|View Agenda for this meeting
SPECIAL MEETING OF THE NOVI CITY COUNCIL
Mayor Csordas called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m.
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
ROLL CALL Mayor Csordas, Mayor Pro Tem Landry, Council Members Capello and Gatt, Lorenzo***, Nagy** and Paul*
*Member Paul entered at 7:03 p.m.
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
CM-04-08-312 Moved by Gatt, seconded by Landry; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY:
To approve the agenda
Voice Vote on CM-04-08-312 CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY
AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION Ė None
7:00 Kathleen Mutch Ė Library Board
7:10 Dan Tyrrell Ė HCD Committee
7:20 Richard Smith Ė Library Board
Mayor Csordas stated that the process would be to interview three people and that Council also had on record names of people that had interviewed prior to this for these appointments. Each participant would be called to the podium and would have 10 minutes to provide a brief overview of why he/she would like to be appointed to a board or committee. Each Council member would then be allowed to ask one question.
Kathleen Mutch Ė Library Board
Ms. Mutch stated that because Council members already knew her, she could keep her statement brief. Because she didnít know what direction Council questions would go, she stated there were three reasons to appoint her to the Library Board. Ms. Mutch pointed out that she had two yearsí prior experience as a Library Board member and had been involved with the Library board ballot issue campaign prior to that and would bring that experience to the Board if appointed.
Ms. Mutch reminded Council that she had been involved with the Friends of the Novi Library and that her professional involvement in the archival administration certification program at Wayne State University, which works with libraries and the history department museums, showed that her interest in history and libraries overlap.
**Member Nagy entered at 7:12 p.m.
Ms. Mutch believed it was important to have an experienced person on the Board for the following three reasons: One is that the Library staff does a phenomenal job in meeting the needs of the community with very little to work with. The people who make up the staff of the Library are not just professional librarians but also part-time employees and volunteers. The Library benefits enormously from part-time staff, and that staff is really being pushed to the max with the facility that we have. The demand is ever increasing, the space is not getting any larger, and the funding is not getting any larger. That issue really needs to be addressed.
Second, because of the built environment of our community, we have some unnatural divisions: the expressway and the entire commercial shopping area. For the Library to truly meet the needs of the whole community, the Library Board and the staff need to find a way to make that part of the community feel that it is part of the Libraryís service area. That would take a lot of creative thinking; she thought she could bring that to the Board.
Third, Ms. Mutch stated that the Library Board must take a leadership position to educate and help the community raise funds to match the $1-million grant that the Library had already received. The Board needed to convince the community that investing in an improved Library -- whether itís a larger library or itís a new library Ė would pay off in terms of quality of life, etc.
Mayor Csordas thanked Ms. Mutch and called on Member Paul to ask the first question.
Member Paul thanked Ms. Mutch for her years of service to the community and asked how she would handle being on both the Historical Commission and the Library Board at the same time, if appointed.
Ms. Mutch answered that there was not a conflict in terms of meetings, and that anyone who had come up here had hopefully considered responsibilities at home, at work and in the community before ever submitting an application.
Member Paul asked Ms. Mutch to give an idea of a frustrating time in the past and how she handled it in a group situation.
Ms. Mutch responded it was this yearís budget process. She heard secondhand that in the work session the City Council had decided to eliminate or go bear bones on the Historical Commission budget. The way she dealt with that was basically to go back to the members of the Commission and say, "Team, what do we do?" They put together a checklist of those things they felt might not have been as well known to the Council in making its decision, et cetera, and then put to gether a plan of how to Ė for lack of a better word "educate" the Council as to why this really was not only something that should be done but could be done. She thanked Council for letting them be successful at that. The Historical Commission is very happy.
Member Paul thought she handled that very well, and she appreciated her coming back out and volunteering her time.
Member Gat stated he was very familiar with her work in the City and thanked her for everything sheís done and everything she will do. He asked what made her more qualified than the next person to be on this Board.
Ms. Mutch replied she could only speak to how well qualified she was and wasnít in position of making comparisons. The one thing that she could bring was some continuity to the process that the Library is going through right now in terms of determining community needs and what direction theyíre going to go. Theyíre going to have to have people involved who have had some experience with the political process and with persuading the community or first soliciting from the community what they want and then presenting to the community how that can be achieved.
Member Capello asked how her experience on Planning Commission and City Council could help on the Library Board.
Ms. Mutch responded she has lived here since 1971 when the Library was just a little hole-in-the wall on Novi Road and in the meantime she became more educated, more experienced in a lot of areas that are now intersecting in this library plan. There are also other things that have to do with library services. The City itself is limited in what it can do to preserve a record or create and preserve a record of the communityís history, so the Library is the next in line to do that. The library would be the storehouse of records. In fact a lot of records that the City may not have here anymore, such as Brandon Rogersí landscaping report on the trail system is still in the Library. Information about various groups and the people, who in their own way helped to build this community and make it what it is today including people whose names might be totally unknown to anyone in this room now but who contribute significantly will be documented in the library. That sort of responsibility is something that many libraries take on Ė whether theyíre large libraries like Detroit or smaller ones like Northville or Farmington. And our Library needs some help in going in that direction; they try but again they have to wait until they have more space and staff to do it.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry stated itís not possible for anybody to be involved in this City and not know about Ms. Mutch or not have experienced her enthusiasm. He thanked her for everything she does for the City.
Member Nagy also had no questions. She was very familiar with her background and all the things Ms. Mutch has done in the City, and she appreciated her coming forward.
Mayor Csordas thanked Ms. Mutch for all she have done for this community and continued to do and Council greatly appreciated that
Dan Tyrell Ė Housing and Community Development
Mr. Tyrrell stated he moved to Novi in 1978 and he grew up in the Parks and Recreation program here. He spent about 12 years in the Novi Parks and Recreation, three years as Chair.
Back in 1989 he retired from volunteer services here because another volunteer group caught his eye that he was dependent on and he spent the last 12 years with a national organization in a medical self-help program. He just completed a stint there as a Board of Director President, Vice President and Chairman of the Board. For two years now heís been driving the Novi senior citizen vans around. He meets an awful lot of people.
He thought he would be a good fit with the community development block grant program because he drives about 100 miles a day in the City of Novi. He knows the streets where he takes people. Some people are very wealthy and some are very poor. Some people cannot make a $2 donation. He thought he could identify many, many places where this money can be spent to good use.
Member Gatt stated he had no questions and supported Mr. Tyrrell 100 percent.
Member Capello asked Mr. Tyrrell why he had chosen to become involved with the HCD Committee.
Mr. Tyrrell responded there was a need and Rachel Zagarolli asked him if would be able to identify people that need help in refurbishing and rehabbing residences.
Mayor Csordas asked if these funds go to specifically designated areas within the City
Mr. Tyrrell responded that the modern home repair program is income-qualified but it does not have a district geographically. On the city website there is an area designated on the map but that didnít apply to the home repair program.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry stated this Committee is one of his favorites. He felt that for the people who are the recipients of this money, this is probably the most important thing the City will ever do for these people. This is a committee that doesnít get much press; people donít see or even know who the people are on this committee, but to the people who get a furnace in their house or roof on their house, this is the most important the City will ever do, and he was very impressed with Mr. Tyrellís knowledge of that, his understanding of the City, and he thanked Mr. Tyrell for taking the time to understand what this Committee does and for stepping forward to volunteer his time on this Committee.
Member Nagy stated she appreciated Mr. Tyrell coming forward and appreciated his background and the diversity that heís had because she thought the HCD funds are very important to many residents in this community and she would like to see them distributed more evenly. It seems like it only focused in only one area of the City. It also seemed that he had pretty good knowledge of what goes on in the City with his experience. She didnít have any questions except to say that she really appreciated his coming forward and volunteering his time.
Member Paul stated she was excited about several things. One, that Mr. Tyrell was interested enough to come forward because communication is a very hard tool sometimes to get to all people, and a lot of people do not have cable and if someone is in a low income bracket and need a furnace they probably might not have the cable component that we can actually share information of on the availabilities for different funds. She appreciated him being out there and communicating that to people. That would be a wonderful tool if he were on the Board or not on the Board; just to have that knowledge and have interest in the City was important. She also complimented Mr. Klaver for communicating to someone in the City that she had never had the pleasure of meeting before and often there are people in our City that have lots of talents that we never meet, so she really appreciated Mr. Klaverís communication to this individual. Mr. Tyrrell is very qualified and she was thrilled to have him come forward.
Mayor Csordas thanked Mr. Tyrell for coming this evening. He agrees with Mayor Pro Tem Landry that this is a very gratifying committee in that there is an impact on people that live in the City that are truly in need of this kind of support, so itís a great committee. Council spent so much money in this one area, he thought that Council couldnít go outside of those boundaries, so Mr. Tyrellís knowledge of the City and day-to-day communication with everybody that lives in the City will be very valuable.
Richard Smith, Library Board
Mr. Smith stated he lives in Greenwood Oaks Subdivision on Linwood Drive. He stated that since living in Novi for about 6 Ĺ years, he makes pretty frequent use of the library. Also, he has made a lot of use of the Farmington Library and the Northville Library through the library exchange program. One thing that he saw in those libraries was availability of some services that we donít have in Novi and as the Strategic Committee started working on identifying opportunities in Novi, he participated in some of the roundtable discussions that were held and had some subsequent conversations with some of the Board members and also attended a recent Board meeting. He would like the opportunity to help move that plan forward to start putting some detail on that plan and find a way to move forward to take advantage of the Walker Fund thatís available now within the community to the library and to really make the appropriate kind of use of those funds. He knows that there are funds available there. He knows there have been struggles in the past in being able to raise additional funds for the library. When looking at the Strategic Plan, there are a lot of choices, some of which will be able to be executed and some of which wonít, just from a funding perspective.
Member Capello asked what his thoughts were in regard to building a new library facility. Was it necessary or could something be done with the existing facility?
Mr. Smith responded that looking at the facility and looking at some of the data thatís in the current Strategic Plan, there are a lot of comments on lack of space, lack of ability to move around, shelving thatís too high, things like that. He thought there was a lot of need for it. He didnít really know enough about the budget and the availability of funds. He knew that there was some attempt to gain some capital funding that wasnít successful a while back, so there was a need to expand in some way. He felt he didnít know enough about the current funding situation to be able to say whether or not building a new facility was possible. He knew that Farmington recently built a new facility out and theyíre struggling right now. They canít pay to keep the place open and theyíve had to reduce their hours quite a bit. He thought that in conjunction with any kind of consideration around capital funds to go forward and build something, there also needs to be consideration on the expense side of that as well.
*Member Lorenzo entered at 7:25 p.m.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry thanked Mr. Smith for stepping forward and asked Mr. Smith if he could improve one aspect of the library, what would he do?
Mr. Smith replied he would improve just the amount of material thatís available and that would require some creative approach to space. He knew theyíve talked about doing temporary facilities around the library, but he would address having more materials and also programs. There is a disparate demand in Novi for programs. During analysis that they did, the strategic planning showed a need for programs or quite a bit of demand for programs in Novi as compared to other places and not much space to house those programs. He suggested possibly working with the high school thatís nearby there or other facilities to do something on space.
Member Lorenzo stated Council appreciated him stepping forward. She asked if he was familiar with the Library Boardís duties and if he watched the meetings or attended any meetings?
Mr. Smith replied had attended meetings and watched meetings. Heís also spent some time with Library Board Chair Terry Margolis discussing that. He attended some of the strategic presentations that were being done was right before the election of some new board members and at that time didnít feel he understood enough about how that board worked to come forward. When the opportunity came up recently with one of the members leaving, he thought he knew a little bit more about how the Board worked and was comfortable about what was required. He has have been at part of those meetings and seen struggles to get people to volunteer to work on subcommittees. He thought thatís something that he could bring to that group as well, having a desire and being available to help with those kinds of things.
Member Lorenzo stated it was good that he had done his homework. Itís always best for the candidate because then they know what theyíre getting themselves into. She asked if he was here in Novi for the last election for the issue on the ballot for the library.
Mr. Smith responded he was in Novi at that point in time but was not very familiar with that item that was on the ballot. He thought itís important to get information out there so people are aware of whatís going on. One of the opportunities that is there is to make people aware of the situation that exists, where the opportunities are and what we could do, and his recollection from before is that it didnít move him personally one way or the other to think that there was a dramatic issue or that there was a real plan to do something with the money that was there.
Member Lorenzo stated she tended to agree with him. As a Council Member, she heard from a lot of the folks out there saying we just really didnít hear enough about the issue to make an educated decision or they didnít sell us on a new library, especially one of that magnitude.
Member Nagy stated his resume was quite interesting. She is an avid reader appreciated the fact that not only did he employ the library but his family did as well. She thought it was really important for people to read, especially children. One of the things that he talked about earlier was establishing more programs and asked him what type of programs he had thought about.
Mr. Smith responded that one of the experiences that he had with the programs in the area is that he recently participated in a genealogy society in Farmington, and one of the things that we considered doing was bringing a genealogy group back to the Novi area, and we did struggle in some discussion with the library around availability of time and the availability of scheduling regular meetings, which was something that they were uncomfortable doing because it occupied a lot of time that was very precious to them, so they had trouble accommodating a group like ours that wanted to meet on a somewhat regular basis.
It is also something that he had seen in the strategic plans where it was shown that the Novi average of utilization of programs is something like five times the average of other communities. There appears to be quite a demand out there and he knew thereís not much in the way of space if you compare them to libraries in the area. Thereís not a lot of space available for those programs.
Member Nagy asked Mr. Smith if they had that program in Farmington.
Mr. Smith replied they held meetings at the library and were actually given a space in the library.
Member Nagy asked if they would use their computers and everything.
Mr. Smith answered yes and they would largely use meeting rooms, but people used the facilities that were in the library. It brought a lot of people into the library; it got them active in the library and a lot of people who utilized the library came to their group as well.
Member Paul stated she really appreciated the different libraries that he used in regard to genealogy. There are other things in the library that she finds we are in void of, and meeting rooms seem to be the number one void and the second is material. When her children go to the library and have to do a certain kind of book report, say mysteries, there are a lot of children in that grade, and often we canít get material because itís already been checked out. What they do at the library is buy a new book and have to take one off the shelf and put it up for sale because thereís no space for any new books or any new material. The meeting rooms probably seem to be the biggest problem and we had a gardening group that couldnít meet there; they wanted to do research on gardening material and the master gardeners could not meet at a specific time at the library for the same reasons he mentioned. She asked if there were any other services that he thought of that our library could offer in the future, if and when we do get another building.
Mr. Smith stated he noticed thereís a lot of things that have been done recently through the website and on online services and things like that that have brought to people recently, a lot of stuff in the area of technology. He also thought there was more opportunity in the area of technology to expand different kinds of collections including DVDís, computer software, and audio collections. There is a lot of interest in those things now. In the area of services, itís really just more things to bring people into the library, more opportunities to do programs, things that they do for the kids thatís thereís a lot of focus on in the summer but maybe not as much focus outside of the summer. His children use those services or attend those programs when theyíre available, and that draws people into the library. We should try to prioritize more of the services in the library.
Member Paul stated every single time she goes into the library, which is once a week if not more because of her children, every single time sheís there, thereís not one single computer available and thereís a list of people waiting to use their computers. So we obviously have requests that need to be met. The staff is wonderful at accomplishing many things in their very limited space and limited availability for their funds.
Many people donít realize that weíre trying to get another million dollars to match the Walker million so that we can receive a third million. At the library they have big bucket for the kids to put their pennies and their coins in, but she asked if thereís anyway they could do a tally once a month in the Novi News so that people know weíre actually trying to achieve that. Itís hard for people if theyíre not always at the library to see that fund there or a poster saying this is where our income and is going up. Although theyíre very good in their library services, maybe we could use some help in the marketing ability that we can utilize in this community.
Mr. Smith commented thereís been a lot of focus and a lot of desire to look into those areas but he didnít think itís things that theyíre doing now. There are about 50,000 people in Novi, so to make one million, weíve got to get $20 a head. People are just not aware of it enough. Theyíre not aware that thereís a need to do that and theyíre not aware of a big opportunity to get a one million grant that could be missed.
Member Paul stated that maybe on the strategic plan, he could mention some creative ideas for marketing. That would help us in the long run because she believed that was a problem with the previous bond that not a lot of knowledge was there.
Member Gatt thanked Mr. Smith for coming out. He answered all the questions he could ever have. He admired his ambition and knowledge and thanked Mr. Smith for dedicating it to us.
Mayor Csordas noted that something that he liked was Mr. Smithís statement on his application that he was 41 years old with two elementary school aged children and he would like to see those demographics represented on the board. He also made the statement that many tradeoffs will need to be considered as we move forward toward implementing this plan. He asked Mr. Smith to give an example of one tradeoff.
Mr. Smith responded that in the current planning, there was a desire around building a very large new facility. The tradeoff of spending money to build and then being able to fund the expense of running it; that was something he had seen in the Farmington situation and thatís not as easy of a choice as it might seem. If you could get funding to get the capital piece, the rest is going to fall in place. Farmington pulled the capital together to do that because people are generally interested in having good educational facilities, things like that, available, and he thought in the Novi community, people are interested in that if you look at the recent education millage as an example. He thought that people were interested in doing that but you need to play the other side when youíve got the Headlee Amendment and things like that that put some caps on where that funding comes from. Thatís a tradeoff.
Mayor Csordas stated it certainly was. He thanked all the people that came this evening to interview and the people that interviewed prior to this.
AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION Ė None
Mayor Csordas adjourned the special meeting at 7:40 p.m.
Lou Csordas, Mayor Maryanne Cornelius, City Clerk
Transcribed by Sue Troutman
Date approved: September 13, 2004