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REGULAR MEETING OF THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY
CALL TO ORDER
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
ROLL CALL: Mayor Csordas, Mayor Pro Tem Landry, Council Members Capello, Gatt, Lorenzo, Nagy and Paul
ALSO PRESENT: Rick Helwig – City Manager
Clay Pearson – Assistant City Manager
Nancy McClain – City Engineer
Kathy Smith-Roy – Finance Director
Tia Gronlund-Fox – Human Resources Director
Benny McCusker – DPW Director
Gerald Fisher – City Attorney
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
Mayor Pro Tem Landry wished to add items under Mayor and Council Issues: number one, "Discussion of the Neville property and those individual special concerns". Member Lorenzo wished to add two items under Mayor and Council issues, number two, "the Master Plan for land use update and request for Parks and Recreation minutes" and number three, "consideration of a joint meeting with Parks and Recreation at some point in the future". Member Nagy wished to add as number four, the "DPW renovation"; and number five, "South Lake". Member Paul wished to add as number six, "Eleven Mile". Mayor Csordas wished to add number seven, "West Lake Drive".
CM-04-08-313 Moved by Mayor Pro Tem Landry, seconded by Nagy; CARRIED
UNANIMOUSLY: To approve the agenda as amended.
Voice Vote on CM-04-08-313 CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY
1.Proclamation for National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month in September
Mayor Csordas read the proclamation for the National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month in September.
2. Appreciation plaque for service on a City board or commission:
This is one of the times in the community other than the appreciation dinner that is held annually that we get to acknowledge and thank people that have served on boards and commissions in the community, a very important process and it takes a lot of time and it’s a lot of hard work. These people have put in a lot of time on this and we want to recognize them. Each of these five people received a plaque for serving on a board or commission recently:
Nipa Shah – Library Board of Trustees
Gwen Markham, David Ruyle, Tim Shroyer – Planning Commission
Susan Engebretson, David Paul – Parks, Recreation & Forestry Commission
PUBLIC HEARING - None
1. SPECIAL/COMMITTEE -- None
2. CITY MANAGER Road Construction Update:
a) Neighborhood Asphalt Repaving is Done: Whipple, Clark, Pebble and Lanny’s
Mr. Helwig provided a comprehensive update of road construction initiatives. He stated that he appreciated everyone’s patience and understanding as we go through the toughest period, the fourth year of five years of implementing the voter-approved road bond program. He announced some of the relief with more to come before fall is over:
The construction of the bridge over the CSX railroad tracks had these residents in severe upheaval last year, and we promised we’d get their streets done this year. They’re now undergoing the reconstruction along the finished asphalt surfaces. We’re delighted to announce that that repaving work is done.
b) Taft Road base paving reconstruction is done. Final wearing course will be done by Labor Day.
Taft Road, which is a major north-south spine in our community running from Grand River south to Ten Mile Road, does now have all of its base course down and, as of this weekend, will be available to through traffic. School starts next Monday, August 30, and the final wearing course after the reconstruction work is done along the shoulders this week and the driveways will be done at night or at some time that will not inconvenience school-related traffic starting the week of August 30. That will open by Labor Day weekend.
c) Grand River Avenue is to be reopened to Novi Road intersection on August 30.
Similarly, we were advised by the Road Commission of Oakland County that Grand River Avenue will be reopened to Novi Road by Labor Day. Ten Mile is suffering, as it was last year when the bridge over the CSX railroad tracks was put in.
Mr. Helwig stated that, not listed on your agenda but provided in your information, is a detailed update of what lies ahead regarding the Beck Road/I-96 Interchange project. Starting today, the westbound off ramp was closed and will be closed for 30 days while a temporary westbound off ramp will enable you to only go eastbound on Twelve Mile will be open in 30 days, on or about September 23. He stated that most significant for everyone is that on or about September 1 the bridge crossing I-96 will no longer be available. Access will be closed for that bridge, and it will be demolished during the winter months. He stated we will be without an I-96 crossing at Beck road starting on or about September 1 until the project is completed in approximately November in 2005. Mr. Helwig stated that this relates to the decision that Council will be asked to make regarding whether or not to proceed with our long-plan improvements of Meadowbrook Road, which will be a very important crossing of I-96 in the months ahead.
Member Gatt asked Mr. Helwig why that work wasn’t completed last year when this was all torn up if it was not a City of Novi issue but an Oakland County Road Commission issue.
Mr. Helwig answered that basically, to hear it from them, they were deadlocked with some property owners, particularly on the northwest corner of Novi and Grand River. helping extensively to bring parties together there. It just simply took a lot of time. Mr. Helwig stated that sometimes it was related to funding. For example, they started Wixom to Beck that was the first segment. They actually borrowed money to get that done in anticipation of the Beck/I-96 interchange project being done. Then the next segment from Beck to the bridge involved state funding, and we had to wait for that money to get available. Then the funding of the new CSX railroad overpass of Grand River Avenue was dependent on more funds from the Road Commission, the City of Novi, and state-critical bridge funding. So those three segments were all time based upon available funding. And then when we get to the intersection right-of-way, that deferred it to this point that they didn’t have until this construction season.
Mr. Pearson interjected that if there was also another practical difficulty: There are businesses located such as Polynorm and Novi Feed and Supply that are between the culvert and the bridge, so having both those out at the same time would have created another big, practical difficulty as well, in addition to simply not having the land.
Member Capello stated that the culvert created an additional problem with the closure and asked why the county waited until the bridge was done before it even began the culvert.
Mr. Helwig answered that he did not have an answer for that question. The project to us was always defined and that these are more than what you normally think of as very tight intersection projects, even at Ten Mile and Novi Road. They’re extending extensively because the five lanes are adding a longer left-turn lane and the project has always been described to us going west all the way to the bridge including the culvert.
Member Capello asked where at the County level should questions be directed.
Mr. Helwig stated that the entire reconstruction should be addressed with Mr. Brent Bair, Managing Director, at the Road Commission, who was very accessible.
Member Capello asked whether Grand River would open on the 30th or Labor Day.
Mr. Helwig stated that Grand River would be reopened to Novi Road on August 30 due to Novi Schools opening on August 30.
Member Lorenzo stated that persons should contact members of the Road Commission, not Mr. Bair. She stated that the Road Commissioners were the decision makers and that we should get the numbers for Larry Crake, Rudy Lozano and Mr. Skarritt.
Member Nagy stated that it had been difficult for residents of Novi and appreciated Mr. Helwig’s explanation that there was no control over it. She stated that in 2000 she was on the Citizens Road Committee, which was the bond that was passed, and that one of the reasons she had worked on that committee was because of the number of streets that were to be repaired. She commented on how important it was to maintain residential, not just major roads. She stated that everywhere in Southeast Michigan roads were under construction but commended the part under Novi’s responsibility.
Member Paul commented that Scott Olson of the Novi.org wrote a letter stating that Farmington Hills was looking for some type of information about Novi residents having difficulty traveling. In looking at the Master Plan, she wanted to know if our neighbors are notified regarding traffic issues and road construction.
Mayor Csordas answered that we make an extensive effort to communicate when it involves our perimeter.
Member Paul stated that she felt it would be a good idea to send a letter to neighboring communities when major construction impacts other communities. For instance, when Farmington Hills did Nine Mile from Haggerty to Halsted that was a blow because Eight Mile was under construction. She appreciated holding off construction on Meadowbrook while the other construction was being done to avoid major problems.
Mr. Helwig stated that they were trying to piece together things in the most sensitive way possible. For example, money was appropriated to replace and reconstruct the concrete portion east of Novi Road on Nine Mile, and as you can see, that’s not proceeding until next spring when hopefully funding will be considered for the asphalt portion to get it all done at once. To have undertaken that this year would have been very painful for folks. Once in place, we will be able to offer a quality of travel and will be able to compete with the competition that has grown around us.
a. Police Department 50-Year Anniversary – Open House is 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m., Saturday, August 28, 2004
Mr. Helwig asked Chief Shaffer to speak on the big anniversary.
Chief Shaffer stated that the Novi Police Department is celebrating its 50th anniversary. It started as a one-person department and has grown to 95 full-time employees, 10 part-time employees and many volunteers. Chief Shaffer stated that the department has ascribed to the highest standards of professionalism to ensure that Novi is an exceptionally high-quality community in which to live and raise children. Open House will be held this Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. There will be lots of activities for the children: canine demonstrations, department displays. Everyone was welcome to come and go through the building for tours. Carrabba’s was the platinum sponsor that would serve lunch. He stated that the Police Department doors would be open to the residents of Novi; past and present City employees were also invited.
Mayor Csordas asked how many sworn officers Novi had and, Chief Shaffer informed him that there were currently 65.
b. Update on Mosquito Control Program
Mr. Helwig asked Mr. McCusker to give an update on what we’ve done and what residents could do. Mr. McCusker informed Council that they have finished their second round of larvacide in catch basins and ponds. Oakland County has not had any cases of West Nile this year; we’re hoping we’ve had some kind of effect on it with our treatment program.
Member Nagy was impressed that 2700 basins were treated and wanted to know how time-consuming it was.
Mr. McCusker stated that they treat upstream basins, so when it flows from the upstream basins to the lower stream basins, it takes the material in with them. By treating the 2,700, we’re actually treating more like 6,000.
Mr. Fisher reported that we recently took action with regard to the Cheltenham/Nanda situation and wanted to provide an update on where that has gone since. Since the meeting in which three significant actions were taken on that matter, Mr. Nanda was not in attendance, was not fully understanding all of these things, and raised some questions. Mr. Fisher spoke to both attorneys to clarify that the intent of the City was to provide even-handed treatment to both sides, and to try to bring the uncomfortable situation between those two subdivisions and the ultimate development of them to resolution. Mr. Fisher stated that the attorneys on both sides appreciated the contact and now understood where we stand. Mr. Fisher actually had some expression of optimism from Mr. Nanda’s attorney.
Member Capello wanted to know if the City had been sued by Mirage Development yet.
Mr. Fisher responded that the City has not been sued. He spoke with Mirage’s attorney and he indicated they were still discussing their options and hoped that the expression of optimism by Mr. Nanda’s attorney was a result of discussions between the two of them.
Member Capello asked if Mr. Fisher knew if has just not been served or it has not been filed
Mr. Fisher was not aware that it had not been filed, and that at the end of last week they were still discussing what to do amongst themselves.
Member Capello wanted to know if a lawsuit had been filed on George Keros’ property south of Wendy’s, the ZBA issue.
Mr. Fisher stated that a lawsuit had not been filed.
Member Capello asked Mr. Fisher knew when their 21 days were up.
Mr. Fisher thought it had been less than 14 days at this point.
Member Capello asked if it was just required by statute to file within 21 days.
Mr. Fisher answered yes.
Mayor Csordas asked Mr. Fisher to state on the public record who Mirage Development is.
Mr. Fisher stated that Mirage Development was the current proprietor of Wilshire Abbey Subdivision and is the successor proprietor to Mr. Lokey.
Member Lorenzo wanted clarification for the record. The modification made in Council’s last meeting with regard to Wilshire Abbey and Mirage Development being allowed to utilize Cheltenham Drive subject to a bond posted for the milling, if there were any deterioration because of the construction traffic, that it was subject to an amended court order.
Mr. Fisher stated that to be correct. The City didn’t want to get in the middle of that situation holding up Mirage if the court were willing to give them an opportunity.
AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION – In order to hear all citizen comments at a reasonable hour, the City council requests that speakers respect the three-minute time limit for individual comments, and the five-minute time limit for an individual speaking of behalf of a group.
Keith Arenz, President of the Lexington Green Homeowners Association, requested a postponement on the agenda under Consent Agenda, Item E, and last line item 413-418 because they had just received that information from the City’s recommended counsel and would like to take that on advisement.
May or Csordas asked what specifically he was referring to.
Keith Arenz noted that there was a recommendation from outside counsel as to six or seven different traffic control signs which hadn’t been taken back to the Association. Mr. Arenz stated that there were two in question relative to the recommendation. He stated that they’d like the opportunity to either talk to counsel or someone at the City to get clarification on that recommendation before they ask Council to act on it.
Mayor Csordas asked if it was just for Lexington Green specifically.
Mr. Arenz stated that it was just for Lexington Green.
Mayor Csordas asked if anyone else wanted to address City Council.
Paul Sherbeck, stated that he believed that it was morally wrong for government to forcibly take the property of one citizen and give it to another. Recently the Michigan Supreme Court overturned Wayne County v Hathcock decision, known as the Pole Town case where thousands of people lost their homes and businesses. The land taken by force was given to General Motors in order to build the Pole Town plant. The economic activity promised by the politicians has yet to materialize. The Supreme Court decision means that it was wrong for the government to seize property in the name of economic development. However, now years later, it’s too late for the people whose lives were disrupted. Earlier this summer Novi City Council voted to take money from one group of citizens and give it to another. Mr. Sherbeck wanted to commend the Mayor for voting against this giveaway. He stated, for those on the Council who reasoned it was only $20,000, you must realize that your local participation will allow Incat to obtain nearly $6-million from MEDC, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, a quasi-governmental agency. The MEDC is not a corporation in the usual sense. It has no money of its own. The MEDC politicians risk no money of their own; the directors at MEDC are state politicians making political decisions. MEDC makes two basic decisions: how much money should be give away and who are we going to give it to. Increasingly our representatives in Lansing have been passing legislation to make it easier for government to provide businesses with corporate welfare. Among the most pernicious scheme is the device called tax increment financing, which allows government to sneak in a de facto tax increase.
Mr. Sherbeck asked if there were any so-called economic development plans being made or contemplated in Novi, including but not limited to tax abatements, single business tax credits, downtown development and also neighborhood development, Brownfield redevelopment, economic enterprise zones and, in particular, tax increments financing.
Mayor Csordas replied that he was not aware of any plans.
CONSENT AGENDA (Approval/Removals)
Member Lorenzo removed Item E, traffic control orders, and Item H, Warrant No. 679, for discussion.
CM-04-08-314 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Paul: To
Approve the consent agenda as amended.
Voice Vote on CM-04-08-314 CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY
CONSENT AGENDA: (Background information for Consent Agenda items is available for review at the City Clerk’s Office)
Approve minutes of:
1. August 9, 2004, Regular meeting
Approval to enter into Executive Session in the Council Annex immediately following the regular meeting of August 23, 2004 for the purpose of discussing labor negotiations.
Approval of Debris Removal Contract to Lucus & Sons Enterprises, Inc., low qualified bidder, in the amount of $10,000.
Approval of purchase of Pressure Reducing Valve (PRV) equipment for the maintenance of the system, from Kennedy Industries, Inc., sole source provider, in the amount of $8,010.58.
Approval of Traffic Control Orders 04-07 through 04-12 (Bradford of Novi No. 3 and Bristol Corners West No. 2 & No. 3 subdivisions) and 04-19 (North Haven subdivision), and 04-13 through 04-18 (Lexington Green subdivision), and 04-20 (Industrial Park).
F Approval to hold a Public Hearing on September 13, 2004 for the Local Law Enforcement Block Grant (LLEBG) 2004 Proposed Use of Funds.
G Approval of Claims and Accounts – Warrant No. 679
MATTERS FOR COUNCIL ACTION – Part I
1. Appointment to Housing & Community Development Committee.
Ballots were distributed and forwarded to the City Clerk for tallying. The City Clerk announced that the results were unanimous to appoint Dan Tyrrell to the Housing & Community Development Committee.
Voice Vote on CM-04-08-315` CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY
2. Appointment to Library Board.
Mayor Csordas respectfully requested that City Council support his recommendation of Richard Smith.
CM-04-08-316 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Paul; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY:
To appoint Richard Smith to the Library Board
Roll Call Vote on CM-04-08-316 Yeas: Csordas, Landry, Capello, Gatt,
Lorenzo, Nagy, Paul
3. Approval to award the contract for the Dunbarton Regional Detention Basin construction to DeAngelis Landscape, Inc., the low qualified bidder, in the amount of $531,571.62.
CM-04-08-317 Moved by Mayor Pro Tem Landry; seconded by Lorenzo; To
Award the contract for the Dunbarton Regional Detention
Basin construction to DeAngelis Landscape, Inc.
Member Nagy asked if there was any guarantee or warranty on the plantings and the trees
because they’re using this alternative tree installation.
Nancy McClain responded that we are not using the alternative tree installation; however,
there is a two-year tree warranty on the trees as per our standard contract.
Mayor Csordas asked Ms. McClain for clarification on the math. There is expenditure required
of $31,000 and then we have a grant involved there. Mayor Csordas asked if there was a
balance of $192,369.
Ms. McClain answered there is, but part of that is the engineering fees that have come out of it.
The estimate that we had in the agreement was for $610,000 for construction and
$123,000 was for engineering, so there’s also engineering costs in that grant. So, yes, we are
below our estimate.
Mayor Csordas asked what happens to the extra money.
Ms. McClain stated that this is a dollar-for-dollar match, so for every dollar we spend, 50 cents
of it comes from the RPO Grant, so we will spend less.
Mayor Csordas stated that we will spend less; there won’t be any balance. It’ll just be a
matched funds in whatever the amount is. At least we know we won’t go over budget but
there won’t be any surplus funds to just evaporate.
Ms. McClain answered no. We have budgeted this $361,000 in our budget, so there will be
extra funds available in the drain fund for other things.
Roll Call Vote on CM-04-08-317 Yeas: Landry, Capello, Gatt,
Lorenzo, Nagy, Paul,
4. Approval to award the Meadowbrook Road Reconstruction – Grand River to 12 Mile Road construction contract to Ajax Paving, the low bidder, in the amount of $293,685.00.
CM-04-08-318 Moved by Nagy, seconded by Mayor Pro Tem Landry: To
Award the Meadowbrook Road Reconstruction – Grand River
To 12 Mile Road construction contract to Ajax Paving.
Member Lorenzo stated that Council has been given information that substantial completion for
this project is scheduled for October 19, 2004. She wanted something documented from Ajax
that that’s their time schedule that they will live with and also that the restoration will occur
Ms. McClain responded that when they sign their contract, that is what they’re signing.
Member Lorenzo stated that there wasn’t a copy of the proposed contract in the packet. She
stated that she would appreciate in the future that Council receive that information in the
packet. Member Lorenzo stated that she would support this with a proviso because she
wouldn’t want the project to linger through the holidays.
Dave Eno from Fishbeck, Thompson, Carr & Huber, the engineering firm, informed Council
that the contract actually states October 29 as the substantial completion date. Six
weeks is the reasonable construction timeframe. October 19 is six weeks from the start of
Member Lorenzo asked no later than October 27 then.
Mr. Eno answered October 29 is the substantial completion date open to traffic. We then have
one month to complete punch list items, like minor grading, etc., and stated that the
contractor is aware of the emphasis on completion date. They’ve expressed an interest in
weekend work, and after assuming they get approved, would talk to the engineer about that.
Mayor Csordas asked if incentives were ever offered for early completion.
Ms. McClain answered we do, but on this project the incentives, to make them meaningful,
would add a substantial percentage of the cost to it.
Member Nagy asked Mr. Eno if the start date was October 19 or if it was to be finished by
Mr. Eno answered that the construction start date was September 7. Substantial completion
was a fancy way of saying that it is done by October 29.
Member Nagy stated that with all the people out there, it’s easy to get contractors and that
there was no reason they couldn’t complete it. She stated that she didn’t think we should give
them incentives to complete their job. She asked if we withheld money in case they didn’t.
Ms. McClain answered that there was a standard schedule that we withhold to retain each
based on the percentage of the project complete; we never pay the final completion until
everything is done and Council approves the final pay estimate and balance.
Member Nagy stated that she wanted the public to hear that explanation. She also stated that
she would be amenable to working on weekends because there is no residential there, to
make sure that it’s done on time. Member Nagy asked if they were taking up the whole road.
Ms. McClain answered that in places we are. In the southern section of the road south of I-96
where the road is in fairly good condition, we are not. North of I-96 we are doing that. There
are places where we know we’re going to have to sweeten the base up and that type of thing.
Roll Call Vote on CM-04-08-318 Yeas: Capello, Gatt, Lorenzo,
Nagy, Paul, Csordas,
5. Consideration of Zoning Ordinance Text Amendment 18.173 to amend the ordinance to add a definition of "Fences" to Section 201, Definitions: D - F of Ordinance No. 97-18, as amended, the City of Novi Zoning Ordinance, to amend Section 2515 Fences (Residential and Non-Residential) and to amend Section 2907 Porches; Decks, all proposed in order to modify the standards for fences within the City of Novi. 2nd Reading
CM-04-08-319 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Nagy; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY:
To amend Zoning ordinance Text Amendment 18.
Roll Call Vote on CM-04-08-319 Yeas: Gatt, Lorenzo, Nagy, Paul,
Csordas, Landry, Capello
AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION – None.
MATTERS FOR COUNCIL ACTION – Part II
6. Approval of the Supplemental Resolution to designate the Building Authority Refunding Bonds (Ice Arena) as "qualified tax-exempt obligations."
CM-04-08-320 Moved by Landry, seconded by Lorenzo; To approve the
Supplemental Resolution to designate the Building Authority
Refunding Bonds (Ice Arena) as "qualified tax-exempt
Mayor Csordas asked if there was any discussion other than the fact that that saves how much
money over the next 20 years.
Member Capello answered that it saved $230,000. He stated that somewhere in the packets
he saw that we’re still getting hit for the full costs of the reissue of this bond. He wanted to
know if there were some way we could negotiate that fee down.
Mayor Csordas stated that he thought it was really a full reissuance of a bond.
Member Capello agreed but you’re doing the same thing over again pretty much. What’s new
besides looking at new numbers. They should pretty much be the same documents.
Kathy Smith-Roy answered actually they’re not. We did negotiate a lower rate for our bond
counsel and our financial advisor. They both reduced their fee by about 20 percent from the
normal fee. However, we are actually literally calling bonds and putting them in escrow
and reissuing new bonds. So it actually is a brand new process, a brand new bond issue.
Ms. Smith-Roy answered that the legal fees are about $30,000, which is a reduction from what
they normally are. They charge a percentage of the bonds sold. That’s how the rate is
calculated and the total costs were approximately $190,000 all total for all the costs involved.
Now the $324,000 savings that we had is after those costs are paid out.
Member Capello asked if there was any way to negotiate those fees out and get something
more reasonable than a percentage basis.
Ms. Smith-Roy replied that they did a reduction of about 20 percent. She guessed that it would
be up to the consultant review committee to consider that during their upcoming work.
Member Capello asked if the bond work went to the same attorney all year long, not on a case-
Ms. Smith-Roy answered yes.
Mayor Csordas stated that the net savings over 28 years is approximately $363,000.
Ms. Smith-Roy replied that the actual cash savings were $324,000 and the present value
savings was about $235,000.
Roll Call Vote on CM-04-08-320 Yeas: Nagy, Paul, Csordas, Landry,
Capello, Gatt, Lorenzo
7. Consideration of ordinances to adopt Chapter 38 "Performance Guarantees" and amend the City of Novi Code of Ordinances to consolidate regulations related to performance guarantees for private development projects – 1st Reading
Ordinance No. 04-173 to amend Chapter 38
Ordinance No. 04-94.06 to amend Chapter 7
Ordinance No. 04-124.14 to amend Chapter 11
Ordinance No. 04-103.10 to amend Chapter 12
Ordinance No. 04-157.01 to amend Chapter 31
Ordinance No. 04-62.03 to amend Chapter 34
Ordinance No. 04-125.19 to amend Chapter 37
Ordinance No. 04-45.28 to amend Appendix C
In section 38-23 on page 5, the last sentence, "The director may accept a separate guarantee for a particular improvement if the guarantee is posted as a point guarantee with a person or entity other than the applicant who has a contractual obligation to the applicant to post such guarantee."
Member Capello asked if we were going to try to get one or two bonds for the entire project. We wanted to have one or two maximum guarantees in place so that we didn’t have a bunch of different guarantees to draw down on in trying to figure out where a bond reduction was coming out of, which is one of the situations, not really a problem that we’ve had in the past. He understood the intent, but didn’t like the way that it’s worded. Member Capello stated that with this language, it appeared that they could continue just to have a bunch of small little bonds which we’re trying to avoid.
Mr. Pearson answered that he could describe the benefits of aggregating those bonds, just for simplicity for both sides’ sake, and the downfall for having lots of little ones. Mr. Pearson’s reading of what this was simply to have that option at the City’s direction as a fail safe. This is not intended to be the rule. If, down the road, there was a sale of the property and needed to substitute the financial guarantee holders, but I think our suggestion requests we at least have that choice available at the City’s sole discretion, it says the director "may"; maybe that can be tightened up.
Member Capello suggested to put "under unusual circumstances" or some language to that extent to show that it’s unique and not the norm.
Member Lorenzo agreed with the previous speaker and added that she would like to make it as narrow as possible and with as few bonds as possible. She stated that she appreciated the work that had been done since the last draft; however, she still had a few concerns. Member Lorenzo asked then if we had gotten a ballpark figure about what the permits plus software package necessary for tracking program would cost the City.
Ms. Neumaier stated that the City had not received a response. We have a request for a quotation from Ascella, and they are required to respond back to us on August 31. We developed some specifications of requirements that we’re looking for. We couldn’t get a ballpark figure from them, but they are on track to give us our response by the 31st.
Member Lorenzo was concerned that we don’t know whether it’s $50,000, $100,000, $300,000 or a $1-million. Her concern was that without this tracking system, she was not sure how well this ordinance would work. That has been a large part of this problem, not being able to track the projects. She reiterated that that tracking program was an integral, critical part of this ordinance, and, unless and until we have that, it makes this all much more difficult to achieve the goals and objectives of this ordinance.
Mr. Pearson stated that he appreciated the support for the software. He felt that this ordinance would improve upon what we have now and would actually provide the deadlines and means that would help us regardless of that. The software was out for proposals right now. We need to analyze that.
Member Lorenzo stated if you’re on the record stating that we’ll do something else in place of having that software package now, then everywhere where we talk about the director "may" schedule an inspection, she wanted that to say "shall".
Mr. Pearson asked as far as which sections.
Member Lorenzo replied that 38-33b2, it says here, that the language was changed to say a final site inspection is not requested by the applicant at least 30 days before the expiration of the required date for completion the director may schedule an inspection". "Shall". She stated that we need somebody to go out and do it.
Mr. Pearson stated that that was the discussion. However, the language in the ordinance should at the City’s protection provide that "may" because if, for whatever reason, given the circumstances, time of year or just timeframes, we wouldn’t want somebody to come back and say the ordinance said that you "shall" provide this inspection by XY date if you miss it by a week or three days or whatever and didn’t want to give anybody any standing to claim that we missed our opportunity. So this was designed with those "mays" to provide the framework for when they’re supposed to be done but at the same time provide the City protection in case those weren’t done on one certain date.
Member Lorenzo stated that the point was well taken but she thought there were possibly other ways to achieve that. She had seen that in other parts of this ordinance where we say "when practical". She stated that she would rather it say "shall" and then have some kind of proviso there saying "shall within a practical period of time". She reiterated that she wanted to see with this ordinance much less discretion and much more certainty as to what’s going to happen. Member Lorenzo stated that she would not be happy unless it says "shall" with a proviso, to protect the City in terms of specific dates.
Member Capello stated that he’d been an advocate for that all the way through. It put the City in such a burden that if they didn’t do the inspection, they would get sued. He recalled the response from Clay was that it was their job to do it administratively. We could call them on the carpet if they missed it, but we couldn’t get sued for it. Member Capello stated that he had finally given in under that guise that administratively if they did’t do it, you could ask Mr. Helwig why it was not done and why they’re missing timeframes.
Member Lorenzo stated that she appreciated that response but was not convinced yet that we need to go there. She stated that she was confident Mr. Fisher could come up with some language that would achieve the "shall" with the proviso for Mr. Pearson’s legitimate concerns, as well. She stated that she seen the word "practical" used in terms of timing.
Member Lorenzo also wanted to clarification on what types of projects this would encompass. On the August 4 memo that Ms. Neumaier initiated, that gave the summary of the changes made. At the bottom of page three and continues on four, "the proposed ordinance would required utility completion testing and the submission of acceptance documents in a form acceptable to the City prior to the issuance of a building permit for single family residential developments or TCO for commercial and multi-family projects. Do we mean TCO for commercial, industrial OST office. She wanted to know if we had included every single possible designation in here or did we just cite "commercial".
Ms. Neumaier answered that the intent of commercial was cover those areas that were specifically stated. However, if it was not clear, she recommended putting that in the definition.
Member Lorenzo replied that she would appreciate that and that everything was caught in the loop here.
Ms. Neumaier answered that the ordinance was revised after the July 26 meeting to indicate that the director is allowed one 6-month extension. After that, any subsequent requests would come to City Council for approval.
Member Lorenzo wanted to make sure that we’re not going to see "perpetual" temporary certificates of occupancy, as we seem to be seeing now, citing Target as an example. She wanted to clarify that they only get one extension for six months, and only under certain circumstances, and tighten up the certain circumstances. Jumping to page four of the actual ordinance, the only additional consideration factor that she wanted to see in there was the existence of factors beyond the applicant’s control, such as weather conditions, material supply limitations, labor availability and similar conditions and perhaps also permits issued by other agencies.
Member Lorenzo stated that she still had serious doubts with regard to the use of the special agreements and asked under what circumstances, what criteria, and what standards we were contemplating where this would be necessary or reasonable. That is, the authority to enter into a written completion agreement. In other words, outside of the scope of the whole ordinance here. Part of her concern was that it was mentioned throughout the whole document.
Ms. Neumaier answered in section 38-28.
Mr. Fisher answered that it’s easy for us to talk about time limits and the like within this room, but when you get out on a job and get involved in a construction project, it isn’t that simple. There are a lot of things that happen that cause delays. So what we have found in our experience that when you’re able to take into consideration all the things that are occurring out on the jobsite and actually tailor an agreement to that specific project and say this is what needs to be done based upon an engineer’s recommendation and this is how long it should take, and if you don’t finish it within that time, we’re taking your bond and we’re going to do it. That basically is what he has seen as a very good solution; it really puts everybody’s feet to the fire based on realistic terms of that particular jobsite that we could never contemplate within an ordinance like this for all jobs.
Member Lorenzo stated that it sounded like we’re talking about development agreements, in a sense.
Mr. Fisher answered no. The approvals are given, the actual project is approved and everybody understands what the project is. The question was: a) what needs to be done from this point forward, how much would it cost and how long was it going to take; it’s really that simple.
Member Lorenzo reiterated that she had concerns because it seemed like a way to delay and lengthen a process that we’re trying to hone in for certainty and timing. That defeats the whole purpose of trying to tighten this whole process up.
Mr. Fisher responded that if we try to take somebody’s bond on a big project, they’re going to fight and the bonding company may fight. So, you had to anticipate what a court might do under those circumstances. When you got an actual agreement into the project where the court recognized that the community had attempted to work with the developer based upon the actual experience that everybody understood and everybody was signing on the dotted line and saying this was how long it was going to take, this was the anticipated amount of money and we’re going to do it, there was going to be very little sympathy by a court for a developer under those circumstances.
Member Lorenzo asked if we hadn’t already gone the distance in terms of trying to recognize those parameters.
Mr. Fisher stated that it just was not that easy to set fixed times and try to anticipate every little thing that was going to happen out there. There were some things – just market-driven things – that sometimes held things up. Mr. Fisher stated that It was a very complicated process, that it was not just black and white as you saw in the document.
Member Paul stated that when they were working on this, one of the things they did was address pretty much what Mr. Fisher was stating. We put in three circumstances to start this process: 1) would be mass grading, 2) would be final site plan approval, and 3) another item was added.
Ms. Neumaier answered that at the top of page four of the proposed ordinance on section 38-18, we defined mass grading, building foundations or utilities, whichever occurred first.
Member Paul stated that the reason they did that was that sometimes people would put in their utilities first and they don’t have all their permits installed or they’re waiting for final site plan approval or there are different circumstances and they’ve shared many different circumstances with us. But if they start the mass grading, this whole process starts the two-year "go" mark. Or, if it’s utilities, they start the whole process. So, we don’t know always what comes first depending on what the outside world is yielding to that developer, so we’re having all three be the initiation. Initially we were at the building permit, then they said there was a precon meeting for environmental issues, and sometimes that would start this clock, and that would be very unrealistic because that might be another six to nine months and they haven’t even gone out in the field yet. So we changed it to see which of the three items would start the clock running. So we addressed all of them. Whatever one starts the clock running, that will start the financial guarantee. We thought that would be the most realistic point, like Mr. Fisher said, that would yield permits or time problems getting on Planning Commission or time problems coming before us that we would be realistic and that the court would see, if it ever came to a court, that that would be our start point so we’re not being unrealistic.
Member Lorenzo stated that she would like to see standards or criteria that narrows the scope of when they could use this. She was concerned that we’re going to start getting numerous requests and somehow it was really going to defeat the purpose of what we’re trying to accomplish here. She would be more agreeable to this if there were at least some type of parameters under which we would consider such an agreement.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry asked Ms. Neumaier, if this software upgrade was purchased, would it be a tickler system that would assist the City in recalling when these inspections are supposed to be done.
Ms. Neumaier responded that they had put together specifications that we would need. It indicates what we’re looking for is notification of important completion dates, and that’s why they have until August 31 to respond to us; they’re right on track in getting us a cost estimate for that. We will then take the response and analyze it, and then provide that information to Council after that.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry asked Ms. Neumaier if we could assume that by the next second reading of this, assuming that we were to pass it tonight, we would receive that cost estimate by the second reading of the proposed ordinance.
Mr. Helwig answered that Council would receive the cost estimate in an off-week packet prior to that.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry stated that he shared the previous speaker’s concern but could approve the first reading given that information.
Member Nagy stated that she appreciated the work done by this committee and that her biggest concern was the word, "may" and "shall". She just had a deposition today where she thought that the point of putting "may" was much better than putting "shall", and it involved another city. So, Member Nagy stated, if we’re going to change it to "shall", she would like something put in. Member Nagy asked Ms. Neumaier, regarding the software specs being done, if they would just keep adding to it as time went by.
Ms. Neumaier answered that we currently had permits plus within our Building Department and Ascella was actually the software manufacturer that provided that. So in order to facilitate this right now given our timing we’ve put specifications together and requested that programmers over at Ascella to make those changes. We do anticipate for that software to evolve over time as we continue to improve our process.
Member Nagy asked Ms. Neumaier if, without that software, it was correct what Mr. Pearson stated that we could implement the ordinance.
Ms. Neumaier answered that we would have to find other alternative means to do that; Mr. Pearson was correct.
Member Nagy asked Ms. Neumaier if other alternative meant "by hand".
Ms. Neumaier said it would be more manual, correct. We would like to see the specifications.
Member Nagy wanted to comment on Ordinance No. 04-157.01 to Amend Chapter 31 and really wanted to ask if the sidewalk around Market Place ever got built.
Mr. Helwig answered that the developer of that posted a financial guarantee because they couldn’t build it with the Grand River construction and Beck/I-96, so it’s our responsibility to bid. The engineers are JCK for that and they’ve owed us the design so we can bid that out.
Member Nagy asked when we would bid that out – next year.
Mr. Helwig answered that he hesitated to promise that. It would more likely be next year.
Member Capello asked if there was a way we could assess an extra $15 or $20 per permit fee until we pay for this software on top of the administrative fee to make sure we have the money to buy the software.
Mr. Helwig answered that if we put together a pro forma and show what our costs would be for administering, if it’s within the framework of reasonableness, we could do it.
Member Capello asked if our administrative fee went back into the General Fund as income, so it was basically already spent.
Mr. Helwig stated that nothing went back into the General Fund under income.
Mr. Helwig answered that the Building Department was self-supporting based on their fees, so that was where it went, to support their general operations, which could include software.
Member Capello replied that the Building Department did not have an extra $30,000 that we could just pull out of there, so we needed to find the money to pay for that software somewhere.
Member Capello asked if they could have an assessment when this came back to us at the second reading, whether it would be on a $1 per permit fee or to increase the percentage by a half a percent or some administrative fee.
Mr. Helwig answered that they’d bring several options, once we saw what the amount was. It should be fairly routine at this stage of tracking systems development, given where we were a long time ago with punch cards and the software to support the stuff, so it should be fairly routine, but costs could also be very surprising. Once we had that, we’ll bring back on the 13th of September several options for funding that, including what you’re suggesting.
Member Paul commented that all the speakers had very good points and wanted to share some concern that she had. Under the memorandum of action taken with the default item, we talked very specifically about things we would allow for that six-month extension. Since we were already giving the development community a timeframe that they go in and degrub, we were not starting the time clock at that point. That’s a whole issue that we gave them a very lengthy period of time for this time clock to run, so with that extension, She didn’t want to have a lot of vague and ambiguous wording so that we could really get ourselves in legal jeopardy, number one. Or that we don’t have the discretion as this body to say what things, what items we wanted to put that extension forward. Whether an MDEQ permits came forward in our meeting. She stated that she was not happy with the language at all. The one extension by the building director we gave because we thought it would be a lot of information to constantly be coming before us if we gave the development community a two-year timeframe with the degrubbing mark or if we had all of them coming before us as a body, that there’d be a lot of them coming forward and it would be monotonous, we really wouldn’t pay attention and we’d be constantly okaying extension after extension. She wanted to fine-tune the language. That was the point of our last meeting – probably an hour spent on just that.
Member Paul asked if noted that you have shared information about how you’re doing a checklist of what would happen for TC of O or C of O. Member Paul wanted to know if that was coming forward for the second reading.
Ms. Neumaier answered that they were in the process of amending the project closeout and we’re very close and asked Member Paul if that was something she was looking for within the second reading.
Member Paul answered yes, that she thought they’d given the director some discretion and that most important item when we give a TC of O, what is the process, how long do we give a developer for that process. This was part of the whole performance guarantee, so she wanted to see the process of TC of O and C of O and how we did this actual checklist, what our building inspectors are looking at. She wanted to look at the whole process, because it fell under this ordinance. She wanted to make sure that when we issue a TC of O, every item was done in the timeframe that it was issued and there were not continual extensions. Member Lorenzo’s point about saying there was no way we could actually track it was a well taken point. We don’t understand what happens day-to-day in the business of the Building Department. She wanted to look at the process because Target had a TC of O and it’s way too long; it expired in May, and that was not acceptable, no matter what.
Member Paul wanted to commend the development committee that helped us with this. We had three developers come forward. Member Capello brought this idea forward to this body, saying he would like to have some developers’ input, some builders’ input, and some Council members and some administrative people. This process was actually a delight. I thought there was going to be a battle between the development community and Council or administratively. There was none. She wanted to commend Ms. Neumaier for all of her hard work because she did an excellent job. It was a very big win-win for the City and the development community.
Member Capello commented that Target would be a good example to look at. He didn’t know how much of the TCO requirements to C of O really have to do with financial guarantees and how many that don’t. Maybe that would help us all take a look at it; it was not just the financial guarantees that govern the issue, it was the TCO.
Member Paul pointed out that Member Capello brought forward that we have just a few bonds – one or two at most with $250,000 in cash. She thought that was very important because it was very hard for the financial department to cash small increments of a bond and she knew that Mr. Pearson said that this was something that is a hardship for them, so having one large bond to cover the entire project was a very smart process for us. Secondly, that if someone skipped on road construction or they went bankrupt, whatever it might be, we had a large percentage of money in our pot that we could use for an item. One of the points that Member Capello brought out was that if they didn’t have their landscaping completed but we had money for another portion that they posted for their road and the road was completed, we could move that money around legally. We could cover all of our financial portions of this project.
Member Lorenzo had one last comment involving page 12 of the actual ordinance. This was the section where we talked about the City possibly, in some cases, doing emergency snowplowing or clearing or maintaining. She had a real concern about this; especially since there had been a sentence added to this stating, "The exercise of such authority shall not be construed in any way to constitute an acceptance of the street or utility improvement before all requirements of this chapter are met." Mr. Fisher explained to us de facto acceptance. Member Lorenzo asked where de facto acceptance came from.
Mr. Fisher answered that it would ultimately be a factual finding by the court and then a legal conclusion.
Member Lorenzo asked, just by adding that into our ordinance, how this changed the perception of what we’d be doing or the constant of de facto acceptance.
Mr. Fisher stated that it would be helping a court define what it was we were doing and enabling the court to put it into a category that it wasn’t de facto acceptance. We’ve got the rules of the game set out here in advance such that this type of activity did not amount to de facto acceptance.
Member Lorenzo wanted to know if that would be accepted by a court even though they’ve had this de facto acceptance.
Mr. Fisher answered that it would be a giant step in getting the court to accept that.
Member Lorenzo asked if we were guinea pigs in this arena.
Mr. Fisher answered that no matter what we do, in some respects, everybody was a guinea pig as you went forward in this type of thing.
Member Lorenzo stated that she didn’t think we should be going anywhere near this item. She stated that we did this in the past; she thought that it was well intentioned of the City but it was in the best interests of the City as a whole, what we were doing. She stated that we had either accepted the street and we accepted it as a public street and we were as a city maintaining that street or it was still in the hands of the applicant or a homeowners association or whomever, and they were responsible for contracting those services.
Mr. Fisher stated that you’re going to get a situation where a developer was not being responsible and the homeowner association didn’t really exist, so they had no ability organizationally to do this and collect for it. So what did you do when you had an unsafe situation. He stated that that was really what it was all about and it was up to the Council to make that policy call.
Member Lorenzo reiterated that she was not comfortable being a guinea pig to the court and not knowing what they would do, and having them say, sorry, de facto acceptance –you shouldn’t have done this. She stated that it was her opinion that it should be totally removed from this.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry asked Mr. Fisher if part of the notion of de facto acceptance was a notion of reliance or creating some sort of specter of reliance by the people who lived there. If they saw the City trucks come down there. Either whether it’s the developer or whether it’s the residents see the City plowing. They may go, they’re plowing, they’ve accepted our streets or the developer may think or argue to the court, well, of course they’ve accepted our streets because they did something. By putting this disclaimer in the ordinance, clearly the developer could not argue that he relied because it’s right in our ordinance that if we do some emergency measure, that was not to be construed as reliance. That was one of the benefits of having a clause like that in there to get rid of any notion or argument of reliance by the developer or by any of the residents in an argument of the de facto acceptance.
Member Paul stated assuming the residents know what the ordinance says.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry responded that there was a provision of the law that everybody was presumed to know what the law was. He said that that was a general tenant of law: you were presumed to know what the speed limit was on every single street, you couldn’t argue that you didn’t know.
Member Nagy agreed that it had to stay in there because the converse would be true if we had some major emergency and we didn’t go in there and then we got in trouble. The opposite could be true. Member Nagy stated that it should be in there to make sure that people understood.
CM-04-08-321 Moved by Landry, seconded by Paul; CARRIED
UNANIMOUSLY: To adopt Chapter 38
Roll Call Vote on CM-04-08-321 Yeas: Paul, Csordas, Landry,
Capello, Gatt, Lorenzo,
8. Consideration of Zoning Ordinance Text Amendment 18.190, to amend Article 9A, Section 904H; Article 22, Section 2204; Article 24, Section 2402; Article 24, Section 2407; Article 30, Section 3004; and Article 30, Section 3005 to require performance guarantees to be provided in accordance with the requirements of the City of Novi Code of Ordinances. 1st Reading
CM-04-08-322 Moved by Paul, seconded by Capello; MOTION CARRIED:
To consider zoning ordinance text Amendment 18.190 to require performance guarantees to be provided in accordance
with the requirements of the City of Novi Code of Ordinances.
Roll Call Vote on CM-04-08-322 Yeas: Paul, Csordas, Landry, Capello, Gatt,
Mayor Csordas wanted to thank all of the members of that committee and of the discussion this evening. That was a very thoughtful and insightful discussion. All of the comments were the result of some very in-depth study prior to this.
9. Consideration of Annual Salary increase for City Clerk and City Manager.
Member Gatt called Council’s attention to the City Clerk. He stated that a list of cities with salaries noted of City Clerks was included in our packet. He stated that our City Clerk fell somewhere in the middle and, just to move this process along, we heard from the City Manager earlier in the year. We all got a copy of various raises that other City employees received. They were rated from fair to excellent, anywhere in between. The highest raise anybody received in the City of Novi was 4 percent.
CM-04-08-323 Member Gatt moved, seconded by Lorenzo; To award the
City Clerk a 4 percent salary increase, retroactive to July 1,
2004, and a defined benefit pension with a 2.25 percent
Multiplier would remain the same, and a $2,000 car
Allowance. MOTION FAILED.
Member Gatt reiterated a 4 percent salary increase. Everything else stayed the same.
Member Lorenzo stated that if it was simply a 4 percent salary increase, she supported it. The City Clerk had done an outstanding job, as did her staff. She had nothing but kudos to that entire department and wished every department ran as smoothly.
Member Capello asked Kathy Smith-Roy what the inflation rate was last year.
Ms. Smith-Roy responded that it was 2.3 percent that was used for the Headlee.
Member Capello asked if employees received an inflation rate plus an increase or was the increase just fixed.
Ms. Smith-Roy answered that the increase was determined through negotiation process. It was different amongst each bargaining group and oftentimes it was different within the bargaining unit depending on the employee.
Member Capello was concerned that a 4 percent increase would only be a 1.7 percent increase when you looked at inflation. Everyone raved at how wonderful she had done and to give only 4 percent was only really giving her 1.7 percent. Member Capello stated that he honestly didn’t believe that it was enough.
Member Gatt responded that he would accept a friendly amendment to make it 6 percent.
Member Capello stated that he would like to take the 4 percent over the inflation rate. Not only looking at the tremendous job she has done but comparing her salary to the salary to Clerks in other cities comparable to ours, she was well underpaid. He stated that he would ask to give her a 6.3 percent increase, which would give her a 4 percent over inflation.
Member Gatt stated that our City Clerk was a department head and, to his knowledge, the only department heard that did not have a City car or any compensation for a City car. When she hired in here several years ago, he intently watched on television and that issue was one that she raised then and was promised by the sitting Council at that time that it would be addressed. He didn’t know what was negotiated with her in the interim period, but he agreed that she was underpaid
Member Lorenzo stated that unfortunately as the seconder of the motion, she couldn’t accept that for the reason that this year we had received the information from the administration about the performance ratings and 4 percent was the exceptional. The concern she would have was treating any employee any differently than any other. There needed to be fairness and consistency. If 4 percent was the maximum for an exceptional rating for every other administrative employee, she didn’t feel comfortable going beyond that because she was really taking the City Clerk’s position out of the realm of the entire organization. She didn’t feel it was fair and consistent and would not be able to support that.
Member Gatt asked Member Lorenzo if she would consider leaving it at 4 percent but giving the City Clerk a car allowance of $2,000 a year. A $2,000 car allowance would compensate the City Clerk for some of the errands that she runs for the City.
Member Lorenzo agreed to that.
Member Gatt stated that he would make that motion.
Member Lorenzo stated that she would continue to second that motion.
Member Nagy stated that she had great admiration for Mrs. Cornelius and that her department was run exceedingly well. She was glad that we were not exceeding but trying to be fair across the board. She agreed with the former speaker. She asked the City Clerk if she used her own car for errands around the City.
Ms. Cornelius answered that she did if the occasion called for it and would be reimbursed mileage. At other times if there were other meetings that she went to, sometimes she rode with people from other communities.
Member Nagy asked what the $2,000 car allowance would cover.
Mayor Csordas answered that in the private sector you don’t have mileage plus reimbursement; you had one or the other.
Member Paul stated that she was unclear. If we’re allotting $2,000 for car allowance, what was received for this position. She asked Ms. Cornelius to explain what she received now for car allowance.
Ms. Cornelius answered that there was no car allowance. If she went somewhere and chose to do so, she turned it in for mileage.
Member Paul stated that she knew that Ms. Cornelius did a lot of running around in regard to elections and wherever she needed to go. Ms. Cornelius had some mileage covered if she were actually putting in the mileage, but she didn’t always choose to do that.
Ms. Cornelius answered that that was correct.
Member Paul needed clarification. If we were giving mileage, she wanted to know why we were giving the car allowance.
Member Gatt asked Ms. Smith-Roy how much car allowance the City Clerk received a year. He wanted to know if $2,000 would be more or less than what she received now.
Mr. Helwig answered that he suspected it varied depending on use and mileage. He asked if anyone new how much Ms. Cornelius had been reimbursed for mileage. He stated that it was the practice in the public sector as well, not to offer both. The car allowances came about primarily to avoid all the expense associated with the City providing a City vehicle, trying to reduce the size or our fleet, the ongoing maintenance, upkeep, insurance, and so forth. It was usually less expensive for the City to offer a car allowance than to have a vehicle added to the fleet.
Ms. Smith-Roy stated that she didn’t know how much it was. She believed it might be slightly more than what we paid now. However, the minimum right now for car allowances, the range was $2,400 to $6,000 right now depending on the individual.
Member Gatt asked if taking away mileage and giving her $2,000 would subtract from her yearend total.
Ms. Smith-Roy replied that she doubted that, that she would guess that it would be more than she received now.
Member Lorenzo wanted to know if it was a substitute then. She supported that.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry responded that in the private sector it was either/or, you didn’t get both reimbursed for mileage and a car allowance; he echoed the explanation of the City Manager that it was usually cheaper than providing a vehicle. The other thing to keep in mind was that if you had an employee that was using his own vehicle, even if he did turn in the mileage, theoretically it didn’t cover depreciation, oil changes, etc. Built into whatever the reimbursement rate, the IRS would tell you that that was supposed to be included; that was why they reimbursed at whatever rate. So you got into all these arguments over what rate you reimbursed at because it was supposed to include depreciation on the vehicle. Mayor Pro Tem Landry stated that he could certainly understand that at election time and other times, Ms. Cornelius would be driving her vehicle and it would be depreciating and getting used, and using up oil and everything else. So, he would support the 4 percent raise and it if was desirable for Ms. Cornelius, he would also support the $2,000 car allowance, unless she would want to reject it and preferred to receive mileage.
Mayor Csordas stated what an amazing deal it was to have your compensation discussed on television. He stated he could not support that motion. Ms. Cornelius knew how much he appreciated what she does, and he believed she is the best City Clerk in the state. No question about it, 4 percent was reasonable. He thought that reimbursement for the mileage was reasonable currently. He could not support the $2,000 vehicle reimbursement because he knew for a fact that in the private sector vehicle reimbursement was going away. Cars were long gone, except for the top officials and people that worked in the automobile industry which had no concept of reality in life, so he could not support that motion.
Member Nagy stated that she deducted mileage, oil changes, etc., for business and couldn’t Ms. Cornelius do the same. You could deduct it if you were an employee of the City deducting for City purposes.
Mayor Csordas stated that they didn’t have any tax people up here, but he believed that it was in excess of X number of dollars per year which was very difficult to get to, even if you were employed, but he was not sure on that.
Member Nagy asked if you were paid a $2,000 car allowance, if you were paid as receipts came in or were you just given the lump sum.
Mayor Csordas answered that they were paid monthly here, so you would take $2,000 and divide by 12 and then paid that. He didn’t believe that there were any taxes deducted from that, that was just added to your gross.
Member Paul stated that she completely supported the 4 percent raise. She thought Ms. Cornelius did an excellent job; her department was excellently run, but she supported sticking with the mileage that we reimburse people because there were many other employees who used their car going back and forth and we had to be fair and equitable to all employees. There were people that ran errands for us all the time and hopefully they would turn in their mileage also. Nothing against the drive and all the efforts that she had done, because she went above and beyond the call of duty, but she would be able to support 4 percent in regard to the excellence only.
Roll Call Vote on CM-04-08-323 Yeas: Landry, Capello, Gatt, Lorenzo,
Nays: Nagy, Paul, Csordas; MOTION
Member Gatt asked if there was an appropriation for this position already made that would include that raise.
Ms. Smith-Roy stated that an appropriation had not been made; it was sitting in the contingency account.
CM-04-08-324 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Paul; To approve 4 percent
Raise and maintaining mileage; MOTON CARRIED
Roll Call Vote on CM-04-08-324 Yeas: Capello, Gatt, Lorenzo, Nagy,
Paul, Csordas, Landry
Mayor Csordas stated that this took Council to the City Manager.
Member Gatt stated that the City Manager comparable lists were given to Council. Several cities were included. He was not going to embarrass any cities by mentioning names, but our City Manager in the City of Novi, who by the way was the CEO of a very large $25-million corporation, hundreds of employees, a burgeoning city – one of the biggest and most prominent city in the county, which was one of the most lucrative counties in the country. Our City Manager was paid somewhere in the middle but about 14 percent behind one city, 16 percent behind another city that we all aspire to become – I’ll mention that city, Troy. Leaving personalities out of it, just the title City Manager of the City of Novi, he’s charged with the dramatic responsibility and he’s doing a great job. Member Gatt felt that he should get more than 4 percent but knew that that was not going to fly at the table, so he would make a motion that we give the City Manager a 4 percent raise, that his car allowance remain the same. He did not get longevity now and that remained the same. Mr. Helwig had opted out of the City’s MERS plan and instead had opted for an ICMA deferment plan. Presently it was a $14,000 plan. He was going to move that it be moved to $16,000 immediately or retroactive to July 1, 2004, and that at January 1, 2005, that it move to $18,000, which was what the law allowed.
CM-04-08-325 Moved by Gatt, seconded by Landry; To award the City
Manager a 4 percent raise in salary, Retroactive to
July 1, 2004, his car and longevity remain the same,
his pension be moved to $16,000 retroactive to
July 1, 2004, and moved to $18,000 on January 1, 2005.
Member Lorenzo stated that she would not be able to support that. She recognized that the City Manager had contributed to many of the accomplishments listed on the performance summary, as well as other accomplishments that we had spoken about in the City. She acknowledged that she and other members of Council had identified some areas of concern that needed some improvement. Also with regard to the other cities that Member Gatt mentioned, Farmington Hills and Troy, while the City Manager’s salary might be 14 percent behind Farmington Hills or 16 percent behind Troy, those were much larger cities with much larger number of employees, much higher population. If you looked at what the City Manager had accomplished in terms of salary adjustments within the past 3 years, in 2000 when the City Manager’s employment agreement was approved, it was approved at $100,000. So between 2000 and 2003, the City Manager had received a 13.25 percent increase, which she believed to be rather generous considering over the past couple of years the economic times that we had been going through. Additionally, in terms of the deferred compensation, the employee contract when the City Manager was hired stipulated a figure of $8,000 a year annually. That had increased 75 percent to 2003, for an amount of $14,000. So if we even did nothing this year, the City Manager would receive $14,000 toward his deferred compensation, which was a 75 percent increase over what his employment agreement stipulated. And it was not stipulated in the employment agreement that that would be reviewed annually. It was just stated that the City agreed to annually contribute $8,000. So, she felt that $14,000 for this year was certainly adequate and sufficient, maybe even more than adequate and sufficient, given that it was a 75 percent increase over the original agreement of $8,000. She preferred to give the City Manager an opportunity to improve upon the areas of concern. She stated that she would not support this motion but would prefer to give the City Manager a smaller increase right now, perhaps between 2 percent or whatever the rate of inflation, between 2 and 2.3 percent, whatever Ms. Smith-Roy said the rate of inflation was and then reevaluate his performance perhaps at the beginning of January, and then perhaps give an additional salary adjustment if Council felt that the performance had improved in those particular area of concern, and then also look in July of 2005, the request for the 2005 deferred compensation. That didn’t take effect until 2005, anyway. Obviously that would be dependent upon improvement in the particular areas of concern. She stated that she would not support this motion for those reasons.
Member Gatt asked Ms. Smith-Roy how much it would have cost the City if Mr. Helwig had opted to go into the regular MERS plan instead of paying into the deferred payment.
Ms. Smith-Roy replied that she did not have the numbers in front of her but substantially more than that.
Member Gatt asked, substantially, like a $1,000 more, $10,000 more.
Ms. Smith-Roy responded that it could be double, that she didn’t have the numbers in front of her.
Member Gatt asked if $14,000, adding $2,000 and then going up $2,000 in January was still a substantial savings to the City and all the citizens.
Ms. Smith-Roy answered yes.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry stated that one of the things about working for a public corporation municipality was that your salary was broadcast over the airwaves, so everybody had a right to know what you made, so while we may think this was very personal, and it was, to everybody, when it comes to government employees, it was public information. He stated that for the people at home, this needed to be placed in perspective. The City of Southfield City Manager made $130,000 a year; the City of Troy’s City Manager made $133,000 a year; Bloomfield Township’s Manager made $115,000 a year; in Farmington Hills the City Manager made $130,000 a year; the City of Novi City Manager made $113,840. If you looked at municipalities, there were some that made less, Madison Heights made $108,000 a year. He would not put Novi in the class of Madison Heights or Ferndale, where he used to live. To him, a 4 percent increase on $113,000 compared to cities that he would like to compare ourselves to where the City Manager made $130,000 did not seem like an outrageous amount of money. He didn’t think a 4 percent increase was uncalled for from a perspective standpoint.
Mayor Csordas said with respect to performance, he thought Mr. Helwig had done an outstanding job and needed to be rewarded. He did not need to wait 6 months to see whether there was an improvement in this area or that area. Mayor Csordas said he would not agree to pay him any more than any other City employee had gotten, which was a maximum of 4 percent. Also each of these other City Managers mentioned received pension contributions. In one instance, in Farmington Hills, in addition to making $130,000, the City contributed an additional 18 percent to the 401K. So the kind of numbers we would be talking about would be less than or about 10 percent, as Member Gatt suggested, contribution to the pension plan. So, for those reasons, he would support the motion.
Member Nagy stated that this was a very difficult situation where you’re in government and everything was out in the open with regard to salary and your performance; she didn’t think that anyone was trying to sound critical of our City Manager or to embarrass him or any other employee of the City. She stated that she did not like to compare our City to other cities with regard to what we pay whom. She stated that we should pay what we can afford to pay. Southfield was a much larger city; likewise Troy and Farmington Hills. She indicated that she had read the City Manager’s employment agreement, and with all due respect, there was nothing in that agreement that said every year we had to change the funding for him. We just went through this budget process, cut and nipped to add another police patrol, to do something for the parks, to make sure that City employees got some sort of raise. She liked to treat this situation no differently than the administration as a whole. People were getting 2 to 3.25 percent at the discretion of the City Manager and their performance. Michigan had only grown 1 percent and Member Nagy stated that she did not want to go overboard with the taxpayer’s money, so she would not support it.
Member Paul replied that she agreed with a lot of the comments that previous speakers stated. There were two people that Council had direct responsibility for at this Council, and she didn’t want to get into the areas that some felt needed improvement. She reiterated that Mr. Helwig had delivered on some very hard topics, road construction he had seen though, etc. She stated that she felt a responsibility to the citizens to have some input in areas that she saw deficiencies and made those improvements and move along. She thought that 6 months was a fair amount of time. Mr. Helwig had already made one of the improvements by stating that when we brought up Mayor and Council Issues that those were brought forward back to the table in written form so we could see the follow through. She indicated that she really appreciated his making that change. She stated that she would be looking at a cost of living increase and in 6 months to would come back to this table and decide the areas that we felt needed improvement were addressed and discussed at that time.
Member Gatt wanted to go on record and let the public know that not everybody had concerns, in fact, the majority of the Council was satisfied.
Member Capello commented that things needed improvement, that he took out of the executive session when Mr. Helwig had his review that there were things that we needed to work better with Mr. Helwig at and on and that we needed better communication from us and from him, and that we had agreed to move forward to work out some problems that City and the City Council and Mr. Helwig have as a joint group, not so much that these were individual problems that Mr. Helwig had to work on himself or that he had done wrong in the past. It was just things that we needed to work on because we were a growing City. He stated that to base anything on a continuing review when holding hostage a minimal raise for him was extremely unfair. In talking about Ms. Cornelius’ increase, he proposed a larger increase than 4 percent but the majority of Council wanted to keep Ms. Cornelius’ percent to be fair with all other employees in the City and he thought that Mr. Helwig should receive that. He asked if Mr. Helwig could choose to accept MERS this year or was he tied into what he had already begun.
Ms. Smith-Roy stated that it was our retirement plan and he opted out permanently. There was a 10-year vesting period.
Ms. Gronlund-Fox answered that she would want to call MERS, but thought that once you opted out, you could not go back and forth.
Member Capello asked if MERS would cost the City more money than this deferred compensation plan.
Ms. Gronlund-Fox stated that that was absolutely correct, no doubt about that.
Member Capello asked Mr. Helwig if that was what we agreed to originally was the deferred compensation plan as opposed to MERS.
Mr. Helwig replied that that was correct.
Member Gatt commented that he didn’t know what the maximum amount of deferred compensation was when Mr. Helwig hired in, but over the last couple of years the maximum amount of deferred compensation had increased of being anybody over the age of 50, you could defer $16,000 in 2004 and $18,000 in 2005. Prior to 2004, you could not do that; it was illegal.
Mayor Csordas wanted to place comments on the record before calling the roll. He had the opportunity as City Council and now as Mayor to work with Mr. Helwig from the day that he came to the City. It was just a different level that he worked with him now. The Mayor stated that there was no doubt in his mind that Mr. Helwig got up every day and came to work trying to do the best he could for the residents of this City. No issue had ever been brought to him that he did not hand over to Mr. Helwig that wasn’t followed up and handled appropriately. Mayor Csordas stated that he thought the motion was fair and equitable.
Roll Call Vote on CM-04-08-325 Yeas: Gatt, Csordas, Landry,
Nays: Lorenzo, Nagy, Paul
Mayor Csordas asked for another motion.
CM-04-08-326 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Paul; To provide the
City Manager with an inflationary increase with a
6-month period for reevaluation to possibly give
An additional salary adjustment based on areas of
Improvement, to maintain the deferred compensation
At the $14,000 level that it is now and to postpone
Consideration of 2005 compensation increase until
July 1, 2005. MOTION FAILED.
Member Nagy stated that this was a difficult situation and that she had never used the word "problem". She actually had concerns that she had expressed and won’t express them again. There were a lot of things that happen that the City Council did not collectively discuss as a whole, and, again, there were a lot of things that Mr. Helwig had done since he had come here, but quite frankly he had also gotten some big, hefty raises. Last year, she thought, it was over 5 percent. This was not a personal thing; she just thought it was unfair when we were putting certain standards on people. Yes, he was the head guy, the CEO and he did all the work but Council had given him nice increases all along, much higher than the standard of national average, during a time when the economy was not so hot. She reiterated again that this was not personal; she thought there were areas that she would like to have changed and she had discussed some things with Mr. Helwig, but she would support the motion.
Roll Call Vote on CM-04-08-326 Yeas: Lorenzo, Nagy, Paul,
Nays: Csordas, Landry, Capello, Gatt
CM-04-80-327 Moved by Landry, seconded by Capello;
To give the City Manager a 3.5 percent salary increase
and $14,000 to $16,000 toward his ICMA, retroactive to
July 1, 2004. MOTION FAILED.
Member Lorenzo stated that she would not be supporting this motion. The previous motion that she had made was the only motion that she would support. She continued that she hoped the Council would not continue to do these negotiations at the table. She thought it was quite clear; we all made our positions quite clear. She would hate to have it go like the Budget did and provide more of an issue than it needed to become, especially with Mr. Helwig present.
Member Capello answered that, with all due respect, a minority of Council have made their positions clear; he thought the majority of Council had made their positions clear, also. We were trying to come up with a compromise to get a full majority of Council. If the minority wanted to hold hostage and not move forward to try to negotiate this issue, so be it. We had made an effort, and we would see where the effort went.
Roll Call Vote on CM-04-08-327 Yeas: Csordas, Landry, Capello, Gatt
Nays: Lorenzo, Nagy, Paul
Member Capello asked Mr. Fisher if this could be done in executive session.
Mr. Fisher answered that make a motion could not be made in executive session. You could do further review and discussion at the request of the employee.
Member Capello would move to postpone this to the next meeting and discuss the issue at the next executive session if Mr. Helwig did not have an objection.
Member Nagy would second the motion, if he didn’t have an objection.
Mr. Helwig stated that he didn’t want to put the City through three more weeks of fiscal discussions. We had a lot of work to do, and he would rather move on from here.
CM-04-08-328 Moved by Landry, seconded by Nagy; To give the City Manager
a 3 percent raise and hold his ICMA contribution at $14,000.
Roll Call Vote on CM-04-8-328 Yeas: Csordas, Landry, Capello
Nays: Paul, Gatt, Lorenzo, Nagy
Member Gatt asked Ms. Smith-Roy, for the record, how many employees in our City topped the $100,000 mark this year, union employees.
Ms. Smith-Roy replied that she did not know; she would have to look it up.
Member Gatt asked Ms. Smith-Roy if she could give an estimate.
Ms. Smith-Roy answered that it was probably between 4 and 6.
Member Gatt reiterated that between 4 and 6 people, who didn’t have the responsibilities that the CEO of the City had, made over $100,000. It was just not reasonable to not give him a 4 percent raise. To hold his compensation package if you wanted, but not to give him a 4 percent raise was just not reasonable. He was in charge of the whole City.
Member Lorenzo stated that she would appreciate it if everybody could respect each other’s positions on this because she would hate to be in a position to explain some of the critical areas that she was talking about. She would appreciate it if we were not going to be badgered now for our position.
Mayor Csordas answered that he could appreciate that. He would like to hold the two motions; we have had a lot of discussion and there was a lot of negotiating going on, and he supposed that was okay, it was still rather awkward. He understood what Mayor Pro Tem said that in the public sector this was how it was done. It was difficult. He stated that he believed that the City Manager did an extremely good job. He agreed; we would just make motions and call the vote.
CM-04-08-329 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Paul, To reconsider
a prior motion to 2.3 percent salary, Maintaining the
$14,000 annual contribution to deferred compensation;
Review in 6 months for possible adjustment and July 1,
2005, to review request for additional monies for
Mayor Pro Tem Landry stated that he took back his previous comment that we couldn’t vote on that, that there was no action taken. He was just trying to think of how many votes it would take. It would take four votes to reconsider but there was no vote taken, so there was no need to reconsider.
Mayor Csordas stated that it was a motion that failed.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry stated that if it failed, it would take one on the failing side to move for reconsideration, so the motion for reconsideration can’t be made by Member Lorenzo.
Mr. Fisher clarified that it had to be somebody on the prevailing side, actually.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry interjected that the prevailing side was the failing side.
CM-04-08-330 Moved by Landry, seconded by Capello, To Postpone
this matter to the next agenda. MOTION CARRIED.
Member Lorenzo stated that she would not support that because her position was clear and was not going to change.
Member Nagy wanted to clarify the motion that Member Lorenzo made with regard to the increase. It wasn’t the inflationary amount, whatever it was. She wanted to find out what inflation was, so she supported the postponement.
Member Paul commented that we all know that each employee offered a lot to our City; no one was denying that. Every single one of us want to see the City be the best it can be, and in Executive Session many of us mentioned at least one area of concern, minus one person sitting at this table. We had one department we had concern with, each of us. There were not lots and lots of problems but there were some. When a CEO comes into any organization, he has 6 months to turn that ship around. This was our only employee that we had direct influence over our entire staff, and we needed some areas to turn around a bit. All of us have areas of improvement and we were looking at that to turn around, and then go to the 4 percent when it did. So if you wanted to postpone that, you may, but she wouldn’t be supporting the motion because her point was that what she just stated.
Mayor Csordas stated that regarding 6 months to turn around, that was about four years ago, and this ship got turned around big time. He didn’t want to go down the path of discussing all of the things that Mr. Helwig had overseen the change of. So, respectfully, that ship was long gone and he had done an excellent job of turning this ship around.
Roll Call Vote on CM-04-08-330 Yeas: Csordas, Landry, Capello, Gatt
Nays: Lorenzo, Nagy, Paul
BREAK AT 10:16 PM
Mayor Csordas called the meeting back to order at 10:30 PM
CONSENT AGENDA REMOVALS FOR COUNCIL ACTION: (Consent Agenda items, which have been removed for discussion and/or action)
E. APPROVAL OF TRAFFIC CONTROL ORDERS 04-07 THROUGH 04-12 (BRADFORD OF NOVI NO. 3 AND BRISTOL CORNERS WEST NO. 2 & 3 SUBDIVISIONS) AND 04-19 (NORTH HAVEN SUBDIVISION), AND 04-13 THROUGH 04-18 (LEXINGTON GREEN SUBDIVISION), AND 04-20 (INDUSTRIAL PARK).
Member Lorenzo brought this up again based on the President of Lexington Green’s request to postpone and reading through the letters which have been included on our desks from Lexington Green, they were specifically looking for all stop signs at the locations. But, again, they wanted to take it to the homeowners who would be impacted; they haven’t had a chance to do that yet, so they would like to postpone any action on these traffic control orders until they have better information from the homeowners and then come back and perhaps place this on as a stop sign request, as opposed to the traffic control orders as it appeared now.
Member Lorenzo stated with regard to number two and number three, Bristol Corners, we did have a note that said someone from Bristol Corners called and was concerned about stop signs and speeding traffic in the street. She wanted to get additional information from them to make sure that they know what the process is. In other words, were they looking for just traffic control warrants there or were they looking for stop signs. She thought it would be helpful that whenever a resident either calls or requests, that they be given a copy of the process so that they know exactly where it’s going to go from there, since we do have an actual process in place. So she, also on the record for when this does come back if it does come back, would like to stipulate that as it was being requested by Lexington Green at this time, one of the stop sign locations would occur in the right-of-way on my property, or close to her property. She wanted to ask Mr. Fisher if she should recuse herself if in fact this came back as a stop sign request.
Mr. Fisher answered yes, if it was going to directly affect your property particularly.
Member Lorenzo stated she could find out from Mr. McCusker if the stop sign was actually going to be nearer to her property or her neighbor’s as to whether or not she should recuse herself if it did come back. If it was on the right-of-way or front of her home, she would recuse herself.
CM-04-08-331 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Paul; To approve the Traffic Control Orders 04-07 (Bradford of Novi), 04-19 (North Haven Subdivision) and 04-20 (Industrial Park) and withdraw Traffic Control Orders 04-08 through 04-12 (Bristol Corners) and 04-13 through 04-18 (Lexington Green Subdivision). Motion carried.
Roll Call Vote on CM-04-08-331 Yeas: Capello, Gatt, Lorenzo,
Nagy, Paul, Csordas,
H. Approval of Claims and Accounts – Warrant No. 679
Member Lorenzo stated the reason that she pulled this off was actually for one number and one issue 38024 for Cadillac Asphalt Material. When she called and asked Ms. Smith-Roy what we were doing with asphalt materials, Ms. Smith-Roy proceeded to go through the projects which the asphalt was going to. One of them was the South Point Condominium drainage easement, which she believed, through Maryanne Cornelius, was coming onto our next agenda, which indicated that it was going to be for $1. Meanwhile, she was told today that the asphalt was for this easement for 6 parking spaces and for some improvements at the entrance way location. She asked where that came from, since Council hadn’t approved that.
Mr. Helwig answered that engineering negotiated that in the field. Mr. Pearson and he received a call from Maggie about when the work would be done because they were still holding onto the easement when the swirl concentrators were on their property across the road by the lake, that it had already been installed, and that the easement had not been obtained. So the narrow widening of their entrance way was done and the addition of 6 parking spaces was done by Public Works.
Member Lorenzo asked if our engineering department had the authority to do such negotiations, which we were spending money on.
Mr. Helwig answered that had been taken up with the administration. That was a surprise to his office when he got out there.
Member Lorenzo asked why this was just coming before us now.
Mr. Helwig answered that it wasn’t that long ago when we found out about it and went out there.
Member Lorenzo stated that the question she had was, if the engineering department was not authorized to enter into such negotiations, why wouldn’t we just say to the homeowner, we’re sorry this particular person told that to you, but this person didn’t have any authority to negotiate on behalf of the City.
Mr. Helwig answered that the swirl concentrator at the lakefront had already been installed; he sited it that day, so he felt his hands were tied and we needed to complete the situation that Public Works did.
Member Lorenzo stated that she would have appreciated being told at that time; that would be the correct area of communication to the Council, in terms of allowing us to know what the situation was, so when we’re on a warrant and she asked what it was she was not surprised by the answer to some of these questions. Again, if there were any of these blips out there, she would appreciate knowing sooner than later.
Mr. Helwig apologized that that did not happen.
CM-04-08-332 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Nagy; To approve
The amount for Cadillac Asphalt and the entire
Warrant. MOTION CARRIED.
Roll Call Vote to CM-04-08-332 Yeas: Gatt, Lorenzo, Nagy, Paul,
Csordas, Landry, Capello
Point of Order
Member Lorenzo stated her motion was to approve the whole warrant, including Cadillac Asphalt.
Mayor Csordas stated that it was okay.
MAYOR AND COUNCIL ISSUES
1. Discussion of the Neville property
Mayor Pro Tem Landry wanted to make sure that the City remained consistent in these kinds of matters, and a couple weeks ago we decided not to grant relief to a resident who he believed had a sewer lateral line concern. And, at least when he discussed it, his reasoning was that what the City had done when they had made their inspections was no guarantee of the quality of the work. He stated that he had read the memo from Mr. McCusker of August 12. With respect to the water concerns on the Neville property, he stated that there were a couple things going on here. One is the berm and landscape and the neighbor’s property was originally the Gamester’s. That berm apparently was in a drainage easement. He asked if that violated a City code.
Mr. McCusker answered that it did.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry then asked if that berm was constructed at the requirement of the City or if the prior property owners just put it there.
Mr. McCusker answered that the prior property owners just put it there and they were cited by the Building Department.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry clarified that the berm was not put there at the requirement of the City. He than asked if that berm that was there and that had subsequently been landscaped resulted in water flowing onto the Neville property.
Mr. McCusker responded that it impeded and also directed flows down onto the Neville property.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry asked if the second factor resulting in water on the Neville property was not only the berm and landscape on the former Grundstead property but on the former Grundstead property there was the question of a drain from a downspout that was supposed to be redirected by the Grundsteads.
Mr. McCusker answered that they could not find it being done.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry asked Mr. McCusker if the City requested that the Grundsteads do it, the Grundsteads said they’d do it but they just never did it.
Mr. McCusker responded that he believed they moved.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry stated, as he understood it, that the third factor was landscaping and/or a berm that the Nevilles themselves put on the property which somehow impeded the flow off of their property.
Mr. McCusker answered that it redirected the flow back toward their house.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry asked if there were any other factors other than those mentioned that, in Mr. McCusker’s opinion, were the cause of the excess water on the Neville property.
Mr. McCusker stated that what actually happened, once the berms were put into the drainage easement itself, it trapped water between the house and the easement where the water was supposed to go. There was a drain in there between the two berms but the water couldn’t get to it because of the way the properties had been reshaped all around it.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry asked Mr. McCusker reshaped by whom?
Mr. McCusker answered that it was reshaped by both the Grundsteads next door and the Nevilles.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry asked if that reshaping by the property owners violated City code.
Mr. McCusker responded that the berm violated the Code in the easement.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry asked Mr. McCusker if there were any other factors, in his opinion, that resulted in water on the Neville property.
Mr. McCusker answered that there were some sump pumps running helter skelter in the neighborhood where people had moved and, again, the sump pumps were supposed to be tied into their rear easements. People had put in berms and decks and things of that nature and water was not going where it was supposed to go.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry asked if he had observed such sump pumps.
Mr. McCusker answered that they had found probably three locations in that area.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry asked if any of the sump pumps which he had observed had been redirected with the approval of the City.
Mr. McCusker answered no.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry asked if such redirection was in violation of City code.
Mr. McCusker answered yes and replied that what we do is give them a location to send the water to in part of the grading plan, and usually what happened was that people put in decks, moved air conditioners and as kind of an afterthought they just pulled it out from where it was and it went to the side of the house or back to the neighbor’s house.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry stated that he understood that in real life that the City couldn’t be everywhere – and he was not talking about an oversight issue – his only point was that the City did not request that any of that redirection be done.
Mr. McCusker answered no.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry stated that it didn’t sound to him like any of the causes of the water that the Nevilles currently experience was the result of anything that the City did.
Mr. McCusker responded that it might be because of things that we didn’t do. It looked like they were cited and then we didn’t follow up on the process to make the neighbors do what they were supposed to do.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry stated that he wasn’t sure the City had an obligation to do that.
Mr. McCusker stated that a law firm became involved at the time, when you read the file jacket, and then the attorneys started sending letters that were pretty terse, and then the Building Department probably backed off, due to that.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry asked Mr. McCusker to explain an option that he had proposed to alleviate the problem.
Mr. McCusker answered that one of the options was to remove some of the trees that the Nevilles had in the drainage easement.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry stated that somebody would have to remove them.
Mr. McCusker answered yes, and lower the drain. They put in a drain that really did not function. They put in a drain and drain tiles through the yards. It was 6 inches. By November it was probably not functioning at all. It probably picked up very little of the water that was running around there that needed to be lowered back into the basin into the rear yard and run some drain tiles on both sides of the house to pick up the excess flows by the berm on the one side and on the far side of the Neville’s house, which would be the north side.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry restated that what Mr. McCusker had proposed would be to install a couple of drains on the Neville property.
Mr. McCusker added, or adjacent to it.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry asked about redirecting the downspout problem from the neighbor’s property.
Mr. McCusker answered that all the loose flows, whatever loose flows that were out there, would be picked up in those drain tiles.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry stated that if that solution were employed, the violation would continue on the neighbor’s property with respect to that downspout.
Mr. McCusker responded, probably.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry asked, under the scenario fix that he had identified as a possibility, would the berm on the neighbor’s property remain.
Mr. McCusker answered yes.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry stated that that violation would continue to exist.
Mr. McCusker said that was correct.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry asked, under the scenario that he had identified as a possible fix, would the berm and landscaping that the Nevilles installed, would that violation still continue.
Mr. McCusker answered that somebody would have to remove part of it to make the flows where they have to go, so they wouldn’t be trapping water.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry stated that the problem he had with the proposed solution to the Neville problem was that it required the City to fix a problem that the City didn’t start in the first place. He stated that he wanted to remain consistent on these kinds of issues. He understood that it was frustrating and maddening when your neighbor did something and it affected your property; however, it didn’t appear from the information given that the City created this, so he could not support the City’s undertaking a fix of this magnitude. He thought it created precedent. Also, if the City were to get involved in this and do something and somehow it did not resolve the problem, then somebody might have the potential of claiming that the City made it worse. The City did nothing out there as far as he could see, did nothing to create this problem, and, unfortunately, he could not support the City undertaking to repair a problem that it did not create.
Mr. Helwig interjected that this issue had been raised by a Council member; we followed up on it, asked Mr. McCusker to do a chronology. When he and other staff saw the chronology, they felt there was exposure to the City because of how that had been handled regarding the neighbor’s property, and what was coming forward to Council was being recommended by the administration unless there were objections by the Council, so he was seeking Council direction.
Member Nagy stated that she appreciated the previous speaker’s concerns and appreciated Mr. McCusker’s explanation about fixing the situation. She asked for an approximate figure for fixing this.
Mr. McCusker answered about $3,500.
Member Nagy asked Mr. Fisher, in reading the chronology of the events here, if someone from the Building Department just backed off once Butzel Long got involved. On November 14 it said that the home was for sale and they could not guarantee that this connection would take place prior to the sale of the house --- she assumed that meant the Grunsteads – and should the house sell first, the Grunsteads consented to establishing an escrow account for $1,000 for the new homeowners to complete the drainage project. She asked if there was an escrow account set up. Then on December 18 and they said that they would pay up to $1,000 for the repair and would request an unconditional waiver of lien. She asked Mr. McCusker if that ever took place.
Mr. McCusker stated that they couldn’t find a record of any of that happening.
Member Nagy stated that she thought the Mayor Pro Tem has made a lot of valid points; however, her concern was that we had an employee of the City just from her reading of this, really didn’t follow through completely. This is the kind of stuff that always bothered her when we talk about lawsuits. Somebody said they were going to get an attorney, attorneys wrote letters, then we backed off. She asked Mr. Fisher if he thought that because our employee did not carry through with the initial berm problem, we should fix this.
Mr. Fisher responded that basically what she was asking was if the City had liability from a legal standpoint. Based upon the scenario that had been elicited here this evening, the City at worst would be negligent, and negligence didn’t result in liability. They would have to prove gross negligence for liability. The willful disregard for people’s rights – that was a very difficult standard to prove.
Member Nagy, having gotten an opinion from Mr. Fisher, stated that she was always a proponent to help every resident that we could, agreed with the Mayor Pro Tem that if we did this, we were going to end up doing everything else. He didn’t know how we could alleviate the problem that people put in berms where they were not supposed to, but she thought that if we did it now, we would be doing it for everybody else that came along. It didn’t look like the original homeowner even did anything about it in the first place. She hated to say it, but it was buyer beware. She stated her other concern was how much more could the DPW do. She didn’t think that the City created the problem, nor were we negligent or responsible.
Member Lorenzo asked Mr. McCusker what needed to be lowered in order to catch the water because it was too high.
Mr. McCusker answered they had drain tile running around the house.
Member Lorenzo asked if the City did an installation, because they alleged that we placed something "too high".
Mr. McCusker responded that he looked through all their records and talked to his crew, and none of them were involved.
Member Lorenzo stated that we have not gone on that property and done anything between the time this problem was first brought to the attention of the City and now.
Mr. McCusker stated that it sounded like the City was trying to give the Nevilles direction back in 2000. They had a landscape group who looked at the sites back in 1999 and 2000, and they might have given some sort of direction, but we would never have done the installation the way it was done.
Member Lorenzo asked if anybody from the City ever actually placed any hole so they could connect, because that was what Mrs. Neville was alleging.
Mr. McCusker answered that he read her original letter and it stated that, but nobody from the DPW did it.
Member Lorenzo stated that she was going to be agreeable to the City going in there and lowering what he had recommended only if the City had created that situation too high. But if the City had not gone on that property and done that, then unfortunately she would not be able to support that either.
Member Paul stated that it was her understanding that Terry Morrone in the Building Department issued the DPW to go out, and she thought it was Tony Nowicki that spoke with this resident and they have documentation of when someone came out and actually cut a hole in the concrete of the storm drain and it was cut by a City employee. She didn’t know exactly who that employee was or if there were records of it, but she couldn’t imagine a resident saying that the City came out here if they were just making it up.
Mr. McCusker stated that there was no record of it. The way it was put into the catch basin, he couldn’t imagine the drain guys doing it. Even in 2000, the guys he had were super-experienced at that kind of work. Where it penetrated the catch basin itself it was literally useless. It was at the top of the ring, so that it won’t catch anything other than surface water.
Member Paul stated that she could understand our not doing anything with the trees and the berms, since that was something that that resident actually put in, but the resident that we were talking about, this having the water drainage was not buyer beware. It was the next-door neighbor that bought the house that had the berm that had created the majority of the issues. She couldn’t imagine they were making it up.
Mr. McCusker answered that he didn’t believe they were making it up. They may have hired a contractor through the City to do it.
Member Paul stated that, because the Building Department had its handprints on it and let the ball drop and never fixed the drainage in the first place, she thought we owned part of this problem. She thought we at least owed them to drop the drainage tile so that this functioned.
CM-04-08-333 Moved by Landry, seconded by Capello; To give the City of Novi administration direction that, in light of the fact that the City did
Not create the problems on the Neville property that the City not Proceed to take any remedial action to correct it. MOTION CARRIED.
Member Nagy stated that the previous speaker made some good points, however, with regard to the house, they had documentation. I think that’s a big difference.
Mr. McCusker continued that you would have to set up some sort of trench drain along the back; it’s not a berm, it’s probably $50,000 or $60,000 worth of landscaping. It’s almost an outside room with very mature trees and a gazebo and patio; it’s not just a berm, they’ve raised the entire yard up probably two and one-half feet and created a room.
Member Nagy stated that she wasn’t trying to be rude when she said buyer beware. She stated that she’s going to support the motion because we’re going to get into deep trouble if we start shelling out $3,500 here and $3,500 there and when one person comes, we say no.
Roll Call Vote on CM-04-08-333 Yeas: Landry, Capello, Gatt, Lorenzo,
2. Master Plan
Member Lorenzo indicated that the Master Plan might be back for public hearing and possible adoption sometime in October. The Council had not had the opportunity to review that document and perhaps comment and address any potential changes. She wanted to postpone going back to the Planning Commission so we could have a meeting or place this on our agenda to discuss it or for us to discuss this at a meeting before it went to them in October.
Member Csordas stated the he thought they received that document a couple of months ago.
Member Lorenzo answered that we did but we as a Council have never commented on it for the Planning Commission’s benefit in terms of some areas that we might either agree or disagree with.
Member Csordas asked if she wanted it placed on a future agenda.
Member Lorenzo answered that that was correct and to let the Planning Commission know that we needed to do that, so maybe they might need to postpone their action or potential action on it.
Mayor Csordas asked Mr. Helwig if he would take care of that.
Mr. Helwig stated that they would coordinate that and come to Council before it went to the Planning Commission.
Member Lorenzo asked that Council might meet earlier that evening, maybe at 7:00 p.m. or on a small agenda.
3. Parks and Recreation Meeting
Member Lorenzo stated that she would appreciate it if the Council started receiving Park and Recreation Minutes to their meetings so that we could become more informed as to what was happening with that body. Also, she thought it would be a good idea at some point between now and our next budget in March if we had a joint meeting so we could discuss our mutual goals and objectives before we got to budget time. She thought it would improve a lot of the discussions and communications if we were all on the same page at the same time. That also was another one that we would appreciate the adminisration coordinating with Parks and Recreation.
Member Paul commented that there were some areas if we’re going to have a joint meeting that she would like to have some comments back from the Parks and Recreation Commission because she didn’t want to have all of us get together and not have an action plan. She stated that she would like to have some actual goals that we could achieve. For example, the tree program. A lot of people were really affected by the stumps that were in their front yards. She wanted a recommendation from our Forester and our Parks and Recreation Commission as a whole of what their whole plan was for the tree program.
Member Paul would also like to hear from Mr. Lewis and the Parks and Recreation Commission as a whole about the ADA deficits. There were a large amount of projects that were outstanding in the ADA and she would like to address what percentage of projects were really done, how much was left financially, and which parks were affected. They did a Master Plan not too long ago; she would really like to hear what their plan was in regard to priorities of what they’d like to accomplish and where they were in the $88,000 and how that was all going.
Member Paul wanted to commend the Parks and Recreation Commission. They did a wonderful job with the International Festival. Mr. Auler had taken that committee and really went full tilt; it was at Fountain Walk and was very well received.
Member Nagy received Mr. Klaver’s memorandum regarding the improvements and had a few questions. She asked where we got the figure of $35,000.
Mr. Klaver stated that the focus was on coordinating activities and as we discussed those, we realized that one of the barriers was not having those two individuals out there. So we started talking about possibilities for co-locations at the project. Knowing that it was a tight budget year and we were trying to be conservative, Mr. McCusker mentioned that his employees had built some partitions in the mezzanine of the DPW. We looked at those; they were very professionally done, so we proceeded with the idea that we would do a lot of the work in-house and it was an estimate Mr. McCusker developed between ourselves.
Member Nagy stated that she thought this would be close to impossible, just remembering what Member Capello said at $19 a square foot. She asked if we had paid for the blueprint and did it come out of the $35,000.
Mr. Klaver answered that they had a very brief meeting, and he thought it was just basically a conceptual drawing.
Member Nagy asked about sleeping quarters.
Mr. Klaver responded that it was a separate issue; that that was something that they would like to pursue but it was not part of this project. The sleeping quarters we had now were very rudimentary. There were no restroom facilities. It was part of kind of a master plan list that we’d like to address at DPW, but it was not part of this project.
Member Nagy asked about the H back unit; would it accommodate the addition, and what about the electrical and the plumbing.
Mr. Klaver answered that those were the things we were going to have the architect work with us on. We may very well have to get those contracted but we will try to do just the bare minimum. We have two licensed contractors in our employ at Public Works. They might have to do some basic setup and probably most of the HVAC work, and then from there we would probably be able to finish that with our own crews.
Member Nagy asked Mr. Klaver if they had actually figured out what work and how much work would be done by contractors versus the DPW staff.
Mr. Klaver stated we were in the process of doing that. We have not gotten detailed plans or gotten indication from the architect what will have to be subcontracted and what we can do in-house.
Member Nagy asked Mr. Klaver what he would do, send out for bids to know what the totality of the project would cost.
Mr. Klaver answered that they would bid to have that work done.
Member Nagy asked if that would include material and demolition.
Mr. Klaver answered yes, very minimal demolition.
Ms. Nagy stated that her concern was this. The DPW did an awful lot. She asked how many employees the DPW had.
Mr. McCusker answered 29, including himself.
Ms. Nagy stated the DPW now has taken on the roll of doing grease traps.
Mr. McCusker answered that they were combining it with our cross connection control program because they have to go into a lot of the other businesses, so the ones that they’re in they will do the grease trap when they’re inspecting the cross connection controls for the water systems.
Member Nagy asked if he was talking 120-140 businesses.
Mr. McCusker answered he thought the count was 120, cross-connection control is about 490.
Member Nagy was concerned that the DPW had been asked to do above and beyond what their regular functions were. They were patching things, they had gotten swales, they had the drainage issues, they had gotten detention ponds. There was a whole list of yearly, monthly, weekly maintenance, and she was concerned that we had 29 people, which included the DPW director, that were now going to take on a project of this size. If one got hurt, one was out. Just looking at everything that they do, plus taking into consideration that so much of their work was outside, it was incumbent upon how the weather was. She stated that she would rather take out some of the money from the rainy day fund, bid this job out, do it right and let the guys do their job. She stated that DPW was doing way too much and $35,000 was not a realistic figure. She would like Council to consider adding money to it or taking it out from where we had to because we’re a growing City.
Member Paul asked Mr. Klaver what the goal for this addition, what the objectives are.
Mr. Klaver answered that the objectives were to have Steve Printz, our forester, and Matt Wiktorowski, our Parks and Recreation Supervisor, provide support functions for both groups. We would additionally have Tom Lovelady, the water and sewer foreman, come in here and have a new location because we have a lot of sensitive equipment that right now we have out in the open garage. We would like to put it in his existing office. So it would basically be three work offices with very small work space. There was a fairly large conference room which would accommodate 8 to 10 people.
Member Paul stated that she would support hearing what an actual cost analysis would be, the most efficient that we can make and the long-term plan of what your goals and objectives were. She stated that she couldn’t support giving any more money or even expending the $35,000 until we knew really what that cost was. She felt that we had a partial piece of information and that it was a good idea to have these two departments go together, but not until we had a full analysis.
Member Lorenzo agreed with Member Nagy’s concerns. She recalled from the last meeting, it was Member Capello who asked Mr. Helwig, and Mr. Helwig said he was very comfortable with $35,000. In fact, he thought we had $2,000 to spare. She asked Mr. Helwig if he was contemplating at that time having the DPW workers do the work.
Mr. Helwig answered yes.
Member Lorenzo asked why that wasn’t shared with Council at the time.
Mr. Helwig responded that that’s what you’re seeking to accomplish when you’re giving us policy direction. He stated that it was very common for force account work, for City employees to do things, whether in inclement weather or other cycles where they could in fact help finish a job. He stated that he just went through a very painful budget process, very sensitive, asking for the $35,000. In fact, before we would add that, he would much rather visit other priorities than this. He thought we were getting this done for the least amount of money taken from the contingency account, utilizing our personnel. It was basically a shell that needed to be built out and adapted and some holes punched through to connect to existing support personnel. He stated that if she wanted that kind of specific, we could give it.
Member Lorenzo stated that she would appreciate that. She reiterated that she shared Member Nagy’s concerns that the DPW had been asked to do too much. She wanted to know out of all the things that they completed from the beginning of the year through now if they were backlogged in any of the areas. She wanted to know that if it was possible to do if we were talking about tremendous amounts of overtime.
Mr. Helwig stated that his recommendation, which he could justify, was $35,000 of additional funds over and above our personnel doing it. This was not time-specific; we’re trying to do it by the beginning of year, and it’s not life or death, get it done by the beginning of the year. The sooner we get it done, the community will benefit from it and our performance will benefit from it. He stated that he could never justify $100,000 to do this. Mr. Helwig stated that Mr. McCusker had assured us that it could be done in this manner and he was relying on that and would like the ability to deliver it on that basis.
Mr. McCusker stated that our maintenance items were continuous in a community of this size. In the off times, we were able to do some of the construction things. For example, the day after a snowstorm we won’t have everybody out, we send a group of people to start working on those other things. He stated that they were anxious to see after the architects came back with the final plan and the way everything will fit together, but he thought we could do it. He stated that he had some people on board that were general contractors. We might fall behind temporarily for a week or two, but we always caught up. That was the basis of emergency work, the nature of the business.
Member Nagy wanted to thank Singh Development for donating 16 trees to the project which were at the park. Our landscape architect designed a very nice landscape area. Pubic Works employees had regraded this area and also paved the driveway between Lake Shore Drive and the parking lot, which was approximately 220 feet in length. We received an estimate for adding this drainage work to South Lake construction. She stated that there was a lot of stuff going on in this place. There had been drainage problems for many years that caused flooding. With the construction, the situation became slightly worse. Member Nagy questioned if we were done yet. She wanted to know if the blueprints had the conduits on them.
Ms. McClain answered that the blueprints did not have the conduits on them because we needed to get the price before we could go to the people and ask if they wanted the conduits. Then we needed to find out which ones of them wanted the conduits, and we placed them according to where they wanted them across the lateral frontage of their lot. She stated that those conduits were placed fairly deep to avoid the road base; they had gone out there and repeatedly staked and, in some cases, even dug up the location for the homeowners.
Member Nagy wanted to know if we were done with the punch list.
Ms. McClain answered that we were down to about three items on the punch list, which we were finishing up. We have a driveway that has been cracked, a connection of a sump pump problem from two houses where they were having problems with it, so we’re replacing that, and she believed that there was one curb that was cracked and needed to be replaced. That all included concrete, so that was all being done together. The contractor did have to schedule his people to come out since they were primarily off the job. They were no longer mobilized with a lot of the equipment, so they had to schedule their equipment to get out.
Member Nagy wanted to know if we were going to be doing anything with those islands, such as landscaping.
Ms. McClain stated that that was something they would be working out with Parks, Recreation and Forestry for the landscaping because that was outside of the project.
Member Paul stated that she had a resident that contacted her about South Lake. There was a sidewalk that was put in; it was 8 feet wide. Member Paul talked with Mr. Helwig and Mr. McCusker and some members of DPW, and Mr. Helwig was happy that she wasn’t thrown into the lake because they were quite upset. She stated that they had been calling for some time, and didn’t have great luck at getting anything accomplished. What happened was when they put in the sidewalk, they didn’t really know where the edge drain was on this project. So the street went in, Gibbels Webster said they were going to put in edge drains, but they couldn’t find the location of this edge drain. They believed it was somewhere under the bike path but also the gas line was in the same location. So this resident was very upset because they’d been calling and not getting any really great answers. Finally, DPW went out, had a hose that they were trying to put in. They had some type of gauge to see where the gas line was and they located that. Probably when the contractor came in and put in the sidewalk, they crushed some drainage in this area. Now the DPW had to go and find out where it had been crushed because it had to be done by hand since the gas line was right there. There were no edge drains anywhere on our drawing of our engineering plan. She felt that DPW had inherited a lot of these areas. Member Paul asked where we were financially on this project.
Mr. Helwig answered that the final pay had not come back for Council consideration, so that money had been retained.
Mr. Pearson stated that he was familiar with some of the case you’re talking about, as far as gas lines and where those were. He met with Ploughmans who live on the corner. That side street was flat and has been flat and had nothing to do with the South Lake project. There were some things affected with the improvement of South Lake. There were improvements that have to be made regardless or are going to be done on the side street that were outside of the project. Just as the entrance to Lake Shore Park, completely different, and it was an upgrade outside of this project and was not included in the scope of work that we gave them. So, it was not just the project that affects all of these other things, not to say that some of them aren’t.
Ms. McClain stated that the contractor had not gone. The contractor was still coming out to finish up things. You don’t always see a truck out there that says APC because in some cases it was their landscaping contractor because they were finishing up a lot of restoration items, so it didn’t appear that they were out there. But they have been coming out and handling things. The issue with the drain, he had the location right there, it was an existing drain that we had some problems with, and yes, that was getting taken care of, but that was mainly because it was an existing drain. The edge drain, the one we installed, was at the edge of the road. In fact, he was out there when they installed that one, so he knew it was over by the edge of the road.
Member Paul stated that she was talking to the DPW workers and they said it wasn’t on the drawing and they were having a very hard time locating it when they were putting a hose through this person’s property.
Ms. McClain stated that this edge drain, the one that was having the problem, was not on the drawing.
Member Paul asked Ms. McClain what the process of looking at an engineering project was.
Ms. McClain stated that there were no records of that drain that was in there, that we had collected all the records for the project and there was no record of that. She stated that she had three years of history. She could not remember things that happened before she came here, so we did have a few things that had gotten lost in the shuffle because of the changeover of personnel. She wasn’t sure that anybody knew where that drain was at the time. So, we collected all the records that we could and reviewed all those records, and that did not show up.
Member Paul stated that it seemed to be an ongoing issue, and she just wanted to know where we were financially and all the work that still needed to be done.
Eleven Mile Road
Member Paul stated that she read the memorandum from administration saying that Jim Koster said it was not in their capital outlay this year for the sidewalks on Eleven Mile, but, to be honest with you, that was like asking Kathy Smith-Roy what we should all decide on what we want to do with the money. She would like the school board to address that as a whole body and get back to us with something in writing. She didn’t think that asking for a joint cost of a sidewalk on their school property was out of line, and she thought the safety issue needed to be addressed. She sent an email today to the City Manager from Ms. Bedro saying that there were no trucks, and Mr. Pearson addressed those, so she appreciated that. She stated that the Manager also called Mr. Pearson to that resident, and she appreciated that.
Member Capello stated that on that issue, that was a comment of one member of Council. He didn’t think you had a directive from City Council as a whole to go to the school board or school administration to ask them what they we’re going to do about their sidewalks. He stated that for two reasons: 1) We owe sidewalks along Eleven Mile Road where we built our park before we could ask them to do anything; and 2) he thought maybe the proper channels were for residents going in front of the school board and not for this Council to approach the school board or school administration to talk about sidewalks at this time.
May Pro Tem Landry stated that he agreed with Member Capello.
Member Lorenzo stated that she agreed with Member Paul. She didn’t see any harm in asking the school board if they chose to partner with the City on this issue. And for Mr. Wilson of Novi.org, we’re not going to the children and asking them to donate their cookie and milk money. She stated that this was a school board that obviously had a lot of money, probably a lot more discretion of spending money than we had here in the City in terms of discretionary spending, so we won’t be taking the milk and cookie money away from the kiddies. She stated that we were simply asking a large entity to perhaps partner with the City for a mutual benefit – the greater good of the City and obviously for the school children that obviously would use the sidewalk.
Member Capello stated, that not to belabor this, but that might be a good idea. He stated that we might want to put it on a regular agenda and put a plan together and know what sidewalks we’re talking about and then approach them in a logical, reasonable fashion, instead of just shooting something off tonight.
Member Lorenzo stated that she would be agreeable to that.
West Lake Drive
Mayor Csordas stated that the last item was one which he put on. Very quickly, he did, just so Council knows. He asked Mr. Helwig to come back with a report at the next meeting regarding some issues that were going on alleged by a group of residents that came in to Saturday office hours. Some of the things, he wanted to know specifically the eight or nine things that were on his list, that if in fact there were parking signs removed, if in fact that the paving there did not continue to the terminus point as engineered, and if so, why not, and the other things that were on his list. He stated that this was just heads up to City Council that we’re going to get a report at the next meeting regarding that.
Karl Wizinsky stated that he and his family lived at 26850 Wixom Road, and that their 12-acre parcel was located on the east side of Wixom Road immediately south of Novi Prominade, and they share a 770 foot property line with the Promenade parcel extending east from Wixom Road. He stated that this had already been talked about tonight, but although Target store had been open for business since October of 2000, it still lacked a permanent certificate of occupancy. After 22 months of operation, Phase I of the Prominade was still incomplete and remained subject to City approval. He stated that in spite of the open CO for Phase I, on September 7th, Sam’s Club will approach the ZBA requesting a number of variances. He stated that in a letter dated August 2, 2004, the ZBA was advised by Sam’s Club’s attorney that the requested variances were required because of practical difficulties unique to this land and because a strict application of the zoning ordinance would create undue hardship upon Sam’s Club and the property owner. Mr. Wizinsky stated that, this language of undue hardship, his family certainly understood undue hardship because of strict adherence of interpretation. Mr. Wizinsky stated that in an August 1, 2003, letter to Richard Helwig, copied to Council, they restated their previous requests to the City, that in the event that future variances or special approvals were required at Prominade and/or any departure from any modification of the consent judgment affecting this parcel occurred, then he would expect the City to activate negotiations directed at bringing the berm screening between his property and Target into a more reasonable amount of screening. He continued that it appeared the time had come to start those negotiations. On September 7th, the City would be approached for variances. He stated that they believed the screening between residential and commercial has been inadequate.
There being no further business to come before Council, Mayor Csordas adjourned the meeting at 11:46 p.m.
Lou Csordas, Mayor Maryanne Cornelius, City Clerk
Transcribed by Sue Troutman
Date approved: September 13, 2004