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SPECIAL MEETING OF THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF NOVI
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi called the meeting to order at 7:11 PM.
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
ROLL CALL: Mayor Clark Ė absent/excused, Mayor Pro Ten Bononi, Council Members Capello, Csordas, DeRoche Ė absent/excused, Landry, Lorenzo
AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION - None
PURPOSE OF SPECIAL MEETING
Mr. Helwig noted that it was important to provide new Council members the opportunity to discuss the goals. Itís time to assess these goals in terms of status, progress and relevance and whether they are really the critical focus of the Council and the community in the next 18 months and long-term. Also, whether some of the long-term goals should be moved to short-term due to the progress made, and are there long-term goals Council would like them to focus on during the next 18 months? Mr. Helwig said the plan is to review short-term goals, what is done, what is in progress and what has not begun. First would be what staff had labeled as being done in the sense that some of the goals would be ongoing. He said they would always be recruiting and hopefully at a more aggressive professional level, which was one of the intents of paid on call firefighter personnel. They would always be analyzing our emergency medical response. He felt that the Fire Department millage issue could be eliminated now if Council felt it was truly complete. Library needs could be removed, as it was not something they would be preoccupied with daily.
1. Review progress in achieving City Council short-term goals
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked if there were any objections to any of the items being removed from the Short-term "Done" list or are there questions about the status of any of them?
Member Lorenzo questioned the status of achieving less dependence on outside consultants. She thought they could say it was partially done, but the question should be "what is the status of that." That might be in terms of adding, deleting or revisiting the goal status as opposed to saying it was done.
Member Csordas recommended that they take that goal as being done and move it to "In Progress" and then delete the rest of them. Member Lorenzo agreed.
Review of short-term goals in progress.
Establish a fund to eliminate need for future road bonds Ė OST zoning.
Mr. Helwig said the amount produced by the 8.1% increase produced $682,532 and $288,084 goes to the General Fund. He said $288,084 was a small amount of money when thinking about the size of the road projects.
Member Csordas recommended that this goal move to long-term for further discussion.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi stated she didnít want Council to lose focus on that, as itís a road marker even with minimal dollars. She hoped the Cityís financial condition would be considerably different and suggested leaving it "In Progress". Mr. Helwig asked if she would like to have the fund established, as it had not been. Council could establish the parameters in the next budget cycle.
Member Landry stated the goal is to establish the fund and he wanted some criteria established as to how the money would be spent. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi suggested this be done through some sort of dedication.
Member Lorenzo asked what money would be put into the fund to establish it? She said the Judgment Trust Fund that was to go to other settlements has been depleted. We are drawing down on the Contingency Fund, which is at about $270,000 and another $500,000 in the General Fund excess of 10%. Member Lorenzo said there is about $570,000 of wiggle room for future condemnation, lawsuits, and additional remediation. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi suggested making this a task with regard to formulation of the next budget. At that time, they could see if there is any wiggle room and then dedicate the usage of that money
Member Capello suggested that some of the money coming into the City on a consistent basis could be allocated to that fund. He also suggested they start to surcharge zoning violations and items like that so money could be brought back into the City and be earmarked for this fund. He said funds are collected and disbursed under payback agreements of 10% and suggested it be a 15 or 20 percent fee with 10% of it going into this fund.
Mr. Helwig said he was hearing that Council wanted to keep this short-term because they would be revisiting options come the budget document that is delivered to Council at the end of March 2003, which would be within 18 months. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked if there was agreement and there was consensus of Council.
Member Csordas stated he agreed with Member Landryís concern.
7. Financial guarantees for unfinished site work
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said Mayor Clark originally brought this item forward during Ordinance Review. He had real concern about performance guarantees being dwindled to very small amounts and at the point that the developers and applicants wished to have the final signoff on the acceptance of their infrastructure, that if those infrastructure improvements were not up to City standards, there was not a lot of money left to do the improvements. Or, some folks would actually walk away from those small remaining performance bonds because the performance bonds had been reduced to small amounts and it was cheaper to walk away. So, the Ordinance Review Committee is looking at alternatives to that to have an ordinance written that would only allow reductions in performance bonds to a minimum amount so that the infrastructure and/or improvements could be completed. In that regard, they had asked Mr. Pearson to survey what other communities were doing.
Member Lorenzoís concern was that State law only allowed the City to withhold a specific amount in a construction contract particularly after 50% of the work was completed. She asked
if there was any legal mechanism in the construction contract that could stipulate that overages would be the responsibility of the contractor? Mr. Helwig said he would like to
research that but there was liquidated damages related to time and living within price he thought there could be some perimeters on that given reasonable criteria. Member Lorenzo said if there are punch list items and their cost exceeds the 5% right now, we either accept the work as is or the City has to pay the difference to complete them. She asked if there was any way in the contract that it could be stipulated that the contractor would be financially obligated to pay for those punch list items when funds are not available.
Member Landry stated it would need to be a contract where the City is a party to the contract and unrelated to a developer in a subdivision. He agreed it was something they should look into.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said this should be looked at under new goals. She suggested that City administration monitor and track the circumstances that are being performed. There are subdivisions two or three years old and the final signoffs still havenít been done. This administration inherited a lot of those. Regarding how we signoff on these projects, especially new ones, have a policy so that someone owns the tracking of the project to make sure that the infrastructure is in place and that the bond is not substantially reduced until they are in place and approved in an engineering vein as sufficient to meet the Cityís standards.
Member Capello thought part of the reason that financial guarantees were not covering the work to be done was because of the process in obtaining the signoff from the City. Punch lists are done and work is completed to a degree and it takes 3 years before final punch list, so there is deterioration and then it is going to cost more. He thought it was the timing issue that had gotten them into this situation. He agreed they needed to get the old stuff out of the way so that they could start fresh with new procedures to speed up that process. Right now JCK does a punch list, the developer does repairs and 3 months later Mr. Schlick goes out and does a punch list and finds additional problems and then JCK goes out and checks the work that Mr. Schlick did and it is just an ongoing punch list battle.
Member Pro Tem Bononi said they were not only looking at financial guarantees but also to tighten up and define the process so that folks charged with that responsibility know whatís expected of them.
Member Csordas asked how the amount of a performance guarantee is determined? Mr. Helwig said they were based on a percentage of the value of work to be done and they vary depending on the category of work. Member Csordas suggested rather than have it by classification, have a percentage of the aggregate development. He asked why not just disallow reductions until the deal is done.
Mr. Helwig said this had been loosely administrated. He said this should come to a Council agenda for a full understanding and changes regarding percentages, who has authority to make reductions and how they are evaluated and reported, etc. Member Csordas asked Council to consider a percentage on the project aggregate and no reduction in financial guarantee.
Member Capello thought condominium projects are treated differently than subdivisions and suggested they look at why and which worked better. This would also be "In Progress".
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi suggested prioritizing the remainder of these goals within the next 18 months and asked Mr. Helwig to suggest what would be a reasonable time frame for completion barring any emergencies.
Member Lorenzo concurred and suggested putting this up near a #1 priority as it affects residents and the bottom line. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked if it would be reasonable to present that after each of those is reviewed, Council would decide whether or not they want to prioritize them. Council agreed.
Mr. Helwig said they had a discussion on the first feedback of the first quarter report. Now that they are getting an inventory of key issues and progress report to take very seriously establishing target dates, get them on paper and carry it over to the Council goals. He said the more shared direction received from Council the more they could focus.
8. Cooperate with the Expo Center
Mr. Helwig said cooperate with the Expo Center and certainly the improvements on Grand River and explore private and public matching funds. Next year is the year for Grand River from Beck to Novi Road and the Expo Center is coming too.
9. Move at the speed of business when dealing with larges businesses
Mr. Helwig said they had to move at the speed of business when dealing with larger businesses with no reduction in total services when trying to do that. It is one of the motivations of the Plan Review Center to better coordinate, better process and be more accountable in serving those who are seeking to do business in the community.
Member Csordas asked if it was possible to get a monthly report on all of the projects entered into the Plan Review Center with turnaround times? Mr. Helwig said they would be happy to do that and suggested a second part to the objective, as there are no statistics from the past for comparison. The real goal is to get the applicant through the process only once and not have to have them repeat the process 2 or 3 times with up front communication and understanding of the ordinances. Member Csordas asked if he was saying that sometimes a project is submitted, goes through the process and after the 25-day period it comes back in but is still not close? Mr. Helwig said itís because of negative reviews and sometimes the applicants are trying to stonewall and they know better. Theyíve been told and they still submit it. Oftentimes, it is from a lack of communications or the applicantís choice to ignore negative reviews. Mr. Helwig said they want to do a more thorough, comprehensive review.
Member Capello asked if the Planning Department did a monthly report? Mr. Helwig said they are starting to get weekly reports now. Member Capello asked if the report indicated where the issues are on the larger report? It would help to know if they're wetlands or woodlands issues. If there are snags in an ordinance, would you bring it to Councilís attention? Member Capello asked Mr. Helwig to advise Council of anything creating snags in the ordinance. Mr. Helwig said he would, as the effort is to enhance the understanding.
Member Lorenzo agreed with the goal for fewer inconsistencies but realized it could be the applicantís fault. Her biggest issue with the Plan Review Center was, for example, Maybury Estates final site plan had a target date of March 18, 2002. The landscape review rejection
was May 21, 2002, two months after the target date and we are falling behind on the initial review. We must maintain our commitments and also be subject to them.
Mr. Pearson said it was important to realize that Maybury Park Estates had a lot of other things going on during the process and conversations that keep things going. There are many engineering and other issues and re-submittals that donít affect the landscaping or other things. It is not like everything came to a dead stop because they were waiting for that. He said that was the area they didnít have resources and it had put them behind but the impression shouldnít be left that everything stopped with that because there were many other things that continued during the process. Mr. Helwig said they are absolutely on target in terms of meeting their target cycles.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said the coordination of all the different aspects must be done at the same time. It is not fair to anyone to do it any other way. It is not fair to applicants or the boards and commissions that receive the information. She was not only concerned about getting the whole process coordinated but assuring that they received a fine quality product. She didnít think they were consistently getting that but it was a goal they could achieve. She was looking for a fine quality product to be delivered as a result not only of the coordination review process but the upfront pre-application process. If this were happening consistently, we wouldnít have professionals giving opinions with regard to approvals that are going against the ordinances or the master plan. She wanted the Plan Review Center to encourage professional people to give their professional opinion against all odds to deliver the best product they could deliver. The rest of it is up to the applicant and they can say no but the Plan Review Center can say no too if the project doesnít live up to the ordinance.
11. Determine how predevelopment conferences can result in higher quality
projects/fewer referrals to ZBA and consultantís czar.
Member Capello spoke about what could be waived and the reasons why. He wanted to know how many requests for waivers go to the Planning Commission, Council or ZBA were granted and why they were granted. May be the requests going to ZBA that have to do with site plan approval could stay with the Planning Commission until they are approved and go to Council. This would eliminate going to the ZBA and would speed up the process.
13. Council/consultants relations (more structure/formal process)
Mr. Helwig said they could use some clarification on this goal. They have made some comments about the work of the Consultant Review Committee and how that related to the Council/consultant relationship. He didnít know if there were any further expectations here.
Member Lorenzo asked whose goal it was to have contracts in place no later then January 2, 2003, as stated in this document? Mr. Pearson said he put the date down. She was concerned and thought it should be sooner than later and was concerned about the lag time. Council received a memo in August and two months have gone by and it hasnít been back to the Consultant Review Committee for their evaluation or interviews. She felt the process should have been much further along. She wanted to know if the Consultant Review Committee had been meeting and if not, why. Who establishes the meetings for them and why havenít we been meeting the Council target dates. It had been her goal to complete this by the
time the budget was completed in May. By this time she expected they would have already signed off on contracts or made some decisions or at the least completed the interviews.
Mr. Klaver said the committee is working on it and he thought they were now doing the evaluations and would have a meeting October 21st with the Consultant Review Committee to take a look at where they were. It took longer than we had hoped to assemble some panels with outside participants. They are hoping to get the interviews done in the next few weeks and perhaps the Consultant Review Committee would have an update following the Monday night meeting. She asked the Consultant Review Committee members that were present to speak.
Member Landry said the Consultant Review Committee had acted on changing the criteria for some of these contracts. They spent time going through that and decided to split up some of the services that they asked outside contractors to bid on. The process was to be different in that the administration was going to convene a panel to do some initial sifting after the responses to the RFQís came in. His understanding was that the City administration would determine which people qualified and among those, there would be a panel of experienced municipal people from other cities, villages and townships. They would give us the benefit of their experience and could come in and ask some of the hard questions before it ultimately came back with a few people to Consultant Review who would refine those interviews and then bring recommendations to the Council. He said they thought members of other municipalities would willingly participate in this process and they found a lot of resistance.
Mr. Klaver said what they heard when they talked to these individuals was that they were dealing in competitive solicitation of the same firms and therefore felt very uncomfortable participating in evaluations in another community where they werenít involved. So they decided to look at some outside consultants and they received some very expensive proposals. One of the things they looked at was other people in the community and some retirees. They hadnít anticipated any of those problems and that slowed down the process.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said as a member of the committee, they had had a two month hiatus and she wasnít sure why. She felt, as a member of that committee, that she was equally responsible for that and said with the load they had been carrying, sometimes a cancelled meeting wasnít the end of the world. That was not to say she was any less committed to what they were doing, but a series of circumstances seemed to have converged upon them to bring them where they are. She has real concerns about where they are right now even with the consultants they are using. She felt they had a foot in both ponds, we have our Design Review Center that is supposedly going to replace our commitment and use of consultants and yet she was very concerned that in some areas consultants were being used more and in the planning vein, she thought they were doing that. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi noted itís necessary to find a point where we are either going to fly solo or not. She is concerned and mindful of the additional funds being used. She asked Mr. Klaver to give them a timeline for reviewing consultants?
Mr. Pearson noted they did have a meeting scheduled for Monday and there was a very good response to the soliciting of bids. She asked if there were dates set to bring these proposals before the Consultant Review Committee where the finalist could be interviewed. Mr. Pearson anticipated that they would decide on Monday night how far and deep they wanted to go with each of those. Whether they wanted to bring in three, five or seven from each and how they
wanted to proceed with that. He said if there is a transition, then they would have to come up with the contract language, as this has not been done for two decades here. This is important, there had been very good response and people are taking this seriously. Also, we have added on woodlands and need to draft a new RFQ. for that as it has not been done for years. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said if we look at the number of RFQís and RFPís, we could meet the deadline. Mr. Pearson said if we get after it Monday, we set the schedule on how Council wants to proceed, they should be in a good position to make the January target date. She said the only mitigating factor would be the ability for the committee to meet and the ability for the respondents to meet the interview schedule. Mr. Pearson agreed and Mr. Klaver said hopefully that would be within a couple weeks.
Member Lorenzo concurred with Mayor Pro Tem Bononi regarding her concerns about having in house staff and continuing to use consultants. She felt it should be a combination of lesser in house staff and consultants or all in house staff versus consultants. Weíll eventually have 3 community planners and she expected them to do all the planning without using any consultant services. If that isnít possible and a consultant needed to be used, then she would recommend eliminating at least one position.
Mr. Helwig said he shared the expectation of community planning being done in house with the planning staff positions that are allocated. Civil engineering issues, wetlands and faÁade issues are all involved. Member Lorenzo said according to the chart provided to Council a month ago, the bulk of the work was still being done by Mr. Arroyo and at that time we still had 3 planners.
16. Achieve less dependence on outside consultants.
Mr. Helwig said they have made a significant reduction in the use of consultants and it is a continuing effort.
17. South Lake Drive Ė Traffic Reduction/Improve Quality of Life
Mr. Helwig said they had given Council a lengthy report regarding design issues, which included storm water issues and the review by the Storm Water Stewardship Management Committee that is yet to occur this month. This would be a major construction issue for spring construction. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked if they were on track with their timeline. He said they were.
18. Revisit the street trees and tree ordinance
Mr. Helwig said this ordinance would be coming to Council soon after the public hearing and Planning Commission and work with the Ordinance Review Committee is completed. Mr. Pearson said the Planning Commission asked for a public hearing the second meeting in November and it would be before Council soon after that.
Member Lorenzo asked why the time lag? Council forwarded this to the Planning Commission for public hearing back in June. Mr. Pearson said they had been very busy. There are new members and the Chair with the Director sets the agenda and they have asked that there be a limited number of public hearings and items and trying to meet expectations. The reality is, it is
scheduled and availability was coming up. She asked if this item had been brought to the Planning Chairís attention? Mr. Pearson didnít know when it was brought to their attention. She wanted to know when the Planning Chair was aware that Council forwarded this item for a public hearing. Mr. Pearson said he would find out.
Member Capello said as long as that ordinance was going to be revisited he wanted to see specific directives on whose responsibility it was to replace those trees once the guarantee was completed.
20. Increase compliance action of soil erosion sedimentation ordinance at construction
Mr. Pearson said they tried to provide background on how the process currently runs, who is responsible for enforcement and how that is handled on construction projects. They had been involved with trying to advance when soil erosion plans are submitted. Formerly, they were done at the last minute and they have required that they be done at the time of plan submittal to give more time for review.
Member Capello noticed that senior citizens were using a police vehicle that was no longer used by the officers to go around and monitor parks. He thought this might be something for the seniors to do, as there isnít enough manpower to continually monitor where those soil erosion fences are and whether they are still up. It could then be reported to Ms. Uglow who would bring it to Councilís attention.
Mr. Helwig said it had been requested that in the next budget cycle that one of the key issues to report on was the entire code enforcement unit. Member Capello hoped they wouldnít have to hire someone at $40,000 or $50,000 a year to drive around a look at orange and black fences.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi was glad to hear there was commitment to do something about this because this is in the area of not only compliance with regard to soil erosion and sedimentation control, but in zone compliance in general that she had been very dissatisfied with. She didnít believe that compliance should be the duty of citizens and the bulk of the complaints she receives from e-mail and phone calls are about zoning infractions. Zoning compliance is tough. It takes skills to do it, good communication skills and a certain kind of person to do it effectively. Regarding erosion and sedimentation control she stated she was highly dissatisfied with the job being done and part of that is because of the process. She said the most well intentioned group of people could not do this process when one person wasnít in charge of making the determination and issuing the citation. This is a recipe for disaster and that is why it is ineffective. Add that to the fact that the MDEQ has issued citations to various current development that is underway now in the City, and it tells you that our monitoring isnít good enough. She wasnít talking about the fact that she thought we were responsible for that but we are responsible for overseeing the State and Federal program. It is amazing that the MDEQ has taken the time and effort to come out to Novi and cite four ongoing development proposals as not being in compliance with regard to the records they are supposed to keep of the Best Management Practices and Best Management Practice replacements on site but that they donít have storm water coordinators on site either. Erosion and sedimentation control is a very, very expensive commodity and every citizen in this City is paying for it because someone
else is avoiding cleaning it up. She hoped to see the number of citations significantly increase until this matter is under control.
Member Lorenzo concurred particularly with regard to enforcement. There were 58 instances of non-compliance where developers were notified and only three show cause hearings and two stop work orders. Mr. Pearson said that was because there was compliance on the others.
She said of the 50 projects currently in site plan review, 21 soil erosion plans are required. Of those 50 site plans, have any been actually approved. Mr. Pearson said they canít get approval until they have their soil erosion plan.
Member Capello asked if there was a provision in the ordinance that allowed for land balancing? Mr. Pearson said only after they have preliminary site plan approval and a soil erosion permit.
21. Require maintenance of storm water systems to be timely per budget commitment.
Mr. Helwig said this is very much a work in progress.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said from her observations and talking to the DPW people, she admired what they were trying to do. There has been a real turn around in attitude with regard to not only understanding what needs to be done but also a very great effort considering the resources available to get the job done.
She questioned under the short-term goal explanation that they were given on Page 7 where it said, " a storm water system maintenance continues by the DPW staff as resources permit", and she asked if there was a dedicated millage to maintain our storm water system? Mr. Helwig said yes. She wanted to know whether or not Mr. McCusker felt his resources were adequate. Also, the DPW had taken on a 20% yearly inspection of county or City drains since we accepted them with regard to our storm water permit and the elimination of elicit discharges, and the second comment said that those numbers might be unattainable. She hoped not as she didnít want to be out of permit compliance.
Mr. McCusker said they had helped Mr. Maurice put together some grant applications that they really thought would be funded on under the SWWWPI but they donít like to fund maintenance projects. A lot of the extra funding was packed into that grant and they thought they would get some additional equipment and possibly an extra man. He said they did not get the grant but they do have in-kind money and they were going to talk about getting some additional equipment and if not, they would be back at budget time. They have compartmentalized the City on illicit discharge and they thought they could keep up with it. They did this to try to find where all the septic fields are located. At the State level, Mr. McCulloughís office is pushing the new septic requirements and thought, in the next three years, it would be mandatory that septic fields would have mandatory inspections. They have been keeping up with the date, they know where they are and have a good idea on bad soils in the existing areas. Life expectancy of septic fields is around 25 years, so they have dated and aged them and are starting in those neighborhoods and they have a good feel for problem areas. She hoped they could as they work their way toward the budget process, quantify the resources needed to keep in compliance and to assure health with regard to septic inspection issues or illicit discharges.
Member Lorenzo asked if catch basins would fall into this category? Mr. Helwig said in terms of maintenance, yes. She asked how often the catch basins were cleaned out because with West Nile disease and the Culex mosquito, it becomes more important than ever because it has been reported that type of mosquito goes towards polluted water. When storm drains have leaves, decay and debris sitting for a long while, it breeds these things. Mr. McCusker said they also put together a regular maintenance plan for all our existing retention ponds. Those we know have surface water and go directly into basins that have direct outfalls into these areas. We know the location of most low-lying areas. This summer alone we have been through four complete subdivisions and try to stay in the areas where the paving is being done, then we know that restoration of the internal part of the new paving has been done. They try to work from those areas out and try to do at least one section of town a year. She asked how many sections there were in the City? He said the City was broken down into eight sections and he thought in the future they would be doing more. They are doing some catch up on some major projects that have delayed it this year, but they thought they could get through the town in about five years including the catch basins. She felt they would need to do better than that. She thought they needed to look at their resources and make this more of a priority and maybe spend more dollars on the catch basin issue.
Mr. Helwig said he had been involved in seasonal summer programs where people were brought on board strictly for that function and it was one of the things he would talk with Mr. McCusker about. He was very aware of the West Nile reports and the strategies.
Mr. Helwig said there was one remaining short-term goal in the "no report" column and that dealt with developing a vehicle for paving Delmont and Dinser. This is also in the "no report" column under the long-term in terms of the unpaved roadways throughout the community. Other than the asphalt emulsion program they were still reviewing and it got put on hold this fall because apparently we have at least Clark St. that was involved with an SAD, which we are still trying to document for asphalt emulsion. So the question is whether there had been a precedent that even that is paid for by the residents, as opposed to the City doing a chip seal or asphalt emulsion program. That is why that faded from our work effort in August and September as we are still trying to gather the history on it. That is the closest we got to something that might be more cost effective than doing the grading and bringing in the soils and materials to keep unpaved streets free of potholes, drainage issues, etc. that could have a useful life that would pay for itself more so than what we are currently expending. Then the issue of SAD came up and is that even a level of "pavement" that the community has required citizens to pay for? That is all we can offer in the area of paving unpaved roads.
Member Csordas said there is a mechanism and itís called an SAD. What we canít do is be unfair to the countless people that have already paid for their streets through taxes and the purchase of their homes. He didnít think it would be fair to change the process in midstream and change the rules in the middle of the game. If we do something at Dinser and Delmont we better start writing a check to the people who paid for it on Clark St.
Member Lorenzo said she believed in fundamental fairness and we all pay taxes to the City and in her opinion if the reasoning and rationale that Member Csordas made is that the residents on Dinser and Delmont or any other unpaved road are paying less taxes
proportionately because they are on an unpaved road she would like to see that. If she was one of those residents, depending on what her tax bill was and how she was compared to a similar neighborhood with roads, if she was paying the same thing, she would fight her tax bill. It would be interesting to see if they are paying less taxes. She gave Village Oaks as an example. They paid in the price of their home for paved roads and they also pay property taxes but we went in there and did a complete repaving down to the aggregate bottom level. Is it fair to do that for one subdivision and not for others?
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said if we are going to look at what we pay and whether it is equitable in order to support our community she would say she shouldnít pay school tax because she has no one in her family that benefits from that school tax. She shouldnít pay her county share of the tax for the community college because she has no one who uses that service, etc. When we start thinking of how we contribute to a community in that way, she didnít know where fundamental fairness goes. An auxiliary comment to this question is that she thought what was wrong with this process was the SAD process and would like to see something done with it. Itís cumbersome, slow and pits neighbors against each other. She thought there could be a vehicle where folks contribute and supplemental funding is used so that proposals become more realistic sooner. The SAD process does not serve our City well and it is time to do something with it. She would be interested in seeing how the tax evaluations come out with regard to whether or not the valid argument could be made that when we buy our properties is the built in cost already reflected not only in our properties but how they are evaluated. She would vote to leave the matter where it is on the board and thought that the people living in that part of the City have some valid questions with regard to what they can expect.
Member Landry agreed with Mayor Pro Tem Bononi. He thought they should review the SAD process also. We all see frustrated residents and we understand their frustration. He thought a lot of folks donít understand the process regarding units of use as opposed to how many lots someone has. Whether the SAD process is put here or a new goal is added he wanted to see the SAD process reviewed and possibly put together materials that better explain it for the residents. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi suggested looking at other communities and what they are doing. Member Lorenzo concurred with the review of the SAD process.
Mr. Helwig thought if there was consensus to add the SAD process as a new goal, they should do it. He thought it should be a separate goal and there was consensus.
2. Review progress in achieving City Council long-term goals
Mr. Helwig said the only long-term goal that could be interpreted as ongoing is complete all improvements in City parks. He said these long-term goals are all done with the exception of the two that Greystone Construction Company defaulted on and they are now nearing completion. This year, Council authorized significant commitment to parks improvements so if they want to consider that a major focus, it could move to " in progress" very easily.
Member Csordas suggested moving #7, Complete all improvements in City parks, and put it into "in progress" and consider the other three complete. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi agreed. The exception she would have would be the improvement of the roadway and parking area of Lake Shore Park.
Member Landry had no objection to that but wanted to remind them that there is the issue of the additional police officers that did not get the grant but assumed it would come up on an upcoming agenda. Mr. Helwig said the discussion of options Council requested would appear on the October 21st agenda and the budget cycle is coming up. The review of police and fire staffing is an ongoing issue because of the importance placed on public safety. He expected that to be done on an ongoing basis in the budget process. Specifically, the next two officer positions, one identified and one added for traffic enforcement, had been completed.
Mr. Helwig said there is consensus that Item 7 is in progress and the others are removed.
IN PROGRESS ITEMS
3. Improve and upgrade Beck Road from 8 Mile to Grand River
Mr. Helwig said the intersection at Beck Road and the section repaved a year ago between 9 Mile and 10 Mile and other pieces of this project are still in process. An Intersection Change Order would come to Council to help the Grand River situation on October 21st. It is a work in progress and perhaps worthy of some new goals for Beck Road with the interchange that would be coming on line in the next couple of years.
5. Enter a 12 Step Program to break urban sprawl addiction.
Mr. Helwig said they had commented, on Council direction, to complete a Comprehensive Growth Management Plan and also the fact that they are reviewing past practices, policies, oversizing and paybacks for public utilities.
6. Identify low cost, cooperative opportunities to develop community character.
Mr. Helwig thought that as the community came more of age, people talked more about community character. It was Councilís major defining decision to preserve the 106 acres as natural habitat. Staff has made a major commitment to Twelve Mile Road and it has become a source of pride and a gateway to the community. There is enhanced maintenance of these grounds, of the I-96 Interchange within resources trying to exhibit pride in having a clean, safe and beautified surrounding. The public opinion survey reinforced woodland/wetlands, preserving natural features, physical appearance and increasing community pride in that regard.
Member Lorenzo questioned the conversion of additional lands. In the first quarter performance report in terms of parkland additions one of the items mentioned was the two Sandstone parcels. She thought, in terms of goals or decisions, they needed to come to a conclusion as to whether or not the Council wanted to move forward with acceptance of those parcels. She asked if there had been any expenditures towards that? Mr. Helwig said they had done some things but no money had been expended. He said he, Mr. Auler and Mr. Maurice had hiked both parcels, they had gathered all Phase I Environmental reports from Sandstone and they would bring that information to Council for direction as to whether it was worth it to spend Phase II environmental dollars. Member Lorenzo said she did not want to spend any dollars. It is and was proposed the existing detention basin for Vistas and she didnít want to get into maintenance issues, wellhead issues, remediation issues, etc. It is going to be there and in terms of character, that would not change. It is what it is whether we
own it or the homeowners association owns it. She didnít want to own it because she saw no value in it.
Member Capello said several months ago Council sent a request to the Planning Commission to look at amending some of the ordinances to improve development along our major thoroughfares and that had not come back yet. He still thought that needed to be done to develop community character. He thought larger setbacks at the intersections would make the City look much nicer. Houses are too close to Beck Road south of Ten Mile Road and Ten Mile Road east of Beck on the south side.
He asked that they look at a Similar/Dissimilar Ordinance for the rear of houses on major thoroughfares such as the Beck Road problem. We still havenít gotten anything back from the Planning Commission and he didnít know how many developments have lost the opportunity to take advantage of the new ordinance. He asked that they be pushed to get this information to Council. Member Capello said the benches, bike racks, brick pavers and garbage cans along Grand River look very bad because they are not maintained. We require the improvements, but if we are not going to maintain them, it would be better not to require them. In the springtime, he would also like to see the wetlands along the road cleaned out and the debris from the winter cleaned up. He would like that added as an amendment to this goal.
Member Capello had been trying to figure out how we can utilize the District Court when we prosecute criminals for certain acts that they would have to do community service. The court said the program that is in place with the county has to be maintained so we cannot directly use them. However, Judge MacKenzie said if we have a project to call him and with a couple days notice he would send over whatever work force needed to complete that project. We need to maintain some of the things we require the developers to do.
9. Determine need, cost and benefit constructed regional storm water basins and
maintenance of same.
Mr. Helwig said it appears that direction is more toward a blend of regional basins and on site basins on a case-by-case basis.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked who was re-evaluating the Regional Storm Water Detention Basin System? Mr. Helwig said the Storm Water Management Watershed Stewardship Committee. She said they were not doing it. Also, she asked who was doing the Storm Water Master Plan? Mr. Pearson said Mr. Maurice drafted it, but he would have to get better clarification for her.
Member Capello asked if we are not going to construct certain basins, he wanted to know how much money was in that fund, is it actually there or has it been allocated elsewhere and how much would we have to reimburse the developerís if the regional basins are not constructed? He wanted that information as part of the study of the plan.
10. Work with administration to formalize policies as to expectations for job duties.
Evaluate Council/administration relationship (duties, responsibilities).
Mr. Helwig said they were grasping at straws to give Council some feedback on this. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked what was being evaluated? Mr. Helwig said this was Member
DeRocheís item. Member Landry said if this is unclear why is it a goal? Member Capello suggested eliminating it and Member Landry supported that.
Member Lorenzo said, in clarification, they had been trying at the meetings to clarify expectations and she thought during recent issues she had stressed that if administration had any question as to a Council action or decision, to feel free to ask for clarification. She thought this would be ongoing. Communication is the best thing at this point.
Mr. Helwig asked if this item could be removed and Council concurred.
12. Bury as many power lines as possible.
Mr. Helwig said this was timely in the improvements to the 12 Mile and Novi Road intersection. There will be more work to follow as the GAP project is completed to the east in the spring of 2003. There is still Time/Warner Cable going across when the mast arms come in. Most of the wires have been buried and in the spring when it is done, all of it will be gone. That happened because of Council direction and a last addition to SAD 155. Detroit Edison had delivered poles on Meadowbrook between 8 Mile and 9 Mile and on Beck Road between 10 Mile and Grand River and they met with Edison people and said the lines had to be buried with the help of the Detroit Edison liaison Mike Palchlesko. Mr. Palchlesko should get a community service award for his dedication to this project. Mr. McCusker and Mr. Palchlesko hiked the corridors in from the roads until they found alternative off major thoroughfare ways to get the lines up. Mr. Pearson, as he implements the road bond improvements, always asks the cost to bury lines as he did with Beck and Ten Mile, which would cost $100,000 and was prohibitive. We are trying to achieve this goal wherever we can and are bringing opportunities to Council whenever possible.
Member Capello asked if they could be forced to bury new lines? Mr. Helwig said most of the time yes. However, on Beck between Ten and Grand River that development had not gone forward in the northwest corner they were going to have to service that and were talking about putting that along Beck Road and it was an issue. Member Capello said if on a major thoroughfare there is no other alternative, canít we force them to bury them? Mr. Pearson said underneath the franchise and State law, we would have a hard if not impossible time forcing them to go underground. The best we could do would be with our right-of-way permitting process and through discussion and persuasion, but if that failed there would be nothing that we could do.
13. Focus on improved service to Novi citizens to help solve their problems.
Mr. Helwig said this is an ongoing work in progress. We have stressed the critical importance of customer service, getting out from the office, seeing the situation, meeting with the person and then conveying to Council. We can always do better. Ms. Uglow at the helm of our Neighborhoods Services coordination which is designed to get comprehensive problem solving approaches to neighborhood issues put in motion. She is dedicated to working with our neighborhood associations in a non crisis mode; meeting as frequently as possible, taking crime prevention officers or whoever is necessary to help discuss issues in that community. Specifically, they have tried to upgrade services such as winter maintenance programs for snow removal, remediation program, school liaison officer, community newspaper, etc.
Member Landry thought the community newsletter was outstanding and such a nice touch to contact residents when not asking for money or notifying them for violation. He felt Ms. Uglow and the administration should be commended on that idea.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi commented it seemed that they heard a lot more often from citizens when they have a problem than when they appreciate something we have done. She heard most often from people who felt they havenít been heard. Sometimes that means they didnít receive the answer they wanted and they are not happy and are trying to go around administration to get the answer they need. But oftentimes the biggest complaint is not having heard from somebody in a timely manner. Customer service also includes telling people the truth when you canít help them and telling them you donít have the answer today but this is when I will have it for you. She had attended a seminar about customer service and the instructor said that the most important thing about customer service was finding out what the customer wanted and what they valued. She thought sometimes they didnít go far enough in trying to figure that out. Although, community surveys went a long way in reflecting whatís important to people who live here and then we deliver that to them. It is a sensitivity to their needs that is important. She referred to the customer service cards and asked that they hear all the news on those cards, not just the good news because that is the way we improve. When she doesnít get any complaints from citizens, then she would feel that the system was working 100% and that was her goal.
Member Capello commented he was sure they would keep up the good work they did last year regarding snow plowing and felt it was one City service residents felt they were getting an advantage from. He asked that they solve the problem of mounds of snow at the bus stops to make it much safer for the children.
Mr. Helwig said that was a great comment as there was always something that could be done better and in this incident,coordinating the bus providers and schools to insure that someone was looking after those stops within a reasonable period of time. Although, the emergency things had to be done first.
Complete all improvements in City parks
Mr. Helwig asked if there were any comments regarding the "complete all improvements in City
parks?" We have a full agenda there with more to come as future project decisions were made.
Member Csordas thanked Mr. Helwig and Council for their support in eliminating the old tennis court from Brook Farm Park. Mr. Klaver said they had done the same with an abandoned basketball court in Lakeshore Park using City staff.
Member Landry asked that sidewalks be in the parks be included under long-term goals.
No report item Ė Establish a plan incentive to pave the remainder of dirt roads beyond Dinser and Delmont
Mr. Helwig said they would keep this item "in progress."
Mr. Helwig said they had gone through items 1 and 2 on the agenda and one way to approach the next section was to focus on additions. He asked that they write their ideas on an easel
sheet and not try to come to consensus on them tonight. A great deal was accomplished tonight in terms of direction and focus for the administration.
He asked that they now focus on what new short-term and long-term additions they felt would be important for the community and address that at a follow up meeting. It is some of the most important work they would do for the community today and forever and probably one of the last things policy makers get to because they are always working with day to day matters, budget decisions, etc.
Member Csordas suggested another goal setting session on a Saturday morning. Council concurred.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said there would be another follow up session wherein everyone would have the opportunity to bring forth additional short term and long-term goals and speak to those.
Member Capello asked if it would help to get these to Mr. Helwig in advance? Mr. Helwig said last time Council was comfortable with raising them and having a dialogue and hearing what the true spirit was behind the words. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi agreed with Mr. Helwig that dealing with them at the Council table would probably be the best way.
Mr. Helwig would offer dates at the October 21st Council meeting.
AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION - None
There being no further business to come before Council, the meeting was adjourned at 9:34 PM.
Richard J. Clark, Mayor Maryanne Cornelius, City Clerk
Charlene Mc Lean
Date approved: November 12, 2002