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Weekly Meeting Report

Upcoming Meetings and Events

Monday, October 9th
6:30 P.M.    Administration & Compensation  View Agenda at 

2017-10-09 Admin And Comp Agenda

7:00 P.M.    Council Meeting   View Agenda at 

2017-10-09 Council Agenda

Tuesday, October 10th
8:30 A.M.    Parks Commission

Wednesday, October 11th
9:00 A.M.    Cemetery Board Meeting

Monday, October 16th   Leaf Collection Begins Today

6:00 P.M.    Arts Commission
7:30 P.M.    Planning & Zoning Commission

Tuesday, October 17th
8:30 A.M.    Architectural Board of Review

Saturday, October 21st   Community Shred Day

Monday, October 23rd
7:00 P.M.    Council Meeting

Tuesday, October 24th
8:30 A.M.    Parks Commission
8:00 P.M.    Board of Zoning Appeals

Thursday, November 2nd
8:30 A.M.    Shade Tree Commission

Tuesday, November 7th
8:30 A.M.    Architectural Board of Review

Wednesday, November 8th
9:00 A.M.    Cemetery Board Meeting

Monday, November 13, 2017
7:00 P.M.    Council Meeting


Minutes Posted This Week

2017-09-26 Parks Minutes



Ben Himes To Retire

It is with a deep sense of sincere appreciation and sadness that I announce Ben Himes’, our Chief Administrative Officers, retirement.  Ben will be retiring effective December 31, 2017. Ben has served our community with distinction for 40 years; in fact Ben has served our community with distinction for all of his adult life. Ben worked summers for the Village Utility Department beginning in 1977 while in high school and was hired full time in 1985. Ben earned a degree in civil engineering while working for the village and provided critical leadership in replacing and up grading our Village’s infrastructure. Ben was also the leader in implementing our 2005 Street Scape program that revitalized our downtown commercial district. For all who know him and have worked with him, and most especially me, it was a privilege to have worked with Ben and he will be missed. Ben has agreed to continue to serve as an independent consultant to the Village as we develop the plans for the Waste Water Treatment Plant up grade and the negotiations with Geauga County and other utility matters.

I am sure all of you will join me in thanking Ben for his service and wishing him a long and happy retirement.

We will be creating the position of Assistant Chief Administrative Officer for the balance of this year and I will be appointing Rob Jameson, subject to council’s approval, to that position. This will allow four months for Rob to work and train with Ben. It is my intention, again subject to council’s approval, to appoint Rob to the Chief Administrator’s position in January of 2018.

Rob has worked for the Village since 2012 as Service Director. Rob holds a B.A. degree in Urban Studies from Cleveland State and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration with a concentration in Public Works Administration also from Cleveland State University.

Prior to joining the Village Rob worked for the Cities of University Heights as Service Director and the City of Macedonia as assistant Service Director.  Rob is a Vice President of Northern Ohio Service Director’s Association and a Board member of American Public Works Association Northeast Ohio Chapter. Rob also serves the Village as part time firefight and Emergency Medical Technician.

Rob has proved to be an exceptionally dedicated employee during his tenure as Street Superintendent and both Ben and I have the utmost confidence in his ability to take on the role of administrator.  We should discuss the details of the transition plan in Administrative and Compensation Committee and ask that you set a meeting prior to the September 11 Council meeting.

Mayor Bill Tomko

Public Hearing On Proposed Amendments To Chapter 1143: Signs

Notice is hereby given that a Public Hearing will be held by the Council of the Village of Chagrin Falls on May 22, 2017 at 7 pm at 21 W. Washington Street, Chagrin Falls, OH 44022 on proposed amendments to Chapter 1143 of the Codified Ordinances of Chagrin Falls.  The proposed amendments are outlined in the document below.  Continue Reading →

Additional Pedestrian Crossing Signs

At its last meeting, the Safety Committee discussed the idea of putting Pedestrian Crossing Signs in additional intersections around town. The perception of the Committee is that the presence of these signs both alerts drivers to the fact that a crosswalk is there and generally results in slowing drivers down. Both of these make Chagrin Falls more pedestrian friendly and safe.

In the next couple of weeks, our Superintendent of Streets, Rob Jamieson, and Council President Karl Maersch are going to be looking at some potential locations for these additional signs. If you have ideas on intersections or crosswalks that you think would be a good candidate, please contact us.

New Parking Proposal Presented To Council

Village Council has scheduled two meetings to discuss everyone’s favorite topic—parking. They will be on Thursday, April 20 and Wednesday, May 3 both at 7:00 pm at Village Hall.

In the last few weeks, there have been several revisions to the proposed parking plan and I’ll attempt to summarize the current proposal here. Another good source is the article by Barbara Christian in last week’s CVT (Section A, Page 5).

1) Parking Meters.

The proposed plan calls for installing 2-hour meters on all streets where we don’t currently have meters as well as putting 2-hour meters at 38 spots in the W. Washington lot (aka the Muni lot, which is mostly owned by the Village). The revised plan also calls for installing 8-hour meters in the East Orange lot (next to Riverside Park). Council will have to decide whether to install meters in these locations or leave it the way it is.

The current proposal calls for relatively basic meters that would (a) take coins and (b) allow payment via a smart phone App. Using these basic meters would keep the cost for the meter itself relatively low ($400 per meter) and allow the Village to maintain the $0.50 per hour charge.

Council will also discuss potentially putting in kiosks that take credit cards, etc., but we are told that the break-even point for those types of meters requires charging $1.25 per hour, which is much more than the current level of $0.50.

All meters would have a first 20 minutes free button.

Continue Reading →

Move To Amend Day Special Council Meeting Announced

In November of 2014, Chagrin  Falls voters passed an ordinance by 66% of the voters designating the third Saturday in March in odd numbered years as “Move to Amend Day.”  The initiative petition placed on the ballot was a response to Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, a Supreme Court decision in 2010 that, among other things, deemed spending money as an expression of free speech.

The Ordinance (2105-09) that went into effect as a result of this initiative petition calls for Village Council to hold a public meeting the third Saturday in March in odd-numbered years.  Accordingly, we are announcing a Special Council Meeting for Saturday, March 18 at 9:00 am.

Here is the language from Ordinance 2015-09 about the goal of the meeting: 

WHEREAS, an ordinance was adopted by the electorate on November 4,2014, requiring the Mayor and Village Council to designate one day every two years as “Move to Amend Day” and tosponsor a public hearing to study the impact on the Village of political influence by corporate entities, including unions and Political Action Committees, in connection with the most recent election


Here is information from Chagrin Falls resident Becky Thomas, who is associated with the Move to Amend organization:

In a reaction to this threat to our democracy, a national organization called Move to Amend was formed with the intent to amend the Constitution.  In the past few years, Brecksville, Shaker Hts., Mentor, Toledo, Cleveland Heights, Cleveland, Newburgh Heights, Defiance and Dayton have also passed ordinances supporting this constitutional amendment.

The purpose of the public meeting is draw attention to the influence of money in politics.  Citizens will have the opportunity to speak for 5 minutes per person on any topic having to do with the Constitution, money in politics, corporate influence on social/environmental/political policy, the concept of corporate personhood, writing of legislation by corporate lobbyists, state budgets which effect local spending, or any other topic which influences our democratic principles.

Please come and speak.  Your comments will be listened to and posted on the Village website.  We welcome all citizens who want to curtail the influence the wealthy few have on our democracy.

Councilman Muscenti Resigns



Tom Muscenti has resigned from council for personal reasons effective December 27, 2016.

Council will be selecting a replacement to fill his seat for the remainder of the term ending December 31, 2017. Anyone wishing to be considered for this position should send a letter of interest and a brief resume to David Bloom, Clerk of Council, Chagrin Falls Village Hall, 21 West Washington Street or electronically to
Mayor Bill Tomko


Special Council Meeting Announced

The Chagrin Falls Village Council will hold a Special Council meeting on Monday, November 7, 2016 at 7:30PM to discuss signing on to an amicus brief in State ex rel. Huttman v. City of Parma.

John Mitchell Sworn In As New Council Member

John Mitchell sworn in as new Council Member 2016On August 18th, Village Council held a Special Meeting to interview candidates to fill the vacancy created when a council member moved out of town. We interviewed three very good candidates and voted unanimously to appoint John Mitchell.

John has lived in Chagrin Falls since 2005 and lives on Bell Street with his wife, Ann, and 3 sons. He has been involved in the Dad’s Club, holding various leadership roles, as well as the Chagrin Valley Jaycees. John started his career as an assistant prosecuting attorney for Cuyahoga County where he worked in the Major Trials Unit, prosecuting homicide, rape and public corruption cases. John is currently a partner at Thompson Hine where he focuses on Product Liability Litigation, White-Collar Crime and Business Litigation.

John recently chaired the Chagrin Falls Charter Review Commission, which is a group of residents appointed every 5 years to review the Village Charter and make recommendations for modifications or improvements. As part of that process, John and his fellow commission members held multiple meetings with department heads, employees, village council, village administration as well as various boards (e.g, ARB, BZA, P&Z). Everyone on Council was impressed with John’s organization, leadership and contributions to that process and thought those skills would translate well to Village Council.

John will be sworn in at our meeting on Monday, August 22.


Karl Maersch

Council President

Applications Requested For Open Council Position

villageseal-350-300x300Chagrin Falls Village Council is seeking candidates to fill the vacancy left by Councilman Robert Schleper, who resigned to take a job in Denver, Colorado. The term for this position will run from August 2016 to January 2, 2018 and Council vacancies are filled by a majority vote of remaining members of Council.

Residents interested in being considered for appointment to this position can submit their resume and qualifications to Ben Himes at Village Hall, 21 W. Washington Street or via email to Candidates must have been a resident and qualified elector of the Village for at least two continuous years prior to appointment to council and cannot hold any other public office or be a village employee.

Village council meets the second and fourth Monday of each month at 7:00pm and each Councilperson serves on 2 or 3 committees. For more information on Council duties please see the Village Charter.  

The deadline for applications is Wednesday, August 10, 2016.

Councilman Robert Schleper, Jr. Resigns Position

To my colleagues here in the Village,

It is my bittersweet news to convey that I have been offered a position in Denver, Colorado this past week. As many of you are aware, finding a leadership position in education in Northeastern Ohio has been challenging to say the least. After making the decision to apply out of state, I was offered a position within twelve days off applying, within one of the top schools in Colorado.

As such, I will be resigning from Chagrin Falls Village Council effective August 1st, 2016. Serving in this capacity the past year has been a true honor, and I will always remember the level of engagement I have held within this community. Being in service to your community, no matter the capacity, is always an honorable and worthwhile endeavor, and connects us to the greater idea of being women and men for others.

I would like to take the opportunity to thank each of my colleagues on council, the Village Administration, Law, and Service teams, as well as Mayor Tomko for the privilege of working with all of you. I would also like to specifically thank Chief Brosius as well as Chief Zugan, and their teams for their tireless efforts and service to our Village. Our police and fire teams are truly the front line in this community, and their efforts not only protect us, but connect us to a sense of solidarity and pride.

I currently chair two posts for the Village, the Arts, and Administration and Compensation. I would like to recommend that Councilwoman Rogoff assume my post for the Arts Commission, and Councilman Muscenti assume my post for Administration and Compensation. I feel very strongly that they will provide sound guidance and leadership for those committees, and hold the appropriate backgrounds to support each of those groups.

I would like to state again the level of appreciation I have for the opportunity to serve in this capacity, and for the relationships that I have built here. This village has much work to do now and in the future, and I wish you all the best in pursuing the collective goals that we all hold dear; all for the betterment and solvency of our Village.

Thank You,


Robert E. Schleper, Jr., Ed.D


Income Tax Increase Unanimously Recommended to Council

Mayor Bill Tomko entered office in January of 2016

Mayor William Tomko, 2016

On Tuesday May 31, the finance committee of council, meeting as a committee of the entire council, (all council members were present and voting) voted unanimously to recommend to council putting the administration-proposed tax increase on the November 2016 ballot.

The residents of the Village will now have the final say in what kind of town they want Chagrin Falls to be.

The proposed income tax increase will be from the current rate of 1.5% to 1.85% (approximately 1/3 of 1 percent). This will result in a maximum tax increase of $35.00 on every $10,000 of wage income before applying the tax credit for taxes paid to other taxing communities. The tax increase will not apply to retirement income or passive income such as interest or dividend income. For residents living in Chagrin Falls and working in another taxing community, (which is the overwhelming majority of our residents), the current tax credit rate of 75% will remain unchanged and unlimited in amount. This proposed increase is projected by R.I.T.A. to generate $750,000 per year.

The use of these funds would be restricted to funding:

1. Permanent improvements

2. Infrastructure maintenance

3. Cemetery perpetual care

During the next five years, approximately 75% of the funds generated by the proposed tax increase will go towards road repair and maintenance. For a detailed listing of where the proposed tax increase will be spent see the Proposed Projects Spreadsheet where we have listed each proposed project by year and the reason why we are proposing to undertake the specific project.

While no one likes any tax increase, I believe the proposed tax increase is the fairest means to raise the funds required to finance vital capital replacements and maintenance projects. We are not asking for funding for nebulous projects as we have specifically identified the individual projects and stated the reason we are proposing to spend funds on it. Most identified projects can be seen by driving down the road and for those that can’t call me (247-8399) and I will show you the project.

There will be several council meetings (June 13 and 27) before this proposal goes to the Board of Elections for placement on the November general election ballot. At each of these council meetings there will be ample opportunity for public input on the proposed tax increase. If you wish to comment or have questions, I encourage you to come to the meetings.


Mayor Bill Tomko

Administration Proposes Capital Improvement Plan To Finance Meeting Tuesday May 31

Village Government consists of an elected Council and Mayor. This is the 2016 Council.

The Village Council Finance Committee is meeting as a Committee of the Whole on Tuesday, May 31 at 7:00 pm to discuss the Village’s capital needs and how these needs might be financed. The capital needs budget can be reviewed in its entirety here. The format will be an open meeting with public participation and an open question and answer session. There is a lot to cover and to consider. Accordingly a follow up meeting may be required. Also, some residents may want to discuss this proposal and will be unable to attend Tuesday’s meeting.

The capital maintenance and improvement budget is organized into three sections:

1. The first section sets forth specifically what we believe the village’s capital needs are by specific project and the year we propose doing the project. The far right hand column explains why we believe the project needs to be done. The projects are grouped by area. For example, all the road programs are grouped together, as is stormwater management etc.

2. The second section details projected budget cuts we are pursuing by changing some of the village operations. For example, moving to a new healthcare plan when our current contract expires, or implementing a comprehensive parking plan. The negative numbers in each year’s columns unfortunately reflect the remaining unmet revenue needs. This unmet need can only be resolved by declining to address some of the specific projects listed above or by a tax increase. See the Financial Review Committee’s report for their conclusions on the village potential to fill the funding short falls with savings from operations and also for their conclusions on the Village’s deferral of capital projects over the last few years

3. The third section details the Administration’s proposal to increase revenue and in it, we are proposing that council authorize the village to put an income tax increases on the November 2016 ballot for the voters to decide. With the reduction and elimination of both state aid and the estate tax, the choice is simple and stark, raise additional revenue or decide what does not get done; hence why we listed specific projects and assigned proposed dates to them. In the Administration’s view, it is up to the residents to decide what kind of town they want. The proposed tax increase will allow the village to fund its capital expenditures and restore prudent balances in the capital improvement fund. This will allow us to reestablish the minimum capital fund balance identified by the financial review committee on page 6 of their report.

The Administration is proposing an income tax increase and not a property tax increase as it does not affect those residents living on a fixed income. In addition, part of the increased tax will be borne by visitors to the village. The income tax only taxes wages and business income, NOT retirement or passive income. The increase we are proposing to Council is 0.35%, a little over a third of a percent and will take our rate from the current 1.5% to 1.85, which is still less than many other communities. The tax credit received by resident living in the village and working in another taxing municipality remains UNCHANGED at 75%. This credit is still much greater than many other communities. RITA has estimated that for the majority of our residents who live in the village and work in another taxing municipality, the proposed tax increase will cost them $43.75 per $50,000, which is less than a dollar a week. For an individual both living and working in the village or living in the village and working in a non-taxing township such as Bainbridge, the prosed tax increase will cost them $175.00 per $50,000 of taxable income. This proposed increase will raise $750,000 of additional revenue and in our judgement, adequately financing the village capital needs. My memo to council which more fully explaining out proposal can be seen here.

I’ve spent the last few months evaluating our current financial situation, creating a detailed list of specific capital projects and assigning proposed dates to them. It is up to the residents to decide what kind of town they want. As I said in the beginning, there is a lot here to think about, question and understand.

I hope you can join us next Tuesday to start this process.
Mayor Bill Tomko