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REGULAR MEETING OF THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF NOVI
Executive Session immediately after meeting – Council Annex
Mayor Clark called the meeting to order at 7:30 PM.
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE: Jr. Girl Scout Troop #2308
Leader: Frances Longe
ROLL CALL: Mayor Clark, Mayor Pro Tem Bononi, Council members Capello, Csordas, DeRoche, Landry, Lorenzo
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
Member Lorenzo added to Mayor and Council Issues #2, DPS Project Inventory.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi advised that the Storm Water Management Watershed Stewardship Committee meeting intended for December 11th had been moved to December 17th as a result of two conflicts in the schedule.
Member DeRoche added under Mayor and Council Issues #3, Gateway Ordinance
CM-01-12-321 Moved by Bononi, seconded by Lorenzo, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY:
To approve the agenda as amended.
Vote on CM-01-12-321 Yeas: Clark, Bononi, Capello, Csordas, DeRoche
SPECIAL REPORTS - None
Member Csordas asked Mr. Klaver for an update on the recent Cable Commission meeting, and Mr. Klaver advised information had been provided to Council and if there were questions he would be happy to respond.
1. Presentation of medals earned for military service in the U. S. Army-Air Force during
WW II - Frank Sryniawski
Mayor Clark said this presentation recognized a member of the greatest generation; those to whom we owe the liberty that we all enjoy and the freedoms that we take for granted. It is a reminder to us that those freedoms are never free and should never be taken for granted. Tonight we have the honor and pleasure to recognize Mr. Frank Sryniawski who was a member of the Army Air Corp in WWII. Mayor Clark recognized the assistance of Congressman Knollenberg, his staff, particularly Ruth Elrod and Melissa O’Rear, because without their efforts these presentations could not have been made. Ms. O’Rear thanked
Mayor Clark, City Council and the City of Novi for the opportunity to assist in obtaining long overdue medals for another Novi Veteran. Over the course of two years 100 WWII medals have been presented to veterans in these chambers. September 11, 2001 was a shocking reminder of why we must never forget these brave men and women who fought so courageously for our freedom during WWII. We must never forget the sacrifices made by men like Mr. Sryniawski and the reasons they so proudly fought for their country, these United States of America.
On behalf of Congressman Knollenberg Ms. O’Rear thanked Mr. Sryniawski for his service to our Nation during a time of great crisis. She thanked him for the freedoms he and others have guaranteed so many and along with the medals she presented Mr. Sryniawski with a letter from the Congressman and a certificate of Congressional Recognition.
Mayor Clark said during WWII Mr. Sryniawski was a member of the Army Air Corp and as a result of his service to his Country he earned a number of decorations. Among those were the Good Conduct Medal awarded for exemplary conduct, efficiency and fidelity to his Country during wartime. Also, the Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal with one Silver Star awarded for service in the Asiatic Pacific Theatre for 30 days or receipt of any combat decoration. Mr. Sryniawski fought in five battle campaigns, India/Burma, central Burma, China, Air Offensive and Anti Submarine Air Combat. He was also awarded the European/African Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with one bronze star for service in the aforementioned theatre for 30 days or more, the WWII Victory Medal for service in the U.S. Armed Forces between 1941 and 1946 and also the Honorable Service Lapel Button and the Distinguished Unit Badge.
Mayor Clark and all those present recognized Mr. Sryniawski’s wife and family. Mayor Clark said Mr. Sryniawski is the father of Cindy Uglow, Novi’s Neighborhood Services Coordinator, who we hold in the highest regard for her service and dedication to this community.
Mayor Clark said it is with a great deal of pleasure on behalf of Congressman Knollenberg, our Country and the people of this community that we say thank you and award these medals that Mr. Sryniawski so courageously earned over 60 years ago and which are long overdue. We owe Mr. Sryniawski and the other veterans of his generation a debt of gratitude that we can never repay.
Mr. Sryniawski thanked everyone and wished them a Merry Christmas.
2. Fire Rescue Commendation - Plaque to Nick Kovac
Mayor Clark said he and the City Council are extremely blessed with a community filled with citizens who are willing to come forward and serve their community and serve it well. Tonight we have the additional distinction and honor of being able to recognize two citizens of that community for their heroism. Mayor Clark asked Chief Lenaghan to join him. On the morning of October 2, 2001 the Novi Fire Department responded to the report of a structure fire at 50498 Oregon. The fire had started in the clothes dryer. The smoke detector alerted Nickolas Kovac, who was sleeping in a front bedroom. He crawled out of the mobile home and went to a neighbor’s home and informed Barbara D’Hondt of the fire and that his brother Mitchell Kovac was still in the home. Ms. D’Hondt rescued his brother. The home was a total loss. Nickolas is to be commended for his action on October 2nd and on behalf of the City of Novi
and the Fire Department we commend Nick Kovac for a true act of heroism on October 2, 2001, which resulted in the saving of a life.
3. Fire Rescue Commendation - Plaque to Barbara D’Hondt
Mayor Clark said on October 2, 2001 at 6:20 AM the Novi Fire Department Stations #1 and #4 were dispatched to a reported structural fire at 50498 Oregon. The mobile home at that location was occupied by 13-year-old Nickolas and 4 year old Mitchell Kovac. Nickolas was awakened by the smoke detector and he left the home and went to the home of Barbara D’Hondt and informed her of the fire. She called 911. Ms. D’Hondt learned from Nickolas that his brother was still in the house. She went to the scene, entered the burning home, located Mitchell in a rear bedroom and carried him outside to safety. Ms. D’Hondt’s quick action, bravery and disregard for her own safety resulted in the saving of the life of Mitchell Kovac. The Novi Fire Department and the City of Novi commends Barbara D’Hondt for her bravery and recognizes her for her unselfish act of heroism. Mayor Clark presented Ms. D’Hondt with a plaque from the City of Novi and the Fire Department commending her for a true act of heroism.
PUBLIC HEARINGS - None
Mr. Klaver reported he had received 8 Customer Reply Cards. The first was from A. Fisher for the wonderful services of Angie Moncrief, Assessing and Mary Ann Cabadas of the Clerk’s office, working together to solve a problem. The next is from the Lowanowski’s who had a problem with their mortgage company and Terry Morrone of the Building Department was able to get the information they needed and resolve the problem. Josh and Dana Louin had a chimney fire and their contact was Captain Brown of the Fire Department and their comment was "Their response was quick, professional, calm and courteous." Sandra Prince wrote they had a hot wire sparking and the Fire Department and Captain Brown provided fast, expert and courteous service. Helen wrote, regarding the 911 services, that they were the kindest, most considerate men in her time of need and thanked them for their help. Agatha Myers wrote regarding the Deer Brook Subdivision picnic that Lt. Schults and Fire Department participated in. Lastly, for the DPW, Norman Kliner wrote regarding a pot hole on Center St. between Galway and Nine Mile said it was 99.9% covered and Dale Killian regarding road repair work done specifically thanked Benny McCusker, DPW Supervisor.
Mr. Fisher had been asked at the meeting of November 13th to prepare a legal report relative to guidelines of when it would be appropriate for City Council members to abstain from voting in order to avoid conflicts of interest. This issue arose because one Council member has a law practice within the City and certain matters that come before Council are part of his routine practice as well as practicing in a local District Court.
Mr. Fisher prepared a written report that was given to Council and he summarized it for Council.
The report is in various categories that he anticipated might arise.
1. General Rule – relative to situations involving current clients of the lawyer/Council
Merely practicing law within the City does not generally create a conflict of interest with the duties of a member of City Council. It was Mr. Fisher’s opinion that an abstention from voting should be granted on those matters in which a current client appears before the City Council. Regardless of whether it is a matter that has been worked on by the Council member
or otherwise there should be an abstention granted.
2. Former Clients – in general
The fact that a former client is appearing before City Council should not disqualify the voting responsibility. Of course, in the event the particular subject matter is presented to Council that had previously been worked on by the Council member then that should resolve in an abstention being granted.
3. Local District Court
Mr. Fisher set forth categories of civil practice and criminal practice and the real potential arises in those matters in which the City is prosecuting. Defending a case in which the City is prosecuting should give rise to a potential conflict. Otherwise, he saw no problem.
4. Three Matters involving specific circumstances
a. Main Street
Main Street is involved in a dispute with its tenants and the Council member
represents the tenants and therefore is on the opposite side of a dispute with
with the owner of Main Street. Therefore, if the owner of Main Street comes
before Council an abstention should be granted.
b. Developer known as Aspen
There is some interaction but not representation on the part of the Council
Member on matters in which Aspen has been involved in other communities
but Mr. Fisher did not see that as creating any circumstance of a financial
gain or loss for the Council member. Therefore it would not appear that
an abstention should be granted in those matters unless additional facts
unknown to him alter this situation.
c. Chamber of Commerce
An issue has arisen whether serving on the Chamber of Commerce and
serving as a Council member represent inconsistent positions and in light of
the fact that the Council makes no financial contribution to the Chamber and
there is no formal relationship he did not see it as a problem in any respect.
d. JCK & Associates
This arises in part because the Council member has an office in the same
building in which JCK resides and formerly undertook some practice for
JCK. JCK is not the landlord. The landlord is a separate entity although
there are some interlocking aspects between JCK and the landlord. Mr.
Fisher has done an investigation on the rent paid and it is a fair market
rent and appears to be an arms length transaction in all respects. The
indication is the rent is paid in cash and is not paid in services. Mr. Fisher
was advised that no current services are being performed and there is no
anticipation of providing further services in the near future. A representation
was made that a disclosure would be provided to Council in the event that
future was taken on. Under all of these circumstances it would appear that
there is no direct business relationship between the Council member and
JCK. Although there is an indirect relationship it appears to be at arms
length and did not appear to result in financial interest in the business
conducted by JCK. Therefore, with two exceptions, it was his opinion that
an abstention need not be granted and would not be required on matters
coming before Council for votes involving JCK and Associates. The two
exceptions being where an issue involves the building in which both of them
have their offices and second, in any matter involving JCK & Associates in
which the Council member had previously provided legal services.
Tim Gilberg, 47599 Aberdeen, President of the Cheltenham Homeowners Association was present with Mike Korson to request the Council’s assistance or guidance to resolve a couple of matters. Mr. Korson said there are 28 homes in the development and the last home was sold in June at which time the developer was to have a certain time to finish work in the subdivision. The biggest concerns now are the landscaping issues, street paving, dedication of streets and snow removal. Since the streets are not dedicated, this is left up to the developer. This started on October 17th when Mr. Nowicki wrote a letter to the developer, Nanda Enterprises Inc., advising them they were close to being in violation of a few ordinances the City imposed on the developer to complete certain things in a reasonable timeframe. After receiving the letter, the Cheltenham Homeowners board discussed it and also wrote Nanda Enterprises requesting some results; mostly with the snow removal issue as winter is here. Mr. Nowicki asked the developer to communicate with them, which they have chosen not to do. Mr. Korson said without the city being in control of who cleans the streets they might get dumped on and not get their streets cleaned. They also tried to communicate with the builders, Toll Brothers, and the developer to get these final issues concluded but they are in a lot of different disputes that didn’t involve them, but they were the ones suffering. Mr. Fisher responded Mr. Nanda and Mr. Nowicki met today and Mr. Nanda increased the size of the existing bond and the final topcoat or wearing course of the road would be established by June 30, 2002. The asphalt availability stops during the winter and becomes available around
May 15th. Between Mr. Nowicki and Mr. Nanda, assurances have been provided that snow removal will be taken care of in their subdivision.
Mr. Korson asked who to contact if any issues come up? Mr. Fisher said Mr. Nowicki.
Mr. Korson asked if anything was discussed with regard to the Toll Brothers as they are in total disagreement as to who is responsible for what when it comes to the incomplete landscaping.
Mr. Fisher said that was not discussed today. Mr. Korson asked for direction.
Mayor Clark suggested an additional meeting to address that issue with a report back to Council. The Cheltenham Association would be notified when it would be on the agenda.
Mr. Gilberg asked about curve repair prior to resurfacing the roads and putting the topcoat on and also about basecoat road replacement due to cracking or deterioration during the construction season. They were led to believe there was a dispute between Toll Brothers and Nanda Inc. on who was responsible for this. He thought that dispute was one of the delays in the homeowners receiving their topcoat and the deeding of the roads to the City. He asked if those two items were discussed?
Mr. Fisher said the general responsibilities of Mr. Nanda and the Toll Brothers were discussed and was something that needed to be worked out between them. Mr. Fisher said Mr. Nanda was very cooperative in the meeting. Mayor Clark said this would be followed up on and one of the purposes of the bond was if the work wasn’t done, the City would do it and the funds from the bond would pay for it.
Member Lorenzo asked if the City had a legal requirement upon the developer and builder to comply and complete the landscaping and roads within a certain period of time? Mr. Fisher said yes and that time has passed. She asked why the bonds weren’t cashed to do the work? Mr. Fisher was not sure but expected that heavy work was being done in the subdivision that would damage the topcoat so it was deferred. She asked him to find out because she was concerned the City was not doing what it should be doing with the bond.
Mr. Fisher said that is why a certain date was set.
Mr. Gilberg said this discussion started in June and the last settlement was the end of June or end of July so this had been going on for 5 or 6 months and all they got was the run around and promises. He was of the opinion, in talking with Toll Brothers and Mr. Nanda, that there was a serious disagreement. There is other development in the area and they don’t want to pave the roads until the development to the north was started because of some financial opportunity or whatever and it caused the delay. It is now six months past the delay and there has been ample time to pave the road but the two parties were not able to reach an agreement. He thanked Member Lorenzo for the comment because he felt she was correct.
Mayor Clark said it would be followed up on. Mr. Pearson has a list of a number of projects that are incomplete and include those where the City is still holding bonds and letters of credit. We plan on vigorously pursuing those and giving the developer or builder the option to comply with the requirements or the City would do it using the bond or letters of credit. Homeowners should not be caught in the middle.
Member Csordas noted he was on the Planning Commission when the development was coming around and that developer and the developer north of them couldn’t agree on anything. You need to be aware of that.
He told Mr. Helwig he would like the policy of the City to be that if the developer doesn’t get it done on time, the bond is cashed and the work completed. He would appreciate that policy being put into place and there should be no wiggle room on it. The bond should be sufficient to complete the necessary work. This should never have been in front of Council.
Member Capello felt the City did not want to accept the roads and utility portion until all of the construction of the homes was complete and given the state of the economy, we are not sure how long it would take for a subdivision to sell out and have construction completed. The developers are happy to turn the project over to the City as soon as the roads are in and before the homes are built. The City doesn’t want it because there would be damage to the curbs so the City tries to be sure all the work is done. However, this harms the residents currently living there. In the long run, it helps them because they are holding someone responsible. He suggested this come back to the City Council to determine some amendments to the ordinance so limitations could be put on when the developers have to be completed with certain phases of the project. We can put limitations on landscaping and tree replacement much earlier than we can on accepting the water, sewer and roads. We need more guidelines and to offer more guidance to our engineers and construction department on what we want as policy to get these things accomplished.
Mayor Clark thought Mr. Fisher should be directed to do that in light of the fact that we would have to give appropriate notice to the parties that posted the bond or letter of credit. The easiest way would be to have it formalized in an ordinance provision that would indicate that after so many days or months after a project is completed, those items have to be done or they are on notice that the City would cash the bonds to accomplish what they should have done.
Mr. Gilberg asked that the deadline be moved up to May 30th instead of June 30th. Mayor Clark said it would depend on the availability of the asphalt and the landscaping. He noted the City had to resort to the funds held in escrow on the Maples of Novi development.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi was astounded that these residents even had to be here because we are talking about administrative and policy issues here. In addition to a lack of compliance and a lack of obvious follow-up with regard to policies that are in place, she was concerned about information Council saw regularly in the form of letter copies with regard to what she believed was an overly generous reduction in bond. She felt they had to take a hard look at incentives to finish and do it right as she knows where that responsibility rests.
Member Capello did not think the problem was a lackadaisical administration. This is a problem with our ordinances and they need to be corrected and amended. Administration is
working as well as possible within the guidelines they have been given. He suggested the ordinances be revised and that the administration be given the ability to be stricter and tighten them up.
Mr. Helwig requested an opportunity to review the matter with staff and bring back their suggestions.
Mayor Clark asked Mr. Helwig to report back to Council regarding this by the second week in January. Mr. Helwig agreed.
Member DeRoche said letters of credit are always better than bonds because they are a two-part instrument between the City and the bank and they have no recourse or intervention for us to call on those. He agreed with Member Capello’s comments.
CONSENT AGENDA (Approval/Removals)
Approve Minutes of:
1. November 26, 2001
B. Approval of Claims and Accounts – Warrant No 611
CM-01-12-322 Moved by DeRoche, seconded by Csordas; CARRIED
UNANIMOUSLY: To approve the Consent Agenda as amended
with a correction to Item A1, page 20 of the minutes of
November 26, 2001.
Member Landry had a correction to the November 26th minutes. Page 20, Item #9 at the bottom of the page under DISCUSSION it was Member Capello who spoke not Member Landry.
Roll call vote on CM-01-12-322 Yeas: Clark, Bononi, Capello, Csordas,
DeRoche, Landry, Lorenzo
CONSENT AGENDA – (Approvals/Removals)
MATTERS FOR COUNCIL ACTION – Part I
1. Award bid for Emergency Backup generators for Police Department, DPW, and
Fire Departments to G & B Electrical, the low bidder, in the amount of $76,083.
CM-01-12-322 Moved by Csordas, seconded by Lorenzo; CARRIED
UNANIMOUSLY: To award the bid for Emergency Backup
generators for Police Department, DPW and Fire Departments
to G & B Electrical, the low bidder, in the amount of $76,083.
Roll call vote on CM-01-12-322 Yeas: Bononi, Capello, Csordas, DeRoche,
Landry, Lorenzo, Clark
AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION - None
MAYOR AND COUNCIL ISSUES
1. HCD Funds/Walled Lake Sector Study – Member Csordas
Member Csordas requested the administration provide Council members with a copy of the study. All the homes in the area were surveyed and it related back to HCD Funds and he thought it would be a great tool when Council made recommendations for those funds. Mr. Helwig said he would be happy to do so.
2. DPS Project Inventory - Lorenzo
Member Lorenzo said on page 2 of the DPS Project Inventory, with regard to the Ten Mile/Meadowbrook intersection improvements, comments indicated that attorneys were pursuing ROW acquisition. She asked if ROW acquisition was necessary and if so, what was the status.
Mr. Helwig advised turning radii easements are necessary according to Mr. Nowicki and he and Mr. Fisher would follow up on this tomorrow. He said there is also a bonding issue with Cadillac Asphalt that Mr. Schultz is following up on and the hope is the construction would start very soon.
She asked if the acquisitions were incomplete at this time? Mr. Helwig said that was what he had been told by Mr. Nowicki. Member Lorenzo’s concern was that the road bond was approved a year ago November and she anticipated these improvements were going to be done. She asked when the ROW acquisition was started?
Mr. Helwig said the attorneys would not have been given the ROW program until they had decided which intersections were feasible to be undertaken this year. These are the two easiest. An additional right turn lane is being added to northbound Meadowbrook to Ten Mile so all the design work had to be done before proceeding. As far as the status of the property he would discuss it with Mr. Fisher tomorrow.
Member Lorenzo wanted to know when the acquisitions were made and when Mr. Helwig had the information. She had asked 6 or 8 weeks ago about this project and Mr. Helwig did come before Council on October 15th for the bid award and she thought within 60 days it would be operational. Now we are finding out ROW is still needed.
Mr. Helwig said there are growing pains in changes they made. One of which is having the all property acquisition easement work done by the attorneys instead of the engineers and that workload is huge.
Member Lorenzo assumed Ten Mile and Cranbrooke is the same situation and she would appreciate information on that.
Mr. Helwig said Mr. Nowicki also advised him that the City does not have proper title to Bashian, which is part of that intersection, and that has to be cleaned up before this goes forward.
On page 5, she questioned the I-96 sanitary sewer crossing. It said, "project on hold pending acquisition of easements". This was regarding the Adell property and she asked if this was still a justifiable project, what the costs were, etc. Member Lorenzo wanted some of these issues brought back to Council to be sure they are priorities they want to continue pursuing.
Section 32, Sanitary Sewer Extension, part of the Maybury Development – Member Lorenzo asked if this was an SAD? If not, why? Are we contemplating taking more money out of Water and Sewer for this project? Mr. Helwig said he did not have information on this tonight. She asked that he find out.
Member Lorenzo said in reviewing this document there appeared to be no rhyme or reason why some of these are SAD’s and some of them are contemplating using water and sewer and being paid back by tap-in fees. She asked if any analysis had been done on what paid the City back faster? What is the rationale for doing one over the other? Also, is there an issue of inequity here? If we are going to have SAD’s for residents why not for developers and vacant property owners?
Page 12; Snow Plow Truck – under Status and Comments it says, "Specs were submitted to purchasing for RFP’s on August 1st." She asked the status of this. Mr. Helwig stated we are accepting bids later this month. She said four months have gone by. Mr. Helwig said the snowplow wouldn’t be delivered for a year because it is a highly specialized piece of equipment and has a long lead-time. We have a long way to go before we have an organization that is delivering services in a timely responsive manner. Up until August, there was no report like this being generated and we have just begun to track what the status is on outstanding bonds, expiration dates, etc. and that it was his responsibility to get that job done. He could give reasons why we are where we are and he is dissatisfied with that overall performance and he knew Council was too. Member Lorenzo said it is frustrating.
3. Gateway Ordinance - DeRoche
Member DeRoche thought this was supposed to be back before Council tonight. Mayor Clark said it was to be back at the second meeting in December.
AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION - None
1. Letter from Chris Janik Re: extended hours of City Services
There being no further business to come before Council, the meeting was adjourned at
Richard J. Clark, Mayor Maryanne Cornelius, City Clerk
Transcribed by: _____________________
Charlene Mc Lean
Date approved: December 17, 2001