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SPECIAL MEETING OF THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF NOVI
Mayor Clark called the meeting to order at 9:09 a.m.
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
ROLL CALL: Mayor Clark, Mayor Pro Tem Bononi, Council Members Capello, Csordas,
Landry, Lorenzo, Sanghvi
ALSO PRESENT: Rick Helwig Ė City Manager
Clay Pearson Ė Assistant City Manager
Craig Klaver Ė Chief Operating Officer
Kathy Smith-Roy Ė Finance Director
Nancy McClain Ė City Engineer
Benny McCusker Ė DPW Director
Jack Lewis Ė Deputy Director of Parks, Recreation and Forestry
Steve Printz City Forester
AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION - None
PURPOSE OF SPECIAL MEETING Ė 2003-2004 CITY OF NOVI BUDGET
1. Overview/City Manager Highlights
Mr. Helwig said in preparation for the budget, they were mindful of the National, State and local economic status of the community. In October, Council focused on short and long tem goals and added to that list in February 2003 and that was the starting point for this document. They used storyboard format to prepare the budget beginning with the Council goals. Mr. Helwig addressed the following items:
a. Keeping the City property tax millage the same
This budget plan involves keeping the property tax millage for the City the same. This is not related to the school millage or other millages the City collects for other institutions. The millage would remain at 10.5416 mils that is one of the lowest 5 or 6 in communities in Oakland County.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi arrived at 9:13 a.m.
b. Continuing and enhancing past practices regarding Rainy Day funds 2-1/2 % along with the 14.4% to be held in reserve.
Mr. Helwig said there are some 40 states in America having their worst deficits since WWII and Michigan is among those states where we had to plan for reductions in State Shared Revenues. There is $4,116,000 programmed in this document and that is a result of absorbing Governor Englerís cut in State Shared Revenues in December, which is already built in this budget plan as is Governor Granholmís recommended further reduction of 3%. Furthermore, because that is a proposal from the State Administration to the legislature we have, given whatís been happening, we added a rainy day fund of another 2-1/2% reduction. He said that is all on top of a 14.4% rainy
day reserve fund. The 14.4% was taken as a percentage of our annual projected expenditures for General Fund Operations.
c. Judgment Trust Fund
Mr. Helwig said this fund was first discussed in 2000 and he believed it had served the City very well not only in preparing and implementing the Sandstone settlement cost, but last year the first policy decision Council made was to allocate $979,000 to the Judgment Trust Fund to insure that the Sandstone settlement could be implemented. Mr. Helwig said, at this time, they didnít feel there needed to be any additional allocation from the General Fund to the Judgment Trust Fund to support Sandstone implementation costs. It still appears that we will need to remediate another 5.1 acres over and above the 75 acres. Since the deed restrictions were not cleared along Dixon Road, Sandstone can take up to 9.6 acres and it appears that is what they are going to do, as they are in the process of working through that with Mr. Fisher. That would mean if we are able to swap the block grant land of 5.1 acres beyond the 75 acres along Dixon Road, it is pretty obvious that we are going to have to remediate arsenic there. Mr. Helwig said they are recommending an allocation to the Judgment Trust Fund of $150,000 to handle any unforeseen claims and deductibles.
d. Enhancing community security
Mr. Helwig spoke about enhancing security and the approach that Council has taken. Novi has been blessed with growth and the leadership of City Council who wanted to go incrementally in terms of building our safety forces. The recommendation in this budget plan was that there be an increase of one police officer and one fire protection officer. We also have an obligation to replace police cruisers that are reaching almost 80,000 miles. Every year we need to replace 1/3 of our marked cruiser fleet. This would include the one police cruiser with laptop, which would support the added 3 officers earlier this year.
e. Mosquito abatement and education program
Benny McCusker attended a session learning about targeted control, catch basins, etc. These funds would be allocated for the fiscal year starting July 1 and Mr. McCusker would like to begin some of this work this spring and it would take an allocation out of the Contingency Funds to do that.
f. Improving services provided to citizens
Mr. Helwig said in reading through the Council goals, we donít want to remain static. There are expectations that we are coming into a post-Sandstone litigation era where the needs of the community, drainage issues, environmental code compliance issues, tree issues, complaint response, and communicating with the residents in a timely manner. Some communities would put the dollars associated, that he is recommending for improving services, into a rainy day fund. Mr. Helwig said they have come down on the side of these three positions so they could do a better job at responding to Council goals.
Also, there was a piece of equipment called a skid-steer that Mr. McCusker thought was the one piece of equipment above all else that he felt he needed to respond to Councilís expectations. Theyíve deferred other snow removal equipment. The City has been leasing equipment for a short time and the skid-steer has been quite useful in accessing specific areas and in particular, residential drainage issues.
Mr. Helwig said they went through budget hearings with each department trying to keep any increase in base budget line items to the rate of inflation, 1.5%. He noted that in many instances theyíve stayed the same or have been reduced. Mr. Helwig noted last year, Council was concerned about reducing conferences and workshops allocations, liability insurance expenditures, etc. On page 7, Ms. Smith-Roy has listed how this relates to those plans. Basically we have tried to hold the line or in the case of the Planning Commission, made some needed recommendations because they were not given much financial support in last yearís budget. They have boxed in red the key results that are targeted for the year with at least the quarter or specific date for completion. These would be the primary objectives to be reported on a quarterly basis.
Mayor Clark commended the administration and various departments and in particular Kathy Smith-Roy as she has put in many long hours in preparing the budget. All involved have done an outstanding job. He commended the many department staff that had worked so hard on the budget and he felt the community was very fortunate to have the level of civil servants that we have serving this community.
2. Budget Program Categories: (7 categories to be discussed over the three scheduled budget meetings Ė Council discussion regarding the spending plan priorities)
a. Sandstone litigation settlement
Mr. Helwig said they were not seeking any specific policy directions. The most recent history of this is summarized on page 17 and brings us all current with what weíve heard from the MDEQ about our closure report that was submitted near the end of February. We are still waiting to hear from Sandstone officials on the post-remediation grading plan. There are key results targeted on page 18.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked how they derived the $150,000 appropriation figure for any outstanding items with regard to the off site, meaning the above and beyond the 75 acre parcel that would contain any and all costs. Mr. Helwig said the $150,000 was net after they looked at what was still available in the Judgment Trust Fund for remediating 5.1 acres off site the 75. The $150,000 is for any other claims or deductibles associated with the entire business of operations. So, they received estimates from consultants, the prices from Waterland Construction as well as HLA as to what it would cost to clean up the 5.1 acres. He said they felt, based on what they know, that the balance in the Judgment Trust Fund will enable the completion of that clean up thatís already been designated for Sandstone purposes. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said the circumstance with regard to potential cost for remediation in that area is predicated on what? Mr. Helwig said on the fact that it is very probable that we will have another 5.1 acres to remediate along Dixon Road. She said she was referring to site circumstances and asked if they had any information that the remediation would be similar to in scope and quantity of the
remaining remediation that has already been done? Mr. Helwig said yes. She asked how they know that. Mr. Helwig said there had been testing done and based on that, we would be covered. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said she would rather have an over-estimate but if he was satisfied that the estimate was cost containing, she was satisfied.
Member Landry said on this document the remaining $368,000 is the amount remaining in the Judgment Trust Fund and Mr. Helwig agreed. Member Landry said that would mean that what we budgeted last year and the money found from the extra budget fund, we have successfully budgeted all that was needed for Sandstone, is that correct? Mr. Helwig said it was. Member Landry said that is outstanding and he and the City administration is to be commended for handling this gigantic project within the money budgeted or within the General Fund balance. He echoed the Mayorís comments and said this budget exemplifies the fiscal soundness of this budget, last yearís budget, and the entire budget process. He thanked everyone involved.
Member Sanghvi asked if the Contingency Fund and Rainy Day Fund were synonymous. Ms. Smith-Roy said we have a Contingency account that is in the General Fund. The Rainy Day Fund is both the Contingency account and the Fund Balance that we are maintaining, which included the 10% reserve plus the million-dollar cash flow that comes up to the 14.4%. Member Sanghvi said he would like to know what is the real cost of the settlement apart from the land so that we donít have a false sense of security that it is finished. He asked how we came to the number for the millage even though development has occurred. Also, is the weigh master position included in the additional officers? If it is, then someone would be taken away from the sworn officers pool to do some other work, which would mean one less person doing the police work. He suggested perhaps it should be a part of the budget process and added on to the number of people we need in the department to do that work as well.
Mr. Helwig said they would be in a better position to report the total cost of the settlement June 30th after the grading and sanitary sewer work is completed at the end of May. The history of our millage would be a worthwhile write up for Ms. Smith-Roy to do after the budget deliberations to better understand it. There has been, with all the growth pressures, a pressure to increase the millage but City Council has been steadfast in holding the line. Administrative positions have been abolished two years ago and we have really been trying to streamline and get more flexibility for front line personnel as opposed to the layering in administrative overheads. The Weigh Master situation is coming forth and information was provided to Council this week. As part of the elimination of the Department of Public Services a year ago that position was transferred to the Police Department with the individual who was doing that work who was a non-sworn officer. He said they asked for legal review of that situation when he decided to retire. That position is vacant but is still authorized. It isnít a part of the 63 sworn officers of the police department. Our legal advisors have recommended strongly that a sworn officer perform this function. Also, we have a reservist that was called to the war in Iraq and that position hasnít been filled and asked for Councilís thoughts in that regard.
Mayor Clark noted appropriations werenít being requested specifically for Sandstone.
CM-03-04-101 Moved by Landry, seconded by Sanghvi; CARRIED
UNANIMOUSLY: To support the $150,000 allocation for
the Judgment Trust Fund.
Roll call vote on CM-03-04-101 Yeas: Clark, Bononi, Capello, Csordas, Landry,
Member Lorenzo arrived at 9:45 a.m.
b. Public Safety - Fire
Mr. Helwig announced that they had still not received the certificate but had been told that in April, our insurance services office rating would be standardized for the entire community and go to a Class 5 insurance rating. This is a change from a Class 9 of the un-hydranted areas of the community. Chief Lenaghan said they had worked for this for a long time, as they have had up to 3 insurance classes in the City. He said it had been a lot of work by the Assistant Chief, Training Officer and the members that participated in carrying out the pumper operation. He said the Lyon Township Fire Department assisted them, which was part of the program allowed for mutual aid or assistance from another department in order to maintain the required flow set by the Insurance Services Office. Chief Lenaghan worked for some time with those involved to meet the requirements. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi commended the department in taking the risk to do this and congratulated him for putting himself on the line and accomplishing this.
Mr. Helwig said they chronicled the community studies that they had been asked to bring forward. He clarified that the number of police officers authorized as a result of Council action in December was 63 not 66.
Member Lorenzo asked Chief Lenaghan how he would utilize an additional officer. She understood that on a daily basis, they assigned people to different stations based on vacations, etc. She asked him how that worked daily, how the fire protection officer would fit in and how Fire Station #4 would be manned.
Chief Lenaghan stated in terms of scheduling, each station is assigned 5 people on site. This allows for four people on duty. They work four days and are off one during the five-day cycle. This would put 2 people on an engine and 2 people on a squad and this is very minimal, an engine should have 4. It should be 4 and 2. This would allow them to put a 5th person at Station #4. As far as sick time, vacation or other leave time, this is not part of it. It would take an additional person to cover the leave time for the other five people. Chief Lenaghan said they are trying to get Station 4 covered and this would give us a five-person assignment at Fire Station 4. Member Lorenzo said another person would be needed to be able to commit 5 people at all the stations. Chief Lenaghan said he rotates people to cover and also use auxiliary people to fill in some of the positions, but they arenít always available. They have 4 and are in the process of hiring two more. There are additional people at Station 1 because they operate the tanker, all the support vehicles and the supervisor operates out of there. It should have 10 people assigned to it because during the day they donít staff the tanker. If we need it, in probably 7 square miles of the City, the engine crew comes off that and takes the tanker. They had been trying to maintain one person with the shift supervisor. Michigan has a law called Two in Two Out. At the scene of a fire, operations canít start until 4 people are at the scene. It usually takes 12 people to operate at a house fire. This covers the recommended requirements for back up pump operator, supervisor and the other auxiliary functions that go with putting out a fire. There are a few more people at Station 1 for that reason. The pick up truck is also there for grass fires and it is not staffed. He said they would like to. Member Lorenzo said in order to staff Station 1, people are being pulled from other stations, which means then they donít have 4 people. Chief Lenaghan said sometimes they drop down and have 2 stations with 2 people. We have been keeping Station 3 staffed because it is busiest during the day. Station one, as a minimum, we have to have 5 people there. Member Lorenzo asked if they always staff five people there? Chief Lenaghan said that is the minimum and is the supervisor, 2 people on the engine and 2 on the squad. She asked if that meant that people at Stations 3 and 4 would be pulled to be sure there was the staffing at Station 1. Member Lorenzo said then if there is a fire and Station 2 or 3 has two people in it, they would respond to the fire but have to wait for another truck from another station before they could go into a burning building. Chief Lenaghan said correct and in each one of the four stations, they have two first line vehicles, an engine and a rescue. Minimum staffing, just to get two people on that situation is 8 and a supervisor would make 9. Chief Lenaghan said sometimes they run three stations during the day to get enough people for the operation. Member Lorenzo said going back to Station 4, the added person would give the minimal staffing at 5 but that doesnít allow for vacations? He said with five people assigned, there would only be 4 people on duty. He doesnít expect to ever have any more than minimal staff at Station 4. He said Stations 2, 3 and 4, the out stations, would respond. She asked if there had been situations where a building had burned further than it would have been if they had more people responding? Chief Lenaghan said there could be any number of factors that would enter into it. Member Lorenzo said she was asking the question due to lack of personnel. Chief Lenaghan said once a fire is under way there is a 20-minute window and if not under control by then, you might as well write the building off. Even if theyíre at the scene and theyíre not gaining control, a decision has to be made about using the 20-minute window. He said it was a safety factor of how long you would leave your people inside. At some point in time you have to write the building off, get our people out of it and go into a defensive operation. Itís an incident command decision-making criterion.
Member Sanghvi asked if his staffing was adequate or optimum. Chief Lenaghan said it is adequate but not optimal.
Member Capello said there are three vehicles scheduled for replacement and he asked for their mileage. Chief Lenaghan said most vehicles get very little mileage because they are driven short distances. For example, the Fire Marshallís car is 10 years old, we are operating a pick up that is 25 years old and this speaks to good maintenance. He said they would like to replace vehicles at 5 years. The shift supervisor is driving a 5-year-old Chevy Lumina, which was never designed to be an emergency vehicle and he would like to get a four-wheel drive vehicle. He said he would get the mileage figures but they are not that high. Member Capello said they were replacing a Crown Vic with a
Blazer and a Chevy Lumina with a suburban. He asked if they were emergency vehicles or daily vehicles. Chief Lenaghan said the Fire Marshallís is a daily vehicle and his problem is going on construction sites. A four wheel drive for the shift supervisor is needed because in an emergency operation, he responds to runs during the day as well as the administrative checking of stations, training, etc. The vehicle could also be used at night if necessary such as a storm when the pick up trucks are put into service. In bad weather it would certainly be better. He also carries the incident command material with him, a board, maps, turn out gear, flood plains and possibly two self contained breathing apparatus depending on how many people are in the vehicle responding. Member Capello asked about the price of vehicles and if it included trade in value. Ms. Smith-Roy said the vehicles are auctioned not turned in for resale. They are hoping they could get the vehicles off of the State purchasing agreement, as that is typically where they get those types of vehicles.
Mr. Helwig stated on page 92, all the vehicles are included that were requested for replacement. The only vehicles included in the plan are the 8 replacements of marked cruisers in the police department and the one new marked cruiser to go with the three additional officers authorized in December. The vehicles being discussed are not recommended and something else would have to be adjusted if they are included in the budget.
Member Sanghvi asked about depreciation and replacement costs and if they were a part of the budget for every department? There should automatically be funds for vehicle replacement and other things on a routine basis. Ms. Smith-Roy said the policy has always been that we would pay for cash and replace the vehicles as was needed and theyíre expended at the same time period. We do not record depreciation. Even in the funds where depreciation is recorded, we donít fund 100% depreciation because there are bonds for our water and sewer system. If we try to cover depreciation and the cost of those bonds, the users would be paying almost twice to put the utilities in the ground. It has always been the practice to take the bonds and the users of the system pay for the bonds. In terms of these vehicles we donít have a formal capital replacement program, they are purchased as needed out of the funds available. Member Sanghvi felt it should be a part of the budget for replacement. Chief Lenaghan said they have that on major equipment. They only come to the General Fund for cars, pick up trucks and auxiliary vehicles. We had a 20-year amortization program that went to the voters 19 years ago for replacement of major vehicles. The support vehicles are the cars he is talking about.
Member Lorenzo encouraged Member Sanghvi to look through the budget and redline other items to find the money for those vehicles. She noted there is $56,730 for a fire protection officer. Chief Lenaghan said that was the entry level salary plus benefits and gear comes out of a separate line item. He said they have some equipment available but at least $1,200 would be necessary to purchase the equipment plus uniforms. Ms. Gronlund-Fox agreed the figure included salary and benefits and the figure was realistic. Ms. Smith-Roy said the detail for each person budgeted, for example, for this fire protection officer could be found in the second book on pages 35 and 36 where itís detailed out what is included in the budget. There are sufficient funds in their operating supplies to cover their gear.
Mayor Clark asked he assumed that if there was a fire in a particular stationís area and they are called, you are already calling for backup because you know that there are only 2 fire safety officers going out from that location, is that correct. Chief Lenaghan said yes, dispatch would automatically send backup.
b. Public Safety - Police
Member Capello said police vehicles have to be replaced before 80,000 miles based on the union contract. He said the mileage on some of these vehicles was between 29,000 and 45,000 and asked why they were being replaced now instead of in a year or so? Ms. Smith-Roy said the order for the vehicles are placed in the fall and they donít come in until the spring and by the time they are outfitted with the gear and outside markings and removing the safety features from one vehicle and putting them on the next vehicle the process is almost a year. He asked if these vehicles would be utilized in other departments or would they go to auction. Ms. Smith-Roy said they do try to use them in other departments first such as parks and recreation, assessing, etc. and the ones that are not usable are put out to auction. He asked if the $24,000 figure was reasonable and she said it was after including the cost of moving the equipment.
Member Capello said this question had to do with each of the departments. He said on each department there is a line item allocated to pension and he asked how the pension fund was funded? Ms. Smith-Roy said it is handled by MERS, an outside agency, and is funded through an actuary report each year that determines and calculates a percentage of payroll that needed to be contributed to that fund in order to have it properly funded. Member Capello asked if retirees were guaranteed X amount of dollars based on their time and service? She said they were and that currently we have a defined benefit plan not a defined contribution plan. He asked how the drop in the stock market has affected that? She said the actuaries take that into consideration in their report and that is probably one of the reason there has been a slight increase in the last few years in the amount of percentage of payroll that needs to be contributed. Member Capello said then we do have a shortfall and we are funding that by increasing the amount we are paying each month. She said yes. Member Capello asked if there was ever going to be a chance that weíd have such a deficit that it would create a financial problem and should be budgeted in advance? Ms. Smith-Roy said we should not. We rely on the actuaries to make sure that doesnít happen. Member Capello asked what the percent increase has been from two years ago up until todayís contribution? She said she didnít know and would have to calculate it and also it is done by each bargaining unit. She said that information could be provided. He asked if that was significant? She said no and that there are some departments that have gone down a little because of the number of staff and the amount that we are setting aside is greater. When new personnel is added there is a longer time period to make those contributions. Member Capello asked if the 3 new officers in the budget were the 3 officers allocated not to long ago. She said yes, it includes 3 plus 1 officers.
Member Csordas said it is City contributions, it is not a portion of a personís salary that is contributed to the defined benefit plan. She said yes, there are two components and most employees now have some small contribution that they are also making. In addition to that, it is City funds that are being contributed as a percentage of the payroll.
He asked what investment vehicles were used by MERS? Ms. Smith-Roy said it was in very conservative funds and was restricted by State and Federal law.
Member Landry asked if employees had both a 401K and a pension? Ms. Smith-Roy said we donít offer, as a not-for-profit corporation, a 401K but we do offer a 457, which is optional and up to the employee to make those contributions. Ms. Smith-Roy said several years ago as pension improvements were added to the pension plan itself for individuals, the City required the employee to pay for that improvement. He said that is part of the defined benefit plan and she agreed. Member Landry said so all the defined benefit annual contributions are not solely employer dollars. She said correct, the employee does make some contribution and that varies by unit. Member Landry asked if it was negotiated every contract? Ms. Smith-Roy said no, it is negotiated at the time the improvement is made. Once the improvement is made, the percentage is determined by the actuary and that is the percentage that the employee contributes. She thought there were one or two units that have had more than one change in benefit that they ended up paying for. Member Landry asked what the percentage was between employer and employee contributions toward the defined benefit program. She said she would provide that information but did not know it because it was by each unit. Ms. Gronlund-Fox said for our administrative group, the employees contributes 2.29% and the City puts in the rest. For Police command it is 6.42% employee contribution. The teamster group has no contribution and they have a minimum benefit level. POAM is 4.2%. Fire is between 3 and 5%. Ms. Smith-Roy said that is a percentage of their payroll, it is not the percentage of the total contribution. Mr. Klaver said 6 or 7 years ago the City Council felt that the B-2 coverage was what the City was comfortable funding and they asked that for any additional benefits the new expense was to be entirely funded by employees in the bargaining unit.
Member Landry said he favors adding 1 Police and 1 Fire officer. Regarding police cars, he asked if this would be replacing one third of the fleet and asked if it was their intent to do it every year? Ms. Smith-Roy said it has been. He said so we do have a program, but it comes out of the General Discretionary Funds instead of setting up a separate reserve account for these kinds of vehicles and next year we would look at replacing 8 more vehicles. Member Landry asked if there were any major vehicles in the police department or are they all auxiliary? Chief Shaffer said police vehicles are not as expensive as the major fire vehicles. The vehicles are replaced at 80,000 and that is what drives the replacement schedule.
Mayor Clark noted the vehicles are placed up for auction and 80,000 miles on a police vehicle arenít the best vehicles to buy at auction.
CM-03-04-102 Moved by Landry, seconded by Sanghvi; MOTION CARRIED:
To place on the budget to be approved by Council, that portion
recommended in the document regarding public safety, which
includes the addition of 1 police officer, 1 firefighter, 8 police
vehicles and 1 additional police vehicle with a laptop.
Member Lorenzo noted there had been 3 figures provided by Chief Shaeffer when speaking about obtaining a grant for police officers and she wanted to know how those figures compared to the figure in the budget. She said Chief Shaffer had the figure of $94,457 for 2002-2003, for 2003-2004 it was $79,228 and for 2004-2005 $85,997 and in this budget $69,000 was cited. She asked for the true cost. Chief Shaeffer stated the initial cost of a police officer included a lot of start up equipment that would not reoccur in subsequent years. So there is a higher number for the start up cost, such as a gun for a police officer. The next year it shrinks down because youíre not buying that gun twice and the following year raises kick in so it goes up again. Member Lorenzo asked what the $59,000 covers? Ms. Smith-Roy said it would cover their salary, benefits and uniforms. Member Lorenzo asked if in year one from July 1 to June 30th of the next year, this is the total figure we are going to pay for a new police officer? Ms. Smith-Roy said yes, and an extra vehicle wonít be needed for the new additional officer. Member Lorenzo said todayís cost is inflated because of gear? Ms. Smith-Roy said yes. Member Lorenzo asked how the additional officer would be utilized? Chief Shaffer said he would be on the street responding to calls in a patrol car. Member Lorenzo said she had a concern in the Police budget with overtime, as it seemed to be increasing. She understood departmental circumstances with people out with long-term disability or illness, etc. The concerns she had were for the 12 Mile closures, road improvements, etc. and asked to what degree we were responding to those instances? She wanted that under control and wanted the police out there only when it was necessary for public safety.
Mr. Helwig said the closure of the intersection of 12 Mile and Novi Roads for 31 days was something that we imposed on the department last fall because there were so many available cut throughs particularly through Gormans and the intersection itself. People were still going through the intersection even when it was closed and they felt a uniform presence was needed for the safety of everyone. In terms of Grand River Ave. when the bridge first closed, the police were out there for a week on both ends of the bridge because people were still trying to go over the bridge even though it was closed. These were very unusual circumstances. Member Lorenzo said if we do see those circumstances, is it necessary for a police officer to do that or should we be looking at the cost of the road improvement or should Oakland County have a worker standing there with a flag. Mr. Helwig said we are going to seek reimbursement from the 12 Mile SAD for this expense at 12 Mile and Novi Road. She asked what about Grand River? He didnít know about Grand River.
Member Lorenzo said she wouldnít support the motion, not because she didnít support both public safety officers but because Council is not far enough along in this budget to know where all the costs are. She felt adding any personnel is out of step with what is happening across the nation, the State, local municipalities and what is happening in corporate America. She thought maintaining personnel is extraordinary much less to be adding personnel at this point in time. We have reduced State Revenue Sharing Funds, code orange costs that are coming into plan, Homeland Security cost that we never anticipated before 9/11. We are in a general economic slump and adding anyone would be out of step with the national norms. However, if anyone is to be added to this budget public safety comes first. She would wait to see if any other items could be red lined.
Member Capello said he would support the motion and felt that they ad made a commitment to the police department that we are going to continue to get closer to the
national averages and he wanted to do that on an annual basis rather than trying to play catch up. He asked if other reimbursements for some of the overtime were received from some of the events that go on. Mr. Helwig said yes.
Member Csordas commended staff and everyone who put the document together as it is a fine document and is very clear and he felt book two was especially professional. He felt it was a good decision on the administrations behalf to have a police officer on site because no one is going to pay attention to a flag person. He did support the motion and would continue to do so. He thought it was important to keep up and not fall behind with public safety. Member Csordas referred to page 13 of Book 2. He found significant decreases in General Fund under police department and other services and charges. The line item went from $255,000 to $81,000 and he asked for clarification. Ms. Smith-Roy advised that the estimated figure and the figure for the budget for 2002-2003 included the allocation for the laptops on the NCIC system, which were over and above the normal cost within that department. It was a one time public safety improvement made in the prior year and we are not replacing any laptops. Member Csordas said on page 15, under General Fund Fire Department, operating supplies of $144,000 down to $35,000. Ms. Smith-Roy said last year they agreed to finish the replacement of the uniforms for the upgrade of the gear for all the staff. He would support the motion.
Member Landry felt the overtime was a perfect example of why additional officers are needed. Often times when the force is spread so thin and extra tasks have to be done because the staff is so thin, supervisory officers are out there at a higher rate because there are no lower paid officers available. Those overtime hours should be to the lower paid officers, not the higher paid officers.
Member Sanghvi felt it was a moral and legal responsibility to provide optimum not just adequate safety and security for the citizens. If we pledged to work toward keeping up, there should be no question. He would support the motion.
Mayor Clark asked Chief Shaffer about the re-application for grant funds. Chief Shaeffer said there is potential for additional funds but that program was not funded to the level that it was in previous years by the Federal government so the potential for funds is shrinking rapidly. Mr. Helwig said information received from the U. S. Conference of Mayors, the President hasnít recommended renewal of the COPS Grant Program and the likelihood of receiving grant funding is very slim. Mayor Clark said it is still up in the air as far as the Homeland Security too as to how that shakes out. Mr. Helwig said Chief Lenaghan is serving on a statewide committee regarding homeland safety and security and keeps the administration apprised.
Mayor Clark noted the officer directing traffic was a wise and prudent thing because it was a matter of public safety. He thought seeking reimbursement from Oakland County was an excellent idea. He supported adding personnel. He said looking at whatís happening nationally is important but whatís happening in our own community is also very important. We are truly blessed because we have a community that is growing, we have the ability and the funds to add the personnel in the Public Safety Department that other communities wish they had. He felt the economy would turn around soon. The personnel are needed and we are proceeding in a prudent and fiscally sound manner and he would support the motion.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi would support the motion with conditions. The first condition was that she believed that the position was needed based on the numbers that we should have to serve our community. However, she didnít believe that any other line item in the budget was sacred and she believed that Council had to demonstrate prudent fiscal management. Itís not a given for any community and she didnít presume it nor did she presume it on behalf of the residents she represented. She said $455,000 in overtime is substantial and she would look for a description of the overtime program and a description of the management plan of that program to be provided by the next meeting. Then when these hours are allocated to a particular duty or responsibility, itís her opinion that judgments with regard to the public safety are the Chiefís and the City Managerís and if they need to make them, they make them and we deal with whatever it costs after that. If we do have issues with regard to services to other agencies, governments, commercials development applicantís, that is indeed their fair share, then we have a program and plan in place in order to see that that is done. She was asking for a description from Mr. Helwig and Chief Shaffer of how this is done now; how the determination is made. She was not talking about public safety emergencies but everything else. So if we are looking at a proposed amount of money, we know why.
Mayor Clark thanked Chief Shaffer and his department as two recent serious incidents have happened in this community and the department did an outstanding job. One was the robbery of Jared Jewelry and the recent fire at the Mesquite Restaurant and the apprehension of the alleged arsonist. Mayor Clark said with the resources the department has and the job that they do and the caliber of professionalism the department brings to the task, is outstanding and he commended Chief Shaffer and the department.
Member Lorenzo asked what the transfer of $300,000 into the Capital Improvements Fund was for? Ms. Smith-Roy said it was for police cruisers, skid steer and everything that is being transferred and it was all detailed on page 40 in blue book 2.
Roll call vote on CM-03-04-102 Yeas: Bononi, Capello, Csordas, Landry, Sanghvi, Clark
Mr. Helwig said Westmont Village pavement repairs were discussed Monday evening and Mayor Pro Tem Bononi received comments from Mr. Fisher that he would have his comments regarding scope of work, preliminary estimates, working with professional staff regarding how to proceed and said updates would be provided by Attorney Fisher in June. Page 32 shows that whatever is adopted would be implemented before the snow flies at the end of 2003 or the second quarter. Mr. Helwig said we have "reserved" the ability to designate up to $700,000 for this fix but are not asking for that right now because they need to document that fix and back to the earlier discussion, any reimbursement or legal strategy that could accompany that work. The chip seal demonstration program is also in the budget. This would be used as a cost effective means over all the grading and work that we do on Delmont and Dinser, which is spelled out in Council Goals. The Beck Road Interchange is one of the biggest challenges before us to get back on some type of reasonable undertaking by the State.
Next week, April 15th, is the bi-annual meeting with the Road Commission and he invited Council to attend that meeting. Council goals in February indicated that next up would be Grand River east of Novi Road to the City limits and they would be hitting that hard with them in terms of the multi year focus of their work. Funding of $50,000 for areas along Meadowbrook Road for sidewalk connections is included in this budget.
Member Csordas said though Westmont Village was emblematic of something that had to be addressed, including the fact that the developer has $23,000 to fix a $700,000 problem, it needs to be done for the residents of the community but the rest of the residents of that community are getting stuck with that bill. There must be a way to remedy that and if it imposes a burden on future developments he thought that had to be the case. There just has to be a way to avoid this. He requested some answers to that. Member Csordas said regarding the chip seal on Delmont/Dinser, he couldnít support that as a matter of fairness because he was aware of a couple of SADís that had come previous to Delmont/Dinser and the same thing was done on those streets and he thought the residents on those streets had to have an SAD to do the chip sealing. He thought Clark St. was one of them. Mr. Helwig said Clark Street was the one he had heard about and we are asking Council to reflect on that during this budget season. He wanted to have Mr. McCusker speak to them about the chip sealing. Mr. Helwig said there are many types of rural country type road settings where this would give the useful life of 6 or 7 years at a much less cost than what we are doing now. He said we were doing that for most of the 13 miles of unpaved roads. He understood that in the past there was a SAD set up for chip sealing but didnít know if it was a result that the residents wanted or whether it was what could be afforded. He understood Member Csordasí fairness concern but we have a real need to stretch our dollars as far as possible and we want to demonstrate that this can be done in this manner at less expense than we are doing now. They want to do something in the interim that would be far more satisfactory and cost effective. Member Csordas said he saw the cost analysis and the budget and financially, it made a lot of sense. He said it is a matter of fairness and said he would like to know the genesis of the Clark SAD and any others, if the residents initiated it, how they came about and if those residents had to pay for the same thing we are talking about here.
Member Lorenzo said with regard to the Westmont Village situation, all along she had fully supported the investigation and she hoped the money would be recouped for the restoration of these roads from premature deterioration. The PASER map lists these road conditions in 2000 as 6 and 7 and her concern is that if there wonít be recouping of costs, where does the project fall in the scope of overall neighborhood improvements with regard to how we use PASER. Are there 4,5,or 6 rated roads that should be addressed first if the City is going to be paying for it out of our road funds? She questioned the fairness of doing this ahead of other projects. She asked which intersection improvements would be done this year? Mr. Helwig had a map displayed and each intersection marked with a one are the total of 9 intersections that were included in the year 2000 Road Bond. Those marked completed are the two on 14 Mile, the two on the eastern end of 10 Mile and Meadowbrook and Cranbrooke and 9 Mile and Haggerty. Those have been completed. This year, partially completed and contract awarded is 10 Mile and Beck where the additional right turn lane has been added. It was his understanding in April that the RCOC was to add signalization for the designated left turn for all four directions.
Nancy McClain said the equipment for the signal heads to be put in have arrived as well as the upgrades and would be going in over the next couple of weeks to be fully operational by early May. Member Lorenzo asked if the road widening was done. She said it was completed last October. Mr. Helwig noted also scheduled is the Road Commission improvement of Novi and Grand River. Mr. Pearson met with the Road Commission and the property owner on the northwest corner because there is 13 feet of ROW needed as well as some of the turning radius from the property owner. The plan is for them to bid this in July and to complete the improvement, which includes the intersection west to the bridge. The goal, by wintertime this year, is to have Grand River totally upgraded from Beck east to Novi. Mr. Pearson said they also need land from the Mobil Station at the southwest corner and City owned at the northeast corner.
Mr. Helwig said 10 Mile and Novi Road is on the horizon for next year. Ms. McClain said the Road Commission has been working on the design of the intersection of 10 Mile and Novi Road and the Novi Road widening from Grand River and to 10 Mile. It is currently being designed as one project in two phases and is being handled by the road Commission. Member Lorenzo asked Ms. McClain to get the information together regarding the right-of-ways. Mr. Helwig hoped to have an update by Tuesday.
Mr. Helwig said he was new at the City during the November 2000 Road Bond. He said they had no vision for the intersection at 8 Mile and Beck Roads. It was included but there was little or nothing written about it and was dependent upon any direction Council has and development in this part of town. Member Lorenzo said she recalled that Council, at that point in time, had been looking at some kind of cooperation between Northville and Novi. She suggested finding out what was talked about at that time. Mr. Pearson said he had talked with Mr. Arroyoís office and they had nothing definitive. She said since it is a much used road, it has a very small queue and needs signalization for left and right turns. She questioned where it fell in our safety category. Mr. Helwig said even the $85,000 allocated in the Road Bond wouldnít cover signalization. She said engineering should look at the situation and see if they concur with the minimal improvements she had mentioned. Member Lorenzo said in our CIP, according to PASER, between Nine Mile and the City limits, itís a 2 and 4 rating. In terms of the construction projects in the back of the book, she would like to re-prioritize some of those. For instance, Eleven Mile Road repairs are down for $350,000 this year and the PASER map showed that as an 8. She felt Beck Road had more traffic and a lower PASER rating so she suggested eliminating the 11 Mile repairs and picking up the Beck Road re-hab between Nine Mile and the City limits for the same amount. Member Lorenzo felt this might be the time to look at a preliminary design for Beck Road and 8 Mile.
Member Lorenzo thought projects that werenít priorities were: $200,000 for engineering for the Meadowbrook widening. This is the project that was included in a previous road bond that failed. She didnít support this because she considered it a developer driven improvement. It is $200,000 this year and $821,000 in future years. This project should be eliminated in order to do the Beck Road/Cider Mill signalization.
Other projects to consider this year would be the Cherry Hill/Meadowbrook signalization. $200,000 is in the budget for the Cherry Hill Road improvements and asked if that was design or construction? Ms. Smith-Roy stated the engineering would start in 2003-04 and whatever wasnít completed would be completed in the following year. Ms. McClain said the construction would not take place this summer, but maybe springtime next year continuing into summer. Member Lorenzo asked if the $200,000 was for engineering and construction? Ms. McClain said that is what they estimated for both. She wanted to target that area and said there was a signalization issue there also for $200,000 and felt it should be included.
Member Lorenzo noted she assumed that Taft Road between 10 Mile and Grand River would be deferred because of the Grand River situation. Mr. Helwig said that is what they were recommending to Council. Member Lorenzo said other PASER projects that are high on the list, in terms of poor, is Taft Road re-hab between Printzton and the City limits. It is a PASER 3. She felt possibilities were 9 Mile Rd. re-hab between Novi and Taft is a PASER 4, 9 Mile Rd. re-hab Haggerty to Meadowbrook also a PASER 4. She said each of those projects was $700,000 each and the Taft Road re-hab is $300,000. She asked for fund balances for road funds.
Ms. Smith-Roy said those balances were on pages 180, 181 and 182. Member Lorenzo said in the Major Street Fund even after all of the projects that had been placed in the construction fund and in the budget appropriations we have an additional $544,552 left. She asked if the 25% transfer was maxed out? Ms. Smith-Roy said yes, they maximize the 25% transfer every year. Member Lorenzo said funds can be transferred from Municipal to Major if necessary. Ms. Smith-Roy said yes and it had been done in the past. Member Lorenzo said in the Municipal Street Fund, there is an extra two million dollars if Council wanted to do road projects this year. So if Council wants to do a road project, the money is there to do it. Ms. Smith-Roy said if Council moves forward with Westmont and the City has to pay for it, their proposal would be that it be from the Municipal Street Fund. Member Lorenzo said 9 Mile is a heavily community traveled road and has a PASER 4 rating and Council should be looking at doing neighborhood road improvements.
Member Lorenzo said a couple of months ago she had asked for information on a street issue in Bradford of Novi III. She has since received additional calls from residents who said their cul-de-sac is in disrepair. She received a letter from Ms. McClain in November indicating that the DPW and the engineering division were working to develop a program to identify, analyze and repair neighborhood roadways that were still in good shape but needed maintenance and she would put this street in that category. She asked what had been budgeted for those areas?
Ms. Smith-Roy said on page 25 of the blue book, they have increased the allocation for routine maintenance in the Municipal Street Fund to $205,000 to include a $55,000 patch and joint seal repair for Novi Road but it is also one of the areas where we do patch and seal. Also, in the routine maintenance of each of the individual road funds the Major Street and Local Street, Mr. McCusker also does additional patch repair. Member Lorenzo asked if she was saying that other than the line items for specific projects, we are not including patch and seal money to do neighborhoods. Mr. Helwig said there is patch and seal. Mr. McCusker said he has a maintenance project set up where they would to chip and seal, patch and seal and concrete repairs. Last year, for example, Bashian Drive was a ROW from the condo complex and they agreed to repair and rebuild all of their catch basins and then repaved those areas around the basins.
He said they have identified 30 areas that would be worked on. Member Lorenzo asked for a copy of the list for Council.
Mr. McCusker advised Council of the areas to be replaced such as White Plains at Amherst in the Addington Sub. where they would probably cut them out, repair the catch basins, do a concrete patch or overlay in those areas until they get to the PASER system. Thirty areas have been identified for work this summer. She asked if they had identified Windermere Ct. Mr. McCusker said they had looked at Windermere, Norfolk and Paddington. Both in Barclay and Bradford they found a couple of areas where they could do some simple cutouts and concrete repairs to save them. All three of these streets have been identified. She asked when they would be scheduled? He said they would look at where the paving program is at and get in there where the major programs are going on at the same time. They would start as soon as the frost is out of the ground and had already started cutting concrete areas out for repairs and have already started catch basin repairs. She asked if he was aware of the drainage issues on Windermere? Mr. McCusker said he was aware of some severe drainage issues back in that area and they are working between the two subdivisions now to correct some of the problems. Off of Dartmoor, some of the problems have been cleaned up and they would be working on a couple areas at the back of Norfolk. She said the slope where the catch basin is might be wrong on Windermere. He stated they found areas that had shifted due to no drain tiles because residents and builders put pipes from sump pumps out to the street. Theyíve sent their underground drainage to areas that canít handle it and in a lot of areas, that has caused some of the problems for the streets. Mr. Helwig asked that copies of the list of streets to be done be made and distributed during the break. Member Lorenzo asked for improvements the residents could see.
Member Sanghvi said regarding Novi Road and Grand River, he thought they had taken care of cutouts, etc. and everything was ready to go. Mr. Helwig said the Road Commission says not. Mr. Pearson noted the land was set aside and set up for the improvement, but it was not dedicated nor turned over for public purposes nor could the City have required that as part of their private development. The building is set back and it all works, but it is a question of finishing the deal. Member Sanghvi asked when? Mr. Pearson said it depends on the County, as they owe the property owner an appraisal the end of next week or beginning of next. They would receive it and then let the County know. Member Sanghvi said we know that the main improvement of Grand River and Beck is on the back burner. At one point, there was talk about making Beck Road into four lanes connecting between I-96 and M-14. If we are planning to do all those things why make more improvements at 8 Mile and Beck? Mr. Helwig said anything done with road dollars must last and not be undone. He said he was not familiar with the 4 lane boulevard on Beck but that would be wonderful to hear his vision and what has been studied on Beck and how these suggested improvements would fit into that. Member Sanghvi said these had been talked about long before Mr. Helwig came to the City.
Member Landry stated he agreed with Member Csordas on the chip seal issue and before approving, he would want to look at the history of the SAD on Clark Street and the genesis of that. Regarding Westmont Village, he agreed with Member Lorenzo and thought they were still trying to determine what the cause of that was before spending any dollars. He was confident that Novi Road and Grand River would not interfere with the Music and Motor Fest this year. He agreed with Member Sanghvi regarding 8 Mile and Beck Roads in that it was interesting because half the intersection is Novi and half is Northville. He would not want to spend a lot of money not knowing what would happen on the Northville side of the intersection. He thought they should wait to see what was going to happen there and was in favor of not committing any major funds to that intersection.
Member Capello agreed with all the comments of the previous speaker at 8 Mile Road and Beck. He asked who owned the Spirit of 76 Park. Mr. Lewis, Parks and Recreation, stated the Novi Schools own it and we have shared the park area but the school plans to expand the bus garage and move it onto that piece of property. Member Capello thought that area should be taken off the sidewalk plan and ask them to put the sidewalk on that property. The sidewalk for Brook Farm Park doesnít need an extension either since it goes nowhere. He felt sidewalks at the Community Sports Park and along 11 Mile Road and Wixom Road were needed and should have been put in when the parks were built. Mr. Helwig said there were no funds included in the budget for the three he just mentioned and so they would have to explore that again. Member Capello asked if there were any estimates for those three? Ms. McClain said she didnít think there were full estimates on these and thought some of this area was approached in the CIP that was passed by the Planning Commission. Mr. Helwig said it would be available by the next meeting.
Member Csordas said regarding the intersection of 8 Mile and Beck, actually ĺ of it belongs to Northville Township and Northville so he wouldnít want to spend any money.
Member Lorenzo supported the Meadowbrook Road linkage for the shopping areas and the senior citizen housing because it made sense but only if it was maintained. She felt frustrated by the lack of sidewalk clearing in the winter months and felt a sidewalk maintenance program was needed. Mr. Lewis noted they do maintain the sidewalks with the first priority given to school routes and then proceeding throughout the City on the main roads. She asked about the senior citizen housing and public buildings? He said Matt Wiktorowski, Superintendent of Parks, has the maps and priorities. She asked for that documentation, maps, etc. for how those are cleared. Mr. Lewis said they would furnish that information. She asked what kind of equipment they use. He said they use a Holder tractor that was purchased by the DPW and they have made arrangements to purchase a snow blower and blade. Member Lorenzo asked if he agreed with Mr. McCusker that a skid steer could also be used? He did. She asked how personnel were working out? Mr. Lewis said whenever it snows, the DPW for roads and Parks & Recreation are called in for sidewalks and their goal is to clear all the sidewalks before school starts and then the routes on the map are followed. Member Lorenzo said snow clearing in general should be cleared in a maximum of 24 hours to clear everything. She asked how long it was taking to clear the sidewalks? Mr. Lewis said it depended on the amount of snowfall. If looking at 2 to 4 inches it can be done within 24 hours but if it is a significant amount, it may take longer. She asked if they were keeping track of how long each snowfall takes? Mr. Lewis said Matt Wiktorowski was keeping those documents and she asked to see those also. Mr. McCusker stated everyone is utilized first on the main roads. Typically the schools during a major snow storm are shut down and when they get close to the 16 hour mark, the Parks workers start on the school routes and they finish pretty rapidly. The major north and south take time because of the length of some of the sidewalks in those areas. Most of the school routes this year have been completed by the next school day. Once again, she said the Beck Road re-hab project between 9 Mile and the City limits should be included in this yearís budget.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said she agreed that the PASER evaluation is important. Itís not "the" tool however, it is a tool. Looking at Westmont Village as being symbolic of six other subdivisions that have similar problems, we are looking at this to be an attention getting lightning rod for other unaccepted subdivision streets and utility infrastructure. Also, a message to residents, developers, administration and Council with regard to how we move forward on this with regard to bringing forward the others with similar concerns such as Walton Woods I. She said she had brought up at the last Council meeting that they have drainage issues relative to an existing storm water wetlands collections system and also have deterioration of curb and gutter and they donít know why. She believed Mr. McCusker was apprised of that and if he wasnít, she asked that it be added to his list of subdivisions to be brought forward with regard to pavement failure. Regarding roads included for improvement, she said she would not support Meadowbrook Road as any kind of construction priority as she believed development would drive such improvements. She was not decided regarding 11 Mile. It would depend on how user quality of life would be affected as a result of all the other improvements that would be ongoing for a long period of time. She requested more specific information with regard to scope of improvement there. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked whether or not northbound traffic approaching the Beck Road at 10 Mile Road intersection would have any relief with regard to eastbound turning movement? If there is not, it is queued up all the time. If talking about left turn westbound being improved and shifting the pavement markings to allow right turn movement, then her concern would be alleviated. Ms. McClain said currently, at 10 Mile and Beck, there is a left turn at all approaches and that lane is not being moved. The only additional pavement that was being put in and is being proposed to be put in is westbound 10 Mile to northbound Beck. At that corner of the intersection the ROW exists to make those improvements. The ROW is extremely tight to the roadway at the other three corners of the intersection and would not give enough for additional lanes and ROW would have to be purchased. Therefore, there are no proposed improvements for additional lanes. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said we are talking improving Beck Road to four or five lanes and asked where they would get the road width required at the point it was improved. Ms. McClain said improvements would be needed at Beck and along and including the intersection at Beck and 10 Mile Road. ROW will need to be purchased. The project that went forward last fall was what could be done at this time, with the ROW and money available to get some improvements underway. She was not saying it didnít need additional improvements but this is the first step in the process. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi thought citizens should know that if on Beck northbound or eastbound they would continue to queue up there while people share that lane. She questioned how wise it was to keep doing things piece meal instead of doing it once and properly, as she thought in the long term, money would be saved in construction costs.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said the second intersection she would question was at 8 Mile and Beck. She said although, as a municipality, we have a limited involvement there she didnít think they were having a limited involvement in approving development that affects that intersection. If talking about westbound from the intersection there is Our Lady of Victory, Tuscany Reserve and Maybury Park Estates would all be diverting traffic onto 8 Mile. She said despite the fact that she recalled this, that our traffic engineer suggested there wouldnít be any difficulty eastbound turning movements out of each one of those developments. Eastbound traffic on 8 Mile approaching that intersection queues up sometimes for a mile and a half. She said Council is contributing to that and whether or not Council finds that to be immediate it is nonetheless a need. She was looking for administration to speak to people about a plan to bring this forward because as soon as these three developments are online then it is just good planning.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi thought the sidewalk that would serve the Senior Center all the way down to 10 Mile so the seniors would have access to more services is an excellent idea. She didnít see a need to put in a sidewalk at Community Sports Park and asked who would use it. She said anything else where neighborhoods need to get from place to place, letís do those. She said the school districts projects are the school districts projects; not that the City couldnít work in partnership on that but she didnít think it should be in the City budget. She asked why the chip seal improvement at Delmont and Dinser is being described as a demonstration project, as itís technology that has been around for 75 years. She suggested the language be changed to say that we, as a City would like to experiment but thatís not making this difficult question more palatable, it is a tough call in regard to improving neighborhood streets. Also, she shared information she had received with Mr. Helwig with regard to other areas of town, one on the north end, where people who lived in that area and had communicated with Mr. McCusker had gotten price bids to have their streets chip-sealed. She asked Mr. McCusker where we were with them? Mr. Helwig said the policy call is if the Council is willing to undertake chip sealing, there are numerous streets. She asked Mr. McCusker where the people on the north end stand? Mr. McCusker stated they put in the one project this year to look at it and make sure that it could be put in place and then do a full review to make sure it lived up to the Cityís expectations. If it meets approval, they would look at other areas of the City and do it at the same time. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked what criteria for approval were they looking for? He thought the biggest thing was if Mayor and Council allowed it as part of the budget and it was done, they would want to make sure it stood up to what they thought it would. He believed it would meet their expectations and then use it as a vehicle to do the rest of the remaining 13 miles in the community. She said this is a tough Council call as to whoís going to get what and doesnít have a thing to do with whether or not it would work, as we already know that. Mr. Helwig said that is the question and that they were recommending chip seal. It has been proven, been used in alleys and on main roads for the type of setting that we have. There is an upfront cost that we need to budget to do the work and what is budgeted is the Delmont/Dinser experiment, but there is flexibility. Many areas have been identified to add such as Austin and at one time Delwal was discussed because of the extremely heavy truck traffic. It would be a good road to convince people that this works. It is a proven technology and we should be doing it. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said she had other detailed comments that she would submit to Mr. Helwig in writing.
Member Capello said if the City is going to take the position that we donít need to put sidewalks in where the City has conducted improvements because there is no need for the sidewalk, developers are going to come to the City and pose the same question and would the City to show the need for the sidewalks. Member Capello said at 9 Mile and Napier, Mr. Harris of Park Place Estates, put a sidewalk in and it starts nowhere and goes nowhere. Yet someday there would be a connection there and hopefully a connection down to the Community Sports Park. He asked to see some costs for those sidewalks at the next budget session and over the next couple years put a plan together to put sidewalks in there. There isnít enough consensus to make any kind of motion so his motion would be to move onto the next topic.
Member Sanghvi said there seemed to be a general perception that some areas were inferior to other areas and felt there would be questions of where to start and why do some get it and others donít. The question of discrimination comes into the picture then and he felt Council should tread gently before going headlong into it.
Mayor Clark said regarding 8 Mile and Beck he didnít think they had to worry about additional traffic in that area because he understood that the archdiocese has a policy that if they donít have 75% of their funds in place up front, then they wonít build the new facility. He thought they were working on that now so it could be a couple of years before Council had to worry about that. He thought whether Council dealt with Meadowbrook Road now or later, they had to start looking at budgeting for it, particularly between 9 and 10 Mile Roads. A new subdivision is going in and there are no sidewalks and in the past a proposal was made to put sidewalks on the east side of the road but the residents were against that. They felt the sidewalks would be in their front yards even thought they would have been in the ROW, which for years they have considered their front yard. He reminded Council there was an additional problem there because every spring, everyoneís front lawn is flooded up to the front door step because of rain and melting snow. He thought if an improved road system was put in there, something could be done to eliminate the drainage problem. He thought they should start looking at this. Also, he was willing to look at what had been done in the past but if it came down to a money issue and if Delmont and Dinser could be chip sealed for less than we spend every year grading, it he would support it. Once it is done there would be a cost saving over the next several years. Mayor Clark said he would like to see the 8 Mile and Haggerty area pursued and said it has taken so long because on 8 Mile thereís Oakland County and Wayne County, at the intersection of 8 Mile and Haggerty it is Novi, Northville, Livonia and Farmington Hills because of the way the boundaries are drawn. They improved 8 Mile Road up to the light where youíd turn into Meijers and then left the road in the deteriorated conditions eastbound all the way under the overpass until you get into Livonia and then they picked up with the improved pavement. Mr. Helwig said that improvement is on target for this year. Ms. McClain responded that meetings were being held to begin these improvements but did not have a target construction date yet because they were finishing up some of the permitting. It would include some milling on 8 Mile from the intersection with the light at Meijers eastbound and overlaying that area with some construction including a new lane under the bridge and a new light for the southbound off ramp at I-275.
Member Lorenzo requested information on how many other areas/subdivisions would be in need of chip seal improvement so they would have an idea of what to budget this year. She also wanted a list of what other subdivisions have premature deterioration.
Member Capello suggested looking at Napier Road between 9 Mile and 10 Mile in regards to chip seal. It is utilized a lot for the Sports Park and is usually in very poor shape.
Council recessed at 12:11 p.m. and reconvened at 1:00 p.m.
d. City Services
Mr. Helwig said the first issue to focus on was the SAD administration and tracking process and the second issue would be financial guarantee areas as these items are Council goals. Previously there had not been a staffing plan and that is where they would focus to streamline the process for residents and insure appropriate follow up be it the management of the SAD or the tracking of financial guarantees. Someone needs to be accountable and coming in every day focusing on those matters. He said City Services addresses the SAD, management, governmental accounting and financial reporting and he thought their approach was very cost effective and had faith that this could deliver the results Council were seeking. They have already seen some of the reports that have been assembled by Ms. Smith-Roy and Marina Neumaier on these topics. Mr. Helwig said Marina Neumaier would become the Assistant Finance Director under this proposal and she is very talented with lots of experience in the public sector and is the one, along with Dave Maurice, who located the Environmental Infrastructure Grant money that was received from the County and helped fund the Sandstone remediation. She is very results oriented and under Ms. Smith-Royís direction would assume greater responsibilities in coordinating with the Building Department, City Engineer and others who are very much involved. It would bring a higher level of focus and accountability in our organization. In order to do that, a lot of the work that Ms. Neumaier does would need to be done by someone else including support for these roles. Ms. Smith-Roy proposed the position of Senior Financial Manager.
Ms. Smith-Roy noted they needed a support person with some governmental accounting experience to take over the responsibilities for oversight of the accounting and the audit area. She and Ms. Neumaier are the only degreed accountants in the department. That would free up Ms. Neumaier to formulate a plan for the financial guarantee process starting with surveys of other communities, looking at ordinances and procedures that could be put in place internally to address those financial guarantees. Mr. Helwig mentioned that Mr. Coburn had researched the SAD process of other communities and it would be submitted in the Thursday packet and future decisions on this will be at the regular Council meetings. Ms. Neumaier would be the person that would see to it that the steps are implemented, tracking and more frequent quarterly reporting on both SADís and financial guarantees. Mr. Klaver explained that Ms. Neumaier was instrumental in the administration of our HCD program and Community Development Block Grant funds. She advised Mr. Klaver that the spending ratio is down to .3 compared to the 1.5 target and she was the major part of what turned that program around.
Member Lorenzo thought anytime they talked about expanding government and hiring more levels in the administrative positions, she had to step back and look at it objectively but she does have concerns. Everyone talks about minimizing government but we are talking about expanding government. She thought it was the easy way out when addressing issues to add another person. Because she doesnít know the administration as well as Mr. Helwig does or what the employees did, she wasnít convinced that another employee was needed to handle this. She had assumed that when they had SAD or financial guarantee processes and policies in place, if we establish policies, we have people here to do that. She said whosever function it was to handle this, we should have a person or people already doing this. She requested a chart or something showing who has been doing them and whose function it was. She said if Ms.Neumaier was covering for someone who should be doing this in another department, she wanted to know. She asked if they had explored to see how these assignments could be divvyed up? Regarding SAD and financial guarantees and administrative costs, she and Mayor Pro Tem Bononi and others have always raised questions at the Council table regarding administrative costs to administer the policy or the program. They have asked repeatedly if this covered the costs to administer the plan. If we are saying that we need an additional employee or to change an employeeís title, also assuming compensation, to administer this and hire someone else to perform the duties of Ms. Neumaier/her position of Controller, then the questions are what grade level, pay range, will it be added to the SAD process to cover this and would it be enough? She requested an analysis of that. Member Lorenzo said she would not support a change in position, a grade change and a change in compensation that the citizens would pay for because we have an SAD and financial guarantee process that should cover this. She would not be supportive of any of those changes because she didnít see creativity being explored. She asked if priorities in departments could be shifted to meet the goals in order to not hire someone else or upgrade a job? She asked what the individuals in the departments are working on on a daily basis? What are their priorities, what are they working on that is shifting Council priorities to the back burner? Could we re-shift priorities in departments to meet these goals and not have to hire someone else or upgrade a job?
Mr. Helwig said this is something they had thought about for a long time and during his introductory remarks he had tried to convey the many other alternatives in these difficult economic times and in the pressures to play catch up in our public safety staffing, etc. To come forward and say this was a priority, given all those other priorities, he hoped that would communicate a lot about how strongly he felt about this. He said he wanted to underscore that it was the full intent of this government and administration and it is their track, as they initiated a year ago in the elimination of the Department of Public Services and two top level administrative positions, that he is not interested in growing the cost of government and burdening our citizens when there are so many tangible things. Mr. Helwig felt they had looked at it creatively because for each year he had been here the Finance Director has underscored how they are absolutely limping along with the resources they have. He thought the CIP committee saw in regard to our financial systems that the electronic financial systems are not current or state-of-the-art and that would be a huge expenditure in the future that other cities had undertaken. He said when Council placed the SAD tracking streamlining process in addition to the financial guarantee as a goal of Council and said it couldnít wait, it was what tipped him to say we have got to do something in finance. We can no longer wait if we are going to be true to Council goals as well as the financial stewardship of the City. The Finance Department is down the hall from the Managerís office. He said he sees them staying late, working on the weekends and they provide an extraordinary service and the results are well documented in terms of stewardship of taxpayers dollars. Mr. Helwig said we are serious about performing SAD functions the way they should be performed, initiating policy discussions and following through on them, administering the process using our City Engineer, financial guarantees and we are stewards of millions and millions of dollars and he is very uncomfortable. He is uncomfortable with how long they are holding that money and the reasons they are holding that money. Mr. Helwig said the attorneyís had advised them that it could be determined by the courts to be an unreasonable tax if we are in fact holding onto that money for an unreasonable length of time. He felt they got creative because they went outside of some of the line agencies to a central department and picked the top level manager to be accountable for this and to re-think what sheís doing and get her the support that she needs, which would help in other areas.
Ms. Smith-Roy said her department has one person for each type of position that they have. They have one person for accounts payable, one for payroll, one to do the accounting and two part time accountants and two co-ops. She said they are always struggling to meet deadlines for specific reporting such as arbitrage or GASB34, even though they are raising awareness to that now that work started 3 years ago. They are always reacting rather than planning and being able to do their reporting on a regular basis. SADís are a good example. They have been unable to close the SADís that are eligible to be closed because we havenít had the proper staffing so they address the issues as they come up and become emergencies. The arbitrage reporting should be done annually and we address only what absolutely has to be done that year and the rest waits until it becomes absolutely necessary. We also donít have enough back up for payroll and accounts payable. This person would be additional support for that group and add some support for the department instead of relying so much on two part time people to pick up those responsibilities.
Member Lorenzo said just about every time we discuss an SAD coming forward she asks does the administrative costs pay for the process. She asked if Ms. Smith-Roy was telling her there wasnít enough staff to monitor and track, etc., then it appears that what she is really saying is that the administrative costs are not picking up. If we have to hire another person to do the SAD work, then we have been undercharging these SADís for the administrative costs and the real costs should be reflected. Ms. Smith-Roy said there is no administrative charge attached to SADís. Member Lorenzo said she thought there was. Mr. Helwig said he thought there was significant work that was not being done at all. Ms. Smith-Roy said the only additional charge in an SAD is the interest costs. There is a line in all of our construction projects and funds that says "administrative" but that is the engineer cost to have our construction inspection engineer follow up on this and he allocates his time to these funds. It is charged to the SAD as a part of the construction cost. We donít charge legal. Member Lorenzo said she thought they should be charging for these services. Ms. Smith-Roy said charging for a SAD is allowed but the history of this is that the SAD is expensive and the process is expensive as it is and itís really a service we want to provide to our citizens and encourage them to improve the infrastructure. We didnít want to burden our residents with additional costs. Mayor Clark said most of the SADís are imposed or relate to our own citizens so they are the ones who would be paying this; the same citizens we say we are concerned about.
Member Lorenzo said this would be a benefit to those specific citizens. She felt it was a fundamental fairness question and asked if all citizens should pay for an additional employee that has to monitor and do this for the SAD?
Mayor Clark said it would not be fair to do that now and not go back and charge everyone from before.
Member Lorenzo said it was not reasonable to her to hire another employee to deal with a process that not everyone benefits from. She asked if there were administrative costs to administer the financial guarantee programs we have? Ms. Smith-Roy said there is an administrative charge to the inspection services but to the financial guarantees and bonds, there is not. People have the ability of posting financial guarantees by cash or letter of credit. When cash is received we are entitled to interest income and it is transferred to the General Fund as the investments are made. Member Lorenzo asked if they tracked how much that was on each fund? Ms. Smith-Roy said the Trust & Agency Fund itself tracked it, an entry is done every time an investment comes in with interest on it and it is transferred to the General Fund. They are not tracked by project. Member Lorenzo asked where the interest is shown? Ms. Smith-Roy said it is recorded in the General Fund on interest income line item. A good portion of that item is not from interest earned on monies we are holding in the General Fund; itís primarily from Trust and Agency Fund and the tax fund because we also donít have an administrative charge when we collect taxes. We hold the money in escrow and trust and it incurs interest income and that gets charged to the General Fund. Member Lorenzo said the issue she sees with financial guarantees is Westmont Village. In the account we only have $23,000 left but we donít know how much is in the interest account. Why donít we track it? Is it because we donít have the personnel to do that? Ms. Smith-Roy said thatís correct. It would require a significant amount of staff time to allocate every interest dollar to every project that we have out there. Mayor Clark thought the cost to keep track of the interest would be more than the interest itself. Member Lorenzo said the goal is to have less financial guarantees and to have more of the work done in a timely manner. She felt for subdivision landscaping of common areas, entrance ways, etc. we should be asking for it up front like we do with everything else.
Member Landry felt it was incongruous to expect any business entity to serve more customers with less people. We are growing by leaps and bounds. Every one that buys a home expects more government services and it takes people to do that and we can only run our people ragged for so long. We are over 50,000 people and it is unfair for this Council to week after week after week tell the administration there is something wrong with the SAD process. Then when the administration comes back with a suggestion on how to fix it, we say no weíre not going to give you the tools to fix it. We have continually railed on the administration to fix the process, as we did last year with the Planning Department and then refused to give them the people to fix it. Letís not do the same thing this year with the SAD process. Member Landry said he didnít know what everyoneís job was in the Planning Department or any other department and he didnít need to know, as that would be so inefficient and it was not why he was elected. He said it wasnít his job. It was Mr. Helwigís job and as the City Manager it was his job to see it was done in an efficient manner. Apparently in this budget he has taken a long hard look at that along with the City goals and objectives requested by Council and came back with a suggestion. Member Landry said his job is to inquire if Mr. Helwig can do a better job in a financially sound manner? Mr. Helwigís preference is to assign these two things to Marina Neumaier and apparently she canít do these things and what she does now. Member Landry asked can we assign Ms. Neumaier to be the SAD person, to do whatever her tasks are, hire a financial person and do it in a financially sound manner. He asked Mr. Helwig if that was his suggestion? Mr. Helwig said it was. Member Landry asked what Ms. Neumaier did now that she would no longer do when assigned the additional tasks? Ms. Smith-Roy said she would not have direct supervision over the finance staff, she would do no grant reporting, preparations for schedules for the audit and journal entries. He asked if those were the tasks she would assign to the new accountant. Member Landry asked what Ms. Neumaier would be doing? Ms. Smith-Roy said she would still maintain the technical oversight of accounting at a higher level than the new individual, in the first year she would prepare policies, procedures and assist in preparing proposed ordinances for changes to meet the policies Council wanted to see regarding special assessments and financial guarantees. Member Landry asked if part of her job would be, when she comes up with these plans, to present a plan to do it in a more financially efficient manner? Ms. Smith-Roy said yes. Member Landry said then she would come back to Council with a streamlined process according to Councilís request. Member Landry said it appeared what he was hearing is that with respect to the finance department, they are forced to be reactive rather than proactive because of the amount of work and the human beings available. She agreed. Member Landry asked if the addition of another financial person would allow them to be more proactive and financially efficient? She said yes.
Mayor Clark said he agreed with Member Landry and noted the City had grown 44% in the last 10 years. There comes a point when people will say they have had enough. We have excellent outstanding people and a budget that year after year has been recognized for outstanding financial excellence. Mayor Clark said they have not asked for staff since he has been Mayor. Mr. Helwig said Ms. Smith-Roy has asked but he had not brought it forward. Mayor Clark said now it is basically to a crisis point. Ms. Smith-Roy said when the grant coordinator position was eliminated, that really hurt the department in more ways than she could explain just because of the administration of the grants, which involves a lot of paperwork, backup and administrative work that is done to get those monies. It takes a lot of time and Ms. Neumaier did a great job at getting things in line and she felt they had a better handle with the MDOT situation as well as a result of her efforts. We need to maintain that grant and our administrative policies with regard to that and in order to keep it up, she thought additional help was needed. Mayor Clark commented he was amazed by what she had been able to accomplish and maintain in a City of this size with the personnel that she has. He felt that their department was at the breaking point. He cited a specific example of a resident calling him about a refund they were supposed to get on an SAD and it went back years and years. That should not have been the case but thereís only so much a person can be asked to do during a workday. Mayor Clark said he has been in the building on Saturdays and on Sundays and he has seen members of the Finance Department working. They are dedicated, committed, conscientious and they go above and beyond the call of duty and it is time to step up and give them some badly needed support. It isnít always about one more position and what it is going to cost. In the long run this will make us better, more efficient and save us money. He would support this request 100%.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi commented regarding personal opinion, personal response, emotional response, she thought they had come far afield and wanted to get back to the business issue at hand and that would refer to giving people resources and expertise to get the job done. She was looking for, and had spoken to Mr. Helwig about, a simple departmental business plan. In about 10 minutes it would have enabled Council to look at what was being proposed in regard to the function of her existing department. If we have a business plan where Ms. Smith-Roy and her associates map out what their functions are along with their mission, day to day duties, number of employees, the measurements that they use to define their performance, how they will do their jobs, etc. and if there is a hole regarding the assignment that she is getting from Mr. Helwig or there is a function thatís not happening and he wants to plug that hole, then Ms. Smith-Roy can plug that position in her department at his direction and tell Council what it needs with expertise, educational and credentials expected, cost, etc. It would also tell Council who had that responsibility before that is not doing it now, because if this is a plus on her side because she needs this to get the job done, then there is a minus somewhere else. It either has not been done, been ignored and the point in doing that is not to blame anyone but to create a financial picture to show that that function has not been done and what itís costing the City because it has not been done. If every department had a business plan, Council would not be arguing about who does what because she didnít care who does what. Her concern was who does what well and continuously and improves that performance, thatís the measure. So if this is what you need you need to be able to describe it, justify it and defend it. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said in answer to the questions around the table, she thought Ms. Smith-Roy had succeeded in doing that but her point was we didnít need to do that. If she had superfluous requests for help in areas that are not justifying that, it shows up on paper and she was sure Mr. Helwig would not have bought it if a really great defense and justification had not been given. She asked Ms. Smith-Roy what expertise was needed, how much it would cost and how much would it cost to back up the person that is moving up in order to fill this? She said she needed to know where the resource was that was being eliminated and if we can do that, it is a balance sheet with regard to resource and this is something that is truly needed. She didnít know how long they could go on complaining about SADís. There are 144 SADís out there with no one administering them and we canít afford this. She requested a simple break down on what we are doing here, get back to the next meeting and if it is justified and defended, she would support it.
Member Sanghvi said if we expect to have 43 police officers including the staff with the increase of the population we should also be prepared to expand the other staff as needed to serve the people. As far as he was concerned, the one place he wants to see on solid footing is the Finance Department because without that, nothing else will matter. He didnít want to micromanage Mr. Helwig and or Ms. Smith-Roy as it was not his job but he did want to see that it ran efficiently and in a business like manner. Finance must be the first consideration to take care of. This is about consolidating the assets; he would support the re-arrangement in the Finance Department. It might be more cost effective.
Member Csordas said it is employee to customer ratio and we have seen tremendous growth in the City. When looking at the ratio of police and fire to the citizens he would say it made a lot of sense. If looking at the ratio of City employees to citizens and customers, that ratio has slipped further than the police and fire put together over the last ten years. He said he would support the position and also thought that Member Bononiís request of a summary plan was a good idea. Member Csordas believed that the City was run very efficiently and that Ms. Smith-Roy was forthright and honest in her requests so when he sees requests for personnel he believes it is a honest request. Member Csordas said he has been on the CIP for 5 years and there is one line item that has been floating up and down for a long time. It is a very large item that is not on this budget and he thought it was another thing that was lacking in this budget. It is Item #80, which is an integrated management information system and it costs a million dollars. It is something that he thought they should re-focus on because the people here donít have the technology to generate reports. Ms. Smith-Roy agreed and said they used to be on the same system until early 1990ís and then slowly department by department needed to update their technology. When they tried a proposal that improved the whole system it was overwhelming because of the dollar amount. We donít have to all be on the same system but there are systems out there that share the same data base, which would be more efficient and the reporting would improve city-wide. Member Csordas hoped this would move up the list because he thought they were under staffed and undermanned as far as equipment in the Finance Department, which affects other departments. He thought a summary re-cap for the next budget process would be very helpful.
Member Capello said for 18 months we have been complaining about the SAD process both how it is administered and the reporting. We have complained about the financial guarantee process and how it is administered and reported. He said they are responding to Councilís request with how theyíre going to do it, who is needed to do it and what the person would be. He said Member Sanghvi was right that Finance is our money and we need to control and know where the money is coming from and where it is going. A lot of Member Lorenzoís concerns can be addressed when we get to the regular Council table and talk about amending the ordinance for the SAD and the financial guarantees and may be look to recoup that money at that time. Now is not the time to talk about it. He didnít see any other way except give them the person and the money and he fully supported that. Member Capello asked what the $30,000 was for for outside services? Ms. Smith-Roy said it was additional costs for implementation in their first year for GASB 34 and it would be through our audit firm.
CM-03-04-103 Moved by Capello, seconded Sanghvi; MOTION CARRIED:
To add to the budget document to be ultimately considered
by Council, the addition of one senior financial management
person for the Finance Department.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi noted she would like to see the information she asked for first even if it is given after the vote, she still wanted to see it because she didnít want to do it again for any other position.
Member Lorenzo concurred with Mayor Pro Tem Bononi and said she would support the motion but would expect the background information to come to Council to justify this.
Member Sanghvi thought this summary should be done in every department so the Council would know what the basic function was and how it operated.
Roll call vote on CM-03-04-103 Yeas: Capello, Csordas, Landry, Lorenzo,
e. Parks, Recreation & Forestry
Mr. Helwig said the issue they would like direction on is the Forestry Technician to meet minimum maintenance standards in our parks, street trees, major forestry issues and basically administration is struggling in this area. In the first year with the City he said he received more complaints about the trees than anything else. There was no system for returning calls or planting. We have now gone to spring and fall planting cycles, we have upgraded our standards, residents call asking for advice and we are here to serve and we are trying to beautify the community. If you look at the 12 Mile gateway, interchanges and other major streets, we are trying to fulfill expectations and our inability to perform some routine tasks when it comes to forestry issues and park maintenance is a real struggle but itís not anywhere close to Councilís expectations. He asked Jack Lewis and Steve Printz to explain what day to day life is like and what the benefits would be with an additional person.
Jack Lewis stated itís been difficult to maintain the parkland, athletic field facilities and the street tree and Forestry division. When the Forestry Division was under the DPW they had two people working in that area. When the Forestry Division was moved to the Parks and Recreation Department we lost one individual, which left us with only one individual. At that time we had to take a park person and that compounded the problem because now they are short in the parks area to take care of the Forestry Department. We are trying to maintain 25,000 street trees and parkland and we have liability issues. He spoke of another situation. They have a $110,00 boom truck that the City purchased and in order to go out and maintain our street trees we have to have two people to operate that truck per OSHA requirements. When major work needs to be done we have to have two people and have to police park staff.
Steve Printz, City Forester, said the Emerald Ash Borer has been devastating our Ash tree population and he estimated it was approximately 2000 street Ash trees. They did a survey of approximately 600 trees and 441 were showing signs of bore activity. He expected that number to increase even more.
Member Lorenzo questioned two line items in their budget, tree maintenance for $10,000 and tree fund maintenance for $50,000. She asked why it was being taken out of the General Fund instead of out of the Tree Fund? Mr. Printz stated the tree fund maintenance is the escrow account set up by developers when they contribute money for replacement trees for various projects. It is used to replace street trees, etc. Ms. Smith-Roy said the $10,000 is a commitment that we have made from the General Fund for years and it is used for other purposes besides trees. It is used for landscaping items around the Civic Center, etc. They are the only General Funds monies included in this budget and it was not increased this year compared to the prior years. The $50,000 is offset by the $50,000 revenue coming from the Tree Maintenance Fund Revenue thatís a separate fund. We show a revenue and expense. There is a revenue item also that offsets that. It is on page 27 of the blue book. The revenue is from the Tree Fund where contributions are made from developers. Member Lorenzo said she thought that account had $155,000. Ms. Smith-Roy said thatís correct and we are only proposing to use $50,000 this year. Member Lorenzo suggested using all of the money from the Tree Fund. We have $155,000 in the Tree Fund so she wants to see $60,000 coming out of the Tree Fund not the City General Fund. Then we have just picked up $60,000. Ms. Smith-Roy said itís only $10,000 coming out of the General Fund right now. Member Lorenzo said she wanted to allocate the extra $10,000 to the tree fund. She said regarding the information for the Forest Technician there are statements in here that say "a private contractor would charge the City at least $450.00 per removal of each Ash tree." She asked if they had formal estimates to demonstrate that? Mr. Printz said he did and she asked that they be provided to Council. She didnít know of any other place to draw monies from, as she didnít know if they could draw money from the Tree Fund for maintenance. Ms. Smith-Roy said it would be a source of funds for maintenance. Member Lorenzo asked if that was how we have been applying that? She said yes. Member Lorenzo said we have roughly $150,000 in the Tree Fund, we remove $60,000, which leaves a little less than $100,000 in that and with $100,000 we could remove about 192 trees by contracting that out. She wanted to look at the budget as not necessarily just adding additional government. Anywhere we can not add people and still do something, she wanted to try and do that first. In this instance we have a fund that might provide us this year with funds to remove 192 Ash trees without tapping into the General Fund. She would like to explore that before considering adding a person to the organization with salary and all the benefits over the long term.
Member Lorenzo asked if there were any funds proposed for parkland improvements? Mr. Helwig said there is nothing in the CIP. We are implementing at the Community Sports Park about $125,000 worth of improvements and that is the extent of the improvements. She asked if that was the reprogrammed fund? He said yes. She said then there are no additional new funds or funding or proposals for this year. So, under the heading of Parks and Recreation the only services citizens are going to see are removal of these Ash trees and the planting program just approved. Mr. Helwig said that is accurate. This is an attempt to better maintain park maintenance and tree related services that lag behind. This is an attempt to highlight maintenance. To have the capability to do that year round, especially during the winter, this is it to have the crew size needed to be efficient year round for both tree related issues and park maintenance issues. The Ash borer has just further compounded this. Member Lorenzo wondered if the City should contract out rather than hire someone and address further needs next year.
Member Capello asked if the $50,000 Tree Fund Revenue was from the replacement trees that the developers contribute to this fund because they are not replacing trees theyíve removed? Ms. Smith-Roy said yes, it is an interest bearing account where we hold the money separate for a specific purpose and we have only allocated out of it for next year $50,000. She said they had found the last several years when the spring and fall plantings are done that we have had to subsidize those plantings with Street Tree Fund monies and it is primarily what this is being used for. Member Capello said but it doesnít come out of the Street Tree Fund. It is out of the replacement tree fund. Ms.
Smith-Roy said they were using the terminology interchangeably. In the ordinance itís called the Tree Maintenance Fund. Member Capello said he had a real problem with using that money to replace street trees. His concern was that the developer couldnít replace them as street trees or as landscaping, yet the City could take the money and do exactly that. To take money out of the Replacement Tree Fund is wrong and if the development community finds out we are going to find ourselves in serious trouble. He could support the $50,000 but not coming out of that fund. Ms. Smith-Roy stated it goes back to the Tree Ordinance. The reason we are supplementing the funds for the street trees is because we have not collected enough to do the street tree plantings. The money has to come from somewhere. When we present the proposal to Council for the spring and fall planting and there isnít enough money in the escrow because we only collected $225 per tree, it is costing us $325 per tree. He said these are not replacement trees that are dying these are new trees in the subdivision. She said these are all new trees. We have not even gotten into a replacement tree program. Member Capello said about four years ago the previous forester decided that it was the policy that we would collect the money and plant the trees because the plantings could be monitored better. Is this where we are coming with that short fall because instead of letting the developers plant their street trees we decided we were going to assume that entire responsibility? She said it was presented to every developer as their option. He said with the money we collected from them, we came up short. She said thatís correct. He said he didnít realize that but still disagreed that it should come out of the replacement tree fund. We have that obligation to plant and still felt the money should be taken from somewhere else. Member Capello noticed in other areas she needed additional help to monitor some wetlands and wondered if an environmental technician could be hired to overlap some of the wetland inspections that she needed. He asked her to look at that and let him know at the next budget meeting. If this person could do a little more work for the same amount of money, it might be easier to convince Council to give him/her to her.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said she didnít think the Woodland Ordinance addressed replacing habitat. So, from the standpoint of looking at the financial wherewithal that it would take to do that, she didnít think that was what the ordinance presently said nor was intended to say. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked what the temporary salaries (woodlands) in the amount of $25,000 that is proposed in the base budget for Parks, Recreation and Forestry is for? Ms. Smith-Roy said that was for the position that is currently held by Elaine Grehl. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said this is a temporary position? Mr. Helwig said it is a part time position and Ms. Grehl is moving on to graduate school in three weeks. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said then we wouldnít need this item. Mr. Helwig said we have had a part time position and she asked if we are going to have a full time position, why would we want to leave that in there? Ms. Smith-Roy said these are different positions. Ms. Grehl is working in Plan Review Center reviewing plans in terms of woodlands. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said this is under Parks, Recreation and Forestry and it says "temporary salaries woodlands" and asked if this would be continued or not. Ms. Smith-Roy said it was their assumption that that position would continue on in the Plan Review Center. Mr. Helwig said that was strictly until Council decided what firm is chosen for woodland review. She hoped that would be in abeyance until that determination is made. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said on page 40, Key Issues Background, last paragraph says, "in November 2003 Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department plans to utilize the existing Fire Station 4 located at Beck and 11 Mile Roads for equipment storage." She said she realized that at the beginning of the document it was called that the budget is two things, a financial statement and itís a policy document. This seems like a policy decision that she had not heard anything about and from the standpoint of looking at all assets of the community as just that, assets to be reviewed, assessed and/or appraised at not only their worth but how they shall be used is not something any department should be determining. She would think that the Planning Department should be looking at an adaptive reuse plan because thatís what they do and they do it well. She would be interested in knowing what the value of that building is with regard to potential, adaptive reuse and she would not propose off the top to designate Parks, Recreation and Forestry should utilize that building. One of the options would be for Council to evaluate the building and property for potential sale. She didnít want anyone to get the opinion that she supported that just on the basis that someone just made the decision to do so without all of the supporting information that municipalities traditionally require. She asked Mr. Helwig if he had any comment?
Mr. Helwig said this is strictly in the idea stage and was put in because he wanted Councilís oversight on it. Park Recreation and Forestry is in need of a "field office" where equipment could be safeguarded as well as to save travel time from the DPW area to a more central facility in the community. As this document evolves we try to identify key issues for Councilís oversight policy direction. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi was concerned about the language and the fact that anyone else within the City who would also like to have additional facilities would also have the opportunity to present a full proposal and she would be looking for that.
Member Sanghvi referred to the $50,000 tree fund expense and asked if it was a wash? Ms. Smith-Roy thought the concern of other Council Members was not that it was a wash but what the proceeds are being used for. The revenue comes in from trees that cannot be planted elsewhere in the City and it is put in the Tree Fund account. How we utilize those funds is the question of Council Members. He said then it is not a wash? She said there is a revenue and expenditure and the revenue is not coming from the General Fund. She said it is a wash but it is how we spend the money. Member Sanghvi referred to the $10,000 maintenance expense coming from the General Fund and asked if they could utilize the $10,000 from the tree fund to do that rather than bringing out from the General Fund? Is it legal? She said if used for tree planting, yes. He said then it doesnít have to come from the General Fund at all. The same logic applies for police officer, fire officers, finance officer and the City Forester, etc. The work has actually doubled and we need people to do it. If it canít be done with part time people then full time people need to be hired. If the full time person can be utilized during the winter months then he would have no problem with it. He asked what he would do in the winter? Mr. Printz said there was a lot he could do such as the pruning of trees in the parks and streets and assist in plowing for DPW and Parks in times of emergency. There is plenty of work that would need to be done. Mr. Helwig said prior to Mr. McCusker joining us, we didnít do what is pretty standard in all communities and that is when there is a snow emergency the Public Works Director commands not only the public works employees but also the parks employees and water employees. He said his experience with forestry crews, winter months is when you really make hay. You do cleanup that you never get during the rest of the year when youíre planting and dealing with storm damage during the storm seasons of warmer months.
Member Landry said with respect to the Forestry Technician this is an item that was suggested last year. It did not get approved on last yearís budget and the administration said they needed this in play last year before the Emerald Ash Borer created all this havoc in the City. We need to take out 192 Ash trees and if we pay someone to do it it would cost $86,400. A Forestry Technician would cost $65,261 and we need to prune trees, etc. It has already been demonstrated that we need this employee, that this employee could be cross used with the DPW. We have been talking about clearing sidewalks, etc. and it seemed to him we could use such an employee for these cross purposes.
CM-03-04-103 Moved by Landry, seconded by Capello; MOTION CARRIED:
To include in the budget document, the addition of one
Mayor Clark noted he would support this as well and not just for the purpose of Forestry but also because there is an every increasing demand for recreational services. To do that you have to maintain the parks where you have facilities. The need has been great to prune and maintain the larger, mature older trees in the parks, as there are winter sports in the parks in this community. He thought this would be money well spent and to get these trees down. We are better off if we have an additional person to do it ourselves and save money rather than contracting it out and, as mentioned, this person could be used for other activities. Mayor Clark said as far as Fire Station #4 it has been a concern of Parks and Recreation. They have some very expensive pieces of equipment and they are subject to theft and we need an area where the equipment will be safe from theft. He thought the existing #4 Station would be a perfect fit and it would be a more centralized location. Mayor Clark said regarding the aerial lift truck approved in 2000-2001, it still needs personnel to operate it and this would give us that extra person. We are not raising taxes in this budget and we are not on a hiring spree. Four new positions are being discussed and we canít continue to keep putting things off and at the same time complain that a department is not getting the job done. If we want the job done and we want quality in the community, we have to pay for it. Mayor Clark said there are no frills in this budget and only the bare essentials are being requested to get the job done.
Member Lorenzo said given the limited information on the Fire Station #4 suggestion, she said she would not support that either. She thought there had been a proposal to build a shed for storing the equipment. Perhaps if we save other money here from using tree fund money we could find money to build something for the equipment. She didnít think it was necessarily a justification for utilizing a piece of City property that has value. She said someone could use the building at a lease rate or out and out selling the building and the property. She could not support other City personnel utilizing that property.
Member Sanghvi said to use it temporarily for equipment until a structure is built. He also suggested considering using that property for a teen center or a Parks and Recreation related facility.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said she would suggest a follow up to what she originally proposed with regard to the Fire Station, which is looking at surplus City property is an absolute function of the Master Plan. Administration should have first hand input into that but that is not something that community summarily decides to turn into a storage building because that is considered an asset that is owned by the Community. From the standpoint of the uses that could be proposed by the Planning Director, planning staff or Planning Commission in proposing a Master Plan and amendments for public sites, she thought this was where the creative input would come from. She would be surprised if it ended up being a need that the City has in a storage mode. She thought what they were talking about from the standpoint of value and the use proposed is disparate. She asked if the Forestry Technician position would be represented by a bargaining unit? Mr. Helwig said it would. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said if so, then from the standpoint of practical thinking financially, we may as well presume that is a position forever because it would not change. From the standpoint of whether or not it would be worth contracting out services over the long haul versus the short haul, this is another instance where a department business plan could project what the actual cost of this position would be. She considered this partially a position that would be very useful and needed but she thought it was marginal. She noted she does not presume that the budget is lean and mean. Every budget bears scrutiny and we could find categories to save money or transfer money to other more needed projects according to our priorities. She would not be voting in favor of a marginal position.
Mayor Clark reminded Council that they approved a very expensive piece of equipment because it was going to save us money rather than contracting out this tree removal. We have spent the money for the equipment but we donít want to spend the money for the personnel so it can be used. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi stated when that issue was discussed at Council, there was a great deal of oppositions to its purchase with regard to how it has been used and the lack of use. So now if we are going to go backwards and respond with a job hire able to use the equipment, thatís a convoluted form of financial planning that she didnít understand or agree with. Mayor Clark disagreed and said obviously there was a majority of Council who agreed to buy it.
Roll call vote on CM-03-04-103 Yeas: Csordas, Landry, Sanghvi, Clark, Capello
Nays: Lorenzo, Bononi
Member Capello had other questions regarding Parks and Recreation. He said on page 32, Book 2, Parks and Recreation Program Expenditures, Youth Soccer League, proposed expenditures of $93,000, what does that include? Mr. Lewis responded it would cover the cost of officials, referees, jerseys and equipment. Ms. Smith-Roy said also the fields and we allocate some of the cost of the park maintenance crew. He asked about Youth basketball at $37,500? Mr. Lewis said referees, uniforms, fees for the use of school gyms, administrative costs, supervisors and part time personnel. Member Capello said we are all here to cut the budget but coming from the residentís viewpoint, we have costs of $93,000 for Youth Soccer and we are charging our residents $140,000 to let our kids play soccer. He asked why the City was making $47,000 to let the kids play a sport. That should not be a money making venture. Ms. Smith-Roy said it truly isnít a money making venture and the reason is because we do not allocate the costs of the department for recreation, which is page 29. The Recreation Coordinators salaries and benefits are not charged to the individual line items. We donít pro-rate those to every line item of every recreation program. So the purpose is that we would cover the program revenue minus the program expenses would cover the cost of those. Member Capello said every one of these we have some type of revenue generating youth recreation league and some of them are a few thousand dollars, basketball is $8,500 but $47,000 to one sport seems to be really unfair allocation. Even $8,500 to basketball, which is at a 90 day period at the most. We should not be making money on our youth sports programs. Mr. Lewis said over the last few years on some of the sports they had been losing money. Since Mr. Auler has been on board, they have tried to implement the activity based costing. The goal is to have it 80-20%. Make 20% of what we are bring in which would cover the administrative costs. At this time we have been implementing higher fees and some new fees and we are still balancing that and havenít finished that in all the areas of the programs. In some areas like soccer, we did have a significant increase in participants and thatís why that figure may have been higher for this year and if it continues that way they would lower and adjust it in future years. Member Capello said it was a policy issue with him that the City should not be using our kids sports program to generate income for the City or even to cover a departmentís general overhead. Ms. Smith-Roy said if looking at the total revenue for those programs it is $753,000 versus the total expenses for the programs is $647,000 that difference doesnít begin to cover the recreation coordinators or the maintenance staff that goes into providing those services. We are still keeping our commitment with the youth and senior programs of not making money on them.
Mayor Clark asked how many members would be available for the meeting on April 26th? Member Capello said he would be in Florida.
Mr. Helwig felt a good deal of time should be devoted to this subject and suggested this item and the next be postponed.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked that Mr. Helwig bring back to Council the general description of the site at 11 Mile and Beck Road with regard to the City owned facility there, assessed value, size and all the general physical attributes. Mr. Helwig said they would definitely do that.
g. Growth Management & Development - Postponed
AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION Ė None
There being no further business to come before Council, the meeting was adjourned at 2:45 p.m.
Richard J. Clark, Mayor Maryanne Cornelius, City Clerk
Transcribed by: _______________________________
Date approved: May 5, 2003