Cleveland Heights buys 11 new police cars to bolster its fleet: City Council recap



CLEVELAND HEIGHTS, Ohio – After slowing down routine annual replacements of three to four new police cars at a time in recent years – and now paying instead for ongoing repairs to the aging fleet – the city will buy 11 new cars for just over $ 32,000 each.

This adds up to nearly $ 353,000 for the 2021 Ford Utility Police Interceptors, acquired from Ganley Ford of Norton at an individual cost less than the price offered under the Ohio Co-op Purchase Program.

“Now is a good time to order cruisers,” City Manager Susanna Niermann O’Neil told council ahead of unanimous adoption on June 28, adding that maintaining new vehicles is the best way to save money. money.

The new police cars will include just over a fifth of the city’s fleet of around 50 police cars, with money coming from the police administration and capital budgets, where the council also has authorized an initial credit transfer of approximately $ 94,000.

In line with ongoing efforts to reduce the city’s carbon footprint by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, Council Vice-President Kahlil Seren inquired about any consideration given to hybrid or electric vehicles.

Delivery time aside, an unofficial internet check shows hybrids can typically run at least $ 10,000 more per cruiser, with Police Chief Annette Mecklenburg not present at the June 38 special council meeting. held before the July holidays.

“In reality, we didn’t choose the EV or the Hybrid,” O’Neil said. “We wanted the base car, in order to improve the fleet.

City Councilor Mike Ungar said the purchase “will reduce some of the recurring issues we face, as we have not done due diligence in purchasing and maintaining the cruisers, and now the cost is taking (the old cars) out of commission. Previously there had to be four new cruisers, and now it’s 11 – it’s about finances. “

Council also approved a transfer of approximately $ 46,000 from the public property and park maintenance budget for repairs to the Town Hall Police Station.

The work includes general upgrades, painting and electrical work, as well as the creation of space for the transfer of training and fitness equipment which is moved out of the “old dairy” which has been a point of contention with the Noble Ward, including City Councilor Davida Russell.

She and City Councilor Melody Joy Hart also highlighted the deplorable working conditions of the police department after recently taking tours of the facilities and accompanying patrol officers.

Meet your police

With most restrictions related to COVID-19 health emergencies lifted, the regular “Meet Your Police” forums are meeting in person again, after months of virtual online sessions.

“As before with face-to-face events, you can meet with an officer on the first Thursday of each month at the Noble and Monticello Roads Police Academy from 6 pm to 8 pm,” said a press release from the Noble Neighbors organization.

The Meet Your Police event will also take place on the lower level of Town Hall on the third Thursday of each month, also from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

For residents who still aren’t comfortable meeting in person, the option remains to call and join at (415) 655-0001, access code: 643 740 227, city officials said. .

The Police Department will also be hosting its annual Safety Night, linked to events celebrating the city’s centennial (1921-2021) from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on August 3 at the Cleveland Heights Community Center.

Admission tax amnesty

With entertainment venues reopening after the pandemic as well as other businesses, council voted last week to maintain the moratorium on the collection of the 3-5% admission tax, which was set to expire on July 1.

The suspension of tax collection, which brought about $ 50,000 to city coffers in 2019, has now been extended until the end of the year, city finance director Amy said. Himmelein.

“Theaters like Dobama and Cedar Lee are trying to get wet again,” O’Neil told the board ahead of unanimous approval on June 28, with the idea being to relieve some of the financial pressure from companies that charge it. ‘admission, but had not been open for business for over a year.

Or, as the legislation states, “based on the continued deleterious financial effects COVID-19 causes on businesses affected by these taxes, this Council wishes to extend the suspension and moratorium period to help those businesses mitigate and recover their financial losses “.

ARPA entry sought

The council also wants to hear from the community on how the nearly $ 39 million of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds earmarked for Cleveland Heights should be spent.

Residents are urged to visit the city’s website to rank their choices, with the US Treasury Department setting specific guidelines on how to spend the money, which is to be used by the end of 2024.

The categories are:

– Mitigation and containment of COVID-19: Vaccination programs, tests, ventilation improvements in City buildings

– Behavioral health: Municipal services to meet mental health, addiction and behavioral health needs

Health and public safety personnel: Payroll for police, firefighters, paramedics and senior service personnel related to COVID-19 response

Family support : Rental and mortgage assistance, as well as food and utility assistance

Worker assistance: Vocational training for the unemployed, unemployment reduction programs in the city

Help for small businesses: Subsidies for declining income or impact of business closures, rental / mortgage or assistance to utilities

Aid to affected industry: Help for tourism, travel and hospitality businesses to reopen safely

– Fight against health disparities in disproportionately affected neighborhoods: Remediation of lead paint or other lead hazards, community violence intervention programs

– Invest in housing and neighborhoods in disproportionately affected neighborhoods: Affordable housing development, relocation assistance, homeless assistance

Address education disparities in disproportionately affected neighborhoods: After-school programs, tutoring, support for students’ social, emotional and mental health needs

– Promote healthy childhood environments in disproportionately affected neighborhoods: Childcare, services for families concerned with child protection and young people in foster care

– Replace lost income: Namely the Cleveland Heights Community Center lost due to COVID-19 shutdown

– Repair and replacement of sewers: namely sewer pipes identified as requiring replacement in a federal licensing order in the event of a violation of the Clean Water Act.

City officials said last week they were still awaiting a decision from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Justice on whether up to $ 28 million in the The city’s ARPA allowance could go to overhaul the sewers, in order to alleviate some of the tariff shock for residents. .

For the survey, residents are asked to rank their top three priorities.

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