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SPECIAL MEETING OF THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF NOVI
SATURDAY, APRIL 6, 2002 AT 9:00 AM
NOVI CIVIC CENTER Ė COUNCIL CHAMBERS Ė 45175 W. TEN MILE ROAD

Mayor Clark called the meeting to order at 9:08 AM.

PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE

ROLL CALL: Mayor Clark, Mayor Pro Tem Bononi, Council Members Capello-absent/excused, Csordas, DeRoche-arrived at 10:24 am, Landry, Lorenzo-absent/excused

AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION - None

PURPOSE OF SPECIAL MEETING Ė 2002-2003 CITY OF NOVI BUDGET

OVERVIEW

Mr. Helwig stated the goal is to help Council look at programs in a true comprehensive fashion and to discuss and deliberate key issues to get whatever information Council needed. We can get better at compiling community conditions statements such as what is the state of public safety in our community and what are alternative ways to strengthen that or meet other goals Council might set in the area of public safety. This process is about the near term and long term choices that Council will make in their policy roles that would distinguish Novi and help achieve the goals they have set. This year the early meeting on January 5th to hear Councilís expectations was helpful and has been included in the summary. Mr. Helwig noted from the early input they clearly heard from Council that the #1 priority was to complete a full spectrum of unfinished work sessions, which are highlighted on the cover of the Budget proposal.

Mr. Helwig noted 7 budget plan priorities.

1. Implementing proposed Sandstone litigation Ė Allocations - Nearly 43% or 1 million dollars  is dedicated to the Judgment Trust Fund

2. Community security Ė Security needs have been reviewed and 34% has been devoted to this category.

3. Growth management and development strategies Ė Emphasis on our infrastructure improvements Ė 4% or $100,000 of our flexible spending

4. Streamlining administrative positions Ė Economic Development Corporation and Department of Public Service positions have been abolished and those dollars would be used to make other choices possible.

5. Continued reduction in the use of consultants for ongoing tasks Ė This has created a positive difference in terms of staffís ability to process plans and reviews. There will be four new positions which will pay for themselves through the elimination of retainers from consultants.

6. Employee vitality Ė Employee recognition program for $7,000, Employee Assistance Program for $9,000

7. Beginning of a capital Improvement Program initiative - $50,000 has been set aside for computer upgrades. Capital Improvement Program Committee including staff, Planning  Commission and Council members reviewed and ranked Capital Improvement initiatives  and that work is in this budget document. It was reviewed and approved by the Planning  Commission and choices will be made in terms of possible capital investments.

 

Mr. Helwig congratulated Kathy Smith Roy, Marina Neumaier and Stephanie Sharpe for their hard work regarding the budget process and seeking dollars for improvements including parks. Numerous meetings were held with department heads and items were trimmed and eliminated whenever possible to keep costs low. They identified flexible dollars for Councilís deliberation as to what priorities they could be applied to.

Mr. Helwig said when the City discovered the $220,000 that wouldnít have to be used for EMS, it was suggested that the money be used to seed some capital. That $220,000 went a long way toward the $358,000. He emphasized there was no property tax millage increase in this document, there hasnít been for 10 years and we are still the 6th lowest in Oakland County in terms of the City portion of property taxes.

Ms. Smith-Roy said the revenue section of the General Fund included primary categories. The highlights of the revenue showed that the property tax increase over the last two years has been 14 and 9 percent respectively. The non-business license fluctuated over the last three years from 28% to a reduction of minus 10% to an increase of 17%. There is a huge decline, for the current year, for grant funding in the General Fund only. Other grant funds have been received for other funds such as the Road Funds. This reduction is primarily at the finalization of the COPS Grants, which are coming to a close now and also the After School Program Grant is coming to a close.

State Revenue Sharing, which is approximately 20% of the revenue that the City receives, as a result of programming by the State, there is a slight reduction this year in comparison with the prior year and we will have a minor increase of about 1%, next year. Other services and charges, about 3% of the budget, and miscellaneous and transfers represent the difference. This is just the operating portion of the Revenue Fund and does not include three other areas of funding. They also include interest earnings in our funding for the General Fund, which has decreased significantly this year and is due to the rates. The interest rate for most of our investments is less than 3% and a year ago we were getting a little over 5%. The property tax increase has helped the City the most and has allowed us to have a base budget and to have dollars available for the flexible spending.

Ms. Smith-Roy highlighted department funding with public safety having the highest with the police and fire departments being about 50% and then the additional supporting services. The Department of Public Services is funded by the General Fund and other funds. That is why the dollars seem small. The Road Funds also help to supplement those services.

Special Revenue Funds are primarily made up of property taxes designated for a specific purpose, fees, special assessments, other sources and transfers. She highlighted Special Revenue Funds that have appropriations, in the current year, by category. Categories are Street Fund, major and local streets, which are primarily funded by Gas and Weight Taxes, police and fire are primarily by millage as well as the Library, Drain and Parks and Recreation. The Judgment Trust Fund is primarily subsidized through transfers from the General Fund and the Municipal Street is a combination but primarily made up of property taxes.

Perpetual Drain Maintenance Fund, Special Assessment Revolving Fund and the Contributions and Donations Funds are not appropriated because there were no appropriations intended for this year.

 

Debt Service Funds are made up of property tax dollars and the interest earnings have been reduced significantly on those funds and those transfers are primarily from the Special Revenue Funds, Major and Local Street. The appropriations for the Debt Service Funds are the principle and interest portions of our debt.

Ms. Smith-Roy stated regarding the Finance Department and their reporting in the upcoming fiscal year they would have to address GASB 34, which is a new requirement. Instead of having two sets of books there will be a third set recording all assets and depreciation of our infrastructure. One of the changes, as a part of this reporting, is that when the budget and financial statements are presented they would show the original budget as well as the amended budget.

Mr. Helwig reviewed the seven categories to be discussed over the three scheduled budget meetings. Key issues would be highlighted and he asked Council to see if additional information would be needed and to express other notions they might have in these categories.

1. SANDSTONE LITIGATION

When 12,000 homeowners were informed of the process four goals were discussed.

1. To not burden residents with additional taxes

2 To not have to guarantee payment of any minimum amount of insurance proceeds.  This has been an expectation of the other side since the beginning and Council made it clear that we are not going to go through these discussions and have that kind of liability  and vulnerability on an ongoing basis to the community. Insurance mediation is set for  1:30 PM on April 30th where all insurance representatives will be in attendance along with  representatives from Sandstone and the City of Novi. The goal is to reach a conclusion on  the insurance portion of this settlement.

3. To settle the case as soon as possible

4. To not reduce basic services provided to the citizens. Funds have been allocated to the  Judgment Trust Fund for three years and nearly $1 million is to cover proposed implementation costs and also, augmented with funds from the Environmental  Infrastructure Fund through Oakland County as far as arsenic cleanup on the land.

2. PUBLIC SAFETY

Primary focus is security emphasis for our community. Chiefs Shaeffer and Lenaghan are quite knowledgeable in this area and a number of things have been done to prevent problems from occurring at any of our facilities. This document includes others that are needed and the recommendations about public safety all come from this increased security emphasis in trying to prevent problems. This includes the fencing of the public works yard, which has been quite an open area up until now. Also included are implementation actions that have been taken such as the EMS Fire Services Task Force and recruitment of paid on call. There is an allocation of $43,000 for turn out gear, which provides the same turn out gear for all fire personnel whether paid on call or full time professionals. There will be a combination department for many years to come and training and gear need to be provided for everyone.

 

 

POLICE STAFFING

In February Council received a Police Officers Staffing Report. Mr. Helwig is sensitive about setting the number of police officers per thousand population because a lot of communities canít afford that type of investment. However, it is a way of comparing with other communities and we are significantly low. This is a step in the direction and over the last two years two firefighters, one police liaison and one traffic enforcement position were added. Three officers do not add significantly to our numbers but it is a beginning. There is a recommendation in this budget for one new police cruiser and a cruiser laptop. There is a lap top replacement initiative for $161,000 in this budget for all 20 vehicles as well as for the new vehicle if three new officers are approved.

Chief Shaeffer spoke about improved efficiency of the department because of laptops. The Officers could write their reports from their vehicles and transmit it to the station. All work can be done from the field and they remain available in the community. The present laptops have been used for almost five years. Technology changes quickly and there are Federal and State mandates for us to transition to a new kind of reporting type service for our statistical data and other components and specialty type crimes to the State and Federal level, which requires us to upgrade our technology. Software vendors will no longer support programs, this is nationwide, that run on the old technology.

Member Landry asked if these laptops were able to withstand heat, food, liquid, baseball bats, etc.? Chief Shaffer said they were. They are ruggedized type computers because the police environment is a harsh environment for them.

Mayor Pro Tem Bononi had no reservations that our finest should have computers in their cars but asked about the overall pricing and felt there was a lot of wiggle room. She spoke about a State Police program that included training and it was $6,200 per unit. She was also concerned about the criteria of the rugged laptop descriptions. We first had a price of $175,780, then $161,000 and the State Police equipment she mentioned was $6,200 per unit including training then we are coming up with a $51,780 difference. She wanted to look to the vendors, get the best possible and maybe better than the criteria shown here. She would be very interested to hear more.

Mayor Clark asked if these were proposed to be purchased through the State pool? Chief Shaeffer said they were and they would be competitively bid. He said he would look into the State Police program but a ruggedized laptop is very expensive. Mayor Clark said the vendors who produce these units is probably substantially less than those who produce the regular laptops. Chief Shaeffer agreed.

Member Csordas noted the article they were in said they were in the $5500 range but didnít know if they were wireless. He asked what process the Chief went through to get to this point. Chief Shaeffer contacted all vendors who had ruggedized computers and identified the minimum specifications needed, processing speed, memory, software and communications package to coordinate with the station. Member Csordas asked if this price would include training, installation and if there would be a new component installed at headquarters to interface with this? Chief Shaeffer said there is training and installation and there is a component that would be installed by private vendors.

 

Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said she was looking for the Capital Improvement people to set a policy statement regarding upgrades so we have a constant flow of technology updates and we are not hit with $161,000 out of one budget.

Mr. Helwig stated that was a key policy issue. He said he was accustomed to phasing on items like laptops. In this budget we are including the replacement of six police cruisers out of 60 marked vehicles. We are not replacing them all at once. He asked about doing the laptops on the six new vehicles as a phasing and replace them all over three years and was told that Novi was one of the first communities in Oakland County to go to the laptop technology. We did that on our own and are now faced with a complete breakdown of the equipment, software and system to the point that total replacement is needed. We need a total review of state-of-the art concept throughout the city.

Mayor Pro Tem Bononi was concerned about business improvement plans for each department and would look forward to that this year.

Mayor Clark said there are Federal mandates relative to reporting requirements and if we went to these ruggedized units over time on a phased in basis could meet the Federal mandates or would it create a problem in that area? Chief Shaeffer said we are in a position now where either all laptops work or none of them work. Currently, none of the old laptops work and cannot be used. Mayor Clark asked if the new equipment would expedite the return of information to the police officer during a stop and Chief Shaeffer said it would. Mayor Clark wanted all officers in this community to have the edge in every area possible. He shared the concerns of the department and in light of events of 9-11 officers need to have every means possible to protect the community.

FIRE STATION NO. 4

Mr. Helwig advised Council was provided with information regarding a meeting with representatives of Liberty Bonding Company as well as their consultant For-Con. It was agreed that on Monday, April 8th, For-Con would set up 16 conferences with the 16 subcontractors whom they have not had a return of a ratification agreement. They would receive payment within 20 days of what is owed to them if they ratify that they would complete their portion of the job. Seven have been signed and returned. The bonding company is keeping their choices open at this point as to whether or not they put it out to bid, go to the second bidder, etc. As of right now, there hasnít been a re-start of construction.

FOCUS ON DANGEROUS BUILDINGS

Mr. Helwig said Novi has quite a number of dangerous buildings and is the number one priority of the Neighborhood Services Committee.

Mr. Klaver spoke about the Maykovich property west of Meadowbrook Road north of Eleven Mile. We have been to court on this, have a judgment that we have been trying to enforce that has generated additional legal disputes and is pleased that it is on Ms. Uglowís list of targeted properties to be reviewed by the hearing officer for dangerous buildings. It is currently at the City Attorneyís office. If will be a challenge but we have to stay on top of it.

 

 

PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS

Mr. Helwig noted an update is provided on some of the initiatives that were in the current fiscal year budget as well as dedicating the addition to the police facility which houses our regional training center and is also used by our staff. It is also where we relocate for our emergency operations center.

FIRE EQUIPMENT REPLACEMENT PROGRAM

Mr. Helwig said the existing voter approved millage would come to a conclusion in 2004.

This is something that needs careful consideration as we look ahead. These are sizable investments for CIP Committee to review.

Chief Lenaghan stated most of the capital improvements in the Fire Department are voter approved including a good portion of our staff and 3 of the 4 buildings. They looked at the cost of fire apparatus as it continues to go up. They try to use apparatus that has dual functions, such as larger water tanks on each truck because there are parts of the City without hydrants so we are still using the tanker type operation. There is an amortization program and we use 20 years for a major piece of equipment and 10 years for a commercial chassis piece of equipment. They try to project the cost of this equipment and to get like equipment it costs about $245,000. Not included in this are four wheel drive, pick-ups, and staff vehicles because it is hard to project the life of these vehicles.

Cars are used by two people and would be kept in service a little longer. One of the other considerations is mileage but most mileage on fire trucks is very low. It is engine hours that take the toll on it. Page 41 contains an overview of when vehicles are expected to be replaced. Older vehicles become reserve vehicles when new vehicles arrive. Older vehicles become maintenance problems and presently we are selling a 1978 Ford and an engine.

Mr. Helwig noted this is a multi year planning tool.

Member Csordas commented that the vehicles and equipment are very well maintained as the Chief runs a military style program and that has helped the City financially over the years.

ROADS

Mr. Helwig stated there is a blueprint, year 2000 Road Bond, from Councilís input and community support and we are finally seeing work unfold in terms of implementing these improvements. Listed is the Road Bond Program so this document could be an ongoing compilation of policy decisions and direction. A year ago we sold the first bond issue of ten million dollars to implement this program.

Ms. Smith-Roy said the next installment depended primarily on how the spending goes on the first bond issue and it looks like we are on target to go out for another issue next year. This will be discussed with our financial advisor and bond Counsel to look at the rates this year because if it looked financially sound to do so we might advance that. The consideration they have to offset by that is the spending for arbitrage, which is a requirement of reporting that is required by the IRS.

 

Member Csordas asked her to explain arbitrage.

Ms. Smith Roy said arbitrage is an IRS reporting requirement that requires municipalities and other governmental entities to track both the timing of the spending of General Obligation bond issues as well as the interest rate on unspent funds over that period. There is a complex formula that takes all of the information into consideration and if our yield over the time period is in excess of the amount expended, there is a requirement that we refund that back to the IRS and funds must be spent within a five year period. Mr. Helwig said it boils down to cities cannot borrow money to make money.

12 MILE ROAD/GAP PROJECTS

Mr. Helwig noted utility work would begin on the 12 Mile Road GAP Project on April 17th. prior to widening road east of Novi Road to just west of Meadowbrook.

SOUTH LAKE DRIVE TASK FORCE

The South Lake Drive Task Force has been included because Council authorized the engineering work to proceed and come back through the Storm Water Management Watershed Committee as well as Council in terms of all aspects of this major improvement. A year or two ago, we programmed $1.2 million for South Lake Drive improvements. That was a guestimate and was moved up to $1.9 million and until we hear form the engineers who go through this process, we wonít know definitely but it is a lengthy improvement from 13 Mile Road to West Park Drive with most work concentrated and in pedestrian areas.

PASER - NEIGHBORHOOD RESURFACING

Mr. Helwig said the PASER system helps us make objective choices and would be coming back this spring for the summerís neighborhood resurfacing program. This year we have the obligation to finish up Village Oaks resurfacing by June 30th, which was the first installment of our increased annual neighborhood street resurfacing program.

ROAD DEICING AND SNOW REMOVAL

Member Helwig also spoke about the concerted effort that had been made to improve road de-icing/snow removal services. This is the second year operating with the winter maintenance agreement with the Road Commission of Oakland County, which means Novi has primary response to Ten Mile Road, Grand River Ave. and Novi Road. The Road Commission is still doing Twelve Mile and the City received numerous comments from the community about how pleased they are with the service for road salt and road cleaning. Also, the neighborhoods are being done sooner and more often.

ROAD PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS

We continue to push on the Grand River Avenue bridge over the CSX railroad tracks. CSX stated their review would be completed by April 26th. It was still his hope that the bridge would come down this year even though it would be seven or eight months without the ability to traverse that section of Grand Rive Avenue. They did informally, during brainstorming suggest that when Council came forward a year ago with an additional $1,475,000 because the State

funding and the Critical Bridge Program would not do the length of approaches for a camel back bridge, they asked about bifurcating the contracts and do a demolition contract and they absolutely said no and the railroad would not have agreed to that. He said they would continue to push.

Mayor Pro Tem Bononi was not accepting of corporate non-actions and felt this was totally unsatisfactory and encouraged everyone, present and watching, to write a letter to the CEO of CSX and she would also do that. We are looking to improve this bridge not only for our public safety but also to benefit CS X as a result of the design of this bridge. If it is one dollar more than we would have to pay otherwise, then they are benefiting. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi felt to be late to a local community in which they do commerce and make money is unacceptable. She was not ready to accept that kind of treatment for our community and would follow up on this.

Mayor Pro Tem Bononi admired Mr. McCuskerís accomplishments and asked if he had resources needed to bring home all these things in one calendar because this is a very ambitious program. What is the practical outlook for all of the key issues shown on page 42 and the neighborhood/subdivision improvements on page 43?

Mr. McCusker said itís taken a year to review the equipment, programs and if there was a real program in place for maintenance activities on the roads and bike paths. The PASER system has helped put something together. Being in a rapid growth system, we need to finish putting programs and policies together along with the road and bike path programs and the next phase of the PASER system so we have a full program that includes equipment, changeovers, policies and programs in place for basic maintenance for all parts of the community: infrastructure, water and sewer. We have talked a lot about shoring up the water systems. To put people in locations and developing those programs to go back and visit these areas on a regular basis will take some time. He believed a major emphasis is securing what we have and then putting policies and procedures into place to keep those in place and maintaining those features that we have added to the community. There are a number of programs still in review. The bike paths are a big one. We have a large investment, along with the roads, to be able to put that program into place at the same time with the roads in the future so if we are in a section of town we need to make sure the bike paths are at the same time the ROWís are getting the same attention. Also, coordination of signs, hydrants, and water gates below ground are all being catalogued with the help of Mr. Maurice.

Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked if a road bond program was doable and if there was a plan? Mr. McCusker said there was. It has worked well with the new Planning Department because there is a lot of communication between all the departments. A great resource is the website where they receive communications from residents, Council and the Mayor that puts them in touch daily with what is going on. He felt they could do what is doable this year and could track the construction procedures, clean up some of the history and close outs on things that have been out there for a while would help greatly. It puts us one step ahead of the maintenance for next year. Their future goal is to have five years engineered out so that each year the engineering is done so there is never a question, when they come before Council, what the dollars are or what section of town had to be done. Once that is put into a manual and it becomes policy through Councilís direction it makes life so much easier. Then other things can be done such as catching up on maintenance, changing of the equipment and those types of activities.

Clay Pearson stated that Mr. McCusker has just scratched the surface in terms of whatís needed to get our systems and ongoing processes in place. While building those systems and looking ahead we are getting work done. In terms of actual projects scheduled for this year, they will be constructed as planned. Action is beginning on construction and we will build the intersections that were awarded by Council last October, we will get engineer reviews and go out to bid on the additional intersection work that is a part of the road bond. There are many projects coordinated with RCOC and MDOT. We used $18 million of City of Novi funds to leverage a total of $80 million in improvements and that money comes from other people and they have their oversight. We can do what we have committed to do.

Mr. McCusker said dirt road and gravel roads take more time than regular roads and they are looking at putting something in place that would get us through until major pavings could be financed.

Mayor Pro Tem Bononi spoke about a proposal from Mr. Robbins on the north end about relief for those in the north end from mud and dust and with everything that we do to extend infrastructure that is goal #14, page 42, that Council agreed was one of our priorities. She said a Council motion was made with regard to investigating cost sharing at municipal boundaries where intersection improvements are concerned. These are on page 43, 14 Mile Road and Novi, 8 Mile Road and Beck and 14 Mile and Welch and asked if we have any kick in on any of these intersections?

Mr. Pearson said those were projects in engineering now. The RCOC announced they would be paving 14 Mile Road at their expense and would include some work at Welch and would provide an opportunity to piggyback whatever else needed to be done with our funds onto what the County is doing. They are looking at all those perimeter intersections.

Mayor Clark said just from the comments Mr. McCusker had made he could see why this community is fortunate and blessed to have him as part of Noviís team. The difference he has made in such a short time has been outstanding.

CITY SERVICES

Mr. Helwig said a very important hallmark of this government has been to increase the frequency and efforts of communicating with citizens. We have had neighborhood focus groups before the road bond issue was presented to the community and it was hard to beat that face to face interaction. We are trying to increase the clarity and dependability of communication. City Council meetings are now taped and aired at more convenient times for the viewing public and there will be four community newsletters this year. The Community Relations Manager will join the Novi staff on April 22nd and would be introduced at the April 15th Council meeting. Sheís brings a lot of abilities that will enhance our performance in terms of communication with the public both in crisis times and routine times. She has been involved with crisis management in a hospital environment, community stakeholders, many employees, television media, health issues, etc. She lives in Novi and will bring increased ability to enhance communication with the public. Other efforts and abilities we have, that became apparent last September was that they put a team together and put out 12,000 notices to the community, in 48 hours, about framework for a Sandstone litigation settlement.

 

 

WATER AND SEWER RATES

Ms. Smith-Roy said as far as water and sewer rates their practice had been over the last 15 years or so was to pass along the rate increases that have been passed on to us. We have not increased fees because of services we are providing and donít include in the rate increases the complete replacement of infrastructure. We include a small portion of replacement costs but very little with the thought being that we are issuing revenue bonds now to put in infrastructure and the placement of that would also be done with revenue bonds in the future. The user today will not be paying for todayís system as well as the future system.

Member DeRoche asked if revenue bonds were being paid down with tap fees?

Ms. Smith-Roy said they were being paid down with fees from operations and tap fees. Member DeRoche said it would be interesting to see, in the future, the projections as the tap fees slow down to make sure we have enough in our fee to pay for future revenue bond issues. She said the financial projection includes the interest expense related to that debt and agreed further projections should be done and may be it could be included in next years budget process.

Mayor Clark stated Novi has never taken a rate increase from Detroit and then added a markup to that, we only pass on the increase. Some communities mark those increases up by as much as 40%. It isnít a money maker for the City.

Mayor Pro Tem Bononi wondered why Novi couldnít ask for the lowest increase that the Detroit Water System has offered any other community and who would negotiate that for us? How do they determine what the percentages are and how come our percentages are at the top and do we have to accept that? Mr. Helwig said there is a meeting April 15th where the Detroit Water and Sewer System would lay out the complete process.

Bruce Jerome said the variable rates for each community was because the Detroit Water and Sewer System goes by distance from the source to the center of your community and for the difference in elevation from the source to the community. Other factors are based on total consumption in a year and peak hour and peak day that are directly tied to how that total consumption is used. Our rates would be higher than someone who is at a lower elevation, purchases less water and is closer to the source.

Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked for documentation to show how those costs were calculated and also compared to other communities utilizing the criteria Mr. Jerome talked about. Mr. Helwig said it would be his first time seeing the actual formula as opposed to a negotiation climate. He would be extremely frustrated and perturbed if this were a negotiation climate. He said all credibility would be lost with their customers if there is no sound formula for arriving at the rates. She said it was her concern that if others have the ability to do that how would it affect what our customers would pay.

Mayor Clark stated the Detroit Water System is very old and is being upgraded pursuant to Federal mandates and a Federal lawsuit. That has a lot to do with the costs that are being generated. He asked Mr. Jerome if their intake facility was in the middle of Lake Huron?

 

 

Mr. Jerome said the water that comes to Novi is from the Port Huron plant. They also have two intakes on the Detroit River and one at Belle Isle.

PLAN REVIEW CENTER

Mr. Helwig said they had hit a work plan they could deliver on. Summaries have been provided regarding important results. Currently we are $64,000 ahead of what the 12 months were forecasted to be in terms of the savings by taking some of these functions, particularly plan review, and doing them in house. We have excellent response from users of this system especially during the open house Monday evening. We now have the ability on any given day with a landscape architect, staff City engineer, a planner and augmented by Mr. Pearson and Mr. McCusker to go out to the field with an applicant to review comprehensively a response to a question or review a situation and using pre-application meetings to everyoneís best advantage to avoid surprises. We want to add to the skeleton number of individuals to enable us to do 100% of the plan reviews in house. This is complicated, detailed work and currently, our engineer is barely able to do 1/3 of the work because we didnít give her the other two people last year and she doesnít have the support to do all the plan reviews.

WOODLAND ASSISTANCE w/TWO WOODLAND TECHNICIAN POSITIONS

Mr. Helwig said 100% of plan review could be done in house with 2 additional engineers and one of the civil engineers would be totally dedicated to roads, which would allow more to be done. We could stay on top of pavement management system and perhaps starting to do some of those costs Council inquired about this winter about what roads should be done. Also, Ms. Lemke closed her practice and is only working in the private sector. He wanted to continue with what has been done over the last several months with woodland technician personnel. It would pay for itself and is a critical priority of the community and he felt we should have that unique confidence in the organization.

Clay Pearson stated itís been like getting a start-up company together with our systems and processes in place. A lot of work has been done on site plans and improving our process and that will continue. Ms. Lemke not only did woodlands but also landscaping and there is about a quarter of the projects going on now that donít have any woodlands. It is important to keep in mind that virtually every project has landscaping and it is definitely something that can be coordinated in house but he felt additional resources were necessary. He said they couldnít continue to do it without additional resources or to change and go back to hiring a consultant. The workload is intense and Ms. Lemke had 3-4 full time people working only on Novi projects.

Member DeRoche commented Mr. Helwig and Mr. Pearsonís comments scare him because we are talking about starting up a business while this is a government. He thought we were getting professionals to oversee what we farm out for the extra work. If two people are needed during the peak season then we bid that out and hire those professional services but we have someone on staff competent to do the work when they can. Basically, that we are not going to build this government up to do the job of all these consultants we have hired. What you do when you do that is develop a legacy where you look back at the government ten years later and they say well we need to privatize everything because nothingís working and we have ten employees that are creating work for themselves and pension, health insurance, etc. when the organization changes down the road. The discussions in the past had assurances that we were only going to hire enough people capable of doing the work but the extra work should be

bid out and awarded to vendors and then we can be assured five or ten years from now that we still have the right size of government. He didnít want to be offensive but he thought the "we can do it better in-house" argument could be disputed. The advantage of outsourcing the extra work is that it could always be done better or the person that isnít doing it up to your par could be replaced by another bidder or vendor easier. However, if you build up a government organization and a department is not responding then there is a significant problem that might take years to adjust. He asked if we are trying to replace all of the employees of all of these consultants that we used to bring things in house or are you getting just enough people to oversee it.

Mayor Clark said the biggest problem with government is it is not run like a business because some people feel there is an endless source of money from taxpayerís checkbook. Successful government is run like a business. He agreed with Mr. Pearson. It is like starting up a new business and it is going to take time and people are going to have to put in some long hours but once it is up and running like a business there should not be any need for that because it would be run efficiently and economically. We have already seen cost savings by doing some of the things in house. This has nothing to do with trying to build an empire. This is about giving the community the best possible government that it can get. If the plan is carried out to fruition we will have one of the finest City governments in this State and others will come to us to look at how to run a government efficiently.

Member DeRoche said he thought this government should be run like a business but his concern was that we were trying to replicate the former consultants.

Mr. Helwig hoped their track record speaks to this. Included in this budget is the elimination of two administrative positions that if we were truly preoccupied with building this government we would have never suggested abolishing those positions. He said they were here to streamline and consolidate and felt the communication was better without these layers and that we can respond better to citizens and the like. Regarding using existing business, outsourcing will continue and will always continue. We are doing that now. We didnít get the resources a year ago but we are very strongly requesting them now to do 100% of the plan review in this organization and in order to do that 2 engineers would enable us to do that and provide oversight in the areas of roads and utilities. We have utility about to commence at the 12 Mile and Novi Road intersection and the 12 Mile GAP. Companies are dropping off utility poles on site and they need our oversight and management. This isnít about replicating what other businesses do. This would go so far in terms of building abilities in this organization and responding to citizen complaints. Our people are out everyday seeing what the complaints are. He would rather have JCK surveying the 75 acres for the Sandstone proposed settlement than reviewing plans.

Member DeRoche asked how big the department would grow? Mr. Helwig stated he had no further plans beyond these three engineers. As we switch from dealing with more new investment to more replacement and maintenance, we will still need these people. He felt this would enable us to meet or beat the communityís expectations. Member DeRoche said they were in agreement before and are in agreement now but he thought the residents would know that Novi would remain a lean government and this is responsible hiring of employees and the long term ramifications of this have been evaluated.

 

 

Mayor Pro Tem Bononi commented she has concerns about how this is working. The initial financial numbers are great, but looking at the numbers on page 56 we realize that the greatest benefit has come from a reduction in consulting hourly charges and elimination of retainers. In the future, she would be looking at how the applications we review produce revenue to cover our costs. She suggested this group should talk with Randy Auler regarding the direct and indirect costs for applications and receipt of service for recreation activities. She wants their level of performance so high that there is no room to make a penny of profit; so that those fees generated would self fund this group.

She would also look at the evaluation vehicle for this program because there are people working in a project management setting as opposed to a direct report setting. On page 53, it states that staff is examining the site plan review fee schedule and hoped that would be done quickly. Regarding Page 53, last paragraph, how much did the department cost relative to that with regard to building improvement. She didnít have a fix on how much it cost. Regarding whether or not there is a difference between contracting out services for these types of activities and having in house people she commented there was a great difference in work done in house because people have a vested interest in the job they do and are accountable for the performance they give to the government entity. They perform "at will" and can also be discharged "at will". She thought long-term consultancies become political.

How will this group deliver per the expectation of the community? We know a lot of people are dissatisfied with the way we do business with regard to building activities. The expectation of the community should be the #1 concern of this group. Secondarily, the quality of product that this group is delivering is of great concern to her. She said the quality of the product she is seeing with regard to development proposals has not improved and she felt that in often cases it has declined. There are too many waivers, too many recommendations that go against the flow of what is good land use practice, too many ZBA appeals and she doesnít see an improvement in the quality of the applications and that goes back to pre-application development meetings. She suggested that something be done if we want a quality product.

Mayor Pro Tem Bononi would not support the woodland functions being handled by the forester and two technicians operating out of the Parks and Recreation Department. She didnít believe that, as far as she knew, that these positions had the qualifications that are required and she felt this area should be subcontracted. She also had concerns about wetlands and architectural review functions being carried out by subcontractors if we continue to use the subcontractors we have now. Oftentimes the quality of the product with regard to information coming out of the plan review center is redundant, paper heavy and unnecessary. She also wanted to know who was paying for a lot of the information that is coming along with these products that appear to be time intensive. We donít need to be providing photographs at taxpayer expense. If the developer wants to then they should.

She felt there was a necessity for a full time traffic engineer and the engineers proposed one of them is designated as a traffic engineer. One of our problems in has been that, until recently, we didnít have an engineer with specific ITE traffic engineering experience and attitude and it is something we really need to do.

Mayor Pro Tem Bononi noted she thought this was the direction to go but was concerned that they get so in love with their own process that they donít make hard decisions with regard to

 

evaluating their process and plan. She was also concerned about too many people being added on too quickly and we need to be very careful of that. Also, the second most important concern she had was the qualifications of people who would be in charge of woodland review. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi thought the landscape architect they have now does an excellent job and if we have her or someone of her caliber, experience and dedication doing that kind of work she would be satisfied with that. However, in this community, people at the technical level are not good enough.

Mr. Helwig asked if there were any other comments or direction in this area and said they would definitely come back for further deliberations based on what had been mentioned and particularly the qualifications.

EMPLOYEE VITALITY

Tia Gronlund-Fox said through the Employee Recognition Program they handed out Service Recognition Certificates in January. They want to elaborate on that and also focus on achievement, performance and other areas where employees excel. They have spoken with other communities that utilize this type of program and showed Council members a picture of the pin or charm to be given for employee recognition. It is important that employees know how well received their work is, their productivity and their dedication to the City and residents.

Ms. Gronlund-Fox noted many communities as well as the private sector have Employee Assistance Programs and they have spoken with seven different vendors that provide these programs. They all offer the program to the employees and their dependents. This program would help enhance their life at work and outside of work. Personal problems sometimes, inadvertently, are brought to work, and sometimes there are attitude problems. This program could help the employee and their families sort through their problems and would make their interaction with other employees better, make their performance better and overall happier at home and at work. They felt it would also cut down on employee absenteeism.

Member Csordas asked if this was by phone or face to face. Ms. Gronlund-Fox said it began with a phone call where the employeeís situation would be accessed and could lead to counseling. Every vendorís cost was per member per month. The sessions range from 1-3, one vendor offers 6-8 and a couple offer 4 sessions per situation. Member Csordas asked if additional counseling is recommended is it covered under medical? Ms. Gronlund-Fox said all the vendors hold Masters Degrees or higher and after evaluating the employees through their appointments they feel extensive treatment was needed they would coordinate with the insurance company. He asked what the per member per month fee was. She advised it ranged from $1.69 to $3 per employee per month. Member Csordas asked who would pay for additional counseling beyond what the vendor offers? She said the employeeís health plan.

Member Landry asked if maximum contacts were maximum per issue? Ms. Gronlund-Fox responded some are per issue and some offer per year. She said they preferred going per issue. He asked if an employee received five counseling sessions for a marital problem in six months and if a year later the same issue comes up again, is it covered? She said that was one of the things they were working out. Member Landry said if that employee who needed the marriage counseling two months later needed grief counseling would they get help? Ms. Gronlund-Fox said that was what they were looking for. The different providers offer different

programs. Ms. Gronlund-Fox clarified that all of the counseling are face to face they are not face to face. There are some providers that offer service by phone but that is not what they are looking for.

Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said it sounded interesting but that we would be providing this service was questionable to her. She wasnít convinced of the need for this or that this service would not be overlapped by other services available in the community.

She felt employee recognition was a most critical activity and didnít need $7,000 to do it. We could be very creative without being extravagant about it. Being recognized for what we do on a continual basis is most rewarding with regard to productivity and quality of work. She would support no more than $1,000 for employee recognition awards but would not support employee counseling. Member Csordas noted if there was an Employee Assistance Program there would have to be monthly utilization reports and Ms. Gronlund-Fox advised the vendors offer that. Member DeRoche asked whether it would be a $1,000 gift to the employee or was that for the total plan. Member Bononi said total and said beautiful laser engraved plaques for $60-$70. Member Landry asked if there was anything other than recognition pins? Ms. Gronlund-Fox said there was and she could provide that information. Member Landry asked what employees like best in other communities? Mayor Pro Tem Bononi noted plaques give people a feeling of pride. Mr. Helwig noted any support on this idea would be appreciated and five-year intervals are significant anniversaries and he felt pins or charms are very nice and could be displayed on their person.

Employee Assistance Programs are an investment in people when they are struggling and, oftentimes, troubled employees donít know where to go and this is a way to direct them in a positive channel to get help. Then it is their responsibility.

REPLACEMENT/UPGRADE OF VARIOUS INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY RESOURCES

Ms. Smith-Roy said two years ago they tried to institute a plan to rotate a replacement program on a three-year basis so obsolete equipment could be replaced on a phasing period rather than all at one time. Last year they were not able to do so although they did have some emergency replacements and upgrades in the last budget amendment. She thought it is important to set up some funds in our contingency to cover replacements and upgrades during this next fiscal year. $50,000 is not really going to do a lot but it would help the cause.

Member Landry spoke about the desire to fully integrate all of the information technology in the City. He asked if this was just putting out a fire and not taking any steps to fully integrating anything? She said that is correct. We literally have some PCís at peopleís desks that are five and six years old and are not able to work with the software we have now. Thereís only so much maintenance that can be done on them but if they are not functional and a computer is crashing, and the computer is being turned on and off and we are bringing up IT people, it is not cost effective. This is our plan to help in those situations. This wonít even begin to fund the consultants we would like to bring in to evaluate our system and help us make a selection to integrate all of our software together. Member Landry asked if there was any progress being made to integrating our computer systems? Ms. Smith-Roy said hopefully next year we will have some things behind us in terms of how we use our discretionary funds. Next year the plan is to bring an advisor in to help evaluate what our needs are and phase these programs in over two years. When the police computer system was brought on line they obtained an

installment loan rather than go out for bonds. Something like that could be done again to phase in the project. Member Landry said then it is a subject for next year?

Mr. Helwig agreed and said when you take 43% off the top for judgment trust fund issues it precludes so many other things. He said he had been involved with HTE, a major vendor that works with municipalities and it is phased in from financial management systems, human resource management systems, etc. and we might not be there in terms of size, scope and needs but the ability of these systems to talk to each other and grounded in common information base is very helpful to a community.

Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked how many people were working in house in the IT Department? Mr. Pearson said there were 2-1/2 positions authorized. She thought that was very light. Mr. Pearson said there is also a consulting firm dealing with networking issues and larger scale specialty issues and they also fill in when needed. Currently we have 2 vacant positions so they are here on a daily basis. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked to hear more about that because when itís shut down our employees canít do their work.

STREAMLINE ADMINISTRATIVE OVERHEAD

Mr. Helwig said looking at the program highlights the Neighborhood Services Committee always tried to mention the important work this group is doing. It is neighborhood focused and into community problem solving using all the various disciplines.

PROPERTY AND LIABILITY INSURANCE

Mr. Klaver commented about the catastrophic effect the insurance companies are feeling as a result of claims arising out of the September 11th incident. This is affecting re-insurance markets that are bearing the brunt of the claims received to date and the many millions of dollars of claims that are expected. That is a significant component of our MML pool and they are alerting us that they are anticipating as much as a 30% increase. We are working with another vendor to explore alternative sources of insurance.

HOMEOWNER ASSOCIATION LEADERíS BREAKFAST

Mr. Klaver reported on meetings with the neighborhood associations. We are bringing the Police Departmentís Lt. McNamara and our forester Steve Printz to the meetings when the issues in the local neighborhoods require. He thought this had been a tremendous program and outreach. The homeownerís association breakfast attendees expressed their gratitude for their involvement and the cityís help to dissolve some issues.

VALVE EXERCISING AND WATER MAIN FLUSHING PROGRAM

Bruce Jerome said they were requesting an additional position to provide valve exercising and main flushing, which are key components of a routine maintenance program on a distribution system. The purpose of the program is to insure that the valves donít freeze up and do operate when needed, it keeps the seals in the valve wet and maintenance for the main flushing program. There are approximately 300 dead end water mains and there is a concern that as water stands in pipes it becomes stale and you have water quality issues to deal with.

 

Flushing those systems is a part of a routine maintenance program. In summer we sell water to pool companies and we set up the hydrant locations that they work from on some of the dead end mains so we are actually getting revenue for the water that we are flushing through the system and we are freshening the water. It is not uncommon to get sediment in the bottom of the pipe and the main flushing program keeps that from accumulating. There are in excess of 4,000 valves on the water systems not counting the fire hydrant valves and that has been broken out to about 120 man days to exercise a majority of the valves in the system. They are looking at a hydraulic valve turner. A ten inch valve would take 80 turns to open and 80 turns to close and the hydraulic valve turner would allow them to increase the number of valves they could operate and would be much easier on the employees.

Mr. Jerome said when he had talked about rates earlier he wanted to add that those factors that Detroit applies are applied to every wholesale customer across the board. It is how you fit on the elevation, distance, volume of water and your peaks that determine the difference in the rate. The factors are quite consistent.

PARKS, RECREATION AND FORESTRY

Mr. Helwig talked about the area of the landing at 13 Mile Road and Old Novi Road and the other area formerly designated as a potential relocation site of the DPW facility and Council concluded that this would not come to pass. These are open space areas to be considered additions to the parks inventory.

Mr. Helwig commented they are in negotiations for the renewal of the Ice Arena contract with the management company. He mentioned the money being generated by the Sprint Communication Tower and the fact now that there is one other co-location provider on that tower with potential of another. He said information was provided to Council about land for the adjacent Sports Complex that would like to expand and take a portion of the City owned property and what that market value has been appraised at could be considered for helping out the ice arena.

Mr. Klaver said they have had several meetings about the ice arena contract and Ms. Smith-Roy is assisting them. Additionally, direction was provided to Mr. Anastos regarding the idea of the naming rights and when the economy picks back up they would be able and ready to unroll that program. They are also looking at other arenas for program structure etc., and at the possibility of putting in soccer fields at the rear of the ice arena area. It might include 2 fields and a 40-car parking lot that would be accessed by the service drive.

They have had conversations with Mr. Healy of the Sports Club and their interest in acquiring property that is not being utilized by the Ice arena. They have talked with bonding attorney, Mr. Neiman and the topic had been introduced at a Building Authority meeting.

Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked about profitability, even though small, it was good to have Mr. Anastos at the helm because he is generating $20,000. The funds generated by Cellular Tower are $50,000 a year? Mr. Helwig said there was $50,000 when we signed, $50,000 when construction started which was $100,000 the first year. Mr. Klaver thought they got $18,000 a year for Sprint and we do have A T & T at a second co-location and there is a third company hoping to locate on the tower and we get a percentage of each of those locations. Mr. Klaver said he would get those numbers. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said if we get $50,000 a

year not including the profit that Mr. Anastos generates and talking about whatís owed to the General Fund and about a ten year payback, and whatís the life of that building? Mr. Klaver said he would follow up on those issues. She was interested in knowing that because at the point it begins needing significant repairs whether or not the City should looking into that as one of our long-term goals. She suggested a task force to look into it so we can see a scenario of what we can hope to achieve as a result of the gains that have been made so far.

Mayor Clark said it was tentatively valued in excess of $200,000 and the land came to us from Mr. Weiss there was a stipulation that it must be used for recreation purposes. Perhaps we could negotiate with him selling the land with the understanding that the revenue generated would again go to the elimination of the deficit on the ice arena. Mr. Klaver noted the two $50,000 payments on execution of the contract and issuance of the building permit for the cell tower were the first year payments in lieu of any rent paid by Sprint. So, in the second year we have estimated anywhere from $15,000 to $25,000 per year depending on the number of co-locations and the price is negotiated because that was a Sprint responsibility as we structured that deal and then we get a percentage of that. He said Mr. Healy has had conversations with Mr. Weiss and his original thought was to possibility expand to the north which would be on one of Mr. Weissí sites that he has retained. He thought Mr. Weiss was already thinking along those lines. Mr. Helwig noted another aspect is theyíve offered to do a hard surface emergency drive to help service the ice arena on the north side of the building.

Member Csordas asked about taking the revenue from the tower to retire debt. Mr. Klaver said that was one of the issues Mr. Neiman was asked to investigate. There is a limit without jeopardizing the tax-exempt bonds to additional revenue. However, it was Mr. Neimanís recollection that that land was not acquired with the bond proceeds so that would not be an issue in terms of selling off excess property. There is a provision in the agreement that a professional architect would have to certify that none of the disposition of that land would impact the operations of the arena. The Building Authority would have to review it and sign off on it. Member Csordas asked if all of the revenues from any of these additional co-located tower functions could be applied to reduce the debt? Mr. Klaver said yes.

Member Landry asked if the Enterprise Fund Chart on page 253 was a snapshot of the financial condition of the arena? Ms. Smith-Roy responded it was. Member Landry asked looking at 2001-2002 estimated about net profit or loss, is that on a cash basis up until that point? Ms. Smith-Roy said it was up to an accrual basis, the next two line items present it as a cash basis. Member Landry said the total revenue is estimated for 2001-2002 as $1,799,000. She agreed and he asked if that was all the cash estimated to come in. Ms. Smith-Roy said yes. Member Landry said then the next operating expense is supplies and other services are cash that goes out. She said it is cash and also includes depreciation, which is a non-cash item and that is why the presentation is to show where we would be on a cash basis so the net profit and loss is book loss. He asked what the $37,800 net impact on cash meant? Ms. Smith-Roy said they were hoping that is the portion of cash available to be returned to the General Fund as of June 30th. He said then if these figures are correct, $37,800 would go back into the General Fund. She agreed. Member Landry said then the ice arena would have paid for itself. Ms. Smith-Roy state no, that would be against the General Fund loan that is approximately $800,000. This would be the first year of a positive cash flow from the arena. He asked what "Less Principal" is? She said in order to get to a true cash basis you add that depreciation and subtract the principal on the debt because the accounting for these enterprise funds is just like a business. You subtract the depreciation on the interest expense to get to book income or loss. To get to cash basis you add that to the depreciation and subtract the principle on the debt because that is a balance sheet item.

MEADOWBROOK COMMONS

Mr. Klaver said as of January they are at 100% occupancy and the only vacancy is transitional. There are only 6 issues related to original construction such as landscaping and site considerations that they are waiting for warm weather to deal with those. Lauren McGuire has been a great asset in assisting with the completion of those issues. There will be a Building Authority meeting in June or July to pass along some thoughts to Council. Staff noted it had been a wonderful experience with much positive feedback from the residents on their experience. We hosted a meeting with other community coordinators and also received positive feedback on that as well. He said PM One provided supervision on rental units. There was a 3% rent increase this year on the ranch units and they are looking a 3.5% or 4% increase on the main building. The PM One contract will be up in a few months.

Member Csordas asked if PM One had shown an interest in extending their contract? Mr. Klaver said they had.

AFTER SCHOOL RECREATION PROGRAM

Mr. Helwig said the after school recreation program was funded through grant that would not be replaced.

Mr. Klaver noted this had been very popular and they had tried to make this self-supporting. There were very modest fees focusing on special activities and last year they increased those to help cover some of the cost knowing that the grant would run out. They eliminated the site at soccer zone and focused on the ice arena site. This program is not sustainable through the fees and the school is offering a program that is similar and they recommended not to continue this program.

COMPLETION OF PARKS CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT PROJECTS

Mr. Helwig said this is a concern to them. The restroom facilities are incomplete and 3-4 weeks worth of work is necessary to finish those. The bonding company selected a firm to complete this so it appears that portion of the default with Greystone is on track and a subsidiary of For Con would do the construction completion work.

Forestry and park maintenance issues were also highlighted. The first year he was here, he received more complaints about tree issues than anything else. There are needs here and we havenít seen a way to recommend additional personnel.

Randy Auler spoke about the proposed 5 year Master Plan update. There are 5 positions that take care of all maintenance parks and forestry division. There is one support position for mechanical items such as the vehicle, equipment, etc. The nature of the forestry operation often requires 2 highly trained certified individuals to maintain compliance with safety issues. We are short of people and supplement with seasonal people but the training and time period of the seasonal people and some of their expertise makes it sometimes difficult to accomplish

the maintenance level needed within the parks and forestry division. They are trying to improve the quality of their recreation services and the parks maintenance operation. How the park facilities look has an impact on business within our community and our perception within the community of people looking to relocate here. So, that is a major focus for them.

Mr. Auler believed in a team-managed organization and they have formed sub-teams and cross-functional teams to help accommodate those needs mentioned on the maintenance and the forestry operation this year. They are working with the DPW on some operations and P & R can supplement with seasonal people some of the DPW functions.

The number one thing they would always be about was serving our customer and quality and they define quality as exceeding the residentís expectations. Mr. Auler said the approach he brings is like a business approach and bringing private sector methods to the operations in terms of focus groups with the residents, pricing programs on activity based costing so the actual cost of the service is covered and in essence would become self-supporting on the recreation end. Hopefully, that would free up tax money for maintenance, capital development and operations.

Mr. Auler said they were going into a 5-year strategic action plan. The State requires 5 year Master Plan on file that looks at land acquisition and parkland development and enables eligibility for Federal and State grand monies. The strategic action plan is more or less a business plan that we look at our internal operations as it relates to information services, to marketing, recreation services and how they align our resources to best meet the communities needs and expectations. They will hold a series of focus group meetings, then a series of public meetings as well and then request a joint work session with the Council and the Park Commission to share their findings.

Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked considering the small amount of grant funding available, who would write those? Mr. Auler stated heís written grants and most of his staff has written grants. The two major grant programs now are the LWCF program which funds development and parkland and the Natural Resources Fund. They are able to do that in house along with partnering with our fellow team members in the Plan Review Center. She was fascinated with the idea of his woodlands people interacting with the DPW. Perhaps her original statement of not supporting woodland technicians is the fact that we are talking about oranges and apples here. We are talking about someone who has the ability to do highly technical woodlands reviews and we are talking about another need, which he obviously had, with regard to the technician part. So, maybe we can re-look at that from a functional point.

Mr. Klaver spoke about Mr. Printzís proposal to submit to the Ordinance Review Committee about the developers and street trees. Mr. Klaver said their recommendation was to look at going back to requiring the developer to provide street trees. Also, a few months ago they had made a recommendation on the Woodland Review Board that it be converted to a true review board of three citizens, remove our staff people from the position of making those kinds of evaluations and instead serving as resource to a review board much like the property tax review board. He requested Council input on whether that would be an acceptable suggestion. Lastly, they would be looking for Council direction regarding street tree replacements. This is not a warranty issue but rather as urban forests mature, we need to develop a policy for trees that become diseased and have aged.

Mayor Pro Tem Bononi noted working on the Woodlands Review Board could sometimes be a contentious situation. She thought it took some of the bias out of decision making having citizens on the board. It would put some of the input back into the community with regard to protecting those resources, which in the year 2003 will have to be logged as to what is preserved and what isnít. Regarding developers being responsible for planting trees the Ordinance Review Committee had already reviewed that with regard to language in the proposals.

Member DeRoche commented he was glad, regarding street trees, to hear of the focus and attention it was being given. Our program has been largely unsuccessful and he felt most developers would welcome the chance to have more control over the trees.

RECOMMENDED NEW CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT PROJECTS

Mr. Auler noted there are restroom facilities within the parks that have no pathway for physically challenged people to access the facilities and they are looking to implementing those improvements so everyone can access the facilities within the parks. Parking needs to be more accessible closer to the Tim Pope Memorial Play Structure and they are looking to improve those areas. The Power Park Playground Project has a lot of playground work to do and they have a 5-year plan. One of the Power Park playgrounds was removed since it didnít meet some of the CPSC guidelines for safety.

Regarding renovation of school ball fields the school corporation will have expansion projects going on and the need for ball field space, whether baseball or soccer, may decrease depending on their program. We have almost 1500 youth in the soccer programs and have a need for addition usage. They had been approached by the Novi Youth Baseball Association and McKenna Associates who will donate time to draw up plans for conceptual designs to upgrade our facilities to be able to use them better. They are looking at doing that at the Community Sports Park facility and the soccer and softball associations, Novi Youth Baseball and the City involved. The goal is to have a conceptual plan to enhance the facilities at Community Sports Park and look at a public/private partnership where this $50,000 could be used to do some improvements at the facility and then get in kind contribution to improve the facility. He had two corporations that have an interest in this and will serve on the steering committee. The conceptual plan and cost estimates should be complete this month and they would then share it with Council and the community for support. Some of the soccer fields have dips in them and we donít have enough field space to accommodate all the groups who use our fields. With the public/private partnership they hope to enhance the complexes with better turf, irrigation, dirt, dugouts, scoreboards, etc. it would expand the program ability to serve more youth.

The Brookfarm tennis court renovation would include resurfacing the courts and improving the fencing and netting system.

Lakeshore Park improvements would include the road and parking lot, which are gravel, and he suggested tying this in with South Lake Drive improvements. Member Csordas asked what the full time business of McKenna & Associates was? Mr. Auler said they are landscape architect and planners and have done ball fields across the State and had won State awards from the professional association. Member Csordas questioned the involvement of McKenna and Associates regarding development and management of the project because we have been

here before with the ice arena. They are the planners not the developers and would provide the design for improvements and cost estimates and then they would be out of it.

Member Csordas said these 6 items were chosen and not in the order they were recommended and he asked why.

Mr. Auler said they tried to take all the information from the various groups and blend those together and base it on where the biggest need was at that time. Member Csordas said Lakeshore Park road improvements are at $158,000 and it was presented to the Capital Improvement Committee as $133,000.

Ms. Smith-Roy stated when it was taken to the Planning Commission they combined two items from CIP suggestions so it is actually a combination of 73 and 62. They said if the improvements were going to be done on the road instead of just laying the base they would lay the base and do the asphalt at the same time. Mr. Helwig explained, on page 137, which is the Park Recreation and Forestry section of the CIP that the committee, Planning Commission and the Parks, Recreation and Forestry Commission were looking at that Item 53 is included for the first $25,000, Item 55 is included for the second $25,000, Item 56 is included for $60,000, Item 61 is included at $50,000 instead of $125,000 and it is now non school ball fields. Then Items 62 and 73 are combined at Lakeshore Park. All items are ranked by the CIP Committee, then the Planning Commission and then the Parks & Recreation and Forestry Commission. Mayor Clark suggested if anyone wanted to see the quality of McKenna & Assoc. work they drive down to Flat Rock and check out their beautiful community ballparks.

Mayor Pro Tem Bononi noted she was acquainted with the premier firm of McKenna and it is our good fortune to have them. They are designing a nature park in Van Buren Twp. that is magnificent. Regarding the partnership and renovating of the school ball fields, she thought it was exciting and went a long way toward establishing better communications with our school district. She asked if the school district would kick in or is the fact that they own the land their share? Mr. Auler said what they had originally planned was renovating the school ball fields and now we are looking at shifting. When this was submitted he didnít know what the construction schedule would be or the impact on the facilities because we have a partnership agreement with the school appropriation where we use a lot of their facilities for our programs. What we are proposing is to use the $50,000 to enhance Community Sports Park that McKenna would help design. We do have a work group established to look at how to utilize and achieve maximum use of the school facilities but also insure safety and security issues that go on after hours when we are using the facilities. The schools also use some of our ball fields as well and we have an excellent relationship there. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi stated the former Community Services Director told her that in that departmentís budget the funding was in place two years ago for the paving of Lakeshore Parkís parking area. It was $119,000 and she suggested he talk with Mr. McCusker to see if that money is still available.

Ms. Smith-Roy stated that was not included in any of the budget numbers now. It might have been the plan to do that but 2002-2003 does not include that number. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked what happened to that money. Ms. Smith-Roy was not sure. How it is set up is each line item in the actual budget is compared and they project out where it is going to be estimated at, so it is possible if it was two years ago that it was projected out that it was a project that was not going to be completed. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said it was there and allocated for this past summer.

Mayor Pro Tem Bononi commented that from all of the items she had gone through in her review to date she had come up with approximately $324,000 that could be cut from this budget. She did not agree that this was a lean budget. She would be looking to have at least one item from this mix to be set aside for next year and suggested it be the Brookfarm Park Tennis Court renovation. Everything else she would strongly support. Regarding the items in the CIP, page 138, regarding the year 2005-2006 proposed $50,000 allocation for the Fuerst Farm, that we donít allocate money until we know what will happen there.

Mr. Klaver noted that they found the Lakeshore Park Playground Project would qualify for money previously allocated our CDBG funds that qualifies for reprogramming and they would be addressing that with the HCD Advisory Committee this Thursday. Member Csordas reassured Mayor Pro Tem Bononi that her thoughts were the same as the CIP Committee.

CIVIC CENTER COMPLEX/HIGH SCHOOL EXPANSION

Mr. Helwig spoke about the expansion of the high school from a capacity of 1,800 to 2,400. They made reference to the Civic Center Complex Task Force, which met two summers ago, which was in advance of the communities deciding whether to have a second high school or expand the existing high school. It would involve building expansion, parking expansion and some security concerns, which they have been meeting with Mr. Helwig and Chief Shaeffer about. The relocation of practice fields, south of the ravine in the Civic Center Complex, as recommended by this task force is something now that comes into play and additional cooperative use of each others play facilities in this complex is important to make this overall less costly. Mr. Fisher is looking at what it would take to make this happen and there might be some type of dollar lease document that would come before Council. No structures are involved but making sure the schools would have access fields on our property south of the ravine.

COMMUNITY EVENTS/CULTURAL PROGRAMS

Mr. Helwig said Mr. Auler made reference to the Master Plan and the Strategic Action Plan and this is just the tip of the iceberg. They have a lot of hopes in the notion of community events cultural programs and have decided Community events and cultural programs are best done with Parks, Recreation and Forestry.

ENVIRONMENT

Mr. Helwig spoke of the preservation of Garfield road wetland easement. He introduced Dave Maurice, Environment Manager, to discuss the short term and long term priorities.

Mr. Maurice said one of his goals when given this position was to develop a plan of action that would make Novi a better place to live in regards to pollution prevention and a clean environment. He has been involved with the Storm Water permit, which is a permit they applied for through the State of Michigan in 1998 and received coverage for. A component of that permit was to develop a storm water pollution prevention plan, which was brought to Council in December 2001. The focus of the plan was to look at quality and quantity of environmental issues. Water quality is at the top of the list and we have numerous water bodies in Novi and there are things we can do that would affect other areas of the City and also protect water quality, woodlands, wetlands, etc. Land use management issues will also

keep water quality clean and healthy in the City of Novi. The permit addresses some water quality issues but land use management issues that relate to that. They are applying for a grant to implement some of the activities and would know in a couple of months what type of approval they would get on the components of the grant. He met with different city departments to identify needs they have to achieve the pollution prevention plan and to carry out objectives and have funds to do that. A requirement of the permit is to have a public participation committee and that was the Storm Water Management & Watershed Stewardship Committee and it was an opportunity to interact with citizens and get their input and recommendations to bring to the Council. One key issue was the resurfacing of South Lake Dr. Highlights of the environmental program are arsenic cleanup and Storm Water Master Plan update. This Master Plan had not been updated since 1983. Directly related to this is the Watershed Management Plan to develop individual pollution prevention plans and that has been done. We have an Illicit Discharge Elimination Plan to respond to and document complaints. They want to increase public education about storm water pollution prevention and environmental protection. The public education component of the grant will be done through Neighborhood Services and there would be coordination of effort between departments. Basin projects under construction include the Dunbarton basin project. They applied for a grant in February and should know in a couple of months whether it would be approved. There is the Ingersoll Basin along M-5 and they are working with MDOT and they are doing some wetland mitigation, and also the Haggerty detention basin and they have another grant application going into the Rouge Program Office for that. They have a plan of action to protect and improve the environmental quality in the City and coordination and participation from the departments. Mr. Maurice noted the addition of a technician has greatly assisted with the production of maps, etc with the GIS.

Mayor Pro Tem Bononi referred to page 87, the Wetland and Woodland Information brochure which says the City would produce these brochures and she suggested that producing anything like this has grant funding written all over it. The brochures should be for residents and the development community and that way grant funding could be as high as 75%. He agreed. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said they were also working on personalizing the homeowners association handbook that would have Noviís name on it and proposing a grease trap ordinance for discharge of grease into sewers causing problems for community. She asked about the amount in the Oakland County Infrastructure Fund and what it was earmarked for and being that that fund is refunded every year, are we asking for anything this year and if not why? Mr. Helwig said they had targeted three years of allocation of that fund to help toward the cleanup of the 75 acres involved with the Sandstone proposed settlement. He thought it was $577,000 and this fall we are eligible for the fourth allocation in October, which would take that total up to $770,000 to be used for that cleanup.

GROWTH MANAGEMENT AND DEVELOPMENT

Mr. Helwig spoke about exploring the requests to formalize a growth management plan for the community. This is the section of the budget that they are also including the Planning Commission recommended studies. Mr. Pearson also supervises construction data and census data.

Mr. Pearson said they wanted to propose a study that knits together the Master Plan, budget, CIP and an Action Plan into this Growth Management Plan. It will knit together land use planning, transportation studies, build out projections and give a picture of what Novi would look like down the road. It is pulling together utility studies, natural features studies and

transportation plan into the Growth Management Plan. $98,000 is the estimate on this item but as more clarity is received from Council on their expectations and as they do more research, they would get additional clarity on that budget line item. In-house resources will be used whenever possible and they need more public input and will pursue that with queries, question of boards and commission members and Council and public input meetings. Construction activity is still robust even with an overall slowdown. Novi is a quality place to locate homes and business.

OFFICE AND LIGHT INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENTS

Mr. Pearson said the office and light industrial users we are getting are exactly what we want to get. These are clean engineering, research and high-end businesses. Businesses to open soon in Novi are Magna, Omron, Tower Automotive, Owens Corning, etc. One estimate for OST build out is $1.3 billion in total evaluation; overall the whole City is sitting at about $3 billion right now. We have the potential for one third more in terms of overall assessed valuation yet to come from the OST corridor. Construction activity remains strong and we are rounding out some of the choices that we offer, town homes on Grand River with Gateway Village, Singh Development with Main Street Village II, Churchill Crossing, Bellagio and Maybury Estates and Cambridge Homes is looking at more property.

DOWNTOWN GATEWAY

Mr. Pearson noted they would bring this before Council soon and were looking for choices and resolution for this ordinance to address this corridor. The section from Grand River to Meadowbrook, page 99 map, depicted vacant land and existing land uses and noted a lot of the land was under-utilized and that was the purposed of the Downtown Gateway Ordinance to decide how that would grow.

MASTER PLAN UPDATE

There are planning studies underway and a lot of the elements that would have been done separately have been wrapped into the Growth Management Plan. They are proposing funding for Planning Commission suggested studies from this section as well. The Environmental Area Rankings, the Goal and Objective Process through the Planning Commission and the Parkland Study and these are in addition to the Growth Management Plan.

OST ZONING DISTRICT PROGRESS

This is very important as a financial engine for how the City is going to pay for the services and the growth would be coming from the successes we have had so far.

Member Csordas asked about the Master Plan Update on page 96 and asked if it would all be done in house? Mr. Pearson said the three elements for this year were done in house. Mr. Evancoe hadnít determined what else would be done in house but did hope to do as much as possible in house. Member Csordas asked if those were the items listed on page 92? Mr. Evancoe said the Growth Management Plan would utilize outside assistance since constraints of resources and time available is a hindrance. Member Csordas asked if there was any time critical status component of this since there is a five-year time frame to upgrade the Master

Plan? Mr. Evancoe said each component study should be completed within one fiscal year. They are trying to get the ones done we committed to by June or July and then get started on the next ones and get those done by the end of next year. Member Csordas asked with the addition staff requested here and the additional planning staff, would you be able to do this in house? Mr. Evancoe says itís difficult to say. Mr. Pearson said the goal and objectives section was something that we are capable of providing Planning Commission support on. However, the environmental areas would need outside assistance. The Parkland Study he felt would be best served doing in house with the Planning Staff, Parks and Recreation, etc.

Mayor Clark stated with regard to updates to the Master Plan there are a lot of new reporting requirements due to the passing of the latest Planning Act by the State of Michigan. There are requirements relative to submitting a copy of the proposed plan to the County for them to sign off and dealing with adjoining community issues. It wonít be the same task it has been in the past and would require a lot more work. Mr. Pearson said it also required coordination of the Master Plan with City Council and gave them the opportunity to choose by resolution to become a party to the Master Plan that you are budgeting for and making rezonings for ultimately. So, if you choose, you have that option now.

Mayor Pro Tem Bononi thought Council would decide whether or not they want to manage growth or not because you can throw these terms around and not take meaningful action. She would rather not do this if we donít intend to do it. Growth Management implies that the municipality and the residents would decide what would be preserved and the wanton disregard of the extension of infrastructure and what that brings about. It brings about unwarranted development too quickly and at to great a cost to the community. She asked if they had the political will to make a commitment to do this? If we arenít, letís take the money and do something else with it. We canít control a lot of things but we can establish a Novi conservancy, look into land trusts and look into the transfer of development rights in order to preserve open space because it pays for itself. She asked should we continue to partner with developers to build roads or infrastructure or get an SAD to serve residents who need our help. Regarding page 92, she proposed a phasing mode and to look at the matter of the update of the Master Plan in at least a two-year increment. If we do this, we have to decide whether or not we would do a Master Plan of development or do the Growth Management component with it and then start off with the economic base study and the public participation process which is up front, and include the 2020 study because it was a marvelous exercise. She thought $98,200 proposed for a Growth Management Plan was much too much money for what they would gain and her advice was to forget about it. The most important thing is to figure out what we want and would take soul searching by the Planning Commission and Council to decide if this is the route we want to go. Regarding construction activities, there is something to be said for multi housing when done well but it doesnít do much for the community with regard to traffic or the services we have to provide but it did a lot for the developers who build high density projects. Also, regarding the Downtown Gateway she believed if they were honest about looking at that, they would have a whole new ball game there. Page 96, she would be very careful regarding the second paragraph that talks about the emphasis of the Master Plan and what the administration envisions. They are envisioning what they are looking at from the standpoint of, especially outreach programs is one thing, but she believed that the pivotal role of the City regarding the Master Plan update had always rested with the Planning Commission. She hoped this language was not excluding them from that process. Regarding OST she thought it had been one of the success stories and it would continue to contribute tax revenue to the City. She believed that the history piece that described how the OST ordinance happened was inaccurate. If there was one person who had everything to do with the OST, it was Bill Bowman and she suggested they talk to him about the history of it. Considering the build out of OST at $1.3 billion in tax revenue is one area that we should be considering with regard to the many zone changes we are experiencing and particularly giving away that tax base in the OST designated areas. She would be willing to look at something in the area of $30,000 to finance the Master Plan and hoped it would be done in house.

AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION - None

ADJOURNMENT

 

There being no further business to come before Council, the meeting was adjourned at 2:22 PM.

 

 

 

__________________________________ _________________________________

Richard J. Clark, Mayor Maryanne Cornelius, City Clerk

 

Transcribed by: _______________________

Charlene McLean

Date approved: April 15, 2002