Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Of taxes, prostitution, hockey & much more

Police bust a prostitution problem at the Super 8, the city’s hockey program gets a boost, and concerns are raised about a uniform tax code in the latest weekly city manager memo to City Council.

Police Department
• On April 17, a male was arrested for promoting prostitution. An investigation was initiated after receiving information that 44-year-old John Moleterno from Chesterland was providing a hotel room for two females to perform sexual acts for money on other males. After the sexual acts were performed and the females paid, Moleterno would take a sum of the money paid by the “client” to the females. The incident took place at the Super 8 motel. Moleterno has not been arrested for this type of crime in the past.
• Ten catalytic converters were stolen from vehicles in the southwest part of the city. The midnight shift is aware and increasing patrol activity in the areas of the thefts.
• There were three reported thefts from vehicles on Cedarwood overnight April 14 to April 15. In addition to the thefts, a van was set on fire in the driveway of 6268 Cedarwood. The unoccupied van was burned beyond repair.  It’s believed the person(s) committing the thefts from vehicles was the person who set the van on fire. An investigation is continuing to determine the cause of the fire and suspect in the thefts.

Fire Department
• On April 15 at 5:14 a.m., the fire department was called to 6268 Cedarwood for a reported structure fire. Crews arrived to find a vehicle fire involving a Chevy Astro that was parked close to the house. Fire crews extinguished the fire and determined that another vehicle in the driveway may have been broken into. The fire investigation unit was called out to work with the police department as the fire appears to be criminal in nature.
• On April 17 at approximately 4:55 p.m., Squad 1162 (a reserve squad responding from Fire Station #4) was involved in a noninjury motor vehicle accident while responding to a fire alarm at 7677 Reynolds Road, Studio 6.  The accident occurred near the intersection of Reynolds and Hodgson when the driver of a Toyota Avalon was turning northbound onto Reynolds from Hodgson and failed to yield to the rescue squad. The fire alarm at Studio 6 was a false alarm. Rescue Squad 1162 suffered front-end damage.
• On April 18 at 6:51 p.m., Mentor Fire Department Crews responded with five other departments to a house fire in Willowick.

Manager Comments 
• This week I attended a Northeast Ohio Mayors and Managers Association meeting that was quite informative.  Our association representatives updated the group on the current state of hot issues affecting cities. It seems most everything is on hold until after the November elections. This includes any real modifications to the state budget, although state revenues are quite healthy right now, any changes in collective bargaining rules, workers compensation, OPERS pension reform, or the centralized collection of local income taxes. In the latter case, although it seems very unlikely centralized collection will occur, there is a shift toward a uniform tax code. This could include consideration of the definition of taxable income, exemptions, net operating losses, stock options and non-deferred investment, and perhaps even rates themselves. Continued diligence is needed by all cities so that new regulations don’t create yet another significant revenue and control loss at the hands of the state.
• Dave Swiger and I met this week with Dave Becker, who is now with URS Consultants, to discuss the recent Network Access Report that was accepted by ODOT regarding the Route split ramp option. Dave has assisted the city with traffic engineering and review in matters regarding the Shamrock development and city of Painesville. He is confident that the main purpose of the report is to incorporate the split ramp as the preferred option for a future improvement and that we need do little at this time. Council may be asked to accept the report at a later time. The city engineer is also reviewing the work.  
• Norfolk & Southern Railroad will have the Maple Street crossing closed until Friday.

Parks and Recreation Department
• Congratulations to Civic Ice Arena Assistant Manager Andy Anderson who won the “puck chuck” at the Monsters game last week. For his efforts the Monsters are donating $1,000 to the Hockey Program. The donation will help by new goalie equipment for the program.
• The Wildwood Garden Club is taking advantage of the early spring and the ladies are cleaning all the planting beds around the house this week.
• Black Brook Golf Course opened the Practice Center on April 14. The weather finally cooperated on Sunday afternoon and the golfers came out in full force to try out the new facility. Golf Course Manager Tim Ausperk reported we sold over 550 bags of balls. The golfers that had the chance to use the facility commented on the new layout making you feel like you are on the fairway and how nice it looks and plays.
• The Marina is prepping for the launch season by moving boats around to get boats in position to launch. In their spare time, they are cleaning the walkways and filling some potholes that have developed in the road. The road will be repaired by Public Works with the chip and seal process we are using on the Lagoons roads. The staff has also repaired a couple of water leaks and repaired the B dock exit gate that was hit by one of the dockers over the weekend.
• The Senior Center was informed this week that they have been selected by the Mentor Rotary Club for a project.  The Rotary Club will be redoing the main entrance landscaping. The design of the entrance landscaping was completed by local Landscape Architect Dave Lamer, who is also a member of the Mentor Rotary. The group has a nice, clean plan that will dress up the front of the building with a low maintenance design. The Rotarians are hoping that this is phase one of the project and that they will be able to continue their work around the entire building working on the hardscape as well as the landscape.

Economic and Community Development
• Tom Thielman & Ron Traub met with representatives of the Greater Cleveland Partnership regarding opportunities to work together.
• Abe Bruckman and Traub met with representatives of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History and Trust for Public Land regarding the potential donation of lands in the Mentor Marsh.
• Thielman and Traub met with a former Ohio Department of Development International Trade representative regarding the city’s import and export assistance initiative.
• Traub and Thielman attended the Lake County Development Council’s monthly meeting which featured John Rogers, deputy Lake County treasurer, with information about Lake County’s new Land Bank program.

Finance Department
• Legislation is being prepared relative to next year’s street lighting assessments to benefiting properties. The assessment rate was calculated at 95 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation. This rate is higher than the previous year by 10 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation; however, it is still lower than the rate set back in 2007. The rate is adjusted each year to account for factors such as changes to assessed property valuation and the cost of electricity.

Public Works Department
• The Public Works activity highlights this week were: Park Maintenance – Field prep for 30 ball fields, 17 soccer fields, and 3 football fields; Installed grills at Mentor Beach Park and Walsh Park pavilion; Civic Center Pool – door replacement is 90% complete; Crack sealed Mentor Ave. from Plaza Blvd. to Middlesex; Stop sign reflectivity upgrades and mapping – ongoing; Center St. at I 90 – reinstalled reflective tape (dash guide lines) for east bound exit to go north; Repairing damaged sod from snow removal activities and restoration of fall projects; and 6401 Cambridge Park – storm sewer repair.

-- Betsy Scott, BScott@News-Herald.com, @ReporterBetsy


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