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SPECIAL MEETING OF THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF NOVI
Mayor Clark called the meeting to order at 7:06 PM.
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
ROLL CALL: Mayor Clark, Mayor Pro Tem Bononi, Council Members Capello, Csordas, DeRoche, Landry, Lorenzo
AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION - None
PURPOSE OF SPECIAL MEETING Ė 2002-2003 CITY OF NOVI BUDGET
1. Council Initiated Discussion and Decisions regarding the spending plan priorities
Mr. Helwig said a streamlined Growth Management Plan was submitted that focused on infrastructure totaling $42,100, and reduced the suggested conferences and workshops by $73,790, which brought the new total to $82,735 focusing on certifications and other needs. They wanted to maintain flexibility. There were a number of things in the line of conferences and training sessions that appeared after September 11th but by the time they adopt an appropriation ordinance on May 20th , they would have some reallocation to the departments so they would have it then. They were not prepared to give that to Council tonight.
Member Landry noted he had considered the comments made at the three prior sessions and began by addressing public safety. He favored the hiring of all three police officers as recommended. The City has increased its population by 44% in the last ten years and the police officer population increased 23%. Calls for service have increased 55%, traffic citations 128% and accidents have increased 26% and the police ratio to residents is next to last compared to similar cities.
CM-02-04-084 Moved by Landry, seconded by Capello; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY:
To budget $137,000 into the Contingency Fund to match the grant
and $146,000 in the Fund Balance to be used specifically to hire
police officers if the grant failed.
Member Csordas asked for a friendly amendment that Council follow Chief Shaefferís recommendation for grant funds. It would allow us to do the same thing in the coming year with leveraged funds from a grant. Member Landry stated he would not accept the amendment at this point.
Member Lorenzo would support the motion if the motion is with the savings of the grant because in her revised budget reductions is the $146,000 that Ms. Smith-Roy said could be taken off the actual three expenditures if we get the grant. She would like that money to go into the contingency fund and wait and see if we receive the grant. If we donít, then we can look at our financial situation and decide whether we can appropriate that extra $146,000 for three police officers or we have to reduce the number of officers we add to the force.
Member DeRoche agreed to hold off hiring until it is determined if the funds are obtained and have this matter come back for discussion if the grant is not secured. He suggested that the motion reflect that direction be given to the administration that before hiring the officers, it had to come back to Council for additional consideration. Member DeRoche asked that the Judgment Trust Fund be increased. Mayor Clarkís concern was that Ms. Smith-Roy indicated that it was at the appropriate level. Mayor Clark noted by over funding it, it could be seen as a surplus.
Member Capello stated he wanted to see the funds allocated by giving permission to hire mid year. Now we are going to allocate $137, 000 to the Contingency Fund and we need $146,000 directly allocated to budget; is that correct? Ms. Smith-Roy said the entire $283,000 is included in the budget and they would only put in the budget the $137,000 that it would cost for the three officers in the Contingency Fund and the remainder would be reallocated or posted to Fund Balance. Member Capelloís said we need $137,000 to match and if we donít get the grant he wanted to set aside the additional money to hire anyway. He suggested putting both, the $137,000 and the $146,000 in the Contingency Fund so if the grant is denied, all the money is there to hire. He asked that this be a friendly amendment.
Member Landryís concern was that once itís beyond the budget stage, we might not hire the officers. He was in favor of a plan that we apply for the grant, but if we donít get it, it doesnít have to come back to Council, the decision is made and we hire the three officers. If Member Capello is suggesting that the funds would be earmarked so that if we get the grant, it goes into Contingency. If we donít, the money is there protected and unspent. Then he would be all for that. Ms. Smith-Roy did not recommend that because the implication of applying for the grant would be that we have the funds available and there would be some supplanting. She said if they were going to do this, they either need to set aside the $137,000 in the Contingency and apply for the grant or leave the budget as proposed with the three officers in it. Ms. Smith-Roy said it would still have to come back to Council for a vote when the grant was approved and that could not be bypassed in the grant process. He asked if she wanted the $137,000 in the Contingency Fund and she said that would be her recommendation. Member Landry asked where the additional money budgeted should go? She said to let it go back to Fund Balance. Member Landry said his request then would be a friendly amendment to budget $137,000 into the Contingency Fund to match the grant and $146,000 in the fund balance to be used specifically to hire police officers if they failed to get the grant.
Member Landry said it would be his preference to hire them now, but given the tenor of the discussion, it seemed Council wanted to hold off on that decision and he would accept the amendment if that was what the majority wanted. The seconder of the motion agreed. Mayor Clark said if the money is put into the General Fund, they would be looking carefully at any request upon the General Fund Balance before they found out about the grant. He asked Chief Shaeffer when he expected to hear whether the grant was successful? Chief Shaeffer said the results would be available anytime between October and January.
Member DeRoche said it is good that Members Landry and Capello are making sure the money is available. He thought this had been a healthy discussion and was confident that Novi would have three new officers on the street one way or the other in 2003.
Member Lorenzo asked if the motion gets us into trouble with regard to supplanting funds because funds are set aside?
Ms. Smith-Roy said it still had to come back and be voted on by Council and if Council decided to leave the funds in fund balance, they could. Additionally, because of timing issues, even if we donít get the grant and had to partially fund these positions, the hiring process would have been delayed anyway and we wouldnít have needed the $283,000 to begin with out of this yearís budget. If we donít hear until October, the hiring would not take place until January anyway.
Member Lorenzo said the motion is a false commitment and she didnít want to commit to anything because her position was that she wanted to receive the grant and hire three police officers but she also wanted the $146,000 in contingency or fund balance so that when it comes back, she can decide whether those funds are ready to spend on that or if there is an emergency expenditure. She wanted to leave it open, for herself, to say no at that time. As long as she is not committed to hire three police officers no matter what the situation is. She would go along with the motion, but with the proviso that she is committing only to the three police officers assuming the grant is received.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said her willingness to add officers hinged on the cost of the ruggedized laptops. Mr. Helwig said they wouldnít have the actual dollar amount until it went out for bids. However, Chief Shaeffer thought $161,000 should be allocated in the budget process realizing they would try to beat that number. She had very grave reservations about that number as it sounded very high and the sources she contacted also thought it was very, very high. She had initially proposed hiring one police officer and she would keep it at that. However, it appeared that Council was looking to do otherwise. She had very great concern about necessarily allocating all of our numbers of what we need based on these community figures. She thought it was sometimes a disingenuous thing to compare one community with another, characteristics of the community, average income and the population density of the community. She would approve hiring one officer now but would not be willing to hire the three officers as per the main motion. She took issue with an explanation that in the event that this Council found themselves in a tough spot, that public safety issues and expenditures would not come first. She knew that with everyone at this table, it would. She supported the amendment to the motion particularly with regard to the grant and was in agreement that there is no way that matter could bypass this Council regarding the approval of a local match. Three officers and laptops are much too much of an expenditure in one year for an organization that already captures 14% of the annual budget.
Mayor Clark stated we are only voting on the officers now.
Roll call vote on CM-02-04-084 Yeas: Clark, Bononi, Capello, Csordas, DeRoche,
CM-02-04-085 Moved by Landry, seconded by Capello; MOTION CARRIED:
To approve the expenditure requested for the ruggedized
Laptops for the police officers.
Member Csordas would support the motion due to the fact that the Chief had advised he was looking at Federal and State mandates requiring the equipment and the current equipment is obsolete.
Member Lorenzo stated this would become difficult for her because her position on the budget was that it was not fiscally prudent. As proposed, we are spending every dime and not saving a penny for those underestimated expenses we might have down the road or those rainy day issues. She felt several hundred thousand dollars should be sent aside. Somewhere something has to give for her vote. Would it be park improvements? Her bottom line would be a rainy day fund and without it, she could not support the budget. She will vote in favor of the laptops but by the time we get to park improvements that might have to suffer.
Mayor Clark asked if the maker and seconder of the motion would accept an amendment that the laptops are not to exceed $161,000? Members Landry and Capello agreed.
Member Csordas asked if this included installation and peripheral issues? Chief Shaeffer said it included some training and installation. He said, in light of Mayor Pro Tem Bononiís comments, they re-examined the bids and costs and did it in light of State and County contracts and the monies were very close.
Member Capello said it would come back to Council at the time of the award and Council could see if they are getting the best buy that they can.
Roll call vote on CM-02-04-085 Yeas: Capello, Csordas, DeRoche, Landry, Lorenzo,
Member Landry stated he had read the plan and agreed with previous comments regarding the studies we already paid for and we should assess what we have. The current recommendation is to limit it to infrastructure and economic analysis, which would include water sewer transportation, economic base study, and fiscal analysis for a total cost of $42,100. That would save $56,100 off of what was previously requested by the City administration.
CM-02-04-086 Moved by Landry, seconded by Csordas; MOTION CARRIED:
To approve the portions of the Growth Management Plan to
Include the water, sewer, transportation studies, economic base
study and fiscal analysis for a cost of $42,100.
Member DeRoche stated this was something that should include particular aspects of planning and he felt this would remain a policy debate with administration with regard to growth management. He thought if there wasnít a uniform policy direction, it was something they could do without until we have a definition of Growth Management.
Member Lorenzo stated growth management was having enough mixture of land use that we can pay for ourselves. We have too much residential versus non-residential in terms of our tax base and adding people faster than we are adding OST or industrial, that would increase our tax base and help us pay for ourselves in terms of city services. How would we fund officers and parks, etc. as people move into the City? From a Growth Management Plan she is looking for what types of land uses we need in the future. Should we stop approving high-density plans? What will this city look like and what natural features will be left. She felt the least needed was the transportation and thoroughfare plan for almost $20,000 and would rather put that money into the Contingency Fund. Application of water and sanitary sewer to growth management, she would only consider subsidizing the OST corridor. She would not vote to subsidize any residential or any other type of development as she felt growth should pay for growth. Developers can foot the bill and get paid back by the property owners as they come on line. If OST or something Council desires, it could be looked at on a case-by-case basis.
Member DeRoche had previously asked how aging infrastructure would be paid for and she saw nothing in the budget that would pay for those things down the line. She desired to limit it to the economic base study, water and sewer for $5,000 if focused on OST, and a fiscal analysis. We canít go on without looking at the big picture. She couldnít support the motion without removing the transportation and thoroughfare plan.
Member Capello thought the transportation and thoroughfare plan was the most important of all the monies they are requesting. He always heard from residents about traffic. We donít address our traffic problems until people canít drive on the roads. We need this kind of a plan so that we have an idea of where traffic is going to be 5 years from now so we can begin to prepare to improve and expand our roads 5, 6, 7 years down the line before we have serious traffic problems. The water and sanitary sewer Master Plan should be in place and on a CAD system if they are not already. The Economic Base Study and the Fiscal Analysis is what he had problems with. The Economic Base Study was what the Chamber of Commerce did about 5 years ago. They came forward and said residential had outgrown the industrial and that was part of the catalyst to get the OST Ordinance passed and then the area rezoned up along the M-5 Corridor. He didnít know why that study would be needed again. He thought the Fiscal Analysis was a no-brainer since we know we need a business tax base and that we are reaching our limits on commercial, retail and shopping centers. It doesnít leave much to study for $12,000. We look at more OST and light industrial and we look at office. We are really lacking in high quality office.
Mr. Helwig spoke about the Fiscal Analysis and said we were kind of sleepwalking towards determining what our service levels should be and what it took to provide those service levels. We should have a vision based on certain build out scenarios what our alternative service packages should be. Thereís been no staff recommendation about police staffing per thousand population. There are too many other elements that come into the mix and some police unions have tried to get percentages in Charters to ensure certain levels of policing and that is not the way to do it. We have no vision now of our service levels. If just sheer momentum takes us to a build out, what service levels do we aspire to provide and what would it take to provide those. Our staff would contribute significantly to a Fiscal Analysis but we need other modeling and capabilities to outline these different scenarios and start to plan for those in future budget sessions. We did that on fire stations. Regarding the Economic Base Study, Council had a vision about the OST payback to this community and we are now beginning to see that. For $6,000, we ought to take the time out and analyze what weíre getting with Magna, Husky, etc. We have other opportunities that are coming to us to convert additional land to OST. Are there
other elements that we might be missing in terms of economic transformations. Why did Owens Corning come here versus Auburn Hills? Tower Automotive - why are they expanding here instead of Farmington Hills and why are they bringing jobs here from Milwaukee? We should know the answer to that. $6,000 would provide a lot of information that could give Council some further insights into what is happening in our community. We will not always be the preferred address. What could be done to enhance and maximize this wonderful time where our location is the desired address for economic development? All of that needs to be modernized so Council could decide if there are other strategies that would be appropriate.
Member Capello said Mr. Helwig said two things that convinced him to support this. The economic transformation was exactly what happened with the OST Ordinance. Also, more importantly our citizens keep asking what they are getting for their tax dollars and our City has never said what level of service we want to be at and then how to get there. He felt that was visioning and he would support the motion.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said the Growth Management Plan is what the community says it is. She didnít believe they were ready to pursue it until they knew what the community wanted. It is not only the land use decision makers who make the good and not-so-good decisions that were sprawl promoters, and the two things are inextricably entwined. Until we know what that is, it doesnít make sense to start spending money. Two things that should be absorbed by the administration and/or the Planning Department are the Demographics Update and the Economic Base Study. Those two items total $13,000 and she saw no reason for them to be in the budget. She would like us to update the Master Plan first, then parallel what we think a Growth Management Plan should mean to this community. To include a Water and Sanitary Sewer Master Plan update, she believed a water update had already been done and to do a Sanitary Sewer Master Plan update is a sprawl promoter. There are things that could be done with the information on hand to update it without an overhaul that would literally plan areas where this infrastructure would be extended. In some cases, that is a good thing. In others, it is not. They have to know what they want first before spending all of this money. The only two things she would support were the existing Land Use Update and the Transportation Plan because they were both quality of life issues for right now. Since we updated our Master Plan only two plus years ago, she didnít think this was work that needed to be done. She would support $36,500 and would not support the expenditure of any more.
Mayor Clark said he would support the motion as proposed because we hear urban sprawl all the time, but the other side of the coin is Americans have freedom to go where they want, live where they want and spend their money where they want. Stemming the tide of growth wonít happen, but you can control the growth and manage it or it would wash over you and you will get results in some areas where they havenít taken charge and it is a disaster. Anything and everything, everywhere. That is not what this community is about. We fought long and hard over the years to make this a quality community and to maintain it as such. He thought what was proposed does that. We have cut this as it is proposed a great deal and he had asked last year how much money had been spent over the last several years for studies and the total was about a million dollars. There are a lot of studies sitting around the City. Some of which we could use and some that we know are outdated for many reasons, one of which is because of changes we have made. For example, with the adoption of the OST District to broaden our tax base rather than become a bedroom community that ultimately might not be able to pay for itself. He thought that what is proposed in the motion before us is a reasoned and balanced
approach to what needs to be done. It will tell us whatís needed to draw the type of businesses to this community that would help defer or spread the tax base so that itís not all residential. As Member Capello pointed out, once you get past a certain dollar amount, even the residential component starts paying for itself. A prime example of that was Bellagio and a number of homes that are going in at Island Lake and just the force of economic circumstances and the inflationary increase of value of homes in this community. The taxes paid on them and the multiples will increase the tax base as well. When Erickson comes on line, there will be a significant increase in taxes. It will take a few years and they wonít have a huge demand on city services. He would support the motion.
Member DeRoche agreed from a policy standpoint. The policy issue can be settled when we have the results in. If we are objectively taking snapshots of where we are at and what could happen in a number of scenarios, then we could have that policy debate when the objective findings are in front of us. He said he assumed that every one of these was looked at with increased staffing to the planning from last year and engineering proposed this year as to what could be done in house and these are items that he believed would have to be bid out. Mr. Helwig stated these were "not to exceeds" and the more we can do in house, particularly the Fiscal Analysis. His experience in a high growth community was that our Finance Director would be the most significant individual in giving us the economic and financial information. There is also economic modeling. If we divide the City into financial analysis zones as to which areas are paying for themselves and the areas that are yet to come with growth. If growth is going to pay for growth, that gets fairly sophisticated in terms of analytical work. Once we see the water study, it might temper what we need in the water and sewer area.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi stated as a professional urban planner that we just let issues wash over us. What this community becomes is up to us and to the residents who live here. She increasingly heard a lot of concerns about quality of life issues and how it is declining because of our rapid development. Yesterday, the Wall Street Journal, front page, was about mall towns and about how retail is over as they are having trouble filling up those spaces. To suggest this is going to seek its own level and work out all right she guessed was a political philosophy and one that isnít based on real planning and economic development sound thinking. She believed that at the point they get to the public participation process, they would hear that, once again, loud and clear. She thought people didnít want control but did want a thoughtful utilization of our resources. There are too many people in this town who think that our lunch has been ordered for us by others for too long and she was not interested in seeing that continue.
Member Capello advised Mr. Helwig that if he contacted the Chamber of Commerce, they would have a lot of contacts with national resources that could provide the information to him and save him some money.
Roll call vote CM-02-04-086 Yeas: Capello, Csordas, DeRoche, Landry, Clark
Nays: Lorenzo, Bononi
Member Landry felt 100% of the Conferences and Workshops should be eliminated except the ones required to maintain certification for those members of the administration. In particular, $20,000 was earmarked for Councilís seminars and conferences and that must go.
CM-02-04-087 Moved by Landry, seconded by Capello; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY:
To do away with budgets for seminars and conferences except
those necessary to maintain certification saving $73,790.
Member DeRoche noted he was appointed by the National League of Cities to the Community and Economic Development Committee in January 2002. Obviously, if this passed he would resign from that committee and would be happy to do so because of what was going on here locally. He thought something should be left in in case they wanted to send a representative to the Michigan Municipal League conferences held twice a year and he thought the money could be appropriated at the time if necessary.
Mayor Clark noted he went a couple of years ago and paid his own way.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi would support the motion. Member Csordas asked if this also deleted the $6,900 from the Planning Commission and was told it did so he supported the motion also.
Member Capello noted there were three or four employees or members of different committees who were members of for example the Michigan Planning Association. Are all those deleted out? We donít need three people belonging to the same association. We just need one to get the information. Mr. Helwig noted weíve altered active participation at conferences and workshops sponsored by those groups but not memberships because we still need to receive literature and be aware of timely sessions, etc. Member Capello agreed that we need to stay updated but did not need three staff members with the same membership. Mr. Helwig said that could be done if it is Councilís wish.
Roll call vote on CM-02-04-087 Yeas: Csordas, DeRoche, Landry, Lorenzo, Clark,
Member Landry commented that no one would want to deny any City employee the assistance they needed in a time of unique trouble or concern to that employee. However, from these discussions and Member Csordasí comments he did not feel that the Employee Assistance program was the right one. It wasnít cost effective and should be deleted
CM-02-04-088 Moved by Landry, seconded by Bononi; MOTION CARRIED:
To delete from the proposed budget the $9,000 requested
expenditure for the Employee Assistance Program.
Member Capello agreed but felt something should be done as a body to show the employees that we are behind them. He was concerned that if deleted in its entirety, and we do not allocate that to some other opportunity for the employees that could be approved in the future as a warrant, that we are sending a message that we are not appreciative of what they are doing.
Morale is down and something needs to be done to keep it up. He agreed it might not be the proper program but asked if the money could be put into the General Fund and let administration come back with something.
Member DeRoche suggested directing administration, through Human Resources, to gather information to disseminate to the employees as to free resources that are available such problems as gambling, drug addiction, abuse, etc.
Mayor Clark thought it was a good program and a step in the right direction.
CM-02-04-088 Yeas: DeRoche, Landry, Lorenzo, Bononi, Csordas
Nays: Capello, Clark
Member Landry approved of employee recognition pins for service of employees. It is important to say thank you to the employees and recognize them and he thought whether pins or plaques, Council should defer to whatever staff was recommending.
CM-02-04-089 Moved by Landry, seconded by Csordas; MOTION CARRIED:
To approve the $7,000 for the Employee Recognition Program.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi would not support the motion. She believed they did thank their employees and felt it was important to remember that our employees are well compensated for what they do. Moral problems are systematic and symbolic of whatís going on in an organization and frankly, rather than service pins, the most valuable thing to give employees is coaching and education if they want it. Something symbolic is not going to make a difference and in this particular budget year, it is a frill that we canít afford and she didnít think employees expected it.
Member Capello didnít consider giving employees recognition, whether a pin or a plaque, a frill. He felt employees liked the small things they are given and would go so far as to take half of the $9,000 from the EAP and give it back and let the administration try to work up a program to implement next year when there is more money to do a little more than a recognition pin or plaque.
Mayor Clark supported the motion. He realized that employees are compensated; no one works for free. He also knew that in this community, having Mayorís hours on Saturday mornings, this community should be proud of the employees they have because many times he comes into City Hall on Saturday and city employees are working when they donít have to. They take that much interest and pride in their job and community that they are here working on Saturday. Sometimes he had come in to drop off something on Sunday and they are working to get the job done because they have that much pride in the job they do and in this community. This is an extremely small recompense to recognize and thank them for going above and beyond, which most members of the community arenít even aware of. He thought it was money well spent.
Roll call vote on CM-02-04-089 Yeas: Landry, Clark, Capello, Csordas, DeRoche
Nays: Lorenzo, Bononi
Member Landry said there was a request for two City engineers. This is not new and three engineers were requested last year and Council approved one. Staff has been consistent and came back and asked for two engineers. This is a City in transition. We are a Council that demands quality from our developers and staff to be able to recognize how to insure quality. We consistently demand more of the Planning Department; we hear more needs to be done in house. He didnít know how more could be done in house if we donít provide more staff to do it. The one City engineer hired last year has worked an incredible amount of overtime and we donít need or want an employee working that much overtime. This Council needs to make a commitment. If we are going to demand this kind of excellence, then we need to give them the tools they need to give us the job and the product we want. Quality is what the citizens deserve.
CM-02-04-090 Moved by Landry, seconded by Csordas; MOTION FAILED:
To approve the request to hire two City engineers for the Planning
Department and to approve the entire engineering budget.
Member Capello asked if the engineers were included in the budget? Mr. Helwig said they were. He asked if the woodlands technicians were included also? Mr. Helwig said not in the engineering division. Member Capello suggested, rather than just approving the two engineers, that the entire engineering budget be approved. Members Landry and Csordas would accept that as a friendly amendment.
Member Lorenzo would only approve one civil engineer with a P.E. designation. She suggested that the traffic workload still go out to consultants and to go out for bid for those services. This is not the time to be bringing on a lot of new staff because we need to be more prudent with the money and how it is spent and do it gradually. Regarding woodland technicians, she would not call them officers as that denotes authority. This is a very specialized field and she was not sure of the potential out there to meet our particular needs in terms of positions. This position is more than just a landscape architect and should be someone with experience in woodland issues, woodland applications and ordinances and perhaps someone that had gone to a school that offered natural resource programs in addition to just a landscape architect degree. She was not sure her expectation for this position could be met and as presented, it didnít seem to be saving us a whole lot of money. She felt we have more control over consultants in terms of their performance and they could be let go more easily than an employee if they donít work out. It was more difficult to control the salaries and benefits that went along with in house staff and the increases year by year. Consultants can be negotiated with and sometimes they are willing to hold the line. She wanted to hire consultants for the woodlands and traffic positions.
Member Capello said he asked whether woodlands was included in engineering and the answer was no. Mr. Helwig said that it is in Parks, Recreation and Forestry. Member Capello said he agreed with everything she said except he would put that entire argument towards the engineers as opposed to the woodlands. He said the line item for conferences and workshops would be deleted because of the approved motion. Mr. Helwig said they would, before voting on the final appropriation ordinance May 20th, reallocate this other money. Council would receive revisions of this. Member Capello asked if any portion of office equipment, $7,000, would go towards the purchase of a CAD system. Ms. Smith-Roy said yes, it would go toward their computer and software that is required for their set up.
Member DeRoche stated thereís been some philosophy change in building out these departments. He was sold on bringing in 3 engineers and asked what the difference was in bringing in 2 more engineers and doing work in house in terms of cost. Mr. Helwig said this proposal is to add two engineers in addition to last yearís hire. Member DeRoche said last yearís engineer was hired to supervise outsourced work and thatís not working. Mr. Helwig said we need that oversight. Thatís biting us again and again as we are asked to report on contracts and oversee work going on in the field. Last year when it was pared down to one from three, that person was dedicated solely to plan review. That hasnít worked because there are other oversight responsibilities. The additional two would do justice to the original plan, which was to do in house plan reviews, and would permit Ms. McClain to do more comprehensive oversight of all the contracts, soliciting proposals, etc. Member DeRoche commented Mr. Helwig had said that we would never need more than three through this Cityís build out. We should be able to manage in house what ever we wanted to manage and outsource the rest of it. What affect would one more person be this year as opposed to adding two? Mr. Helwig said basically we are going to focus on roads and utilities. It might seem small but it is important to the community. DTE has dropped off transmission line poles on Meadowbrook and on Beck. On Beck, the left hand and the right hand didnít know what they were doing. They were installed last week and we have a meeting tomorrow to start to develop more of a process of workflow and Master Plan understanding with DTE. He got involved in this on Friday and told them to pull the poles out this weekend because they were installed in error. This all needs to be managed. Member DeRoche asked if his prediction was that with only one additional person they would continue to have problems managing that department? Mr. Helwig said it would be very questionable whether a 100% of the engineering plan reviews could be done in house which was our original trust. We wonít be able to do justice to the road program, to managing the PASER system, to reduce the miscues that have been happening there and insure that we are operating properly, let alone do what we should be doing in the area of utilities. With one additional engineer, the focus has to be on roads and 100% of the plan reviews could not be done in house, which would be an added expense to send them out to a consultant. Also, they could not give Council the oversight of the engineering services that they are due and we would do nothing in the area of utilities. It would be more of the same and that is unsatisfactory. Member DeRoche asked with two additional engineers if he would be willing to give the assurances to Council that would be what they would handle in that department. Mr. Helwig said he would give that assurance and he thought they needed a period to settle back down because this has been a very significant transformation in the life of this City. He understood and there was no reason to go beyond that until there was greater comfort and greater performance, which is the reason this is being brought before Council. Mr. Helwig said with two engineers, utilities and road would be covered.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said if we are going to have in house employees who are providing overall function for us, that service has to be better than outside consultant service and we have to be willing to manage these people so that we require that itís better and the product
they deliver is better. She was not convinced weíre ready for that. She realized that if looking at everything the administration has had to bite off this past year, that was another matter all together. Her confidence in the ability to produce a quality product from a fully staffed Planning Department is not such that she would even be willing to totally let go of outside consultancy from the standpoint of the quality of product she sees both at the Planning Commission meetings she watches and at the Council table. We want to see that the people have the resources they need to get off and running. She didnít think that is a good example. She was not here to say that the engineering division would follow suit, but it was a big concern of hers that it is the administrationís job to do this right during this change. The quality of the product has to be assured. She did not see the quality of that product and it was a real concern to her from the standpoint of implementing full positions that you donít just get rid of at the drop of a hat. There are so many points of view with how this business should work. Things that work elsewhere do not necessarily work in a town that is accustomed to doing business in a certain way. She wanted a level of comfort by having all Council members convinced that we could provide a quality product during the transition and she was not sold that they had received a quality product during the transition. Until such time as other matters are brought up to a quality standard that she would look for, she would support one engineer. We need a slowdown moratorium, to get things in order, be well managed and our people have the resources they need in order to function.
Mayor Clark noted he supported three engineers last year and he supports the administration this year. Quality of life is big and roads and transportation is very big in this community and we canít deliver quality with our hands tied behind our back. Quality is not cheap. We must pay for it and provide personnel to do the job that needs to be done. Weíre no longer a community of 20,000 people. Weíre 50,000 and daytime population adds to those transportation problems. Mr. Helwig has been telling us "give me the tools and I will do the job" and he has been doing an admirable job up to this point and during a transition period. Remember, some departmental head positions have been eliminated and freed up some money. It is totally unfair to criticize the administration on certain projects or issues when they donít have the manpower to do the job. We are a lean organization and have done an admirable job with the tax dollars taken in. We are the 6th lowest community in terms of City taxes in Oakland County. We do a fairly good job in getting the job done and now by redirecting some resources we could do the job even better and now is the time to do it. He would support the motion 100% and this should have been done last year.
Roll call vote on CM-02-04-090 Yeas: Clark, Capello, DeRoche, Landry
Nays: Lorenzo, Bononi, Csordas,
Note: The City Charter requires 5 affirmative votes of Council to appropriate funds.
CM-02-04- Moved by Csordas, seconded by Bononi;
To approve hiring one engineer with a P.E. designation.
Mayor Clark stated he hoped that no one sitting at this table has the nerve to criticize this administration next year on some item where engineering is involved about not getting the job done when we had the opportunity right here, right now, tonight to correct this situation. Since two engineers did not pass, he would support the one.
Member Capello suggested passing on this item until they get through the rest of the budget as there might be money left.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi took exception with Mayor Clarkís comment about making comments about the delivery of service at any time. From the standpoint of putting that in a phrase that anyone would "have the nerve" to do that, how we express ourselves has everything to do with how we do business. However, it is our responsibility as Council people to do just that. She understood the content of what he said but took exception to the manner in which he said it.
Mayor Clark said his phraseology was inappropriate. He said his comment was directed towards, in the past, there had been some unwarranted and unnecessary criticism of the administration in terms of certain items not getting done or not getting caught. His point was that without the manpower to deal with the problem, then it is inappropriate. Members of this Council have every right to express their views on any item that is before us but he hoped that we would temper our remarks in the future if we are going to criticize, bearing in mind if it has a relationship to a lack of manpower to accomplish the mandates that we place on the administration to get thing done while not giving them the necessary manpower to accomplish it.
CM-02-04-091 Moved by Landry, seconded by Capello; MOTION CARRIED:
To table this motion to a later part of this meeting.
Roll call vote on CM-02-04-091 Yeas: Clark, Capello, Csordas, DeRoche, Landry
Nays: Bononi, Lorenzo
Member Landry said his tabulation is that there has been $285,890, which we have deleted from the proposed budget.
CM-02-04-092 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Bononi; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY:
To eliminate the following from the budget for a savings of $19,200:
$6,200- Parkland Study
$6,000- Environmental Ranking Study
$1,000- Planning and Goals and Objectives
$6,000- Beautification Commission Ė with the understanding that the
tree fund would be utilized.
Member Capello agreed to delete the $6,000 for the Environmental Ranking Study as he felt human resources and studies were available and it could be done in house. He suggested withholding it from Parks and Recreation rather than parkland. He thought it was their goal to incorporate subdivision parks into the new subdivisions that were being developed as opposed to any study in existing parklands controlled by Parks and Recreation. He thought it was a valiant effort on their part to bring some neighborhood parks into the new subdivisions and give the residential and commercial developers the incentive to set aside land that could be utilized for active recreation purposes. He thought even if we get a 10 acre OST development to set aside four soccer fields that would be an incredible plus for the City. He wanted to give
them the money to look at those types of things. That was his understanding of why they wanted to use that money. He would not be in favor of taking that $6,200 out of Parkland
Study. He knew that when the lawsuit and Gateway were under our belt he would be looking at the Main Street/Town Center area and would be asking the Planning Commission to come back to Council with some reports and information and he would like to give them the funds to do the job that we are going to ask them to do. He would like to give them $3,000 or $4,000. He agreed with the other items.
Member DeRoche agreed with the list and the theme of sacrifice is to control the expenses of Council, Commissions, etc. Itís the administrationís work to bring forward information to the Planning Commission and let them do their work. If they are not capable of doing that then come forward for an appropriation. It would be inappropriate for Council to constrain ourselves from any discretionary spending but to pass down to the Planning Commission funds to do a study or two. He wanted an explanation as to why it couldnít be done in house first. He would support the motion.
Member Csordas asked that the items be re-stated.
Member Landry agreed with Member Capelloís comments and could support the motion if the Parkland Study were excluded from the motion and left in the budget. If we wait until private property is built out, itís too late.
Mayor Clark agreed with keeping the Parkland Study funds but would support the deletion of the other items.
Member Capello offered an amendment to the motion or a friendly amendment to rename the Parkland Study to an Open Space Internal Subdivision Study and leave the $6,200 in the budget. Then he would accept the motion as it stood.
Member Lorenzo said under the Planning Commission budget, they have two other funds for studies and she was going to propose eliminating or reducing one. We have Emerging Issues line item for $11,500 and then a Planning Outreach line item for $9,000. She suggested eliminating the Planning Emerging Issues or the Planning Outreach, giving them some funds to maintain and allow them to decide with those funds what studies are priorities to them. She noted that a special joint meeting between the Council and the Planning Commission would be held next month to discuss these issues
Member Capello said he wanted to leave the Open Space Internal Park Study in the budget because he didnít want the Planning Commission to have the ability to reassign the funds. He wanted those monies dedicated to that specific study and he wanted it to come back to us.
CM-02-04-093 Moved by Capello, seconded by Capello; MOTION FAILED:
To leave the $6,200 Parkland Study in the budget and rename it
Open Space Internal Park Study.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi would not support the amendment to the motion only because she would not want to set the agenda for the Planning Department or Commission with regard to
what they should or should not be studying. She believed it was up to them to propose and to run their own ship. She would not be willing to support the Parkland Study because she knew that the Parks and Recreation Commission intended to do this. It is not the Planning Departmentís purview to suggest this without working in partnership as a team with the Parks and Recreation Commission. That is their charge. She saw no sense in including a ranking of environmental areas at this time. She believed that with the studies on the shelves they could look at a compilation of these two studies that could be done internally in the Planning Department as time permits. She would not support either of these. She would support the other project points.
Member Capello said the Planning Commission has requested us to give them money and they have asked us if they can do this study. Letís tell them they can do it. This is not a study that Parks and Recreation would conduct. They are going to conduct a study in regard to our parklands or the need of future City parklands. They would not look into the zoning ordinances to determine how we can create internal subdivision parks. He didnít think they would have the incentive and he thought the Planning Commission needed to do it and bring it to the attention of Parks and Recreation and jointly sit down and then bring it to Council. In order to get to that point, they need to conduct the study.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said another thing she would like eliminated was the Planning Commission Briefings for $3,000. Member Lorenzo stated she would add that to the motion and Mayor Pro Tem Bononi agreed.
Roll call vote on CM-02-04-093 Yeas: Capello, Landry, Clark
Amendment Nays: Bononi, Csordas, DeRoche, Lorenzo
Member Lorenzo restated the motion.
Member Csordas said under the briefing and education, he felt that body absolutely needed education. There have been legal issues and training seminars that they have had in order to avoid legal ramifications.
Mr. Evancoe stated most of the training referred to was done by consultants hired by the City to give briefing and training prior to a Planning Commission meeting. He is aware there are firms that would provide free seminars to the commission in the hopes of obtaining business with the City. The money is there so they could pay for training if necessary.
Member Csordas felt the training component was valuable and should be left in the budget. He would support every other line item in the motion.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi took issue with the fact that those who would do a presentation would be looking to do business because she personally contacted the Michigan Bar Association and the American Institute of Architects and they are willing to send representatives out on request to give presentations that are specific to our State of Michigan. She thought the City should take advantage of all of that. We could get planning and engineering presentations at no cost.
Member Lorenzo would be willing to delete that from the motion and left it as a separate item to be decided on and Mayor Pro Tem Bononi agreed.
CM-02-04-094 Moved by Capello, DIED FOR LACK OF SECOND
To allocate $3,000 towards the Parkland Study.
Roll call vote on CM-02-04-092 Yeas: Capello, Csordas, DeRoche, Landry,
Main Motion Lorenzo, Clark, Bononi
Member Lorenzo said there are two planning related line items for general planning, Planning Emerging Issues at $11,500 and Planning Outreach at $9,000. The Outreach is studies associated with special City Council and Planning Commission assignments. She wanted Planning Outreach for $9,000 deleted and if there are joint studies Council wanted to assign, they could appropriate the money then. There would still be $11,500 in Emerging Issues for the Planning Commission budget if there were any other additional studies they felt were important.
CM-02-04-095 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Capello; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY:
To delete Planning Outreach for $9,000 from the Planning
Department Budget and add the Emerging Issues line item to the
Planning Commission Budget.
Member Capello remembered battles with the Planning Department on behalf of the Planning Commission and them telling him it wasnít in his budget. Member Lorenzo said that is why she thought it should be placed in the Planning Commissionís budget and made it a part of her motion. Member Capello didnít have a problem with that. He asked if, before hiring consultants and executing that contract, they had to come back to Council? Mr. Helwig said thatís correct. Member Capello commented he would like to see that money left in there so they have it to spend when needed. We are going to have to study Main Street and he wanted to see money in there where we can direct that study. If we budget for it now we donít have to spend it. He had no problem moving the $11,500 but wanted the $9,000 to stay in. He asked about the $2,200 for memberships and dues and was told that they had not been touched. He spoke of 3 or 4 staff members who belonged to the Michigan Planning Association and he felt only one person should belong.
Mr. Helwig said they would do as directed. However, he thought that as part of their professional credentials and staying connected with that association, it is back to the earlier discussion regarding what small things could be done for our colleagues in the City.
Member Capello said if the $11,500 is being moved to planning, he wanted to leave the $9,000 where it is to be available for studies.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said she would not want to make the presumption of what would be determined to be studied at this table and particularly relating to Main Street.
Roll call vote on CM-02-04-095 Yeas: Csordas, DeRoche, Landry, Lorenzo, Clark,
Member Lorenzo thought Member Csordas had removed $78,000 from the Parks Capital Improvement reductions and asked if that was correct? Member Csordas said it was.
CM-02-04-096 Moved by Csordas, seconded by Lorenzo; MOTION CARRIED:
To approve the Parks Capital Improvements with the $78,000
reduction. Also, use the $40,000 for the Brookfarm Park Tennis
Court renovation to remove the tennis court entirely with the
remainder of the money to go to the Community Sports Park.
Projects remaining include:
$125,000 Ė accessible pathways to park and restroom facilities
$ 25,000 - Community Sports Park accessible parking
$ 60,000 - Power Park Playground
$ 50,000 - Renovate City owned ball fields
$ 25,000 - Lakeshore Park additional gravel
$ 30,000 - Lakeshore concession and restroom improvements
$ 25,000 - Community Sports Park Shelter
Member Csordas noted this would reduce the Capital Improvements Projects expenditure from $358,000 to $280,000.
Member Capello had seen a memo from Parks and Recreation that the category of renovating school ball fields money was going to the new Community Sports Park. He would like to withhold any spending of that $75,000 until after the new plan is done. He would hate to put money into it and then find it is inconsistent with the plan. Mr. Auler said he was in agreement with that.
Member Capello said he knew the area well and didnít want to spend the money to renovate the tennis court now. It is a piece of property next to the school and they offer a lot of recreational amenities. He suggested taking that $40,000 and putting it back into the Community Sports Park. Member Csordas said he would like to see what the cost is to level that and plant grass over it and allocate the remainder of the $40,000 to Community Sports Park. It had been in a total state of disrepair for at least 20 years and it looked very dangerous. Member Capello suggested allocating $3,500 to remove the court. Member Csordas made a friendly amendment and Member Lorenzo agreed to allocate the $40,000 to remove the entire tennis court facility and allocate the remainder of the money to go to Community Sports Park.
Member DeRoche agreed with Member Csordas. He thought they shouldnít be finding savings in one area and arbitrarily somewhere else without a plan. They should be debated through. If we want to debate Community Sports Park and how they could use an extra $35,000 then that was appropriate. However, he would argue that there is a more significant line item that could use a lot of money to help with the planning for the year. If the motion has been accepted to reallocate the money, he would vote against that but would support a version that did exactly what Member Csordas asked in his friendly motion which was to lower the line item down to $3,500 and allocate that for removal of the tennis courts and plant grass.
Member Csordas said that was not the motion because he didnít think it could be removed for $3,500. He was saying some amount less than $40,000 would remove the whole thing and it could be sodded over. Member DeRoche requested that he lower the amount because he agreed it would be significantly less than that and he wouldnít want to leave all $40,000 there. He would like some money to allocate to the Judgment Trust Fund. Member Csordas said we could do that with the $78,000 saved.
Roll call vote on CM-02-04-096 Yeas: Landry, Lorenzo, Clark, Bononi, Capello, Csordas
CM-02-04-09 Moved by Lorenzo, DIED FOR LACK OF A SECOND
To delete Planning Commission Briefings allocation of $3,000.
Member DeRoche commented that the reason he was concerned with the Judgment Trust Fund was because he believed that the budgeted increase for insurance premiums of 30% is conservative. There are two components to insurance, pricing and terms. He thought they would have proposals inside of the 30% but not at the terms we currently have at this time.
He asked if they had received any back?
Mr. Klaver said no, but it was an option they were going to investigate as to whether a higher self retention might help us defer some premium increases and that would give Council a range of decisions to make on where they want to blend those two issues.
Member DeRoche said if more is paid for the insurance, less could be put into the Judgment Trust Fund because you are going to be paying out less as the year goes by in hard cash of our own deductibles. If terms go the other way, if the deductibles go from $100,000 to $125,000 or $150,000, your premium might come down a little but the Judgment Trust Fund has to go up because we are going to be writing bigger checks to meet our end of the responsibility. No matter how that balanced he thought having the 30% insurance budget line item is a good goal but he would anticipate Council being called on to pay out more dollars to settle the cases that we are called on to settle that have large deductibles. He wanted enough money in there so they were comfortable that they could protect the City going forward with unforeseen liabilities that would present themselves to us and they could negotiate, settle and meet our end of the responsibility and judgments with money already budgeted.
Member Csordas spoke about the Novi School systemís contribution to the liaison officer and he wanted the school to pay 100% of the time that the liaison spends at the school. Itís an important function and the City should provide that protection but the school system generates far more revenue than the City does.
CM-02-04- Moved by Csordas, seconded by Bononi; MOTION WITHDRAWN:
That the Novi School System pay for 100% of the time that
the school liaison officer spends at the school.
Ms. Smith-Roy estimated the schools were contributing between $30,000 and $40,000 right now. The calculation was based on the percentage of the year that the officer is at the school versus year round.
Member Landry disagreed and would hate to see anything jeopardize that particular officer. He thought the benefit we are getting was immense, particularly in these last couple of weeks with the information we have received. It is a tremendous benefit and he could not support the motion.
Member Lorenzo had mixed feelings about this and if they were contributing between this and the DARE program she felt they should be contributing to DARE. The DARE program is costing the City $180,000. The school contributes zero and she questioned the fairness and equity of the municipality funding that educational program at 100%. So, whether the school liaison or DARE, she was looking to gain some funding from the school system. If there isnít enough support for this, then she suggested they look at the DARE program and suggested that the schools pay an appropriate share of the DARE program and if they were not willing to, then that would be $180,000 that could be reduced.
Member Csordas said this could be tabled for now and Member Lorenzo agreed.
Member Csordas would not support the extra Fire Protection Officer at $58,850. Three Council members sat on the Fire Task Force Committee and he felt this could be deferred for at least one year. There is sufficient staff to handle fire runs and action had been taken as far as EMS unit being in the City. He did not think this would diminish the Fire Departmentís ability to service the community.
CM-02-04-097 Moved by Csordas, seconded by Bononi; MOTION FAILED:
To defer the hiring of one Fire Protection Officer in the amount
Member Lorenzo said in the budget it said this position was necessary to staff Fire Station #4. Is it? Chief Lenaghan said they currently have 23 people. On any given day all the fire apparatus in the City is not manned Monday through Friday. This is phasing in to take care of our daytime operation. Auxiliaries are used, they are part time, and work scheduled vacations and sick time. There are 8 of them and they work two shifts a week. That is two on each truck and there should be four according to national standards.
Member Lorenzo asked how it would affect the staffing at Fire Station #4? Chief Lenaghan said right now they keep two people there. They really canít staff it. They try to keep five people, two per engine, two for the squad and the present Station was never intended to have any type of staffing. We donít operate with four, this person would operate out of Station #1. She said it is noted in the budget that it was to staff Station #4.
Mr. Helwig stated the request was for two fire protection officers and as our office hit the wall put one in to mark some progress. So if one officer is approved it would have to be assigned. You couldnít staff an additional vehicle as originally envisioned if you had two fire protection officers there. Member Lorenzo said then weíre going to have a station but it wonít be staffed.
Mr. Helwig stated it would be staffed with two people as his current Station 4. If there is an additional person authorized that would be at fire headquarters. The Task Force concluded and we are steady-as-she-goes with a combination department for a long time to come. Meaning full time, paid on call and auxiliary personnel and that is the mission the Chief has been on and would continue to implement. Over time there will be a need to better staff more apparatus to serve a population of 50,000 daytime population plus. This is the inchworm approach to try to do something rather than coming into a crisis situation where we have to do a lot all at once.
Member DeRoche recalled the discussion with the Task Force and his understanding was the Task Force thought that to have a measurable difference in our Fire Department, the number was six that they wanted us to get up to. This becomes a planning situation. He was more interested now in considering this than he was before hearing this discussion. Tonight, he heard this would not provide us a significant measurable increase in services from the Fire Department but would move us along toward that end. He wondered if this isnít a priority that could be put back to a future year knowing that there might have to be two to play catch up but we are in a situation where we are fighting over $1,000 increments on line items in this budget. If we are considering something that would not give us that immediate benefit to one of our core services, perhaps it could wait until next year and make a measurable difference elsewhere.
Member Landry felt it we donít plan, weíll have a crisis situation and to avoid that we need to plan and do a little bit every year so we donít find ourselves in that crisis situation. In any given year we could say that the marginal utility of an additional fire fighter doesnít really require that we add them this year so we can put it off, then put it off the next year, etc. until we have a problem. His approach would be to add the extra fire fighter this year, inch it along and follow the recommendation of the task force. He would not support the motion.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi disagreed with Member Landry regarding what was determined during the course of theTask Force. Circumstances havenít changed appreciably and we are not in crisis mode and anyone who served on that Task is fully appreciative that members of that Task Force would be the first to raise our hands if that were the case. She believed there was no hardship to stalling this until next year. She wanted to look at it in a series of phases so the effect on the budgets wouldnít be so disparate as they sometimes are.
Mayor Clark noted that when it came to public safety he was not willing to cut corners. Crises donít happen overnight but can sometimes be created by inaction and who wants to, at some point, look the community in the eye and say that instead of one we need four at $232,000. He thought one was needed and it made sense to do it now.
Member DeRoche felt thought the Fire, Police protection and the roads were core services in this City and he placed the highest value on those. If the motion passes he would support reductions on non-core services to offset that.
Roll call vote on CM-02-04-097 Yeas: Bononi, Csordas
Nays: Landry, Lorenzo, Clark, Capello, DeRoche
Member Csordas said he didnít see in the budget $50,000 for valve exercising and water main flushing. He thought it was critical and asked if it was in the budget. Mr. McCusker said it was in the proposed budget.
CM-02-04-098 Moved by Csordas, seconded by Capello; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY:
To approve the six police cruiser replacements for $142,800.
Mayor Clark said the vehicles are purchased through a consortium and donít all arrive at the same time.
Roll call vote on CM-02-04-098 Yeas: Lorenzo, Clark, Bononi, Capello, Csordas,
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi wanted to discuss Roadway projects under the Capital Improvement Program on page 131. She asked Mr. McCusker what this consisted of? Mr. McCusker responded this involved Taft Road rehabilitation Ten Mile to Grand River Ave. She was looking for lane increases, culvert expansions that accommodate specific storm water events.
Mr. McCusker said the engineering was approved in 1999 and they have been working on putting a package together but it had been set back while trying to configure the Grand River/Beck Road to the bridge. It is basically a drainage project. In front of and just south of the school, there are serious water problems coming out of the subdivision and out of the road. Part of this is to clean up that area through 11 Mile Rd. They are now doing traffic studies on 11 at Taft to see what the traffic generation would dictate beyond that. There is a specific lane improvement up at the intersections of all the major roads. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked what they were? He didnít have the final drawings now but could present them to her at the next Council meeting. She wanted to hold this item in abeyance until that material was brought forward because she did take issue and several people who live in the neighborhood and that general area have taken issue with knowing specifically what these Taft Road improvements are going to consist of and also the benefit derived from this $650,000 investment. If it is the same engineering plan that was described to her, she would have some issues with that.
Item #25, page 132, Nine Mile/Taft Road signalization and the 2002 Ė 2003 proposed amount is $200,000 and she wanted to have that removed. There is great opposition in the neighborhood to signalizing that intersection because of need and the urbanizing of an aesthetic with regard to how much a signal would improve traffic. Most people who live there donít think it is a problem and that the signal was not necessary.
CM-02-04-098 Moved by Bononi, seconded by Lorenzo; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY:
To remove Item 25, Nine Mile/Taft Road signalization, for $200,000.
Mayor Clark agreed there was no need as traffic was sporadic. Member Csordas said the four way stop was adequate now. Member Capello agreed.
Roll call vote on CM-02-04-098 Yeas: Clark, Bononi, Capello, Csordas, Landry, Lorenzo
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked for an explanation regarding Item 35 on page 134 regarding what the Hilton District provisions to provide additional capacity to lift stations is for $350,000. She was concerned that the capacity was not initially ascertained or what has changed to make these provisions necessary?
Mr. Bruce Jerome said the Hilton District was basically 8 Mile and Haggerty Road, Orchard Hills Place, a commercial and office complex area. With regard to some of the subdivisions to the north, their flows go south into that lift station and then are pumped back up the hill and the land uses in the area have changed since the station was originally sized some 20 plus years ago. They had not totally completed that study yet and it was a project that had been identified in the Capital Improvement Program. She asked who would benefit and had they looked at folks kicking in on this? Mr. Jerome said it could be done that way but had not yet discussed the method of financing. Normally, a percentage of it could be assigned to new development in that area, but the existing customers should not bear the burden for additional costs so a portion of it could be spread against the new development and the balance would be picked up by the system at large. She commented she wouldnít suggest that anyone who lived there should pay for something for which they had already contributed but from the standpoint of the taxpayers paying the brunt of the $350,000 with no payback, she would not agree to it. She asked Mr. Helwig how to specify that this $350,000 was not necessarily the communityís total share?
Mr. Helwig said they would bring the study back to Council for further discussion about the financial participation.
CM-02-04-099 Moved by Bononi, seconded by Lorenzo; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY:
To bring the Hilton District revisions to provide additional
capacity to lift stations to the total amount of $350,000 back to
Council at the point that Mr. Helwig can bring the study back.
Roll call vote on CM-02-04-099 Yeas: Bononi, Capello, Csordas, DeRoche, Landry,
Page 136, Item 51, Storm Water Master Plan Update, Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked what the reality was of having the in house coordination time this year to do this? This would be a very important job and she was concerned that it be done correctly. She would leave it if itís a priority.
Mr. Helwig stated Council had made it a priority so they would find the time. She said if it is the priority, that is fine, if not she would be willing to remove it. Mr. Helwig said it was very timely per Councilís direction.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi stated others have already handled many items, in terms of reductions, at the table. She was looking at, overall, the extensive amount of overtime. She would be looking at overtime that perhaps needed more prudent scheduling. The Building Department
was showing $70,000 in overtime. She had spoken to Mr. McCusker regarding the DPW showing $200,000 in overtime and he did give her an explanation of what was happening there. She would ask that anybody doing overtime to have at least a 10% reduction in hours. In those two departments alone it would be a savings of $27,000.
Mr. Helwig said he would like to provide Council with monthly or quarterly reports of their inroads for what she was describing. He said they zeroed in on the Dispatch Center who had well over $100,000 in overtime. Decisions were made and that had significantly declined. They transmitted to Council recently the reassignment of the weigh master position to the police department. He was convinced that overtime there had not been supervised and part of that reassignment was to start that person out with zero overtime authorized until the police department could oversee that, find out exactly what the individual was doing, how the time was allocated and what measurable results that person was producing. The overtime amount in that position was 22000 hours for one person. He shared the goal of reducing overtime.
In the Building Department, the Building Plans Examiner is doing much of that and we need to look at alternatives there but in the meantime there is no other choice. He pledged a close scrutiny on overtime and to report to Council on their ability to bring that down.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi stated her comments do not pertain to those people who are on call.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi proposed to remove the police department, under Fifties Festival, which is $20,000 in police overtime. She thought there were lots of different organizations in the City that required donations of time and effort and this festival has been in our midst for a long enough time that they ought to be able to pay their own way.
CM-02-04-100 Moved by Bononi, seconded by Lorenzo; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY:
To postpone looking at police department overtime for the Fifties
Festival until Chief Shaeffer has the opportunity to bring back a
Member DeRoche stated it is now called the Music and Motor Fest. He thought the City needed to provide for festivals, art fairs, blues festivals and inherent in that would be additional police support. However, when we can actually identify $20,000 in appropriated funds to support that function it is on the extreme side. As a resident he expected the police force to respond to festivals, events and things that are around the City. That is what we are in the business of doing but if it had risen to that level, it needed to be addressed. He asked Mr. Helwig how events should be handled when you can actually apply dollars and cents to added work? Mr. Helwig said it would not be budgeted for and that the event would contract for those officers.
Member Capello said when the Fifties Festival had good years they turned around and offered to build a band shell for us. They are a part of the City and not a separate entity. They started with the Chamber of Commerce and they spun off. The Board of Directors that worked all year long works on a volunteer basis. He could not see charging someone who brings something good to this community for a little extra police force during the time of the festival. He felt it was blatantly unfair.
Mayor Clark said the other side of the coin is in terms of the economic spin off from the festival to the community as a whole might more than offset that cost. Again, it is no different than any other event in the City or if we have the huge influx of people coming to shop at the malls during the holidays. We have a responsibility to public safety to provide police services at those times too but they are not charged extra. It is an issue of public safety. He did remember when they had good years they did donate to the City and he hoped they would have good years again so the band shell could be done which would bring in more people to Main Street. He would not be in favor of the motion.
Member Landry asked if we take it out of the budget, what would happen? Can we force them to hire their own security or do we just turn a blind eye to this massive humanity gathered at the Expo Center and hold our breath?
Chief Shaeffer said it would force them to re-think their strategy. Chief Shaeffer said they would not be comfortable with just a security company on the scene and he could not come to Council with a recommendation that they continue without uniformed police presence. Member Landry said then they have to have a permit for this affair and we would not give them one if Chief said he would not recommend a permit be issued unless they privately contract out police protection. If they are not willing to do it then they donít have the festival. He asked if that was one scenario that could play out? Chief Shaeffer said yes and Member Landry said he was not in favor of removing this item.
Member DeRoche thought a policy was needed so the City administration, when people apply for permits, something gets red flagged and says now you are asking for something extraordinary from this community. We want to welcome them and we want them to go through this process but we donít want an exorbitant burden on the taxpayers. He was confident models exist and felt sure there was a mechanism that exists and was confident that the administration would come back with a policy for Council to consider. At this point, it might be more prudent to leave the line item budgeted and have the administration come forward and contemplating how this would fit into our mix, attracting people to the community but also asking for those that are generating revenues to share in our burden.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said thatís precisely the point and that was not to denigrate any organizations willingness to put on a program they think the community would like. Itís the subsidizing of the taxpayers for that particular organization as opposed to any other. It occurred to her that there could be a certain number of volunteer hours that the City might be willing to donate by a drawing for organizations that put their name in at the beginning of the year and it sure wouldnít be $20,000. She felt since this is specified to this particular organization every year would make any other organization look for the same thing a little reticent about asking for it. Businesses who ask for additional police protection, like the Cinco de Mayo Celebration, was paying for that service. She agreed a policy was in order but still wanted the item removed from the budget.
Member Csordas said the policy could take the form of two components such as public safety and traffic control, which, for example, they would do at 12 Oaks Mall during Christmas and other things and would be a responsibility of the City and should be included in the budget for public safety and traffic control. That cuts the overtime in half because they would be needed there anyway. Then, the rest of the component was having a police presence on the inside for
enforcement and security. It is much better to have trained officers there instead of security guards and that makes sense. So, the Motor Fest would be advised what the amount would be for security on the grounds to support the project. Traffic control is a City responsibility and he didnít know what dollar amount to put on that. Member Csordas asked the Chief if it was legal and appropriate to contract out for these types of things. Chief Shaeffer said it is very appropriate and they do it with several companies. The mall at Christmas is an example of that. They contract with us and are provided with about 800 hours of contracted overtime into the community every year. Several years ago Council gave the Chief the authority to contract with private groups to provide that security.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi suggested allowing Chief Shaeffer to estimate what that traffic control number would be and include it in the budget rather than take the whole thing out. Mayor Clark asked Chief Shaeffer if he would bring back, at the next meeting, out of the amount that is in the proposed budget now separate out how much would actually be allocated of that $20,000 to traffic control during the festival as opposed to other security concerns.
Member Capello thought it was too late to do that this year because the Motor Fest already has their budget in place, they know who they are going to hire and have their projections. Now to go back and tell them they need to give us $10,000 is really unfair to them. Mayor Clark said that is not what we are saying. We are asking the Chief for information and then Council would decide what would be done. It would be voted on and it all would depend on where the votes fall. If the majority of it is traffic and the other portion is very small it might not even be considered but letís find out.
Roll call vote on CM-02-04-100 Yeas: Capello, Csordas, DeRoche, Landry, Lorenzo,
CM-02-04-101 Moved by Bononi, seconded by DeRoche; MOTION FAILED:
To approve one woodland tech for a total cost of $62,000 and
a woodland review to be provided by an outsourced registered
architect at an unknown cost at this point.
Member DeRoche felt you should hire the technical people to do some of the high-end things but when it came to managing the process he was not convinced it was something that could not be done by a layman. He wanted to keep this department lean and wanted to bid out some of the other information, the overflow and things of that nature. He was really uncomfortable with the amount of staffing for what it is we are going to be asking these people to do. He appreciated and supported the motion.
Member Capello asked Mr. Helwig if only one woodland tech were approved what area would there be to hire out to consultants?
Mr. Helwig said they would have to bid out overflow because they have tracked it and there is a lot of work.
Mr. Pearson said differentiating between the fieldwork and the follow up versus the plan review and that kind of inspection. They would want a field person that was specialized in making sure that the woodlands protective fencing was up, making sure the wide variety of tree replacements were installed properly. He thought it could be broken up as field versus office. This is work originally contracted out to Lemke & Assoc. who were a landscape and development firm and they developed a certain expertise over time but we have done a lot of those things with our own landscape architect and field person specialized in Forestry since January 31st. Weíve got a track record of doing that during a slower time period during construction over this winter and they learned a lot. They are very comfortable that they could provide the technical expertise that is needed for this in terms of the field and the back office plan review sections of it.
Member Capello asked if there was a Landscape Architect on staff now? Mr. Helwig said yes. Member Capello asked if they were capable of doing the woodland reviews? Mr. Helwig said she was consumed with plan reviews. Member Capello said he was talking about doing the plan reviews for the woodlands permits. Mr. Pearson said if he was talking about just continuing status quo in terms of workload weíd need the Employee Assistance Program because it is overwhelming. Technically, if your asking if we could do that, yes we could but people-wise they would need some resources to continue to do that.
Ms. Smith-Roy said there were two or three different components to the woodlands review in terms of the site plan process. The preliminary, they look at plans to determine and it is time consuming but not as intensive as when they go out in the fields and count the trees and meet the ordinance. That person would not be able to do both aspects, the site plan, the plan review itself and the fieldwork. Mr. Pearson thought the person on staff now could do the plan reviews with the new person to back her up with field inspections. Also keep in mind it is not just woodlands, only a ľ to 1/3 have protected woodlands issues. It is also landscaping that is required of any site plan and that is a huge task and also required field inspections, protective fencing, etc. Member Capello asked if people could be cross-trained? Someone could be sent from the building department to inspect the silt fence and they could also inspect the woodlands fence at the same time? Mr. Helwig said cross training is desirable but they had not done much of it because the building department is consumed with supporting growth. It is a real possibility.
Member Lorenzo felt staff was over simplifying woodlands issues. No offense to those who have been handling this job but no one on staff is qualified to handle woodland reviews. This is a specialized field and knowing about trees and landscape doesnít cut it. This is about woodlands ecology, how wetlands and woodlands are integrated, habitat, wildlife, etc. She did not want to shortchange this field. She had serious concerns about staff handling these issues in the manner these types of issues should be handled. There are qualified people to handle this? We need someone who is familiar with the woodlands ordinance and is familiar with applying these ordinances and that understands the ecology of woodlands. If one woodland tech is hired, will they do fence inspections? If so that is all well and good but if it is anything more than that in terms of actual woodland reviews, she suggested that the Consultant Review Committee be conferred with regarding the hiring of these people and fielding some of the interviews. This is not an area where she would be willing to sacrifice quality. It is easier to change consultants than it is to change employees. If the woodland tech position is an inspection position, she could go along with that. If talking about plan reviews, she had some serious concerns.
Mr. Helwig said if we are going with one technician, it would be as Member Lorenzo described. We have been paying mightily for this consultant firm and anyone who is cost conscious could not say it has been in the best interests of the community. He understood the passion for woodlands and wetlands, and this staff does not want to do one thing to undermine that passion. We do a lot of things where there is a lot at stake. The implication that we canít find someone to do this, to institutionalize something so heart and soul for this community, he found incredulous. That something of this magnitude that is Novi, we are not willing to at least step up to the plate and try and make our mark at institutionalizing this. He would go out in the field with Ms. Lemke while problem solving at the Catholic Central site and others. We have the ability in this staff to cross-fertilize all these disciplines and to work together. He noted as a homeowner, he hadnít received a word about what he could do with his regulated woodlands. We need to institutionalize that to get the word out. We were paying a lot of money and that should have been the first red flag. That firm built an empire year after year after year. Before we go back out and lock someone into our business they would like to try it. Mr. Helwig said one technician would be a step forward in doing that.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said woodland review is not a tech thing, it is more academic than anything else. Regarding the level of expertise, observation and experience is necessary to do a good job. This has to be a professional and not a technical person. In other places she worked, the Compliance Officers out of the building department went out to see that specimens were in place. May be we are looking at redistributing responsibilities here. She agreed that to pay over $300,000 to a consultant with regard to the workload that was being delivered here was next to obscene. She would still propose hiring one person and contract out or have Lauren McGuire take over formal woodland review such as corridor studies, habitat, woodlands ecology and all the academic expertise required to do that. Mr. Helwig thought that would work.
Member Csordas asked what someone like that would do after build out? Mr. Helwig said the need to maintain woodland and wetland natural features would require vigilance. There would also be re-development and there would be all kinds of ways to downsize if it became an issue. Member Csordas asked if it would be an "at will" position? Mr. Helwig said it would if it was a professional woodlands service officer. There had been so much money expended in this area that they would like to try to give a better return for the dollars invested in this area.
Member Csordas said itís logical there would be some functionality after build out. A lot of money had been saved with the loss of the former consultant. It is an at will position and there are things they could do after build out, so he would support two people in this area.
Member Capello believed in outsourcing professional services. It seems the consensus is to allow Mr. Helwig to take everything in house and in doing that he was in favor of the two engineers. He could not go half way. He was in favor of giving them the engineers and the two woodlands. It is not really an issue of budgeting, it is an issue of how Council wants him to spend the money. Some people are saying you can hire two but one is a consultant and one is an employee and he didnít see a rationale there. Except, the way that we as Council members want to control how he is managing his people and it is not our purview to do that. Mr. Helwig is not shy about firing people for not doing a good job or making them accountable. He would support the motion with two engineers, two woodland people and make him accountable to Council. He would not support the motion for one.
Member Landry asked Mr. Helwig if the City administration got the two woodlands technicians, was he confident that they could do the job that Ms. Lemke did? Mr. Helwig said he wanted to go with the woodlands people. Member Landry asked if he believed that the money the City would save in not having to pay an outside consultant would pay for the salaries of these two woodland people? Mr. Helwig said he did. Member Landry asked if he thought they would pay for themselves? Mr. Helwig said yes. Member Landry said he would echo the comments of Members Csordas and Capello and would not support the motion because he would be in favor of hiring the two woodland people.
Member DeRoche said the reason he supported this motion was that he went through three years on the Consultant Review Committee when Ms. Lemke came in for her first raise of the series of raises he experienced and she explained that it was because she was getting an office, computer and had someone that was helping her out. This was in 1997-1998 and we were building out as much then as now. He could not remember her having staff and we would ask her if this was the Novi gravy train and she would say no she did this City and that City and she didnít have any staff, or someone to answer the phone and she didnít have any real technology. That is why he thought the administration should be given a shot at trying to replicate it with one person. She was driving from Rochester Hills, counted trees, did woodlands reviews, reports and showing up at all of the meetings.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi noted that per the enhanced landscape ordinance, the Ordinance Review Committee was working on it and would come to Council soon. She said one of the main time draining responsibilities that the forester has is the planting of trees in subdivisions, which will be no more. We are talking about one person being freed up from a tremendous burden with regard to technical responsibilities. So if we are talking about a woodlands tech person, the existing forester and the forestry technician, that is three technically oriented persons and Ms. McGuire or someone else filling in on the academic review. There is a certain amount of understanding of how much work there is to do here and how many people are needed to do that. We can always add.
Mr. Pearson said three people worked in Ms. Lemkeís office. She might have had some additional help in the summer. We are proposing to take on those responsibilities that she did with three people, Eric Olson, Linda Lemke and Sandy Seal. Every subdivision plan had woodland areas but then every plat plan within that, with woodlands, has to be looked at and there is detail work with every plat plan. The City continues to add street trees that Mr. Printz is responsible for; they are trying to upgrade our service for the parks and how he is maintaining those and they continue to grow. The build out the next ten or fifteen years is going to be on tougher land in terms of what it is to be developed. Itís more heavily wooded and is not uplands, clean-cut areas and that is our next phase. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi hoped that the parallel being made here was not that they were trying to replicate Lemke and Associates as she consulted with several communities and private developers.
Member Capello asked if he was hearing that the administration doesnít need the extra person or are we saying we would give him one and then budget the other monies for a consultant? Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said her point was if the responsibility were re-allocated, that the existing landscape architect would be reviewing woodlands and that would not be necessary.
She said no budgeted funds unless and until required. Member Capello said he assumed, if everyone were in house, it would be half of what it was before.
Mr. Helwig said Ms. McGuire has more than a full time job as a landscape architect doing plan review for landscaping, period. So, there is no relief there for doing woodland review with adding only one woodland technician. Additional funds would be needed if we have to go outside for consultant support for woodland reviews under this motion.
Mayor Clark asked what the cost would be for two woodland persons? Mr. Helwig said $135,000. Mayor Clark said last year we spent more than a third of a million dollars? Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said the fact that we were overpaying doesnít relegate the fact that we should continue to overpay.
Mayor Clark said if we start out by saving about $200,000, he didnít see how we were overpaying.
Member Lorenzo said we arenít saving $300,000 by adding two people. We are just transferring it to in house versus consultants.
Ms. Smith-Roy said due to an hourly rate with Lemke & Associates and because of that, it skewed the amount that we were paying. She was being conservative in her first year in estimating that the fees that are going to be generated to be $92,000. She was conservative because she thought there was going to be a learning curve and she believed there were some inspections that needed to be redone or re-reviewed that the former firm did. The fact is the fees that she was drawing were significantly more, but again she cautioned using that number because it was on an hourly rate and not on a fee-per-project basis. The proposal here is to balance the budget and provide quality reviews and inspections and have control over the outcome and that is why we are proposing the internal versus the external.
Mayor Clark says the two will keep the fees in house and the two would do at least as much work as she was doing and free up the difference in money, about $200,000, for something else, not to mention that there will be some payback from fees generated by inspections. Ms. Smith-Roy said the primary source of revenue for Lemke & Associates was fee generated and we were acting as an agent and would collect the fees from developers and builders and pass that along too. We incurred approximately $30,000 in hourly fees and that is the savings we are projecting here.
Member Landry said we would save $30,000 for sure by going with 2 people in house and would not sacrifice quality by doing that. Ms. Smith-Roy agreed.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked them to define quality. How do you know we are getting quality in this woodlands review even based on the qualifications of the people with the positions that are contained herein. That is not quality woodlands review. It doesnít make these folks bad people, but it puts them in a position of having to deliver a product that they canít deliver. If we hire right and we know what we want and if we know what we are looking for from the standpoint of quality, then she would agree. However, she did not believe that these job descriptions referred to the kind of quality that we need in this kind of plan review. These are techie people and we need that, but she didnít know they were going to get the quality. Ms. Smith-Roy is saving the money and she would give her that. There are two parts to this and it needed to be done right and it was not simply about saving $30,000. It is about doing the job correctly. We canít relate what we paid then to what weíll pay now. We need to start over. If by doing this we are talking about an additional registered landscape architect with experience and we are going to pay $60,000 to start with, that we are not going to have someone with training wheels on, which is a big problem here. Until we recognize we need that quality and expertise, we are not going to have a quality product. It is not acceptable for people to be here six months before they know how to do their job.
Mayor Clark asked if we have gotten our moneyís worth with Mr. McCusker and Mr. Auler? Absolutely, we couldnít have gotten better. What does that tell us about the administration? They are out there getting the best who hit the ground running. There has been an appreciable improvement in our Parks and Recreation program, and streets and roads. Why assume we would go for the least qualified person as opposed to the best? We have an administration that stresses quality, getting the best so that we can deliver quality services to this community. He has confidence in this administration that that is exactly what weíll get. We will get two people who hit the deck running and yes, it is a technical area but it is not brain surgery. Many jobs just require the application of common sense in getting the best people. We have a lot of that here and if we didnít we wouldnít have gotten some of the best people that we have in the various departments now through the efforts of this administration. They are doing an outstanding job and he had no reason to believe that if we get two woodlands technicians that they would be any less than quality. We have an engineer, recognized by the State of Michigan as Engineer of the year. What does that tell us about the quality weíre getting in this community and why should we think that we would look for anything less than the best.
Roll call vote on CM-02-04-100 Yeas: DeRoche, Lorenzo, Bononi
Nays: Csordas, Landry, Clark, Capello
CM-02-04-101 Moved by Landry, seconded by Csordas; MOTION FAILED:
To approve the hire of two woodland employees for the staff.
Roll call vote on CM-02-04-101 Yeas: Landry, Clark, Capello, Csordas
Nays: DeRoche, Lorenzo, Bononi
FIVE VOTES NEEDED TO APPROPRIATE MONEY
Mayor Clark asked since a vote could not be had either way, would it stay in the budget?
Member Landry said it would be an ultimate vote on the entire budget so unless someone wanted to veto the budget for that reason and that reason alone, it would pass.
Member DeRoche stated he reviewed Lemke & Associates for 3 years in a row and she had herself, a new employee and a support person and they handled several communities and private developments on the side.
AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION - None
ADJOURNMENT: 11:11 p.m.
There being no further business to come before Council, the meeting was adjourned at 11:11 PM.
Richard J. Clark, Mayor Maryanne Cornelius, City Clerk
Transcribed by: ____________________________
Date approved: May 6, 2002