Report of the Westshore Council of Governments Meeting of February 12

This report, which contains observations and selected highlights of a meeting of the WCOG, is not an official statement of the LWV.  Official minutes are prepared by Mayor Patton's office.

Present: Mayors Bobst (Rocky River), Clough (Westlake), Kennedy (North Olmsted), Patton (Fairview Park), Summers (Lakewood), and Sutherland (Bay Village)

Also in attendance: Dave Greenspan, District 1 Representative, Cuyahoga County Council; Steve Presley, Fiscal Officer

Old Business

Crisis Intervention Training:  Mayor Patton and Police Chief Upperman will follow up with Bill Denihan to arrange training for West Shore police, and possibly city employees with extensive public contact.

Fire District Study:  The mayors of Bay Village, Fairview Park, Rocky River, and Westlake will meet Monday, February 24 at 11 a.m. in Westlake.  Mayor Clough will chair in 2014. 

FirstAid4Autism:  Akron Police Sergeant Mark Farrar is available to conduct training.  Council Member Greenspan may be able to help with funding.  It was agreed that holding three to four open sessions in different cities  can maximize the number of people trained at a minimal cost.

New Business

Regional Civil Service Exam:  The objectives of sharing exam dates are to generate a larger applicant pool, save advertising costs (about $1,500 per exam), and save applicants' fees and time. 

Regional Dispatch:  Cuyahoga County wants to consolidate all 911 dispatch centers to six sites and to expand the service to include police as well as fire and EMS.  Lakewood declined to join the Westshore Central Dispatch Center (WCDC), and Mayor Summers expressed skepticism.  WCDC has the capacity to add police calls, but for Lakewood, which receives 50,000 calls per year, it would be a "game changer".  Although consolidation might save on some expenses, it would not be worth the cost in lost local knowledge and thus slower service.

Mayor Sutherland stated that the majority of Bay Village's 12,000 calls are not emergencies and, because a police officer must be on the premises, consolidation would not result in personnel savings.  Furthermore, a police officer must be present in the station if anyone is in the jail.

Mr. Presley stated that some East Side cities are pursuing consolidation, and he noted that the county has also proposed regional jails. 

Mayor Patton stated that despite initial resistance, the WCDC has been a success.  She will call State Representative Nan Baker and ask her whom to contact for further information.

Health Insurance:  Mayor Patton stated that as of January 1, Fairview Park has a three-year contract with the Cuyahoga County health pool under Medical Mutual and the Cleveland Clinic.  The new cost is $1.3 million, a reduction of $500,000.

Suburban Water Regional Council of Governments:  Rocky River and Fairview Park are among 28 communities that have signed a maintenance agreement with the Cleveland Water Department; 40 cities have not signed. 

MARCS Radios:  The $20/unit/year user fees, which pay for the tower system, are under statewide discussion.  Additional monies are expected to reduce the fees and pay for additional radios.  Mayor Bobst is on the task force. 

Marine Patrol:  Rocky River, Lakewood, and the Metro Parks are collaborating on a Homeland Security grant for a $266,000 patrol vessel, with the Metro Parks picking up the $60,000 match portion.

The Westshore Council of Governments was founded in 1971 "to foster cooperation between municipalities in all areas of municipal service."  All meetings are open to the public.  The next meeting will be March 26, 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., in the Fairview Park Gemini Center's Birch Room.

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Volume 1, Issue 9, Posted 3:27 PM, 03.04.2014