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REGULAR MEETING OF THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY
Mayor Clark called the meeting to order at 7:32 p.m.
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
A moment of silence was observed for the crew of the space shuttle Columbia and members of their families.
ROLL CALL Mayor Clark, Mayor Pro Tem Bononi, Council Members Capello, Csordas, Landry, Lorenzo, Sanghvi
ALSO PRESENT: Gerald Fisher, City Attorney,
Richard Helwig, City Manager
Clay Pearson, Assistant City Manager
Craig Klaver, Chief Operating Officer
Maryanne Cornelius, City Clerk
Kathy Smith-Roy, Finance Director
Tia Gronlund-Fox, Director of Human Resources
Chief Doug Shaeffer, Police Chief
Paul Kahler, J. S. Clark Company, Health Care Agent
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
Member Capello asked, under Department Reports, for an update or a status of what is happening at the party stores on Grand River Avenue near Main Street. He also added under item number one for Mayor and Council Issues a review of the Ordinance Review Committee.
Mayor Pro-Tem Bononi wanted to add under Mayor and Council Issues, a few comments concerning the Agenda for the Goals, Objectives and Policy Meeting on Saturday.
CM-03-02-024 Moved by Csordas, seconded by Capello; MOTION CARRIED: To approve the agenda as amended.
Vote on CM-03-02-024 Yeas: Clark, Bononi, Capello, Csordas, Landry, Lorenzo, and Sanghvi
SPECIAL REPORTS - None
COMMITTEE REPORTS - None
PUBLIC HEARINGS - None
1. CITY MANAGER
Mr. Richard Helwig, City Manager reminded Council of the meeting 9 a.m. - noon on Saturday, February 8, 2003. He, Mr. Fisher, Mr. Maurice, and Mr. Zayatz met at length with Sandstone representatives. He noted that Saturday marks the two year anniversary of the first meeting with Sandstone representatives to seek settlement. He stated that it took a year and a half to reach the consent judgment, entered into on July 24, 2002. We have passed the six months bench mark of implementing that consent judgment. At the meeting today several items were discussed, first the City will have to do more digging on the property at the end of this week, and it appears very minor. There have already been 1400 -1500 samples already taken during the arsenic remediation. As reported, HLA cannot locate five samples and it was agreed for the need to do three more samples. Also the soil samples taken by Sandstone; eight out of ten vertical samples are fine, two are border line, and we have agreed to do digging in this area to finalize that. Both parties are in agreement with moving forward and keeping the date of February 26th to file the closure report with MDEQ. Second, they seriously discussed the post arsenic remediation grading plan, what contours the land will be graded with in order to approximate the drainage pattern that previously existed. Third, they also discussed what detention would be needed for the developed site. One alternative involved enlarging wetlands on the seventy-five acres. Another alternative looked at involved none of the wetlands but preserved the goals of not having a detention basin near Dixon Road where the Park is contiguous and would interfere with parkland usage. They shared the Council direction that the City will not be clearing the deed restrictions as it relates to commercial along Dixon Road within the six months allotted within the agreement. Mr. Fisher will chronicle that in writing this week, they in turn will elect the 9.6 acre option that is afforded to them and if they have commercial, and permitted under the agreement, they have to return some of the acreage. Finally they are prepared to submit a draft letter and work with the County HCD funds office on the block grant land swap. This is a slice of land along Twelve Mile Road that when you take away the public right-of-way and the portion of the wetland that affects this site results in a parcel size of 4.3 acres. The swap allows the City to keep 4.3 acres along Dixon Road and Twelve and a Half Mile Road of usable parkland. There will be another follow up meeting next Monday and other meetings with the environmental advisors this week on Wednesday and Thursday.
2. DEPARTMENT REPORTS - Health Insurance Report – Tia Gronlund Fox,
Director of Human Resources
Member Csordas thanked Ms. Tia Gronlund-Fox, Ms. Kathy Smith-Roy and Mr. Paul Kahler for providing this information. He noted he received a call from a retiree about their concern that this was designed to reduce benefits or increase premiums. Member Csordas stated this exercise is to protect health benefits of the retirees and City employees far into the future. The information is to be used to make plans four and five years out. He asked Ms. Smith-Roy for a five year revenue projection on what the increases to the General Fund will be. Ms. Smith-Roy did an outstanding job in forecasting the numbers. Member Csordas shared numbers Council was given. They were given two scenarios, with a 5% average property tax revenue increase per year and a 6% revenue increase. The numbers he used come from the 5%. He also referred to hard numbers, those paid for the health benefits and prescription benefits that the City paid in 2002. The City paid $2,080,000 for health insurance and prescription drug benefits. The City has already received an average increase of18% for next year. He then gave examples, with a conservative estimate, for the next five years, adding 2% per year onto the increases of the cost to the City. What this came out to is the cost of health care will double in the next four years, using the rule of 72 with an average increase of 24% per year. Five years from now on only the health insurance and prescription drug benefits the City will be conservatively paying $5,614,000. For the years 2003-2004 the City would use a 5% increase, an additional $68,211 to the General Fund. With an 18% increase in the health care benefits this is a $374,000 increase. For the coming year 2003-2004, 11% of the General Fund will be for health care. If you look at 2004-2005 the City will realize an additional increase of $986,000 through taxes. There will be a $490,000 increase in health care benefits. In 2005-2006 the City will benefit from a $996,000 increase to the General Fund, with an increase in health care being a $648,000 additional burden to the General Fund. Moving on to 2007-2008 there will be a $1,040,000 increase to the General Fund, and about a $1.2 million increase to the health care cost to the City. Currently we spend about 11% of the General Fund on health care insurance and in 2007-2008 the City will be spending 21% of the General Fund on health care expenses. He asked the Administration to start planning for this increase and to protect the health benefits for the retirees and the City employees. The health insurance industry considers municipalities a sub-par risk, typically high users of the health care and these plans are very expensive. He hoped that the Administration heeds this wake-up call and acts appropriately. The interests of the City employees and retirees need to be protected.
Ms. Tia Gronlund-Fox explained that she has gathered information on different options available including cost containment options. The rising cost of health care is an issue that will not go away, or has easy answers. With the help of Mr. Kahler, Health Care Agent, she has been gathering information, including quotes from different providers, and different options available. She has met with the Management Team to review all of the information and have brain storming sessions. Mr. Kahler has been asked to discuss cost containment options available to the City at this evening’s meeting. Council had been given a packet of information containing the facts and statistics that have been gathered. Mr. Kahler addressed Member Csordas’s point on retiree health care. He spoke of what they currently plan to do with Novi retirees, a seminar will be held for the thirty retirees regarding Medicare provisions, generic prescription costs and educate the group on options available to them. Ms. Gronlund-Fox has been meeting with the group of retirees on an on-going basis. She has made available a10/20 co-pay on prescription costs. Both the City and retirees will save with this plan. Mr. Kahler stated that on January 1, 1993 General Motors decided that any future salaried hires would no longer be eligible to have health care benefits upon retirement. This could be a cost containment feature or option to be used down the road. He asked for quotes from fifteen or sixteen other health insurance organizations in the Metropolitan Detroit area, the large majority declined to provide a quote. They have a few quotes they are discussing and are also entertaining self funding proposals, where the benefits may change. Also discussed are reduced benefits to participants. An example is the prescription drug utilization over the next year, which can be expected to increase by 17%. If the current prescription drug plan is amended, from the $2.00/$5.00/$10.00 co-pay plans to a $10 generic and $20 brand name there will be a yield of a $90,000 premium billed reduction. Another option would be to start or increase employee medical contributions. The last item, which is very common, the employers absorb the increase. It is also very common to use a combination of employers absorbing an increase and passing some of the increase on to the employees. At this time these are the cost containment measures that exist in the market place.
Member Csordas thanked Mr. Kahler for his presentation, frankness, and honesty. He also thanked Ms. Smith-Roy and Ms. Gronlund-Fox for the information.
Mayor Pro-Tem Bononi stated that truthfulness, the hard line, and candidness are not always appreciated but necessary and needed. She thanked Member Csordas for bringing this information forward.
Member Sanghvi suggested that when it comes time to consider this, the scales of justice must be tempered with mercy.
Mr. Pearson updated Council about the party stores on Grand River that have the cement barricades. The owner of the property has been contacted by letter stating the barricades must be removed as they are on public property and would be removed by the city if they were not removed by Wednesday, February 5th. The City has received a call back from the attorney representing the property owner, and scheduled an onsite meeting. Member Capello asked about other violations regarding signs. Mr. Pearson stated the focus has been on the barricades, when they are on site they will deal with the signs, parking can not be restricted on public property. Member Capello asked if there are temporary advertisement signs in the window that are in violation. Mr. Pearson replied each of the stores has ongoing violations. Member Capello stated the party store has a monument sign in the middle of public property, will this remain and does the other party store have the same right? Mr. Pearson stated improvements were approved with a site plan for the new party store except for poles that have been installed in the sidewalk, which have to come out. Member Capello asked him to look into this. Mr. Pearson stated it was the two new poles that caused a problem. Member Capello asked if the paved parking areas were over City owned Fire Station property and if the party store has access to the shared parking in the back of the stores. Mr. Pearson stated the back of the property was a more complicated issue, the lines in the back are more confused, there was some property that was leased to Main Street Development therefore the lessee would have control of the property. Member Capello asked about leased property in connection with Main Street, did it go to the bank with the foreclosure or does the foreclosure terminate the lease or does the actual leased property run with the vacant land to the west. It will have to be determined stated Attorney Fisher.
Mr. Fisher spoke about the rezoning issue with Singh that contemplated a development agreement. This was a rezoning that was on the Agenda, December 16, 2002 on land that was 38.62 acres and is located south of Twelve Mile Road west of Meadowbrook Road. At the conclusion of the dialog on that topic, Council directed the preparation of a development agreement that would be brought back before the Council and voted on within fifty days. The letter from Singh requests an additional ninety days. There are certain complications in the agreement, he prepared the agreement four days after the Council meeting and sent it over to the legal council for the property owner. Included in the agreement among other things, is the notion that they would include specifications for the construction of the privately owned condominiums for a quality control mechanism. This is one of the things Singh is wrangling with. He assumes after the ninety days, the matter would come back to Council for action and publication.
CM-03-02-025 Moved by Capello, seconded by Sanghvi: CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To grant Singh an additional ninety days for the development agreement concerning the 38.62 acres south of Twelve Mile Road west of Meadowbrook Road, which had been the subject of Council’s action December 16, 2002.
Role call vote on CM-03-02-025 Yeas: Clark, Bononi, Capello, Csordas, Landry, Lorenzo, and Sanghvi
Thomas Giarchino, representing Karl Early, AKEG – Manhattan Club, spoke about an article in the Novi News that suggested the Manhattan Club was going to offer adult entertainment. He felt it was necessary to respond to these accusations by coming before the Council to answer any questions or concerns they may have as it relates to this business. This building was formerly known as Billy’s on the River. Mr. Early signed a ten year lease with two five year options to renew. There is a commitment to this area and community. He had his representative locate a transferable resort license and committed a substantial amount of money for the license and in capital improvements to the business. In the process, his first funding source backed out of the investment. The second source of funds was a non-traditional source so the Liquor Control Commission questioned the other share holder and funding source. The Liquor Control Commission reversed their original licensing denial order and granted an approved license. Mr. Early’s intention was clear that it would be a supper club with nothing more and nothing less, just dinner and dancing. Mr. Early clearly stated that he never requested anything related to adult, topless entertainment. He is committed to a supper club with dinner and dancing, with tables, chairs, booths, bar area, a large dance area with live music, and a bank of televisions. In the downstairs area he plans to put a stage with something like a comedy club but he clearly understands that he could not proceed with that unless he is in compliance with local ordinances and complies with the Liquor Control Commission. Mr. Giarchino also stated the local authority has the additional power to revoke the entertainment permit if anything happens.
Member Sanghvi asked if he was using night club and supper club as interchangeable terms. This is strictly a supper club stated Mr. Giarchino.
CONSENT AGENDA (Approval/Removals)
CONSENT AGENDA: (Background information for Consent Agenda items is available for review at the City Clerk’s Office)
Approval to Award the contract for the Geotechnical Services for the 2003 Neighborhood Roadway Rehabilitation Program to the low bidder, Professional Services, Inc. in the amount of $10,930.00.
Approval of Claims and Accounts – Warrant No. 642.
CM-03-02-026 Moved by Bononi, seconded by Lorenzo: CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve the Consent Agenda as presented.
Role call vote on CM-03-02-026 Yeas: Bononi, Capello, Csordas, Landry, Lorenzo, Sanghvi, and Clark
MATTERS FOR COUNCIL ACTION – Part I
1. Approval to award bid for Computerized Access Control security system (proximity locks) to Protection One, the lowest qualified bidder, in the amount of $94,557.
CM-03-02-027 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Capello: CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve to award bid for Computerized Access Control security system, (proximity locks) to the lowest qualified bidder, Protection One, in the amount of $94,557.
Member Csordas asked Chief Shaeffer to clarify the term lowest qualified bidder. Chief Shaeffer replied there were several demonstrations presented to a committee of City employees who reviewed the bids. They did not feel the lowest bid satisfied the needs of the community and bid requirements. They also did not feel they could perform the job, install quality equipment, provide the maintenance required in the future and the committee seriously questioned the capability for expansion and revision of the equipment. Member Csordas asked why a proximity card is better than a swipe card. Chief Shaeffer responded the two systems operate in much the same way. The Proximity cards are the more popular technology which is newer and has less wear and tear on the cards. He also understands there are fewer problems with the readers as well. Member Csordas asked if the Proximity reader is more expensive initially but over the long term more efficient. Chief Shaeffer stated he has been told by several vendors that there is currently no cost difference.
Member Sanghvi asked what kinds of provisions are made in the event updates come along. Chief Shaeffer noted the fingerprint reader and the eye iris reader would be a step up. He reminded Council that a significant cost involved is for the wiring of individual doors. Once the wiring is in place other technology could be utilized if needed.
Role call vote on CM-03-02-027 Yeas: Capello, Csordas, Landry, Lorenzo, Sanghvi, Clark, and Bononi
2. Consideration of request from Telcom Credit Union and Fountains West, LLC for acceptance of the conservation easement for the Timber Creek Office Park development.
CM-03-02-028 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Landry: CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve the Consideration of request from Telcom Credit Union and Fountains West, LLC for acceptance of the conservation easement for the Timber Creek Office Park development.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked Mr. Fisher if the document was in the form and content that is acceptable to him as legal counsel. Mr. Fisher replied yes. Member Csordas noted a four story guest building is the same as a hotel.
Role call vote on CM-03-02-028 Yeas: Csordas, Landry, Lorenzo, Sanghvi, Clark, Bononi, and Capello
3. Approval of Storm Drainage Maintenance Agreement with Vision Spa & Salon located the east side of Beck, south of Grand River.
CM-03-02-029 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Landry: CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve Approval of Storm Drainage Maintenance Agreement with Vision Spa & Salon located the east side of Beck, south of Grand River with the change on page one of three to state City Council.
Mayor Pro-Tem Bononi asked in this instance why we are doing this, are we going to do this consecutively and consistently. Mr. Fisher stated in his analysis, this was done because the maintenance of the storm drainage facilities will be privately owned and we want to make sure they are professionally maintained and provide the City with an opportunity to maintain and charge the owner in the event the owner fails or neglects to do so. Member Pro-Tem Bononi asked how this is different from anyone of a hundred different detention systems on private property. Mr. Fisher thought the city required this. She asked why we are doing this separate agreement for this property as opposed to not doing it for everyone else. Mr. Fisher wanted it clear and recorded that we will have the right to go on the property and to charge the owner and put it on the tax roll if necessary. She asked if this is one of the documents we will be looking to have reimbursed with regard to the legal fees being charged to the City? Mr. Fisher stated in the future, once the ordinances are adopted, that is correct. Mayor Pro-Tem Bononi asked on page one of three, at the bottom of the page, where we talk about the process by which this will happen, we talk about a time and a place for hearing before the City and for the purpose of allowing the owner an opportunity to be heard, which is fine. Does it spell out who that is in the City? Mr. Fisher stated it would be the City Council unless they delegate it to another body. Mayor Pro-Tem Bononi stated she would like the language to be amended to state that and one could presume that meant the Administration as well. Mr. Fisher stated it could be done, the authority for this type of thing when City is stated means City Council.
Role call vote on CM-03-02-029 Yeas: Landry, Lorenzo, Sanghvi, Clark, Bononi, Capello, and Csordas
4. Consideration of request from Singh General Corporation for the acceptance of Wetland Conservation Easements for Waltonwood of Novi.
CM-03-02-030 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Landry: CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve Consideration of request from Singh General Corporation for the acceptance of Wetland Conservation Easements for Waltonwood of Novi
Role call vote on CM-03-02-030 Yeas: Lorenzo, Sanghvi, Clark, Bononi, Capello, Csordas, and Landry
5. Consideration of request from Singh Development Company for preliminary site plan approval with a PD-1 option for Waltonwood at Twelve Oaks, Phase II, SP 02-38. The subject property is 13.41 acres and is located in Section 14 of the City, south of Twelve Mile Road, adjacent to the Twelve Oaks Mall ring road.
CM-03-02-031 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Landry: CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve Consideration of request from Singh Development Company for preliminary site plan approval with a PD-1 option for Waltonwood at Twelve Oaks, Phase II, SP 02-38. The subject property is 13.41 acres and is located in Section 14 of the City, south of Twelve Mile Road, adjacent to the Twelve Oaks Mall ring road, Plan B and subject to all consultant comments and outstanding Zoning Board of Appeals variances.
Role call vote on CM-03-02-031 Yeas: Sanghvi, Clark, Bononi, Capello, Csordas, Landry, and Lorenzo
6. City Council expression of support for 2003 Novi Veteran’s Recognition Program (Sunday, June 22, 2003).
Mayor Clark stated he asked to have this item placed on the Agenda to again have an expression of support from the full Council for Novi Veterans Recognition Day. The intent is to honor veterans of the Cold War period from 1945 to the present as well as other military engagements that U. S. forces have been involved in such as; Grenada, Panama, Somalia, Afghanistan, and also reservists or families that have had someone called to duty.
CM-03-02-032 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Csordas: CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve City Council expression of support for 2003 Novi Veteran’s Recognition Program (Sunday, June 22, 2003).
Member Landry asked if Desert Storm will be included. Mayor Clark replied in the affirmative.
Role call vote on CM-03-02-032 Yeas: Clark, Bononi, Capello, Csordas, Landry, Lorenzo, and Sanghvi
7. Approval of easement from Detroit Edison for the location of a pump station near the Double Tree Hotel required for the repair of the collapsing I-96 Sanitary Sewer, for a total of $5,350.00.
CM-03-02-033 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Csordas: CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve the easement from Detroit Edison for the location of a pump station near the Double Tree Hotel required for the repair of the collapsing I-96 Sanitary Sewer, for a total of $5,350.00.
Member Capello asked if this is a permanent easement or just temporary for repairs. Mr. Fisher replied the easement is permanent.
Role call vote on CM-03-02-033 Yeas: Bononi, Capello, Csordas, Landry, Lorenzo, Sanghvi, and Clark
AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION - None
MAYOR AND COUNCIL ISSUES
1. Member Capello asked to discuss the status of various ordinances that are with the Ordinance Review Committee. He is concerned that not many ordinances are making their way to Council from the Committee. Member Capello asked Administration to come back to Council with information at the next meeting so they can make an informed decision. He also asked administration to give Council an idea if other communities function as ours does. He also would like to have an idea of what ordinances are with that committee, when they arrived there, how long have been there, and when they have come out and where they have gone, he would like a status for the last two years. The longer it takes for Council to enact new ordinances and amendments to ordinances, the longer we have situations we should have corrected. Member Capello asked for information by the next meeting, February 24th, so Council can make an analysis and help Ordinance Review move ordinances forward.
2. Mayor Pro-Tem Bononi stated she is aware there is an update, and review, of Council goals and objectives on the agenda for February 8, 2003. She has also spoken with Mr. Helwig concerning policy issues, and he has shown an interest in establishing these. Mayor Pro-Tem Bononi further stated it is the goal and responsibility of Council to establish policy and the responsibility of Administration to implement, enhance, and suggest improvements to that policy. She felt there are a lot of things happening that are not being shared, it seems in the past that policy has been made or by omission not made and thinks now is a good time to look at this. She felt this was a good time to share three areas she is interested in. One is if Council would choose to look into the philosophy and/or establishing a policy regarding development agreements. There is a lot to be said pro or con regarding development agreements or not having them. She brought an example of a development agreement that a local community negotiated wherein they were the recipient of many real improvements to the community from an applicant who wished to located in that community. She gave examples of such things as the construction of a waste water treatment plant, a $750,000 donation to the fire station, and an extension of water lines. There are many other enticements that applicants who are willing to come to a community are willing to provide. She feels there are still some attractive parcels in the OST area that may benefit from what development agreements could provide the City. This is not to say it will be policy, but she feels it is important to look into this. The second item would be our community development philosophy and policy. Mayor Pro-Tem Bononi felt there was an absence of reporting, with the concern about vacant storefronts and what we can do to look at that with regard to Council policy in giving direction to our community development professionals. The third item is the City Council’s philosophy and policy with regard to zoning compliance. One of the examples heard that evening was a dispute regarding the placement of monuments or barriers on private and public property. She felt these were straight forward compliance issues, and did not feel they should be before Council. She thought there may be things about this particular circumstance that she was not informed about. She asked for a philosophical position with regard to zoning compliance from her colleagues. She is aware not everything will fit, in general an attitude that Council expects to be implemented with regard to zoning compliance from the Administration. She is looking for these three items policy wide at the February 8th meeting.
AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION - None
There being no further business to come before Council, the meeting was adjourned at 8:46 P.M.
Richard J. Clark, Mayor Maryanne Cornelius, City Clerk
Transcribed by Susan E. Blumer
Date Approved: February 24, 2003