us we owe it the residents in the community to investigate these things and if they are going to generate money.  If they don’t and we get to a point we can always roll back reciprocity or we can do something different.  I am open to suggestion and I am always open to revenue generating ideas.  I think we can do everything but we have to do something now.  If we can bring some money into the coffers and we can give the residents something back.  They came see that they are getting something for their money.  Maybe that’s the first step in building trust.  We don’t have any trust to lose and I believe that whole heartedly.  I would absolutely thing that we must move forward with something.  If we were to do a Mayor’s Court we are probably talking six months to a year before we can even get that up and running.  We don’t have six months to a year.  We just don’t have that kind of time anymore.  With all due respect to the new members of Council we’ve been down this road before; there are minutes that you can pull.  You can look at all of these things.  Every bit of information is available.  Mr. Zuren you said it yourself there is no place to cut in the budget.  There just isn’t.  There is no money we bare bones.  Our Police and Fire Chief have no business being out on the roads.  Chief Reik runs traffic and stands out in the middle of Route 91 on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings directing traffic.  What is he doing in the middle of the road?  He is your Chief and you have your Fire Chief over there driving an ambulance and fire trucks.  There is a chain of command that has to be followed.  If something happens to one of these two gentlemen, who do they report to?  Who are we inviting into our community then?  I don’t even know what would happen.  There is always a chain of command.  If you have a patrol officer he goes to a sergeant, lieutenant, and to his chief.  We’ve got these guys out there running squad calls.  They don’t belong there.  They belong administrating their personnel.  They should be training them and making sure that they are qualified and putting the best men out on the road.  They shouldn’t be out on the road and that is where they have been for far too long.  My suggestion is to move forward with reciprocity and to continue to explore these ideas.  I think that they all have potential.  I don’t think that anything needs to be discounted.  I think that we are at a point that we are out of time.  As unpopular and as unpleasant as that may be and I am well aware of that.

 

Mr. Kasunick: My problem with all three of these is the amount of revenue that they would generate is almost entirely speculative at this point. You can’t take a speed gun and say that we are going to get what Newburgh Heights gets.  We don’t have their roads and it is a different situation.  Towns that do stuff like this where we are going to use our police and law enforcement as revenue sources as opposed to just law enforcement.  There is a reason that Linndale and Bratenahl have the reputations that they do and it is because it is a garbage way to do business.  Mayor’s Courts create and inherent conflict of interest, where in a trier of fact is also the one taking in the money.  They have been frowned upon by the state government for quite some time now.  Ohio is one of only two states that still have them, because they are garbage.  The trend state wide has been a declining number of Mayor’s Courts and it is not more.  Some cities are getting rid of them and we don’t know if the state would approve it.  Let’s say we had a Mayor’s Court and one day the state of Ohio says “we are one of two states that still do this and every other state knows that this isn’t a good justice system. So we are not going to have them anymore.”  We just wasted all of that money to set up our Mayor’s Court and now we can’t do it anymore, because the state said that you can’t do them anymore.  I am going to remain open minded to the ideas. I think that they are all very speculative as to the amount of revenue that they could generate.  With the rental inspections, if that was a good way to raise revenue, why would we just raise the fees on our other permits and things to make money?  They for any…that is not what they are for.  They are for breaking even.  I appreciate the thinking outside the box.  My knee jerk reaction to all three of these ideas is that I don’t like them.  Not a single one.  My main concern is with safety.  By listening to the Chief’s, both of them have so much more experience in their professions than anyone here.  If they are looking at us and telling that they need help, who are we to argue?  How can I argue with that? I hate the reciprocity issue it’s not a fair tax or a fair way to do things.  But you know what it might just be a situation where we have to hold our noses and do it, because it’s safety.  I can live with being the jerk that raised your taxes.  I can live with and I can go home at night being the jerk that raised your taxes.   But a policeman dies because you didn’t have backup or a fire fighter dies because he didn’t have enough people to fight a fire, I would never be able to live with myself.  I will never be able to sleep again and that would be it.  We just have to do what we have to do.

 

Mr. Evers: Mr. Zuren?

 

Mr. Zuren: I would just like finish in saying that I understand what everyone has said. I believe that the right way is to build a path or a foundation where we have…maybe these aren’t the best three ideas.  But I believe that they are.  I believe that they are built on safety.  The rental inspection is a safety program.  We want houses that are safer for the people who are going to rent them.  That they are painted, the roofs are better, and the exterior is accept able to the city.  That is a safety issue.  If we make a little bit of profit off of doing the right thing and bringing up the property values, then that is what we should do.  The other issue with the traffic is almost immediate income.  The startup cost keeps being brought up but that is almost immediate income.  The Mayor’s Court yeah that is down the road.  There are twenty-three Mayor’s Courts in Cuyahoga and Lake County.  Are they going away soon?  I don’t know and I don’t have a crystal ball.  But there are twenty-three of them.  The number should resonate.  That is a lot of courts.  They are going to go to twenty-three cities in our little area and say that all of you are going to lose your court?  I highly doubt it.  The one thing is that I support everyone in this room and I want what’s best.  I foresee that if we pass reciprocity and god forbid, maybe possibly it is voted out by the public, than what do we do?  Now you’re going to have to lay-off people.  This is two paths and we have to make a decision.  The decision is that we could take the safe route, the long route and we could take steps to a future that has a foundation.  We could pass reciprocity and if the wrong thing happens then we have just dug a hole for this city.  Pretty much that is my comment.  I think that we need to go in the right direction the safe way.  In the way that we are going to get respect back from the citizens.  The citizen’s respect is the best thing that we could possibly have.  Money is secondary we need their respect.  They will support us in the long run, when we gain that back.  Then we will get a levy passed.  If we do something against their will we will never get a levy passed.

 

Mr. Evers: Mr. Zuren my question to you is this. We stand to lose three more firemen.  I want to hear a solid foundation as to where the money is going to come from to keep those three firemen in this city.  You need something now.  Your plans are long term.  As far as anybody going against them, anyone of those plans can be signed on a referendum and thrown out.  Anyone of them, but in the mean time we have three firemen that we are going to lose.  How do we keep them?  Mrs. Schindel do we have the money in the budget to keep three firemen?

 

Mrs. Schindel: No. There is no money in the budget.

 

Mr. Evers: Mr. Hoefle?

 

Mr. Hoefle: The other thing that I wanted to mention was that…it’ll come back to me again.

 

Mr. Evers: Ms. DePledge?

 

Ms. DePledge: You said that there are twenty-three Mayor’s Courts in Ohio?

 

Mr. Zuren: No Cuyahoga and Lake County. I have the list and there are hundreds of them in this area.

 

Ms. DePledge: That’s all I just wanted to make sure. I was just checking out the number.

 

Mr. Evers: Mr. Hoefle?

 

Mr. Hoefle: If we end up not doing this eventually we could be going into fiscal watch. Then if we go into fiscal emergency and if the state were to come in could they actually tell us that we are going to make you do a full credit?  Could that be a possibility?

 

Mr. Evers: I served on that State Board ten years ago and I will tell you the first thing that they said is that you will look into reciprocity. Instead of doing reciprocity at that time we started charging the residents a garbage fee, which raised $990,000.00 a year.

 

Ms. DePledge: Which covered the cost of the garbage removal and it was still not a money maker.

 

Mr. Evers: It covered the cost of the garbage removal.

 

Ms. DePledge: It was a wash.

 

Mr. Evers: The state…you go into fiscal watch the state will come in. You go into fiscal emergency the state will take over the finances of the city, just like they did in East Cleveland.  You can stay in fiscal watch or fiscal emergency like East Cleveland did, for an upwards of fifteen years.  They stated for fifteen years.  Chief Reik?

 

Chief Reik: Are we talking about 1981 was the last levy passed here.

 

Mayor Morley: 1982.

 

Mr. Evers: 1982.

 

Chief Reik: 1982 and the stadium was built in?

 

Mayor Morley: 2001.

 

Chief Reik: You’re talking twenty years before the stadium. I would go back to and say that Mayor DiLiberto was popular enough at the time that he could have passed a levy for the stadium.  I think that we all wish that he would of.  I don’t think that he had the time, because he put himself under secret time constraints.  It was probably the only point since I’ve been a resident here that the atmosphere was right for a levy to go forth.  I don’t know what happened in the 1980’s but since 1992 I don’t get it.  The people that I know and talk along with the people that Chief Whittington and I converse with at football games they really seem to get it.  The ones that didn’t get it and after a reasonable conversation they do.  Because we are comparing apples to apples and we’re not saying that we want to double in Ohio.  We want to be places out of reach, we’re talking about that you guys want services like Willowick and Mentor residents do.  We’re using comparisons of East Cleveland and Maple Heights and things like that.  None of the people who live in this community think that when they go to those communities are inspiring to be in the communities that they are paying an equal tax too.

 

Mr. Evers: I will ask the Mayor it is his ultimate responsibility on how he runs this city. Would he consider forming a separate committee from the Finance Committee to look into these options?  Can you give them a time line?

 

Mayor Morley: I think that what we need to do if we are going to go with the three options that Councilman Zuren brought up. As much as I don’t want to say this if we’re not going to move forward with that…I asked for a Police and a Fire Levy and we didn’t want to do it for August.  We’re going to have to put a levy on in a special May or March whenever the next primary will be.

 

Mr. Evers: March.

 

Ms. DePledge: It’s in May.

 

Mayor Morley: When I talked to Councilman Zuren before we can form a task force and that could drag on. Mr. Komarjanski did go on his own to Columbus for a Mayor’s Court and if we went with the Mayor’s Court we are going to have to get some information on that.   I would ask Mr. Komarjanski to maybe lead that group.  I talked to Ms. Stevens who is the Mayor of Perry Village and they have a Mayor’s Court.  I was going to sit down with her.   Like the Chief said Willoughby Hills is a whole different animal. Willoughby Hills is…and all of us that live around here and I’ve lived in Eastlake for thirty-five years.  Everyone knows that Route 271…even though they generate all of that money Willoughby Hills…you know that the police are going to be there.  Like the Chief says “do we have the employees to sit on Route 2 and Route 91?  Are we doing it for safety or for revenue?”  We’ve had the discussion on the cameras.  We can bring the people in and talk to them.  Council and the people over here who were with me on Council we got a back lash about the red-light cameras.  The red light cameras in the state Ohio and they have obviously been…I looked at one in Garfield Heights and they took it to the ballot.  They all failed.  What do we think that if things go to the ballot like if we think that they are going to pass and we know that they are not?  I have the confidence and I would love…I am glad that this is a big group.  I am glad that people are talking out there, but again what do we want to be as a city?  We continue…and the way that I look at it and the way that we talk in staff is the problem is the majority of our residents don’t see that we are dysfunctional.  They see that if they call our Fire Department or the Police Department and then they are there.  Though we will get 150 calls on a day that there is a snow storm yelling at us about why we didn’t get to your street?  They are still plowed within the day.  What have our residents really lost besides the elephant in the room of the leaf pick up?  Still two years later I get yelled at about how we are not vacuuming them off of the tree lawn.  They’re not worried about not getting a rescue squad, or getting police officers, but I personally punished them by eliminating the vacuuming of the leaves.  I am willing to take that beating.  I’ve taken the beating for two years and as soon as fall comes I will take it again.  Out of everything that we’ve cut that is still the biggest complaint that I get.  Is that we don’t vacuum off the tree lawn.  We pay through our garbage fees for yard waste pick-up.  I get that I’ve penalized the seniors.  The City of Mentor has never picked up leaves and they have seniors just like we do.  They will pay to have a landscaper to come and clean their lawn.  The people that are hiring people to clean their lawns are paying maybe about $300.00 for the year, where the levy will cost them $150.00.  We don’t want to give the city anymore money I get it and I live with it.  The resident’s that call and yell at me on a daily basis and I don’t take it personally.  I say what I’ve been saying.  I’m not upset that you’re telling that you’re not going to ever vote for a levy but they will be upset when I cut the services.  These guys live with it every day and I live it and I show up to the fires and the crime scenes no matter what time of the day that it is.  They are all 24/7.  I will throw it out there that I took a pay cut because I thought that if the people see the top person in the city gets it then maybe our residents will get it.  We can say that we deserve someone better.  I know the whole discussion of the city manager’s and I don’t have a problem with city manager’s.  The city manager in Mentor makes $160,000.00.  Are we going to pay a city manager $160,000.00? The difference of a city manager coming in is that…in Mentor all of the people have all of the resources to help them.  You’re not going to get people in here…we’re having a hard time getting a person in here for $24.00 per hour and that’s not enough,  or $18.00 per hour because we reduced going from the inspector.  Now we want a maintance person that doesn’t want to come here.  I am good with everything that has been thrown out there.  I am good with going to a part-time Mayor.  Let’s do that.  If someone could come in here and be the Mayor part-time god bless them.  I hear the things that are out there and the thing that they think that we should change.  In the end we have to help ourselves eventually.  If we continue to choose and say that we don’t want to help ourselves, or we don’t anymore tax increases we are going to fail.  What I have said and people…I have talked to Mrs. Schindel and we are not close to fiscal watch or fiscal emergency. I look at it as a two edge fail.  We fail if we don’t try to do any tax increase.  We fail and we can cop out and say that the state is going to come in and they are going to say all of the things that all of us at this table…as the Chief says make the tough decision.  The state will make it for us and our cop out will be well the state is telling us that we have to reduce it by a percent.  Or the state is saying to lay off five more people.  We can all sit back and it’s a failure from me and from all of us in this room.  That said we decided to take the easy route and let the state come in and tell us this.  I’ve talked to Mrs. Schindel because it comes out there that fiscal watch or fiscal emergency…we are not there.  But we are a few disasters…the roof falls in and hopeful it doesn’t fall on my head or of the employee’s heads in here.  That is out there and when it rains in here we’re all looking up because of the noises that we are hearing.  The HVAC in this building has never been good.  I guess that the only plus is that this place will be paid off in 2017.  In 2018 we will have another $300,000.00 in the General Fund because this will finally be paid off.  There is no amount of money that we can bring in.  When we talk about getting trust from the residents anything that we do and I’m not going to say that it’s a band aide…all of the money that we generate, or as Councilman Hoefle said we split up where the money goes.  The problem is that we are so deep in the hole, especially on repairs.  We are not going to be able to show our residents…they do the reciprocity and show that everyone doubles or triples what they are paying in property tax.  There is nothing new to show and nothing to say “hey all of a sudden we are going to have this great Recreation Department.  We’re going to have reading programs or this program or that program.”  That is not going to happen.  What we are doing here will stabilize the city period.  You will see nothing new.  You will see none of the parks helped unless we get grants.  We just got another grant that we are working on.  We got the grant for the kiddie pool.  The three years that the pool has been open hasn’t cost the city anything.  EPAL went into the community center and it didn’t cost us anything.  We lease out City Hall to the library and between their 2% and the first year that they are here it is $62,000.00 that we didn’t have before.  We are trying to look outside the box and to try and get other revenues.  We are trying to do things and one of the things that will be on the ballot is the Croatian Hall.  We don’t want to increase our taxes, but we want everything like what the other cities have and that is not going to happen.  One of the reasons that we were trying to work with the Croatian Home is to make the area look a little better.  I respect the people that are against it and I respect the people that went to put it on a referendum.  We’ve worked for seven months butting heads to put something on the referendum and when it comes out and see all of the language people are going to be going…when they go to vote on what is on that ballot.  How we are going to explain it is beyond me.  But we will put something out there and ask our residents to vote yes on the City to work with the Croatian Home.  We’ve been trying to do everything without using tax money to keep certain thing open in the city.  The problem is the Police, Fire, Service and the Building Departments…there is no one that is going to come in and say “hey let me donate this much money so you guys can run normally.”  It is not going to happen.  We either help ourselves or we continue to go down this trail like the Chief said and cop out.

 

Mr. Evers: Mr. Rubertino?

 

Mr. Rubertino: So reciprocity…if we go forward with the other three is there some reason that reciprocity can’t be pulled down the road? If this manages to work out so to say, or is reciprocity locked in once we do that. 

 

Mr. Klammer: No I mean it’s….

 

Mr. Rubertino: We can’t move forward with all of this. I am telling you that we are not going to make it waiting three years.  It is just not going to happen.

 

Mr. Klammer: You are exactly right and I think that is what Ms. DePledge was in essence saying. What the Mayor closed with I mean this isn’t a legal decision.  But you are talking about the difference between providing the basics that the residents aren’t going to experience the benefit from, or providing something that’s great.  So reciprocity and then looking at these other sources to make things great for the residents is the ideal.  Right?  That’s how the residents are going to feel something special.  Because the reciprocity is going to fill that gap as best as we can to make sure that everything is safe.  If these other opportunities have the value that some people think that they do, then you can provide something great.  Eastlake is a community where the resident’s want a government to provide these types of quality of life for the parks and all of these types of things.  Other communities the house holds themselves provide those things for their family a lot of the times.  This is where government is supposed to work best for the city.  Small cities like this; it is where the governments supposed to work well.  It is supposed to spend money to provide quality of life that some of the household’s incomes can’t.  So the reciprocity fills the gap to make sure that everything is safe.  These other opportunities maybe provide us an opportunity to provide something special.  That is not a legal issue but there certainly is middle ground there that does both.

 

Chief Whittington: Just one quick comment. This city has used reciprocity before.  We have actually changed reciprocity a year or more, maybe even a year and a half in 2001.  We have actually adjusted reciprocity and brought it down and then we brought it back up again.  So we do have a history of doing that, when we’ve had tough times.  That was right when things started coming off the hill.  Do you remember Mr. D’Ambrosio?

 

Mr. D’Ambrosio: I think that it was in 2003 and it was a quarter percent.

 

Mr. Evers: Quarter percent.

 

Chief Whittington: Just to let everybody know that you can use this as a way to try and stabilize, like in the past. I believe that we were somewhat successful in doing that.  When we got that stabilization we adjusted it again.  Kind of like what Mr. Rubertino was saying that there is a chance and we’ve done it. 

 

Mr. Evers: Is there anybody else? I think that I am going to go out of turn here.  I am going to allow the public to speak before we poll the committee.  Are there any objections?

 

There were no objections.

 

PENDING:

There is no Legislation Pending.

 

MAYOR’S COMMENTS:

Mayor Morley had nothing to report.

There were no further questions or comments.

LAW DEPARTMENT

Mr. Klammer had nothing to report.

There were no further questions or comments.

 

FINANCE DEPARTMENT

Mrs. Schindel had nothing to report.

There were no further questions or comments.

MISCELLANEOUS:

There was nothing under Miscellaneous.

REGOGNITION OF PUBLIC:

Jessica Trivisonno, 34186 Waldmere Dr., Eastlake

Mrs. Trivisonno: First of all I just want to commend the Committee, especially those of the minority. I know that it is hard to address a tax that has people’s questions.  I think that people are brave to bring up alternatives.  The only thing that I really want to mention and I know that I stated this on social media and I am sure that people have read it.  I wish that there was some sort of numbers put down to justify why are you doing it at 1% instead of 2%?  Or 1% instead of reducing it by .25%?  I think that Mr. Zuren mentioned due diligence and I think it is something that this committee could do a little bit more of before making a final decision. 

 

Ted Bares, 3670 Lakehurst Dr., Eastlake

Mr. Bares: I think that it is kind of ironic that you mentioned red light cameras. Several years ago Mr. Evers and I were on a city financial task force that was one of our recommendations.  The previous Mayor and Council shot it down.  So now it has come around again.  I remember at the last Council Meeting Mrs. Schindel mentioned that Massillon is at the bottom of the Moody ratings.  They just eliminated their reciprocity.  I wonder how that is working out.  I am sure that there are other cities that have gone to that same measure.  You are going to be unpopular but like the Mayor said this is the job that you walked into.  You knew what the financial situation is in this city.  I don’t know what it’s going to take to wake the residents up.  I found it interesting that at the last Council Meeting Chief Whittington went on to what I call an impassioned rant.  About what he has been talking about as the situation in the department?  The reporter from the News-Herald was there.  I don’t remember seeing any report in the News-Herald about what he said or what Chief Reik said.  How are the residents going to find out about what is going on?  They probably don’t care, or they are oblivious and I don’t know.  You do have the Eastlake Gazette and you could put it in there.  I don’t know maybe people will respond.  I don’t know.  It’s a very tragic situation that we are facing.  Thank you.

 

Mr. Evers: Mr. Klammer?

 

Mr. Klammer: I hate to cut off and maybe it may have been with Mr. Slocum or again with Mrs. Schindel. We’ve done charts and charts and charts to address Mrs. Trivisonno’s question. Showing different levels of revenue for all different sorts of roll backs or increasing taxes.  There are dozens of those charts.  So to say on social media or anywhere that the city hasn’t done that, it’s been done as far back as Mr. Slocum.  With charts showing what rolling back 25% or rolling back 50% and all of those numbers do. 

 

Jessica Trivisonno, 34186 Waldmere Dr., Eastlake

Mrs. Trivisonno: I guess my question wasn’t what the numbers do or what $2.4 Million can buy. My question is why 2.4 instead of 4.8?  Or why 2.4 instead of just $500,000.00?  I guess I just haven’t heard from Council.  Chief Whittington I know that he has talked about the three fire fighters that he needs and a roof.  That is maybe $350,000.00 and I don’t know what happens with the other $2 Million that we would have extra.  I would like to know where that $2 Million would go typically.

 

Mr. Rubertino: There defiantly isn’t any extra. I’m sorry.

 

Mr. Evers: Mr. Rubertino?

 

Mr. Rubertino: To go back to mine and I gave you a figure of over $1 Million in just repairs that are bare minimum. From the buildings to vehicles that we are driving around, they are rusted vehicles that we work on every single day to get them on the road and I mean every single day.  What you’re asking from my point of view I could give you over $1 Million in just trying to get us stable.  Not even know where near above water.  It’s just that is what we are treading.  I am telling you that catastrophe is coming and I don’t know if anyone wants to hear that or wants to believe it.  These are things that I am bringing out and we have a loader that can’t hold the bucket up.  We have mechanics and truck drivers driving these vehicles…they are getting in a loader and as soon as they pick that bucket up it is falling down.  We are waiting for someone to get killed out here.  I don’t want to use that as an example but that is reality.  Reality is that the equipment that we are working with and I am telling you that the roofs, air conditioning units,  heating units at the Taft Senor Center and everywhere around here is very easily I could give you $1 Million in just a blink of an eye.

 

Mr. Klammer: We had to order people to stop using the salt bin, because we were afraid that it was going to fall over.

 

Mr. Rubertino: We knew that it was going to fall over. Right over by this building and I know that for ten years that I’ve been looking at them, when I was with Recreation,  I think that is under estimating it is $60,000.00 and that was three or four years ago.  I am sure that is an $85,000.00.  Those come down not only are we looking at damaged property but we are looking at potential loss of life.  This is their building over there…their roof.  I know that I am saying that it is raining in there but one of these days a panel is going to come down.  There is nothing holding them up.  They are just at that point.  I think that to find what you are asking on my end alone I could give it to you.  Without a blink of an eye and I could really honestly give you that.  That is taking care of my department as far as buildings, land and vehicles that we require to try and get by.  I’ve been trying to get a loader for the three years that I’ve been here, because of the condition of the loader.  We are in a sad state and I just don’t think we have the time to wait.  Are we luck and go three years and nothing happens?  It is possible and I don’t think that the odds are on our side.  We had in 2010 rain storm and we had to…we are luck that we had the guys that we had.  If we had that today, that July rain storm, we are looking at weeks before people are going to get their garbage picked up, or any type of assistance.  What we have been dealing with is everything is a band aide.  We are stretched to the thinnest…the safety forces are probably in worse condition than I am in.  Because we could blow stuff off and say well we’re just not getting it today and we will get it on the road and we will come back and get it later.  Your safety forces can’t do that.

 

Chief Whittington: I just wanted to one thing real quick.

 

Mr. Evers: Go ahead Chief Whittington.

 

Chief Whittington: During budget hearings and then a subsequent Finance Committee I represented $2 Million from the Fire Department. I think that goes along with what she was asking for.  There’s three right there and I am sure that Chief Reik’s….

 

Ms. DePledge: Does Chief Reik have a number?

 

Chief Reik: I don’t have a specific number, because I have never been asked to come up with one. Basically if you move into a house that is on the verge of having a lot of building violations and you get an influx of money.  You’re going to have places to spend that to get it up to where it should be.  Then it would be up to Council to review that on a monthly semiannual to annual basis.  To say okay now we have those things…now we’re on a descent maintance program.  Now our roofs are infrastructures of a decent amount that we can roll this back.  Maybe we don’t need the employee’s that we had five, ten or fifteen years ago, but these things are going to be much more costly if they are ignored.

 

Mr. Evers: Just for the record and so that the public knows that any expenditure over $12,500.00 has to be approved by Council.

 

Jim Rensaid, 139 Kristine Court, Eastlake

Mr. Rensaid: I just want to see on paper what $2.5 Million is going to get?  A million dollars is a very round number.  It could be $1.3 Million or it could be $750 and $2 Million is a much bigger round number.  It could be $2.4 Million and that could be all of it.  So for the public is $2.4 Million going to get you being almost out of the hole?  It doesn’t sound right and if it’s not going to get you out of the hole, which it doesn’t sound like.  How much out of the hole are you still going to be?  The second part of that is what does a special levy cost verses if you were to put it up in the fall?  Special levies cost…

 

Mayor Morley: Probably about $15,000.00 to $18,000.00.

 

Mr. Rensaid: Verses the fall levy?

 

Ms DePledge: Was it $8,000.00 to $10,000.00? I am just going by and I remember $8,000.00 to $10,000.00 being…$6,000.00, $8,000.00 or $10,000.00.  It was much more for a special levy.

 

Mr. Rensaid: Doubling…spending on a special levy. Just keep that in mind.

 

Ms. DePledge: We know.

 

Mr. Rensaid: Just one last thing before you answer. I’m a school teacher so I’m paid by tax dollar money so I am in favor of the reciprocity.  The Mayor probably knows that from the phone calls to him.  So do whatever you have to do in my opinion.  The lady who left that was in the other chair will probably say the opposite.  That was my wife.  I completely understand what you guys have to do.  I really can’t understand why the three things that Mr. Zuren brought up I really don’t get the debate at all.  If it’s going to raise revenue why not just try it out.  We can always…

 

Mr. Evers: There again if there is an upfront cost do we have the money in the budget to do? Or do we go into negative spending?

 

Mr. Rensaid: I get that and he suggested in taking out the loan. I get that you are going to have to pay back the loan and pay money out.  In the end result you’re still going to make money in the end.  If it’s going to raise revenue it’s a no brainer to me.

 

Mr. Evers: I agree that it’s a no brainer except for one thing. We are going to lose three firemen.  Do we lose the three firemen to take out a loan?  Or do we keep the three firemen?

 

Ms. DePledge: We’re going to lose them anyway.

Mr. Rensaid: I don’t agree with you with the three firemen. The ideas are raising money…

 

Mr. Evers: Like I said they are well worth looking into. We just need to do it a lot further.

 

Mr. Rensaid: Now he’s feeling…about bringing up any alternatives. Thank you.

 

Randy Phillips, 1187 East 340th Street, Eastlake

Mr. Phillips: I’ve heard talk about no raises in ten years and all of that. If you look at the economy now days that’s the way it is throughout the whole country.  People are not making more money they are making less money now.  So what I wanted to reiterate to Council, the Mayor and everybody is when you’re talking about reciprocity you better use some hard numbers for this, because you could be hurting a lot of people out there.  There are people that are living on less money then they started out with ten years ago.

 

Jim Feralkie, 219 Erie View, Eastlake

Mr. Feralkie: You used the figure of $300.00 in addition with the reciprocity. All that $300.00…I’ve lived here all of my life and I’m a home owner and I pay my taxes for twenty-eight years here.  I would much rather have my $300.00 go directly to Eastlake then for a levy to be put in.  I don’t know if somebody can tell on a levy on a $300.00 increase what the city would get.  Would it be $9.00 maybe or less than that?

 

Mayor Morley: Like I said do the math. My $3,300 is $259.00 that the city gets.

 

Mr. Phillips: I’m all for it. I would much rather the city receives the $300.00 directly from me than twiddle it through for everything else.  I’m tired of paying for schools.  In regards to the three things.  Mr. Evers said you’re looking at…I forget the figure to start the Mayor’s Court.  You’re asking her to find out rates on that.  You better increase it because if your saying for the three of those being $350,000.00.  He said that the Mayor’s Court initial start up is $350,000.00 and whatever for the other stuff. 

 

Mr. Evers: The initial start up back in 2008 when we looked at it was $350,000.00 to $500,000.00.

 

Mr. Phillips: He was saying for $350,000.00 for all three things to start up. You’re going to have to increase whatever the figures she would try to get.  As far as reciprocity I would rather give my $300.00 directly to the city then funnel it through the county.  Then we would only get $27.00 or whatever it would be.

 

Mr. Rubertino: And you work outside the city?

 

Mr. Phillips: I work outside the city and we’re not doing very well either. Like what Mr. Rubertino was saying we’re not far off.  I work for Mentor-On-The-Lake and we are putting band aides on everything everywhere else.

 

Kris Krajnyak, 1278 Waverly, Eastlake

Mrs. Krajnyak: I think that people are taking this as to mutually exclusive idea that I don’t think that they necessarily need to be. In my opinion I’ve always been for reciprocity for a short amount of time simple to save the services that are needed.  It’s been since 2008 about a rental program occupancy permit nuisance abatement was if our services are ten to fifteen times for an over dose to the same address.  Then start charging that address or that landlord like other cities do over three times a year.  Start recouping some of the costs that you guys are just throwing away.  The three ideas are fantastic and they should have been implemented a long time ago.  I don’t care if it is $350,000.00 or $500,000.00 to start it up.  If you’re going to do reciprocity don’t dump $2 Million in this department and $1 Million in this department.  How about thinking long term that we are going to do our absolute basics that we need.  Maybe not do this roof right now and wait the three years and pray to god.  Take $350,000.00 and start one of these programs and drop the reciprocity in two years.  I just don’t think that it needs to be one or the other.  I’ve made it very clear on the block watch site and every other social media site that I have always been for the reciprocity.  Simple because I was there when they implemented it before and when it got rolled back.  Mr. Zuren is thinking outside the box like other people did in Citizens of Advisory Committee.  It could have been implemented then.  The occupancy permit had some teeth to the rental inspection program, because if a landlord doesn’t pay these fees they don’t get an occupancy permit.  It’s the same thing that other cities do with a bar that becomes a nuisance and the nuisance abatement laws and you say “Frank you really want a liquor permit well sorry you’re not getting one.”  Euclid did it and they fought it and they lost and the bar is no longer there.  At least you’re not dumping services into the same property.  Mr. Zuren is right it’s improving the property, the property values and the reciprocity needs instated for a short term.  I say fine but I don’t want to see it dumped into each department.  It’s just putting a band aide on it.  That’s all that it’s doing.  And what Ms. DePledge was talking about where you’re giving something back to the residents and improving the quality of life.  You’re not doing that because unless I’m calling the Police or Fire I’m not using their services and quite frankly they don’t care.  But they care when things bother them like leaf pick up.  They care when they can’t take their kids to parks.  And the parks look like crap.  That is what they care about.  I just want to see that if you guys go forward with this think more long term and use this as a stepping stone.  Not just to bail out the departments, which is important and don’t get me wrong.  I have always been for you guys and for the reciprocity.  But use it as a stepping stone.  I think that it is important. 

 

Mr. Evers: Mr. Hamercheck I believe that we put you on hold.

 

Mr. Hamercheck: I am just here as a guest.

 

Tod Vogler, 516 Hells Court, Eastlake

Mr. Vogler: I’m not opposed to reciprocity. I work outside of the city and I live in the city.  I am not opposed to it.  I’m not willing to portray the Police Department or the Fire Department.  I have very rarely ever need them because…if I call the Police Department there’s been a felony.  I am not willing to betray them any longer.  With that being said I’ve heard Council talk about how there is no trust.  Going on that tangent that you believe that there is no trust so you have nothing to lose is a fatal error.  I am very social with my residents on my street and we all know each other.  I am letting you know that these people will become bitterness to you if all you do is a band aid, without doing anything further.  The bitterness to you guys, so I would highly encourage you to pursue other options, like the ones that were presented here today in addition to this tax. Essentially it’s a tax.  You are going to have to answer the question “okay I live in the city and I work outside the city.  You’re going to charge me more do I use city services?”  I don’t use city services anymore but you’re going to charge me more.  If your gong to charge me more, you are going to have to pursue additional options as well.  I’m not opposed to you taxing me more.  I get it but you have to pursue additional options as well or these people are going to be very angry with you.  Very angry and I’m just throwing it out there.

 

Chief Whittington: I know that Kris brought it up also. When we did pursue levies we were actually quick to give Mrs. Schindel a bare bone…that $2 Million is what I need.  So the bare bones that I gave Mrs. Schinedel were $700,000.00.  Just so you know and I know that Chief Reik and Mr. Rubertino did have…I represent that to you like this is what I got going on right now.  We went to Mrs. Schindel with what the Mayor asked us to do.  We gave that…what’s the bare bone numbers.  That represents the Fire Department $700,000.00.  I can account for that as my three people and it also gives me back my ambulance billing money.  It allows my guys to train, get equipment and things like that.  Obviously some of the money that I get in that $400,000.00 I could chip away at some of those other $2 Million and that is where I stand.  I just want everybody to know that we do have a plan B with Mrs. Schindel as far as reciprocity goes.  I know that Mr. Hoefle was talking and we first brought this up there was never ever a discussion about giving one department…recreation, giving the Mayor back certain line items it was spread out across the board of the budget.  In what they are going to do with that money.  I just think that was something to help clear up with everybody.  That is where we are at with that.

 

Joe D’Ambrosio, 859 Audrey Drive, Eastlake

Mr. D’Ambrosio: I sat at this table for ten years and most of you know that. Something that I heard today that did make a lot of sense and actually Chief Whittington touched on it.  There was a reciprocity done and I believe that it was a quarter percent in 2002 or 2003.  If something was done as far as reciprocity and I am just thinking out loud here.  Say that it was put on for a year or for two years and Mr. Krajnyak actually mentioned this too…then the other options were looked at and it was done in conjunction.  Maybe in two years or a year whatever, maybe the reciprocity can be rescinded it is a possibility.  It does give you a fix now.  All I’m saying is don’t do what I did.  We did have options and we put one thing on the ballot and they failed.  Don’t do that.  I made a mistake.  You have two good options here that could work in conjunction and I would consider those deeply.  I think that it could work for the short term and for the long term.  Thank you.

 

Mr. Evers: Mr. Rubertino?

 

Mr. Rubertino: I would also like to comment when I figure a million dollars I’m not looking to get a million dollars today. I’m just saying that’s what I’m looking at in a short term three year progress. That is approximately where we are going to be.  As far as bringing up the issues with the raises it’s been ten years.  I’m looking at ten years of guys that have now gone from a department of forty employees down to twelve handling that entire load.  The stress level and the amount of work that is on those guys to me justifies that they are somewhere compensated.  If you go and look at the wage scales that city’s employees are making and compare them to other communities of our size.  They are not even close they are on the dead bottom.  These communities are running forty to fifty people.  They have twenty or thirty part-time employees helping threw the summer.  And they bring them out there in the winter time when they need the extra help.  When you get into that raise issue you’re going to say well I don’t want a guy…just because he hasn’t had a raise in ten years.  There is more than just they haven’t had a raise in ten years.  The work load justifies that somewhere along the line these employees and the city as a whole is running at a base scale.  It is so far below the normal wages.  With the amount of work that they are putting out there, they are justified.  I’m not just saying well we’re just giving these people raises we’re going to do reciprocity to give raises.  You have to look at the whole structure of it.  These employees deserve this.  They have been scratching the bottom for so long.  I know there are other people out there that don’t have that money and they aren’t making that.  But you have to take it as a whole.  You have to go by a wage scale that is set across the board.  Nobody in this city is over paid.  They are over worked and they are busting their butts on a regular basis.  Maybe the residents do see that but they are doing that.  That’s why I don’t like that just saying that we are giving raises, because they haven’t had them for ten years.  We’re giving them raises because they deserve the raises for the amount of work that they are putting in.  With all of the layoffs and the short comings that they’ve had.  I am done for the night and thank you.

 

Jim Kranstand, 139 Kristine Court, Eastlake

Mr. Kranstand: There are dumb people in the city who think that $2.5 Million is all going to go toward raises. One of my neighbors actually thinks that a vast majority of the money is going to raises.  You actually have to put it on paper will you estimate is going to go.  I’m all for the raises and I don’t care.  You guys need them and I get that.  But you have to put on paper what your estimated in estimates of a wiggly work there.  You have to let people know how much of that….

 

Chief Whittington: That is done. That’s not a tax so that’s done.

 

Mr. Kranstand: Where can I see that on paper?

 

Chief Whittington: You can follow up with Mrs. Schindel.

 

Mr. Kranstand: That has to be big front page on Eastlake’s website. You have to have a click here and see this.  You have to put it as big as you can, because people are stupid.  They think $2.15 Million is going for a raise.

 

Mr. Rubertino: The past Mayor running for election stated that this Mayor was coming in here just to give everybody raises. Well he’s been here three and a half years….there hasn’t been a single raise. 

 

Mr. Kranstand: On what you intend to spend the money on. Other people are shaking their head saying where it is and I don’t know where it is.  We have to be able to talk to other people and spread the word about what this money is going for.  Or like he said you’re going to have angry people.

 

Chief Whittington: That is a very good thought.

 

Mr. Evers: Mrs. Schindel could you possibly get that up on the website for us? I’m not asking for it by tomorrow.

 

Mrs. Schindel: If not tomorrow we will do it for you.

 

Mr. Evers: We are way past our thirty minutes and I will allow two more people and then we are going to cut it.

 

Heather Freeman, 1252 East 357th Street, Eastlake

Ms. Freeman: I just want to say that I agree with a lot of the comments that were heard here tonight. As far as show us where the money is going to go and how you’re going to utilize it.  I was really moved by Chief’s testimony as far as the dire need for the Fire Department.  I think that utilize your Chief’s to sell this to the residents and they are passionate behind it will show people what the dire need is for their departments.  Look at the other three options and you can’t just do this band aide.  I don’t want to see this forever and ever.  How are we going to create revenue on going?  I don’t think that it is fair just to have 8,600 or however many people are affected by it.  Only a portion of the residents are going to pay for all of this to fix it.  This can’t be the long term solution there has to be something else that is going to…you can’t just have a small portion of your population to give you all the money to bring you up to where you need to be and beyond.  It’s not fair it needs be…you raise the whole income up…income tax to two and a half percent for everybody across the board.  Or you just do this short term to keep yourself a float and how you’re going to maintain the services and provide.

 

Angelo Trivisonno, 34186 Waldmere Drive, Eastlake

Mr. Trivisonno: I am very impressed by all of the residents that came to this meeting and stuck it out for over two hours. This is the longest meeting that I’ve been at and I have been going to every single one for about two years now.  I was really impressed to hear some of the idea put forth by three of the different Council Members.  I really had no idea what I was going to hear tonight when this was referred back to committee at the last Council Meeting.  I hope that for all seven of the Council Members that you don’t just take the opportunity to move this forward and do some sort of hybrid.  That you don’t just pass reciprocity and shaft all of the other plans…some members not voting for them and pushing it into negotiations.  This was my personal experience with Central Park in trying to make that a better place for residents.  We were told to negotiate with some people and it was a waste of time.  It was an absolute waste of time and you got some venom I think.  I really hate to see that happening through a Charter Amendment, where both taxes and reciprocity are locked in.  I think as multiple residents have said over there you need to show this stuff on paper.  A lot of these meeting, especially the Finance Committee Meeting that I have been to there is a lot of passion.  It is good to hear from the Chief’s and the Director’s as to what is going on in their departments.  Ultimately you are running a business.  It is a municipal corporation and you have million dollar budgets.  You have several employees and things need to be justified on papers, with numbers, and they need to be critically viewed.  For example the February budget Meeting when the yearly budget was passed no one really questioned any numbers.  I think that I asked like two questions and that was it.  I am glad to see that Mr. Kasunick expressed skepticism about some of the speculation on the numbers.  That is good and I think that speculation is healthy to have and you need to review it to see if these are justified.  I think that you should have additional meetings but there has to be follow through.  If there are reports you need to release them to the public.  So we are not spinning our wheels and reinventing everything from scratch again.  I think that this was one of the best meetings that I have ever been too.  I think that there was a healthy discussion at times.  I hope that everyone here learned a little bit more about what these Director’s and Council Members have to decide on a daily basis and what they go through.  That is my only comment.

 

Mr. Klammer: Whenever this question of the Central Park negations comes up that is simply not true. I participated in those discussions with the Mayor’s assistance and Council’s assistance.  We scheduled multiple meetings and I personally sat in those meetings with the people from the Croatian Center and probably spent nearly two hours discussing those terms.  So to give the impression on these minutes to these people in this community that it was disingenuous and everybody brushed you off is simply not true.  I participated in those meetings and that’s not fair.

 

Mr. Evers: At this point we are going to close the public portion. I am going to go back and poll the entire Council.  Last time we polled all seven members we in favor.  Mr. Meyers move forward or table it?

 

Mr. Meyers: Before I give you my answer I would like to comment on what some of the members of the public have said. Talking to my residents I basically get the same concerns from the residents.  Which is if you are going to move forward with reciprocity you need to sit down with us and show us where the money is going to go? 

 

Mr. Evers: We discussed that in the last Finance Committee Meeting. We said that if we moved it forward we had six weeks to come up with a plan.

 

Ms. DePledge: The conversation isn’t over tonight. We are going to continue to work on this and we are going to make sure that all of the money is allocated fairly.  First where it’s most needed, fairly and obviously not evenly.  We talked about putting money into fire, police, service and the administration, or electronics, and our recreation.  We want to spread this money out evenly and make sure that we are addressing as many needs as we can as quickly as we can.  It is an ongoing conversation, but we are at a point where we have to do something.  We have to move forward and we can continue to keep that dialog open.  I hope that everybody comes back.  This is phenomenal to have this many people here.  It is such a critical juncture in the financial history of our community.  It warms my heart.  The conversation isn’t over it is going to continue.

 

Mr. Meyers: Like I said I would like to see the numbers and everything.

 

Mr. Evers: Move forward or table it?

 

Mr. Meyers: Table it.

 

Mr. Evers: Mr. Spotton?

 

Mr. Spotton: Table it.

 

Mr. Evers: Mr. Kasunick?

 

Mr. Kasunick: Move it forward please.

 

Mr. Evers: Mr. Zuren?

 

Mr. Zuren: Table it with a comment. The public is asking for a term limit on what we are talking about, a dollar amount, a budget and investment in our future, investment for tomorrow.  Unless that’s on the table in black and white and I can pick it up and read it.  Every other person in the community can read it table it.

 

Mr. Evers: Mayor Morley?

 

Mayor Morley: It’s yours. I have no vote I am not on Council.

 

Mr. Evers: This is our city and we have to run it as a team.

 

Mayor Morley: You know that I am not for reciprocity. If the seven of you come about and pass it I will not veto it.

 

Mr. Evers: Mr. Hoefle?

 

Mr. Hoefle: Move it forward for the 1% reciprocity. With stipulations that we will aggressively look at the different things again that can continue to produce revenue for the city.  I think that is something that we have always been trying.  We’ve looked at these suggestions that Mr. Zuren brought to the table and we have all looked at those over the years.  Even when Mr. D’Ambrosio was on Council and these things have been brought up before.  But we should continue to do it but I think that what we need to do is to do the reciprocity.  I say move it forward. 

 

Mr. Evers: Ms. DePledge?

 

Ms. DePledge: I say move it forward.

 

Mr. Evers: Polled the Committee and the Committee has voted and they will move forward. To be presented at the next Council Meeting.  In the mean time we will meet with the Finance Director and the Mayor and the Directors and lay out a paper plan as to where the money will be spent.

 

Mr. Trivisonno: In a public meeting and I am sorry to interrupt.

 

Mr. Evers: We are done. It will move forward for Council’s vote. Mayor Morley?

 

Mayor Morley: I think that you need to answer Mr. Trivisonno’s…as much as sometimes we don’t get along I think that you need to answer that question.

 

Ms. DePledge: Everything is going to be open. Everything is always open.

 

Mr. Evers: What were you going to say Mr. Trivisonno?

 

Mr. Trivisonno: Just the action that you just suggested sounded like something that we need to comply with…

 

Mr. Klammer: Everything the city does comply with the opens. It always has.

 

Mr. Evers: There is no violation. There has never been a violation of the Ohio Sunshine Laws and there won’t be and to imply that is ridiculous.  There have been no secret meetings of this Finance Committee.

 

 

The meeting was adjourned at 9:00 p.m.

 

tms     

 

                                                                        APPROVED: ___________________________

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        DATE: ___________________________

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