Monday, June 3, 2019

Cleveland City Council to Introduce Lead Safe Legislation Tonight

Posted By on Mon, Jun 3, 2019 at 4:30 PM

click to enlarge Lead Safe Cleveland coalition, (1/22/19). - CITY OF CLEVELAND
  • City of Cleveland
  • Lead Safe Cleveland coalition, (1/22/19).

Cleveland City Council will introduce legislation to combat the city's lead poisoning crisis at its meeting Monday evening, the final scheduled meeting before the body's annual summer recess. After a series of planned community meetings, council hopes to vote on the legislation at the June 21 Cleveland Lead Safe Home Summit and secure passage by September. 

Council President Kevin Kelley, Health and Human Services Chair Blaine Griffin and Councilman Kerry McCormack co-sponsored the ordinance and discussed it Monday afternoon. It was described as the first step in a foundational shift in how the city tackles the lead crisis.

It is premised on an idea that both Cleveland Lead Advocates for Safe Housing (CLASH) and the Lead Safe Cleveland Coalition (LSCC) recommended: mandating that all properties built before 1978 be certified as "lead safe."



The legislation, which will carry criminal penalties, has a longer timeline than proposed by both LSCC and CLASH. Certificates will be required in areas of greatest need in 2021 and will roll out over two years. Ideally, the certificats will be fully implemented across the city by March, 2023. Council will continue to work to find funding to implement the testing and remediation of affected properties. Among other things, the legislation will include an increase in rental registration fees (from $35 to $70) which will generate additional revenue for the city's general fund and could be earmarked for the implementation of the lead-safe ordinance.

CLASH, meanwhile, began a renewed petition drive this weekend. They are gathering signatures once again with the goal of putting its own lead legislation on the March, 2020 ballot. 

CLASH gathered more than the required number of signatures in the winter and spring, but City Council refused to accept them because of a missing piece of language required by the Ohio Revised Code. That prevents CLASH from putting their proposal on the November, 2019 ballot.

The CLASH proposal would require that all city rental properties and day care centers built before 1978 be tested for lead hazards and be Lead Safe certified by 2021. It also includes protections for tenants and the creation of a city fund for public and private contributions to assist landlords. CLASH representatives presented to City Council earlier this month.

It's not clear how CLASH will respond to the introduction of City Council's ordinance, but the groups has said that it will gather signatures and file completed petitions in August if City Council fails to pass a "strong and effective 'lead safe' mandate ordinance."
 

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