Westshore Council of Governments (WCOG) Meeting, April 24, 2019

This report is not an official statement of the League of Women Voters. Mayor Summers' office prepares official minutes.

The meeting took place at Women’s Club Pavilion, Lakewood Park, beginning at 9:30 a.m.

Present: Mayors Summers, Lakewood, presiding; Koomar, Bay Village; Patton, Fairview Park; Kennedy, North Olmsted; Bobst, Rocky River; Clough, Westlake

Fiscal Officer’s Report: Nothing of note in financial statements. The new employee in this department, Suzanne, has an accounting background, is “fantastic.” Bay Village is looking at a new finance system.

Old policy (originally created in 1970s) on use of WCOG credit card was reexamined. Auditor’s office doesn’t want people to use personal credit cards for official purchases. They can get card from auditor’s office if they have a purchase order. In Westlake, only directors may have cards for travel; other cards remain in offices until needed. The question is about use of the card to purchase gifts and awards, including birthday and holiday gifts. This is actually a spending policy, not a policy about credit card use. Mayor Bobst moved to restrict card use only to plaques for retirements. Motion was accepted; policy stands so amended.

Commission Reports

RTA: Mayor Clough reported that the State of Ohio is coming up with $70 million in new funding for public transit throughout the state, but we don’t know yet how much will go to RTA. Sen. Dolan and Rep. Greenspan deserve credit for pushing for the funding increase. Clough suggested that the funds be used for capital improvements, so that if funding is cut in future, it won’t affect operating funds. The agency is interviewing potential new directors. A CSU study has been released, and another consultant has come in to study fares. There will be no increase in fares until this study is done. There will be no tax levy for RTA this year. When there is a request for tax increase, it will probably be a sales tax.

NOACA: Mayor Koomar reported that the agency saw a general presentation by a Hyperloop firm. They are looking for locations for stations, where they will be able to move packages as well as people. A new group called Fast Forward will meet for the first time.

County Planning Commission: Mayor Bobst reported that the Solid Waste Plan was ratified by 100% of participants, which is a first.

Mayors and Managers Association: They are waiting for the budget to come out of the Statehouse. Mayor’s Courts have become a big issue with the ACLU. Only two states have Mayor’s Courts, the rest call them Community Courts.

Water Management: Mayor Summers reported on a meeting about standards for ground water contaminants, which vary across the country. The ability to measure contaminants is improving, while the ability to assess health effects is lagging behind. EPA hasn’t determined when a plant needs to be expanded – how many overflows per year are permissible? What kind of treatment is needed? There is apparently no scientific basis for deciding, and EPA is willing to work with local governments on standards. 

Old Business: Increased revenue from gas tax is restricted to infrastructure, but can be used for salt. MARC (Multi Agency Radio Communication system, used for emergencies) user fees are going away.

New Business: The original mutual aid agreement among cities has never been updated or amended. All the cities need to work out and agree to protocols. The agreement states that cities need to retain sufficient coverage.

Meeting adjourned at 11 a.m.

Judith Weiss, LWV observer

LWVGC-Rocky River Chapter Chair. Retired librarian, writer, volunteer. Rocky River resident for 9 years.

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Volume 11, Issue 10, Posted 10:33 AM, 05.21.2019