SPECIAL MEETING OF THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF NOVI
THURSDAY, APRIL 20, 1995 AT 7:00 PM EDT
NOVI CIVIC CENTER- ACTIVITIES ROOM - 45175 WEST TEN MILE ROAD
The Meeting was called to order at 7:00 PM.
ROLL CALL: Council Members Crawford (present), Mason (absent-excused), Mitzel (present), Pope (present), Schmid (present), Toth (present), and Mayor McLallen (present).
Present (6) Absent-Excused (1-Mason)
APPROVAL OF AGENDA:
Councilman Pope added #13-Discussion of an Executive Session to follow this meeting to discuss Union Negotiations, Personnel Matters and a City Attorney's Opinion. Mr. Pope also added #14-to establish the same criteria for Monday's Executive Session-Discussion of a City Attorney's Opinion and a Personnel Matter. He said his intention tonight was to simply ask for information at tonight's executive session that would be provided to council at Monday's meeting.
It was then,
Moved by Councilman Pope,
Seconded by Councilman Toth,
That the Agenda be approved as amended.
Yes (6) Absent (1-Mason) Motion carried
PURPOSE OF SPECIAL MEETING:
Mayor McLallen announced that the purpose of this special meeting was consideration of the 1995-96 city budget.
PROPOSED BUDGET REVIEW:
Councilman Toth said he had a concern; at the last budget session they received financial data at the meeting and again tonight. He said he would like financial data at least a week end before the meeting.
1. Parks and Recreation Department
Dan Davis said they had a very exciting year where they have been able to work on acquisition activities for new parkland and initiate new development activities for Power Park, Rotary Park, and Community Sports Park. He said especially noted this year in the Senior Program was increased participation in the senior van program and the establishment of the Building Authority for senior housing.
He said they have been working on the budget since last year by looking at the programs provided and the cost in an effort to determine if there was a better way of doing business. During that process some programs were deleted, others were added, the overall quality of service has been improved, and three budget goals were developed:
1. All administrative and park maintenance expenses should be funded from the dedicated 1/2 mill millage fund.
2. All recreation and senior citizen activities should be funded from program user fees. This will include all full-time staff wages and benefits.
3. All capital improvement purchases will be funded through the City of Novi General Fund.
Mr. Davis said the only thing suggested to be cut from the budget by the city manager was one proposed staff person and this item has been deleted. He said he envisioned a realignment within the department by elevating an existing employee to an assistant deputy director position and hiring a recreation coordination. He saw it as breaking out the job responsibilities within the recreation division between those three people, providing some additional administrative support to the director, and spreading out the program responsibilities between the assistant and the two coordinator positions. He said they suggested the hiring of an entry level position primarily for financial reasons; annual salary and benefits the first year would be approximately $37,000.
Councilman Pope asked if his budget was predicated on not going above Truth in Taxation, and Mr. Davis yes. Mr. Pope noted that if they went above, that would raise $60,000; he asked what he would do with the $60,000 if he had it. Mr. Davis said his first priority would be the implementation of the administration staff person and then re-establish some capital items eliminated before the budget even got to the city manager level or they could just reduce something by that amount.
Mayor McLallen noted that his budget goal was to keep administrative and park maintenance expenses at the dedicated 1/2 mill level; with Truth in Taxation that millage was at .03671. Mr. Davis said they understood that but it is referred to as the 1/2 mill fund.
Dan Davis said looking at future staffing projections, he envisioned one recreation staff person now and the commission and maintenance supervisor were taking an in-depth look at a separate park maintenance department. They were trying to analyze how all the new parkland would impact their service, delivery and maintenance and he envisioned three extra park workers under the maintenance supervisor, Jack Lewis, and perhaps the need for one or two additional staff people in that division over the next five year period.
Mr. Davis noted the large amount of overtime the current two recreation coordinators have worked so far this year - 199 hours -and pointed out that eventually staff would get burned out and hiring another staff person would enable them to spread the responsibilities and overtime between three people instead of two.
He said it was his recommendation to pursue hiring one additional staff person.
Councilman Toth referred to page 13 of the backup provided and commented that some of the program revenue projections seemed very high while others were flat or low and there was no justification. Dan Davis explained that some of the higher projections were due to having more fields available; he noted that if the revenue came in low on a program, the expense would also be down. Councilman Toth specifically questioned projections for Adult Softball League, Youth Floor Hockey, Adult Softball Tourney, Fitness Factory, Lakeshore Beach, and Recreation Station and Dan Davis mentioned that the current year numbers they were working with were based on November totals so they were pretty outdated. Councilman Toth said they were being asked to approve a budget on some extremely soft numbers and they were being told his budget was based on old and outdated numbers and yet he came up with good numbers on the overtime. He said he was asking for more money than last year and yet they weren't being given good solid numbers to go on.
Dan Davis said he received monthly revenue numbers from Finance in order to monitor that revenues were falling in line with projections so he could provide updated current revenue numbers. Councilman Toth questioned all the projections in the Seniors category, and Dan Davis explained that next year they would be running a second Senior van picked up through Providence Hospital and HCD funds. He noted that they had to look at revenues and expenses and the fact that some programs and services have been expanded or cut or deleted; he said he had individual program sheets on every item and would be glad to provide them. Councilman Toth said he would have to see that information before making any decision.
Councilman Mitzel said he mentioned that a goal this coming fiscal year was to include administrative cost within program fees; he said that may be part of the reason for some of the projections. Dan Davis said they weren't entirely able to do that in one budget but he anticipated it by the next budget cycle. He said in the Recreation division they were looking at $35,000 from the general fund to cover the shortfall.
Councilman Mitzel said in connection with several other departments, council has asked administration to explore the long term implications and cost of building up additional staff or contracting out services; he felt this also applied to Parks & Recreation.
Councilman Mitzel encouraged the department and commission to do whatever they could to provide smaller, inexpensive children's activities such as roller blade and hockey areas and basketball courts in small neighborhood parks since there wasn't a lot in the city in that sense.
Councilman Crawford said again he questioned procedure similar to last week when one member asked for a detailed analysis of every line item; he asked what a report like that entailed. Mayor McLallen said Dan Davis said he already had that information on hand. Councilman Crawford said if he could just hand that information to a council member - fine, but if it was going to take hours of staff time to do an analysis of each expenditure and revenue he felt that was a waste of staff time. Dan Davis said the analysis had already been done during preparation of the budget, and it was just a matter of pulling it all together; Councilman Toth had indicated he would come in and look at it.
Councilman Schmid asked how much the department spent on part-time salaries, and Dan Davis indicated about $210,000 and that represented up to 75 part-timers during the course of the year associated with various activities. That information was available on the analysis.
Councilman Schmid said he was getting quite a bit of capital equipment and asked if this was additional or replacement, and Dan Davis said both. The truck is a replacement vehicle, the riding mower is additional along with some of the other equipment because of the new parkland. Councilman Schmid asked if his department did all its own mowing, and Dan Davis said they didn't use any contractors but they did get some support from the Public Services Department during the non-summer months when their staff levels were down.
Councilman Schmid said contracting eliminated the need for a lot of equipment but he didn't know if it was cost effective; he asked if any studies had been done. Dan Davis said they looked at it briefly here at the Civic Center but with the additional part-time help they have in the summer, it's more cost effective to do it in-house.
Councilman Pope asked if the budget as submitted anticipated the $18,000 in revenue from Roller Dek that was on council's agenda Monday, and Dan Davis said it did not. Councilman Pope asked if the $18,000 was based on the success of the project or was it a guarantee, and Mr. Davis said the agreement called for the annual payment to be provided prior to the start of the season. Councilman Pope said then he had the potential of generating an additional $18,000 in revenue without having to raise taxes, and it was $37,000 for an additional staff person.
Councilman Pope said he would like the Parks & Rec Commission to visit and consider for a new park the Gill Road school playscape. He said he knew it was rather expensive but it was a fascinating place; he said maybe something could be done jointly with the school.
Councilman Pope said to Councilman Crawford that he felt it was OK for one member to request information; he added that Mr. Toth could also file a Freedom of Information request as a private citizen to get the information. Councilman Crawford said if it was an unreasonable burden on staff then maybe that was the way to go but according to what Mr. Davis said it was not. He said if it required two weeks of staff work and a volume of paper then that might be an unreasonable request by one member.
Mayor McLallen asked if in the budget they addressed the potential of moving forward with either of the citizen-initiated requests for an ice arena or swimming pool. Dan Davis said on the ice arena, a private developer document was in the city attorney's hands for drafting. On the aquatic center, the Parks Commission would have a recommendation to council soon which potentially could request funding in next year's budget for some architectural design services. He said they were anticipating putting the question before the voters in the November general election on the aquatic center.
Mayor McLallen said she was concerned about how the hockey facility would be shepherded through approval to function because it would take some staff time and he had talked about how tight staffing was. She asked where that was going to be accomplished, and Dan Davis said he needed administrative help. He said they had a variety of projects on the books - parkland acquisition and development, senior housing - and an administrative assistant would allow him to schedule his time more effectively to deal with pressing issues before the city.
Councilman Mitzel asked for clarification of the position he was recommending, and Dan Davis said Marilyn Troshak was a Recreation Supervisor and he would like to hire an entry level Recreation Coordinator below her and upgrade Ms. Troshak to a deputy position.
Councilman Schmid said with the ice arena being private development, why would Dan Davis be that involved rather than the Planning Department. Mr. Davis said it initiated in the Parks & Recreation Department, they were looking at parkland to house the facility, and they were looking at it as a recreation facility.
Councilman Schmid said Mr. Davis said he would be coming back to council with a bonding issue for the swimming pool. Mr. Schmid asked if a citizens committee was doing this or the recreation department and Mr. Davis said it was a joint cooperation. Councilman Schmid asked if he was also cooperating with the ice arena and Mr. Davis said not for a bond issue. Councilman Schmid said he was wondering where one stops and the other begins and where city involvement should and should not be and alleged staffing needs.
Councilman Toth asked if the department was getting any SMART money because it didn't show up in the budget and he thought they were going to continue to get this money even though they weren't going to vote for it. Dan Davis said in 1994-95 the city was in the process of receiving $25,416 from the SMART Municipal Credit Program and Kathy Smith-Roy said they were putting it under accounts receivable in the backup sheets. Dan Davis said the municipal credit program was broken down into three areas - 1) the Community Cab contract at $14,416, 2) supplementing charter bus services for senior citizens at $2,500, and 3) the remainder supporting the senior van program.
Councilman Pope said depending on what council did on the issues of the Roller Dek agreement and Truth in Taxation, there was funding for the additional position and he felt the position should be included.
2. Public Information
Mayor McLallen asked if there was something not included in her budget she would like to make a case for, and Cindy Stewart said a few cities did calendars in full color which were very attractive and sold advertising in the middle. She said if she sold enough advertising to pay for it, could the calendar go full color?
It was then,
Moved by Councilman Pope,
Seconded by Councilman Crawford,
To approve the request to sell advertising space in the city calendar to cover the cost of a full color calendar.
Councilman Mitzel said council had asked that they try to combine mailing of the calendar with the library and Parks & Rec, but he received three separate mailings two weeks apart. Cindy Stewart noted that the departments weren't always ready to go at the same time. She said the calendars were mailed with Parks & Rec the year before and the savings was minimal because postage was by weight and there was an additional cost for the printer to stuff it and add a tab to close it.
Pauline Drushal said she was involved with the Library newsletter and their mailings are targeted for delivery prior to upcoming events so it was hard to coordinate.
Councilman Schmid said he philosophically disagreed that they should ask for advertising throughout the calendar because he thought what would be in there would be JCK - and not because he wanted to be in there but because he was asked and felt obligated, and the city would pay for it one way or the other. He felt it also had a little more class without advertising.
Cindy Stewart said she could solicit the business community and they could place advertising coupons in the calendar. If they went to full color, each month of the calendar would be in color depicting something in Novi and the advertising would go in the middle.
Councilman Schmid asked what it would cost to go to full color and how much did she propose to collect. Ms. Stewart said she would have to get an estimate from the printer of what full color would cost and when they had the difference between that and the budget amount they could determine advertising prices.
Councilman Toth said he went along with Mr. Schmid because this was a city calendar and an annual report to the citizens and he was against sticking advertising in it and gaudy pictures.
Councilman Pope said it was not unusual for a city publication to carry advertising; the Parks & Rec brochure did and he hadn't heard any stories about anyone feeling strongarmed to advertise. He said the only thing he would like to see back was an idea of advertising cost. He said it would still contain the annual report and if they were going to continue the calendar, it only made sense to use the most up-to-date technology to provide it in the most attractive manner and allow it to be privatized to help pay for that.
Councilman Crawford said he supported this because he was not opposed to the selling of advertising; he would expect it to be done tastefully. He suggested one or two pages with business card size ads. He said he wouldn't like to see advertising every other page or full page ads.
Mayor McLallen said this document was probably the single most used document that the city produced so she felt it behooved them to make it as attractive as possible. She said privatization was an avenue she felt they needed to explore more and Cindy Stewart could control the aesthetics of it and she felt it would come to council before it went to the printer to be sure community standards were met. She felt it was an innovative solution to present something of a higher quality.
Ms. Stewart noted they won an award for it last year at the Women in Communications regional conference in Cleveland so she was proud of it and wouldn't want to harm that image.
Councilman Pope asked Councilman Schmid if he would feel more comfortable with a rider or direction to Cindy that no major vendors to the city would be asked to advertise. He said he felt she could sell advertising to people other than vendors.
Councilman Schmid said that was not his major concern; he felt advertising would cheapen it, and it was a city document and should remain a city document. He said this was a unique city and maybe part of the reason they received an award last year was because it was a private publication without advertising.
Yes (4) No (2-Toth, Schmid) Absent (1-Mason)
Councilman Pope said a problem with the microphones was brought up earlier by Councilman Crawford and was this the appropriate time to discuss that. Cindy Stewart said council asked her to get bids last time which she did and council turned them down but she could get bids again.
Mayor McLallen asked the range of bids, and Cindy Stewart said from $3,500 to $5,000. Councilman Mitzel asked if that was a study or actual microphones, and Cindy Stewart said that was the microphones, holders, automatic microphone system mixer, cable connectors, hardware and labor. She said it was everything it was felt they needed to bring audio up to speed. Councilman Mitzel said the table mikes seemed to work pretty good but the podium and handheld mikes were the problem. Cindy Stewart noted that the handheld was brand new because the other one was stolen.
Ms. Stewart said if all they wanted was to explore something new for the podium and another handheld she could do that, too.
Councilman Crawford said the previous bids were for the council table, not the podium or any audience, and Cindy Stewart said they could have been included. She said everyone liked Farmington Hills' audio so they geared it towards that. Ed Kriewall noted that they would probably have to change all the mikes because the main unit they were connected to was a voice activated system and anything new might not be compatible.
Councilman Crawford asked if it was possible to have a directional microphone that was controlled from the back room so the consultants could move around or maybe a remote mike that pinned to a lapel so they could be heard even if they were sitting down. He said he felt it was something they should consider in the budget, and he realized they didn't have the information right now but suggested they authorize a rebid or a study.
Mr. Crawford said in addition, there were some lighting problems in the council chambers that he felt needed to be looked at; the light intensity was too hot, and they weren't aimed at the right spot.
Cindy Stewart said it was easy enough to get bids if that was what they wanted.
Councilman Crawford said he would make a motion that the items just discussed be investigated and bid at no cost to the city and if the bids were reasonable, they could allocate funds out of contingency.
Councilman Pope said he would second that if the maker allowed it to be a $5,000 line item in the budget and to obviously come back to council for type of use.
It was then,
Moved by Councilman Crawford,
Seconded by Councilman Pope,
That $5,00 be allocated in the Public Information budget for audio and lighting improvements in the council chambers and that bids be solicited for review by council.
Cindy Uglow said she would work with Cindy Stewart and have McSweeney Electric back in about lighting adjustments and get everything coordinated. She said part of the problem with the dome lighting was the spackling dusted the light fixtures and it was a constant maintenance problem to keep the fixtures clean.
Councilman Mitzel suggested that before going out for formal bids, administration could present to them an idea of what may need to be done and price quotes. Cindy Stewart said price quotes were what they got before; vendors came out and gave them a free estimate of what needed to be done.
Councilman Toth said he would not support the motion. He said they had problems and he didn't want to limit it to any figure; he felt it was up to administration to come back to council with figures for upgrading and they could make a decision at that time.
Councilman Crawford said with the motion they would at least have a line item; they could always authorize more or less or not do anything.
Yes (4) No (2-Toth, Schmid) Absent (1-Mason)
COUNCIL TOOK A TEN MINUTE BREAK
3. Planning & Community Development
Jim Wahl noted that in addition to the required budget documents, they also received two supplementary documents that he has given to council on an annual basis. One is an outline of how the department fit within the overall city budget picture and some specific considerations in terms of changes that have taken place staff-wise and consultant-wise, and the second report was not essential to the budget process but it answered some of the questions received throughout the year in terms of the operation of the department, how it fit into the overall administration, and various organizational aspects in terms of the department's primary responsibilities, functions and assignments and who was doing what type of work.
He noted that staff was reduced in 1992 and they were trying to do more work with less people; the way to accomplish that was through computer capabilities and enhancing existing staff capabilities. Mr. Wahl said from the time a staff planner was added in 1988, it was his estimate that they have brought in-house in terms of staff responsibility approximately $55,000 in duties that were previously done by consultants.
Mr. Wahl said that site plans were up from 34 in 1993 to over 50 in 1994 and they were currently running ahead of last year. In addition, they were either getting very complicated projects like The Vistas and Main Street or subdivisions which generated a lot of public interest creating more public inquiries and responses.
He said that some planning commissioners have expressed concern about the inordinate amount of time and effort the department spends in preparing 65 pages of meeting minutes; he noted that Farmington Hills doesn't do it that way, and he was investigating whether there was another alternative to that responsibility.
Mr. Wahl said another area of responsibility for the department is road planning and grants, and over the last five years the city has obtained $6 million in road and economic development grants prepared by his department.
Jim Wahl noted that Greg Capote made some recommendations on computer enhancements; he commented that they would like to get up to the same capabilities as Councilman Mitzel was at so they could respond at the table to any questions or responsibilities the department had to follow up on.
He said of course one of the department's biggest responsibilities was to provide service and support to the planning commission. He said they would be here to assist with questions on the Planning Commission's work program proposal in the budget, however, he wanted to point out it was a work program the commission put together, not the department.
Mayor McLallen said his department budget was presented at $281,000, slightly up from last year, and contained no request for new staff and the capital request was taken out.
Councilman Mitzel verified that the Planning Department and the City Clerk's Office each had one person full time doing minutes. He said he found the minutes to be an extremely useful tool on disk but not on paper and last week Council talked about getting a disk instead of minutes in the packet and they were going to try it for a while but he wasn't sure the amount of benefit was worth two full time people. He said if they were willing to change minutes to something less intense it sounded like they could probably free up at least two people to do other duties.
Pete Hoadley, planning commissioner, said he was one of the members who requested they take a hard look at the minutes. He said he would much prefer a 3 or 4 page resume of the actions taken, preserving the minutes on tape and transcribing portions as needed. He felt the services of those two employees could be used to much better advantage.
Councilman Mitzel said if members wished, this could be explored at some future discussion meeting because the issue was very complicated as to legalities and what was official minutes and what was not concerning tapes.
Councilman Toth said more than one department has brought up the fact that they needed clerical help. He suggested that city administration look at the legal requirements of minutes so perhaps some of these people could be transferred to departments asking for additional personnel. He said Parks & Rec and Building Department were both looking for some clerical help and he saw no problem with moving employees to areas where they could be better used.
Councilman Pope said when he came on council wanting to know what the Fretter agreement was all about, if all he had had was the agreement he wouldn't have known that council members Schmid, Hoyer and Leininger all knew what they were agreeing to when the agreement was entered into. He said it was a lot of money for minutes but it was invaluable information especially considering
the merits and agreements and discussions of projects like The Vistas or The Maples or Main Street. He said he would not support in any way removing that ability. He said sometimes when they speak, they are really speaking to a future council so they will know why a decision was made.
Mayor McLallen asked that administration look at ways to achieve a positive situation all around to create either audio or visual that could be kept so that future councils would have the information and cut down on the weekly production of paper.
Councilman Schmid asked what capital items were reduced from the department's budget, and Jim Wahl said primarily office furniture for his office. He said he bought his own furniture and now that he has a house, he would like to use it in his house.
Councilman Pope said $22,000 for laptops was also removed, and Les Gibson said they pulled it out with the idea that it should be under the $350,000 that they were encouraging council to go through Truth in Taxation for to deal with all the city's computers.
Mayor McLallen clarified that computers were removed from individual budgets and a single item was created, but the units would flow back to the departments.
Councilman Toth said the Computer Committee recommended that that be denied and that laptops be bought for the systems analyst to check out - not to give individual laptops to departments. He said to have a laptop permanently in a department was an expense that the Computer Committee felt was not justified. Even though it was a budgeted item for this department, the Committee felt laptops should reside with the systems analyst so that everyone could have use of them.
Councilman Mitzel asked if the Computer Committee would be presenting a plan or report to council, and Les Gibson said they could.
Councilman Crawford said the map conversion from JCK was an item eliminated from the budget; he asked what that was. Greg Capote said that was the cost involved to digitize and download from JCK to the city's new computer system so they would have the wetlands, woodlands, and zoning map on the system. Councilman Crawford asked how that was a capital item; it sounded like a labor expense. He said if it was all in the proper format, why would it be so expensive just to download it. Mr. Capote said apparently it was labor intensive; he suggested having Mr. Lash in to explain why.
Councilman Mitzel said he thought there was discussion by previous council about what information the city actually owned that JCK has done for us and, therefore, they should provide to us. He said they have already purchased the service from JCK to make the wetlands map for the city and they should be able to get the electronic file for it as opposed to just a map.
Councilman Toth said the engineering computer subcommittee was working with staff and JCK people in the process to putting a network. He said all that proprietary information should be available by the middle of May through Tony Nowicki's office and it would be under his control.
Councilman Mitzel said he thought the Community Development Department prepared all the grant applications for the city but did the city have a philosophy that grants dealing with more technical aspects like road improvements projects should be prepared in conjunction or cooperation with the departments that had that specialty such as DPS for roads and Parks & Rec for parks. Greg Capote said that was the procedure.
3. Planning Commission
The Mayor noted that over $100,000 had been eliminated from this budget as originally presented to administration; she asked if there were items they particularly wanted to make a case for.
Chairman Richard Clark said the biggest item was the Grand River Corridor design & engineering study at $65,000; he noted that the commissioners initially ranked the studies and although this didn't start out as the highest on his list, the more thought and study he put into it, the more important it became from his perspective. He said with the advent of Vic's Market and with Main Street coming on line, there would be tremendous pressure on Grand River.
He said often times the Planning Commission is taken to task for not doing enough planning. Mr. Clark said if they wanted to plan for the future and maintain and have a quality community, they had to pay for quality - it could not be purchased on the cheap. He said there would be tremendous pressure on the Grand River corridor and the city would either be in a position of controlling the situation and being in control or reacting to events and courses that were outside its control which could result in a situation wherein development may not be what the city or community had in mind.
Chairman Clark said in 1986, the Planning Commission budget was about 5-6% of the total city budget; last year and this year will probably be the busiest years the Planning Commission has seen and the Commission's budget approximates about 1% of the total city budget. He felt they needed the budget proposed by the commission because they needed more planning and that could not be done without adequate funding to do the planning studies that needed to be done. In addition, there was a great deal of work that had to be done if they were serious about seeking grants that might otherwise be lost if adequate resources were not there to pursue those grants. He urged them to think of this as an investment in the future of the community and their families.
Councilman Pope asked what they would do with the findings of the Housing Stock and Condition survey, and Chairman Clark said he felt they might want to have a program developed and on line to deal with the future in terms of both the maintenance of housing stock and the stabilization and rehabilitation of older stock. Councilman Pope asked how a private government would do that; he said generally they know that the northern end of the city is an older area that has had some deterioration of the housing stock and they have had requests from the Building Department for ordinance enforcement increases. He asked if that was what they would do with the survey.
Chairman Clark said that may be part of it and the other part may be to aggressively go after what grants may be available to the community to deal with those situations. He said they want to be pro-active rather than reactive.
Councilman Pope asked if any of the proposals - either the existing land study or the zoning ordinance review were proposing master plan changes.
Jim Wahl said what they were really doing was taking the master plan and phasing it out over several years so this part of it was more of the inventory and data gathering phase and then they go to the public input phase and then the master plan amendment phase.
Councilman Pope asked if over the next year he anticipated that these expenditures would bring back some master plan changes, and Jim Wahl said only ones that were things happening at this point in time but not in terms of a comprehensive plan. Councilman Pope said they weren't looking at wholesale master plan updating then, and Jim Wahl said not for years - this was the data gathering phase.
Councilman Pope said he asked this question because every major rezoning that came up he heard the mayor or other council members say they were voting against it because it was not the proper time to amend the master plan. He said he supported the master plan and he did not want to fund the appropriate time so that they would have wholesale changes in the master plan justified by this funding. He said he would not vote for this if that was what he was going to see in the next two years - a radical change in the master plan.
Jim Wahl said the only ones he was aware they were looking at right now were ones that council has suggested they take a look at. He said in 1988 and 1993 they attempted to jam the master plan review and update into 24 months and it did not work well, so they have tried to project it out over a longer period of time to provide more public input. He said a total revision of the master plan would probably be before council in 1999.
Councilman Pope said then this council would not be funding a review of large lots on the west side or another PUD in the north end or more commercial.
Councilman Pope said he would strongly support the Grand River Corridor design study; he said they see the pressure on Ten Mile and many have recommended that Grand River might be an alternative.
Mr. Wahl said at the last meeting of the Beck Road Interchange task force, MDOT reported that their traffic analysis was completed and the numbers justified adding another lane to the freeway and justified going on to the next step of the planning process for both interchanges, however, part of making them work was that Grand River specifically as well as the connecting roads would be required to be upgraded.
Councilman Pope said he thought the budget as presented was fine if his concerns were not justified.
Councilman Mitzel said last year council had quite a debate about approving a line item for a zoning ordinance update; he said in the nine months since they haven't seen anything back from that. He said it was proposed again this year and asked where were the fruits of that $15,000 and what could they expect for $12,000 more.
Brandon Rogers said he and Mr. Arroyo have been working on it and he has inventoried the areas substantially completed in the monthly report. He said they were scanning the report for repetitious words and erroneous words like Planning "board", and they have addressed parking, statements of intent, and density. He said they should have a decent progress report on most of the work elements before the month was out on the first year work program. Mr. Rogers said the Implementation Committee was separately going through specialized elements like OS-3 and NCC.
Councilman Mitzel said for a while Mr. Rogers was proposing a new office zoning as part of this work program, and Mr. Rogers said he did the draft of OS-3 which was reviewed by the Implementation Committee about three months ago. Councilman Mitzel asked if that was part of the first $15,000, and Mr. Rogers said it was. Councilman Mitzel said his concern was council was the one that finally had to adopt the zoning ordinance and here was a whole new category that they haven't even received background information on and all this work has been done on it while council might ultimately say why was this done. He commented that there was some risk and it would have been nicer if they had been kept more in the loop on what was happening.
Greg Capote noted that there was a synopsis of OS-3 and why and what it was for in the packet several months ago.
Councilman Mitzel said he also shared some of the concerns Mr. Pope mentioned about the use of studies; sometimes they have done studies and they haven't been totally implemented or fully utilized. He said some of the proposed studies were follow ups of past studies such as wildlife habitat master plan. Mr. Mitzel said he realized that the commission's workload now was almost entirely towards site plan review and they rarely had a meeting done by 11:00 where they could even talk about any planning issues or long range planning or studies they were doing. He said in reality he supposed any long range studies or planning had to be totally done by hiring a consultant as opposed to the planning commission working on them on their own based on the workload. He said if they could utilize the studies a little more in-house for planning that would be something beneficial.
Councilman Mitzel said with the studies that would be coming forward and all the consultant review letters and all the information they would be receiving in the future, he believed that all that information should come in on electronic data. He said he strongly felt that every report, plan, map, and review letter should be electronic and downloaded into the system once the specifications for the system were available. He added that he didn't know if that meant they had to change retainers or put that into the agreements or the studies. In addition, if they were going to do an existing land use study, housing stock condition study, etc. all those should be done so that that information can be totally implemented into a geographic information system because once they had a geographic information system up and running like the computer committee was proposing, there would be no need in the future to do a housing stock survey because the studies should be continuously updated as services are provided. He said when studies are approved in the future, they have to make sure they are done in the proper format.
Councilman Mitzel asked if council had to officially approve retainers; he asked administration to check on that.
Councilman Mitzel said his last question concerned the lake quality study; he said it seemed like there were multiple departments - Stormwater committee, DPW and Planning - doing water quality work. He said the stormwater committee was looking at some water quality studies and some of the items in the proposed planning study seemed to be similar. He noted that the watershed boundary map was available already by looking at the stormwater plan; he added that he felt the watershed for Walled Lake at this time was almost totally developed. Mr. Mitzel said he wasn't sure what they would really get from this study that would be of use or that they would be able to implement it to the level proposed of changing zoning ordinances and such.
Councilman Mitzel said he wasn't sure how the information about carrying capacity of the lakes would be used; he asked if that would be changes in the zoning ordinance, too.
He said he liked the idea of a lake study just because of his educational background but they were probably duplicating efforts and for almost $20,000, what would they really be able to use and was it cost effective.
Chairman Clark said it was true that the watershed has already been developed but the lake residents seemed interested in changing whatever they could in terms of fertilizing lawns and runoff from their property into the lakes so it seemed to be an important topic to them. He said that was why he pursued a recommendation through Brandon Rogers' office as to what might be done to further protect that water even though it already was developed.
Mr. Clark noted that the study listed 246 hours by JCK, and that figure may be high.
Councilman Mitzel said he had a copy of the DNR guide book that talks about almost everything the study was talking about like how to manage lakefront, carrying capacity, loading ordinances, keyholing ordinances, and buffer strips. He said with the water quality sampling analysis, that might be better coordinated with the same group that was doing water quality for the rest of the city in the stormwater aspect.
Councilman Pope said the legislature was about to change the lake access requirement and carrying capacity would be helpful if the DNR proposed a lake access site and the residents of the city wouldn't want that.
Councilman Mitzel said he had concerns over $20,000 for something that seems to have some of the work already available and some may be better off with another group doing it; he suggested paring it down to what would be most beneficial which may be the lake carrying capacity for boats.
A planning commissioner said the impetus was there were no habitat protections specifically to Walled Lake and Shawood Lake as there were for protection of watersheds and quality in streams and creeks and groundwater and wetlands protection. He said the study would also give them a baseline for the future to maintain quality.
Councilman Mitzel said that was where the water samples came in and that was what the Stormwater Committee did in 1983 and ongoing so maybe they would be better taking care of the actual daily collection of sampling and if that data was needed for a planning group, then it would be available. He said that was his point about moving the item to the group that had the expertise in sampling.
A planning commissioner asked if it would be more appropriate to stay this item for a later discussion so the person who put the recommendations together could be here to help better defend it given he has a better understanding of the inventories and what we already have and what they mean relative to Shawood and Walled Lake.
Mayor McLallen said the budget presented by administration was $136,000, and basically did not include the studies presented. The budget covered the consultants, conferences, trade publications and memberships and left a minimal amount for studies. She said council needed to decide which studies they would like to approve and which they did not.
Councilman Toth said the Stormwater Committee has been working pretty actively on water quality with the DNR and EPA and minds have not yet been made up on water quality. He said they attended a conference in Lansing and he had that information coming in on disk so a lot of data on water quality was coming in right now. He said they were also putting in water quality monitoring devices throughout streams in Novi and Shawood and Walled Lake were under consideration. He said he found it hard to fund it here when they had funds and activities going on under the Stormwater Drain Funds; why pay twice for the same information.
Councilman Toth said he also had a problem with the Grand River Corridor Design Study. Several years ago they did a very extensive study on Grand River; it is a county road and serves as a secondary road for I-96 and he felt they should be lobbying for MDOT money to study that road and maybe do some tri-party funding. Councilman Toth said before spending city money, he felt there were a couple other agencies that should be contacted for funds.
Councilman Toth said he thought the House Stock Condition and Thoroughfare plan belonged with the DPW along with all their road and other information. He said they were also doing a lot of things that perhaps we need to get across to other departments. He said the GIS program was underway and a lot of data would be available to departments so a lot of services and information they were pleading for would soon be accessible for everyone.
Councilman Toth said he felt all this information should be withheld from the budget at this point because given a few months to get the program working, a lot of this information would be available.
Councilman Crawford asked if the lake study was primarily focused on Shawood and Walled Lake and a planning commissioner said specifically. Mr. Crawford asked what about Meadowbrook Lake and
other similar bodies of water; why wouldn't they be just as important to compile this data on.
A planning commissioner said he believed because existing studies would cover the smaller bodies of water.
Councilman Crawford said the goal of the study spoke in generalities and then objectives got specific about Walled Lake and Shawood Lake. He said if it was approved, some of the issues brought up, if they were relevant, would be relevant to other bodies of water in the city and maybe as Mr. Mitzel pointed out, some of these other studies might satisfy that need.
Councilman Crawford said there was a big discussion several years ago about a Wildlife Habitat plan - not that they didn't want to save critters and flora but what would they do with the plan when they got it. He asked if this was a follow-up to that and of what use would an additional habitat study be.
Mr. Rogers reviewed the objectives of the study and Mr. Crawford asked whether what they had already approved didn't go that far and Mr. Rogers said they had some exhibits and the big report. Mr. Crawford asked how much had been spent so far, and Mr. Rogers said $9,000 in 1992-93 and $2,456 in 1991-92. Councilman Crawford asked what they have done as a result of the $11,000 already spent; was there an example he could point to in the city. Mr. Rogers said the habitat study has established certain major areas where they have tried to prevent intrusion by development although there has been some intrusion on certain projects. He said they worked hard to save the habitat woodlands area in Beckingham Estates Sub, they have addressed the habitat study at some length in evaluating the Taft Road alignments, and in every project that came in they looked at wetlands, woodlands and habitats.
Councilman Schmid asked if they couldn't assume that if they had woodlands and wetlands, they were going to have habitat and Mr. Rogers said the bulk of them were habitats and they also had some upland meadow areas that were not regulated wetlands and woodlands like the meadow in Broadmoor Park that was isolated by wetlands and woodlands and not developed. Councilman Schmid said he wasn't saying they shouldn't have the study but if he had to prioritize, it may not be one of the first because he felt by accident they got the result. Brandon Rogers said but it was integrated definitely with these other environmental ordinances.
Councilman Schmid said by reducing this budget to a 4% cap, much of the planning studies were knocked out; he asked Mr. Kriewall if he thought that was wise. He said Mr. Kriewall authorized some capital equipment and some additional people in other areas, but apparently he was taking the position there should be absolutely no planning in the City of Novi.
Mr. Kriewall said no; they were having trouble with this entire budget and they have eliminated all personnel from the general fund although council has added a few back in but they were having trouble finding money to repair the parking lots and it was a little bit difficult to recommend spending a lot of money when they couldn't maintain the existing. He said administration supported planning very strongly but they were following the 4% trend; if they had the money, these were important and would be put back in. He said council could realistically budget the Grand River Corridor design study out of the one mill road fund and there could be other ways, too.
Councilman Schmid said he thought if these were looked at carefully, they would find they either had them or they could be funded out of other places. He said he would like this to go back to the Planning Commission or administration to see where some of these studies could be at least partially funded by other monies available such as road funds and whether this information is already available elsewhere. He said he didn't feel they would put in the whole $111,000 but they should certainly have some planning and then they ought to give these studies some priority.
Jim Wahl said some of these issues, including the Grand River corridor were not really design study but engineering. He said they have had this same conversation in past years on other subjects that other funds and other people could do the work. Planning commissioners, particularly commissioner Lorenzo, felt either the work wasn't moving forward quickly enough or wasn't being addressed at all and please bring it back to council under their leadership. He said they talked about having the Grand River Corridor study out of the road fund but that work hasn't been done and now MDOT was telling them it was a priority. He said they wanted to take the initiative to move the ball forward so the commission was bringing it to them again and saying it was great if it could come out of the road fund but someone should act on that and make it a priority.
Mr. Wahl said the idea of all this information coming together in a GIS system was wonderful, however, in a number of instances they already had the information correct and accurate from people who were qualified and professionally trained and were carrying out those duties for the city. He said when it came to roads and planning roads, the planning commission, traffic consultant, and road planning staff have been carrying out that function; it was not a DPW function. Mr. Wahl said they have been doing that work since it was assigned by council in 1990 and they have consistently upgraded their staff and consultant capability at the direction of city council and he felt the results have been clear. He said they have obtained road grants and it was the planning commission that was responsible for preparing and approving a thoroughfare plan and that was why these studies were coming through the planning commission budget.
Councilman Mitzel said it seemed like for the housing study they should check with Building or Assessing because it sounded a lot like some of the programs Don Saven has proposed to council about housing and blight and surveys.
Councilman Mitzel said he and the Mayor were on the Planning Commission for the second phase of the habitat study and that report did contain a map which they have seen part of with the Taft Road plan and it contained possible ordinance recommendations for changes. He said it was just a matter of taking them out of that plan and the Implementation or Ordinance Review Committee using that plan to actually implement zoning ordinance changes or changes to the woodlands or wetlands ordinances to incorporate some of these. He said the recommendations and the basic pointers and road maps were already in there, and it was just a matter of utilizing studies that were already done.
Mr. Mitzel commented that the planning commission budget had the entire cost for the planning consultant and traffic consultant, and in all fairness, they were at council meetings just as much as they were at planning commission meetings. Either way, the city paid for it but maybe it was something that could be split between council and planning budgets although it wouldn't make more money available. Councilman Mitzel suggested there may be some savings on consultants by not having both the planning and traffic consultant at every meeting because our traffic consultant was also a planning consultant.
Mayor McLallen said the major components that have been brought up tonight are water quality, Grand River corridor, habitat, housing and thoroughfare studies and that administration explore those items not being dropped to the floor but what other avenues of funding could be given to them and where departments could share costs without losing the projects. She said that still left a $10,000 to $15,000 deficit between the studies that the commission would like to do and keeping within the 4% gap. She asked if council members had any other study that was proposed that they significantly feel like supporting or they just wish to direct the planning commission to make do with $136,000.
Councilman Mitzel suggested waiting to see what information administration could bring back about cost sharing and also the planning commission may wish to look at some of the existing wildlife and lake quality studies; some of their proposals may already be covered.
Mayor McLallen noted the lateness of the hour and asked if council wanted to hold over the remaining items 5-11 and go to #12-Truth in Taxation; consensus agreed.
12. Decision on Truth in Taxation Hearing
Mr. Kriewall said the Finance Director has prepared a notice to hold a public hearing in terms of Truth in Taxation for four funds. They were the general fund at .2652 mills solely to fund the computer system at $350,000, and police & fire fund at .0333 mills to bring it up to the Headlee max. He said there already was an overlap of $200,000 into the general fund from the addition of new police and fire personnel so they really should take that one up to the Headlee max also. Parks & Recreation increase was proposed at .0409 mills; he said they were at the point where personnel could not handle all the projects that were going like ice rinks, swimming pools, and Rotary park construction. Mr. Kriewall said the Library board made a real good case to also go to the Headlee max with a proposed increase of .0422 mills.
Mr. Kriewall said there was nothing at issue with any of the debt funds; these were the only four funds proposing an increase, and in his opinion, the community would support this without any problem. He said to put it in the context of what has happened financially in this community, through the new growth in the community the taxpayers have not had to pay the inflationary costs of operating this community for six or seven years. What was missing from the entire picture was that staff has not grown to meet the demands of the growth of the community so even though cash levies have been held at the same rate because they were being rolled back to Headlee all the time and new growth was covering inflation, operations were not growing to meet the increased population.
He said they were just putting more of the burden off to future bond issues and that became a philosophical thing as to how much would they defer to a major bond issue - would they do as the schools do and put all the asphalt repairs and resurfacing into a huge bond issue every 10 years or would they maintain and make some of these repairs as they went along. Mr. Kriewall said they were at a point where they had to step up and decide whether they were going to meet some of the growth obligations of the community or put it off.
Mr. Kriewall said they had some serious operation problems; staff was lean when they started down this road ten years ago and they were still lean and it was starting to become a problem. He said they hear criticism like things falling through cracks, and they can't keep track of this or that, but frankly they didn't have enough bodies. He urged them to address this issue now and commented that he felt it has been demonstrated that there was nothing to squeeze out of this budget.
Les Gibson noted two corrections in the Notice of Public Hearing, and Ed Kriewall noted that all of these changes only amounted to $25.00 and that was considering the inflationary costs have not been passed onto to the taxpayers of this city for six or seven years. He asked that they consider that most of the cost is to buy a one time capital improvement - a computer system.
Councilman Schmid said the increase if passed would amount of $285,000 for the general fund; he asked how much the computer system would cost and Mr. Kriewall said $350,000. Councilman Schmid said he agreed that he ran a pretty tight ship but he has made a lot of statements tonight and he didn't see money for those statements. He said all they were going to do was buy $350,000 worth of computers so all those statements would not be fulfilled.
Councilman Crawford asked if this was approved, did that include the concrete repairs and resurfacing.
Les Gibson said the repairs listed were apart from Truth in Taxation. He said when they calculated the property tax revenues available to each of the funds, they used the SEV; now they were being told they could use the tax value so that has generated an additional $129,000 in the general fund.
It was then,
Moved by Councilman Crawford,
Seconded by Councilman Toth,
That a Public Hearing on Truth in Taxation be scheduled for 8:00 PM on Monday, May 8, 1995 and the following notice be published:
CITY OF NOVI
NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING
ON INCREASING PROPERTY TAXES
The City Council of the City of Novi will hold a public hearing on a proposed increase of:
General Fund .2652 Mills
Police & Fire Fund .0333 Mills
Parks & Recreation .0409 Mills
Library .0422 Mills
in the operating tax millage rate to be levied in 1995-96.
The hearing will be held on Monday, May 8, 1995 at 8:00 PM, EDT, in conjunction with the PUBLIC HEARING ON THE 1995-96 BUDGET at the Novi Civic Center, in the Council Chambers, 45175 W. Ten Mile Road, Novi, MI 48375.
It is expected that the Council will take action on the proposed additional millage May 15, 1995, as a part of the adoption of the 1995-96 Budget.
If adopted, the proposed additional millage will increase operating revenues from ad valorem property taxes:
General Fund 6.85%
Police & Fire Fund 2.26%
Parks & Recreation 11.15%
over such revenues generated by levies permitted without holding a hearing. If the proposed additional millage rate is not approved the operating revenue including available Fund Balance will increase <decrease> by:
General Fund < 2.03%>
Police & Fire Fund < 9.63%>
Parks & Recreation 3.67%
over the preceding year's operating revenue.
The City of Novi has complete authority to establish the number of mills to be levied from within its authorized millage rate.
This notice is published by: The City of Novi
45175 W. Ten Mile Road
Novi, MI 48375
Councilman Mitzel said he would support the motion to hold the hearing like they did last year; he said whether or not the increase passed, was another issue.
Councilman Pope said this increase in taxes to the Parks & Rec fund would raise about $60,000, and they have identified a need of $37,000 that hasn't been met in this budget. He said there appeared to be consensus that they may generate $18,000 in this fiscal year from the Roller Dek proposal if a lease agreement was entered into and there was also a substantial contingency in the Parks & Rec fund that could also be used to cover the rest. Les Gibson noted that the contingency would be $56,000.
Mr. Pope said he recognized that there were two theories here; one was the need they have identified. When the director was asked about needing $37,000 and raising $60,00 what would the rest of the money be spent on, he said there were a few capital items they'd like. He said he understood the other argument that it was a growing department, parkland has been purchased, and if they lower that down, it won't be spread over future tax years. He said he respected that that was another opinion but he believed that the Parks & Rec fund should not be increased because adequate resources were there to cover the needs that they have identified.
Councilman Toth said the bulk of the Truth in Taxation increment might be for computers and the police chief has demonstrated to the committee and council that with computers he can reduce the paperwork and have patrol officers more in the field. He said the ultimate goal was to computerize the police department so its operation was much more efficient and the officers spent less of their time filling out forms. He said at the same time, the chief has gone on record saying that perhaps some of his personnel that he was currently using for the paperwork may be in a position to be reallocated somewhere else in the city. He said perhaps these people could be shifted around to fill the needs in some of the other departments.
Councilman Toth said they also presented a five year plan to council; they did not come in and say it was going to cost X dollars in one year. He said they would be back again next year to build this system up so it would take some money but he guaranteed the results would be there.
Councilman Schmid said the computers were essential and he felt they ought to have them, but the question was how fast they had to move and what were the priorities of the city. He said Mr. Toth has long been an advocate of hitting the buying area of every budget quite hard and last year he wouldn't even give $10,000 for an update of the master plan. Mr. Schmid said planning for the city in his mind was far more important than a bunch of computers even though they were both very important. He said the city would be here many, many years and those computers they would buy in the next few years would long be gone and junk in the landfills.
Councilman Schmid said he wanted to see the money go into other things and not just computers; he said with no planning, all the computers in the world would not make this a nice place to live. He said the money requested this year combined with last year put it at well over a half million dollars; he commented that even major corporations moved slowly at these types of expenditures. He said he was not criticizing him or the committee or administration for recommending but he was going to be consistent about how fast they wanted to go with this process.
Councilman Schmid said he wasn't saying this because he wanted to stop the computers but to clarify where he was coming from; computers were not the only thing the City of Novi needed and if all the money was going to go to computers, he didn't know if was going to be in a position to ask the voters to authorize it without putting money into some of the areas where it was really important also.
Councilman Toth noted that five of those brand new computers were going to the Planning Department, and Councilman Schmid said computers were nothing more than machines you had to put stuff into in order to get anything out and if it was garbage in, it was garbage out. You still had to have the people to put in, and when people like them got so adapted to them, then everybody wanted more information and reports and surveys, so all day long they were pumping information and trees were being burned up.
Councilman Schmid said he would allow this to go to public hearing because perhaps that was the best way but as of tonight, he was not going to vote for going above Truth in Taxation.
Mayor McLallen said she had a question on the public notice; these were so difficult for the average citizen to make any sense out of, what did it really mean. She asked if there was any way to put it in layman's terms; she said the average citizen didn't know what the millage was in the first place - they just wanted to know dollars out of their pocket. She asked if there was any way to do this so it was more comprehensible to the citizens.
Gerry Stipp said this was the way the law said it had to be done but they could do something in addition to it. Les Gibson suggested showing a total on the first section which would give the total percentage increase being proposed.
Mayor McLallen called for a vote to advertise a public hearing.
Yes (5) No (1-Pope) Absent (1-Mason) Motion carried
13. Schedule an Executive Session to follow the meeting
Councilman Pope said he was requesting a brief executive session for discussion of labor negotiations, attorney's opinions and a personnel matter for the purpose during that period to simply make council aware of a request for information to be addressed at a Monday meeting.
It was then,
Moved by Councilman Pope,
Seconded by Councilman Toth,
That an Executive Session be scheduled following the meeting to discuss labor negotiations, attorney's opinions and personnel matters.
Yes (6) Absent (1-Mason) Motion carried
14. Amend Executive Session agenda and time scheduled for
Monday, April 24, 1995
It was then,
Moved by Councilman Pope,
Seconded by Councilman Toth,
That the Executive Session currently scheduled for 7:15 pm on April 24, 1995 be changed to 6:00 pm and that Union Negotiations, Personnel Matter, and Attorney's opinions be on the agenda.
Yes (6) Absent (1-Mason) Motion carried
Andrew Mutch said in terms of making Truth in Taxation more comprehensible, his suggestion was to present it in a format laying out each of the categories where they were proposing to go above and specifically what was being requested that it might be spent on.
There being no further business to come before council, the meeting was adjourned at 10:55 PM.