Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Mentor trash rates, high-tech jobs going up

Mentor officials get a conference call from the VP, garbage rates are going up, and the area’s high-tech work force growth is getting noticed. Those and other behind-the-scenes news from the city manager’s weekly reports to City Council:

Manager Comments 
• Tony Zampedro and I joined in a conference call with Vice President Joe Biden and approximately 450 other local officials across the nation on Thursday. The purpose was to deliver the federal perspective on potential local impacts from failing to reach agreement on the “fiscal cliff” concern. The Vice President discussed the importance of continuing to invest in infrastructure and invited the participants to share their thoughts via e-mail on programs each would least like to see negatively impacted, assuming some programming cuts are inevitable. He also asked for ideas on how the federal government could help stimulate growth in our areas. For practical reasons, only a few questions could be asked. 

• The waste collection rates will be increasing for 2013. The “typical” homeowner will see their quarterly billing increase from the current rate of $20.40 to $22.26. This is the result of three factors: a 2 percent contracted increase, the 20 percent decline in the recycling grant from the LCSWMD, and in 2012 there was a credit due to the program not beginning in January.

• A recently released study by the Bay Area Council Economic Institute of the high tech work force throughout the U.S. indicated that the Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor metro area ranked 16th of the top 25 areas for high tech employment growth. The metro area exhibited a 9.1% increase from 2010 to 2011; the U.S. average was 2.6%. Over a five year period, the increase was 4.3%, while the U.S. average was 1.4%. At the County level within the metro area, Lake County’s tech job growth was 22% followed by Cuyahoga County (7.5%), and Lorain County (1.6%). Overall job growth was 2.4% in Lake and Lorain Counties and 1.4% in Cuyahoga County.

• The Board of Directors for the Lake County Communities Energy Special Improvement District (Tony Pestyk, Ron Traub, Kevin Malecek, and I) met Friday morning to accept an amendment to the petition to create the ESID. The amendment was necessary to finalize the scope of the improvements proposed at the Great Lakes Mall. The petition was accepted and will be forwarded to City Council for consideration.

Fire Department
• On Dec. 3 at 3:20 p.m., the Police and Fire departments responded to a motorcycle accident on Hidden Glen Drive. Despite advance trauma life support efforts the patient died at the hospital. The operator of the motorcycle lost control and fell off the motorcycle while driving eastbound, suffering a fatal head injury. Speed appears to be the causative factor of the accident.

• On Nov. 29 at 10:19 p.m., the fire department was called to Lincoln Electric for an industrial accident. A male was treated for a penetrating injury when a piece of wire went through his shoe and into the bottom of his foot. The patient was treated and transported to the hospital in stable condition.

• On Dec. 1 at 11:43 a.m., the fire department responded to a car vs. bicycle MVA. Reportedly, the crash occurred at a low speed. The cyclist was treated and transported to the hospital in stable condition.

Police Department
• A male was arrested for robbery at Walmart over the weekend. The male selected DVDs and CDs and walked out of the store without paying. He was confronted outside the store by two members of Walmart loss prevention. The suspect tried to run but was grabbed by loss prevention. The suspect also tried to punch the loss prevention employees. This same male is a suspect in a theft from the Chardon Walmart. 

• Two males were arrested after assaulting the owner of Maracas, 7597 Mentor Ave. Both males began fighting other patrons in the bar before the owner was able to push one of the suspects outside. Two other friends of the suspect came out and began punching the owner. The owner sustained a cut to his chin.

• Income tax collections for the month of November were lower than November of last year by $545,000. The year-to-date November collections as compared to last year are up 9.64%.

• SR 2 Widening — ODOT has placed raised pavement markers (reflectors in the pavement) on each of the ramps at the Heisley Road and Center Street interchanges. In addition, raised pavement markers have been installed to assist in guiding motorists on Center Street in the northbound and southbound directions. Also, additional pavement markings are expected to be installed on Heisley Road to better transition traffic into the eastbound right turn lanes. It is still hoped that this work can occur before the weather conditions decline; however, no schedule has been provided to date.

Parks and Recreation Department
• There are two acts booked for Mentor’s CityFest and we are working on an agreement for the entertainment for Friday and Saturday. We are also getting quotes on the staging, lighting and sound.

Economic and Community Development
• Tom Thielman and Terry Botirus participated in a SBA 504 loan closing for Bess Industries. Bess Industries, a Mentor metal fabrication shop, purchased a building at 9475 Pinecone for a total project cost of $377,000.

• MEACO is currently reviewing a Mentor Small Business Loan application from a local coffee roaster for the purchase of an existing retail establishment in Mentor.

• The Crockett Group of Howard Hanna has shared homes sales data for the third quarter of 2012: 116 homes were sold in Mentor for the third quarter; down 27% from the same period in 2011. In Lake County the rate declined less than one percent.  The average selling price for a home in Mentor was $145,243 in the third quarter 2012; slightly higher (1%) than 2011. In Lake County the average selling price was virtually unchanged at $138,509. The average length of time a house was on the market declined 9% in Mentor to 116 days and less than 1% in Lake County (146).

Public Works Department
•    Completed installation of Christmas lights on Civic Center Blvd.
•    Renovated shower in Court
•    Move/install office furniture in City Hall
•    Dura patching - Dorrwood
•    Concrete curb repair - Glencairn
•    Inlet basin rebuilds - Mercantile
•    Completed concrete curbing for entrance island at Lagoons
•    Beginning various projects at BBGC
•    Storm sewer cleaning - Cambridge Park, Bellflower
•    Storm sewer televising - streets off of Hendricks
•    Storm sewer repairs - Cardinal, Club Ct.
•    Completed annual maintenance for all generators
•    Getting quotes for installation of FS #1 generator
•    Chipping branches from Sandy
•    Working with Engineering/ODOT for enhanced opticom functionality at Heisley/SR 2

-- Betsy Scott,, @ReporterBetsy


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