|SPECIAL MEETING OF THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF NOVI
THURSDAY, MAY 9, 1996 - IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWING EXECUTIVE SESSION
AT 7:30 PM EDT
NOVI CIVIC CENTER - ACTIVITIES ROOM - 45175 W. TEN MILE ROAD
Mayor McLallen called the meeting to order at 9:13 PM.
ROLL CALL: Mayor McLallen, Mayor Pro Tem Crawford, Council Members Cassis, Clark, Mitzel, Mutch, Schmid
ALSO PRESENT: City Manager Edward Kriewall, Assistant City Manager Craig Klaver, Director of Finance Les Gibson, Budget Analyst Kim Pittl, Chief Lenaghan, City Clerk Tonni Bartholomew and the Novi News
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
Mr. Kriewall said normally when they get to the Budget Wrap-Up Session, they deal with the Resolution by Council for the Administrative Wage Adjustment for the upcoming year and that is normally done prior to the Public Hearing and Budget adoption and he would like to add that to the Agenda.
Mayor McLallen said this would be Item #2 after Budget Wrap-up for discussion.
CM-96-05-173: Moved by Crawford, Seconded by Clark, MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To adopt the Agenda as amended.
PURPOSE OF MEETING:
1996-97 BUDGET STUDY SESSION
AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION - None
PROPOSED BUDGET REVIEW:
1. BUDGET WRAP-UP
Mayor McLallen said at this time, the proposed Budget that we have been working on for the last 5-6 meetings is $15,582,899 and that is based on a half mill increase . The half mill would generate $760,000 new dollars and that also reflects $285,000 attributed to new construction this year and $58,000 for market adjustment.
Mayor McLallen indicated we have heard all of the needs and now it is our challenge to allocate the resources that we have to meet those needs. As stated earlier, we should judge them against are they needed, are they reasonable, and are they accountable.
Mayor McLallen said during the Study Sessions, we learned that the major challenges this community is facing is the need to deliver service to our population which is growing steadily but we are doing it with the same stacking level overall that we had since the beginning of the 90's so we are experiencing some tight gaps as the departments have pointed out.
Mayor McLallen said in this Budget as presented, she believed there are eight personnel positions which take up a good bulk, $600,000 of the increase which is directed just for personnel.
Mayor McLallen said not included but on the table, based on some things that have happened since we last saw him, is a request from Chief Lenaghan for three personnel. When we saw the Chief make his presentation to us early on, we had just sworn in five new paid on-call people and it looked like it was going to be manageable for another year. Council had asked the Chief if he could live with this and he had said yes.
Mayor McLallen said since that time, 5 paid on-call people have resigned for other opportunities, and we had a multi-million dollar arson fire that is eating up time in the department. She indicated that is the background information that has brought the Chief to us. She said what the Chief told them early on was that he could deal with what he was asking for, but he has since come back and said we are not going to get through the year and would like to request three people.
Mayor McLallen said in Chief Lenaghanís one page memo dated May 9th, he gives us a bottom line of $99,192.00.
Mayor McLallen said Chief Lenaghan also has a second proposal on the table asking that to offset some of this cost, that Council begin to consider letting the Fire Department charge fees to developers. She said the Fire Department does extensive reviews and multiple level reviews in the development process, but they are not directly compensated, so he is asking that we begin to consider letting them tack a fee on and part of that could be directed at offsetting the costs of adding new personnel.
Mayor McLallen said we had our goal setting sessions and the three goals we set were coming to some decisions about the 11 proposals from citizens, the various needs and wants of the citizens, and many of those were directly related to recreational opportunities. The second goal was an economic development policy, and there are things in this Budget that would promote that goal. The third major goal was going forward with a Futuring Process.
Mayor McLallen said she had no problem supporting the half mil increase and again it is predominantly being directed toward personnel and we have heard every department say that they could use more than they are asking for but they are being realistic and would like what little they are getting.
Mayor McLallen said areas we did not address in this Budget are the Acquisition of the Feurst Property, the Lakefront Property on Walled Lake, and Capital Funding. She said using those items and including the Chiefís request for three people, it would take a 1% realignment of the funds that were already here to achieve funding for those.
Mayor McLallen said one percent of the Budget comes to $210,000 and we could just say to Administration, these are the items that the Council has a consensus on and you re-program the money to achieve this 1%. Or individual Council Members can say these are the ones that we feel strongly about and we will see where the consensus goes. She said if there is support for the half mill, is that half mill and the funds it generates, allocated in a fashion that is agreeable to a majority of Council.
Councilman Mitzel suggested each Council Member give a three minute presentation stating their positions.
Councilman Schmid felt this was a fat Budget and he wasnít saying it was wrong, but there are increases in virtually every category and he was talking about conferences and workshops and magazines, and all the little fringes and then adding personnel.
Councilman Schmid said he was concerned that the Fire Chief came forward at this late date and asked for three additional people. He felt it was unfair and inaccurate to suggest that a multi-million dollar fire would create the need for three additional fireman. We had a bad fire and it was handled very well and we should go on, and he didnít feel this had any basis for a discussion of adding firemen.
Councilman Schmid felt the Chief has done an excellent job and is an excellent Chief, but he would have to move the Fireman issue off this table as he felt it was too late to talk about it.
Councilman Schmid asked Mr. Gibson what would a half mill bring to this City and he was talking about all of the City and not just general funds, but the whole City, and Mr. Gibson indicated a half mill, regardless of where it comes from is applied to the same tax base and will generate $760,000.
Councilman Schmid said it is his position after looking at the materials and looking at some of the increases he has seen in this Budget, he was concerned about adding eight people all of a sudden. He had a gut reaction that we can have a good Budget for 1996-97 on less than a half mill and a quarter of a mill would be sufficient at this time. He said they need to go through the whole Budget, and have each department look at their expenditures and make some reductions.
Councilman Clark agreed with Councilman Schmidís comments that the Budget has an element of fat in it. He had a problem also with the proposal to increase personnel by eight. He felt the Laptop Computers was almost $26,000 and that represents probably seven homeowners to pay their tax bill for the entire year to get seven part-time public servants a Laptop Computer and that is very wrong. That is an item that should be taken right off the table.
Councilman Clark said it terms of a millage increase, his thought was if there was any increase, that it be limited to not half a mill but a quarter mill. He said Councilman Schmidís suggestion to have the departments go back and reduce their respective Budgets by the appropriate amount to get this Budget in line, is an excellent proposal.
Councilman Mitzel indicated he was also concerned about the personnel that is being proposed, and he had a list of items, which he wouldnít go into now, but if they were to cut out those, possibly they could add some of the other items discussed such as the Lake Property Clean-up or the Tree-Savings Program.
Councilman Crawford said this is the skinniest Budget he has ever seen and he didnít think there was any fat in here. He was also concerned about bringing in eight more people and three more in the Fire Department, but his concern was that it was not enough people. He felt they should probably hire 15 people in this building, eight more Fire protection officers and ten more Police Officers. That was his concern and has been for years and had we raised some taxes very minimally for the last several years, maybe a tenth or two, we wouldnít be where we are at now.
Councilman Crawford indicated he was in favor of the half mill and felt it should be more. He did not fault the Fire Chief for coming to us at the last minute. He had asked the Fire Chief if his department was staffed properly and the Chief indicated things have changed and he came back asking for three additional paid on-call people to primarily provide staffing during the day. Councilman Crawford said like it or not, he didnít want to go to a full-time Fire Department but this is by no means approaching a full-time Fire Department, but we need to provide coverage for the citizens of this community.
Councilman Crawford said the point is we need people to provide protection, fire or police, or additional staffing in departments around City Hall. He said he would not support anything less than the half mill and as the Mayor suggested, we might have to ask Administration to do a little deeper tweaking, and not to the extent as suggested by the other members, but some additional tweaking in order to accommodate the three Fire protection officers and a couple of other things that were thrown out on the table that night. He said he had no line item cuts in the Budget and he didnít think they should get into that, however, one item that surprised him was the seven Laptop Computers which he thought wasnít supposed to even be there.
Councilwoman Mutch said regarding personnel additions, she was in the middle. Her approach to the Budget wasnít to say that the people of this community will only support a certain level of additional taxes or no additional taxes. She looked at it and said of the things that are here, what are the things that raised questions for her and were they the best use for their funds and balanced the various requests and needs of the City.
Councilwoman Mutch said she would support a half mill at this point and only because there are some things here that she would like to see done so that other things that arenít here, might be included.
Councilwoman Mutch said regarding the personnel request, the Fire Department aside, a good case has been made for the additional people in the various departments in ways that demonstrate that this will not only provide additional service, but deliver service beyond the activity of that individual so she felt a good case has been made for those individuals.
Councilwoman Cassis felt the largest part of any Budget is personnel, the yearly salaries, benefits, retirement, and all those features that are negotiated through union settlements. At this time in the life of Novi, we are looking at some very big projects that right now are probably unfunded and they are outside of the Budget and they have to do with road improvements, public safety and recreational needs.
Councilwoman Cassis said as she reviewed all of this, she felt there was an ability to look at a quarter mill increase and there are always ways to bringing it down to that quarter mill.
Mayor McLallen explained that the Administrative Presentation came in at a half mill, generating $760,000 which roughly translates to $50.00 a homeowner. At this time, four members of Council are supporting somewhere between a third and a half of a mill which would generate $380,000 and would be around 25 dollars.
Mayor McLallen said there seems to be a consensus that once we have decided where the millage proposal will go, that with just a little bit more putting issues on the table, that the Administration should direct the department to do whatever is necessary to cut down that level of the Budget.
Mayor McLallen said in the original $760,000, these eight personnel represented $680,000 and the eight personnel are one additional person in City Clerkís Office, one in the Treasurerís Office, the Data Processing Office would get an Assistant Analyst, Assessing is looking for a Commercial Appraiser and then Police in this Budget, would acquire three police officers and the Community Development Department would get a Senior Staff Planner, which is an entirely new position.
Mayor McLallen said if we take $380,000, that is a quarter mill out of this Budget and it is agreed upon by five members, would there be enough fat that will allow other issues to stay in the Budget, and can all the 8 people stay in if we take it out somewhere else.
Councilman Mitzel felt they should agree if they want to do the quarter mill and then go into the details about how to go about doing that.
Councilman Clark felt if they get consensus on the quarter mill and look at the 8 people, if we had a Commercial Appraiser, there would be some immediate payment with that position.
Councilman Clark felt a Systems Analyst is really going to be in a few months replacing a person who will be retiring, so that is really not a net increase. If the respective departments that would be directly effected by those, are really serious about keeping those proposed people as increased personnel, he didnít think they would have a problem going back and fine-tuning their respective department budgets to the point where they could come up with enough cost-savings, to pay for those positions.
Councilwoman Mutch said she was willing to say we are at the point where there are at least five people who would be willing to go at least a quarter mill. Maybe a case could be made in discussion to those who want to stay at a quarter mill to go beyond that.
Councilwoman Mutch said she would be willing to go a quarter mill and then decide how we are going to determine what that quarter mill is going to be spent on.
Councilman Crawford said he was not willing to go a quarter mill because if we decide on a quarter mill, that is $380,000 that we donít have to work with. In addition to that, he felt it was a loss of $380,000 and there were some other issues brought up tonight, which he felt needed to be considered could very well generate another $300,000. He felt it was way too extreme a cut.
Councilman Crawford said we are talking about a half mill and we are not talking a lot of money for the average home and what we get for that, which I think is still under-staffing this City in a lot of ways and there are a lot of capital improvements that we havenít even talked about.
Councilman Mitzel suggested a two-tier approach and one would be if any of us have specifics that we feel we want to make a case for dropping or swapping or exchanges, and go through that exercise. He didnít think that would lower it $380,000 or have line items costing $380,000, but then what is left, to use the approach that Councilwoman Cassis and Councilman Schmid had.
Councilman Mitzel also said we had talked about the laptops and it sounds like they are dead and he felt it was an essential tool at the Council table. He said as long as a he has one available during the Council meeting, he didnít need one all the time. He said there is supposed to be a lap top pool in the City and he would need to check one out for every Council meeting and that would serve the purpose he needed it for. Mayor McLallen felt that was a reasonable request.
Councilman Mitzel said he would be willing to say we would scrap the $25,000 laptops in exchange for putting in the tree safety program which Mr. Pargoff made a case for and that was $20,000.
Councilman Mitzel said he would suggest for the Data Processing Personnel, to look at that as a replacement for Dean Miller and during our discussion, we said the replacement would come in at a half year level. He said it was budgeted for $73,000 where half of it would be about $36,832.
Councilman Mitzel said something he didnít see a benefit for is RAASOC and that is $29,698.
Councilman Mitzel said another he would consider would be the Planning Commission Budget, and the Planning Commission said they would be willing to drop all but the top three studies because there were questions as to how they would be used and that was $77,290.
Councilman Mitzel said he would add on the Sidewalk Maintenance Program and that was $7,500.
Councilman Mitzel said he would also add on the Lake Property Clean-up for $53,534 and the Feurst Property Stabilization for $50,000.
Mayor McLallen said Councilman Mitzel brought in $130,000 and it was pretty much a straight wash. Councilman Mitzel said he isnít advocating eliminating the money that is in here for the Police Officers, but they may want to do a study on what we are going to do. He would suggest at this point to leave that money in there and put in it contingencies and then depending upon the results of that study, we could address it at that point and that was for $362,000
Councilman Mitzel said one thing he was disappointed in was the fact that we didnít get our Capital Equipment Fund in and we had the recommendation last September and he was thinking it would be in this Budget but we could deal with that after the Budget Hearing.
Councilman Mitzel said he wasnít advocating elimination right now, but he had some concerns with the personnel and before we start adding more personnel, we need to do a study within the City Hall area like we are doing with the Police Department. He also had a concern about the Drain Fund and the Senior Planner.
Councilwoman Mutch said regarding the Planning Commission Studies, we need to remember there were just three members of the Planning Commission who said those studies would be their particular choice of the moment, but they need to persuade everyone else.
Councilwoman Mutch said she would be more supportive of making a cut and a certain amount or certain percentage cut and send it back to them and let them decide.
Councilman Crawford wondered if we were going to respond to Councilman Mitzelís suggested list. Mayor McLallen said she would like everyone to get their list and we may have some blends.
Councilman Clark said he had nothing additional that hasnít already been addressed. He felt if we are going to send, for example, this back to the Planning Commission and have them decide what they are going to cut and cut it by roughly $78,000 or percentage-wise, that gets us back again to the concept do we want to tell the various departments that they are going to have to do some trimming.
Councilwoman Mutch said there may be some departments where we would like them to make a 10% cut and somewhere else, we would say $5,000-$10,000 and she did not see them doing a straight percentage across the board cut on the whole Budget because some of these are much tighter than others.
Councilman Schmid said his observations are that he thought we had new money coming into this City, new money that we didnít have last year, short of that half mill and that is because of our growth and ability to keep things moving, so he felt that was extremely important when we look at how this Budget has grown.
Councilman Schmid said in all fairness, we have been very difficult in raising taxes. He felt the City should be run in the most efficient manner that it can be and he felt Mr. Kriewall and his staff have done an excellent job in maintaining the efficiencies in this City. He didnít want to get into too many areas of cutting and he preferred that the Administration go through the Budget. He felt the Budget has a lot of areas that could be looked at carefully by Administration and brought down 5%-10% and they would have all the money they need to keep the quarter mill.
Councilman Schmid had some differences with Councilman Mitzel in some of his areas and Planning to him is probably one of the most important functions of the City because only through Planning can you maintain your tax base, therefore, he felt it was important so he wanted to be careful as to what they cut there.
Councilman Schmid said Data Processing alone was $214,000 and a whole new department in 1996-1997 and he knows that some of that is a wash-out for some of the other areas, but that is $214,000 that he didnít think they needed. He said they should get by another year or so and he is aware we are losing a person, but he felt they could bring on some consultants or part-time people to cover the gap. That is one area he would look at strongly.
Councilman Schmid said regarding the Commercial Appraiser, he agreed they could use a part-time person to some degree to help cover that. He said regarding the three Policemen, he didnít know if they needed more policemen or not and that would be another area to look at.
Councilman Schmid said regarding the Feurst Farm, he supported the taking of that but from day one, he said they better find some money because he will not spend taxpayersí dollars on the Feurst Farm until such time as he sees some movement of them getting monies that they kept promising that they had. He was absolutely opposed to that.
Councilman Schmid said for the Park Plan, they should mow it and keep it neat and he saw it the other day and it didnít look bad. He didnít see spending $50,000-$60,000 to clean it up at this time.
Councilman Schmid said he was looking at the Administration to make the cuts and Personnel is probably going to be the big area to look at. He added RAASOC he agreed with.
Councilman Clark felt if they go with a quarter mill, we said that the difference between that and a half mill is $380,000 and we took out the Laptop computers down to $355,000 without looking at anything else. If we put off the Data Processing, an entirely new department for a year, that is $214,000 and that gets us down to $141,000.
Councilman Clark said the Fire Chief has made a proposal that they are spending a substantial amount of time on reviewing plans and Novi is one of the few cities not allowed to charge fees and if they are now allowed to do that, just under the projection based on what they had to do in 1995, that was in excess of $41,000 and now you are down to $100,000. He cannot believe the departments in this City could not cut respectively $100,000 out of this Budget.
Councilman Mitzel said he would strongly support having Administration cut $380,000 how they see fit and there are just four things that he felt strongly about on both sides and he was trying to do a swap. He just added them up and the cuts actually come to $39,000 higher than the additions, so he could see the Planning Commission just cutting $39,000 instead of the $78,000. He agreed with Councilman Schmid that Planning is important. He felt there was room to cut $39,000 and they would be able to say which studies would be most valuable and do those.
Councilman Mitzel said it sounds like there is no one else really that has any strong wants or additions or deletions. Councilman Schmid said he was not in favor of the Futuring Study for $30,000.
Councilman Mitzel said he was looking at the Feurst Property as only money to stabilize the buildings until we can have time to take care of the other stuff because if we donít stabilize the buildings, then it may cause us more problems in the long run, and he wasnít looking at this as money to do major renovations or support doing major renovations, but he felt it would be prudent for us to get the buildings stabilized.
Councilman Mitzel said we need to find funding sources to take care of that property but in the meantime, he felt they need to stabilize it, and maybe they need to reach a consensus on these additions after Councilwoman Cassis speaks.
Councilwoman Cassis concurred that maybe the time has come to drop RAASOC and Council Computers, Storm Water Consultants, and Data Processing. She said regarding Data Processing, she had discussions with the Finance Director and then did some research and we have approximately 90 computers on board now and heading towards 100 very soon. We are looking at a department that would add in a Manager or Coordinator of all the Data Processing, which is a new position and would keep the current head who is Dean Miller and when he goes, he would be replaced at that level, along with a part-time position.
Councilwoman Cassis then shared the research she did, which was an example of a government functioning service. She said when it started out with about 100 computers, it had one individual for a number of years. As it increased in numbers to where it is today, which was over about a 6-8 year period, it is now at 2,000 computers and it has one individual who heads the entire department and two technicians and they are not highly trained. She said that is what the Novi Schools has right now. She said when she looked at that, she felt mid-year hiring of the Data Processing person would be more useful and she could support that and it would be a savings of $36,800 and she had done some back-up to see if that had some merit.
Councilwoman Cassis said regarding the Staff Planner, she could eliminate that this year but she could also be induced to keeping a person on, but half-time. She said we are at a point where the Consultant Review Committee has just reviewed all the Consultants and we are agreeing that they be here for extra time each week, so that is going to be already some additional Consultants to the Planning Department increased. She said hiring at half-year would be a savings of $26,000.
Councilwoman Cassis said their Consulting Engineers have added an item here of $5,000, which means if anyone from the departments call with a question, the bill to cover that is an additional $5,000. She felt the engineers have a very good relationship with the City and we give them almost all the work in the City and she felt the $5,000 should be swallowed by the retainer.
Councilwoman Cassis said Councilman Mitzel brought up Planning Studies being cut and $77,000 seems like a lot to her and Councilman Mitzel said he had revised it to $39,000. Councilwoman Cassis asked what was the bottom line and Councilman Mitzel said he was proposing $39,000 and a quarter would be $29,000. Councilwoman Cassis said somewhere within a quarter to $39,000, and if they were to be bid out, we might get some of these studies done at a competitive rate too. She said she would agree with the $39,000.
Councilwoman Cassis said she agreed that the Feurst Property has to be stabilized and you canít do anything with it if it becomes a decaying eyesore and also unsafe, but she absolutely agreed with Councilman Schmid that it was imperative to get funding mechanisms together.
Councilman Crawford said regarding the Futuring process, he didnít think this Council ever had the discussion of whether we wanted to enter into that process and he was not in favor of it at this time.
Councilman Crawford said he concurred that the Laptops should be out. He had made the comment before that some of them have equipment at home, and would there be a way to be hooked up with City Hall to access records and he would like to see a consensus that is done.
Councilman Crawford said a few people have mentioned to get out of RAASOC and he didnít know if he agreed with that or not, and he asked Mr. Kriewall to speak to that item.
Mr. Kriewall said the idea of forming RAASOC in the first place was to push against the ever-increasing solid waste increases of costs that we were experiencing. Landfill costs were skyrocketing and hauling costs were doubling every year and about the only leverage we could see down the road was to organize RAASOC or a similar organization and move into the arena of solid waste from a regional prospective. He said by doing that, we have effectively turned around the landfill prices and have driven down solid waste costs just because we exist. He said by just forming this particular alliance, we have demonstrated through the bidding process, that the solid waste costs have gone down in the cities of Southfield, Farmington Hills, Walled Lake, Wixom, and Farmington. He felt if they back out of this, they were doing a disservice of the formation of that process and the long range costs of solid waste.
Councilman Crawford asked if we are paying $29,000 and Mr. Kriewall said yes and they are giving us a reduction in the membership rate because they know we are not a direct-benefiting community.
Mr. Kriewall said getting into that group was a major accomplishment because just putting the documents together to create that authority took several years. He felt it was already saving our taxpayers dollars being members of that organization and down the road we will have a community-wide solid waste collection.
Mayor McLallen said at this point, she didnít see any movement from the four that were at the quarter mill and she personally was still supportive of the half mill, but perhaps not as presented. She said people have brought up such things as sidewalks and things that our citizens want as a direct service that we are unable to give them under the current Budget. She is supportive of all the personnel because she is around the building a lot more than some people and sees the many departments and their enormous tasks.
Mayor McLallen said but this is a collaborative process and it has been pointed out that relatively painlessly, we can "survive" another year and quite well with the quarter mill and that does not really allow us to expand our service, but as several members have pointed out, we are committed to looking at packaging somehow other tax proposals. Other revenue generating proposals for service and the services are recreational, transportation, and public safety and those are further potential commitments we are going to ask our community to take and we have not yet approached how they are going to do that.
Mayor McLallen had grave concerns, despite what the City Manager has said, with RAASOC and she has a difficult time with the City spending $30,000 for recycling when we are not in the Municipal Waste Management. She questioned if that was the best use of our tax dollars. The number one thing around the table has been to tighten the Budget and make it deliver as much service as possible to the citizens and use the dollars available as wisely as possible.
Mayor McLallen didnít think the movement was going to change rapidly. She felt they can do a good job and she felt the Administration can tighten up and she really wanted to hang in there for the Fire people. She felt they were playing with fire if we under-staff that department. Both our Public Safety Departments have done an excellent job and our citizens have no comprehension that there are any weaknesses in those departments because they are there when the citizens want them.
Mayor McLallen felt the consensus is that the Administration figure out how to lose the $380,000.
Councilwoman Mutch said there have been some things that members have suggested that would be additions and if you are going to direct the Administration to cut $380,000 without those additions, then those additions have no shot at all and now may be the time to ask for them.
Councilwoman Mutch felt there are some things that they were in the process of and we need to determine whether to keep going or it is going to cost us more if we drop it now and pick it up later.
Councilwoman Mutch said things that come to mind first is the Data Processing position and she had a real concern about that. On the one hand, her concern is she sees the need for it and we definitely need to have a better way of getting everyone functioning at a higher level of technology in the City because our resources are being wasted in other ways. She wondered if there were some compromise possibilities such as looking at a transitional consulting employee or part-time employee rather than hiring someone full-time..
Councilwoman Mutch said regarding RAASOC, she didnít know if there was a direct benefit there.
Councilwoman Mutch said relative to the Staff Planner in particular, she strongly felt that there is the perception in the community and the business-end, of mixed signals in the development context and she wondered if they could have a person where the responsibility would be in the economic and community development area, who would be kept accountable for their recommendations. She felt they would all be better served.
Councilwoman Mutch said she would be supportive of whatever support this Council was willing to give at a minimum of the stabilization of the Feurst Property, however, she would agree that the Council was persuaded to acquire into the agreement with the School District the property, and she felt it was an asset to the community even as is and even as is, it represents a certain liability that needs to be minimized and the only way to minimize it, would be to stabilize it.
Councilwoman Mutch said Councilman Mitzel is using figures that were based on doing everything at once, and she wasnít sure that you do have to do everything all at once.
Councilwoman Mutch indicated she has had at least 10 conversations with Frank Gilbert of the National Trust for Historic Preservation where he is calling her wanting to come to Novi and be involved in this project. If preservation can happen in Novi, it can happen anywhere. She said it was not a consulting service or a project service that they can provide at no cost, but the conversations she has had with them are that they can come in and do what we would normally hire a consultant to do for less than Preservation Novi has already spent on the Feurst Property alone. She felt that kind of commitment from the Council would not only be a step in a direction she would support, but one that would be less than the figure that Councilman Mitzel is suggesting.
Councilwoman Mutch felt that would lead to other sources that could get us way beyond what Councilman Mitzel has suggested. She was very much in favor of making that kind of more limited commitment to that particular project.
Councilwoman Mutch felt for Planning Studies somewhere in the neighborhood of $200,000 is a good figure.
Councilman Mitzel said it seems like we have a general consensus on a lot of items and would they want to do a thumbs up or a thumbs down on the various items.
Mayor McLallen said it was thumbs down for the Laptops and there was a thumbs up for certain funding for the Feurst Property.
Councilman Crawford asked about the three Fireman and would they be incorporated in here. Councilwoman Cassis didnít feel she had enough background information to know where the need was.
Councilman Crawford asked Chief Lenaghan to speak regarding his memo to clarify the issue.
Chief Lenaghan said his memo was addressed to the Mayor and not addressed to Council, and in his memo, there is no mention of the City burning down if we donít hire these people. He said he was directed to put it in writing and it was just staffing information.
Chief Lenaghan said he did talk with Councilman Crawford on the Budget. He said to clarify the record, if he remembered correctly when they closed the Budget out, he did say he could still use a couple more people but the rest of the Budget was fine.
Chief Lenaghan said when they did have their conversation, he had asked where the Budget was at and it was stated it hadnít been decided and he had asked what would be his chances of consideration for some staffing, and the eight people were obviously out, and the minimum had been three. He said the Mayor directed him to get Council some information on this, which he did.
Chief Lenaghan said he spoke with the City Manager yesterday who said he should attend the meeting on this issue. He explained for the last five years, the increase in activity has been 39% and we are currently running about 9% higher than last year and a lot were service calls, but there are also some additional duties that eight people perform. He said in 1990 they show they had 13 FPOís and 1 Assistant Chief and they handled 1490 incidents and in 1995, we still had 14 FPOís and no Assistant Chief and the incident rate was 2453.
Chief Lenaghan said granted they donít go to all of these runs and they go to about half of them, but proportionately their activity has increased. He said in terms of building inspections and new construction, that is where the second proposal came to the City Manager for consideration, for a fee schedule. He said one thing that Councilman Crawford brought up was if there was anything to offset the cost. He said he looked at the fee schedule probably seven to eight years ago and we never charged for any of their services up to this point for the Fire Department.
Chief Lenaghan said however, with new construction, we have experienced some problems such as sending crews out to do an inspection and the contractor isnít ready and we donít charge a service charge for that.
Chief Lenaghan said a lot of the Fire Marshallís time now is taken up in consulting with the different contractors, and our Fire Marshall is a fire protection engineer and has an engineering degree and the services we provide these contractors are of high quality when talking about hydraulic calculations and systems. He said he has a lot of people on staff who can deal with these engineers and provide these services at no cost.
Chief Lenaghan said we looked at off-setting costs and came up with a very conservative estimate that we could generate on the site plan review and inspections, etc., which would be about $47,000.
Chief Lenaghan indicated his memo was informational and he was well aware of the fact that it was the 11th hour as far as a proposal goes. He said his staff consists of people on duty for the city for about ten hours. We usually have paid on-call people in around 7:00 and they start coming back about 5:00 and that is the level of service we provide.
Chief Lenaghan indicated the fire talked about occurred at night and we had our paid on-call people there and had substantially more people and used over 40 people at that fire and had it happened during the day, we would have had ten people.
Chief Lenaghan said we talked about trying to keep the 12 hour portion shifts and still use the auxiliary program which is part-time and still use our other part-time resources. He said he decided to ask for some consideration and that is where this comes from. He said it was informational more than anything else and is currently where they are at today.
Councilman Schmid asked how many paid on-call people did the Chief have and he replied 61 and also 3 part-time employees and 17 full-time employees. Councilman Schmid said he has 81 people available.
Councilman Schmid then said it just wasnít the time right now as he felt there was sufficient personnel for now.
Councilman Crawford said we donít have 81 people waiting to respond to two to three incidents, and we have limited people in different stations and if there would be a couple of incidents and one large, we could be in jeopardy of not serving our citizens.
Councilwoman Cassis asked how much do we have in Contingencies, and Mr. Gibson replied about $180,000. She said she would be willing to look at this further in the future and also the fee schedule, but now is not the time.
Mayor McLallen said the consensus appears to be for a quarter mill. She asked if there was a consensus to send the quarter mill to Administration and have them repackage it and bring it to Public Hearing on Monday.
Mr. Kriewall said we couldnít bring it back by Monday as they all have to go through the Budget now and try to make it work. He felt they should continue the Public Hearing to Monday, May 20, 1996.
Councilman Mitzel then said the consensus was to drop Laptops. He said there was a consensus to add the Feurst Property for $51,000. The consensus on the Lake Property Clean-up was no. The consensus on the Sidewalk Maintenance was yes for $7,500 and no for Street Maintenance Program.
It was asked what about the cuts and Councilman Mitzel said what he heard was the cuts and those were suggestions and they would be taken into consideration when eliminating the $380,000 from the Budget.
Mr. Gibson felt the only way it was physically possible to do this by next Monday is to use a procedure we used a couple of years ago. He said basically the Personnel costs of the Budget have to be there, so what we did is we said we already reviewed the capital, reviewed the personnel, so we wouldnít cut that, but would take a certain percentage and calculate what percentage we have to take of the supplies category and the other services and charges, and maybe it would be 5% across the board. He said that is the only way we can physically do it in this time frame. Councilman Mitzel said or they could take some of those items already discussed.
Councilwoman Mutch felt there is money to be found for the Feurst Property, less than the amount Councilman Mitzel talked about in the existing General Funds of the Historical Commission and it could be taken from an area that has some overlapping interests. She felt it was justifiable and doesnít effect other essential services.
Councilwoman Mutch felt the approach you took with Supplies as a category was a better way than an across the board departmental slashing. Mr. Gibson said that will take much longer and we have already gone through that exercise once. He said he would have to withdraw his comment that it could be done by next Monday.
Mayor McLallen said the date then is to adopt the Budget on Monday, May 20th. She said in order to reach that, there is still the need for one more session. There was no consensus for another session so she asked the Administration to see what they could to with the Budget and bring it back.
Councilman Crawford asked where we stood on the Firemen issue. Four Council members indicated they were in favor of adding the three personnel and the funding for them would have to be found.
There being no further business before City Council, the meeting was adjourned at 11:25 PM.
Date approved: August 26, 1996
Transcribed by Sharon Hendrian