Monday was a day of rewards and recognition at the Cleveland City Council meeting, and one longtime councilman surprisingly announced that he is stepping down.Attorney and At Large Councilman Richard …
Monday was a day of rewards and recognition at the Cleveland City Council meeting, and one longtime councilman surprisingly announced that he is stepping down.
Attorney and At Large Councilman Richard Banks provided a short reasoning on why he has decided it is time to give up his elected seat and provide an opportunity for another city resident.
He said he was fishing in the nearby foothills, when he hooked what he estimated to be a 4-5-pound trout — on 2-pound test line. The line broke, the fish escaped, and Banks decided it was time to "swim" away from his City Council seat.
"I want someone else to have the opportunity to serve their community," said Banks, urging anyone with an interest to sign up when registration opens Jan. 5, 2018.
"I will not be seeking re-election," he said in springing his surprise on colleagues and the audience. He said he decided 14 years, almost 15, was enough.
"Mayor Tom Rowland swore me in those many years ago, and I told him to point me in the right direction — and he did," Banks added.
He said the Council (and the city) have accomplished a lot in his 15 years, especially in education.
Those accomplishments include construction of Mayfield Elementary School, The Science Wing at Cleveland High School, Cleveland High's Raider Arena, and now the start of construction for the new Candy's Creek Cherokee Elementary School.
Banks said there are at least two things he would like to see the Council pursue after he has stepped down — to revisit a no-kill animal shelter, and a city recycling program.
In finishing his short discussion, Banks, added, "I need more time to fish!"
Also before the Council Monday was the presentation of 23 services pins by Rowland to city employees. The recognition ranged from 20 to 35 years.
Council and staff members also unveiled a plaque to be placed at the city's new Blythe Oldfield Park in South Cleveland.
The only recipient of a 35-year pin Monday was Police Department veteran Tim Winder.
Acknowledged for 30 years of service were Gene Smith of Animal Control, Tony Brown of Public Works, Kim Spence in Administration, and Steve Tyson with the Police Department.
Twenty five-year honorees: Jeremy Noble (Police), Mike Harris (Police), Beverly Lindsey (Administration), Buddy Mitchell (Police), Bobby Gaylor (Fire), Susan Jerfie (Police), Jimmy Tatum (Recreation), Teresa Torbett (DES), and Jeff Griggs (Police).
At 20 years are: Renada Skelton (Recreation), Chris McRoberts (Fire), Joe Greenleaf (Fire), Eric McAmis (Fire), Mark Gibson (Police Chief), Mark Darnell (Police), Matt Jenkins (Police), Terry Pugh (Recreation), and John Milen (Police).
Another major recognition by Rowland was to retiring Mike Moses of the Cleveland Police Department.
Per tradition, the city declared Moses' service weapon surplus property and it was presented to him as a token of his 30 years of service in law enforcement.
In other business:
• Council considered a request to rezone just over two acres on Georgetown Road at Harrison Pike from R1 Single-Family Residential to R3 Multi-Family Residential.
No one attended a preliminary public hearing, or the voting session. The request was denied, based on the Planning Department's recommendation, and a unanimous 9-0 vote by the city's Municipal Planning Commission.
• On the consent agenda was an ordinance providing additional tax relief for qualifying residents, a resolution authorizing the mayor to sign a contract with Cleveland Utilities amending the firing range agreement with the Cleveland Police Department, the acceptance of a donation of property from RAK Properties off Inverness Drive near Candies Lane which will assist with stormwater control issues, and authorizing the 2017-2020 Special Litter Grant.
Reappointments to boards and committees include Rick Butler to the Housing Board of Adjustment and Appeals, Ed Brown and Clint Taylor to the Board of Zoning Appeals, and Lisa Zuis and Dewayne Bunch to the Fletcher Park Board.
• City offices will be closed Dec. 25 and 26 for the Christmas holidays, and Jan. 1 and 2 for New Year's. The next City Council meeting will be Monday, Jan. 8.
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