|SPECIAL MEETING OF THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF NOVI
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 10, 1996 AT 7:30 P.M.
NOVI CIVIC CENTER - ACTIVITIES ROOM - 45175 WEST TEN MILE ROAD
CALL TO ORDER: The meeting was called to order at 7:30 pm.
ROLL CALL: Mayor McLallen, Mayor Pro Tem Crawford, Council Members
Cassis, Clark, Mitzel (7:32 pm), Mutch, Schmid
ALSO PRESENT: Chief Lenaghan, Chief Shaeffer, Deputy Chief Al Rasmussen,
Brenda Borders, Officer of the year Terry Whitfield and all members of the Police and Fire Committee.
PURPOSE OF SPECIAL MEETING: 1996-97 Budget Study Session
Mayor McLallen said both of these departments give an extraordinary high quality level of service for a low dollar. The largest portion of the budget is for public safety.
Mayor McLallen said this years budget was approximately $15 Million and of that $6 Million was generated by land based taxes. The rest is from other sources so thatís 33 per cent of the budget that comes directly from land ownership. Of that roughly $155.00 per citizen is spent. In the total budget, the $15 Million dollars which comes from multiple sources, the per capita spending in this community for the quality of life we have for the level of service comes to a mere $357 per citizen using 44,000 members of the community.
Mayor McLallen commended everyone for the amount of service that was received for dollars spent.
Harry Avagian said he was present independent of any conversation with the Chiefs or departments. He said about four years ago a mini station was built without city funds. IT was built b y funds from Mr. Avagian, L.A.R.A. and Community EMS. Beyond that, as a consumer consultant for Community EMS he had many opportunities to visit various cities to discuss public safety issues such as Redford, Northville Township and Sterling Heights. He reiterated what Mayor McLallen said that dollar for dollar the police and fire departments in this community return a fantastic, sensational amount in the way of services. He could not say that for other cities that he visited in official and unofficial capacities.
Mr. Avagian said he had an opportunity once or twice to attend meetings of the Police and Fire Needs Committee and thought their needs needed public acknowledgment and appreciation for the fine efforts of these citizens who had taken the time on many Tuesday nights to attend those meetings to work hard. He thought that both Chiefs had been very prudent as had previous city council in always keeping in mind the parity that must exist between what the taxpayers would pay and what they get in return for city services.
Mr. Avagian said L.A.R.A. was very, very appreciative of the concept of community policing and it was this Chief that brought this to the City of Novi along with his command staff. The Fire Chief is not to be outdone. He has a very innovative system that Mr. Avagian had not heard of in any other community where he can give 24 hours coverage with few dollars being spent. If indeed an extra sergeant could be added to the budget he thought that ultimately as the dialogue is heard from the command staff of the police department he was sure they would point out the benefits of that particular addition.
1. POLICE AND FIRE NEEDS COMMITTEE
John Chambers introduced Lory Harris and Kevin Crane. Mr. Chambers stated that their presentation had been made Monday night to council and he hoped council had a chance to read the documentation they had received.
Mr. Chambers said he and Kevin Crane served on the 1987 Police and Fire Needs Committee and that committee worked on a study called PAS. It was a manpower requirement along with FBI statistics. They looked at processes of the public safety director combining the two departments into one. Some of those concepts were rejected and the outgrowth of that committee was the 24 hour manning sleep in program of the fire department along with staffing requirements for police, fire and equipment. The continuation of that was the staffing of both departments. He said staffing levels had to be looked at but not micro manage the departments as they theoretically did in 1987 when they looked at 12 hour manned patrol cars and going from two officers to one. That got into management and it was something they did not do this time around.
Mr. Chambers said council had a wealth of information and passed out more. He asked that they put it into perspective especially with the police department regarding staffing and the population level.
Mr. Chambers said there were some recaps of 1984. There were 1.38 officers per 1,000 population. In 1 986 when the original committee was brought together there was 1.11 officers per 1,000 on the police department. In 1990 there was 1.52 officers per 1,000 and that was approximately where that committee said it should be. In 1995 it was 1.19 officers per 1,000 so we really didnít keep pace with where it should have been in 1995. We didnít continue the level of support for those officers. Also, the tremendous growth could not be forecasted during that period of time. The city grew by nearly 28 per cent in the same five years.
Mr. Chambers said we couldnít project the impact that Headley and the other things came about. Approximately 1.509 mills for the dedicated police and fire are now levied from that 1987 community recommendation. That is below their original 1.8 that the voters authorized and the only way to change that would be to go to a Headley override to bring that to 1.8 at any point in time. That would always be an option if council decided to do that and then give it to the voters for their approval.
Kevin Crane said their recommendations for officer hiring was what they believed to be minimum staffing. They were not talking heavy duty frills department. This is a very flat hiarchy. There arenít 17,000 officers that are sitting around the station doing nothing. These are line officers. They did not recommend shooting ranges or anything as far as frills go. He said there were no on site shooting ranges, crime labs or those sorts of things and work basically just on getting people out on the street.
Mr. Crane said by going to four stations instead of five at the fire department they end up having less equipment needs because we donít have to have trucks necessary for five stations, no overhead for five departments and that is a cost savings for the department. He believed that they had been frugal.
Mr. Chambers said the one thing that both Chiefs gave them was an organization structure that was extremely flat even with the proposed additions of personnel. If looking at our neighboring Farmington Hills it was, in his opinion, the opposite. It was heavy in man type structures instead of in patrol officers. He felt that was important.
Mr. Crane said the fire department recommendations did not replace the on call and had no intention of replacing the on call. They were only to provide someone there during the day seven days a week. They didnít replace the sleep in program, they didnít replace paid on call people to be there and we still need that on call department in order to run this department even with proposed additions.
Councilman Schmid indicated he had a number of questions. He commended the committee on their work and the time spent. However, he had some questions for the Chiefs regarding the need for additional full time fireman and was concerned that there was not any background on the existing number of officers on both departments. There was no indication on how much money was generated with the present millage. He said there was talk about reduced millage from 1.8 to 1.509. At the same time this city has grown and increased in taxes. He said one gets the impression that all of a sudden weíve lost all that money but we havenít. Go back to 1990 and that 1.8 generated X amount of dollars. He guessed that 1.509 generated more money than 1.8.
Mr. Crane said if looking at the history of the police and fire millage it had never been fully assessed until recently. In fact, at one point it was assessed at less than a mill. Basically what was assessed was what was necessary. He realized that council had discussions about those sorts of things in the past working very frugally and thatís working against them. He said 1.5 mills generating a certain amount of money in 1990 would have bought a certain amount of dollars and thatís correct. It would look like more dollars now but with inflation it would end up with similar amounts of money.
Councilman Schmid said obviously inflation takes itís toll but also weíve increased taxes should be recognized. He said donít talk about frugality, in his opinion, this budget was over $15 Million for this year and that is not frugal. That is a sizable budget and is increased each year because of the increase in growth. He hoped the city would grow sufficiently and density could be controlled and not having 100,000 people rather having the 63,000 we are predicting and that the growth would allow all citizens to stay in the city and pay a reasonable tax. Not have the taxes go out of sight because the services become too high and that is why he encourages commercial, industrial and the residential which did not normally pay for itself.
Councilman Schmidís concern was talking about what was needed and not going back to see what was already there and what the tax base had been since then. He wondered if they could hire X amount of police officers and subsidize whatever else had to be done with the firemen with the present tax base. He said Mr. Kriewall recommended five, six or seven new employees in the general department. His point was not to be critical but it was that they came up with their recommendations and there was really no back ground as to why there had to be that much more.
Mr. Crane said he was in no way saying that 2.2 mills had to be raised if it could be found in the current budget fantastic. Mr. Crane said this was the funding level he believed needed to happen in addition to what is being spent now out of the general fund, special millage or however itís happening.
Mr. Chambers said the whole program looks at resource needs of the community as they look at it and there are many months of deliberation. He said to put one police officer on the street for 24 hours it took five. Seven days, 24 hours a day. 1.4 officers for an eight hour day, seven days and then you have vacations, sick time, etc. It takes basically five to get one out there and that one could make a big difference.
Mr. Chambers said he had the unfortunate aspect of going down to the police station about 2 AM. It seemed that his teenage son decided he could blow the curfew and get caught.
There were three officers down there corralling three kids and then there was another officer doing something else. There were only one or two other officers on duty at that point in time. Those three officers were at the station the other two were out patrolling. He said if my house was on fire or a burglary was taking place at the Seven-Eleven, or a burglary at his house those officers would respond to that as back up. What would happen to the three that were in there with the juvenile delinquents. They canít leave. He said there were symptoms and they needed to be cured before they became a catastrophe.
Councilman Schmid believed that they had dealt with the symptoms with police and fire. He said the police department had been increased by several officers in the past five years and we continue to move on. He said if he had been on the committee he would have done exactly as they did using the FBI figures. How can you go wrong? He said one of the biggest areas he had trouble with was when they started comparing cities. We hear about this all the time. We are Novi and we should deal with Novi problems. We are not a Oak Park or Detroit and have a different kind of crime. That was another question what kind of crime?
Mr. Crane said they were talking about response time.
Councilman Schmid said if he were in Otsego County and they had X amount of runs in a day itís a hell of a lot different then if they got the runs that Novi has.
Mr. Crane said it would still be a certain number of man hours or personnel hours.
Councilman Schmid said he was not there to argue and would have done the same thing. He would not agree with them wholly for it. Not from what theyíd told council but from what he thought the city could afford and what they need.
Mr. Crane said there was no argument with that and they didnít have to agree. Thatís not where they were at all. He wanted Mr. Schmid to realize that a great deal of time was spent on this.
Councilman Schmid asked if he agreed that they had the right to disagree?
Mr. Crane said absolutely, Bob, you and I have always had that right.
Councilman Schmid said the voters would vote on this eventually.
Ms. Harris said council had to remember that when a citizen called 911 what kind of response they would receive.
Councilman Schmid said that was why he wanted to talk to the Chiefís and find out what kind of response theyíve been getting. If they havenít been getting the response they should be getting then we should know that. He had not heard in the last three years from any citizen that the time response was not what it should be.
Councilman Mitzel thanked the committee for a job well done. He questioned the proposals relocating Fire Station #4 from Eleven and Beck to Ten and Wixom. He said he wondered what exactly would be gained by doing so because Beck Road runs the entire length of the City and the other roads tee off it. Whereas, if you put it at Eleven and Wixom you would have to drive back over to Beck Road to get anywhere in the southwest part of the city because Wixom Rd ends at Ten Mile. He wondered what would be gained for the cost to build an entirely new station and demolish a structure thatís perfectly usable?
Mr. Chambers said there were three separate concerns there. He said there was no recommendation of what to do with the old station whether to use it for the DPW, P & R or city hall storage or whatever. He said the relocation was based on geographical area. Beck Road does go all the way north and south but it doesnít necessarily reach the western side of the city that well which is what four is supposed to do or five would do. Five would get the southeast corner and four the southwest and northwest corner. The original reason that Station #4 was placed where it was was more for fire rating than it was for anything else. The western side of the city still doesnít have any city water and so the cityís fire rating was very high and by building Station #4 there the fire rating was lowered considerably and in that sense save the taxpayers quite a bit of money on a regular basis. He asked if Ten and Wixom was a better location?
Councilman Mitzel asked if any type of scientific method based on the population and the time to each potential site from the one location and the overall average waited time compared to the average waited time of the proposal? He looked at the map and geographically itís right in the center but based on travel routes whether or not it would truly be faster response time on an overall basis.
Mr. Chambers said look at travel routes and time and the other aspect of it is looking at Station #4 in a new location allowing for a training center where there is no housing around it. He said he had to look at a reconfiguration of community and housing. He said if it went from five to four stations it would save the ongoing cost of equipment.
Councilman Mitzel said it was not a concern with going from five to four stations. He was just questioning the location because there is between a $2 and $2 1/2 Million cost in the proposed bond and he was trying to figure out what would be gained and was it that overwhelming that it would justify that.
Mr. Crane said one of the things about capitol improvements is that they have fixed cost and fixed periods of time. He understood Councilman Schmidís concerns about additional people because those are ongoing costs. At least with a capitol improvement thereís a bond issue/bond proposal and this city has a very good history of retiring a debt early or refinancing it so the cost to the system is much better. It looks like a huge amount of money but is actually fairly economical when you consider how the city handles the bond issues.
Councilwoman Mutch asked for clarification on the four versus five stations. What you had found is whether we have a fifth station or not, regardless of that, Station #4 is inadequate for the needs of the community it is supposed to service and the building cannot be adapted on the site that it is on and therefore relocation would be needed anyway.
Mr. Chambers said that was a tough question. He said it was built to the set backs on the side and there was a little more depth but not much more depth. He said it was a facility that would not allow for expansion of the facility in the near future, 2 or 3 years, and beyond ten years and that was where the needs came in. The other aspect was a training facility which used to be the old city hall. Youíre going to have to develop a training facility and move out toward that Ten Mile and Wixom Road area where thereís vacant land where there would be less of an opportunity of contact with local citizens because the station would be there before the housing.
Councilwoman Mutch said this cannot be done on the site itís on.
Mr. Chambers thatís right. If you take a look at it, it was to be part of the neighboring community itself. Itís not built as what youíd consider a normal type fire station. He said as you walk annually through the station think about a sleeping program there for two people or four people and decide where youíd put these people. There are male and female members of the fire department so there would have to be separate lockers and separate areas.
Councilwoman Mutch said whether there was a fifth station or not the four stations that we have are deemed by the committee to be inadequate to meet the needs of the community now or as projected. If Station 4 is meant to service the western side of the community and it canít be expanded even forgetting the training aspect then there would have to be a relocation of some kind. Another facility would have to be built. She said as far as Mr. Mitzelís line of discussion it sounded like he was looking at this situation and the master planned fifth station to get to the Ten Mile and Wixom Road suggestion. She said they should think about the need for a fourth station somewhere on the west side.
Mr. Chambers said there was an architectural study done of the fire stations and it is on file and contains a lot of information.
Councilwoman Cassis thanked everyone. She said there was no question about the high priority of public safety. We are very proud of our public safety and our citizens are pleased and very happy they know they live in a fine city. If the opposite begins to happen and a decline begins and the city might not be able to maintain the quality of living that was once there so she agreed and shared in the concerns.
Councilwoman Cassis thought they were recommending a 2.25 mill and then a bonding proposal of .5 for capitol needs. In recommending this, she asked if their proposal was to levy the full amount each year and not do what occurred with the previous 1.8 that had to be reduced to about 1.5 because of Headley; not to do that discretionary reigning in of the millage where you feel it should be. That would establish, if the full amount were levied each and every year, a fund balance that could earn interest which later on could be utilized in the service of public safety. She wondered if they had grappled with how growth would effect these figures and when the new growth is captured, most committeeís had come back and said capture that growth and then accordingly lower what was needed to levy because the new growth was being used to pay a little bit more of the going rate. She was concerned about that from the standpoint of the burden on people who are living on fixed incomes, seniors and retires because that millage stayed constant.
Mr. Chambers said they portrayed or gave council a schedule with kind of a crystal ball out for 18 years. They looked at growth of the community as best they could with input from administration and looking at new construction growth and market adjustments on an ongoing basis. Along with that they also included in their calculations an interest income on the average of about 5% which came from the finance director. That can go up and down. It also included the 4% inflation factor for the cost of services throughout. Coupled with that beside the tax going to 6% they are accumulating some dollars. We accumulate some dollars in early years and use those in later years.
Mr. Chambers said they could have recommended that council look at the alternative which was to say what was needed to levy on this program to get this going and that was approximately 2.69 mills. Typically what would be done would be 1.8 mils and it would be adjusted as needed. We could have said 2.7 mils and adjusted it as needed. Instead we are allowing it to flow in the values of dollars which in later years the dollars could be worth less. If you look at the chart we are recovering to the general fund $200,000 and the general fund is supporting the current program and looking at that it goes from $200,000 in 1995 to the year 2000 to $346,000. Thatís only with a 4% increase. They tried to be very specific and tried with Les Gibson to get an appropriate fund balance. He said they also tried to give the council and future councils some level of flexibility because they couldnít predict what would happen 10 or 15 years from now.
Councilwoman Cassis said she appreciated their rational. In all actuality the top goal of this council this year had been to look at all the resources and the competing needs of recreation, road improvements, senior citizens among many and police and fire. When looking at all that they were looking at the broad picture of the entire city and fitting this important piece in it. She commended their work and said they had given council much to reflect upon and analyze.
Mr. Chambers said regarding fixed incomes and the value this would be to the citizens of the community. He said he looked at it and say what is the tax implications, how did it relate to the homestead property taxes, etc. How did it impact on senior citizens. At the same time he wondered what happened to his mother, who lived in a small community,
when she needed services and if the police and fire could respond appropriately. If itís so tight fisted that there arenít services there to protect those people and the seniors are the ones he wanted to see protected. He felt they had to be pro-active instead of re-active and had to see the symptoms and address them. He said their intent was to come back with some good recommendations. He felt that everyone on the committee looked at it openly with no preconceived notions or ideas.
Councilwoman Cassis said she would like to say they needed to keep the City of Novi healthy. She asked if council was interested in requesting from administration a review and response on this particular report?
Mr. Kriewall said Mr. Klaver had worked with the committee throughout and he had read the reports and minutes as they came in. He didnít doubt that there was a need for addressing at least police levels of staffing and that several recommended capitol improvements needed to be made. The only areas he thought needed further study on was actual police response times and actual work load of the patrol personnel. The only way to get an accurate reading of that would be to bring in a management consulting firm for about one week who would ride with all of the cars on duty over one weeks time. It would give them a feeling of the amount of calls theyíre getting, log everything in and come to some conclusion. If, in fact, weíre not responding to calls that ought to be telegraphed up through the report and if they are able to respond to most of their calls and occasionally cannot respond to something he thought they could measure the impact of the service level delivered to the community today. It was nice to have relative statistics in terms of ratios of staffing from city to city to city but thought Novi was a unique enough of a community in terms of crime rate and ability to deal with a situation now. He was not getting any complaints from the community as to response times. He thought that at a minimum city council should be prepared to move ahead this evening with council direction to bring this kind of consulting firm to the forefront as soon as possible. The committee had been on a time schedule that would point towards some enhancement of millage either in the August primary or the November general election and results would be needed fairly quickly to make a overview of the report that had already been delivered to council. Mr. Kriewall thought that with the statistics that had already been developed by the committee was another tool that a consultant firm would have to look at and they would review everything gathered to this point. He felt this kind of study could be done in the range of $30,000 to $40,000 area.
Mr. Kriewall said as Mr. Chambers pointed out, to add one officer you had to add five, and felt council had to be very concerned with the amount of expenditures for one officer on the street. He felt a lot of attention had to be paid to that because it was a major cost to the community. This kind of a study would provide the tool council needed. They could review the statistics already developed by the police chief and reviewed by the committee
but he didnít think it would give council any more information. The only information that he thought would make a difference to council in terms of how they deliberated the direction of public safety funding would be to have this kind of an analysis. He said it would really be an operational audit of what was taking place on the street today and might be something council would want to employ every year or two.
Councilman Clark added his thanks on the fine job and hard work and dedication of the police and fire departments. He said he might not ultimately agree with every request recommended but there were some real substantial and serious needs to be addressed for the police and fire. He said at the present time we donít have the types and kinds of problems of the older communities and bearing in mind that this is a young community now the fact remains it gets older every year. With that in mind as it grows crime will increase and he agreed that council should be pro-active rather than re-active. The perfect example of that was a community in Macomb County reported on the radio saying that crime was out of sight because they didnít have adequate officers on some shifts. If they have one or two crimes they have to go back to the station and do the required paperwork. They have absolutely no officers on the road and the criminal element in that area knows about it and knows where the pickings are good. He certainly didnít want to see this situation in Novi. The way to deal with that was to be pro-active.
Mr. Chambers said your comment was having the officer out there and the citizen and the criminal element was aware that the officers were out there patroling and visibility, community policing, D.A.R.E. program, etc. Other communities did not have those types of programs. Then there are the CPR Classes, inspections that the fire department runs and those are all part of a quality of life program that you can look at and call priorities.
He said whatís going to happen in 2010. He didnít want to be asked to come back on a third committee to say we need additional resources. Letís cut to the quick of it and get this thing in a pro-active mood and go forward with it for the betterment of the community.
Mr. Crane said if you look at the 1985 population of 24,000 and the 1995 population of 43,000 that is about an 80% growth in a ten year period of time. We have between the year 1995 and the year 2000 to handle 17,000 people growth. That was how they forecasted the city be built out so itís about two-thirds built out.
Mr. Crane said a city that has hundreds of millions of dollars worth of growth adding one house thatís $400,000 doesnít add that many more dollars. The growth that we have is fairly fixed because of inflation, Headley and those sorts of things and we donít get a lot of growth on that and the new growth has to be fairly substantial for it to be an increasable lot of dollars to come in.
Mayor McLallen said this yearís new construction into the general fund was valued at $79 Million and created $285,000. The police and fire was $2 Million and it would translate proportionately less probably not more than $100,000 new dollars.
Mr. Chambers said when there was only 27,000 people in the city and we had $80 Million worth of growth that was a considerable amount of growth. Now when we have 44,000 people in the city and a 2/3 built city that amount of growth is not nearly the percentage that it was.
Mr. Klaver said he and Les Gibson had worked with the committee quite closely with some of these projections and he thought they were their very best effort at the time in terms of conservative guesses of what the future might hold. He said they shared Mr. Chambers
concerns and in addition to supporting Mr. Kriewallís suggestion of bringing in outside consultants council might want to do something very similar in terms of having somebody else outside the city take a look at those assumptions that are built into the financial including the growth. He encouraged council to have somebody to take another look at
that just to confirm the validity of all the assumptions. He said if it was off a half a percent on interest income, growth projections or anything it would have a rather dramatic impacts.
Chief Lenaghan began by addressing Councilman Mitzelís concern about Station #4. He informed council that they had done some time/distance studies on it. One of the things they dealt with the most in the fire management area was the districts were set up, primarily in zoning also. The zoning in that area is single family residential, large lots. Probably the furthest point from Station #4 was the relocated building. He said they took the eight square miles essentially located in the middle of that and it worked out quite well with the predominately overlap of the other stations. They had not arbitrarily picked that location. They had done some checking on it and then tracked the service in that area. Also, it has provided better service to the area on Grand River and Napier Road.
Chief Lenaghan said as far as personnel went due to the bond issue and so forth what they had done, this was the same request that they had last year, it just dealt with the five day program they currently had. The way it would provide was there were currently eight first line vehicles and five were needed in service. He said all they were asking for was additional people to keep the other three in service on the day shift, Monday through Friday, the same shift that they currently had. He thought it was already removed from the budget.
Mayor McLallen said the current budget, as presented by administration, showed no increase in personnel. Chief Lenaghan had asked for a significant number, no numbers are in, and Mayor McLallen asked Chief Lenaghan if he could survive. She said one of the questions that had come up, if council came to the conclusion that Police and Fire needed to go to a millage vote for personnel, that would not deliver funds until the 1997-98 budget year. She asked Chief Lenaghan if they could survive in the 1996-97 budget year. Would that diminish service or not?
Mr. Kriewall said he thought Mr. Lenaghan only requested that a new assistant chief be put back into the budget.
Chief Lenaghan said that was part of it.
Councilwoman Mutch asked if Chief Lenaghan was asking for eight plus the assistant?
Chief Lenaghan said that was correct.
Mayor McLallen asked given the operations for the 1997 year, knowing that even if the proposed bond issue and millage were successful could his department give the level of service that the Chief wanted to give with merely the addition of the assistant chief?
Chief Lenaghan said to this point they had handled it with the personnel and resources they currently had and he thought it was an effective program. He found it interesting, when talking about per capita cost, he said theirs was about $40.00 per capita right now for fire protection, EMS, and Environmental Programs. As for guaranteeing anything he would certainly be reluctant to guarantee anything. He would just say that with the resources that they currently had they provided a level of service and would work with what they had.
Mayor McLallen asked if they were getting increases or decreases in response time and did he feel any critical areas were under served? She said Chief Lenaghan ran a very lean department but one that was an efficient department and delivered a high quality of service but were there any weaknesses showing up that ought to be addressed and not put off for another year?
Chief Lenaghan said he wanted to make everyone aware that they had experienced, within the last three weeks, a station closing for lack of personnel at 4:30 am. It was closed until 6:00 am. He said there were three other stations to back it up but they had gone to another system called platooning. He said they were trying to work through this but it was sometimes difficult. For example, on the weekend if the staffing level drops to a certain point they have to close a station, obviously, if itís not operational any longer. Dispatch is notified and the second and third stations cover that district. So there is some delay in response time.
Mayor McLallen asked if anything had gone unresponded to in a critical situation? Have any citizens property or rights been endangered by a station closing at 4:30 am?
Chief Lenaghan said they had managed everything up to this point.
Councilman Schmid asked what the Chief meant by closing the station?
Chief Lenaghan said there was not enough paid on call people to operate the station. There was no one to take the trucks out.
Councilman Schmid said you mean thereís no one out there who will come in when the fire rings?
Chief Lenaghan said when there are four stations operational people are assigned to them. People assigned to Station #4, for example, when it gets to a certain level officers are supposed to keep an eye on it and when it gets down to three or four people they notify dispatch to no longer alert Station #4 if thereís any type of incident in their area theyíd have to notify Stations #1 or #3 and that would increase response time.
Councilman Schmid asked how many people were assigned to Station #4?
Chief Lenaghan said 14 people.
Councilman Schmid asked how they knew who was coming in and who wasnít before hand and how often did it happen?
Chief Lenaghan said you donít unless they signed up and it was the first time this year and last year three or four times.
Councilman Schmid asked how many paid on call in the four stations Chief Lenaghan had now?
Chief Lenaghan said 64 but not evenly distributed.
Councilwoman Mutch asked the Chief to comment on the distribution.
Chief Lenaghan said the districts were set up and usually the recruiting was done as close to the Station as possible.
Councilwoman Mutch said the equipment was not exactly the same and asked if the personnel was equally trained on all equipment.
Chief Lenaghan said they receive a lot of scrutiny from the Michigan Department of Labor. He said there were a lot of MIOSHA regulations and things they had to comply with. He said they are the law. One of the things that impacted them heavily was the mandatory training. The law five years ago said training must be made available so if someone didnít show up for two ladder practices that year and they fell off a ladder they couldnít sue the City because it was available. Today the law said personnel had to be trained so if they didnít make it either disciplinary action had to be taken or another class had to be set up and if they couldnít make that one they had to be told that they couldnít respond any longer. He said they had adjusted their program and their training record is checked monthly and personnel is given a copy of their training record annually. He said disciplinary action is taken if people donít come to training but it was a little difficult because the department was 15 people short of their authorized strength to say they would be fired if they didnít show up.
Mayor McLallen said their capita l request this year was $384,000.00 including a rescue truck and communications equipment.
Chief Lenaghan said that was also part of the bond issue and they were not sure where to put it. However, we are still operating on a radio frequency they share with about 52 other fire departments in two counties. He said the incident increased about 15% last year and the difficulty that we have is that the problems they are having with communications continue to grow. Two years ago they went through FCC, they have three licenses now, or frequencies, that they are unable to use simply because they donít have the equipment to do it. It would require a complete change over of the radio equipment. He said they had picked up departments around Lansing so there are actually about three different counties. He said the frequency that they operate on in Oakland County was probably one of the original fire frequencies. He said Monroe, Oakland and Ingham Counties were all on the same frequency. Another problem was their proximity to Canada restricted their license so the frequencies they have they were trying to hold on to. He said they had a make shift radio and send a signal out every 15 minutes so they donít lose it by not using it. He said they have got 3 new channels but canít use them without an equipment purchase. He said they were trying to get the equipment to change.
Chief Lenaghan said it could be done in a two year period. We could change the radios one year and the pagers the next but we really would like to clear this frequency.
Mayor McLallen said if itís not in the bonding issue it could be done in the regular budget in a two year phase but itís not addressed in the $384,000.00.
Chief Lenaghan said no it had been taken out. As for the rescue truck thatís part of the 1987-88 Fire Apparatus Capitol Replacement Program. Itís purchased the last two engines, the tanker and Rescue 1 which was kept in service an extra three years but it really should go.
Councilman Mitzel said this could be done in two phases the first phase being $74,000 for the communications program and $75,000 for personnel and asked which one of these would be the priority?
Chief Lenaghan said the radio communication was very important because it affected the whole department and the community.
Mayor McLallen said those are the most pressing areas that are not addressed as presented that Chief Lenaghan would like reviewed.
Mayor McLallen said the capitol needs for the building are not going to go away and they have to be addressed some how.
Chief Lenaghan asked if the Mayor meant Stations 3 and 4?
Mayor McLallen said across the board.
Chief Lenaghan said the original plan was done in 1987 & 88 and they used an urban planning guide from the U.S. Department of Commerce. It worked very well and they did a survey of the City of Novi and came up with certain areas, fire management areas of the city, which a lot of them have to do with zoning. Station #1 is along the Grand River expressway corridor, commercial and so forth and residential. Then someone came up with the five station configuration. They also looked at the insurance services office and at that time Novi had a class 8, 9 and 10. Ten meant that, as far as the insurance industry was concerned you had no fire protection at all and you had a fire department here for fifty years or better. So they wanted to address that as well. A major portion of this was the crummy water supply. It has expanded quite a bit. In 1987 they got a re-evaluation from ISO. There are still areas of the city that have a Class 9 rating which, depending on your insurance company, could be a 70% difference in insurance premiums.
Chief Lenaghan said in 1982 or 83 they changed to what they call a Fire Suppression Rating Schedule and that is what the Novi Department uses now. He said they had reviewed everything for that and would probably get a Class 5 or higher so going from a Class 8 to Class 5 he felt was not to bad. In the process, the buildings were built. The buildings were to house the equipment and office space. They were really not something they were going to move into the future with. He said Station #4 was built out of the General Fund and there is nothing fancy about it or any of the stations. They did take the committee through some of the neighboring communities,. Farmington Hills has spent 900,000 to a million dollars a station. He was not saying that was the way it should be done. Although they had done an excellent job at what theyíve done and they used the funds that were available. Chief Lenaghan said they did go to the voters in 1980 and got funding for Station #1 and #2 and Engine 1. Everything that has come out of the General Fund theyíve been very careful with it but the community had grown a little faster then anybody realized. He had to move full time employees in from Station #4 and now have two people spending twelve hours a day in something about the size of a cell.
Councilwoman Mutch said some things we hear about the need for enforcing ordinances that we have and most of those fall into another area but fire inspection is that something thatís done of commercial/industrial buildings on a regular basis.
Chief Lenaghan said yes, depending on which building it is. When the full time employees were hired it broke tradition in a lot of cases. One of them was with the old time staff, instead of having the fire prevention division, they did start out with a fire marshall and inspector. They did away with the inspectors position and shifted the work over to the full time employees and made it part of their job description. They not only did the traditional functions of the fire department but also the public education work and the annual inspection program. They had to be trained and they actually did the code enforcement and all sprinkler testing. Again, itís part of the program. Chief Lenaghan said they donít have taxpayers anymore they have customers and itís part of the service. He said they donít even like to think of themselves as public safety anymore. This is a service organization within the community and that is really what theyíre there for. He asked council not to judge them on what they burn down but just take a look at the services they provide.
Councilwoman Mutch asked if with the staffing he had did he feel he was able to maintain an optimum schedule for those sections. He said itís one thing when a buildings built itís just not going to get into operation unless it went through the inspection and if they donít get to it immediately then theyíd get to it eventually. Itís not the same problem. However, when the community is dependant upon having those inspected on a regular basis for continuing a level of safety thatís what she was asking.
Chief Lenaghan said they had found that if you have a sprinklered building, itís fire resistant construction they really donít go in there every year. He thought their loss experience had shown that itís not necessary. One of the other advantages, when he came here in 1978, was that Novi was a new community. In planning the fire department it was not for building it and having ten stations with five men in each station and waiting for something to happen he thought it could be done through public education as well. Chief Lenaghan said Novi is an ideal community because so much of it can be started with the buildings going up youíre not stuck with old downtown areas. He said their first line of defense in the community is sprinkler systems not the fire department, public education is the second and the third is the inspection program. A lot of the inspections that are done are on a two tier basis. They have done things like Mall security they have given them training on inspections. They would not obviously write any violations but the fact of the matter was that they could do some of the inspections. He felt that the program they had was pretty comprehensive.
Councilwoman Mutch asked if Chief Lenaghan had the personnel to maintain a schedule of inspections that he felt provided an adequate and acceptable level of safety to the community?
Chief Lenaghan thought the program that they had, utilizing the current staff, had worked quite well but he would like a couple more people for the day shift.
Councilman Schmid said he thought Chief Lenaghan ran one of the finest departments in the tri county area and did it with limited staffing and knowledge. He said heíd put this fire department up against most who spend two or three times whatís spent here. He said other communities of similar size, population and geographic area and they probably have a 5, 6 or 7 million dollar budget. The Chief does do an excellent job and should be commended.
Councilman Schmid said the Citizens Committee talked about a number of buildings and he thought that was about all other than personnel.
Chief Lenaghan said in the bond issue they had radios too.
Councilman Schmid asked if Chief Lenaghan left anything out of his budget based on the hopes that the bond issue would pass.
Chief Lenaghan said no.
Councilman Clark thanked the Chief for a job well done and in line with Councilman Schmidís comments he was at the Michigan Municiple League meeting last month a gentleman there could not speak highly enough about the Chief and the department. He could not remember this manís name but he had said over and over again that the people of Novi did not know how fortunate they were in terms of the command structure they have, the job that the Chief did and the fire department training and insight that they were given was invaluable.
Mayor McLallen thanked Chief Lenaghan and said council always appreciated hearing from him and it truly was everything that theyíve described. It is a very well run fire department and he had every right to be proud of the customer service thatís provided.
Chief Shaeffer reviewed the history of Novi population since 1990 and also the history of the police departments manpower growth had taken place during that same time period. They have remained at 50 officers and had since added two officers through federal funding. He said the calls for service were increasing and have been increasing with the population. That means they had started losing pro-activity and picked up re-activity. He said at least once a week they stack calls for service and the dispatch manager said they stacked as late as this afternoon and that it happened more often than that. That means some calls are not being answered as promptly as other calls. These are dealt with a priority system with threats to personal safety receiving the highest priority, ongoing threats to property incidents have the next priority and then they decline from there. They do pull officers off of current calls to send them to higher priority calls. That is a challenge and causes a loss of productivity.
Chief Shaeffer said calls for service increased 5.5 percent last year and was up 12 percent in the last two years. That represented 2,146 calls handled by the same number of people. The impact of that is citizens wait for assistance and over time the crime rate will probably increase, instead of preventing crime we will respond to crime and arrest rates would probably decline over time. He said the arrest rate trend line seemed to be declining as calls for service tended to increase this last year. A new community sees exactly that same pattern. The most recent study he had seen was Farmington Hills and they had developed as part of their millage package and they saw exactly that same trend and also a declining number of tickets. Officers were spending their time going to calls for service rather than making arrests. It also causes some lacks in flexibility increasing calls for service puts demand on the officers at the street level. For example, there has been no one in N.E.T., Narcotics Enforcement Team, since October. There has been no street level narcotics intervention activity since October because of an injury to the detective that was assigned to that. He simply could not replace him because he would have to take an officer from the street and he did not feel comfortable doing that. He said balance that also against the number of retirements they had. He said they hired five new officers and two were still in school and two were undergoing OJT training and they were still trying to fill the fifth position with a high quality individual. Chief Shaeffer said this represented 15% of their manpower and a years service. He said it took at least a year of service before you could really start counting people as productive because of the training and some times that can be shortened by three months if the new hires have already placed themselves through a police academy. He said they screen for that and it was also a real money saving tool because it costs about $2,500 to send someone through the academy. He said about $500 to $700 of that was reimbursed from the state.
Chief Shaeffer said they also had no ability to conduct intensive surveillances because he cannot afford to take officers away from the street to do that. Also, there are two detective positions left unfilled at the current time so some of the investigations are not taking place either. Chief Shaeffer said they have had an interesting three weeks. Theyíve had a knife held at a teachers throat at school one day, two shootings with one resulting in a death and a major labor action at the Expo Center. Chief Shaeffer said they do not do special activities either because it did take them away from other things. For example, oftentimes they are requested to do special traffic assignments and they do do some of them but to do a special long term active program they have to take people that are responding to calls for service to do that.
Chief Shaeffer said the unions had told him that they would wait through this week for him to get an adjustment and then they were going to file a grievance related around manpower. He said the balancing of manpower that had to be made in order to staff their officers during the time a day when the need was the greatest causing shortages during other times. For example, from 4 to 7 am, there are two or three officers depending on the day of the week and he is very concerned about their personal safety. He was also very concerned about minimum staffing levels for other times of the week because they are so busy and they are afraid that they will leave themselves in a vulnerable position. He said there would be a steady erosion of police services over time as they concentrated only on response. The greater the demand for response, of course, the greater demand for manpower to go to that.
Chief Shaeffer said with additional manpower they could maintain their concepts of policing the community of which they have been enjoying a lot of success. They had been working with Michigan State University and will do so more in the future to help them evolve into the next level. He thought that Novi was way out there on the cutting edge with some of these kinds of things. They would also be able to enhance services to the public with a shorter response time. He thought that they could open the station during the hours that it is normally closed with additional personnel. He said the union had told them that they were resistant to cadet programs but were not resistant to officers manning the station.
Chief Shaeffer said they would also be able to do special projects activities, special surveillance activities, etc. in addition to the pro-active activities. They would also need to start doing more crime prevention.
Mayor McLallen asked what the response time was?
Chief Shaeffer said it was 8.5 to 9 minutes for all types highest priority crimes.
Mayor McLallen asked Chief Shaeffer to identify who he perceived as the criminal in Novi? What type of crime did Novi expect to be a victim of? Where is the crime in the city and where was the highest manpower needed?
Chief Shaeffer said the highest reported crime by far was larceny. He said it was that way in every community every where in the United States without exception. Property crimes are up.
Mayor McLallen as if it was domestic or commercial larceny?
Chief Shaeffer said it was a combination of both. Chief Shaeffer said that 1.3 square miles of I-96 and Novi Road represented about 23% of Noviís total crime picture.
Mayor McLallen said another area that has unfortunately been a sign of our times is domestic violence and that was having an impact on the manpower and requires quite a lot of response time and a very special kind of handling.
Chief Shaeffer said domestic violence, especially those where both parties are still present, are exceptionally threatening. It requires additional manpower to handle, you should have two officers for every combatant party present and if there is reason to believe violence had been committed State Law mandates arrest. Arrests are much more time consuming than just writing out a report.
Councilman Clark said on the shifts that occur between midnight and 7 am there are a limited number of officers on road patrol. He assumed all of those officers are manning single officer vehicles. Is that correct?
Chief Shaeffer said yes with the exception of officers in training.
Councilman Clark assumed that a shooting would tie up one or more officers.
Chief Shaeffer said a shooting scene would tie up every officer they had. He said the investigation must be considered and the safety of the injured person. He said they would be providing first aid, handling witnesses, looking for suspects, scene security and this is all very labor intensive.
Councilman Clark said he had read that teen violence was dramatically increasing across the country both in numbers and in the degree of severity of that violence. He felt that being pro-active in dealing with the young people in the schools would be money well spent. If that meant hiring more officers then he was in favor.
Councilman Schmid asked the Chief what kinds of calls for service were they stacking and to what extent?
Chief Shaeffer said it depended on the types of calls. Certainly, the lower priority calls that are on the schedule at the time itís held. Sometimes it might be nothing more than larceny or go carts racing up and down the street. He said they were very customer service oriented and the citizens were informed that there may be a delay in service.
Councilman Schmid asked if this happened everyday?
Chief Shaeffer said it didnít happened every day. The supervisors and dispatch had informed him it happened about two or three times a week.
Councilman Schmid asked about the delayed follow up on investigation.
Chief Shaeffer said there were two vacant positions that could not be filled because it would take officers off of road patrol.
Councilman Schmid asked how many officers were on the road per shift?
Chief Shaeffer said they had a sliding scale that focused around the hour of the day. At the current time the minimum manpower worked around two split levels. One was leave time would not be allowed below a certain level and it might have to be augmented by additional overtime because of sickness, etc.
Chief Shaeffer said there was an 11 PM to 7 AM shift, 3 officers and 4 officers on the weekend plus the supervisor. Additional leave time is not allowed when officers fall below three except on Fridays and Saturdays when that goes up to four. Overtime is not allowed unless there is an exceptional need and the supervisor is granted authority to do that.
The 7 AM to 3 PM shift has five officers except on Saturday and Sunday there are six. The 3 PM to 11 PM shift has the lead time at five officers, four on Tuesday and six on Friday.
The power shift is from 8 PM to 4 AM shift has three officers except on Friday and Saturday nights there are four officers.
Councilman Schmid said then you have 8 or 9 officers between 8 PM and 4 AM.
Chief Shaeffer said theyíd probably have at the most between 7 and 10 on Friday night.
Councilman Schmid said these three shifts add up to 18 or 19 officers. He asked how many officers there were.
Chief Shaeffer said they were authorized 52. There are 32 officers permanently assigned to patrol but because of the vacancies they are running 27. There are 14 to 19 on leave for vacation, sick leave, etc.
Councilman Schmid asked if 8 or 9 minutes response time was good or bad?
Chief Shaeffer said it depended on the type of calls. Nine minutes on a personal threat injury in progress is an exceptionally long time. Nine minutes on a larceny that happened while people were on vacation doesnít make a bit of difference.
Councilman Schmid said assuming there were more officers would that response time change?
Chief Shaeffer it would because there would be more people on the street.
Councilman Schmid asked if there was any trouble recruiting?
Chief Shaeffer said they received a lot of applications but applicants were not all qualified.
Councilman Schmid asked the Chief if he was recommending six new officers?
Chief Shaeffer said that was correct.
Councilman Schmid asked how reliable the FBI recommendations were?
Chief Shaeffer said the FBI did report what the communities in the United States were doing. They find a ratio of communities our size, under 50,000, of 1.5 officers per 1,000 population in the community. They differentiate only by region of country and are comparable to our neighbors.
Councilman Schmid asked how many people were requested in the budget.
Mr. Kriewall said one.
Councilman Schmid asked how many the committee recommended?
Mr. Kriewall said six.
Chief Shaeffer said that the city received good news and that they would be getting grant money for the new computer. The Chief also said that he was requesting a new dictaphone recorder to record all radio traffic and phone calls. The current recorder is 13 years old and needs new recording heads at $5,000. He also stated that the number of tapes used per day would go down dramatically.
Mayor Pro Tem Crawford asked the Chief if theyíd given consideration to a cadet program to free up some of the officers? He also asked if there were problems with the union in implementing such a program?
Chief Shaeffer indicated that the unions were not in favor or the program.
Mayor Pro Tem Crawford didnít foresee the program as a job threat to the officers. He noted it could make the department 24 hour user friendly. He stated the program could provide community service and he asked if the cadets could be candidates eventually for police officer?
Chief Shaeffer indicated that yes, they could be potential candidates.
Councilman Schmid asked if there was anything that was not in their recommended budget that the Chief would like to see in the approved budget.
The Chief indicated that he would like to see the artechitect study provided for. He indicated that it would be major capitol repairs in the approximate amount of $346,000 which does not include ADA upgrades in the amount of $118,000.
Councilwoman Cassis left at 10:35 pm.
Mr. Kriewall asked if on the economy of scale if everything had to be done at once.
Chief Shaeffer stated at the very least the $346,000 in building repairs had to be performed.
Councilwoman Mutch indicated that on Page 1 of the Chiefís narrative he was proposing six new officers. She asked if they were to replace officers or new positions and if there was a number between one and six that he could be satisfied with. She also asked if they would upgrade existing officers if six were hired.
Chief Shaeffer said if he didnít get six he would not upgrade.
Councilman Schmid asked if the officers minded working overtime.
Chief Shaeffer said no.
Mayor McLallen asked for a consensus of council if they were in favor of rescheduling the executive session scheduled to immediately follow the meeting to 7 PM on Monday night before the regular meeting. There was a consensus to reschedule.
The meeting adjourned at 10:41 PM
Mayor City Clerk
Date approved: ________________