Lakewood To Get More Out Of Grant Funds
Council President Brian Powers called the April 16, 2012 Council meeting to order at 7:35 P.M. The first order of business was a Committee of the Whole report regarding an ordinance that would extend the moratorium on Internet and sweepstakes gaming cafes. After some discussion in the Committee, all the Council members agreed to recommend passage. Council proceeded to pass the ordinance.
Next, Chief Malley asked Council to allow the Mayor and the Division of Police to accept donations that would help support this years D.A.R.E Basketball Tournament. This year is the 12th year the Lakewood Police Department in conjunction with the Lakewood Board of Education has put on this tournament. Taking place on April 21st, games started at 9:00 A.M. and continued until 2:00 P.M. with the championship game. In order to put on the tournament, donations are collected from area businesses. This year 14 businesses and organizations, along with two public figures, donated money totaling about $1500 dollars. The money will help buy the t-shirts for the tournament participants.
Council passed the resolution, accepting the donations.
Next Finance Director, Jennifer Pae asked Council to approve additional funding for a Water System Replacement Program capital contract. The funds are being added to a current program that the City is contracting out with the costs being shared with the State. However the State is covering their portion of the project through a reimbursement rather then paying their portion up front. Therefore Lakewood needs to approve the full cost of the project so it can be completed before the State pays up. The additional amount being asked for is $400,000 dollars.
Council referred the matter to the Finance Committee for further discussion.
Human Services Director, Dorothy Buckon then read a communication informing Council of a change in her department. In 2006 Lakewood’s Department of Human Services, Division of Youth entered into an agreement with the Cuyahoga County Division of Children and Family Services (DCFS) to administer the Family to Family Neighborhood System of Care Program. In 2010 DCFS altered the servicing areas for the program and Lakewood was looped in with other western communities and parts of Cleveland. As a condition for the funding, Lakewood had to facilitate the program for those other communities. In order to do so, Lakewood contracted out the servicing of the other communities to the West Side Community House (WSCH). With that contract ending on March 31st of this year, Director Buckon and the Mayor decided not to renew it. Instead they have decided to use the money to hire one full-time caseworker for the city that will cover the cases in the other communities as well as assist the other caseworkers with Lakewood cases. The reason for doing this is that they discovered that the WSCH was not having to service as many cases as they originally thought they would, and they feel the City would get more out of the program if the person facilitating those clients could also help Lakewood’s when not fully occupied by the others.
Councilman Brian Powers (At-Large) said that he appreciated the administration informing Council of this change. Although he said he didn’t think it was required, it was nice that they are trying to keep an open line of communication. He then asked if someone from the administration could give him a sense of the finances, specifically how much we were paying WSCH and how much it will cost for the new employee.
Mayor Summers replied saying that the City paid WSCH essentially $51,000 dollars a year to facilitate the program for them, which in his opinion was greatly under-utilized. That money now will be going to pay for a City employee to service those same clients as well as Lakewood’s, getting the City a lot more for the money. With benefits and salary the Mayor said the city is looking at a cost a little above what they were paying WSCH, hoping that it will be no more than $55,000 dollars.
Council received and filed Director Buckon’s communication.
Law Director Kevin Butler then asked Council to pass a resolution that would allow the Mayor to enter into an agreement with the Parma Public Housing Agency (PPHA) and other northeast Ohio communities. The agreement with PPHA would help Lakewood administer federal rental subsidies and maintain community housing standards of units participating in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Housing Voucher Program (formerly the Section 8 Program). The resolution clarifies the expectations of all parties involved, including PPHA, the City of Lakewood, landlords and tenants. It also strengthens the City’s ability to inspect the properties routinely and ensure code compliance.
Council referred the resolution to the Housing Committee for further discussion.
After another short meeting, Council President Powers adjourned the meeting at 8:05 PM.
Council meetings are held every first and third Monday of the month at 7:30 P.M. in the City Hall Auditorium. The next regularly scheduled council meeting will be held on May 7, 2012. For a copy of the agenda or for any other information regarding the LakewoodCity Council, you can find it at onelakewood.com/citygovern_council.html.