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Chagrin Falls Village Council {_getChooseLabel(this.selections.length)}

Term: 2 yearsSalary: 0The elected village government consists of a seven-member Village Council. Nine candidates are running for the seven seats. Council members are elected to 2-year terms. All council members are up for election during the same cycle.Incumbents Brett Berkobein, Angela DeBernardo, Karl Maersch, James Newell, and Nancy Rogoff are running to retain their seats. The other candidates are Janis Evans, Erinn W. Grube, Bob Humphrey, and Julia Lipp.Current Council members Janna Lutz and John R. Mitchell are not running.
CHOOSE TWO CANDIDATES FROM BELOW TO COMPARE
  • Brett R. Berkobein

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    Angela DeBernardo Web Developer

  • Janis Evans

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    Erinn W. Grube Mother & Community Volunteer

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    Bob Humphrey

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    Julia Lipp Attorney

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    Karl Maersch Patent Attorney

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    James Newell Business Owner Clearwater Operations and Maintenace

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    Nancy Rogoff Attorney

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Biographical Information

Why are you running (or running again) for mayor or a seat on City Council?

What do you hope to accomplish while you're mayor or on City Council--for your ward or for your whole city?

What do you think are the biggest challenges facing your community? And, if applicable, your ward?

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Age 50
Education Barnard College, B.S. Biopsychology University of Pennsylvania, Ph.D Neuroscience
Current occupation Web Developer and Community Blogger
Qualifications for office Served as Communications Chair and Treasurer for Chagrin Falls PTO 2008-2016; Co-founder of pedestrian safety organization Safe Routes Chagrin in 2009; Communications Manager and Director of Operation for Your HomeTown Chagrin Falls (a local merchant association and events group); Web Manager for Village of Chagrin Falls website; Currently manage independent Chagrin Falls event and news website and social media outlets for the area with more than 10,000 followers. Appointed to empty Council seat in January, 2017.
Campaign Phone (440) 991-6488
Email address angie.debernardo@gmail.com
I am running for Chagrin Falls Council to makes sure the voices of our residents and businesses are heard.  My time in Chagrin Falls has been filled with volunteer and entrepreneurial experiences focused on communication with the public. In my capacity as webmaster for many local organizations and on my own social media channels, I've been fortunate to chat with many residents, business owners and visitors about their love for Chagrin and their hopes for its future. I'd like to bring that level of communication to our local government, engaging more of our community in our local democracy. I'd like to truly represent the people. Chagrin is a unique place, the type of place that many areas are trying to create.  We have a great balance of tradition and innovation, young and old, tight knit community and tourist destination.  I am amazed at what those that have come before me in this village have built, and I’d like to help move us forward - protecting our traditions and history, but embracing what's new and possible.  If I am chosen to represent the village on Council, I will work to make sure I listen to the village residents and business owners and use that information to inform our decisions and our discussions.
1. I value our local business community, and my work with Your HomeTown made me familiar with their challenges. Our independent Main Street provides 50 percent of our tax revenue, and separates us from other bedroom and suburban shopping areas. We must protect this asset. Our current debates about downtown parking concern me. I fear that adding meters to our streets will negatively affect our merchants. 2. I think our sidewalks and the safety of the pedestrians that use them should be protected.  We lost a child here legally crossing in a crosswalk during the day with his family. That’s a tragedy that shouldn’t happen. Accidents at crosswalks continue to appear in our police blotter and residents continue to complain about close calls. We need to work on this problem quickly. As a founder of Safe Routes Chagrin, this is an issue near and dear to my heart. 3.  I am concerned about our taxation level. With the rise in local taxes from both our road levy and the school building bond, we need to tread carefully with future spending. Residents have expressed concerns that high taxes will make the area unaffordable.  Because of this, I would be hesitant to take on expenses that strain beyond our current budget. 4. I’d like to see us use technology to thoughtfully engage more of our community in local government decisions, through a regular email newsletter and resident surveys. I'd like to consider making our meetings available electronically for those that can't attend.
I think we face two main challenges in the years ahead. First, area retail is growing more competitive with the addition of new shopping in nearby Beachwood and Lyndhurst and online shopping stealing business away from bricks and mortar locations. In addition to these pressures, our independent downtown will also have to contend with a two year restoration and construction project to the focal point Main Street bridge in the center of our town starting in 2019. This could cause a significant disruption for an extended period of time. It will take a community effort to support our business community through these years without losing significant local shopping. Second, our Chief Administrative Officer for the last 30 years is retiring in January. His expertise and the institutional knowledge he possesses will be missed. The transition to a new CAO overseeing all operations could be challenging and will require an active Council and Mayor engaged in the process.
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Age 35
Education Beloit College
Current occupation Mother & Community Volunteer
Qualifications for office In Spring 2017, I co-chaired the Chagrin Falls Levy Campaign, alongside Liz O’Neil and Andy Weingart, to revitalize the Philomethian School and provide operating funds for our district. - I was appointed to the Chagrin Falls Charter Review Commission in 2016, which presented a series of charter amendments to Council for Review. - My family and I are active members of Federated Church, where I serve on the Church Council. - I am the PTO Welcoming Chair for school year 2017-18, helping welcome new families to our community.
Campaign Phone (440) 339-7438
Email address electgrube@gmail.com
My name is Erinn Grube and I am running for three reasons, multi generational, village character and balanced government. Our village council needs to reflect the varied voices of residents. The council’s work should take all voices into consideration, from young families to retirees. I am running because we need to protect the character of Chagrin, allowing people to make updates to their property but also respecting the investments neighbors have made in their homes. I am running because we need to have a balanced council that looks at the core of the issues facing the village and creates solutions to problems.
Two years ago Chagrin was facing a shortfall of tax revenue and rapidly aging infrastructure. Today we need thoughtful voices willing to do the work to to see these projects are carried out in the public interest. In 2019, I would like to see three things. First, that the tax dollars entrusted to us to maintain infrastructure are being carefully used to repair our roads. Second, new legislation appearing before council is carefully researched and vetted in the public eye. Third, that we found compromise on the complicated issues that reflect and preserve the unique character of our community.
Our village benefits greatly from the reputation as a walkable community, however this asset needs to be protected because there have been far too many car vs pedestrian incidents. We want Chagrin to be a place that welcomes visitors to shop, have a meal and take in a show. We want vibrant neighborhoods where kids are safe to play. We want to preserve the tradition of kids walking to school. The Police Department is doing great work collecting data so we can understand the issue more in depth. As the data becomes available, we need multi-pronged approaches to help ensure our unique accessibility remains. We need to focus on ways to slow down driver behaviors and ensure that pedestrians are able to utilize safe crossings.
Campaign Phone (440) 708-4214
Email address robert.humphrey23@yahoo.com
Chagrin Falls has been my home my entire life and it will continue to be my home for the rest of my life! To be able to help my community and be of service to its residents would be a great honor to me.
There is always room to improve safety in our village, especially crosswalk safety. We also need to find a solution to our parking issue in town; hopefully, we will be able to have conversations with property owners to negotiate a way to utilize some privately owned parking lots that aren’t being used in the evenings in order to have those lots available for our residents. I will advocate that we continue to support--and grow--all of our arts programs and events.
What do you think are the biggest challenges facing your community? Working with our police department, we must figure out a way to slow down drivers as they ride through town. We have a tremendous amount of pedestrian traffic and we need to make sure that people of all ages feel safe using our crosswalks. Parking is a frustrating challenge here in Chagrin Falls. At times I’m sure that visitors and residents wishing to access shops or restaurants leave the village in frustration simply because there is no convenient place to park! We need to figure out longer parking times or designated areas that are all-day or half-day parking so that customers can avoid getting a ticket if they can’t get back to their car in the two hours currently allotted.
Age 58
Education Case Western Reserve University School of Law (JD) and University of Virginia, Economics and Urban Studies (BA)
Current occupation Attorney
Qualifications for office Former Assistant Geauga County Prosecutor representing civil townships in a wide range of areas, including zoning, employment law, and contracts. Vice President – Friends of Chagrin Falls Library. Member – Chagrin Falls Historical Society. Parishioner – St. Joan of Arc Church. President – Cats Den Garden Club. Former Section Head – Chagrin Falls PTO. Former CAA Coach.
Campaign Phone (440) 840-4240
Email address VoteJuliaLipp@gmail.com
Since 1990, when Stuart and I made Chagrin our home, we have felt very fortunate to live in such a special town. The fact that Chagrin has remained so after all these years reflects the pride our community takes in our small-town lifestyle and the efforts we make to retain what is good and improve upon it.

That is why I am running for Village Council — because I believe it is important to balance the core values of the Village with the need to listen to the wishes of the residents when it is necessary to make some well-thought-out changes and improvements.

My experience and knowledge as an attorney, volunteer, and long-time resident gives me an excellent perspective to achieve that vision.
In the next two years, I would like to:

-Adopt a new and improved zoning code that will provide the foundation to preserve the historic character of our village

-Support our local retail establishments by developing a variety of approaches to alleviate the ongoing parking challenges with data collected by the parking commission

-Responsibly manage the Village’s finances

In order to accomplish these goals, I will listen to the residents and ensure that their wishes are taken into account.
While it appears to be manageable, the upcoming two-year Main Street Bridge project will disrupt the flow of traffic and could negatively impact the Village’s retail establishments. Additionally, there is the question of whether the Village will bear the expense of reconstructing the wing walls. Continuing negotiations with the state and county as well as considering other options are imperative.
Education B.S. Mechanical Engineering, Purdue University J.D., The John Marshall Law School
Current occupation Owner of an IP Consulting firm based in Chagrin Falls, Ohio
Qualifications for office President, Chagrin Falls Village Council (2016-present)
Campaign Phone (440) 468-9130
Email address kmaersch@gmail.com
I have been very happy with the progress we have made on Village Council in the last 2 years. One of my goals in joining Council was to increase transparency and improve the manner in which Council engages residents. To that end, we increased use of the Village website and social media to build awareness of the issues before Council. As a result, more community members attend Council meetings, which has been a positive development.

In my view, this Council has made significant progress on many issues, some of which have not been addressed in years—we completed the first comprehensive parking study in 20 years, we’ve improved our parks, we’ve improved pedestrian safety and walkability, and we were able to pass a modest tax increase to fund much-needed capital improvements. I am running for re-election because I would like to continue this momentum of productivity.
I hope to continue the momentum that Council and Council Committees currently have in rolling up our sleeves and digging into issues that Chagrin Falls faces. I would like to continue improving our code and procedures to ensure that investment in housing in Chagrin Falls matches the character of our neighborhoods. I would also like to find ways to improve walkability and access to trails, improve pedestrian safety, and continue to improve the recreational opportunities we offer our residents through our parks. I would also like to ensure that our businesses continue to thrive in the face of an uncertain retail environment and give them the support they need to continue to make Chagrin Falls a shopping and dining attraction.
In my view, two of the biggest challenges we face are controlling costs and managing the Main Street Bridge reconstruction project. With respect to costs, when my first term began, Council was faced with the challenge of our underfunded capital budget. After rejecting a similar increase twice under prior Councils, I was proud of our community for passing an income tax increase because our streets and infrastructure need investment. I continue to be concerned about the tax burden on our residents and recognize that one of the challenges we face is how to continue to control costs.

Starting in June of 2019, the County is going to reconstruct the Main Street Bridge over the Chagrin River. This bridge is four lanes and two lanes will be closed in 2019 and the other two will be closed in 2020. This project will result in the loss of approximately 30 parking spaces and will disrupt not only parking, but vehicle and pedestrian traffic. All of these aspects will affect our businesses and residents. Making good decisions about how to deal with this disruption is another challenge Chagrin Falls faces.
Age 63
Education Civil Engineer
Current occupation President - Clearwater Operations and Maintenance, LLC
Qualifications for office Resident of the Village of Chagrin Falls
Campaign Phone (216) 225-4623
Email address jim.newell@att.net
In January of 2016 the Village Council had four new members out of seven and a new Mayor. This was a big turn over. In the past two years, we had two members resign. It takes a while to learn all that is involved with being a member of the Village Council. In my opinion, it takes a good year to understand the duties and responsibilities to be an effective Council member. The current council works well together and we have become a very effective governing body. I am proud to be a member of this council, and enjoy the time we spend working together. We accomplished much in the past 20 months, and, as said above, I believe the residents trust we are looking out for their best interests.

There is much more to do, and I would like to continue my contribution as a member of Village council.

As being the Council Representative of the Village Parking Commission, we created a Village wide parking plan; one that has been modified as we received comments and suggestions from residents and business owners. We had over 10 public meetings in 16 months. The parking situation was and still is a difficult issue to resolve. We still have more work to do, but we have a good framework to go by, thanks to Chairman Mike Corkran. The previous 10 years, the Parking Commission met only once a year and was not willing to work through the issues. This time we are making progress in improving the use of the limited parking spaces.

As Chairman of the Utilities Committee, we succeeded in reducing the cost to treat and supply water/wastewater to everyone using our services. We also reduced the contract price of the water supplied by the Cleveland Water Department, saving many millions over the remaining years of the contract.

Maintaining a proactive understanding of the Village budget. The Village is fortunate to have a strong fiscal budget. The voter’s approval of the income tax increase was a tremendous victory for all. This must be carefully monitored. Currently over 50% of the Village revenue comes from the businesses in the Village (Property taxes and RITA taxes). An economic downturn could change all that in a very short time. I believe the Village should continue supporting the business community. Parking is very limited in the Village, and I would like to continue working towards a long-term solution to create additional parking.
Education Juris Doctor Degree
Current occupation Attorney
Qualifications for office Currently serving on Village Council and council representative to Village Planning & Zoning Commission and Arts Commission Village Zoning Commission
Campaign Phone (440) 247-1452
Email address nhrogoff@gmail.com
I am running for a seat on Chagrin Falls Village Council to continue the work I have accomplished during my current term on Council. I am council representative to the Village Arts Commission which serves to support a variety of local arts events including live theatre, art galleries, and a studio orchestra and Historical Society Museum. As a member of the current Village Council I have worked with my colleagues to provide efficient and cost effective management of the business of the Village. Chagrin Falls maintains and operates a water and sewer department, Riverside Park, Triangle Park, Riverrun Park, Whitesburg Park, and others. Council approved construction of a new walkway from Riverside Park to the Library that will be accessible to strollers and others avoiding a steep climb up the hill. Council has worked together with the Mayor and Village employees to create transparency in government and an opportunity for all voices to be heard. As a member of the Village Planning and Zoning Commission, I worked on the complete re-write of the Village Zoning Code.
I hope to accomplish the Implementation of the Village Zoning code re-write as a member of Council. This task is important for the goal of maintaining the Village as an attractive historic community. A reasonable approach to zoning is important to implementing these goals.
The biggest challenge facing Chagrin Falls Village is the re-development of several vacant Village business properties that have fallen into disrepair. The Village must maintain a vibrant business community while maintaining a balance between business needs and resident needs.

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