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SPECIAL MEETING OF THE COUNCIL OF THE
CITY OF NOVI
Mayor Clark called the meeting to order at 7:05 PM.
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
ROLL CALL: Mayor Clark, Mayor Pro Tem Bononi, Council Members Capello, Csordas, DeRoche-absent/excused, Landry, Lorenzo
AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION - None
PURPOSE OF SPECIAL MEETING Ė 2002-2003 CITY OF NOVI BUDGET
1. Council Initiated Questions and Answers
Other sections of the budget proposal: Budget Overview, Capital Improvement Program, specific Funds/Department Summaries, Appendices
Mr. Helwig began with offering Novi Library representatives the opportunity to speak about the needs of the Library. John Chambers and Brenda Evans spoke and introduced the members of the Library Board who were Kim Taylor-Papp, Kathy Mutch, James Lawrence and Linda Krieger who was unable to attend due to work.
Mr. Chamber stated the proposed library budget is $2,183,000. They put into the budget two positions that were part time and now would be full time. They include a full time facilities manager position and a full time computer technician. They are allocating a 4.5% increase in their book collection. Books and the Internet are two facets that bring people into the library. Books and the Internet bring residents into the library when it is not open because residents, with computers, have the capability to get into various library software that is available around the clock every day.
Over the last year, they replaced a van that services the special needs of people who are institutionalized or homebound. The replaced van was 18 years old. They provided over 30,000 Internet access opportunities to people last year, 440 public programs for children and youth, 85 adult programs and 124 programs for seniors. The attendance of citizens was 12,000 youths, 4,600 adults and 3,900 seniors for these services. Mr. Chambers said their cost per capita for operating was about $35.00 per person. Northville is $46.00, Farmington is $49.00 and Plymouth and W. Bloomfield are at $72.00 in operational costs only. He thought, as a taxpayer, residents got a lot of value for our dollar committed to the library and those programs.
Mr. Chambers displayed a graph showing the annual attendance for their programs are 18,723. At Class 5 libraries, which is what they are, the average attendance is a little bit over 5,800. The state wide average is 5,000. They have more than 3 times the statewide average in attendance at the library. They have occupied the building since 1976 and increased in non-print media, DVDís, books on tape etc., from 35 in 1976 to 9,250 in 2002. The book collection in 1976 was almost 16,000 and is now over 109,000 in the same facility.
The Library Board has had 55 meetings over the last 15 months. They post all the meetings including committee meetings in order to get public input. The board, made up of taxpayer citizens, appointed a committee to expand and explore cable access. At the last board meeting the Cable Committee requested by motion to continue to investigate the question of cable access. Additionally, the board would be serving the citizens of Novi through a scientific study and would inquire about the utilization of cable casting for meetings beside other programs that they currently cable cast. They believe in interaction from the citizens and they
respect their opinions. The board communicates with the citizens by newsletter, library notes and articles in Novi News and library issues discussed at council meetings. Surveys and the Internet are interactive because on their website you can ask questions, make inquires, make comments and the library personnel will respond. It is the same if using the library. Theyíre open 7 days a week.
Member Lorenzo asked what the $110,000 capital outlay allocation was for this year. Brenda Evans stated the major item was sidewalk improvements and others were regular maintenance and replacement of computers including file servers. Member Lorenzo asked if they had a contingency fund? Ms. Evans stated itís basically fund balance. They donít have a special line item for contingency. Member Lorenzo asked how much was in the fund balance. Ms. Evans said they anticipate ending the fund balance with about $150,000 on June 30, 2002. They try to stay within 10% of their operating expenditures. They projected a fund balance of $184,000 by June 2003. If they need to replace the heating and cooling system it would come out of that $184,000.
Mr. Chambers said it represented 8%-10% of the operation. He said that fund balance had been used for multiple problems with the roof costing over $100,000. They donít have a fund to dip into so they must have that. The only thing they could do if something happened was to reduce some levels of service and he was not a proponent of that because he, as a citizen, wanted those services. During his tenure on the board they moved into another part of the building and it took 3 fiscal years to move because of the funds available to make the move. Member Lorenzo asked about the survey mentioned to solicit input with regard to cable casting. Is that in addition to the previous survey that Mr. Lawrence mentioned when he re-interviewed? Mr. Chambers said it was the same survey. Member Lorenzo said then it has not taken place yet. Mr. Chambers stated they were advised to wait until other Novi issues are settled. Itís a telephone survey of 300 people and takes about 12-15 minutes. They are guaranteed 300 completed surveys and it would be carefully stratified to get responses from all areas of the city. Member Lorenzo noted the viewership was about 73% to watch cable for Council meetings. She said citizens watch the meetings very carefully and itís very important in terms of getting the message out. Mr. Chambers stated they want to be sure they have covered all the bases and have information dating back to 1999 and they want to update some of it. It has to be a reasoned decision and they want to pass on to the Council some of their information because it would be helpful as Council looked at communicating devices. He felt the survey would assist them as well and they wanted to fine-tune this prior to proceeding. This is the third survey that has been done and they had received very positive responses on the first two from the citizens.
Member Csordas asked what kind of consulting services were reflected in the budget? Ms. Evans stated it is usually for computer services. He asked about liability insurance funds because they seemed staggering. Ms. Evans stated there had been almost a 70% increase over the last two years.
Ms. Smith-Roy stated they didnít have the line item budget yet from the library so what Council was looking at was the estimated for 2001 and 2002 and it should read $40,000. There was a large increase last year and we donít know yet what the estimate for the current year will be for them and she wasnít sure what they have in their budget. Member Capello said last yearís was $40,000 and we are only giving them $29,000? Is that right? Ms. Smith-Roy said the numbers in the blue book detail reflect the estimated column as the amended column because they had not received updated information from the library. What we got was what is shown on page 235 of the main book. We got the main category items. That estimated column should read $40,000 because that is the actual number now. A budget amendment for this was done in January.
Member Capello asked what was included in grounds maintenance? Ms. Evans stated snow removal, grass cutting, lawn and shrub maintenance and pretty much anything on the exterior property. Itís contracted out through the bid process. Mr. Chambers spoke about the fact that they are open 62 hours and all those things must be covered during that time. Member Capello asked if the DPW could be used for these things? Mr. Helwig stated he would be glad to look into that but up until a year ago, we were extremely short and have had to contract out for our own maintenance. Mr. Chambers said the library felt it was a high priority to have parking lot and sidewalks clean because of liability issues. There are priorities that take place and there are timing type issues. Even when we look at contractors, that is made very clear. If you canít get in the lot or building or if you slip and fall, we have a different problem.
Mr. Helwig stated they have distributed materials responding to Councilís previous requests for information during the last budget meeting. Mayor Clark asked for questions relative to the first budget session. If there were none, there would be general discussion.
Member Csordas asked about the Police memo regarding grant funds for additional police officers. He supported the Chiefís recommendation that Council consider using the grant as a means of offsetting the portion of the costs for new officers. The Chief recommended that Council defer action authorizing three police officers because we can appropriate necessary funding for these officers minus grant money at a later date. He agreed with this because of the grants but asked how it fit into the budget?
Mr. Helwig spoke about the COPS program and stated Ms. Smith-Roy suggested setting aside the funds that would be utilized in this year in contingency so that if the grant were forthcoming they would have the local match. If it were not forthcoming they would have another reserve to visit for police officers, etc.
Mayor Clark supported the department applying for the grant funds, as there is a strong probability they would receive them and it would free up funds to use elsewhere. Mr. Helwig asked Ms. Smithy-Roy what dollar amount should be set aside. She recommended setting aside $137,000 in the contingency fund which would be for a mid year hiring of the 3 officers, which would leave approximately $146,000 for other discretionary needs. Mr. Helwig asked if she had considered the new police cruiser and the laptops? She said that was in the $137,000 assuming the grant funds were received and if not they would look to fund balance to support those positions for the mid year.
Member Csordas commented on Ms. Gronlund-Foxís memo of April 10 regarding the Employee Assistance Program stating that the average utilization rate is between 3% and 7%. He thought it was a little robust from the number of EAP plans that he had modeled. Ms. Gronlund-Fox did confirm that it is face-to-face sessions and that the City was focusing on a three to five visit model per issue/problem basis. He felt it should be in writing that if someone went through five visits and later needed additional counseling for a different problem, it would not be denied. He hoped there was information coming from the bidding companies regarding the common formula used for cost effectiveness of the EAP. He thought it was commendable for Human Resources to look for these programs. He felt utilization would not be that high and this should wait until the Sandstone issue is settled. He also noted a utilization report could be obtained after the first year. Member Csordas commented that in his opinion, it just was not worth it.
Mayor Clark stated he could support something like this but agreed he would want a yes or no regarding what happens after an employee uses the minimum number of visits. Obviously, anything that would lead to cost savings because of loss of employee productivity and time was a definite benefit to the City. If the program were in place for a year it could be tracked and anything we could do that would result in cost savings, higher productivity and increased employee morale would be good. Across the country there is more and more violence in the workplace and when looking at those situations after the fact, it is usually something that had been building for a long time. He suggested trying it for a year. Member Csordas stated they would know at the end of the year because all of these companies have very extensive utilization reports and they could apply that formula but it wouldnít be that much. Ms. Gronlund-Fox noted she called three different providers that she had talked to and they did not give a yes or no. All they said was they would not turn an employee away. She would contact them and tell them that must be in writing. Also, all of the providers said the utilization is historically low the first year until employees are aware of and feel comfortable with the program. Mr. Csordas stated the providers also hold awareness sessions.
Member Landry understood from the Police Chiefís memo that he was suggesting that $40,000 per officer be taken out of the budget and set the rest of the money aside, $163,371 and defer the hiring until the grant is received or turned down. Mr. Helwig stated he was looking at the annualized cost and what we are talking about is a mid-year hiring so you wouldnít have to set aside any funds for the first six months of the fiscal year. Mr. Landry stated that we would set aside sufficient money to allow us to defer for six months whether we are going to hire three officers or not and if we set that money aside, grant or no grant, we would hire three police officers mid year. Mr. Helwig said no, apply for the grant at the first reading in May if the Chiefís recommendation is accepted. We would not hear until the second quarter of our fiscal year, October to January 1 and then decide whether to accept the grant and hire three officers, set aside the local match that would enable us to fund that for half of this fiscal year. Member Landry said which would be the $137,000? Mr. Helwig said yes, and it would include a cruiser and a laptop. Member Landry said in six months if we donít get the grant we can choose to wait until the next fiscal year to hire any officers or we can use the $137,000 to hire the officers. He asked how many could be hired at $137,000? Ms. Smith-Roy said at least two. He asked if they could hire all 3 now using the proposed $200,000 plus and still apply for the grant? Mr. Helwig said it couldnít be done because it would be supplanting funds in the eyes of the Federal Government. Member Landry asked if the grant were applied for, must we accept it? Mr. Helwig said the grant would not have to be accepted as it is up to the Council to decide. Mr. Landry is very concerned about hiring police officers and is concerned that if the
money is set aside, it will be spent on something else and it would be another year without extra officers. Mr. Helwig said the staff recommendation is to hire 3 officers. Mayor Clark asked if it could be a dedicated reserved fund? Ms. Smith-Roy said contingency funds could be earmarked for the $137,000 but that would be for the officers hired if we receive the grant. Beyond that she would be concerned because we receive a lot of federal funds and she would not want to be in violation by setting aside monies inappropriately and we would need to be sensitive to that.
Mayor Clark asked about cell tower revenue and said at the AT&T location, the annual value is $18,360 and a 30% share is $5,508 and the total revenue for year two of the contract would be $20,508. He asked if that was with the Sprint and A T & T? Mr. Klaver said yes. He asked if all of the funds were designated toward debt reduction on the ice arena. Mr. Klaver said they were. Mayor Clark asked if someone was negotiating with Sprint to get onto the tower? Mr. Klaver said there was one that he was aware of that is in serious discussion. He asked if those funds would also go toward the debt reduction? Mr. Klaver said they would.
2. Council Initiated Discussion regarding the spending plan priorities
Member Landry had three areas of concern and the first was public safety. He was in support of hiring three police officers but was concerned that we might be setting up a program where we might not hire three officers. He thought Novi was below the recommended ratio for police officers. We like to say we are a City of 50,000 people but on any given weekend, if there is something going on at the Expo Center and a lot of shopping at Twelve Oaks Mall, he shuddered to think how many people were in the City. If we are low on numbers already, we have to be way low when there are thousands of people shopping and during special events.
He was strongly in favor or hiring three officers, giving them the equipment they need, mainly the ruggedized laptops. He would be very concerned, personally, if those two items were cut.
Member Landry said the Plan Review Center concerns him greatly and he felt very strongly and was 100% in favor of hiring two civil engineers and two woodland technicians. We have a staff that will look critically at development projects before the City, maintenance projects, and a City Council that is insisting on very high quality and no mistakes. What we lack is the administration with the ability to deliver the high quality that we are demanding of them. It is easy for Council when projects or bids have gone awry to look to City administration for an answer on how this happened; it is our job to be the watchdog. However, it really is unfair if we donít give them the tools they need to do this. If Council sits here and keeps insisting on excellence, itís just talk by us, if we donít give them the tools they need to do this. Council has now heard this request for the second year and they have to give them the ability to live up to our demands of excellence. He believed they would pay for themselves; the City would be more efficient and save money in the long run.
Member Landry said with respect to the Employee Recognition Program, itís pretty much a wash financially, so let them decide whether itís pins vs. plaques. He agreed with Member Csordas about the Employee Assistance Program and not being in favor of it. He was not opposed to some type of program, but didnít think this was the one to do.
Member Landry said he and Member Csordas have discussed the Capital Improvement Programs. Member Csordas would have a few words to say about it and Member Landry said he would defer to his comments and would support them. Regarding the priorities that the Capital Improvement Program Committee set that didnít make it into this budget in the priority rating that we set, Member Csordas would address that and he would also agree with his position on that. He was troubled with Growth Management Program because we need it and canít afford it. However, he agreed with comments Member Lorenzo would make about more funds needed in contingency fund. If we have to find some money, he thought that was one spot we could, unfortunately, get it. If we had the luxury to choose one or two of the proposed growth management programs he would be in favor of the infrastructure growth plan studies. He thought it was imperative but given the circumstances we are in with Sandstone, whether we could afford it or not is the real question. He would like to see some of that saved and his suggestion would be in the infrastructure plans.
Member Lorenzo felt, after scrutinizing the budget, there was a lot of bad news in it and thought it was not fiscally prudent. Regarding the Judgment Trust Fund Ė While close to a million dollars is being placed in this fund this year, what is not clear in the budget documents is that virtually all of it is spent. There is $125,000 for "other settlements" but there is pending litigation that might use that and more. So, thereís really zero in the Judgment Trust Fund vs. $800,000 that was accumulated over last year and the year before. We were in better shape last year because that $800,000 was in that fund and it wasnít obligated last year.
In the Contingency Fund there is $241,000 but that is also all spent. $50,000 for IT computers and $191,000 for potential administrative employee increases. So there is zero in contingency.
Fund balance Ė We have 10% in fund balance which is what is recommended and we donít want to touch that 10% because we have $400,000 between 10% and 8%. We do not want to get to 8% because the bond rating companies start looking at us and could lower our bond rating and cash flow in the first quarter becomes very difficult to manage. We have zero rainy day fund dollars.
Expenditures and potential obligations Ė In her opinion, there are several items that have been seriously underestimated and one was Attorney fees. In the last two years we have spent $650,000 and there is only $400,000 budgeted and there are no guarantees of spending only $400,000. Second item is re-insurance and the costs are going through the roof. True premiums figures wonít be known until June or July.
Lastly, settlement costs above and beyond what has been spent in the Judgment Trust Fund. There would be no money to settle any settlements, court decisions, mediations, etc.
Member Lorenzo said she would like to reduce the budget by $1,000,000 but the bare minimum she would support is $600,000 in needed reductions with $300,000 in the Judgment Trust Fund and $300,000 in a true Contingency Fund for obligated expenditures and true emergencies. She agreed that Public Safety is extremely important and tried, in her proposed budget reductions, to consider those, but we are in tough times. Sandstone is really starting to
pinch this City and there is no wiggle room with our obligations.
Member Lorenzo proposed one new officer, wished for more and was sensitive to that
Issue and she included the laptops. She removed two police officers, cruiser and the laptop for the cruiser and the growth management plans. She felt Council needed to adopt a growth management philosophy first because without a philosophy it is meaningless. Land use in terms of our build out is very critical already. People are coming to the City faster than non-commercial tax base is being added. A lot of the anticipated taxes from our commercial and other ventures arenít always achieved because of tax tribunal cases. If we donít start recognizing limitations, every project that increases our population will cause us to be in a deeper hole. We will never have enough police officers per citizen, we will never have the quality parks we need, we will never have the things we want in this budget and that we have to cut out of this budget without seriously looking at build-out in this community. Next month Council has a meeting with Planning and we need to start strategizing about philosophy, policy, build out and how we are going to pay for ourselves. We need a policy first.
Member Lorenzo said what she left in the budget was two items in the Planning Department. They have an Emerging Issues Fund for $11,500 and a Planning Out Reach Fund of $9.000 for a total of $20,500. Once we come to a policy decision, the first thing that should be done is a Fiscal Impact Analysis, which is part of the Growth Management Plan. We already have a guestimate in the budget of $12,100 for the Fiscal Impact Analysis and out of that $20,000 from Emerging Issues and Planning Outreach, we could afford to do that. There would be an additional $9,000 from that $20,500 for other studies.
Her list of reductions are: Two police officers, one cruiser, one laptop, Growth Management Plan, Parkland Study in the Planning Commissionís budget. She thought this study should be in Mr. Aulerís department. The Environmental Ranking Study for $6,000 she reduced. We have two of these type studies already completed. One is the Habitat Analysis Plan and the other is the Natural Resources Inventory. We have plans sitting on shelves that are not being utilized and we need to use them. She didnít know what the $1,000 for Planning Goals and Objectives involved. Employees Assistance Program and the Employee Recognition Program were eliminated because we have to be in a cost cutting mode here. She reduced the $350,000 Parks Capital Improvement Program to $100,000 and she would look to her colleagues who are involved with youth to advise Council as to what the priorities are in those areas. She reduced Council workshops $10,000 and felt the remaining $10,000 could be reduced further. She reduced $15,000 off of the Building Department workshops with $10,000 remaining, $3,000 off of Planning Department workshops with $7,500 remaining, $1,500 of the Neighborhood Services workshops with $5,000 remaining, $6,000 off of the Beautification Commission as she thought they could use the tree fund, which has $80,000 plus. Also, reduced $2,880 from General Administration workshops leaving $10,000, $2,000 from the Parks and Recreation Administration workshops leaving $4,000 and $2,000 from their Maintenance Workshops. These reductions total $648,695 and she felt this at least met the goal of the minimum amount that needed to be placed in the Judgment Trust Fund and Contingency. We have to look at the bottom line.
Member Capello stated he favored hiring 3 new officers but the question is how? He said what we need to allocate now is the $137,000. Mr. Helwig said if he wanted to apply for the grant. Member Capello asked if the other $150,000 could be put in a contingency fund and take it out if we need it or does it have to stay in the fund? Mr. Helwig said Council could do
whatever they wanted with the money. Member Capello said he was looking between the Community that Cares budget and the General Police Department budget and noticed under Salaries there was a notation to add a Dare Officer from the after school program. The 2 top line items, $32,000 and $54,000 is not enough to pay for 75% of the salaries of two DARE Police Officers is it? Where is the other money coming from? Ms. Smith-Roy said there was a match by the after school program from the community and our match was one DARE officer. So even though there is another DARE officer in the budget, it was always in the Police Fund budget. Member Capello asked why the insurance for one DARE officer was $14,270? Ms. Smith-Roy said it was the rate for a family.
Member Capello was concerned that the DARE program was only being offered as an elective to 8th graders and to the 9th graders in high school and felt there was more of an alcohol and drug problem as the kids got older and it should continue through high school. He asked Chief Shaeffer if it was a budget issue or a police agreement between the department and the schools. Chief Shaeffer said itís a school philosophy issue and while they are not unsympathetic, about half of the kids in the middle school and half in high school take the DARE program. He expressed concern with the schools because he would like to see 100% of the middle school children targeted right away and then let it phase into the high school. They were not at all unsympathetic to his position and felt they could anticipate some movement towards that goal in the near future. He wasnít asking for any other DARE funds.
Member Capello asked if the current and the two new proposed engineers were included under the engineering division or is one under the DPW? Mr. Helwig said there had never been any engineers in the DPW. They had been under the Public Services umbrella. Ms. Smith-Roy stated on page 26, what was included was the city engineer, current engineer position (Haim Schlick) and two proposed engineers. Member Capello asked where the two woodlands techs would be included? Mr. Helwig said they are included in Parks, Recreation and Forestry. Mr. Helwig said there were no woodlands personnel now. There was a landscape architect, Lauren McGuire, who works in the Plan Review Center and her full time role is to review plans and not to do the woodlands issues that Linda Lemkeís firm was doing. The forester, Steve Printz, doesnít do the woodlands issues either. Member Capello asked why two woodlands persons are needed in addition to Mr. Printz. Mr. Helwig advised that a memo was given to Council referencing what Ms. Lemke had at her disposal to do the job and what that was costing and what the backgrounds were of those individuals. He and Mr. Pearson concluded that two would be necessary to do this justice and would pay for themselves.
Mr. Pearson stated the Forester is responsible for our City street trees, parks and maintenance of our public tree inventory. Mr. Printz has been helping out with the private development side and the woodlands. Heís been working on plot plans and so forth for conformance. Member Capello asked about hiring consultants for surveying, inspections, etc.? Mr. Helwig stated under city services, they included a financial summary, (page 56), and it was sent out in Thursday packet. Appendix C augments that with an addition of two engineers and two woodland personnel to show the financial aspect of all of this.
Mr. Helwig said he went out and responded to calls to try to stay abreast of the type of issues coming out the Haverhill flooding area, muskrats etc. We have a system geared to responding to claims versus being out looking for community issues. That is happening now with Mr. Pearson, Mr. McCusker and Ms. McClain out in a vehicle and monitoring situations and responding to citizens. There is a proactive capacity that our organization has been lacking
and even with consultants, it has been responding to calls and complaints as opposed to being out seeing what is happing in certain situations.
Member Capello asked if there was a line item for outside consultants? Ms. Smith-Roy said they are assigned project by project so it is within the road funds, drain funds, etc. Private projects are not presented in this budget because where we use consultants, we use it through an escrow system through the Trust and Agency Funds where we are acting as an agent to provide that so the in-flow is also what we put out. There is no reason for it to be presented because it is not a budget item. Member Capello said then we wouldnít see the private fees coming in or the expenditures going out for inspection and surveying of private projects. Ms. Smith-Roy agreed.
Member Capello asked if the application fees currently on the books are being used or are they being adjusted? Traditionally, developers complained that our fees were higher than any other fees around and he thought they would all agree that when this was brought in house, they would still not be able to charge the higher fees. They would have to be reduced to cover our costs so as not to make a profit. Ms. Smith-Roy stated the philosophy has been for the first couple of years to maintain the fees at the same rate. One reason is for equity purposes since we still have to support our services with consultant fees, we donít want to have two different rates; one for in house review versus external review. There would be inequities there and people would request that they all be done in house and we donít have the ability to do that all at one time. Also, we need to evaluate what those fees are and determine with one yearís history what the fees should be.
Mr. Helwig advised they were committed in the document to do a fee review by September 30, 2002. In future budgets, he would like to present comprehensive analysis of all fees, service charges, etc. so that Council could review them on an annual basis.
Member Capello was concerned that if our fee structure is too high, where would the extra money come from? Mr. Helwig stated weíve already achieved what they thought would be a full12 months benefit, dollar wise. He hoped the Council would consider fee changes in the last quarter of this year.
Member Capello said his next issue was the Planning Commission. He thought that when the fees were reviewed, it would be nice if Mr. Fisher would approve having additional $20.00 to $50.00 per application to go toward some of our environmental concerns to go back to the Planning Commission for the studies theyíve done to lead us to where we are going. He had the same concerns as Member Lorenzo regarding the Planning Commission budget and agreed the studies that are already done should be used.
The biggest item of concern was the $98,200 for the Growth Management Plan. He asked what it entailed and what it would provide to the Planning Commission? Mr. Pearson said it would provide the Commission and the Council a tool for implementing the Master Plan. The elements specifically outlined in the budget proposal were the infrastructure, economic for build out, and could Novi be a self-supporting City in terms of tax base and environmental studies. It was to do those elements together and link them to other studies. Member Capello asked if that could be budgeted out over a couple of years and do it in phases? Mr. Pearson said it was suggested last time to do this over a two year period but there are other elements of a Master Plan update that would be over and above a growth management kind of element.
The ones that are applicable are rolled into this Growth Management Plan and then there are two elements that would be done over and above that with a 5-year plan for updating the growth Master Plan. Member Capello asked what they needed right now to get started?
In order to start the Growth Management Plan, Mr. Helwig said the fiscal analysis, page 92, was $12,100. Mr. Helwig stated Council said go full speed ahead with OST and facilitate the infrastructure for those corridors to address the Magnaís, Owens Corning, etc. We are doing that with a major sanitary trunk line, improvements on Grand River Ave., and water and sanitary updates to make sure we have what we need to service whomever in the OST corridors; the same with transportation in those areas. A fiscal analysis is really critical. Are we becoming a City that we will be able to pay for the services in this city to enhance and sustain it? We need to know if we are missing something? It sounds like and he had heard reference to, no more multiple family developments. We need to revisit those plans and specific sites where multiple family is permitted today and do a comprehensive review. He said take three or four of these components and start on those in the first year; phasing was mentioned. Member Capello said what he would like by the next meeting was if we are going to take $40,000 out of the Planning Commission budget plus another $6,000, we should find out what else the Planning Commission wants. Mr. Pearson said the Planning Commission was also meeting this evening for a brainstorming work session
Mr. Pearson said they needed to look at the transportation as part of the infrastructure plan. Member Capello said regarding the Planning General Fund, they always had more than $9,000 to do special studies because there was always something that Council directed them to study. Member Capello wanted to see more money in that fund because he was sure with what is coming up theyíll be asked to do some special studies for Council. He thought $9,000 was a bit low. Member Capello said the EDC and grant coordinator positions were eliminated. Member Capello asked if money needed to be budgeted for grant applications? Mr. Helwig said there is budgeting for local matches such as the COPS grant and the Environmental Program category. Member Capello asked if there were any funds available if we find a grant in the middle of the year or would we have to wait until the next budget year? Ms. Smith-Roy said fund balance would be used and it would come to Council first for approval to apply. She said there is usually a significant time frame, for example the COPS grant. If we apply in May we wouldnít know until around October so by the time we actually hire it could be January. Member Capello asked about Council budget for conferences and workshops and he thought it could be deleted. If there is something important and we really want to go, we can fund it ourselves for this next year. Member Capello went back to the Police Department item and agreed with Member Landry. He would guess, from his experience at District Court, that a high percentage of people arrested in Novi do not live in Novi. Even getting up to the ratio that we should be at, we are still low based on the amount of people coming through our community. He was in favor of laptop computers as it would keep officers on the road longer by saving them a lot of time and would make their time in their patrol cars more valuable.
Member Csordas stated he wanted to support the recommendation of our Police Chief. He thought the three police officers were needed. However, we need to consider the leverage of funds that are available now because they might not be available at a later time with the understanding that the funds are set aside with the commitment of Council that they are not to be spent anywhere else. He also supported the $161,000 for laptops and the vehicles and asked Council to remember that there are Federal and State mandates involved here and that our current equipment is obsolete. Regarding the police liaison to the schools, he proposed the schools pay for 100% of this since the school collects far more than the City does in taxes. It is a critical position and has been very successful.
Capital Improvements Ė The request is for $358,000 and it caused a significant shuffling of the priorities by the Capital Improvements Committee; he didnít think that was wise. He suggested for Council consideration the following revisions.
Page 75, Item 1 Ė Accessible pathways to park, restroom facilities at $25,000 and supported leaving that the same. He wanted to spread the funds available throughout the City. Community Sports Park, accessible parking is $25,000 and he would leave that in, Power Park Playground, $60,000 would also stay. He asked for clarification on the renovation of the school ball fields and what ranking those had and was that renovating the ball fields for the school system. Mr. Helwig stated, at Saturdayís meeting, Mr. Auler asked that it be changed to ball fields at non-school facilities, principally the Sports Park. Member Csordas suggested if we donít want to spend $40,000 to renovate the Brookfarm Tennis Courts then level it and plant grass. However, he would be in support of renovating it. He did not want to spend $158,000 for Lakeshore Park road paving. It was way down in the ranking of the Capital Improvement Committee. In place of that $158,000 he would be in support of item #62, page 152, for $25,000 additional gravel for Lakeshore Park and Item 57, for $30,000, for concession restroom facility for Lakeshore Park. He would also support #69, Community Sports Park shelter for $25,000. That reduces the Capital Improvement Project allocation from $358,000 to $280,000. In the blue book, page 1, General Fund Revenue, line Item for $220,000 from cable TV fees. There has been a change in Time Warnerís position on fees that the City would derive from the high-speed access. Does the $220,000 here consider the reduction in fees from the high-speed access? Mr. Klaver didnít think so. Member Csordas asked if the high-speed access fees would come to the City or not. Mr. Klaver said Ms. Collens said they are not going to pursue that and would accept that being included in the revenue (not providing funds to the city from high speed access). Member Csordas said so the $220,000 does include high-speed access fees? Ms. Smith-Roy said yes, as projected from last year.
Also, on the same page Member Csordas asked for clarification regarding administration reimbursement under State Revenue Sharing. Ms. Smith-Roy said that is the administrative fees that are charged on various fees that we charge throughout the City. There is a 10% and 15%, by ordinance, attached administrative fee that is charged to some of those site plan reviews, building permits, inspections, etc.
Member Csordas questioned motor carrier fees and fines regarding the lawsuit in the courts now against municipalities including Novi. Ms. Smith-Roy said $10,000 of the fees were actually fees the City collected from permits issued. All of the $10,000 is City generated type revenue. What would be included, that would be affected, would be the court fees and fines, which is a couple of line items above. The line item includes all fines, fees and forfeitures from traffic violations, etc. A large amount is not budgeted for that type of line item. Frequently, when we go to court, the fees are reduced to a lower amount and we donít get a significant amount of income from that source. Member Csordas said if all these municipalities lose this case, would it have a significant effect on us? Ms. Smith-Roy said it should not. Member Csordas said, Item #5 page 4, under Planning Commission there is the estimated line item last year for Other Services and Charges was $19,000. Proposed this year is $126,000 and he asked if the update of the Master Plan was included in that? Ms. Smith-Roy said page 27 of the same book shows detail to get to that figure. Mr. Pearson said Master Plan update segments are over and above the Growth Management Plan and are the Parkland Study, ranking of environmental areas, and goals and objectives session for the Planning Commission. Member Csordas stated he would not support the Master Plan update. He was also apprehensive of the $126,000 for Other Services and Charges.
Member Csordas said Sandstone had a great influence over his thoughts and opinions on this budget and is one of the reasons he was looking at this very hard. He wanted the $126,000 reduced and anything that involved the Master Plan, he wanted to delete and then consider other cutbacks in that. He asked if the wellness plan line items referred to health benefits. Ms. Smith-Roy said that referred to a formula for not missing time because of illness (incentive for good attendance). Regarding health plan expenditures Member Csordas requested that Council be given schedules of premiums for health plans, utilization review, plans for single, married and family. He asked if this was a self funded plan or an insured plan? Ms. Smith-Roy said it was an insured plan under Blue Cross and four plans are offered. He noted Council should have an opportunity to be familiar with the schedule of benefits and possibly tweak it somewhat. Next to wages, benefits are our most expensive line item.
Blue book Summary of Conferences and Workshops reflects that for 19 departments $179,155 is committed and it seems like a lot. He wanted to look at that. This is not in opposition to people continuing their certifications and ongoing training. The two line items he was interested in were Conferences for the Planning Commission and City Council and felt that all funds should be eliminated for both. $10,000 is allocated for Council to go to the National League of Cities. He went with other Council members last year and his perspective was that it was for much larger cities and what they had advertised was not what Council got. He didnít see a big value in that and this year Council didnít spend it anyway. He asked that administration look at this item. The Planning Commission receives a good education here from the sessions that Mr. Fisher does and there are schedules for training and classes and that is good and it is not money well spent to send them to workshops and conferences. Member Csordas stated if significant others are included, the City should not pay for them. Ms. Smith-Roy said the City did not pay for spouses. The employee did. He asked that administration look at that and consider reductions. On page 17, General Conferences and Workshops, five people for $400 doesnít equal zero.
Member Csordas noted on page 10, regarding Michigan Public Purchasing Officers workplace seminars, there seemed to be a lot going on there. Ms. Smith-Roy said it was the General Administration category and is a catch all for things that donít fit other departments. Next to that is $25,790, a large one. Ms. Smith-Roy said that was the police department and covered a lot of employees. Member Csordas asked the Chief to review that. He felt it was a lot of money, however, he didnít want to impair continued learning, certifications, etc.
Also, page 13, $25,000 what department is that? Ms. Smith-Roy said it was the building department and we receive some advantage for budgeting the amount even if it is not used because credit is received from the ratings received for the ISOís. Member Csordas realized a lot of this is budget requests and not spent at the end of the year.
Member Csordas requested this be looked at very hard as far as who attends, multiple trips and identifying the departments. However, he felt conferences and workshops for the City Council and Planning Commission should be deleted from this budget.
Mayor Clark mentioned that April 27 was Arbor Day at Community Sports Park at 10:00 a.m. and asked Council, community and staff to attend.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi talked with many people about their expectations of Council regarding budget planning. Their priorities were that they wanted the Sandstone settlement done now. They want us to set priorities to make us a government of which they can be proud. They have a big concern about so many of the things that we have been involved in seem to have gone wrong. They donít blame us but circumstances havenít put us in an admirable position with regard to that. They want us to set priorities, act like a business, take charge of our City so that the people who live and those who do business here are on an equal footing and they are angry and frustrated at our financial condition.
She had a real concern that as a government we are spending as though we are flush with cash and we are not. There seemed to be a real concern on the part of some that our expectations are too high. She did not believe that expectations could ever be too high, perhaps unrealistic. We have hired professional people who are well compensated and we expect a fine job the first time. We expect to give them the resources to do that but we donít expect to apply frosting to their cupcake.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi had changed her mind about the laptops and would support them but she had not but expected to see the bottom line price. She would also support the fact that if we are going to apply for the grant, we can wait until we see if we receive it. There is no obligation that we take any grant, ever. We seem to have whittled down the number of people that we are going to add to our complement of personnel but we still do not have a grant writer. Grants do not get written by people who do not have professional expertise in writing and getting them. She believed we are not getting our share and suggested replacing one of the woodlands techs with a grant writer.
There are so many dollars in this budget that have nothing to do with concrete, earth and steel and to her that means Capital Improvements and there are so many areas that we have lacking. She was looking to take the frosting off the cupcake and put it into concrete, earth and steel whenever possible, at least for this year, and until we catch up.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononiís overall comments to the budget were that other than positions funded in this budget, we institute a hiring freeze. Emergency situations with regard to positions or services that would be needed could be addressed at the City Managerís discretion to City Council. That there be no additional officers in the fire department for this year, a 2002 freeze on the City hosting any conventions and seminars, no overtime except for public safety or public health. Each department would be responsible for verifying the need for overtime and a scheduling plan that would address such things as scheduling jobs late in the day so it automatically goes into overtime. There is a lot of money represented there. We are loading our department budgets with conferences and workshops and it is interesting to her that while we are loading them up to the tune of $179,000 there are very few dollars that are
proposed for educational opportunities and she is very disappointed in that. She wanted to look at, in a future year, why no one needed to continue their education. Totally remove
the Employee Vitality Program, for $66,000, because employees can get the services elsewhere.
She supported the comment that the Police officer at school should be supported by the schools and thought that the City had paid their share. She didnít want to remove funds from Parks and Recreation because it is an area that had been ignored for too long and is one of her targets. She looked for one engineer to be added to the Plan Review Center.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi targeted line items by department as follows:
Department of Public Services, page 4 in blue book, she asked what the $72,000 capital outlay was for? Ms. Smith-Roy responded $45,000 was for security fencing and $27,000 for a pickup truck.
Engineering, what is the $12,000 Capital Outlay for? Ms. Smith-Roy said it was for office equipment and computer equipment for the new positions.
Planning Department, on page 4, asked about personal services up nearly $100,000 and thought it was staffing related. Ms. Smith-Roy said it was and Mayor Pro Tem Bononi would seek removal of $4,000 from supplies. City Council, page 5, eliminate $10,000 for conferences and workshops. Discrimination is needed on how we pick and choose these and she suggested trading off from year to year.
City Manager, reduce conferences and workshops by $2,000 and reduce magazines and periodicals. Finance department, page 7, asked what the overtime was for? Ms. Smith-Roy said they were union positions. Intern budget, reduce by $4,000, conferences and workshops reduce by $3,000, Information Technology, page 9, operating supplies reduce by $3000, Assessing, reduce conferences and workshops by $1,500, City Clerk ,reduce operating supplies by $1,000 and reduce conferences and workshops by $1,000, Treasury Department, good job it is a fabulous budget. Buildings and Grounds, is there a policy regarding the usage of Nextel phones? Ms. Smith-Roy said there is an unwritten policy that they are not to be used for personal business. This is the first year that there would be a full year of Nextels because it was just introduced into the budget. So last year, there was an increase because we bought some of the equipment and you will see reductions in certain areas for radio maintenance. Forestry, page 15, she questioned the amount for conference and workshops depending on how many positions are added? Community Relations, a $500 reduction in Conferences and Workshops, General Administration, page 17, minus $3,000, in office equipment leasing, minus $6,000 in conferences and workshops. Police Department, page 17, reduce overtime, that could not be attributed to need, of $75,000, bike patrol, $4,000, overtime for motorcycle grant $2,000 and she thought this program was supposed to be cost minimal, magazines and periodicals to be down by $1,000. Also, totally reduce overtime for the 50ís festival. Office equipment and maintenance to be reduced by $2,000, grounds maintenance by $4,000, and a few other smaller things she would be happy to hand on. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi also wanted to know if they were still planning to lease a recreation facility for $27,100 and if they were, couldnít the Civic Center be used since the seniors are no longer here? Fire department, deduct $57,850 because she was suggesting no new officer this year, operating supplies by $7,000, and a lot of other smaller things. She proposed one half the turn out gear for $21,000
since Council approved $27,000 for turn out gear last year. Building Department, page 23, she questioned $70,000 in overtime and would look for a tightening up in the scheduling to be sure the work is being scheduled during the day. She realized emergencies were another matter. Reduce Conferences and workshops by $5,000. Neighborhood Services, she would not question expense for certification or licensure whenever required but would reduce conferences and workshops by $3,000. Department of Public Works, page 25, she questioned $200,000 in overtime. If it was because of late day scheduling, she asked that that be improved and reduce by $1,000 conferences and workshops. Engineering division, page 27, reduce conferences and workshops by $1,000.
The Planning Commission was discussed earlier and she did agree with the idea that a phasing of growth management Master Plan update and thought that the three items could be done for $38,000 and she would be willing to go with that. The department should absorb Goals and Objectives, ranking of environmental areas and parkland study should be deleted, planning commission briefings should be gratis, conferences and workshops down by $3,000.
Also, she had never worked in a planning department where the whole department went to the APA convention. They should trade off, share and bring back the resources that they get.
Parks, Recreation and Forestry is doing a fabulous job and she recommended one new position for a woodland tech. She didnít believe, with the qualifications described was what was needed for woodlands review. A registered landscape architect is needed with expertise in woodlands and if it needed to be contracted out, it could be done on a per service or half time basis rather inexpensively.
Drain Revenue Fund, page 46, what is the $500,000 item, Meadowbrook/Village Consulting? Ms. Smith-Roy said last year, per Council discussion, they set aside $150,000 to reserve the fund balance for the Meadowbrook Village lake dredging. This year the proposal was to supplement that with an additional $500,000.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi had some general project reduction or re-prioritization questions. She would look at the Taft Road, Grand River to Ten Mile improvements and wanted to know what they consisted of for $865,000 and eliminate any proposed signal at Taft and Nine Mile.
Mayor Clark supported the 3 officers for the police department to be closer to the ratio for officers to residents and also supported the laptops. He supported 2 engineers and felt that problems may not have occurred if they were in the budget last year. He strongly emphasized making it part of the performance objective of the department heads to look for available grant funding and start making application when possible. He suggested there might be someone in house that could write grants. Also, supported two woodland technicians and if it didnít work out they could look at it next year and add a grant writer. He needed more information on the Employee Assistance Program but generally supported it. The Growth Management Plan could be deferred for a year.
All of our decisions are dictated with Sandstone in the background and eventually this will conclude and not place any additional burden on the residents. He thought the budget was presented with clarity in terms of what is being asked for and in what areas. He wouldnít like to see the budget reduced $600,000 with $300,000 to each of Contingency and Judgment Trust Fund. Now when we ask for applications for attorneys, there are many more than used to be.
If we increase our judgment fund, it might invite litigation because they see it as a big plum to be plucked. Insurance costs are going up across the country and they would have to look for the best insurance coverage at the best cost.
Mayor Clark felt they were doing everything they could and that we are coming out of a recession and this State had done well. For us, that means that opportunities for growth are going to continue in our community especially in OST, Light Industrial and Commercial. He thought there would be another $1 million in revenue when Erickson was built out. There would be more people, but they have their own medical staff and there would be low police and fire usage. In terms of things such as workshops and conferences for the Planning Commission and Council, he had no problem with saying no more travel for the next year. Most National League of Cities conferences are very good and there are a lot of topics that dealt with cities of our size. Although, he was disappointed with the particular conference Member Csordas mentioned. Regarding Capital Improvements, he could see some modest reductions there but since we demand a quality community, we must be willing to pay for it. He felt this was a prudent and lean budget, in most regards, that tried to deal with the economic realities of this community and still get the job done in a quality fashion.
Mayor Clark mentioned that people who see him on Saturday mornings are 99% positive and supportive of this administration, staff and employees of this community. The comment he heard over and over are that things are getting done and people are getting action, not just a promise. Services are delivered in an expeditious fashion and in a quality manner.
Police Liaison Office-Mayor Clark thought it is part of our responsibility to our children to pay for half of this program. Everyone expects the school to do everything, educate, latchkey, security and the list goes on. There arenít enough resources to get everything done. Fifty percent is a small investment to keep the children from making bad choices. If this officer keeps them from making bad choices, helps them recognize circumstances that could lead them into trouble, then that is the best money this community could ever spend. Our relationship with the school system is better than it has ever been and they have been very cooperative. This is money well spent; we should pay it and count our blessings.
He agreed the City should be operated like a business and felt that it was. Mr. Helwig has set that as his goal for himself and everyone in City Administration. He wanted to look at the no additional fire officer issue. He would not support only half of the turn out gear because he wanted every officer to have the best equipment they can have whether paid on call, volunteers or full time when responding to an incident. They donít know what theyíre going to meet when they get out there and they donít know if theyíre coming home. He didnít ever want to have to tell a spouse that if they had better or later equipment, we could have avoided a tragedy but we were kind of scrimping on the budget. Public Safety - police or fire are not areas he is willing to take cuts in. He would concede in other areas but not there. We have to provide for all of the turnout gear because it does get dated, wear out and lose its effectiveness and when youíre putting your life on the line for a community you deserve the best protection. He had no problem with each department reviewing magazines, etc. to see what they really need and what could be eliminated. Mayor Clark felt the entire budget was a very good document and commended Finance Director Smith-Roy for making it better each year.
Mr. Helwig said Member Csordas would be absent Saturday on business and there was an absence tonight and he asked if Council wanted to have all 7 members available for deliberation through motions or would they like another work session.
Mayor Clark said Saturday they could begin proposing items for consensus and the parameters would be set for the full Council on Monday.
Member Capello asked Member Csordas if it was all right with him if they try to narrow things down without his presence. Member Csordas said it was and said he would email a document on his position for certain items to Mr. Helwig or Mayor Clark. Member Capello suggested waiting until Monday so everyone would be present to give their input and everyone would be on the same page. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi was concerned regarding who elseís presence was not accounted for here and having six persons might not work. Mayor Clark suggested Saturday they could bring up items for consensus, not take a vote until Monday and make a motion then.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said she did not want a dress rehearsal. Mayor Clark asked if there was consensus to cancel the Saturday meeting and move items to Monday and Tuesday.
Member Landry agreed they should wait until everyone was present but advised them he would be out of town Wednesday through Sunday if they wanted to meet that Saturday he would not be available.
Mr. Helwig said the budget public hearing is scheduled for the first meeting in May and the budget must be adopted by Charter at the second meeting, May 20th, so there is time if more review sessions are needed.
Member Capello asked if they still had that other issue on a Monday night agenda? Would we meet and also entertain the other issue. Mr. Helwig said he was wondering since a Tuesday meeting is planned, the engineering services issue could be moved to Tuesday and they could do nothing but budget Monday evening.
There was consensus for cancel the Saturday, April 20th meeting
Member Capello asked about required associations and conferences and workshops to maintain licensure or certification. Mayor Clark said anything that is required in terms of education to maintain licensure for any City employee would not be deleted from the budget.
3. Other (No staff presentations are scheduled)
AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION - None
There being no further business to come before Council, the meeting was adjourned at 10:36 PM.
Richard J. Clark, Mayor Maryanne Cornelius, City Clerk
Transcribed by: ________________________
Date approved: May 6, 2002