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Council Meeting Highlights

Feb 05, 2024

Cleveland (Feb. 5, 2024) - City Council held its regular meeting tonight, both in person in Council Chambers and live streamed. Council's next meeting  will be Monday, Feb. 12th. Here are today’s highlights:

Getting the Lead Out: Council approved the city’s Department of Public Utilities to apply for Program Year 3 from the Ohio EPA for the City’s project of replacing various lead and galvanized service lines. 

Service lines connect water mains in the street to the customers’ household plumbing. The city owns the portion of the service line that runs from the water main to the curb stop valve, which is typically located in the tree lawn. From the curb valve the rest of the way into the house the connection is owned by the property owner. The most common materials used for residential service lines have been copper, lead and galvanized steel. The last year lead service lines were installed was 1953.

The state of Ohio was awarded $738.1 million from the federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Law(Nationally, $15 billion has been set aside for lead-line removal over the next several years.) The city of Cleveland was awarded $33.4 million in Year 1, with 53% of it a grant and the remainder a 0% 20 year loan. The city hasn’t received year 2 funding but anticipates being awarded similar or larger amounts in future years. Ord. No. 1278-2023

Residents First: Council approved, after making numerous amendments, a package of legislation changes for how the city deals with rental properties under the Department of Building and Housing. The changes are impactful and extensive for all non-owner-occupied units (rentals). Highlights of the changes include the following, all rentals need to identify a Local Agent in Charge who is legally responsible for the condition of the property, just like the owner. 

The legislation also revamps the city’s Rental Registry, requiring  all non-owner-occupied units to be registered with the city. The registration requires HVAC certification, Lead Safe certification, be up-to-date on property taxes and it grants authority to revoke the registration for noncompliance. 

The legislation revamps enforcement for owners of nuisance properties, including creating  “civil tickets” that allows for the issuance of a $200 fine per infraction, for such things as infestation of pests, graffiti, rubbish and garbage issues. Owners with hardships may appeal tickets within 30 days.

The legislation also requires a separate registration of vacant buildings and identification of a Local Agent in Charge for those properties. Registration requires an exterior inspection of the property by Building and Housing for code violations and puts other conditions on the owners of vacant properties. Finally, the legislation also adds regular inspection of parking garages in the city. Ord. No. 1039-2023

Growing the Tree Canopy: Council approved the Office of Sustainability to apply for and accept a grant from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Urban Forestry Grant Program - Inflation Reduction Act Funding. The grant would be used for maintaining and planting trees, and removing trees, stumps, and tree waste material. The grant, to further the tree plan’s tree canopy goals, is anticipated to be up to $1 million and requires no match from the City of Cleveland. Ord. No. 37-2024