MAYFIELD HEIGHTS, Ohio — City Council approved an ordinance Monday (May 23) that will pay for the planned new community center and pool, which city leaders hope will be ready for use by next May or, at most. late in June.
The order allows for the issuance and sale of up to $33 million in notes in anticipation of the issuance of bonds to cover the construction costs of the project, which will be built on the former site of the community center Ross C. DeJohn at 6306 Marsol Road.
Chief Financial Officer Karen Fegan said the city is considering a 25-year repayment period for the bonds.
The legislation was approved by a vote of 4 to 2 (Councillor Gayle Teresi was not present), with Councilors Robert DeJohn and Nino Monaco opposing.
Although they didn’t talk about their votes at the reunion, DeJohn and Monaco criticized the increased cost of the project, which originally started with a price tag of $16 million.
DeJohn and Monaco also asked about why the city is “in a hurry” to move forward with the project in light of the current economy and supply chain issues.
Fegan said she was still “comfortable” with the city’s ability to pay the $33 million. Mayor Anthony DiCicco, citing Fegan’s comfort level, said he, too, was confident the bill was manageable.
Meanwhile, council deferred to its next meeting a motion to ratify action by a majority of council and verbally approve the final site plan for the 33,500 square foot project. Council chair Diane Snider said action will be taken on the motion when all council members are present and given an opportunity to provide feedback on the plan.
At the start of the meeting, Fegan spoke positively about the city’s current financial situation.
“The City of Mayfield Heights is in a position that many communities would envy right now,” Fegan told council at the start of Monday’s meeting. “Through May, our (tax) collections are pretty much flat from last year, so we haven’t seen a decrease. We’re actually up about $100,000.
“As always, we will continue to monitor this and watch these (collections) very closely and let you (the council) know if any changes occur there.”
Remembrance Day Ceremony
The city’s Memorial Day ceremony will be held at 10 a.m. May 30 in the police station parking lot, City Hall, 6154 Mayfield Road. The guest speaker will be Michael Harvey, Navy Veteran and Lyndhurst Municipal Court Bailiff.
Chelmsford Road will be closed during the ceremony.
“We welcome residents and veterans to honor all the men and women who have served our country,” DiCicco said.
Opening of Raising Cane
DiCicco told the board that the grand opening of Raising Cane’s Chicken Strips will be at 8 a.m. on Thursday, May 26 at 5880 Mayfield Road.
“They will be a welcome addition to the city,” DiCicco said of the restaurant, which will offer drive-thru and dine-in options.
Minor Trespass Ordinance
DeJohn expressed displeasure that a mild trespassing order he is proposing has not yet been on the board’s agenda. Two weeks ago, chief legal officer Paul Murphy said he had yet to come to a recommendation on whether or not the council should back the bill.
On Monday, Murphy said he still hadn’t reached a recommendation on the tabled proposal, but said he likely would have one “by the end of the year, if not sooner.”
DeJohn proposed the ordinance after hearing from some residents who complained that neighbors were intentionally turning on security lights in their yards and homes.
DiCicco, at the May 9 council meeting, said a lighting trespassing ordinance would be difficult to enforce in a community where homes are located close together.
“It’s been two months,” DeJohn said of the time since he submitted the proposal. “What is the legitimate length of time this should be done? Isn’t it already unreasonable, two months? I mean, I see emergency laws coming to me every two weeks. It’s just crazy that it took so long.
DiCicco responded to DeJohn by stating, “I think the most important thing to keep in mind here is that the chief of police, the prosecutor, and our legal director need to feel comfortable with whatever they’re proposing, and that’s what’s going on right now.
“It’s a neighborhood thing. It’s not something to stir up the way you want to stir it up,” DiCicco said.
DiCicco said an earlier suggestion from Monaco that light should not be able to cross a neighbor’s property line “is impossible”.
“So the way you’re trying to build this just isn’t practical,” DiCicco said.
DeJohn, at Monday’s meeting, said he knew DiCicco did not support the legislation, in addition to asking Murphy why the order had not yet been drafted for the council.
Said DiCicco, “Attacking me that I don’t want to, or attacking the general counsel, is wrong.”
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