Signs have are being posted at all roads leading into Maple Heights warning motorists that traffic laws are photo enforced. Currently the city is in the 30 day “notification” period. In late July, speeding motorists will start receiving tickets.
While the legislation passed City Council unanimously, many residents are opposed – so much so that a petition is being circulated to get a Charter Amendment on the November ballot to outlaw traffic cameras according to the July 2, 2014 Neighborhood News. Mrs. Wilburn who is heading up the campaign believes that the speed camera’s will hurt business’ in the City, because patrons will simply stop coming due to the presence of the traffic cameras. She also believes that violators won’t pay. Others speculate that revenue from the cameras will be short lived due to pending legislation at the state level.
On the other hand, those who don’t speed have nothing to worry about.
Special Council Meeting: June 25, 2014
Last week a Committee of the Whole Meeting was changed to a Special Meeting. On the agenda, was more than half a dozen pieces of legislation. You can watch the video on our YouTube Channel. (Click on the following time-codes to view that section of the video.)
2014-25: Decreasing Council to 5 members- 3rd Reading & Vote (1:37)
UPDATE (August 25,2014): While, Council President Albers was called upon to break the tie, this piece of legislation will not appear on the November ballot because Charter Amendments need 2/3 approval by council to sent to the voters.
2014-26: Eliminating the elected position of Council President – 3rd Reading & Vote (3:31)
These proposed Charter amendments are to reduce council from 7 to 5 members and to eliminate the position of council president both passed and therefore will be placed on the November ballot. The first resulted in a tie with councilpersons from districts 1, 2 and 3 voting for and councilpersons from 4, 6 and 7 against. Council President broke the tie by voting for it. District 5’s councilman had been excused from the meeting (prior to the meeting being revised from a committee of the whole to a special meeting on June 23rd) and could potentially have swung the vote the other way.
Reducing councilpersons from 7 to 5 would result in a cost of $3,000 to $5,000 to have the city redistricted, but would have a savings of around $20,000 annually. However, residents would have less representation. Eliminating Council President would save the city $15,000, annually.
If the Council President position is eliminated by electors, Council would elect a president from within. This is how both the Maple School’s Board of Education and the City of Garfield Heights operate.
2014-44: Reducing the Tax Credit from 100% to 25% (Amended to 50% on the floor by Councilman Adams) – 3rd Reading & Vote (6:00)
An amendment to reduce the income tax credit from 100% to 50% was passed by council. This would raise the income tax paid by residents who live in Maple, but work outside the city. For example residents who work in a city that has a 2% income tax will end up paying an additional 1% in income tax, for a total of 3.5% instead of the current 2.5%. With this tax increase, the burden is being placed solely on working residents.
2014-46: Transfer Solid Waste Fund to General Fund – 2nd Reading (11:23)
2014-47: Retain Solid Waste Fund as is – 2nd Reading (12:07)
2014-48: Rules of Council – 2nd Reading (12:44)
2014-49: 1.3 Mill Additional Levy- Senior Center- to Auditors -1st (and final) Reading (14:02)
2014-50: 1.3 Mill Additional Levy- Senior Center- to Electors -1st Reading (17:05)
2014-51: 1.3 Mill Additional Levy- City Expense- to Auditors -1st (and final) Reading (17:41)
2014-52: 1.3 Mill Additional Levy- Senior Center- to Electors -1st Reading (19:02)
Two additional taxes were also brought forward that would total a 6 mil property tax increase for 5 years. Council voted to have the county “run the numbers” so that they can see how much revenue they would generate.
A brief discussion ensued about if the income tax amendment that was just passed could be withdrawn if council passed the property tax amendments or if both should be placed on the ballot for residents to decide.
2014-53: Expenses approved by Council to $500 – 1st Reading (19:36)
This legislation was withdrawn by the introducing member.
Then We Waited (and waited) for the Finance Director
A “5 minute” recess was called when Ms. Crowell had not yet arrived (20 minutes into the meeting) to present the financial information that was pertinent for the remaining issues on the agenda: discussion about the 2014 amended appropriations and the 2015 tax budget. When she finally did arrive 25 minutes later and pass out documents (which she didn’t have enough of) one of the date stamps said 6:30 PM 6/25/2014.
Things that we learned during the discussion with the Finance Director.
- Expectation by the Auditor that we present a balanced budget.
- Councilman Cefaratti pointed out that there is still a $900,000 deficit on the “drafts” Ms Crowell passed out and that includes a projection of $400,000 of revenue from the traffic cameras for the remainder of the year.
- There was an (ironic) projected increase in revenue for the solid waste fund, since recycling was just eliminated to “save money”.
- Consolidated Dispatch Center is expected to be up and running January 2015.
- Even though there have been many layoffs and resignations we aren’t experiencing the full financial benefit of those because many of those old employees are receiving payouts.
Special Meeting and Public Hearing scheduled for July 7, 2014 at 6 PM in the Senior Center
- 2014-46: Transfer Solid Waste Fund to General Fund – 3rd Reading
- 2014-47: Retain Solid Waste Fund as is – 3rd Reading
- 2014-50: 1.3 Mill Additional Levy- Senior Center- to Electors -2nd Reading
- 2014-52: 1.3 Mill Additional Levy- Senior Center- to Electors -2nd Reading
- 2014-54: 2014 Amended Appropriations – 1st Reading
- 2014-55: Tax Budget for 2015 – 1st Reading and Public Hearing
- 2014-56: Transferring Contingency Fund (102)* to General Fund – 1st Reading
*The Contingency Fund (102) has a balance of $121,000 according to the documents passed out on June 25th.