SPECIAL MEETING OF THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF NOVI
MONDAY, APRIL 17, 1995 AT 7:00 p.m. EDT
NOVI CIVIC CENTER - ACTIVITIES ROOM - 45175 WEST TEN MILE ROAD
The meeting was called to order at 7:00 p.m. with Mayor McLallen presiding.
ROLL CALL: Council Members *Crawford (absent), Mason (absent/excused), Mitzel (present), Pope (present), *Schmid (absent), Toth (present) and Mayor McLallen (present)
Present (4) Absent (3-Mason, Crawford, Schmid)
*Councilman Crawford arrived at 7:05 p.m.
*Councilman Schmid arrived at 7:10 p.m.
ALSO PRESENT: Edward Kriewall - City Manager
Les Gibson - Finance Director
Kathy Smith-Roy - Controller
Brenda Evans - Library Director
John Chambers - Library Board Member
Myrtle Locke - Library Board Member
Paul Black - Library Board Chairman
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
It was then,
Moved by Councilman Mitzel
Seconded by Councilman Toth
That the agenda be approved as presented.
Yes (4) No (0) Absent (3) Motion carried unanimously
PURPOSE OF SPECIAL MEETING
1995-96 Budget Study Session
AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION - None
PROPOSED BUDGET REVIEW
Mr. Kriewall introduced Paul Black, Library Board Chairman
Mr. Black passed out materials to Council. Mr. Black explained the summary of their Fund Balance. He said the material was prepared by Brenda Evans.
Mr. Black said it showed that the current fiscal year began with a Fund Balance of $356,615.65. Mr. Black explained the expenditures and the anticipated fund balance as of July 1, 1995 was $248,015.65. He said they also anticipated $140,000 for parking lot renovation which left an anticipated fund balance as of July, 1996 of $108,015.65.
Mr. Black explained the anticipated revenues. He said the line items on income are in line with what was anticipated for this year; it showed a grand total of $1,464,707.00.
Mr. Black said the major expenses were related to the personnel section. He said in the personnel budget it showed an anticipated expense related to raising staff salaries. He said they felt that they were behind what the City people received the last couple of years so they anticipated giving a 4% increase. He said they also anticipated some other staffing. He said they did not have a computer technician for most of this year and they would like to put it into the budget.
Brenda Evans said they had need of an additional reference librarian. She said their circulation and reference statistics continue to climb and they are in the range of 13% to 15% over the last three fiscal years. She said staffing had not increased anywhere near that rate. Ms. Evans said they found that the variables in counter offering reference service are greater now that they use automated data bases. She said it entailed a great deal of one on one instruction to sit down with someone and go through a variety of resources that are faster then they had ever had before. She said they thought that was a perfect job for a public library so they wanted to do as well as they possibly could. She said they had proposed an additional part time reference librarian. The other person that was a new projected position for the next fiscal year was an Administrative Assistant. Ms. Evans said they envision that person being able to handle a number of the secretarial/clerical duties that they have not had a person to do. She said this position would also be 20 hours. She said in addition to the computer technician, three applicants had applied.
Mr. Black said in the Supplies Section the only increase would be the books. He said that being the business they are in and the computers not having quite taken over yet they do anticipate increasing the budget for books.
Mr. Black said in the Services Section there were a couple of items that show differences. The TLN Automation was the cooperative that they belonged to and anticipated a great deal of expense both here and in the next section under equipment.
Mr. Black said the cooperative was installing a new computer system for circulation for the approximately 60 libraries that it served. He said rather than spending $200,000 in a stand alone system they are participating in that system. He said this year they paid their up front costs for their share of the system. He said the rest of this year and into next year they had to budget considerable monies to replace the computer terminals. This is necessary to get them all to work efficiently in their local area network and in the cooperative as a whole they have to be updated.
Mr. Black said in checking prices on a lot of these work stations they found they could buy them through the network, though they were not as high a caliber machine with the memory etc. They anticipated participating in the buying of computers with the City. Mr. Black said the budget showed the ACS Equipment at $35,943.00 and they need to buy all of this and get everything they need to have on hand. In the Automation System they need to pay for some of the ins and outs of the system as it got up and operational.
Mr. Black said the new system was being installed as he spoke and should be up and running by July. He said these were Internet capable.
Mr. Black said in the Service Section a Contingency category for $13,000 had been added. He said it was 1% of the budget and was added because some of the costs of installing the new computer were unknown.
Mr. Black said they raised the furniture expense because they felt that it was needed.
Ms. Evans said in regard to the CD LAN Hardware they were expanding hard drive storage and they wanted to store back issues of the Detroit News and some of the nation wide newspapers that they receive on CD Rom. She said they were converting to hard drive storage because it would be more efficient.
Mr. Gibson said the library had included that they would take it to the Headlee, about $60,000 and it was about .04 of a mil.
Councilman Mitzel asked how was the library for ADA compliance.
Mr. Black said it was initially built to be barrier free. He said one of the things they are doing this year with the door project was to install new doors that would be the supermarket type. He said the bathrooms were handicapped and everything was wide enough. He said they are anticipating changing the drinking fountain which he thought was the only thing that wasn't in compliance.
Councilman Mitzel asked about the alarm systems.
Mr. Black said he didn't know and he could only tell them they had sprinklers. He indicated that he was not aware that they were in violation.
Councilman Pope said that he would love to see a Master Plan done at some point in the library. He said he would like to direct their attention to the police who just hired someone to look at their building and their future. He said they might want to ask someone to look at that because it might give them some idea of what they need. He said there were a lot of questions about what would go on on the corner. He said he would like them to consider that. He said if he asked now where the Library would be in 20 years they couldn't answer and he would like to know that answer.
Mr. Black said Ms. Evans had someone from U of M do some research just recently. He said the idea was to look at what other libraries had done and then get a base to be able to do that. He said the big question for them was do they branch or do they expand.
Ms. Evans said she did have the opportunity to work with the School of Information Library Studies at the University of Michigan who often have field school in the library. She said this gave them a chance to see what it was like out in the field. She said she asked a student who had researched a couple of projects for them, one was the library's use of long range planning models and also to get onto the Internet, to find out what some of the libraries were doing across the country and to talk to the Institute of Social Research at the University of Michigan. She said she would like to do a survey of needs. She thought once she had that information as long as the survey questions are very clear and can be interpreted they would have a stronger basis on which to plan future expansion.
2. Drain Perpetual Maintenance
Mr. Black said this was the millage that was anticipated for the last couple of years. He said they tried to engineer and then construct the basins throughout the City. He said they tried to anticipate and take the Master Plan and build as much as they could. He said part of the old process was getting easements. He said a couple of things that ought to be noted were that in the expense there was a magnificent sum of $3,000 and they were doing a study as a response to citizen needs where Shawood Lake goes into Walled Lake at the south end there was a rather large sediment build up. He said they are spending the small sum to study it, to see what could be done and why it tends to build up.
Mr. Black said they also anticipated spending $11,527 in that area out of the Construction at Austin Drive and Iva. He said they were doing some storm sewer improvements up there and right now the water puddles along Novi Road north of the Veterinary Clinic. He said the Clinic was doing some remodeling and they were tying in with that and taking the storm water from Novi Road down Iva Street and picking it up so that it would go into Shawood Lake.
He said they were bidding the Levenworth Basin on the south side of Grand River east of Taft and it was the major project that goes out for bid in the spring or early summer.
He said they were acquiring land for the North Novi Basin and that land was about 70% acquired.
Mr. Black said they were designing the Dunbarton Basin which was next to Novi Township.
Mr. Black said they had acquired all the property for the Monro basin which was near the post office. He said it would take care of some work in Novi Heights Area.
Mr. Black said there would also be some catch basin clean outs
and the schedule for that was set.
Mr. Nowicki said the programs are taking longer than anticipated because of problems with property acquisition and DNR hold ups. He said they had submitted an application for a permit for Monro Creek some time ago, and it was denied. He said it appeared that their target was somewhat moving which affected all environmental concerns and environmental impact statements that they were looking for. He said through the committee they had been working to establish that to find out where they are heading. Mr. Nowicki said they got David Fried involved and he researched the legislation to allow them to move the projects ahead. He said it looked like in the coming year things would be moving in a positive direction on several basins plus Council had approved funding for Master Plan update last year. He said there had been additional work and the Commission had provided direction on where to head with that but unfortunately the DNR's target kept moving. He said they would not spend a lot of time on developing the Master Plan until they get something firm from the DNR as to where they are heading with their program.
Mr. Kriewall said probably some of the Revenue that we are going to identify is contributing to the park land acquisition around the Tree Farm. He said they were going to need a little help acquiring the last couple of parcels that they had identified in the original Master Plan for Acquisition and thought the storm water should fund some of the wetlands areas. He said that would come before City Council within the next 90 days.
Mr. Black said the committee was aware of this and they had tried to work in conjunction with the Parks and Recreation Department knowing that some of this land was marshy and couldn't be used but it could be part of the park open area. He said that they concurred.
Councilman Toth said the committee did go to Council on this a number of years ago and appropriated funds to help the park land acquisition that was bordering North Novi Basin. He said that area that was contributed to the basin was funded out of storm water programs.
Councilman Toth asked about the Drain Perpetual Maintenance Fund on Page 40; it showed the actual interest on investments as $46,996. He said on Page 65 it showed the Drain Perpetual Maintenance Fund balance as of 7-1-94 as $1,463,777.00. He said the interest on that at 5% would be $73,000 and yet interest was shown as only $46,996. He said one of the things he mentioned last year was that the intent of this fund was to fund future maintenance when the system was built out. He thought Council should direct this fund into some long term investment program and maximize the amount of interest. He said at $46,996 it's showing that they gained somewhere around 2 1/2 or 3% interest on almost a million and a half dollars.
Mr. Gibson said those were last years numbers. He said they had been experimenting with some of the longer range investments and this was one fund that they had identified for long term investments.
Councilman Toth said he thought they should be getting up near 8% on some of the long term investments. He felt that some of the interest figures were extremely low. He said there was an estimated $200,000 this year and interest of $60,000.
Mr. Gibson asked Councilman Toth to notice the interest to date until the end of February was $3,000 compared to the full year of $46,000. He said the rates in some of the longer term investments have started to bring that rate up.
Councilman Toth said the last time he discussed this Mr. Gibson mentioned that the State had some restrictions on how the money could be invested.
Mr. Gibson said there was quite a bit of flexibility. He said we could get into Treasury Notes on some of the longer term investments.
Councilman Schmid said he was not satisfied with Mr. Gibson's answer. He said Councilman Toth brought up a good point about the interest. He said if the figures are active we are talking almost $1.5 Million and talking a return of 2 or 3% - was almost uncalled for. He asked for a better explanation of why that money was sitting for that kind of interest.
Mr. Gibson said the figures were accurate but the full amount was not available for interest for the entire year. He said they had anticipated some growth during the year.
Councilman Toth asked if we have the ability to loan ourselves money and pay ourselves interest. He said if we had $1.5 Million sitting in this account rather than go to the bank and pay 7% or 9% interest could we borrow money for our own use and pay ourselves interest. He asked what kind of restrictions there would be with state law.
Mr. Gibson said he thought that City Council could in this particular situation but water and sewer fund and revenue bonds had certain restrictions. He said it could be done but it becomes a real tracking problem to make sure that the right interest passed through. He said taking from one fund and causing an advantage in another fund could be done, but he would discourage it.
Councilman Mitzel asked if it was possible to get a listing of where the tap in fees came from.
Mr. Gibson said that could be done.
Councilman Toth said he was no longer on the Storm Water Committee and the concern he had was the drain maintenance float. He said he didn't see the funding or the plan to meet the requirements of the Master Plan.
Mr. Nowicki said that program was presented to the Storm Water Committee and he thought it was scheduled for December, 1994. He said what was done was a complete makeup program for the various sections of the community, and DPW and combination of Water and Sewer. He said whenever they had the manpower available they would go out and maintain the various basins in various sections of the City by back draining the catch basins, storm drain lines and doing ditch maintenance. This would be under the maintenance tab of the books.
Councilman Mitzel asked if they would be able to use the new computer system and eliminate some of the paper work.
Mr. Nowicki said one of the things that the committee did approve was the drain funds involvement in geographical informational system in a computer tracking program. He said the requirements had not been identified yet. He said they are looking through the various packages to identify what package might help them in all of their programs. He said it was a comprehensive inventory program along with a works program that generated work orders and tracked each individual manhole. He said now they are going through the DNR abatement program.
Councilman Pope asked what protective build out was.
Paul Black said he didn't know and that they thought they would be done by now but it just goes on and on.
Mr. Nowicki said the basic program would be ongoing until they were primarily able to build out into the community. He said the way it looked now was the development drove the construction in certain areas. Many times they are unable to purchase the property in the vicinity of the basin because the developers that control the property are unwilling to allow that property to leave their hands unless they get an approved site plan.
Councilman Pope asked if he thought that drain millage could go away when 95% build out was met.
Councilman Pope asked if there was any savings to the drain fund on the MDOT mitigation plan and were they able to put anything together with them out there with what was Master Planned for the drain program.
Mr. Nowicki said they had explored it and unfortunately it didn't work out.
Mayor McLallen asked if our investment opportunities are reviewed and if there was an advisory group that oversees this.
Mr. Gibson said there was no group. As far as the municipal aspect of it the work shops that they attend which are very impressive programs, was how they become aware of what's available.
Mayor McLallen asked if he thought that was sufficient the way the market changes.
Mr. Gibson said it may not hurt to have some help but said they are constantly in contact with the banks as far as the programs that are available. He said they had moved into a couple of new investments such as the Treasury Notes which are the longer term investments. He said they also started into the Plas Program, a pool effort through MBIA which is a Municipal Insurance Program and they insure bonds so they had branched out into this area.
Mayor McLallen asked if at another time they could have an educational system for the Council so they could understand because the Council could make some policy judgements to change some of the strategy if Council understood the opportunities and the risks.
Mayor McLallen asked where we were on the Johnson Drive drain regarding land acquisition. She said it was the largest potential drain on the west side.
Mr. Nowicki said they did have some property but there was relatively no development in that area.
Mayor McLallen explained she was asking about that one because it was one of the largest basins in the City. She said it was found by the habitat study to be one of the largest and most unique wildlife areas in the community. She wanted to know what the target was before the development got to that area and were there any updated plans.
Mr. Nowicki said most of that was wetlands so they are not buildable and as development got closer they hoped to tie into that but nothing was being done at this time.
Mr. Nowicki said under the Department of Public Services, Page 13, there was a six year capital improvement program which would define basically all the capital improvement programs for the next six years.
Councilman Toth said about 3 or 4 years ago he did propose a Financial Advisory Committee and offered related data to Council.
5. Department of Public Services
Mr. Nowicki said primarily they consist of the Building Department, Ordinance Enforcement, Department of Public Works and several others.
Mr. Nowicki said they had identified a need for and were proposing a full time Weighmaster which had been brought to Council a number of months ago. He said currently Officer Swope spends 20 or 30% of his time on weighmaster activities. Mr. Nowicki said during that time he had generated income and revenue to the City valued at approximately $25,000. He said they saw a real need with the development going on in the community for a full time weighmaster.
Mr. Nowicki said they are also proposing to get the Weighmaster involved in the site plan review process. He said developers are allowed to come in without regard for the roads, how they are getting into the subdivisions, what they would be doing in the area. He said they were proposing to have the developer submit to the community a traffic route, where they would post a bond for any use of the streets, damage to the streets then we could claim and have the streets repaired at their cost.
Mr. Nowicki said another major part of next years proposal was a two phase process. Primarily it was the Geographic Information System (GIS) that they were proposing and in addition to that there was a Community Land Information System. He explained that this was a Kiosk based system that would tie into the GIS and provide information on the community to all of its residents. In the initial stage it would consist of a kiosk but people could key in information on a user friendly menu and obtain whatever they needed in respect to the community. He said initially there would be the Code of Ordinances, Engineering information, assessing information, and tax information would be available to the individual inquirers.
Mr. Nowicki said to assist them with this they were proposing a Data Management Specialist to load and put in the information. All of the information that used to be given over the counter to residents regarding taxes, assessments, etc. would be available at the Kiosk. He felt this was a positive move for the community.
Councilman Schmid said he sat in on the demonstration of the Kiosk system and his impression was that they were trying to sell it as a public service. He asked if that was correct.
Mr. Nowicki said he was looking at it a lot further then that. He said everything that was done here for the community was a public service.
Mr. Kriewall said the GIS would end up in the Kiosk so when Council commited to the Kiosk they would also be committing to the GIS. He said all the other cities are also using the GIS such as
Southfield, Farmington Hills, Troy. He said the data updates are built into the Kiosk system would be water lines, sewer lines, fire hydrant maintenance, ordinances, building codes, etc. He said everything Council could think of ends up on the Kiosk but it had to start with the GIS.
Mayor McLallen asked if Oakland County was considering using Novi as one of the demonstration cities.
Mr. Nowicki said they were working with us and they are loading all the parcel descriptions. He said they are probably six months ahead of us and they were targeting Novi first.
Mr. Kriewall felt that more than one person would be needed to Kiosk all the information as it was a tremendous job.
Councilman Toth said this was leading up to a 24 hour City Hall.
Mr. Schmid said as he recalled this would be the first time this person had put this together.
Councilman Toth said they had built systems for two other counties and had a third on the way.
Mr. Nowicki said the Kiosk system draws on information that had been collected under GIS so all he had to do was interpret that data and get it to a Kiosk. He said he was confident that this person could set up the Kiosk.
Councilman Schmid asked if the expenditure would fit into the budget.
Mr. Nowicki said it would.
Mr. Kriewall said it would come out of the Enterprise Fund, the Building Department, Water and Sewer, Drains and Roads. He said it started with a GIS which everyone was moving to and at least one person in house would be needed to deal with this technology.
Councilman Toth said JCK was now doing GIS measurements for the county under some special contracts. He said that data was being supplied to the City and they were also doing some work on manholes and sewer systems. He said their computer system at JCK was being set up by the same consultants that were setting up the City computer systems. He said these systems will be compatible and will electronically be able to talk back and forth.
Mr. Kriewall said this would not cost the General Fund anything because it would all be utility funds.
Councilman Mitzel said the GIS could stand on its own but the Kiosk was basically a tool to view the information that was in the GIS and that could not stand on its own without a GIS to draw the data from.
Mr. Nowicki said it could stand on its own but it would have to have its own data base so it would be a duplication of efforts.
Councilman Mitzel said currently the drawings of plats, engineering, etc. are all coming in on paper. He asked if there was a City requirement that they be on disc.
Mr. Toth said they were working on that right now.
Mr. Nowicki said they were holding back on bringing that particular aspect to Council because they were not sure what the system needs right now. He said they didn't want developers providing something in a format they couldn't use.
Councilman Mitzel said once we do that we would be able to down load directly into our system as opposed to having to scan it in or have someone redraw the drawing.
Mr. Nowicki said they routinely get inquiries from developers on utilities in particular areas of the communities where they are looking to build a development. He said they have to get a set of plans and reproduce from JCK and then key that information into their system and its duplication. He said they had all this information electronically, and they were able to extract it from us via the telephone lines or the modem.
Councilman Mitzel asked if all that JCK information would be coming into the City once the system was in.
Mr. Nowicki said that was correct.
Councilman Mitzel said then their data that belonged to us would then reside here in our system as opposed to offsite.
Mr. Nowicki said that was correct.
Councilman Toth said we are in the process of working towards electronic data but one of the key things they had found out from other communities that had used this was that the internal departments use this data as much if not more than the citizens do. He said all the data available on the Kiosk would be available on the network. He said Livonia and two other cities had this system.
Chris Pargoff said one of the main goals for his department was the continuing of the street tree management program. He said this was primarily working on the trees that line our streets, the enhancement of street development through correct and timely pruning and a maintenance pruning schedule. Presently the DPW is doing the pruning. He said the Street Tree Ordinance was now in effect and with this they are able to go into a Perpetual Maintenance Fund. He said there would be funding going into this fund and eventually they would be able to draw off of it with Council's permission for tree maintenance workers.
Mr. Pargoff said they did have a proposal for Field Personnel in their package. He said this person would be funded from several sources including the Local Road Fund, Storm Water Management Funds and Parks and Recreation Funds. This worker would be involved in tree trimming, and spot spraying of public grounds primarily weed control around trees. He said they did'nt have anyone that was capable of doing spot spraying. He said this worker would also be involved in lawn mowing, planting of trees, cleaning out storm water catch basins, fertilizing and locating diseases and insect infestation in trees. Mr. Pargoff said the worker would also help with the trim work in the parks and as the parks system expanded this person would be at the disposal of Parks and Recreation to help their personnel finish up the trim work.
Mr. Pargoff said they were also looking at helping to fund clerical help that was going into the DPW budget. He said they would concentrate the fund collectioned for landscaping, street trees and woodlands fees at the DPW counter. He said as part of this there are administrative fees that are currently being placed into planning and also the Building Department would be coming into the DPW area and that would be their contribution to the clerical person that would be coming into the DPW. Mr. Pargoff said both of these positions were removed from the budget but they were told if they wanted to fill these positions to present their case.
Mr. Pargoff said there were several things that came up since the production of their budget proposal. He said they are postponing the woodlands map revisions until the GIS was operational and at that time the information would be entered into the GIS. Mr. Pargoff said this was a layered system and as part of the layered system they could do the identification of upland woods in addition to the wooded wetlands. He said this was information they often found critical at the time of site plan review.
Mr. Pargoff said they would like to request funding for a plan for the landscaping of the islands on 12 Mile Road. He said they looked into applying for a grant from MDOT and they need a plan to present to them for the landscape work. He said they had inquired with several landscape architects and had been given estimates from $10,000 to approximately $3,000 to $4,000 from our own consultants. He said they had prepared preliminary plan several years ago for the 12 Mile corridor; at this point this was not prepared to the point where they could present it to MDOT.
Mr. Pargoff said they had been informed by JCK that some of their contacts with the wetlands specialist at JCK were not being funded adequately through their contract with the City. He said they also asked for some funding for consultant services with their wetland specialist. He said it was critical where woodlands and wetlands overlap and they needed to speak with these people on a continuing basis to accomplish some of our goals for woodlands preservation.
Councilman Mitzel said he was looking through last year when they were talking about this and it was stated that there should be a Revenue Section in this department.
Mr. Gibson said in lieu of a Revenue Section for this department a Fee Ordinance was recently adopted. He said that was being accumulated in a Trust and Agency Account which would earn its own interest.
Councilman Mitzel said this was something about woodlands review fees coming in and therefore, there should be a revenue in this section.
Kathy Smith-Roy said those fees still had not reached $5,000.
Mr. Pargoff said the woodlands review fees are currently going to the consultant through the Planning Department but the inspection fees would come into the department as the inspections were done. He said they did implement a review fee for landscaping in the updates to the Street Tree Ordinance.
Councilman Mitzel said when he saw a woodlands project come forward he saw a letter from Mr. Pargoff and a letter from Ms. Lemke. He said they both attend the Planning Commission and the City Council and he said he asked himself who the real woodland person is.
Mr. Pargoff said according to the ordinance it was himself and the recent letters from Ms. Lemke they are addressed to Mr. Pargoff. He said the ultimate responsibility was with the City.
Councilman Mitzel asked if he were duplicating services.
Mr. Pargoff said the Planning Department felt that it was critical that Ms. Lemke be maintained.
Councilman Mitzel said his concern was he saw two people at a meeting until midnight with the same issue and it seemed wasteful to him.
Mr. Pargoff said Ms. Lemke's time was paid for out of the retainer and he attended as the City Representative.
Councilman Mitzel said the woodlands map was adopted in 1987 and when it was adopted it was mentioned that it should be updated every five years. He asked if there was a mechanism in the ordinance that when they review a site and saw that in the last eight years a sparse woodlands was now a light or medium woodland that it would fall under the regulations.
Mr. Pargoff said there was a clause in the Woodlands Ordinance that addresses the determination of the reviewer to make a determination that the site had changed. He said there was a mechanism in place for upgrading the conditions that exist on site.
Councilman Mitzel asked how much consideration could he give and maybe the Council had to give to privatizing or contracting out these services. He said it sounded like over the long range they would be talking about some pretty intensive capital equipment and a pretty intensive program as we get more and more miles of street.
He said now seemed to be the time with this program to see if it was more economic long range for us to contract out these services or to start to build up our own department with our own equipment.
Mr. Pargoff said he thought they needed to do both. He said his goal eventually was to have a three person department. It would consist of two individuals that would be field operatives and a forester. He said even with those individuals out there on a continuous basis trimming trees he felt they would still have to do some sub contracting.
Councilman Mitzel said all the trimming could be done by private enterprise at the direction of the City.
Mr. Pargoff said it was possible that that would be the direction of the Council to make that final determination. He said in the budget it had Safety Tree Program and the figure was eliminated. He put down originally a $5,000 figure and the target area for that particular trim program would be Meadowbrook Glens. He said $5,000 might be able to get them in a situation where they were able to trim out co-dominant leaders. He said there were at least two leaders in a tree and they wanted to establish trees with a single leader. He said co-dominant leaders create a weak zone where the second leader was attached and because of that these trees are often prone to splitting.
Councilman Mitzel asked if the safety problem in Meadowbrook Glens had been remediated.
Mr. Pargoff said they had remediated part of it. He said they made it more accessible for pedestrians and vehicular traffic because that was an area they could address with their current crew and tools that they had. He said they trimmed from the bottom up but there were still some situations that could be considered hazardous in the crowns of the trees with this co-dominant leader situation.
Mr. Nowicki said they were not equipped to do any type of aerial work or even trained to do any climbing in the trees. He said most of this needed to be done with an aerial truck.
Mr. Pargoff said Mr. Kriewall instructed them to look into possible sharing of vehicles with surrounding communities but they were not very receptive.
Councilman Mitzel said his two main concerns were:
1. Long range privatization of tree trimming
2. Woodlands - with all the environmental reviews Council received he wanted to be sure they were speaking in one voice in regard to Mr. Pargoff and Ms. Lemke.
Councilman Toth had several concerns similar to Councilman Mitzel's. He said last year and several years ago Council expressed the idea of the City hiring a certified forester and all the forestry work would go through that City Forester. He said he found in the information this evening that the Planning Department was deciding who would look at trees. He felt that this Council should put through as an ordinance demanding that everything goes through the City Forester. He said the City Forester should be responsible for all the trees, not the Planning Department.
Councilman Toth said in regard to the Tree Fund he saw nothing about the Tree Fund as a revenue in the documents and he knew monies had gone into the Tree Fund. He said he had no idea how big the Tree Fund was.
Ms. Smith-Roy said it was $4,900.
Councilman Toth felt that when he was looking at a site plan he should get the fees from the City. He said they shouldn't be going out to a consultant.
Councilman Toth said right now we've purchased a lot of parkland with a lot of trees. He said there are people in Parks and Recreation and other departments that are not qualified to handle the trees. He felt the City would have to come up with some kind of program. There are 100's of acres of parkland that have trees on it and need some control and direction. The number one thing to consider was that some of the people in the Parks and Recreation group probably should be certified. He said the same was true with the DPW. He felt one or two persons should be certified at least to recognize the problem and call Mr. Pargoff.
He said those are things that should be done and Council seemed to be floating on this while we have the Planning Department doing whatever they want on a site plan and technically it should be going through the City Forester.
Mr. Kriewall said they had made it very clear to Mr. Pargoff last year after the budget session that he was in charge of this entire forestry operation. He said he was the coordinator and nobody's restraining and controlling and he could grab off as much as he wanted. He said if he didn't need a landscape consultant working for him that was his decision and he could do away with the position and do whatever he wanted to do.
Mr. Kriewall said he knew Mr. Pargoff was a very busy man, he had a lot of responsibilities and assignments and he had gradually assumed more responsibility.
Councilman Pope asked if there was a response regarding the DPW workers.
Mr. Pargoff said one of them had recently shifted to parks. He said he had two people who were very well trained and he had no hesitation allowing them to go out on their own. He said one was with the DPW and the other with Parks and there was a new DPW worker that Mr. Pargoff would be working with to train him to know what to do in and around the tree.
Mr. Pargoff said the DPW had been very generous with the people and with allowing Mr. Pargoff to use these workers. He felt they were very well versed in how to do this work.
Councilman Pope said this was a good lesson in how Government creates a whole department and Councilman Mitzel's philosophical points are important. He said the Administration's actions have been appropriate in not allowing additional staff. He reminded Council that this position was added at the last minute during budget process. He was not sure necessarily that that was the right decision but as it had grown, Mr. Pargoff had filled the position and had done good things with it.
Councilman Pope said what happened was once one government position was created several others had to be added just to maintain that position. He said in all politeness that as long as he stayed on the Council, which would be a brief period in time, that this philosophical debate should be there. He said he would never see Council adding any of this capital. He said he liked trees but it just doesn't make sense to invest staff resources and dollars when it could easily be contracted out. He said it might not be to the professional, perfect standards that are wanted but Mr. Pargoff was a good manager and he would manage those people well if they were contracted. He said that was his philosophical statement for whatever it's worth which he thought sometimes now that he was on Council a little longer, was more important than the nuts and bolts of what Council was doing. He thanked Councilman Mitzel for raising this and said it was appropriate for Mr. Pargoff to ask but thought generally it was not an appropriate direction for Council to go.
Councilman Schmid said he agreed with contracting out. He said he might not have voted for that position but its done an outstanding job. He suggested Mr. Pargoff would someday have to do a study to see the difference between hiring and contracting out.
Councilman Schmid said it looked to him like there were monies that were supposed to go into his department and they weren't going there.
Mr. Nowicki said they are not being funneled in yet because many of the inspections have not taken place and they wait until the whole project is done and then they would funnel money in. Some money had been funneled in from Walden Woods and as the projects are finished up there would be more inspection fees contributing to the Revenue Enhancements part of the budget.
Councilman Schmid said this special process had begun to add money to the General Fund but we would like to channel these funds to the fund balance account Street Tree Maintenance.
Mr. Nowicki said that was correct. He said the inspection fees sat in the General Fund until the inspection was done.
Councilman Schmid asked how he would like to handle it.
Mr. Nowicki said he didn't feel they should take the inspection fees until the inspections were complete.
Councilman Schmid said then you don't have a problem with this. He thought they were trying to make a change.
Mr. Nowicki said he didn't think it would be something that they could justify with the people that had put forth the inspection funds primarily the developers. He said when the inspections and final approvals are done then those funds should be funneled into Revenue Enhancement.
Ms. Smith-Roy said they have an account called Administrative Reimbursement.
Councilman Schmid asked if that fund would go back into the Tree Maintenance Fund.
Ms. Smith-Roy said the Tree Maintenance Funds was being used where the new ordinance stated that there was a maintenance fee associated with the City planting. She said it was being held in a separate account, not a fund, where it was retaining its own interest. She said the inspections are not going to that cash account they are going to the Administrative Reimbursement just like all the others.
Councilman Schmid asked if that was a change.
Ms. Smith-Roy said it was not.
Mr. Pargoff said the inspection fees had always been there; it was just a matter of once the projects were completed. He thought Cedar Springs was the one finished this last year and they took the whole $4,000 plus from the Cedar Springs account and put it into the General Fund to pay their salary.
Councilman Schmid said there seemed to be confusion as to who did the inspections, either Ms. Lemke or Mr. Pargoff. He said it was his impression that Mr. Pargoff did not have time to do all the inspections therefore Ms. Lemke did do some of them.
Mr. Pargoff said she did some of the commercial inspections.
Councilman Schmid asked if he wanted that now.
Mr. Pargoff said it was a time requirement.
Councilman Schmid asked who was doing the residential.
Mr. Pargoff said that he was.
Mayor McLallen asked how many miles of trees are actually under the maintenance of the City.
Mr. Pargoff said he thought there was at least 30 miles of trees.
Mayor McLallen asked where the maintenance money was in the budget.
Mr. Pargoff said they didn't have any.
Mayor McLallen said that was her point this had been talked about for one hour and there wasn't one dime in the budget for maintenance.
Mr. Pargoff said what they were looking for was maintenance funds where it said Safety Trim Program.
Mayor McLallen said there was no maintenance in that fund and the only maintenance money in this budget was for Cemetery Maintenance.
Mr. Pargoff said street tree trimming was reimbursed by the local road fund.
Mayor McLallen said essentially within Mr. Pargoff's department it was the pointing out of the need for maintenance. The actual maintenance was being done by the DPW. She said Mr. Pargoff's was a managerial department and not an actual hands on equipment requiring at this point. She said that would be a decision as to whether that status would ever change that would be made by Council.
Mayor McLallen said Mr. Pargoff had done an excellent job all year and had stated his case very well for two more people in his department. The Council had asked for a clear resolution and definition of the status of the Ms. Lemke/Mr. Pargoff landscape architect, City Forester, and very particularly how the funding would come back from the consultant pot into the City pot. She stated Administration could clarify that for the Council. She said there was the bigger issue of how the future maintenance would be done, in house or privatization.
Don Saven informed the Council that they had the best Building Department in the State of Michigan and that he was proud of all the staff members.
Mr. Saven said a year ago he was asked by the Oakland County Health Department to give some type of projections as to where we were going in single family development within the City. He said he took a very conservative approach and estimated about 300 single family homes. He said that would probably be achieved in 1/2 a year. He felt this would be the busiest year in the history of Novi.
Mr. Saven went over departmental needs. He said because of the intensity and the longevity of the development it was a major concern for the City as a whole for every residential/commercial unit of construction, improved infrastructure or extended City government work load not only as a new unit but a continued nurturing throughout the life of that unit. He said the City was experiencing record breaking single family construction activity even though the water moratorium exists.
Mr. Saven said all curve and projected growth rates indicate need to comply with Public Act 230 requirements in all of the ordinances of the City. He said when he started with Novi the ordinance book was 83 pages and now it is 4,000 pages. The population had increased by at least 12,000 people and they still had the same staff. He said based on the activity that they have they need to fill a 5th inspector position and he felt that it was almost mandatory. Mr. Saven said they were also looking at expanding one of the existing building inspectors positions to help out in the systems of plan review. It would be an upgrade to a position planner which would probably cost about $500 throughout the year. He said this was based on the need that they have to do all the review of accessory structures, decks and things of this nature.
Mr. Saven said they needed to add a full time clerical staff member. He said they had a part time one at the present time and they would like to have her take over putting in all the information into the computer, assist at the counter, etc. He said this would free up the men that are now entering the information into the computer. Mr. Saven said this request was reviewed through Mr. Nowicki and he did not approve the request.
Mr. Saven said the ordinance department would like to establish a full time weigh master position. He said this position would be self bonded based upon the revenue generated by the tickets that would be issued. He said one of the things that he was very concerned about in the community was Section 28, Section 2 and that section between Taft and Beck, especially with the improvements along 11 Mile Road, Beck and Nine Mile Road. He said there would be a lot of building going on in these areas and that they were very sensitive areas and felt that they should be looking at these roads and preservation and making sure that everything was taken care of.
Mr. Saven said if the weighmaster position was filled what they wanted to see was that the position of weighmaster be full time. Mr. Saven said that currently the weighmaster serves 20% of his time. He said if they went through the numbers of what this man could produce through the year he was sure it would be more than adequate to fund that position. He said one weighmaster ticket could be as much as $11,000.
Mr. Saven said they needed two replacement typewriters for ZBA and Ordinance, laser printer with more options, and an additional computer.
Mr. Saven said it was most important to emphasize that in the creation of these positions it would not be funded through the increase of any tax dollars. They would be funded through the building department revenues and the weighmaster fees.
Councilman Schmid said to Mr. Kriewall that based on what he had read he had rejected everything.
Mr. Kriewall said in the General Fund activity and even though they made a sufficient case for adding staff, we had to pare the budget back and this was one of the area we had to go through.
Councilman Schmid said from what he had read the weighmaster would probably more than pay for himself and in addition we would probably be saving literally thousands and thousands of dollars in road damage. He said over the years he had always thought that we should be tougher on roads because it seemed that we had a lot of large vehicles going through town. He encouraged Administration to look at the weighmaster request and ordinance enforcement are definitely the priorities.
Councilman Toth said he supported the idea of a weighmaster and the idea of adding a fifth building inspector. He said in looking at the budget based on the past, one of the indicators for a demand for a fifth person would be a high increase in overtime. He said the overtime did not seem to be that high.
Mr. Saven said there was paid overtime and they were not done with this year yet. He said the typewriter was needed to type and send out return receipts for the ZBA, registered letters and things of that nature and there was no other way to do it.
Councilman Mitzel said he thought there were laser printers that could do triplicate forms. He said the need was stated for continuing manpower along with the increased work load and once again his concern was what happened in the long range. He said if at some point it tapered off would there be layoffs.
Mr. Saven said he did have some people that were getting close to retirement and there could be a concern about activity going down and if it did those positions would not be filled.
Councilman Mitzel said he thought that the building inspector position was the only position within the Teamsters Contract that would allow layoffs based on need.
Councilman Mitzel's concerns were long range plans and where we were heading and what happened when certain activities decreased or tapered off and whether we look at outsourcing or contracting out services.
Mr. Kriewall said with the Teamster Contract that was difficult.
Mr. Saven said that they had to be careful because this community was a very service orientated community. He said if the people aren't given an instant call back we could be in a lot of hot water. He said if we contract out the residents are not going to get the TLC that they receive from in house personnel especially for our type of operations. These people want the satisfaction of saying they have a concern and need and want someone out now. He said in house we have the ability to do that. Contracting out could really aggravate a situation and the pendulum swings both ways.
Mr. Saven said they just went through some increases associated with operating supplies and expenses. This was strictly because he knew additional expenditures were coming. On March 29 the State of Michigan adopted the 1993 BOCA Code. In the adoption of the Code the State of Michigan got a C+ rating for model energy code which is requiring major changes for conserving energy in this state. It will require the building department to do another inspection on houses.
Mr. Saven said BOCA was going to be at every building department in Michigan looking at them for their effectiveness and reviewing their operations.
Councilman Mitzel suggested that the inspectors could use the lap top computers and enter the information on site.
Mr. Saven said he had given that some thought. He said the State of Michigan had hand held meters and they were not to happy with them because of the damage that occurs to them.
Councilman Mitzel asked about Ordinance Enforcement.
Mr. Saven said he thought that would be great.
Councilman Mitzel said last year Mr. Saven was talking about the Walled Lake area with inspection of building up key ordinance enforcements and such. He asked what happened with that.
Mr. Saven said they tried it and it was not well received.
Mr. Saven said the ordinance enforcement officers respond on a complaint basis.
Councilman Pope asked for a report on the Teamster Agreement regarding Building Department layoffs. Councilman Pope said he would support Councilman Schmid's comment but he would do so cautiously knowing that the Administration had removed these because they knew it was the easiest to make an example of why it was necessary. He said he was not being critical of the Administration it was allowing Council to set priorities but these are the easiest ones to make a demand for and they should be in the budget. He said he was willing to cut in other areas to be sure that they are there.
Councilman Toth asked how many possible members of his staff could retire in the next two years.
Mr. Saven said there are possibly three, a building inspector, clerical staff member and a plumbing and heating inspector.
Mayor McLallen said that building was the cornerstone of our community and if we don't get it right out of the box from the inspections we will pay for it forever. Quality is how we always refer to our community, a community of excellence. She said this was a department that, because of the burdens that are on it, we truly have to encourage to have the best people and as many people as it takes; plus the fact that department self funds. She said she concurred with the Council and would recommend to the Administration to return to the budget the weighmaster, the inspector and the clerical support that the department needed.
Mr. Saven said ever since they got on their complaint tracking system we have within the department complaints relative to the building department. He said two years ago there were 143 complaints and last year there were 236 complaints. He said they need to spend more time.
Mayor McLallen asked how long it took to receive permits to build on a lot.
Mr. Saven said at least a month maybe longer.
9. Department of Public Works
Bruce Jerome said one of the functions of his department was the maintenance of the street system within the City. He said looking at what had happened in the last seven years there had been a 42% increase in the street system. He said last year alone there were 7.52 miles of streets added to our system.
Mr. Jerome said looking long range at the Public Works Department was the manpower pool and the municipal garage was the equipment pool. He said one of the things they would be looking at during the next couple of years was either the reduction in level of service i.e. snow removal or a combination of City forces and contracted services or requests for additional personnel and equipment. Mr. Jerome said they had been pursuing the request for additional personnel and equipment. He said while the street system had grown 42% personnel had only grown 21%. He said they had held a lid on personnel and he wasn't saying that was bad but somewhere in those three options was probably the direction that they were looking for.
Mr. Jerome said street sweeping was an area they were looking at contracted services for this year. He said bids had been received and the proposal was currently with the Purchasing Committee and their recommendation was that it be a contracted function. The bids that they received for four sweepings through the year could be provided by the low bidder at about the same rate that they were paying for labor for their individuals to do it. He said their recommendation was for contract sweeping.
Mr. Jerome said with the changes in the legislation as far as Act 641 with the landfill one thing he would like to note was that their budget didn't include any curb side yard waste collection programs.
Councilman Pope said the yard waste collection was not included because we don't do collection.
Mr. Jerome said that was correct that they currently didn't but in anticipation of that request coming to Council perhaps he just wanted to make it clear that the numbers that were proposed in the budget didn't look at composting programs.
Councilman Pope said he cautioned when Mr. Jerome said that for a broader audience that law applied to the hauler. Since the City's not the hauler the City had no liability on putting the yard waste in the landfill. Therefore, whoever was contracting hauling was responsible.
Mr. Jerome said he anticipated that the cost to the resident would go up and they might come to the City for relief.
Councilman Pope said this issue was brought to the voters and they were asked if they wanted this done as a City wide program and they said no.
Mayor McLallen said she has had calls from citizens inquiring as to where we are going.
Councilman Pope said they are rightfully confused and the responsibility was on the hauler not the City.
Mr. Kriewall said he had asked Mr. Nowicki to write to several of the private haulers in the community to find out if they were going to get involved in the hauling of yard waste. He said they had received notice from some haulers that they were not initially but a couple of them have already reversed themselves. He thought the private market was starting to take care of itself. He said he thought the private sector was reacting to the situation and they would provide the service. He thought the City could stay out of it but stay informed.
Councilman Pope suggested that Council ask Mr. Fried to provide the law on this because the responsibility was on the hauler.
Mrs. Stipp, City Clerk, said she received a notice it would be $30 a year to take yard waste.
Councilman Schmid asked on a scale of 1 to 10 how good did he think roadside mowing and litter control was in the City of Novi.
Mr. Jerome said he thought in certain areas on litter control around Novi Road and I-96 they were probably about an 8 and other areas like Meadowbrook Road between 12 Mile and 13 Mile there are refrigerators that seem to grow over the week end. He said overall on litter we are probably 5 or 6.
Councilman Schmid asked how it was done around the Mall area.
Mr. Jerome said it was done with in-house personnel and with the mowing contract one of the services to be provided in that contract was debris pickup prior to mowing.
Councilman Schmid asked how he rated mowing.
Mr. Jerome said about a 7.
Councilman Schmid asked if he was satisfied with those scores.
Mr. Jerome said given more personnel and equipment the mowing could be improved but given the equipment and personnel available yes he was satisfied.
Councilman Crawford asked if Mr. Jerome proposed to contract out for additional sweeping over what was done now.
Mr. Jerome said no in lieu of what we are doing now.
Councilman Crawford asked if it was done in house now.
Mr. Jerome said they leased/purchased a street sweeper about 5 1/2 years ago.
Councilman Crawford asked what kind of schedule they work on and if they do only City streets and subdivisions or do they do County streets.
Mr. Jerome said what was put together in the bid program was City streets 4 times a year, one spring clean up and 3 routine sweeps and then there was a provision for special sweeps and parking lots which are basically an hourly rate. He said Oakland County had a contractor that came through 2 maybe 3 times a year. In the past we have supplemented Grand River and Novi Road with our machine and they do not reimburse the City.
Councilman Crawford asked why the County doesn't reimburse the City for sweeping Grand River and Novi Road.
Mr. Jerome said because it is done at our option.
Councilman Crawford asked if developers were required to keep the roads clean at construction sites.
Mr. Jerome said there was a requirement and it was enforced through ordinance enforcement and they try to keep the streets scraped and some of the builders cooperate and sweep the streets once a week. He said there were provisions that if they didn't do it we could do the work and bill them.
Councilman Crawford asked if the revenues from the additional weighmaster position would contribute to increase sweeping services.
Mr. Jerome said that would offset his wages. In addition to that if the streets are not kept as clean as they should be we can cash the bond. We are looking at a proposal to have the developer post a bond for the maintenance of those roads.
Councilman Mitzel asked who enforced the burning of yard debris.
Mr. Kriewall said it was the fire department and he thought the Fire Chief was planning banning all fires except recreational fires.
Councilman Mitzel asked if there was any time the Council should consider getting jurisdiction over all the county roads and just have one jurisdiction over all the roads in the City and try to get some kind of funding for it. He was asking Mr. Kriewall and Council to consider this for long range plans of where we are going.
Mr. Jerome said they had looked at it two ways. The first request was for winter maintenance and it was 18 miles of County roads and Oakland County was willing to pay us approximately $42,000 to $45,000 which was about what we would have spent on rock salt. He said the dollars just didn't shake out and we have also talked to MDOT about taking over the entire county system with the exception of 8 Mile, 14 Mile, Haggerty and Napier. He said the problem was under Act 51 the County gets a larger proportion per mile for their system so they get more money to maintain a mile of their road then we do maintaining the same road.
Mr. Kriewall said a lot of cities supplement the county service. He said we end up doing a little of it but try to avoid it as much as possible. He thought the County Road Commission services had improved in the last 2 or 3 years.
Mr. Kriewall said the County was apparently going to get entirely out of the solid waste business. He said he felt the affiliation with RRRSOC was very important for this community in keeping the private sector solid waste rates down. He thought that if Novi got out of that authority the rates would go back up in our community. Mr. Kriewall said they were looking at expanding that agency to do some regional things. He said equipment sharing for Public Works was something they were talking about; setting up an equipment pool through and managed by RRRSOC. He said Southfield had some of the equipment that Mr. Pargoff needed and it could be possible to rent some of these things. He felt the regional cooperation that would come out of RRRSOC beyond solid waste would be very significant in the years ahead in terms of GIS, strategic planning for solid waste and purchasing. He said purchasing might be one area where we want to see RRRSOC do the joint purchasing for all of our communities.
Councilman Mitzel asked if they had any involvement with the recycling center.
Mr. Jerome said he had talked with Mike Csapo. Mr. Csapo was looking at what revenues were received from waste management, newsprint, plastic and about the time he started looking into it revenues started coming in. Mr. Jerome said there had probably been since the middle of January, $5,000 to $6,000 in revenue out of our recyclers.
Councilman Mitzel said the cost was going up about $7,000 from last years budgeted amount and asked where the revenues from recycling would show up.
Mr. Jerome said at the time the budget was prepared they had not received any revenues.
Mayor McLallen shared Councilman Mitzel's concern on the recycling center. She said it did not serve all of our citizens and yet it was really one of the more substantial costs in the Department of Public Works area. She said she would like to see the greater justification for this service. She said in Mr. Jerome's overview, they were looking at different alternatives but what was the real benefit for our citizens for having this when the vast majority of our citizens have other ways of dealing with recycling.
Councilman Pope said 50% of our community lived in multiples and a majority if not all multiple haulers do not provide or require curb side recycling so he wasn't sure that that was a small fraction that recycling serves.
Mayor McLallen asked if there were any figures on the actual use of the facility. She said it was an enormous expense and that it was one of those feel good do right programs but if we are going to do it then let's do it right and see if we can get it to make a profit.
Mr. Nowicki said for the longest time typical recycling does not make a profit. The original intent was to reduce our dependence on landfill space. He said the decrease in the utilization of the landfills, the decrease in the cost of that coupled with any revenues generated was supposedly going to offset the costs. He said he was not sure that ever happened but it was a service that the Council wanted us to provide to the citizens and it was the service that continued to operate. He said they had tried to spend as little as possible staffing it and that was one reason why it had been moved from the Civic Center to the DPW yard. He said a number of years ago the cost was approaching $80,000 and now they are nearly half.
Mayor McLallen asked if the actual service had dropped off by half, are half as many people using it. She asked Councilman Pope if there was a reason why multiples were unable to negotiate recycling in their contract.
Councilman Pope said it was an increased cost to provide it so apartment owners try to conserve as much as they can and they don't want to provide it because of the increased cost. He said with condominium owners it was a space issue with how it can be separated. He said in his complex they do provide a newspaper drop off but all they did was hire their contractor to haul the newspaper to the Novi Recycling Center.
Councilman Pope asked Mr. Nowicki if when they originally had the committee looking at a City wide program wasn't there a portion of the condo owners that were looking at providing.
Mr. Nowicki said when they looked at the City wide program not only did they include all condo's and apartments complexes but also mobile home parks. He said they had virtually every facet of the community covered in that contract with respect to recycling.
Mr. Nowicki said they are currently open every Saturday except on holidays. He said if Council directed they could cut that to one, two or three Saturdays a month. He said the biggest cost they could control was 9 hours at time and a half for Saturday.
Mayor McLallen said that would just aggravate the people that it's serving. She said she didn't have a solution to the program and that it was a program that she was not wildly fond of.
Councilman Schmid asked what they pay to get rid of this stuff.
Mr. Nowicki said they just recently had been receiving revenues but it was probably a 50/50 mix. At one point they were paying transfer charges and disposal fees now they are starting to get revenues.
Councilman Schmid asked how they charged for this.
Mr. Nowicki said there was no charge.
Councilman Schmid asked about Councilman Pope's statement that his condo hired someone to pick up and take it to the recycling center.
Councilman Pope said they did that originally but he thought in their new contract with Clarkston Disposal that Clarkston takes it now to their MERF. He said now there was value to it so they are taking it but when there wasn't any value they were just taking it to Novi Recycling Center.
Councilman Schmid said he thought Commercial people picking it up should be discouraged unless money could be made off of it.
Councilman Toth said in the past when it was at the Civic Center there were reports that contractors and other individuals would just stop by and dump things. He said it was very inconvenient for someone who lived in the communities on the other side of Novi. He said that made it very convenient for them to drop off whatever they wanted.
Councilman Toth said they did visit other recycling centers before setting Novi's up. He said some of them required that you had a valid license or be a resident of the City or they were charged a fee.
Mr. Nowicki said that would work if there was someone on site all the time to check ID. He said they don't have the personnel available.
10. Municipal Garage
Mr. Jerome said they were asking for an additional mechanic to help with the maintenance of the vehicles. He said between the Water and Sewer Departments they had 35 road or heavy equipment pieces not counting the loaders and trailers. He said sometime the individuals from the Public Works Department assist and their hours are allocated to expenses.
Mr. Jerome said one ongoing project out for bids now was the compliance upgrading with the underground storage tank system. He said this years budget had approximately $35,000 to try and get into compliance with State law. He said the bid was due next week and would be coming to Council with a recommendation.
Mr. Jerome said another large proposed project was replacing the roof system on the existing building. He said the tentative cost was $80,000 to complete that. He said the other major expenses proposed was a compliance survey for salt storage facility. He said they don't have secondary containment around that facility and they would like to find out what needed to be constructed.
Mr. Jerome said as the road system grew they were looking at replacing some equipment. He was proposing their 8 yard dump truck and cargo van that was 13 years old and has 90,000 miles on it be replaced this year. He said they also looked at increasing the size of their fleet and going to larger trucks.
Councilman Toth asked if the roof was done at the DPW. He said there were problems with that roof at the same time there were problems with this building.
Mr. Jerome said there was a lawsuit against the architect and the general contractor. The lawsuit went to arbitration and the roof was repaired but the same problems that had happened since day one were continuing to happen. He said the panel splits so they are up there 2 or 3 times a year repairing splits in the roof. He said they had already lost one transformer because of water dripping on it. He said they were proposing that it be re-roofed with another single ply system and not metal.
Councilman Toth asked if there was metal on there instead of membranes.
Mr. Jerome said it was a rubber roof.
Councilman Toth asked if they were considering a rubber roof again.
Mr. Jerome said the prices he had were for a single ply rubber membrane roof.
Councilman Schmid asked if anything was won in arbitration.
Mr. Jerome said one of the things that came out in litigation was that the manufacture recommendation was that they be laid over two layers of insulation and it was laid over one layer of insulation.
Councilman Mitzel said he recalled $25,000 being budgeted last year for salt storage. He said Council discussed it and had a ruling that it was required by law and Council put it back in to comply with the law. He said it was proposed again in this coming year's budget. He said he might be wrong but he remembered it specifically because Council had a ruling that it was required by law. He thought it was part of the $50,000 for building improvements because proposed was $35,000 and adopted was $50,000.
Mr. Jerome said those numbers add up to what was put in security fencing and the underground gasoline storage.
Councilman Mitzel asked if Council wanted every department to have their own underground storage tank system. He said all these systems require a lot of environmental compliance regulations, a lot of cost and also pose long term liabilities for the City if something goes wrong. He thought it would be reasonable to consolidate it all in one central station where there would be one tank system instead of having tank systems all over town.
Mr. Jerome said they have an oil tank there for storage of waste oil or perhaps storage of oil for the generator that they have on site. He said he didn't think it was gasoline and each of the Chief's indicated that they would be fueling at the DPW yard.
Councilman Mitzel said the other option would be to make an agreement with a local gas station and they could fuel up there and we wouldn't have any tanks at all.
Mr. Jerome said the purchasing department had pursued that on a number of occasions and each time they came back and indicated that it was less expensive for us to do as we are.
Mayor McLallen asked if there were any further comments on the municipal garage.
Mr. Kriewall pointed out the need for asphalt resurfacing around the garage and also pointed out that all of the equipment was removed from the budget.
Mayor McLallen asked if there were any comments or questions from Council. She said the department had requested some capital expenditure which was not in the budget and that would take some movement on the Council's part to restore.
Councilman Schmid said he had no idea how bad a dump truck was needed. He said if one was needed the City Manager should propose it.
Mr. Jerome said the one particular truck that they were proposing to replace was 11 or 12 years old and had about 50,000 miles on it. He said for the last couple of years the older trucks had been used basically for snow removal to keep them running.
Mayor McLallen asked Mr. Kriewall to bring back to the Council a report on the maintenance cost versus new vehicle cost.
Councilman Toth said last year two brand new trucks were bought. He said what Council needed to see was that it should be a 3 to 5 year program and start phasing out some of the older vehicles. He said over $201,000 was spent last year and he wanted to see a phase in program to replace vehicles.
Mr. Nowicki said they provide that information in their 6 year Capital Improvement Program under the Department of Public Services. He said every year they try and catch up with the equipment and maintain their needs in the schedule and certain trucks are eliminated and they are consistently playing catch up.
Councilman Pope asked why Council didn't ask for an RFP to be prepared for a quarter of the City to be done by private contractors. He said why not look at the beginning of privatization. He said Council had a presentation from City Management that had provided these services in other communities. He suggested that Council put an RFP together, go out to bid and find out what it says. Councilman Pope said the entire City didn't have to be contracted just certain sections. He said don't make it so that it was not attractive and don't necessarily give them just the easy roads to do. He felt Council should look at that alternative rather than adding staff and trucks.
Mayor McLallen said it was a legitimate way to supplement the service and a request to find out if it would be the most cost effective way and pursue the growing burden of delivering this service to our citizens. She asked that Administration bring that back before any decisions were made on this.
Mr. Nowicki said it might not be feasible to prepare an RFP and go out to bid before the budget was done.
Mayor McLallen said she knew that but it could be done before next years budget.
Councilman Mitzel said there are others he spoke of earlier like forestry, park land maintenance, mowing. He said he would support Councilman Pope's idea.
11. Water and Sewer Fund
Mr. Jerome said they were proposing another maintenance person due to the growth in the department. He said they had grown from a 1987 number of 4,939 metered accounts to 7,084 by December 31, 1994. This represented a 43% growth. He said the main reason they were proposing this position was last year they asked for and were granted one additional person in the Public Works Department to work on the storm sewer abatements and this position was the counter part in the Water and Sewer Department to make up that two person crew that would be dedicated 750 hours to storm water and approximately 750 hours to sanitary sewer abatements.
Mr. Jerome said a couple of things they were looking at was five years ago they changed their meter reading system. The system was upgraded and in those five years they had been looking at some of the systems that were currently available on the market. He said one that they were interested in five years ago was a system that ran using Michigan Bell lines. He said the state had yet to set a tariff for that service. He said one of the problems that was developing was that there are sur charges for the number of interchanges, like Novi has 344, 347, 348 and 349. The rate structure changes with additional multiple interchanges. He said what they were looking at was probably a combination of systems. He said there was a system compatible with our existing meters that are triggered by radio frequency that had some applications in some of the commercial areas, industrial areas and we will probably continue to follow the future of the phone reach system. He said on paper it looked great to have the capability to program the computer with 5,000 or 6,000 accounts on it at night and the next morning all the data would be collected. He said there were some unknown costs there and the system was still not ready and they were not ready to go to that.
Councilman Pope asked how much the water rates would go up by adding this and the other equipment.
Mr. Gibson said that they were looking at that now and that he didn't think it would significantly impact because of the volumes.
Mr. Kriewall said there had been a work up already and it looked like it would be insignificant. He said the total impact was negligible.
Councilman Pope said he had talked to some of the members of the Walled Lake City Council during the Municipal League and asked them why they turned down the privatization. He thought that if some additional information was provided to them they might be receptive since Novi shared that system with them. He said their general concern was what the agreement was with Oakland County. They felt that they should wait until all of the bonds were paid off. He felt that they did that with some misinformation and Councilman Pope felt Administration should take a second shot at that.
Mr. Kriewall said they could and they were ready to go and that they tried to find out what Walled Lakes problem was and couldn't seem to do that.
Councilman Pope said they seem to be generally concerned about still being in debt to Oakland County but then going to a private contractor and how that would work. He thought they would look at it again if Council helped them provide that information. He asked where the cost savings would be if the waste water treatment plant was privatized and if that would be to the users of that system in north Novi.
Mr. Kriewall said it would.
Councilman Pope asked if that meant their water and sewer rates would increase.
Mr. Kriewall said they would not increase and would possibly decrease.
Councilman Pope asked if the system was used by all users in Novi.
Mr. Kriewall said it was used by Walled Lake and Novi residents.
Councilman Mitzel said with all the new homes being built on well water most of them don't have a water meter because City water was just fire protection. He said next year or the year after when the moratorium was up the Water Department would be hit with a flood of requests for water meters and hook ups. He asked if that was another area that Council should be looking at for long range planning on how to deal with the flood of requests or contracting to support the large peak that would come in.
Mr. Nowicki said his proposal would be that the meter installation would be done by private contractors because they would have a rapid demand and hopefully rapid decline over the short term. He said also there were the problems that would be experienced because of two income families and basically all the work would have to done by appointment. He said they were looking for estimates for approximately 1,200 to 1,500 units that are either occupied or under construction now that would be ready for water all at the same time.
Councilman Mitzel said last year a survey was sent out to the north end of Novi regarding whether they would want water or paving. He asked if those results had been made available.
Mr. Nowicki said it had not been transmitted to them.
Councilman Mitzel asked if this was the fund that was accumulating for the water and sewer replacement system.
Mr. Gibson said that was on the balance sheet side and what was presented was the operating side.
Councilman Mitzel said during the discussion of the audit report Councilman Toth said that somehow Council should be projecting what the ultimate replacement cost to the system would be and somehow preparing to make sure that the funds were available to do an ongoing rotating replacement of the system. This would keep things up to date and in good repair and would avoid being hit in the future with something that would be unaffordable. He asked if that was part of the budget or was it something that Council would see once a year on the balance sheet.
Mr. Gibson said part of that was the philosophy on how we established the quarterly user fee that would cover operations. He said that can be factored in but we have taken the position, this was in conjunction with discussion with the auditors, that you can't cover the depreciation. Mr. Gibson said the auditors indicated that it was an impractical situation to try to cover that and that we almost have to plan on when that time comes, bonding for it.
Councilman Mitzel said then there was no way a perpetual maintenance fund could be done like there was for the storm water.
Mr. Gibson said there was not.
Councilman Toth said he had a problem with the water and sewer department checking water quality in terms of collecting rain water for the DNR. He said they were also collecting samples and monitoring flow rates for the Detroit Water and Sewer Department and the storm water group was checking water quality in the storm system. He said now the Planning Commission was talking about checking lake quality assessment. He said he had a big problem because everybody he talked with he asked, and he had talked with experts, what is water quality. He asked if it was the quality of water that drops from the sky and that had a certain amount of contamination or quality of the water that's found in the woods and streams. He asked what levels they were talking about. He said in the City there are three different groups essentially looking at water quality and to coordinate all this effort now, because rain water was not pure when it came down it had certain troubles. He said they probably have that information and those figures and when they collect water in a storm system there was a certain level of quality they'd get there. Also, then the quality of the lake depending on run off, etc. He said he probably had more information than he should have and it bothered him because everybody's finding this information and he asked what quality they were going for. He said he was concerned that there were three groups and he wondered what they were doing.
Mr. Jerome said the monitoring that they are doing as far as rainfall and flows was part of the abatement order. He said everyone in the Detroit System had to look at the flows within their system. He said they were collecting dry weather flows within the system and monitoring the amount of sewage that flows down a particular segment of the sewer system on a Wednesday- a dry day compared to a Tuesday with 2 inches of rainfall.
Councilman Toth said he was assuming that they were doing some checking that this water met some local qualities when the tap was turned on. He said they were doing all of this to some kind of standards that the storm water program should be looking at somewhat the same standards.
Mr. Jerome said water was a source of revenue so they were looking for leaks, slow meters, Detroit Master Meters that perhaps run fast. He said those were the types of things they were trying to tighten up to prevent a potential loss of income. He said they were not looking at the same types of issues as the storm water people.
Mr. Jerome said the water quality issue was they were looking at the quality of the drinking water within the water main itself. He said they were not looking at the quality of water in the Rouge River or a basin.
12. Decision on the Truth in Taxation Hearing
Mayor McLallen said a decision could be put off as to whether to hold a Truth and Taxation until Thursday, April 20, or Council could go on.
Mrs. Stipp said that would be the absolute latest because it would have to be published in the paper Tuesday morning.
Mr. Kriewall proposed that Council come in Thursday based on the discussion with Mr. Watson who would make some recommendations.
Councilman Toth said he was willing to set a date for a hearing and make a decision at that time.
Mrs. Stipp said when it was advertised it had to be advertised with the figures.
Mayor McLallen said based on the Administration's input Council would not have a better grasp on those numbers until at least Thursday.
Councilman Toth asked if the absolute final date was Monday.
Mayor McLallen said it was.
AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION - None
There being no further business to come before Council the meeting was adjourned at 10:50 p.m.