Public commenters push for participatory budgeting; council discusses ARPA contract delays
Public commenters push for participatory budgeting
New council member: Council appointed Danny Kelly to represent Ward 11. Outgoing Council Member Brian Mooney narrowly won a race for Cuyahoga County judge in the November 2022 election. Kelly is coming from a job with the Cleveland Metropolitan School District. He is also a retired construction worker with Laborer’s Local 310.
What happened: Public comment returned when City Council met Jan. 9 after a four-week holiday break. Five community members spoke in favor of participatory budgeting, a process that lets residents help decide how the city spends some public money. Mayor Justin Bibb and three council members introduced legislation that would support a pilot program. “Participatory budgeting is a concrete, proven practice for getting people involved in the decisions that matter most,” Ward 6 resident Ben Stein said.
And also: Council passed legislation allowing the city to contract with the Fair Housing Center for Rights and Research. The center will work with a group focused on vacant properties.
Watch the full public comments or read transcripts edited by Documenter Carolyn Cooper on Public Comment CLE (website created by Ohio City resident Angelo Trivisonno).
City Council members discuss ARPA contract delays
Covered by Documenter Kellie Morris
What happened: Cleveland City Council met as a caucus, a gathering where council members typically discuss issues but take no formal action on them. But in this meeting, they voted as a political group to accept the nomination of Danny Kelly to council. Kelly will replace Brian Mooney as representative of Ward 11. Council formally approved Kelly’s appointment at its regular meeting later that night.
ARPA contract issues: Council President Blaine Griffin said the city is behind in issuing contracts related to ARPA. He said only one ARPA contract has been paid and that the city is considering hiring a law firm to draft contracts.
Students on Almira School’s IT team present on their work
Covered by Documenters Kellie Morris, Giorgiana Lascu, and Charlestine Pride
What happened: Current and past students from Almira PreK-8 Academy spoke about their positive experiences with the school’s tech team. Almira has a 5G Tech Lab sponsored by Verizon. It offers students the chance to experiment with coding and 3D printing. The team presented Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) CEO Eric Gordon with a tech team t-shirt.
Grant for enhanced safety: A $2.4 million grant from the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission is on the table. It would be put toward safety and security in the form of parking-lot lighting, new metal detectors, new cameras, and more. The board is set to hold a vote on the grant at a future meeting.
And also: Gordon is set to step down as CEO at the end of the school year. Board Chair Anne Bingham referenced a newly launched page on CMSD’s website where community members can track updates on the search for a new CEO and take a survey about the search. It also has details on how to attend community meetings in person or virtually. There is a meeting scheduled for tonight, Jan. 18, and Jan. 19. Visit this page to register to attend virtually. Get a history lesson on CMSD’s mayor-appointed school board with this timeline from Signal Cleveland’s Paul Rochford.
Covered by Documenters McKenzie Merriman and Gennifer Harding-Gosnell
Surveys coming: A separate GCRTA committee approved the hiring of ETC Institute to produce community and customer surveys. A community value survey will focus on perception, while the customer survey will focus on service satisfaction, presenters said. The proposal goes to the full board next.
Left wondering: A committee also advanced plans for updating GCRTA’s Title VI program. Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits recipients of federal grants from discriminating based on a person’s race, color or national origin. Recipients must update their Title VI compliance program every three years. Documenter McKenzie Merriman asked, “What Title VI complaints has GCRTA needed to address in the last three years?”
Did you know fare evasion on public transit is a criminal offense in Ohio that carries the possibility of a $250 fine and 30 days in jail? Find more facts on fare evasion from this Cleveland Documenters’ reporting.
A Look Back
Sidaway Bridge moves closer to landmark status
Covered by Documenters Juice McKenna, Christina Easter, and Tina Scott
What happened: The commission signed off on designating the Sidaway Bridge a Cleveland landmark. Cleveland City Council has final say over city landmark designations and still must approve the legislation. The Sidaway Bridge is a pedestrian footbridge that rises above a wooded area off of Kinsman Road and the Opportunity Corridor. An unknown person set some of the bridge on fire and removed planks during the Hough Riots in 1966, disconnecting a mostly Black neighborhood and a mostly white one. The city, which owns the bridge, never repaired it.
One less barrier to Public Square bollards: Plans to remove jersey barriers at Public Square and replace them with bollards took a step forward. The commission gave conceptual approval to the plans with conditions. Commission members questioned the number and spacing of the proposed bollards. Signal Cleveland’s Nick Castele has more on the project.
Civic Term of the Week:
Curious about more local-government lingo? Check out this glossary of terms from Signal Cleveland’s Paul Rochford.
- 9:30 a.m. – Development, Planning and Sustainability Committee, City Council (livestream)
- 9:30 a.m. – Cleveland Board of Building Standards and Building Appeals (livestream)
- 9:30 a.m – Cuyahoga County Board of Elections (livestream)
- 3 p.m. – Cleveland Board of Control (livestream)
- 9 a.m. – Cleveland City Planning Commission (livestream)