SPECIAL CITY OF NOVI COUNCIL COMMITTEE MEETING OF THE WHOLE

MONDAY, JANUARY 29, 1996 - 7:00 PM EST

TOLL GATE FARMS - 28115 MEADOWBROOK ROAD

 

Called to order at 7:10 PM by Mayor Kathleen McLallen.

 

 

PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE

 

ROLL CALL: Mayor McLallen, Mayor ProTem Crawford, Council Members Cassis, Clark, Mitzel, Mutch, Schmid

 

 

ALSO PRESENT: City Manager Edward Kriewall, Public Information Director Lou Martin, Director of Planning & Community Development James Wahl, City Clerk Tonni Bartholomew and Marty Fluharty

 

 

PURPOSE OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE MEETING OF THE WHOLE

 

1. GOALS AND OBJECTIVES

 

Mayor McLallen suggested having two stages. The first stage would be to discuss the challenges to function as a Council, how they can accomplish that and what they can do better. The second stage would be how they perceive the function of the goals, do they serve a purpose and what are Councilís priorities. She then asked for Councilís input.

 

Councilman Mitzel believes the last year seemed to help Council focus. He stated they should set some goals according to the time lines for City Administration and the City Manager.

 

Mayor ProTem Crawford believes a lot of the problems have been solved with the addition of the three new Council members. Further, he believes the goal sessions will also improve greatly. Mayor ProTem Crawford reported that he would like to hear candid comments from the Staff about what Council could to assist them.

 

Councilman Clark believes the current Council gets along well together and that their primary goal should be to make Novi the best community that they can. Further, they should not lose sight of their common goals.

 

Councilwoman Cassisí main desire is that Council work and pull together. She believes the term "collegiality" accurately describes their working relationship.

 

Councilman Schmid remarked they have accomplished a lot within the last two years and he doesnít agree that the last few years have been as negative as written in the Novi News. He also said decision makers cannot make decisions without controversy and at times situations will become heated. He added after they finally make the decision, they can then move in that direction.

 

Mayor McLallen agreed nothing moves forward without friction and she believes the community is well represented by this Council.

 

Mayor ProTem Crawford also believes controversy is positive because it addresses all sides of an issue. Further, he believes they have that now and it seems to work positively toward making a majority decision.

 

Councilwoman Mutch said she did not want to fall into the trap of comparing themselves to the previous Council and believes they should work toward growing as a group during the next two years. She doesnít feel that presenting an opposing statement when they have already made one is necessary although she believes that having open discussion is important. She also said it bothered her when Councilman Mitzel left an Executive Session and even though he had his reasons, she didnít want anyone to leave in anger or be upset because they need all seven membersí contributions.

 

Mayor McLallen agrees they need all seven members whether they agree or not. She believes they need to express themselves freely but not let personal irritants bother them or they will return to the same situation as the former Council.

 

Councilman Mitzel explained in hindsight, he shouldnít have left.

 

Mayor ProTem Crawford believes Councilís conduct offends others more than they offend each other.

 

Councilman Schmid said although he may get mad, he can forget it.

 

Councilwoman Cassis believes as a group, Council Members have to share the tension and it ultimately affects them.

 

Councilwoman Mutch stated if someone feels the discussion is off track, they should jump in, regain control and support those whom they have offended.

 

Mayor McLallen stated her role is to keep things on track. However, sometimes in a heated discussion, they ignore her or she is forced to make a more aggressive stand. She asked Ms. Fluharty if there is a way to include everyone and still eliminate the redundancy.

 

Ms. Fluharty advised she has worked with for-profit and not-for-profit companies in various capacities for twenty-seven years. She explained she has done everything from how to run a volunteer organization to running a meeting and everything Council has stated is true. She reported that there is a cycle for any group and when they originally form a group, they test the waters as they begin to get to know each other. She explained that experiencing a stormy period where there is a conflict and discord is normal for groups as they present their ideas. She said that being able to work together is important for the group.

 

Ms. Fluharty said the reason goals and objectives are set for a certain period is so they will have a basis for measuring. She added it should be done on a regular basis and that the goals and objectives should be in front of them at every meeting so members are conscious of them at all times.

 

Mayor McLallen agreed they should keep their goals and objectives before them and monitor them often.

 

Ms. Fluharty reported she has reviewed Councilís questions and answered them hoping that it would generate more thoughts and ideas. She explained she has tried to meld all of the challenges that they identified individually and she would like Council to discuss them to possibly make some decisions about the challenges they found most important.

 

COUNCIL DISCUSSION

 

Mayor McLallen explained these are challenges about what they would like to see done. She believes the time line for the pool, senior housing and ice arena would be within the next month and added that they have started the tree farm. Further, she believes the Fuerst Farm and the Lakeshore Property fall out of the norm, she questions the availability of funds for Computers and that Roads are a never-ending process.

 

Councilman Mitzel said he is disappointed about the deliverable products to the citizens. He believes Council has never set a concrete time line or committed the appropriate resources to get the projects completed. Further, he would like to add Safety Paths to their list. He also agreed that implementation is important and that Council needs to hold themselves to concrete time lines to achieve their goals.

 

Although Councilman Clark agreed with the comments made earlier, he would hate to see them get into a situation of hard and fast rules on every project. He would also like to see their goals accomplished, but he explained it costs a lot of money. He believes they should move at an orderly and reasonable pace because they are really talking about the financial support of the City.

 

Mayor ProTem Crawford believes they need to stay on top of the implementation of the projects once they have been decided on. Although he doesnít view many of these as having a financial problem, he believes the Police and Fire projects are a major commitment. Further, he reported that the Citizens Committees believe that their projects should move fast and as recommended.

 

Ms. Fluharty said Council must commit to and set priorities for their projects.

 

Councilman Mitzel asked Administration to provide a list of approved projects and approved funding, in addition to a time line and a list of items being studied.

 

Ms. Fluharty noted Councilís time lines were well done, but believes they also need to add who is responsible for what. She would also like to see comments about major priorities and how Council will address them. She said they would take a break and Council should come back with their priorities and what they view as their biggest challenge.

 

 

BREAK

 

Mayor ProTem Crawford suggested that they include the implementation of projects and list Council approved projects and goals.

 

Mayor McLallen believes they need to meet their expectations in a timely manner.

 

Ms. Fluharty said she noted the following points; where the money comes from, a plan to get it and what the Committeeís responsibility is. She also noted; how they can meet the expectations of the citizens within their responsibility as a Council and still allow for the fiscal constraints to do it in a timely manner that tracks their progress. Ms. Fluharty added she has added Police and Fire to the list.

 

Mr. Kriewall believes when they release authority to committee groups, they are giving away Council authority and collected knowledge. He said citizens will run with the ball and it is a good way to operate, but there are some pitfalls. He explained historically, when government is opened up to the community, it works quite successfully. He reported examples are the Storm Water Management and the Ice Rink. He said although a small group of people may drive things, Council still votes on it.

 

Mr. Kriewall noted a collection of committees are more organized than they would think. Further, he believes the community will automatically prioritize the roads, the swimming pool, the lake property shoreline, the tree farm, police and fire, and possibly computers if they put them to a vote.

 

Councilman Mitzel said the road projects are frustrating and believes they need to make the completion time frame more reasonable. Further, he believes they are more likely to drag their feet without time projections.

 

 

Mr. Kriewall suggested that they could adjust the time line every six months and move the completion date to one year.

 

Councilman Clark agreed with Councilman Mitzelís comments. He also expressed a concern about miscommunications in the Novi News. He said if someone didnít attend a meeting or watch it on cable and then only read the Novi News, there could be a mis-communication. He believes during the communication process what people often hear is what they perceive should happen rather than what the message actually is.

 

Ms. Fluharty said they have discussed time lines quite a bit and asked if there is something Council would like to do. Mayor McLallen replied they should focus on communication and the challenges that are listed.

 

Councilman Schmid stated before putting time lines on anything, they should decide how they will finance the seven money items. Councilman Schmid believes they need to prioritize the list and his first choice would be the Police and Fire items.

 

Councilman Mitzel said there is no time for studies and that puts Council in a predicament.

 

Councilman Schmid asked how can they prioritize?

 

Councilman Mitzel agreed and believes there should be some type of tracking method.

 

Mayor ProTem Crawford stated that prioritizing is difficult and although they are all a priority, it is difficult to say which one should be number one.

 

Councilman Schmid believes the Police and Fire should be the number one priority.

 

Mayor McLallen stated they need to focus on strategy and finances and put all their wishes on the table. Further, Council should develop a policy on how to present issues to the voters.

 

Mayor ProTem Crawford stated they would want everything if they had unlimited funds. He also doesnít feel most of the items require funding from the General Fund. He reported that they would like to preserve the Fuerst property for example, but they need to find a way to acquire the funds first. He stated priorities are not that difficult to define because it would be whatever project comes before them first.

 

Ms. Fluharty said the items with the red marks have the most priority.

 

Mayor ProTem Crawford hoped they would not put those items on the ballot for a millage.

 

Councilman Schmid believes they are all G.O. Bonds initially and they may eventually become self-supporting.

 

Ms. Fluharty asked what is Councilís role?

 

Councilwoman Mutch replied Councilís role is to identify the communityís needs, determine what is economically feasible and what is the best resource to make it happen.

 

Ms. Fluharty then suggested that Administration list the following: Current Projects, Dollars Invested to Date, Current Committees and Time Lines Known (reports due and project completion), Total Financing Needed for Each Project, Committee Responsibilities for Fiscal Aspects (where the money comes from and their plans to get it). Ms. Fluharty asked Council if this list completes the information they would need for these projects?

 

Council suggested that they add Debt Retirement Schedule and Time Lines for Dollar Needs to the list.

 

Mr. Kriewall believed they could complete this task in two to three weeks.

 

Ms. Fluharty addressed the Light Industrial Ordinance by stating that she believes they should deal with the first phase, rework the ordinance and look at the areas where light industrial and residential are adjacent. Further, they should avoid or mitigate conflicts and then rework the zoning in the Grand River Corridor to stimulate realistic development.

 

Mayor McLallen believes the question is what issues do they want to explore?

 

Mr. Wahl suggested that Council and the Planning Commission have a joint meeting. He said he counted 25 out of 50 items that were actually planning related issues.

 

Councilwoman Mutch agreed they should hold a joint meeting soon.

 

Councilman Mitzel asked if they should have a plan before scheduling a joint meeting so that they donít just have a laundry list.

 

Ms. Fluharty suggested inviting the Planning Commission to do the same, but separately. They could then discuss what their authority is, what they should be working on and then have a joint meeting to discuss each otherís priorities.

 

Councilwoman Cassis believes it would be more effective if they acted together.

 

Mayor McLallen stated there are issues that concern both Council and Planning. However, she believes if they all meet to discuss these issues, each would have their favorite.

Council then discussed Planning and Zoning issues as they are listed on Page 2.

 

Ms. Fluharty referred to Page 3 and said those issues would still be on the list and they would need to decide what to do about them.

 

Council then discussed which items they should remove from the Infrastructure Issues listing.

 

Ms. Fluharty believes all the items on Page 4 are part of the Challenge Section.

 

Council discussed their 1996 Objectives.

 

Ms. Fluharty said the key is to implement a plan.

 

The Council discussed the Novi 20/20 Process on Page 4 and the Process and Procedure Issues listed on Page 5

 

Mayor ProTem Crawford reminded Council about the video he would like to show. He advised the 4Ĺ minute video provides a general overview about the importance of rights of way.

 

Mr. Fluharty reported she would retype and organize what they have accomplished tonight and forward it to Mrs. Bartholomewís office shortly. She further stated that she would give them some instructions about how to vote on some items and set some guidelines and priorities for Council to follow.

 

 

ADJOURNMENT

 

There being no further business before City Council, the meeting was adjourned at 10:40 P.M..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mayor City Clerk

 

Transcribed by Sharon Hendrian

Assisted by Barbara Holmes

 

 

Date Approved: November 18, 1996