By Thomas Jewell, Cleveland.com, Dec 13, 2017
Final approval by City Council for Shaker's nearly $48 million operating budget and $7.3 million Capital Plan in 2018 will be held Monday (Dec. 18).
SHAKER HEIGHTS, Ohio -- Tucked away in the city's proposed $7.3 million capital budget for 2018 is $40,000 expenditure for a new community policing initiative -- a bike patrol.
Police Chief Jeffrey DeMuth noted that the supplemental patrol unit would enhance officer access and maneuverability in the Van Aken District, Shaker Town Center as well as the city's neighborhoods.
In addition to promoting faster response times, bikes work well in and around large crowds and give officers the ability to ride through and into buildings, if need be.
It also increases officers' awareness of their surroundings, DeMuth said, adding that over 90 percent of law enforcement agencies serving populations greater than 25,000 have patrol bicycles.
The $40,000 cost would cover bikes, training and associated equipment, considerably cheaper than the $200,000 also sought to replace six police cruisers with new Ford Interceptors, and $78,000 to replace the department's "TASERS."
On the personnel side of community policing, DeMuth is also asking for $20,000 to replace K-9 Charlie, who is coming up on his 10th anniversary, and "reaching the end of expected workability."
Police would be looking at another "general duty" canine with narcotics detection capabilities.
"Our 'K-9's' have proven to be useful tools in areas of community relations, officer safety and locating suspects," DeMuth stated in a Dec. 4 budget presentation to City Council.
On the more mundane side of things, the lion's share of the city's capital budget includes another $2 million to be spent on streets next year, along with $2.55 million on sewers.
The sewer funding includes $1.75 million that would be transferred over from this year's General Fund revenues, $400,000 already available in the Sewer Fund from borrowing in 2016 and another $400,000 grant from the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District.
There's also $412,000 earmarked for the City Recreation Department, including $25,000 for new "pool shade structures" at Thornton Park to replace the ones that are aging and deteriorated.
In addition to $52,000 for new pool filters, and $25,000 for new pool lounge chairs, the Thornton Park outdoor basketball court will also be resurfaced ($15,000).
And as Councilman Sean Malone noted earlier, some of the city's playgrounds and parks will be getting some love in 2018 with a proposed $280,000 expenditure to cover equipment such as:
-- Winslow playground surfacing ($30,000)
-- Improvements at Chelton Park including fencing, picnic tables, swings, and deteriorated play surfaces (no amount yet)
-- New fencing at Courtland Oval and Hildana park
-- Upgrades to worn-out features like Horseshoe Lake grills and "play logs," the Hildana sun dial
-- More uniformity to park seating and trash receptacles
Parks listed as next year's "priorities" by the city's Recreation and Health Committee include Chelton, Horseshoe Lake, Susses, Thornton and the "Around-the-World" playground near the main library.
Another $200,000 would be set aside in Public Works capital funding to replace the gymnasium roof at the Shaker Family Center, formerly Sussex Elementary School.
City Finance Director Bob Baker also listed five projects slated for 2018 that have been funded previously or with other sources, totaling about $7.8 million:
-- Kendall-Cheshire sewer separation ($1 million from NEORSD)
-- Cleveland Waterline replacement at Colby and Huntington roads ($1.5 million)
-- Green, Horseshoe and Lower Lake dam repairs ($4.1 million over multiple years from NEORSD)
-- Lee Road "diet" ($155,000)
-- Farnsleigh Road path and streetscape (over $1 million through Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency)
Council is set to give final reading to the 2018 budget appropriations -- both Capital and General Funds -- at Monday's meeting, with a fourth opportunity for public input, Chief Administrative Officer Jeri Chaikin noted.