Council Considers Updating Outdated Ordinances
On the night of October 1, 2012, Council President Brian Powers called the meeting to order at 7:36 P.M.
The first order of business was a communication from Councilwoman Monique Smith (At-Large) regarding the Saturday morning Lakewood Farmer’s Market. Councilwoman Smith wanted to recognize the Market for a hugely successful year and the dedication of the residents, like Christa Kraft who helped organize it. Some of their successes this year include double to triple the shoppers of previous seasons, consistently meeting or exceeding vendor booth rentals, attraction of new Lakewood vendors looking to sell their products, more recognition from both the community and the Downtown Lakewood Business Alliance, gaining a healthy fiscal position, and partnering with the County and WIC to help provide healthy options to everyone. Councilwoman Smith invited everyone to join her at the last market of the year on Saturday, October 6th. She also wanted to make the point to recognize Councilman Tom Bullock (Ward II) who she said has been a great supporter and partner to the Market.
Market organizer Christa Kraft was at the meeting and wished to add a few remarks of her own. She said that last year the market averaged about 200 people a week with their largest day being about 400. This year however she said they never had a day below 400 people, averaging about 600 and having about 900 on their busiest day. Every week they have somewhere between 15 and 20 vendors, 12 of which are full-time weekly vendors. Ms. Kraft said that due to the demand for booths, next year they will have to consider reconfiguring their layout or looking for a new, larger location. She finished by reporting that their sponsorships had more than doubled since last year when they had around $1,000 dollars. This year they pulled in $2,500 dollars in addition to the support they get from the city and county.
Next on the agenda, Public Works director, Joe Beno, asked Council to pass a resolution that would allow the city to send an application to the Ohio Public Works Commission seeking financial assistance. The application asks for assistance on four sewer projects. The first project is the replacement of 92 to 102 year old sewers on the streets of St. Charles Avenue, Mars Avenue and Summit Avenue. The total cost of the project is projected at $1,400,000 dollars with the City’s estimated contribution being 40% at $560,000 dollars. The second project is a sewer separation on Edgewater Drive. The total estimated cost is about $1,350,000 dollars with the City’s portion making up 50% at $650,000 dollars. The third project is a slightly more complex sewer separation project on the west end, separating a sewer that includes both Lakewood and Rocky River to give each their own. The total cost of the project is $4,250,000 dollars with the City covering half at $2,125,000 dollars. The last project will eliminate overflow regulators in strategic locations around the City. This project will cost about $200,000 dollars, with the city covering about $100,000 dollars of it.
Director Beno asked for Council to pass the resolution on its first reading as it needs to make it to the State by October 17th. Councilman Powers asked if there would still be time to get it to the State on time if they deferred passage until the October 15th meeting so that the Public Works Committee would have a chance to discuss it. Beno said there would, therefore Council referred the resolution to the Public Works Committee for consideration.
Fire Chief Gilman then asked Council to consider passing a resolution that would proclaim Sunday, October 7, 2012 as Fallen Firefighter Memorial Day in Lakewood. Fallen Firefighter Memorial Day is a national celebration that recognizes the firefighters that have died in the last year. A memorial ceremony will be held at noon on that Sunday at Fire Station #1 on Madison.
Council passed the resolution.
Next director of Human Resources, Jean Yousefi asked Council to consider repealing a section of an ordinance. After carefully looking over the ordinances that affect City employees directly, Director Yousefi found that Chapter 157 that deals with collective bargaining was horribly outdated. She said it appears that the last time action was taken on the ordinances was 1976. As currently written, the ordinance is out of alignment with the Ohio Revised Code. Considering that the Ohio Revised Code, the State Employment Relations Board and the individual collective bargaining agreements with the City employees outline the process of collective bargaining very clearly, Director Yousefi no longer believes that Chapter 157 is necessary.
Council referred the matter to the Rules and Ordinances Committee for further consideration. Councilman Powers made a point to say that regardless of the action taken on this ordinance, it will not affect any of Lakewood’s collective bargaining groups.
Law Director, Kevin Butler, then asked Council to consider updates to the current solicitor law. Currently the cut-off time for solicitation is 8 p.m., Butler asked that it be changed to 9 p.m. He said the reason for the change is because in the body of case laws governing municipal restrictions on door-to-door solicitation the courts prefer 9 p.m. as the cut-off and he isn’t sure if Lakewood’s current ordinance could stand up against First Amendment scrutiny.
Council referred the ordinance to the Rules and Ordinances Committee for discussion.
Director Butler then asked Council to consider another ordinance that would harmonize the Lakewood’s Codified Ordinances with the Ohio Revised Code. A fairly recent state law has downgraded the charge for the possession of drug paraphernalia, specifically for marijuana, to a fourth degree misdemeanor.
Council referred the ordinance to the Public Safety Committee for consideration.
Last on the agenda, Fire Chief Gilman asked Council to pass a resolution proclaiming the week of October 8-12th as Fire Prevention Week. During this week, the Lakewood Fire Department will be visiting the elementary schools to speak to the students about the importance of having two fire escape plans. The firefighters will also demonstrate their equipment for the students. This year's Fire Prevention Week theme is “Have 2 Ways Out!” and is to help remind us all of the simple actions that can be taken to help keep us all safe.
Council passed the resolution.
Council President Powers adjourned the meeting at8:33 P.M.