View Agenda for this meeting

REGULAR MEETING OF THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF NOVI
MONDAY, MARCH 4, 2002 AT 7:30 PM
NOVI CIVIC CENTER Ė COUNCIL CHAMBERS Ė 45175 W. TEN MILE ROAD

Mayor Clark called the meeting to order at 7:33 PM.

PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE: Jr. Girl Scout Troop #2304

Leader: Debbie Sunden

Members: Jamie Crist, Emily Hoen, Alyssa Kobylarek, Courtney Laux, Elizabeth Miller, Taylor Pyden, Danielle Reynolds, Hannah Rolfe, Casey Sunden

ROLL CALL: Mayor Clark, Mayor Pro Tem Bononi, Council Members Capello, Csordas, DeRoche, Landry, Lorenzo

APPROVAL OF AGENDA

Member Lorenzo added Item 2 under Mayor and Council Issues, Status of Roma Ridge Stop Sign request.

CM-02-02-048 Moved by Csordas, seconded by Bononi; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY:

To approve the agenda as amended.

Vote on CM-02-02-048 Yeas: Clark, Bononi, Capello, Csordas, DeRoche, Landry,

Lorenzo

Nays: None

SPECIAL REPORTS - None

COMMITTEE REPORTS - None

PRESENTATIONS - None

REPORTS

CITY MANAGER

Mr. Helwig reported on expenditures to enhance the cable transmission from Council Chambers into homes. As of tonight there are two quieter cameras being utilized that project clearer images that are quite striking and can be seen in the Control Room.

Also, we have a character generator so that as someone speaks their name will appear and it will show what topic is being discussed in the agenda. There is a new switcher which means that a laptop presentation can go right to the channel now and does not have to go through a camera, which caused transmission clarity problems. We are also recording digitally for re-broadcasting the meetings on Sundays.

Mr. Helwig reminded Council they needed to think about the budget work sessions normally held in April and that they had received a tentative schedule. Last year there were four budget meetings in April. Council would receive the budget document at the end of March and the budget must be adopted by the third Monday in May. A Public Hearing is normally held the first Monday in May. He suggested meeting Saturday, April

 

6th from 9 AM until 3 PM, Wednesday, April 17th from 7 PM until 10 PM, Saturday, April 20th from 9 AM until 12 noon and the fourth session if needed Monday, April 22nd from 7 PM to 10 PM. This schedule compared closely with last yearís schedule. He asked that Council review this and let him know if it fits into their schedules by the next meeting.

DEPARTMENT REPORTS - None

ATTORNEY - None

AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION - None

Mayor Pro Tem Bononi removed Item G regarding Warrant No. 617, Check # 18871 in the amount of $644,298.80, Cadillac Asphalt Paving Company.

CM-02-02-049 Moved by Csordas, seconded by Landry; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY:

To approve Consent Agenda items A through F.

Roll call vote on CM-02-02-049 Yeas: Bononi, Capello, Csordas, DeRoche,

Landry, Lorenzo, Clark

Nays: None

CONSENT AGENDA (Approval/Removals)

A. Approve Minutes of:

  • February 23, 2002, Special meeting
  • February 25, 2002, Regular meeting

B. Schedule Executive Session in the Council Annex immediately following the regular  meeting of March 4, 2002 for the purpose of discussing pending litigation.

C. Approval of Ordinance amendment No. 02-88.06-amending Sections 16-32, 16-34, 16-35 and 16-37 of the Novi Code of Ordinances, to provide that insurance certificates are to be provided as a condition of issuance of a license to remove or transport refuse through streets, alleys or other public places or ways of the City Ė 2nd Reading and Adoption.

D. Approval of Resolution appointing William McCusker, Director of Public Works, Street Administrator for the City of Novi pursuant to Act 51, Public Acts of 1951.

E. Approval of Temporary Construction Easement for the West Park Drive Water Main Extension and South Lake Court Storm Sewer projects from Keith and Jolene Gubert for $210.00; Parcel No. 50-22-03-101-014

F. Approval of Traffic Control Orders 02-01 through 02-02

G. Approval of Claims and Accounts Ė Warrant No. 617

MATTERS FOR COUNCIL ACTION Ė Part I

1. Request from DPG NOVI RESTAURANT, INC. to transfer ownership of 2000 Class C licensed business with Dance Permit, located at 43317 E. Grand River, Novi, MI 48375, Oakland County, from OXFORD INN NOVI, INC.

Joseph Xuereb, representing DPG, advised Council that the employee discussed had been paid along with numerous others and she was helpful in contacting other former employees to have them contact Mr. Xuereb. The water bill in the amount of $1,677.99 has been paid and arrangements have been made to pay all of the employees with the exception of one. This employee admits she is owed $359 and they have offered to pay her $359. When he spoke to her, she felt that in addition to what she was owed her rent/mortgage should be paid and she also requested severance and when Mr. Xuereb spoke with her she called it compensation for tips she would have earned if she hadnít lost her job. They are prepared to pay her the money that she is owed but she is unwilling to accept it because she wants more. Mayor Clark asked if he had provided anyone in the City with documentation and checks. Mr. Xuereb said he would give Council what he had which were hand written notes "paid in full". Mayor Clark asked if these were receipts from employees. Mr. Xuereb said they were. Everyone has been paid with the exception of former employee, Ms. Roney.

Natalie Roney, former employee of Novi Bistro, said she goes to school full time and works two jobs to afford her car and apartment. This mishap with the Bistro caused her to almost get kicked out of her apartment and almost lost her car. It was right after Christmas, she was not informed that they were closing down, it just happened and it hurt her very bad. She was asking for what they owed her and compensation for her lost wages because it took her three weeks to find a job and to start getting paid on that job. She was asking for $250 over what was owed her for lost wages. Mayor Clark noted Council had no authority to make that a condition of giving them a license. She would have to work this out with the company or seek her own attorney.

Member Landry had spoken with the May Family and Amanda May had been paid in full and he was glad to hear they had contacted the other employees and was willing to pay the $359 owed to Ms. Roney.

Member Capello asked if the personal property taxes had been paid. Mr. Xuereb stated they were not since there was thousands of dollars owed by their predecessor and as a result of that, the building had been closed by the taxing authority. Even if the transfer took place, they could not open for business unless the County Treasurer was dealt with successfully on that item. Mr. Xuereb said the County had indicated a willingness to work out a payment arrangement to get the building open. Member Capello asked if the real estate taxes were paid in full or delinquent. Mr. Xuereb stated he wasnít sure. The last time he had talked with the landlord he indicated that he might pay them and then they would pay him back. Member Capello asked if the taxes were paid. Mr. Lemmon said he could check. Member Capello said the commitment a week ago was that all this stuff would be paid and it is not. Mr. Xuereb thought Councilís concern was for the employees and he had indicated that they would be working with the County to get the personal property taxes paid over time. The real property taxes, if past due, are only the ones that have come due since they closed.

Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked who owned the building. Mr. Xeureb said Victor Cassis owned the building. She asked if there were any other employees, other than Ms. Roney, that they are aware of that have not been paid? She felt sure there were payroll records that could be checked against any outstanding amounts that might be due. Mr. Xuereb stated all employees had been paid except for Brian Harper who he had talked

with and they agreed the undisputed amount could be mailed to him. The amount was $50 or $70 owed him. Mr. Harper did not have a problem with this or the license transfer. Other than that, there is one man who is owed less than $100 but he is out of the country somewhere in Europe and they have no mailing address.

Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked if there were a total of 3 people and he said yes. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi commented there is a wide variation of completion and provision of this application and with regard to transfer of this liquor license and we discover that all of these circumstances were not as they represented, what course do we have regarding the liquor license? Mr. Fisher responded recommendation could be made to the Liquor Control Commission that they conduct a hearing for revocation purposes. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi was concerned about the very small amounts of money still outstanding to people who worked for them. The fact that two of these people are depending on this work and the checks that they should have received to pay for their education she believed to be particularly onerous. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi did not believe that any employer should stiff any employee but from the standpoint of a college or university student, she found it to be very concerning and terribly egregious.

Mayor Clark agreed and had empathy for those employees. He understood that with an employee out of the country it would be hard to pay them and Mr. Xuereb did indicate that he would take care of the other two employees. However, for the record, Mr. Xuereb said he would attempt to work out an arrangement with the county and that they wouldnít allow the business to be opened unless there was an arrangement satisfactory to them. Mr. Xuereb agreed. Mayor Clark stated then he would assume that he would not object to this Council recommending the granting of the license subject to that condition. Mr. Xuereb said he would not object because it is a fact that they would have to be dealt with and he anticipated it would be a payment arrangement commencing when the business opened.

Mr. Fisher suggested that rather than a condition, because the LCC is not fond of receiving conditions, they enter into a short letter of understanding with this applicant to the effect that in the event these matters are not cleared up or these factual allegations are not accurate that the applicant understood that this would serve as a basis for revoking the license.

Mayor Clark said then we could make a motion to approve subject to a written understanding between the applicant and the City of Novi. Mr. Fisher said yes, the LCC would not enforce that agreement directly but would allow the City to enforce it. The resolution would not be sent to the LCC until the letter of understanding was written and agreed to. Mr. Fisher was asked to draft the letter.

Mr. Lemmon, City Assessor, stated the 2001 taxes are paid under real property.

Member Csordas asked about the idea of taxes. Mr. Lemmon stated after February 14 the taxes become delinquent and go to the county. The county then makes us whole as the City and they go after the taxes that are due plus interest and penalties. Member Csordas asked if that reduced our risk to zero as it related to that tax? Mr. Lemmon said it did. Member Csordas asked if the other tax was paid in full. Mr. Lemmon said the real property is paid and Member Csordas asked if there were any other amounts due to the City. Mr. Lemmon did not believe there were any other and no SADís. Member Csordas thought this was the sloppiest application for a liquor license permit that he had ever seen. He thought to approve this license with any kind of condition would just be a never ending turnstile for this applicant to come back up here. He was glad to hear the City would be made whole by the County and that the real property tax had been paid in full. He reluctantly supported a motion if confident that nothing would come back that we were not already aware of.

Member DeRoche shared the concerns of Member Csordas. He was encouraged with Mr. Fisherís knowledge of how the LCC did business. He felt it was an asset that we had not had with owners of liquor licenses that having them sign a document that allowed us to enforce a liquor license locally. It gives the Council a lot more control over this business than we have over others. He said with Mr. Fisherís confidence in it, he would reluctantly support this because he realized the interest of the citizens and future employees that want to get back to work and that the City is better off having an occupied building.

Member Landry shared the Councilís concern. He didnít like the way this came about and also didnít want a vacant building, but allowed the fact that the employees have been approached and offered complete payment.

CM-02-02-050 Moved by Landry, seconded by Csordas; CARRIED

UNANIMOUSLY: That the transfer of ownership of the 2000

Class C licensed business with Dance Permit, located at 43317

E. Grand River, Novi, from the Oxford Inn Novi, Inc. to DPG

Novi Restaurant, Inc., be approved when the City receives a  signed letter of understanding from the applicant indicating  that the Personal Property Taxes have been paid in full to the County of Oakland and only then would the approval become effective. The Personal Property taxes must be paid in 30 days and the sunset is 30 days and if not paid in 30 days the liquor license transfer would not be approved.

DISCUSSION

Member Capello understood the motion to say that they were not going to get the license until the taxes are paid in full. Member Landry agreed. Member Capello supported that. Member Landry said it appeared the taxes have not been paid due to a dispute with the previous owners. The applicant should resolve the dispute as soon as possible, pay the taxes and move on.

Member Capello said this would not go to the LCC until the taxes are paid. Mr. Fisher said that was his understanding. The things that wonít be able to be paid he assumed would be the $359 and the $100 to the person overseas. Member Landry said his motion spoke only to the personal property taxes and he was assuming the applicant would resolve the monies owed to the employees and felt that the City could not get involved with consequential damages with an individual employee.

Mr. Fisher asked if the letter of understanding spells out that these other things are the only indebtedness that would be outstanding?

Member Landry stated the intention of the motion was that Council approval, recommendation approval to the LCC, would be made upon the payment of the personal property taxes only. Mr. Xuereb already indicated that he had offered to pay in full the employees and he would take him at his word because he did pay several other employees. His motion was not contingent on satisfying other employees because there are consequential damages that might require small claims court and he didnít want to hold this up for that.

Mr. Fisher said the letter would contain the point that representations have been made and that these are the outstanding debts. Member Landry agreed.

Member Capello didnít think of a letter of understanding or agreement because a motion was made subject to conditions and when they are met, the motion passes. He asked if that was all that was necessary. Mr. Fisher responded nothing would be sent to the LCC until the taxes are paid and thatís all. Member Capello said that is how the motion stands. Mr. Fisher said then an agreement would not be needed. Member Capello suggested there be a sunset on Member Landryís motion. Mr. Fisher agreed.

Member Csordas thought the City would be made whole by the County regardless of whether they paid or not and then they would go after them. He asked if that was correct?

Mr. Lemmon stated what has happened was there was a possibility that the County would not get paid; the county padlocked it under a Jeopardy Assessment in fear that personal property would be removed. The county has made the City whole on that and now the county is trying to get their money. He didnít know if the county has the opportunity to make an agreement for a payment process or not. They are usually willing to work with people. Member Csordas said then the City has been made whole on both of these taxes? Mr. Lemmon said the real property was paid and personal property went delinquent as of 2-14-02, the County paid the City and the county is now trying to collect. Finance Director Smith-Roy stated the county reimburses the City for real estate taxes only. Mr. Lemmon stood corrected and said the County had not paid the City yet as we have not gone through settlement. Ms. Smith-Roy said the County reimburses the City for real estate taxes only, not for personal property taxes. We carry four years of delinquent taxes on our books. We donít identify it by parcel; we identify it by lump sum and the County tracks our personal property and then reimburses us as they collect on the delinquents. We have entered into an agreement for them to represent us on the delinquent taxes related to personal property taxes.

Member Landry added to the motion that personal property taxes must be paid within 30 days and without it, we would not approve that. Member Csordas accepted.

Roll call vote on CM-02-02-050 Yeas: Capello, Csordas, DeRoche, Landry,

Lorenzo, Clark, Bononi

Nays: None

 

2. Consideration of authorizing waiver of sanitary sewer tap fee in the amount of  $4,400.00 Ė SAD #155 Zimmersmann Property.

Mr. Fisher advised this was part of the SAD 155 project, and it is listed as a waiver of a tap fee but the more accurate characterization and any action the Council took should be that SAD 155 should pay the cost of the tap fee. This arises out of the taking of the interest in the property in question, the Zimmersmann property, and the property owner was concerned that as part of the disturbance of this land for the 12 Mile Road improvement project that the on site septic field might be damaged. So, in entering into the agreement for obtaining the ROW with Mrs. Zimmersmann the City agreed that if we damaged the system we would either replace it or at the Cityís option, connect the property to sanitary sewer. What was not included in that agreement was that if we connected the property to the sanitary sewer there would be a tap fee that Mrs. Zimmersmann would be faced with? This was not fair to her so we are suggesting that along with connecting her to the sanitary sewer that the SAD pay the tap fee which is all part of curing the damage done in connection with project. We believe that it is a fair and square arrangement all around.

Member Capello asked if Mrs. Zimmersmann was paid for the ROW and how much that was? Mr. Fisher said absolutely but he did not have the information with him but it was fair market value. Mayor Clark thought it was substantially more than $4,400 and Mr. Fisher agreed. Member Capello said this is income property correct? Mr. Fisher didnít know but thought she had lived there at one time but didnít think she lived there now. Member Capello said we are paying the actual construction charge to make the connection and this is the tap in fee for the sewer that is in place. Mr. Fisher said yes, we had the option of repairing or replacing the septic field or connecting the property to the sanitary sewer. Member Capello thought he had read in the packet that we would pay for the construction and she would pay for the tap fee. Mr. Fisher said this is a situation that he thought the City would look considerably more like a hero if we paid the tap fee out of the SAD. Member Capello asked if there was an income restriction that Mrs. Zimmersmann didnít have $4,400? Mr. Fisher said she was elderly and had lost her husband in the last year or so.

Member Csordas asked if anyone was present that knew the cost of the septic system repairs? No one was present to answer that particular question..

Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked how much land was involved? Mr. Fisher said it was a couple of hundred feet of frontage on Twelve Mile Road. She said from the standpoint of not knowing what the consideration was with regard to the ROW payment, she saw no reason to pay this tap fee. If we are talking about the lateral construction being included, now we are saying we want the tap fee as well and she thought it was a lot to ask and would not support it.

Member Landry said it appeared that when the purchase agreement was reached, both the City and Mrs. Zimmersmann anticipated this might occur. They considered it and they made an agreement. According to Mr. Schultzís letter of February 18th it says, "The purchase agreement specifically states that Mrs. Zimmersmann would pay the appropriate tap fee in the event she was connected to the public system". This would create a dangerous precedent if we start paying these tap fees. The deal was struck, the incident occurred and he thought the agreement should be honored. He would not support the tap fee.

Member Lorenzo asked who was paying for the sewer connection? Mr. Fisher said the SAD. She said the ROW was purchased through SAD155, sewer is being installed under SAD 155 and should the Council agree to this tap fee, SAD 155 would also pay it.

Member DeRoche understood there was an agreement drafted by Mr. Fisherís firm in negotiating this ROW acquisition and this is coming to us for consideration at the property ownerís request. It is also given some weight that we consider doing this because it might work out for the City with either legal fees or other considerations. Mr. Fisher did not think in this case there would be a problem and in this case it is just the course of business. Member DeRoche asked what if this is not resolved tonight and Mrs. Zimmersmann decided to pursue this with the City? Mr. Fisher said there was some need to move forward with this because the property is now occupied. Member DeRoche said it is a failing septic field not a failed one. Mr. Fisher said right and the indication is, from Mr. Bowman, that it cannot be repaired or relocated. Member DeRoche concurred with Member Landry.

Member Capello asked if the SAD could pay for it and put it on the tax roll and recoup the money later as he understood there was extra money in there but it would not be spent for a while? Mr. Helwig said that is correct but we still have Phase IV to address eventually. Mr. Fisher was not aware of any arrangement like that that would be permissible under any ordinance, charter, etc.

CM-02-02-051 Moved by Capello, seconded by Csordas; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY:

To deny the waiver of the sanitary sewer tap fee in the amount of $4,400 for the Zimmersmannís property.

DISCUSSION

Mayor Clark said substantially more than $4,400 was paid for this easement and he did know that there was some hard bargaining that led to the price that was ultimately paid for that easement. Because of that fact and the fact that the purchase agreement provided that in the event that the property was tied into City sewers that Mrs. Zimmersmann would pay the tap fee, he would support the motion.

Roll call vote on CM-02-02-051 Yeas: Csordas, DeRoche, Landry, Lorenzo,

Clark, Bononi, Capello

Nays: None

3. Approval of Conservation Easement in favor of the Michigan Department of

Environmental Quality over the wetland mitigation site created as part of the

Twelve Mile Improvements Project-Special Assessment District #155.

CM-02-02-052 Moved by DeRoche, seconded by Csordas; MOTION CARRIED:

To approve Conservation Easement in favor of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality over the wetland mitigation site created as part of the Twelve Mile  Improvements Project-Special Assessment District #155.

Roll call vote on CM-02-02-052 Yeas: DeRoche, Landry, Clark,

Capello, Csordas

Nays: Lorenzo, Bononi

4. Acceptance of Warranty Deed and Grading Permit from Art Van Furniture; Parcel No.

22-15-200-095 for the Twelve Mile Road-Special Assessment District # 155 Project.

CM-02-02-053 Moved by DeRoche, seconded by Capello; MOTION CARRIED:

To accept Warranty Deed and Grading Permit from Art Van Furniture;

Parcel No. 22-15-200-095 for the Twelve Mile Road-Special

Assessment District # 155 Project.

DISCUSSION

Member Lorenzo asked Mr. Fisher if a check had been cut yet? Mr. Fisher said it had been paid and there is no further obligation on the part of the City to pay further money in connection with this property. She said this is charged to SAD 155. Mr. Fisher said it was.

Roll call vote on CM-02-02-053 Yeas: Landry, Clark, Capello, Csordas, DeRoche

Nays: Lorenzo, Bononi

5. Appointment to Board of Review

Mayor Clark asked Council to mark their ballots, which would be read by City Clerk Cornelius.

Ms. Cornelius said it was a unanimous vote to appoint William Cory to the Board of Review.

6. Review of Council Organization Rules

Member Landry thought, after reading the minutes of the Rules Committee page 2, the other change in addition to page 4 Item 9c, he thought a line had been put through the word "no" in b. where it says, "meetings will be cable cast live. City will retain no tapes of meetings".

Member DeRoche and Mayor Clark agreed there should be a line through "no" and that tapes would be retained.

Member Capello thought there should be a sunset if tapes are to be retained. Member Csordas noted in discussion they just wanted to retain the tapes until they could be shown on Sunday and possibly one additional day. Member DeRoche said whether the tapes are kept one week or seven years, they have to be specific in the rules so if there is a FOIA request they get a specific answer on Council policy.

Mr. Helwig recalled when the policy was set there was a sunset timetable. He thought it was 60 days but City Clerk Cornelius documented 90 days. Member Capello suggested the rules reflect a purpose for retaining tapes so that we are not retaining tapes for record purposes but for re-broadcast. Mayor Clark notes 90 days was a reasonable amount of time for duplication by interested persons at a reasonable duplication cost.

Member Capello also referred to Audience Participation rules, Attachment #1, and wanted to put in time constraints (sub Para f). He felt the 3 and 5 minute limits worked well in the Planning Commission meetings and would for Council. Those time periods would include video presentations. Sub section G Ė Member Capello wanted this to say "Council members or the Mayor would not respond to General Audience Participation with the exception that the Mayor may direct administration to respond to the speaker outside of the meeting.

Member Csordas spoke to item F and agreed with Member Capello regarding the time limits of 3 minutes for individual and 5 minutes for group representation. He referred to the meeting Mayor Pro Tem Bononi chaired and was very impressed that with all the exciting issues on the agenda that night, the meeting stayed on time and on topic and moved very well. He also referred to Item C and wanted to insure that Audience Participation retained a courteous tone and that interjecting personal notes or attacking anyone was not appropriate. Council maintains that decorum and felt it should be expected during Audience Participation also. He wanted to see language to address personal attacks against anybody that would allow the Mayor to ask them to refrain from that. They should speak their peace on an issue but must remain on the issue. Itís been demonstrated that when people are requested to stay on a time frame they are very good at it; they stay on point and theyíre succinct.

Mayor Pro Tem Bononi spoke about how easy it is to stray away from policy and process and they seemed to have strayed from, page 1/Regular Meetings, "Council will have as a goal to conclude the meetings by 11:30 PM". She would like to see agenda items be cut off: first in, first out. She would like special attention paid to content and length of the agenda so that it would provide a realistic ability to complete each order of business contained in the agenda. Page 2, Item 6, Agenda for Regular Meetings, regarding additional information submitted late, which has improved lately, she would like to see that continue to be respected, as it is not allowed in the rules. She also commented that page 6 referred to applications and that they should be fairly chronologically placed and that would preclude any kind of fast tracking. On page 8 regarding debate and decorum, she felt the Mayor or anyone else should take exception to deliberate misinformation or impolite or disrespectful remarks. She believed that someone at the Council table had the responsibility to set that record straight. Sometimes there is a limit regarding these things and she felt people had a right to respond to that briefly and didnít think the time had been exceeded. From the standpoint of public participation, there are circumstances where the line is really being crossed and people are taking advantage of that and this Councilís real need and commitment is that everyone is heard. She didnít know if she would be willing to limit people to 3 minutes but would look for a "not to exceed time" because there are times when business matters havenít been addressed until after 10:30 and that wasnít fair to Council because they could not do their best work. She would not be hesitant to interrupt anyone who was going to deliver a treatise or the same information over and over again.

Member Landry spoke about Item C and Member Csordasí concerns and said no one likes to see anybody personally attack anyone else. The only problem he had was he felt the public has a right to come in and criticize him for a vote he had taken. They had the right to disagree. Certainly decorum must be maintained at the discretion of the chair, but he was hesitant to take away any citizenís right to disagree with him. He would not be in favor of putting a restriction on referring to individual members of this Council. Regarding time limits, he would favor Mayor Pro Tem Bononiís not to exceed time limit.

Member Lorenzo had no comments.

Member DeRoche served on this committee and would support a motion that addressed tape issue. Committee members felt members of the audience were detracting from the Council being able to conduct business and they tried to find a reasonable ability, not to refrain them from their freedom of speech, but to stick to the agenda of the meeting. He felt the spirit of the Committee conversation was more to how could they have the person speaking productively, potentially coached by the Chair, get their point across to the Council. If speaking about personal disagreements, the Chair would address them because they were not discussing issues that pertained to the Council as a whole. There was also discussion about a specific member of the administration being a liaison to the Council. Council members would like to speak to issues but restrained themselves. He noted they make themselves available at breaks, by telephone, emails and their homes. Member DeRoche said Mayor Pro Tem Bononi had asked a speaker to summarize their comments as they had passed their time and he thought that had worked very well. If Council moved away from a 3 minute rule to a not to exceed rule, the Chair could advise, at 3 minutes, the speaker to wrap up. Also, he liked the rule that when the Chair acknowledges that the maker of the motion should speak first and the seconder next is a good way to start debate.

Member Csordas offered clarification to Member Landry that the intention was not to restrict anyoneís opinion to call us out on anything that they disagree with as long as they stay on point.

Mayor Clark referred to Item G and felt the Chair should still retain the ability if someone is unintentionally giving out wrong information, the Chair has a duty to correct them rather than have incorrect information go out to the community so he would like to see that stay in there. He noted there is a copy of the agenda at the back of the meeting room, for the public, and perhaps a copy of the Audience Participation Rules, after adoption, should be placed there also. Mayor Clark was not in favor of holding someone to a time limit and would have no problem, as Chair, exercising discretion and telling someone if they are wandering off the point or speaking to something other than the item that is being addressed. If it is Audience Participation they have the opportunity to address any item they would like to address. Council might not think it is relevant, but it might be to the citizen. Our function is to listen and to learn and he wouldnít want to see a time limit put on. When the policy of no limit was started a little over 2 years ago, there was a great deal of pent up frustration in this community where the citizens felt they did not have a voice in their own government. We afforded them that opportunity and a lot of people came in and vented and perhaps had every right to do that but as time has gone by that has become less and less. Some residents might take longer but as long as they are respectful and on point, we should give them the opportunity to speak. The worst thing we could do would be to have stringent rules, like Warren, where citizens fight with others and Council Members and are being arrested in their Council Chambers, where they are supposed to be able to come in and address their government and express their concerns and complaints. They didnít get there overnight but he thought this began by limiting their free speech. We are here to hear it whether we like it or not and that is the function of a democracy. He asked other members of Council to indulge him with that and see what develops over the next 60/90 days and if we find we have a problem, we can amend these rules.

Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said the Mayor had commented about being very open about the limitations we have on time. In the last City she worked at, they had a small easel that stood

outside Council Chambers and they were able to insert the number of business items that were on the agenda for each meeting and they asked for the publicís consideration in regard to that. For example, "There are 25 items of business on our agenda this evening. If you are a public participation speaker, would you consider limiting your comments in the most concise way that you can so that everyone who wishes to speak tonight would have the opportunity to do so?" It was rare that someone took advantage of that. She thought it was something that could be placed out front and would be happy to provide a copy of her old poster.

Member DeRoche encouraged that point-of-information be used and directed to the parliamentarian to get to the bottom of a statement being made.

CM-02-02-054 Moved by Capello, seconded by DeRoche; MOTION CARRIED:

To approve the revised Council Organization Rules with the following changes:

1. Paragraph 6 Ė incorporate Mayor Pro Tem Bononiís comments in regard to preparation of a realistic Agenda.

2. Paragraph 9B Ė Language that the tapes would be retained for 90 days only and that the tapes are not the official record.

3. Attachment 1 Paragraph C- incorporate Member Csordasí comments regarding personal attacks not related to Council business or community issues are not allowed.

4. Sub Paragraph F ĖThe Mayor shall, at the end of 3 minutes, direct the speaker to wrap up and the speaker shall not exceed 4 minutes. However, upon request by any speaker for good cause shown, the Chair has the authority to extend the time period. Those speaking on behalf of other groups - the Mayor shall indicate at the end of 5 minutes that the speaker should wrap up and the speaker shall not exceed 6 minutes and the time limitation shall include any video presentations.

5. Sub Paragraph G Ė Add "Council Members or the Mayor shall not respond to Audience Participation" and add language to the extent that "anyone can bring up a point of order in regard tofalse information and direct it to the parliamentarian for a response. The Mayor may direct the administration to respondto the speaker, if appropriate, during or outside of the meeting." Language needs to be added to give the Mayor the discretion to run the meeting to the extent that nothing should prevent the Mayor from enforcing these rules as to any given speaker.

6. That this return to Council with those revisions at the March 18th meeting under the Consent Agenda.

DISCUSSION

Member Landry stated he could support everything except F and G. He suggested regarding F that language be included that says that any specific time limitations on Audience

Participation shall be published with the agenda. If there is a particularly long agenda, due notice could be given to the public that there would be a 3 minute limitation because of the long agenda. If it is published with the agenda that would give the Mayor the opportunity to set limitations on it. The Mayor should retain the ability to prevent misinformation from being broadcast during Audience Participation.

Mayor Pro Tem Bononi was concerned about Member Landryís suggestion regarding different response times for different meetings. She was concerned it might be perceived as limiting speech on particular subjects and thought it was important for a time limit to be consistent.

Mr. Fisher agreed and stated under Open Meetings Act, time limits have to be imposed by the Council rather than the Mayor. If these rules delegated that to the Mayor, it is conceivable that it would be appropriate. He suggested that at the beginning of the meeting, Council should vote on the limitations. He commented that, regarding Item 9B, that the tapes be retained for 90 days only, it be added with clarification that the tapes donít constitute the official record of the meeting.

Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked if he suggested that at the beginning of a meeting a time frame could be suggested and it could be different at each meeting? Mr. Fisher said yes, and the Mayor could publish a recommendation in advance but the Open Meetings Act indicates that it is the Council that sets the time limit. If one is going to be set it should be by the Council at the beginning of the meeting. He assumed that would be done only when a large number of speakers were anticipated. Limiting time on a somewhat arbitrary basis on matters that they thought might get some distasteful comments could cause some difficulty. However, if doing it consistently on matters where high volumes of responses were anticipated that would be reasonable.

Mayor Pro Tem Bononi would like to continue seeing the Mayor or Chair refer any and all matters to the City Manager if it is a matter of urgency or something that needed to be addressed. Regarding the time frame issue, she spoke as a new resident on behalf of her homeowner association before a previous Mayor and Council and was cut off and it did not make her feel good as a participant and it didnít make her respect what was going on as a first time speaker. She thought that common sense needed to prevail and the appropriate action taken in these situations.

Member Capello amended his motion regarding Sub Paragraph G that "if appropriate during or outside the meeting" with regard to Mayor Pro Tem Bononiís concern. He felt he and Member Landry agreed regarding this paragraph when Member Landry used the term "misinformation" and that was why he tried to direct that concern to the parliamentarian. He did not think the Chair should get into a debate with a speaker over what the truth was or wasnít and that is why he directed it to the parliamentarian on how to handle issues. Regarding time limitations would it be acceptable if we put the 3 minutes wrap up not to exceed 4 minutes. However, upon request by any speaker for good cause shown, the Chair has the authority to extend the time period. Sub ĖParagraph 9 add, "the tapes are not the official record."

Member DeRoche stated that was acceptable.

Mayor Clark suggested having a board outside with the agenda and copies of Audience Participation Rules for a period of 60-90 days. He would never support telling citizens they could speak for 3 or 4 minutes and "good cause" should set us off on another debate on what good cause is. He felt it would be contrary to what they were trying to accomplish. As time has gone by, residents vented. They know there is an open responsive government here, they can talk to us, they will be heard and action will be taken when they are heard. He is extremely opposed to anything that would limit free speech.

Roll call vote on CM-02-02-054 Yeas: Lorenzo, Bononi, Capello, Csordas,

DeRoche

Nays: Clark, Landry

7. Authorization for the Fire Department to apply for a Federal Emergency Management

Administration (FEMA) Assistance to Firefighters Grant

CM-02-02-055 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Capello; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY:

To authorize the Fire Department to apply for a Federal Emergency

Management Administration (FEMA) Assistance to Firefighters Grant

Roll call vote on CM-02-02-055 Yeas: Clark, Bononi, Capello, Csordas, DeRoche,

Landry, Lorenzo

Nays: None

AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION

Carol Crawford, Beck Road resident, thought it was intimidating to put a time limitation on people. She noticed over the past years that the Mayor has opened up this government to the people. She felt by closing that down people would not want to participate and would complain elsewhere. She felt this had been a positive thing and she was very disappointed and thought time limits were a detriment to the community. Misinformation went both ways from citizens and sometimes Council. She felt the Mayor led them in the right direction, they felt comfortable saying what they believed and she didnít want the citizens to feel intimidated.

George Krieger, spoke about a family concern they have as his daughter Linda was chairing the committee for the Library Board to go on cable TV. As a result, her efforts have been filibustered and stopped, as there was no interest to get the cablecast of the Library Board meetings into place. The short term goal of the Council was to address library needs. He thought the library board was not being properly managed. He brought a stack of emails sent to his daughter Linda Krieger and felt they were hostile. His daughter could not speak for the Library because she is under duress from the Library. The Library President of the Board is ordering a certain protocol in the way these items get out to the public and Council. Mr. Krieger demanded a review of the emails because this cannot be acceptable. The language and the misinformation addressed to Linda Krieger and Mr. George Krieger for participating in those meetings was concerned with going cablecast. These are emails that have occurred since this Sunday. He asked for direction on how to carry this forward in the correct manner. This cannot be handled in the Library Board, it is not becoming and is not acceptable of the conduct of people who are on the Library Board.

Mayor Clark asked Mr. Krieger to make copies of these emails available to the City Clerk for distribution to the City Council.

CONSENT AGENDA REMOVALS FOR COUNCIL ACTION: (Consent Agenda items, which have been removed for discussion and/or action)

G. Approval of Claims and Accounts Ė Warrant No. 617- Mayor Pro Tem Bononi

Mayor Pro Tem Bononi stated she e-mailed Mr. Helwig this morning with regard to her question of Check #18871 for $644,298.80. The description said bike trails and sidewalks and she wanted to know where these bike trails and sidewalks are, total cost and/or information about those bike trails and sidewalks and any other items that are included in this payment. She understood that Mr. Helwig was out of the office and did not receive her e-mail. She also e-mailed Ms. Smith-Roy in the Finance Department hoping she would be able to have this information before tonightís meeting but had not received it by the time she left her office at 5 PM. She suggested that explanatory information, invoices presented to the City for payment and description of the bike trails and sidewalks be submitted to Council for the next meeting so that Council could review them. Mr. Helwig said he would be happy to fulfill her request.

CM-02-02-056 Moved by Bononi, seconded by Lorenzo; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY:

That the explanatory information, invoices presented to the City of

Novi for payment and description of the bike trails and sidewalks be

submitted to Council for the next Council meeting for Council

review.

Roll call vote on CM-02-02-056 Yeas: Clark, Bononi, Capello, Csordas, DeRoche,

Landry, Lorenzo

Nays: None

MAYOR AND COUNCIL ISSUES

1. Grand River CSX Bridge Construction: Traffic Impact Plan Ė Mayor Pro Tem Bononi

Mayor Pro Tem Bononi and Mr. Pearson attended a public meeting conducted by Oakland County and many questions were asked regarding the bridge and Grand River widening. She was concerned about the chronology of how all this work would be done and what impacts the construction of Grand River and various intersection improvements that will take place during the same period of time as the road widening and how that will affect traffic movement and impacts on quality of life. Her question to Oakland County was if they had looked at the impact on the intersections handling the displaced traffic? Their answer was that there was no plan to look at that. There is no plan to look at phasing or the increased traffic so the City of Novi should look at that and provide a timeline plan for all the proposed improvements. Also, look at temporary traffic signals and other traffic signals to make it as painless as possible. She suggested the traffic engineers do a simple plan looking at when these improvements would be done, what some of the variables would be if some did not come on line and how to plan for it this summer.

Mayor Clark asked, regarding the bridge, if anything had been heard from the railroad? It was also his understanding from the meeting that the County seemed to imply that the bridge might

be delayed another year because of approvals necessary from CSX railroad. Mr. Helwig commented he sent copies of email to Mr. Holmberg and noted calls were received from CSX to meet on this item. He said there were no guarantees and there had been a lot of bureaucracy between the road commission and CSX and he was hopeful they had cut through that now. He stressed upon CSX the importance of getting this started this spring because it is impacting the start of other projects. Mr. Helwig said their objective was to help the road commission let this project fully designed and funded. The plans have to be signed off by CSX within this 30 day period and get the project ready to bid this spring. Mayor Clark said they might want to contact CSX to see where they are in the process. Mr. Helwig welcomed this very constructive suggestion because if the planning was not being done elsewhere we need to get it done.

Member Csordas asked what the status of the ring road was? Member Lorenzo said they designed it without an access. Mr. Helwig stated staff was not working on the ring road at all. Member Lorenzo spoke with Mr. Blust at the RCOC and he stated it was designed first with it and then designed without it and that is the design being used now.

2. Status of Roma Ridge Stop Sign request.

Member Lorenzo asked that an update be provided in Thursdayís packet. Mr. Helwig said they would be happy to do that.

AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION - None

COMMUNICATIONS

1. Letter from Jeffrey Reynolds Re: opposition to Dangerous Weapons Ordinance.

ADJOURNMENT

There being no further business to come before the Council, the meeting was adjourned at

9:31 PM.

________________________________ ________________________________

Richard J. Clark, Mayor Maryanne Cornelius, City Clerk

 

Transcribed by: _________________________

Date approved: March 18, 2002