The Regular Meeting of the Eastlake City Council was held at Eastlake City Hall, 35150 Lakeshore Boulevard. The Meeting was called to order by Council President Mr. D’Ambrosio at approximately 7:07 p.m.
The Pledge of Allegiance was led by Ms DePledge.
Members of Council in attendance were Mrs. Quinn-Hopkins, Mr. Licht, Ms. DePledge, Mr. Hoefle, Mr. D’Ambrosio and Council President Mr. D’Ambrosio. Ms. Vaughn is absent and excused.
Those attending from the Administration were Mayor Morley, Police Chief Reik, Fire Chief Whittington, Law Director Klammer, Finance Director Slocum, Service Director Semik, and City Engineer Gwydir.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Regular Council Meeting – December 9, 2014, however December 16, 2014 is not ready.
MOTION: Ms. DePledge moved to approve the minutes of the Regular Council Meeting of December 9, 2014. Mr. Licht seconded.
ROLL CALL: Six (6)Yeas.
Motion carried. The minutes were approved.
Mr. D’Ambrosio: We will go into Council President’s Report. The next scheduled Council-as-a-Whole Committee Meeting will be Tuesday, January 27, 2015 at 7:00 p.m. with the Regular Council meeting immediately following the adjournment of the Council-as-a-Whole Committee meeting.
COMMUNICATIONS & PETITIONS
Communication from the Administration regarding the purchase of a backhoe for the Service Department, we will refer this into the Finance Committee.
A communication from the Administration regarding an agreement between the City of Eastlake and E-Pal for the use of the Community Center. This will also go into the Finance Committee.
A liquor license transfer request from 5945 Andrews LLC, doing business as El Palanque Mexican Restaurant, at 35520 Vine Street, Eastlake, OH 44095 and Bullbar LLC, doing business as Bullbar, 36091 Vine Street, Eastlake, OH 44095. These were discussed at Council-as-a-Whole. There were no objections from the Mayor or the Police Chief, and Mr. Hoefle is going to make a motion on these.
Also a communication from WPCC regarding replacement of the Outfall Diffuser Replacement Project. This was talked about in Council-as-a-Whole, that is what Mr. Gwydir and the Mayor were commenting on.
Mr. D’Ambrosio: We had no Committee reports since our last Council meeting in late December on the 16th. We have not had any Committee reports so is there anybody from Council that has anything that they would like to report?
Mr. Hoefle: I hereby approve the liquor license transfer from 5945 Andrews LLC dba El Palenque Mexican Restaurant,35520 Vine Street, Eastlake, OH 44095 to Mandez Rodriequez LLC, 35520 Vine Street, Eastlake, OH 44095. I so move.
Mr. D’Ambrosio: Is there a second.
Mr. Evers: Second
Roll taken: Unanimous.
Mr. Hoefle: I hereby approve the liquor license transfer from Bullbar LLC dba Bullbar, 36091 Vine Street, Eastlake, OH 44095, to Robert F. Macerra LLC, at 36091 Vine Street, Eastlake, OH 44095. I so move.
Mr. D’Ambrosio: Is there a second.
Mr. Evers: Second
Roll taken: Unanimous.
Mr. D’Ambrosio: These two liquor licenses are approved. Anybody else during Committee Reports have anything that they would like to comment on?
RECOGNITION OF THE PUBLIC
Mr. D’Ambrosio recognized the public input at this time; he reminded the speakers that there is a 3-minute limit for their comments; all comments are to be directed to the Chair and not include any personalities or individuals.
Mr. D’Ambrosio: Nobody has signed up. Is there anybody who would like to speak?
Jean: Jean Germacco, 33845 Willowick Dr., Eastlake, OH 44095. I just wanted to come up here and tell you how proud I am of my City. I am going to tell you, I talked with Mayor Morley last meeting and I am so proud, I don’t even know how you come to work everyday with the mounting problems in this City and yet he does. He had such a great attitude and I was just so impressed by that, and I had an opportunity to call the Building Department because I work for a contractor and I was just so amazed. They were just so on top. I know that everybody is short handed. I was just so proud of, they were right on the phone. They had to get back to me, they called me back in like 20 minutes. Most Cities don’t call you back for 20 days. Our people were on top of it. I was thinking about Nick Rubertino the other day when I was up at 4:00 in the morning and it was snowing and I kept hearing those snowplows go by. I thought, you know what the roads look great. I know they are not perfect, but I think they look great for what you are going through. I just really wanted to acknowledge you people and your departments. Obviously, we see what is going on here in front of us at the Council Meeting itself. That is fabulous. I was just personally, in a car accident and I got rear ended about an hour and a half ago and the Police Department was awesome. Chief Reik, Ken Roberts, I called 911, they patched me through and a dispatcher was right on it. She was happy, kind, she was nice, pull over, go ahead and pull in the parking lot. The guy ran. He took off on me. The Policeman pulled in, he was there probably 5 minutes after I called and took care of it. We went up and tried to get the license plate off of my bumper, because he hit me pretty hard. I mean just fabulous. Above and beyond. So I do commend them as well. I just really want to say, I know you guys are having a hard time and that you are short staffed and I know that it would be real easy to cop an attitude and I am just, my experience with the City, I am not seeing it. I just really want to encourage you and let you know that I see it and appreciate it.
Mr. D’Ambrosio: Jean thank you very much. Glad you didn’t get hurt in that accident. Is there anybody else that would like to address Council?
There were no other public speakers.
LEGISLATION PROPOSED – First number will be 2015-001
RESOLUTION NO.: 2015-001
Requested by: Administration A Resolution authorizing the City Engineer to Sponsored by: Council prepare plans and specifications and to advertise for bids for the Willoughby-Eastlake Water Pollution Control Center outfall diffuser replacement project, and declaring and emergency.
MOTION: Ms. Quinn-Hopkins moved to suspend the rules requiring separate readings and
reading in full. Mr. Licht seconded.
ROLL CALL: Yeas unanimous.
MOTION: Ms. Quinn-Hopkins moved to adopt. Mr. Licht seconded.
ROLL CALL: Yeas unanimous.
Motion carried. Legislation is adopted.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
There is no Legislation Pending.
There was no Unfinished Business.
There was no New Business.
MAYOR/SAFETY DIRECTOR – Dennis Morley
Mayor Morley: Thank you Mr. President. Excuse my voice this evening. I have a cold that I cannot get rid of for two weeks. Happy New Year to everyone. Thanks for coming out in this weather to come to our meeting. Jean, thank you for the kind words. I know that we had our first staff meeting and we discussed, and that is what our goal is. The Directors goal is to stay positive, stay positive with our residence when they are calling us. Yesterday was a trying day for Nick and myself with the snowfall and people in and complaining and basically what we have told them is we have everyone that we have in our trucks. Our trucks are out. We have four people per shift, 24 hours. Then we have been having some overlap of 12 hours. We have been having some break downs and I will let Nick talk about the breakdowns and yesterday we were down to three trucks. But we are out there. We are out there 24 hours. As I said, and will continue to say our goal is for the mains, the hills and the secondary’s. People that called yesterday are mostly on cald-a-sac and side streets and we are doing our best to get there. I think actually, driving thru some of the other Cities in the last few days, I think that we are doing a good job. Again, not going to complain about what we have or what we don’t have. We have to do what we can do with the people we have and that is what we will continue to do. One item I would like to talk about, I talked to Nick and the Building Official today is some of the contractors that people are hiring are putting their snowplowing and then leaving snow in the street. They are suppose to keep all that snow off the street. East Overlook was one of them yesterday that we got a call on and Nick went down there. There was like ten houses where contractors left the snow in the street. The way the snow has been in the last couple of days, is goes to slush and then to rock hard and if you hit that on the bottom of your car, it is not real well. What I have told the residence is if they can see who the contractors are, they do register with the Police also, so we may look to see who’s where and possibly. At least give them a talk to say, hay just make sure that the snow is put into a spot where it is not impeding the street.
You may have noticed in the communications talk with E-Pal to take over the Community Center. The Bingo that we had in there was leaving and they were one of our big sources of income. If you remember and go back the last ten years when we first had the financial woes eight or nine years ago, the only reason the Community Center stayed open was Bingo went in there and then followed gymnastics. They paid the bills so there wasn’t any cost to the City. With Bingo leaving we had to tell gymnastics that they would not be able to come back because we would not be able to cover the cost. So E-Pal, we are going to sit down with them. We have talked a little about making a contract, Mr. Evers is the E-Pal President. So we have talked about them taking over the Community Center and it will be set up how it is with our Senior Center of we lease from the Willoughby-Eastlake Schools for our Senior Center for a $1.00 a year, but all the cost of any repairs, running it, electricity is all on the Senior Center. That’s how we are basing this contract, that E-Pal will take care of all the electric, repairs and there will be no cost and that is a good thing. They will also schedule anyone that wants to rent out the Center and they will basically take over the day to day running. Talking to Mr. Evers, E-Pal wants to try to do some enhancements over there. So we hope that works out.
Again, if you have read the Gazette, YMCA and Mr. Small from Best Supply, we are going to be able to open up the pool again and right now they have discount coupons on there. My next Gazette article for February will have call the YMCA 440-946-1160 and they will give you the information, but it is a 20% discount right now if you sign up. They want to try to get ahead of the game and get more people signed up before the pool opens.
That is the end of my report and I am open for questions.
Mr. D’Ambrosio: Any questions for the Mayor? Mr. Hoefle?
Mr. Hoefle: Mayor, I just want to clarify with the snow plowers. I had one residence, she had where a snow plower from her neighbor’s house was dragging the snow out and was then taking the snow and pushing it into her yard. I did call that contractor and I told them that he has to push it back into that resident’s property, they cannot put it across the street in someone else’s yard, or even their next door neighbors. I just wanted to make sure that you were aware of that.
Mayor Morley: That is something that we can monitor. What I have told the residence that are calling in yesterday, if you see the truck, at least call right away, even if it is call the Police and report it that they are pushing snow. So if we have a car in the area, we can take a look at it. And talk to them.
Mr. Hoefle: The resident did give me the name that was on the truck and I called and took care of it.
Mayor Morley: Okay, good.
Mr. D’Ambrosio: Anything else for the Mayor? We will go to our Fire Chief Ted Whittington.
Mr. Whittington: Thank you Mr. President. Most of you already know that we started off the year in a tragic way we had our third fatal event in this City within a month. We did have a Fire Fighter injured. I did hear from some members of Council. I do appreciate the phone calls. He did not miss work. He had the ceiling fall on him. We had him looked at, he had a couple a scrapes and bruises, but luckily he was able to come back. The investigation is still open on the house fire. We are waiting to get back some more results from the autopsy. We did some preliminary information from that. We continue to make ourselves available to the family and help them work through this.
As far as operational changes goes, the one thing that I know that we deal with, which I knew was going to be an issue was the transporting of people to facilities outside of Lake West. We have had some very, very irate people, because of our inability to go to other places. What we are trying to explain to everybody is my decision. I made that decision. Part of that is, it is most certainly difficult for me to explain to the next call how come I sent two or three of my members to Hillcrest or Euclid, which is 30 or 40 minutes away, when I have a hospital 10 minutes away. Plus, going to other facilities dictates on the medical needs of the patient. We actually have to call Lake West for permission. So if you get any calls, I am not sure, I know that some of the people the squad guys have dealt with said that they were going to be calling Council, the Mayor and myself. I have yet to get an official complaint. Other than the few that the guys are fielding. If you hear anything send them my way. Standing on that decision, I think that with the staffing that we have, I cannot justify sending people outside the City. There are some circumstances where that may need to happen, especially if it was a seriously injured patient. But we will monitor it the best that we can.
We always conduct our awards ceremony internally, so I will just make some announcements of some of the things that came out. The Firefighter of the Year this year was Greg Miscovitch, Greg has taken on a lot of the projects that we do next door, beside the Fire Station, painting flooring, that type of thing. He has been very aggressive, young guy who comes to work with a positive attitude. So he was most certainly deserving of this and we are proud of him. We did issue three metals of Fire Chief’s accommodation to Lt. Kovosic, Firefighter Harvey, and Firefighter Havel for their work at the trailer park fatality. Then we did two unit citations, which represent acts that challenge our people and it was for the accident on Route 91 and Robert. A lady was pinned in a car for over an hour. Then also a car fire at 351 where we actually had a severely burnt patient that was removed. Actually she is still alive. So I just kind of mentioned that to you guys, and we conduct that internally. But for me to get it on record, and to let you guys know that I am proud of those guys, they work very, very hard and most of the time when I am at these scenes, my job is to take on the political role, and I just stand back and watch them do their thing and I am always in awe of that. I am open for questions.
Mr. D’Ambrosio: Mayor?
Mayor Morley: Two things. Just to back what the Chief was saying. I am in full backing of the Chief’s decision to make with the hospital runs. Also, I have been at both of the major fires and it is. I am proud of the employees that we have as our Fire Fighter’s here that go in there. The second one was 1:30 am. I was there from 1:30 am till 4:00 am. They were there actually a lot longer at that time of the morning, and just to see our Fire Fighters and the surrounding Cities that come out to help us. It is just amazing. I am like him, I sit in awe. I stand by the communications and talk to the Chief or any other Chief’s that are there in command, and they are very good at telling me what is going on, so I can see what is going on. It’s sad to see when we have a fatality, but they go above and beyond. And continue to go above and beyond with our Department and surrounding Departments. I told the Mayor’s that this morning. I had a meeting with the Mayor’s, Wickliffe, Willoughby Hills, and Willowick this morning, Mayor Anderson was not available. There will be a continued mutual aid. That is what that part of the mutual aid is all about. I don’t want to take from him, if you have any questions for the Chief.
Mr. D’Ambrosio: Anything for Chief Whittington? Chief, thank you. We will go to our Police Chief Larry Reik.
Mr. Reik: We also had some changes in service. I forwarded those to the Mayor and I believe he forwarded them to Council. There are some of them that I expected issue with but knock on wood so far, it has gone pretty well to where shift levels, and the supervisors have been able to explain that we have X amount of personnel and they are going to be assigned to our higher priorities and go from there. So far it appears that most people have understood and accepted that explanation.
We have been with the Fire Department on either calls and have assisted them. I think as always, we are fortunate. So of our counterparts don’t have the relationship that Chief Whittington and I have. I think the Department is pretty much the same thing, where if any of us have a major incident, the other Department can be counted on. That is nice to have. The same relationship with Nick, we know, it just helps out a lot with personnel that know we can go to any of the Directors and get done what needs to be done. If you guys get any complaints for the way the services are provided by the Department, if you would let me know, we can at least discuss it. Make sure that the people have the right information and from there, there is not much else we can do. That is all that I have. I am open for questions.
Mr. D’Ambrosio: Any questions for Chief Reik?
Mayor Morley: And the same thing for the Police Department. The Police Department was there doing their function, Service was there that day, bringing salt, so that the Fire Fighter’s wouldn’t slip. There was a lot of water and a lot of ice, and it was like 5 degrees. The Service guys were there putting the salt down, the Police were there directing the traffic. It is something to see. It is amazing what we all take for granted as to what they do every day. And that is what has opened my eyes from being at the scenes.
Mr. D’Ambrosio: Nothing for Chief Reik. We will go to our CBO, Dave Menn.
Mr. Menn: Just to let you know that our landscaping bid is going to be advertised in the paper, in the News-Herald on the 15th and the 22nd. This is the bid to help us, unfortunately, when we have to go out and mow a lawn, pick up trash, debris and after we have cited the homeowners or businesses that this contractor, whoever would get the bid, would do the services for us. I would like to thank Mike Slocum for helping me, we tweaked it from years past. Nothing major, but just made a few little changes, and Mike helped me out on it. That is all that I have.
Mr. D’Ambrosio: Any questions for Dave? Dave, thank you. We will go to our Service Director, Nick Rubertino.
Mr. Rubertino: Good evening everybody. How are you today? Yesterday was a trying day. I absolutely appreciate that. It is nice to get recognized that the guys are out there. We did have a lot of issues with vehicles yesterday. We had more trucks down than we had running. But I think the guys did a great job. We had our bigger issues on our cul-de-sacs our dead ends. Our two smaller vehicles, which we use to do those areas were both down and they are probably going to be down for awhile. To give you an idea. I have an 8 ton truck going down a dead end street and they have to literally back all the way out of that street when they are that small, because they cannot turn around in a driveway. So we have small trucks that are down. We did have incidents, most of them were cul-de-sacs or dead ends. For the most part the guys were out there all day. 24 hours we had nonstop going. We are down to one mechanic, unfortunately. We also had one on vacation. Not complaining. They really went out and did a great job. For the few complaints that we get, I am proud of what they have done. These are things that we are always trying to stay ahead of. I think for the most part that they did a good job.
I gave you a list of what our equipment is and where we are really at, as far as our depleted vehicles. We are working with three vehicles that are newer than 99. We have vehicles back in the early 90’s that, it’s not like you take your car out and drive it to work or store it. These trucks they are beat every day. Not that they are abused, but they are used for everything that we have to do. It takes a toll on them. The expense to repair them, you get into a commercial vehicle that comes into the 90’s and parts are rare if available at all. As you can see on the list, we have quite a few trucks where they are not worth the value to put the money into them that it is going to cost to fix them. That is something that I would like to look into down the road here. We are definitely going to have to address that. I don’t know how, but we are going to do everything that we can and trust me when I tell you that we are out there. We have no reason to put snow in some one’s driveway that we can’t be forced to put in there.
We are not neglecting streets. We are not putting snow from one side to the other, because we have a friend on that road. I heard quite a few things yesterday. We had one incident, on East Overlook, where a gentleman came out to the end of the driveway with his shovel and defied the plow driver to go by. So I don’t know where he wanted us to put the snow but he didn’t want it in the driveway. And when we came back the other way, he crossed the street and literally stood in the road. These are things, these guys are stressed out to, they are 12 hour days. You know that the amount of rest they get is minimal in those snow storms. But they are out there. I can just tell you that as hard as it is to take the call from the people when they come in, it’s gratifying to hear, Jean come up there and make the comments. There are people that recognize us. I would just say that if you get calls, I am here 24/7. I will take any call. I will explain to anybody as best as I can. As a whole I am very proud of what the guys did, and I appreciate it. I am open for questions.
Mr. D’Ambrosio: Nick, I think that they did a great job. I had a couple calls and I told the Mayor about it. I basically said the same thing. There are 3 shifts of 4 guys, they will get to it. They can’t get to it as quickly as they did before but they are working around the clock. One person ended up calling me the next day and they said they got it in the morning. I said they will get to it. It takes time. You can only move so quick.
Mr. Rubertino: Like I said again, with the two smaller vehicles, they can get the dead ends and the cul-de-sacs. You just can’t get there with those big trucks. It just takes so much more time. They were getting there, but it just takes a lot more time and work.
Mr. D’Ambrosio: I think you are doing well.
Mr. Rubertino: Thank you.
Mr. D’Ambrosio: Any questions for Nick? Jeff?
Mr. Licht: I know that the Community Center was a point of contention yesterday and though it didn’t affect a large number of people they were grateful that it was plowed over there.
Mr. Rubertino: I appreciate it. I knew that was a point there and that is part of what we ran into, not being able to get there when the roads are like that. Normally we don’t have an issue with any of the parking lots like that. Unfortunately, at this time it was hard. I wish I could have done better to accommodate them more quickly.
Mr. D’Ambrosio: Anymore for Nick? Nick, thank you. We will go to our City Engineer, Mr. Gwydir.
Mr. Gwydir: Thank you. First of all, I would like to wish a Happy New Year to all. Other than the diffusers, I have nothing to report. I am open for questions.
Mr. D’Ambrosio: Any questions for Tom? Thank you Tom, we will go to our Finance Director Mr. Slocum.
Mr. Slocum: Thank you Mr. President. Hopefully now everybody has seen now that we have published the yearend financial statements and are happy to report that we ended the year with a little bit of a positive balance in the general fund. A lot of accommodations have to go to the management here at the City and to the Council. I would like to thank everybody. I have included, distributed to Council, some variance analysis that I have already done. I am open to discuss any of it at any time. I am just trying to give you some tools. Where did the budget variances generate from? I think that we can discuss them all.
Finally, I would like to report that we did meet with the State Auditor last week. We are exploring the potential of having them come in to do a performance audit. They did indicate that the one audit that they did have, they quoted and expense in excess of $170,000 to perform such an audit. We went over the status of the City. Where we are at, what we have done, where we come from. I have asked them to come back in two weeks. To see if they can purpose anything. I am not holding out a lot of hope, to be honest with you. If they can come up with something that is going to make sense for us to do, I will be the first one to recommend it. I just don’t think that it is going to happen. With that I am open for questions.
Ms. DePledge: Did you say they gave you a quote for the performance audit?
Mr. Slocum: No, what they said that once of the recent ones that they did quote was in excess of $170,000.
Ms. DePledge: Was that for
Mr. Slocum: They did not go into what size City, what the extent of engagement is. I don’t think that it would actually be that high. I have asked for them to come back and to put something on the table. Once they put something on the table I will share it with Council.
Mr. D’Ambrosio: Keep us informed on it Mike.
Mayor Morley: Mike supplied them with a number of employees and different cost to run. They are going to tell us if they see an issue, or where an issue may lay. That’s what he talks about. They don’t know if it is a spending issue or a revenue issue. We have explained everything that we have done. We are going to wait and see what they come back with. When they come back with something that is feasible, we will take a look at it. When they come back with something that isn’t feasible, they said that they will supply us a letter and tell us that. That is what we are looking at.
Mr. Slocum: We did take a couple of things off of the table. I will give you an example, one is reciprocity they brought the question. Have you thought about reciprocity? The answer is that Council and the Mayor, we have thought about it. I don’t need to hire a consultant to come in here and tell me that you can raise additional monies by lowering reciprocity. I already know that. I don’t want them coming in to tell me to collect more money from my employees for medical expenses. Is it something that I would like to expire to? Yes. But when I haven’t given a raise in five years, I have a hard time going asking for an increase contribution there. When they are not competitive with surround municipalities. I want them to come back with what can they do, where do they think that they can spend time to identify where we are not operating efficiently. I don’t think that it is there. I will love them if they can. If you can think of a way to sell this stadium and get us out from under it, I would be willing to pay you half a million dollars, to be honest with you. Because we are paying more than that each year anyways. I am going to wait to see what they come back with and I will share it with you.
Mr. D’Ambrosio: Yeah, keep us in the loop Mike. Thank you. Any questions for Mr. Slocum? We will go to our Law Director, Mr. Randy Klammer.
Mr. Klammer: Thank you Mr. President and members of Council, and Mr. Mayor. First of all Mr. President, congratulations on your promotion over there in the great City of Wickliffe.
Mr. D’Ambrosio: Thank you sir.
Mr. Klammer: All the litigation that was pending is still pending. Nothing uneventful. Maybe do an executive session next couple of meetings and I can give you a run down on everything, just so everyone is up to speed. The only thing that I would comment on, is hearing the Chief’s talk about the emergencies that they had and all those urgencies. Just today, I think, I talked to the Chief Reik, on two different occasions on things like serving summons on a local business and one of Mr. Menn’s Building Department things, so to despite all of this other stuff, and the cuts that they have, they still have to get that day to day stuff done. He has to find out how to serve a guy on a criminal complaint from me and then a criminal complaint from Dave, one person is in a nursing home and the other person we can’t find. So the day to day stuff for those guys, the little stuff, I am actually talking to the Police Chief about and they are still getting it done. Other than that, I am open for questions.
Mr. D’Ambrosio: Any questions for Mr. Klammer? One thing that I just wanted to say, Donna would have said this. We did put a couple of things in Finance, is everyone going to be available next Tuesday at 6:00 pm for a Finance Committee Meeting. I will tell you what; we will schedule that and take it from there. If there is nothing else, we will adjourn this meeting.
The meeting was adjourned at approximately 7:41 p.m.
Joe D’Ambrosio, COUNCIL PRESIDENT