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REGULAR MEETING OF THE NOVI CITY COUNCIL
Mayor Csordas called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m.
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
ROLL CALL: Mayor Csordas, Mayor Pro Tem Landry,
Council Members Capello, Gatt, Lorenzo, Nagy and Paul*
Craig Klaver Ė Chief Operating Officer
ALSO PRESENT: Rick Helwig Ė City Manager
Clay Pearson Ė Assistant City Manager
Gerald Fisher Ė City Attorney
Kathy Smith-Roy Ė Finance Director
*Member Paul entered at 7:33 p.m.
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
Member Nagy requested to add, under Mayor and Council Issues, "John Richards," the second one, "Memo received regarding activities by the Novi Police Officers", and the third one, "Email received from Mr. and Mrs. Young." The fourth, "Right-of-way Permits".
Member Capello added, "Maintenance of our Thoroughfares and City Hall" .
Mayor Pro Tem Landry added, "Target Temporary Certificate of Occupancy".
CM-04-09-334 Moved by Member Lorenzo, seconded by Landry; CARRIED
UNANIMOUSLY: To approve the agenda as amended.
Voice Vote CM-04-09-334 CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY
PRESENTATIONS - None
1. Local Law Enforcement Block Grant 2004.
Mr. Helwig stated that these were funds that are utilized by the Police Department for motorcycle and bike patrol overtime.
Chief Shaffer stated that a public hearing was required to receive federal funds as part of a federal grant program that is administered thought the State of Michigan. He stated that it provided some funding to law enforcement for local application. In this particular instance, it would provide the City with over $7,000 to be utilized in an overtime to pay our officers overtime so they could be in our community more time than what they currently were.
There was no public comment.
1. SPECIAL/COMMITTEE Ė None.
2. CITY MANAGER
A. Mr. Helwig introduced Barbara McBeth as new Director of Planning. He stated that Ms. McBeth had just under three years with us and, prior to that, 15 years with the City of Southfield. Mr. Helwig said that she knew the region quite well and that she had served the community admirably in the time she had been with us. In addition to being a certified planner, Ms. McBeth worked on her Master of Public Administration in the 1990ís, and he thought that sometime ago she must have had an inkling that she would like to compete for an executive position like this. He was so pleased with the community feedback during her brief tenure this summer as Acting Director. Mr. Helwig said that she was not acting at all but did everything that needed to be done. Mr. Helwig stated that it was with a great deal of pride that we applaud her appointment as Director of Planning.
Mayor Csordas said that speaking on behalf of all of City Council, there was no one more qualified for this position than Ms. McBeth.
Member Lorenzo wanted to congratulate Ms. McBeth and also stated that Ms. McBeth was a hands-on planning director, which added a lot of value and legitimacy to the position.
Member Nagy wanted to personally congratulate Ms. McBeth. She stated that she had worked with Ms. McBeth for several years while she was on the Planning Commission and was very appreciative of the work that she had done at that time, as well as the fact that Ms. McBeth was not only able to answer questions about ordinances, but knew our ordinances inside out.
B. Mr. Helwig mentioned that at the last Council meeting, Council had talked about
the importance of City Council visiting the Master Plan for land use in its draft form prior to the Planning Commission continuing its further work, and indicated that Council would like to do that September 27th and would be willing to consider starting a little earlier that evening. Mr. Helwig mentioned in a follow-up memo on Mayor and Council Issues to perhaps start at 7:00 p.m. on September 27th. Mr. Helwig stated that the Paragon final site plan was scheduled to come before Council that evening and a host of other items; any time earlier that evening that Council could devote to the Master Plan might help to get through everything. He stated that there was a meeting the following week, October 4th, for any overflow that canít be fit on the 27th agenda.
Mayor Csordas stated that the Master Plan was quite an important document and didnít know what Council could accomplish in 30 minutes there. He wanted to know if that would necessitate a special meeting.
Mr. Helwig answered that the thought was that Council would certainly devote more than 30 minutes to that and thought that starting earlier that evening would help to get through that and maybe the Paragon issue.
Council agreed to start at 7:00 p.m.
Fall for Novi Event. Ms. Uglow, Neighborhood Services Coordinator, thanked Council for the opportunity to announce the City of Noviís premier family event, the fourth annual Fall for Novi, to be held at the Novi Civic Center on Saturday, September 18, from
10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. She stated that it gets bigger every year and is the pride of all the departments. In 2001, for example, there were 24 tables or exhibits; this year there will be 37, so the word has spread. The event originally started from an apparent need for more detailed City information from our residents that could not possibly be given at each individual homeowner meeting. Since then, not only will there be representatives from the educational aspect of the City, but all of the departments, from Assessing to Treasurers and Novi Community Service groups. Oakland Mediation, 52nd District Court, the judges, Friends of the Public Library, the Skating Club, the newest addition Ė Catholic Central High School, to name a few.
Ms. Uglow stated that kids of all ages can have fun by going on the Moon Walk, having pictures taken with Sparky from the Fire Department, the fire trailer which teaches children about fire safety. The Police Department will have child ID programs available and the latest information regarding personal identity theft. Providence Hospital will be represented and offer free health screenings. The Novi Lions club will have a refreshment tent and will again be offering the World Famous Marcus Burgers, drinks and much more.
She stated that the Fall Perennial Exchange is such a great time to split your favorite perennials and bring them to exchange for other beautiful plants. And, last but not least, this will be Household Hazardous Waste Day also. Ms. Uglow stated that Neighborhood Services could be contacted for questions about what will or will not be accepted.
Due to Ryder Cup Weekend, Ms. Uglow announced that Noviís own Hole-in-one Contest would be held by the parking lot. It will take place on our own well manicured 9-hole putt-putt on the east side of the building. She stated that Intier Automotive and Providence Hospital were our platinum sponsors, and Expo Center and Telecom are our silver sponsors; they really were generous.
Mayor Csordas thanked Ms. Uglow. He stated that none of the events would be possible without all the extra work that the City staff does.
4. ATTORNEY - None
AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION Ė 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 on behalf of a group.
Jane Pascoe of 21619 Chase Drive stated that she wrote everyone on City Council. She stated that she did not know where to go at this point. She was told by the sewer people when they originally came out that the City would pick up the cleanup of her house from the sewer backup in her basement; they didnít do it. That was a $260 bill. The sewer in her house went out at 11 feet; it hooked into the City sewer at 11 feet. Thereís a code out there that says it has to have a pitch, so it drops. Ms. Pascoe stated that her house had been inspected twice and it had been wrong. They donít use any tools. It took 10 minutes to find that out, once they had tools. This has now cost her $20,000; she was not being reimbursed by anybody. Oakland Mediation was brought into it and she had not heard anything from them as far as the volunteer response.
Ms. Pascoe stated that at this point she would at least like to be reimbursed for the cleanup and the bill incurred because of the sewage backing up into her basement.
Mayor Csordas asked Mr. Helwig if he was familiar enough with that to talk about it this evening.
Mr. Helwig stated that only to the extent that the matter had been reviewed and also by legal counsel, in this instance, with recommendation that it be denied. That was shared a few weeks ago.
Mayor Csordas stated that he understood Ms. Pascoeís frustration. He stated just to help her understand the process, audience participation rules are that there is no dialog between the audience participant and City Council. Mayor Csordas stated that she was more than welcome to again contact the City Managerís Office and get a personal update on that, but the position is pretty much set.
Ms. Pascoe stated that the only thing she did say, as far as the inspector said that just because he inspects it doesnít mean thatís right, but when she talked to the Michigan Bureau of Codes they said under no circumstances are they supposed to allow a system to pass that does not meet code. You canít have a sewer system going out of a house at the same level that it hooks into the sewer; it doesnít empty. It should never have been allowed, and she was stuck with this now. She said that it just wasnít right. Beyond that, the only other thing she had to say was that President Bush said in his speech that democracy is spreading to the Middle East and itís skipping here because this place is supposed to be for the people; theyíre supposed to be working with her. She said there was a mistake made here, and they should be standing up and helping her out on it.
Mayor Csordas stated that he understood, but that she should contact the City Manager.
Mr. Korte on Shawood Lake. Drainage at South Lake was still a mess. He stated that the contractor had been out there and had done numerous things and it still did not drain. Fifty feet, 30 feet, 10 feet from the drainage thing Ė the water did not run into the drain. He stated that most recently was on a bicycle and asked if Council knew how difficult it was to take that path when the drains were 2, 2-1/2 inches below grade. He wanted to know why all the grates werenít either in the bike path, in the road, or half and half.
Mr. Korte continued, referring to the four houses just east of South Pointe, in the 1100 block. He stated he was representing this evening Jamie Thomas, who would come in later, and later this week he would be setting appointments. He stated that the City wanted right-of-way to correct the drainage in their front lawns. He stated that, if this Council remembered, when he was here he told it exactly what the problems were and none of them were dealt with. One of them was between Eubank and the adult condos. He said that they were worse than ever; the road had been raised and dumped everything into their front lawns. He stated that now the City was looking for easements to correct the problems. He stated that this made no sense. Mr. Korte stated that the engineering was a joke. Pisha had no problem getting a special drain on his property, complete with sod to finish it. Other people couldnít find where the pipes went, and for three months they had to live with junk in their front yards. He stated that anyone that had been on South Lake really understood that. He wanted to know what was going to happen with those four houses because one of the four was refusing to give easement. He said that was because Terry Morrone and Don Saven allowed her to tilt the driveway to flood Murphyísí out. He stated that we fought and got no where, so Murphys controlled their own situation. Had this been done correctly, and if Council remembered, it was a simple situation to take Eubank, tilt it, get the easement from Chicorel and go 100 feet to the wetlands behind where it worked. Now, we were fighting again; it was unacceptable and made no sense.
He stated that it was the only and first project that the new management has had total control over; and he wanted a raise? He said that money had been hidden; he was not saying absconded with. He asked if the taxpayers knew that the tree trimmers went to the back of South Pointe and trimmed trees on private property. He also wanted to know if the taxpayers knew that we paved six parking places for these people. No wonder they gave us an easement for $1! He stated that when that complex went in, the road right-of-way in front of them was 60 feet. The road, as it exists, is 24; 20, which was unacceptable and a four foot bike path. He said that meant that there was 32 feet we already own there.
Mayor Csordas asked Mr. Korte to summarize.
Mr. Korte stated that, as long as you understand that it made no sense, and for that, the people that said do it this way were asking for a raise. He said that they should get nothing.
Mayor Csordas asked Mr. Helwig to follow up on that. It seemed to him that he had seen reports, that the City heard about South Lake Drive all the time. He wanted to know if that was an issue that was added to Matters for Council last week.
Mr. Helwig answered that it was two weeks ago.
Mayor Csordas asked Mr. Helwig to follow up on that and report his findings to Council.
Charmaine Jones of 534 Eckschtay, Old Dutch Farms Mobile Home Community Park. She stated that she was the president of the homeowners association and had met repeated with Don Saven, with Rick Helwig, with Clay Pearson in regard to the lawsuit that the City filed against Old Dutch Farms. She stated that the reason their residents were there tonight was that they were contesting the settlement that was sent in by Uniprop. She said that there were several issues inside that settlement agreement sent to Council that would be reviewed tonight that did not get addressed in the settlement. She stated that they were contesting it; she brought packets for everybody that had their speech on there and also information from the DEQ that showed noncompliance status and why they were contesting it.
She stated that, in particular, there was a section in the lawsuit filed against the City that stated that DEQ had ordered Uniprop to do a groundwater contamination investigation to see how badly the soil and groundwater were contaminated because of the sewer. She said that the long and short of it was that in the settlement sent to the City there was nothing discussed about Uniprop having to be responsible to clean up and do the contamination investigation report. She said they were asking that the report be completed before signing the settlement.
Ms. Jones also stated that there issues in the lawsuit filed by the City in regard to some homes that had above-ground exposed sewer lines. She said that there were four homes that the City found in the lawsuit that they addressed. She said that nothing was addressed inside the settlement offer to you from Uniprop on those issues.
Ms. Jones also stated that there were also issues that they found as a sanitary sewer leak that was underneath the ground of a home at 1454 Nardeer not addressed in the settlement. She stated that this resident actually had damage from their home and to their home because the home now had sunk. She said that there was actually raw sewer leaking underneath the home; this was never addressed in the settlement sent to Council by Uniprop. She asked that Council take in all this information that they had given, as well as the proof in the documents that they had into consideration before signing the settlement.
She stated that they had brought samples of their water; she knew that that had been addressed. She had talked to Van, who is the City Attorney who filed the lawsuit. She said that Van stated that he was trying to get Uniprop to hook into the Cityís water and that Uniprop refused because there was not enough "evidence" against the water. She stated that they did have evidence against the water, and it was in the report packet. She wanted each member to have a copy of that report.
Ms. Jones pointed out what they were forced to drink. She knew that the City had dealt with things like that before with the Chateau case, but this is the Old Dutch case. She said that DEQ had found problems with their water. She stated that she was asking Council to review all the reports before signing the settlement.
Mayor Csordas asked Mr. Fisher if it wasnít really a sewage issue.
Mr. Fisher responded that it was really a sewer case and that there were really a number of other issues that had been raised. He stated that they were issues that the State of Michigan was taking up with the mobile home park directly.
Mayor Csordas stated that it really didnít have any pertinence to what they were talking about this evening.
Mr. Fisher stated that they were really not the subject of our pursuit.
Ms. Jones stated that the items, like the above exposed brown sewer lines, were inside the City lawsuit. She stated that the homes that were issued permits or had residents move in that never had City permits to live there, no occupancy was even issued from the City; that was inside the City lawsuit. She stated that the electrical meters were inside the City lawsuit. Ms. Jones stated that nothing in the settlement that Uniprop offered to the City stated anything about fixing any of the stuff. She stated that when talking to Van he had stated that they were going to try to get them to connect to City water but the DEQ stated that there was nothing wrong with that. She also said that the DEQ stated they were going to do enforcement, but that was not the case, because Van had stated that they had sent in a letter of intent to Uniprop, which was the park owner. She got a copy of the letter of intent from DEQ, which stated that they had to send in an offer on the settlement before September 1st, otherwise they were going to proceed with enforcement. Nothing in the intent letter talked about the water, about the on-going problems that they had with above-ground sewer lines, the electrical boxes, the garbage and rubbish in the park; nothing talked about that in their intent.
Mayor Csordas stated that it sounded like there was another issue to address here, but the issue they were talking about tonight was not one of those. He stated that the City would follow up on that.
Member Gatt asked where the water came from.
Ms. Jones responded that it came from one of their residents who was willing to testify. It came from his hot water heater tank and it was drained three weeks ago. She stated that they had water from the tap, too, if Council wanted to see that.
Mayor Csordas thanked Ms. Jones and stated that they would follow up on that.
Earla Pratto, 130 Aichebaun, stated that she was also a resident of Old Dutch Farms Mobile Home Park and had been there for 28 years. She stated that over the course of 28 years she had had to replace multiple appliances due to the water. She brought pictures of her dishwasher and of water actually coming out of a faucet. She stated that the issues that were being brought up now were the same issues that were brought up in 1986. Now, 18 years later, Uniprop still had not done anything. She stated that as the lawsuit stood now, it was totally unacceptable. She thought that as American citizens and citizens of Novi deserved a lot better than a settlement for sewer. She felt that they needed more to be done.
Ken Nelson of 22604 Bertram in Royal Crown stated that he had been working with a number of City departments without satisfaction in regard to a wetlands violation in his subdivision. In May he met with Ms. Uglow initially to discuss the wetlands violation; she had the forester go out and, after review, they felt that there was no violation of the wetlands. He stated that he had to ask for a response from Ms. Uglow as to what they were going to do to stop the wetland removal. He said what they were doing was taking trees and vegetation and placing berms up in the area, in violation of the Cityís wetland ordinances as well as the State of Michigan. By August 4th he stated that he had no response and called Ms. Uglow again to ask what had taken place. He stated that she had no recollection of their initial meeting. On August 13th, he stated that he again asked for a letter from Ms. Uglow as to what the City was going to do to prevent the removal of additional trees and vegetation in the wetland area. He received a letter from her stating that she had used City consultants to look at the wetland area, and that the consultants had suggested that there was some vegetation removal but that they were only going to reclaim 10 feet of property from the pond which sits on the west side of Taft Road. Mr. Nelson stated when he looked at the area, he found that it was more than 10 feet of violation; there was an additional 30 feet that had gone into a wetland preservation area that had been removed. When he asked to have Ms. Uglow and the City to reclaim this land back to its original state, he said that they felt it was not necessary. He stated that he had also taken this matter to the DEQ as well. He thought they were going to go out and review this area, in addition to what the City had taken a look at. Mr. Nelson stated that there were a number of documents on record right now with the ordinance department and with the water and sewage and that he was asking to have the wetland reinstated to its original state and to stop mowing the grass that had been planted in the area and to have removal of berms back there which were restricting the flow of water and creating a diversion towards his home. He stated that he was also going to ask to have all tree removal prohibited without permit from the City or DEQ.
Mayor Csordas asked Mr. Helwig to check into this matter and report at the next meeting.
Member Nagy asked if it was something that could be seen off White Pines.
Mr. Nelson answered that it was east of White Pines.
Member Nagy thought that she had seen it, and, because she was not familiar with it, she asked if it was an individual homeowner doing it.
Mr. Nelson answered that that was correct.
Charles McGinnis, 1450 Nardeer, Old Dutch Farms Mobile Home Park, addressed the Council and stated that the items that they were talking about were more important than just the sewer connection that they had right now that is before it. There were a number of issues that had been brought up; the park has been cited by the DEQ and repeatedly Uniprop has asked for extension. He stated that even if you go back 15 years with the same problems, the same violation from the state and nothing gets done. He stated that it took them as individuals at Old Dutch Farms to go after Uniprop to try to get them to do it and a meeting that they were able to set up with the City Manager to get the City Manager to be able to get the City of Novi to force the park that they lived in to do something. He stated that the park managers should be managing a park in accordance with the state requirements, and they were not doing it. Those were the violations that they were asking to be fixed so they could just live in accordance with the violations being taken care of. They were not asking for anything different or anything more, but to live in a safe environment in the City of Novi.
Mayor Csordas asked Mr. Fisher to give some forethought to the fact that the City had recent history on a very similar situation in another trailer park and that Council would probably start talking about that pretty soon.
Paul Sherbeck, of Fairway Hills Drive, stated that in 1973 upon graduating from Central High School in Bay City, Michigan, he was hired as a laborer for the Department of Public Works. He said that for the first several weeks he was a trash man and that his claim to fame for that experience was picking up the trash of Madonnaís grandmother. He was relieved when he was transferred to the Parks Department. He was assigned to Snuffy, who operated the tree stump grinder. Mr. Sherbeck and Snuffy removed dozens of tree stumps each day. The trees were not of insignificant size, most being much larger than any found in Novi. He stated that his month-long tenure did not make him an expert in the economics of tree stump removal or City government, but he still had to wonder why a stump was still sitting in front of 24547 Fairway Hills Drive, a stump that is the result of City action. According to City Council Minutes of January 26, 2004, at least 530 ash trees were to be cut down at a cost of $90,000. Mr. Sherbeck stated that the per tree cost indicated that on average these trees were modest size at best, actually rather puny. Also, according to the Minutes of August 9, 2004, there was a fund balance in excess of the 10 percent target, nearly 14 percent. That excess of nearly $900,000. It seemed to him that if the City could give away money to private businesses like Incat, Council should be able to grind up and haul away a few puny ash trees. Mr. Sherbeck asked Mayor Csordas to ask legal counsel, if someone got hurt on one of the tree stumps, who is liable.
On a completely different note, Mr. Sherbeck did agree with those who expressed opinions that Novi needed a full-scale hospital. However, he would go much further than those who say the CON (certificate of need) law needed to be changed. He stated that the law needed to be abolished.
Mayor Csordas thanked Mr. Sherbeck and said Council did get the message and Mr. Fisher would report back to Council.
CONSENT AGENDA (Approval/Removals)
Member Nagy wished to remove item C for discussion.
Member Lorenzo wished to remove items D and G for discussion.
CM-04-09-335 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Nagy; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve the consent agenda as amended.
Voice Vote on CM-04-09-335 CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY
CONSENT AGENDA: (Background information for Consent Agenda items is available for review at the City Clerkís Office)
Approval of minutes of:
August 23, 2004, Special meeting
August 23, 2004, Regular meeting
B. Approval to award bid for Toro Z587L ZRT lawn mower to Marks Outdoor Power Equipment, Inc., the lowest qualified bidder, in the amount of $8,085.00.
E. Approval of Storm Drainage Facility Maintenance Agreement with Office Building at 12 Mile and Donelson; parcel number 50-22-10-400-065.
F. Approval to Accept the 2004 Local Law Enforcement Block Grant Award of $7,194.
MATTERS FOR COUNCIL ACTION Ė Part I
1. Consideration of the request of Boulder Design Services for rezoning of property located in Section 10, located on the north side of Twelve Mile Road between Dixon and Novi Roads, from RA (Residential Acreage) to OS-1 (Office Service) District. The subject property is 4.46 acres.
CM-04-09-336 Moved by Capello, seconded by Lorenzo; To approve
Request of Boulder Design Services for rezoning of property Located in Section 10, located on the north side of Twelve Mile Road between Dixon and Novi Roads, from RA (Residential Acreage) to OS-1 (Office Service) District. The subject Property is 4.46 acres. CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.
Roll Call Vote on CM-04-09-336 Yeas: Csordas, Landry, Capello,
Gatt, Lorenzo, Nagy, Paul
2. Consideration of the request from Singh Development Company for approval of the Final Plat for Tollgate Woods Subdivision, Phase II.
CM-04-09-337 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Landry; To approve the
Request from Singh Development Company for approval
Of the Final Plat for Tollgate Woods Subdivision, Phase II; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.
Roll Call Vote on CM-04-09-337 Yeas: Landry, Capello, Gatt,
Lorenzo, Nagy, Paul, Csordas
3. Consideration of the request from Novi Cocktail Lounge, LLC for a new full year City quota Class C liquor license with Dance-Entertainment Permit to be located at 43155 Main Street, Suite 502.
Randy Gregory of 45297 Dunbarton Drive, Novi, spoke on behalf of the Novi Cocktail
Lounge, LLC doing business as Mixed Lounge. The other owner/managers of Mixx
Lounge are Eric Lowery of 24454 Nantucket, Novi; Dan Helka who resides in
Dearborn and Mitchell Angelos who lives in Dearborn Heights.
He wanted to thank the Council for reviewing their application to obtain a Class C quota
license for our location of 43155 Main Street, Suite 502. He stated that they applied
based on meeting the criteria of being a unique establishment. He stated that they had
a signed lease with Wells Fargo to occupy the far west location of the existing Main
Street development. He stated that the lease is contingent upon obtaining a liquor
License. Mixed Lounge would be unique, in that it would be the only martini bar in Novi
He said that they would have entertainment such as blues, jazz, and acoustic guitar and
Piano, and music from custom-made CDís to fit the mood when live music was not
offered. He stated that they planned on marketing to the over 30 and professional
crowd. He noted that this demographic was virtually untapped in Novi and they hoped
to full the need by offering an upscale place to enjoy a great mix of people, music and
Martinis. He stated that Mixed Lounge would offer a small lunch menu of sandwiches
and soups and would provide a heavy appetizer menu for happy hour and evenings.
Mr. Gregory stated that they felt Mixed Loungeís uniqueness would complement the
City of Noviís Master Plan for businesses and would also provide something that was
not presently available to the general public of Novi. Mixed Lounge would be a
destination point would attract many different people to the Main Street area.
He stated that they had a combined 20-plus years of experience in the liquor business
with their management team. Mr. Gregory worked for a beer and wine distributor and
managed the on-premises market for the Downtown Detroit area, which consisted of
the bars, restaurants and hotels. He specialized in special events and promotions and
alcohol awareness programs that were sponsored by the brewers.
He stated that Dan Helka and Mitchell Angelos had owned and managed two very
successful martini bars in Dearborn and Grosse Pointe for the last eight years and their
efforts resulted in the Double Olive, which is the name of the bars that they own,
receiving numerous best-ofsí from local publications.
Mr. Gregory stated that Eric Lowery, although not in the bar business, was a very small
business owner; he has owned his own mortgage company for the last nine years and
brings a wealth of business management experience to our team. Mr. Gregory said that
the group desire was to be good corporate citizens to the City of Novi. He stated that
they recognized the growth in Novi and their goal was to assist and create a vibrant
downtown Main Street area. He stated that they felt that they were unique enough to
complement the existing businesses located in the Main Street area and the future
plans of the Main Street project.
Mr. Gregory thanked Council for their consideration to obtain this Class C quota liquor
License and said their group was available for any questions.
CM-04-09-338 Moved by Nagy, seconded by Paul; To approve Novi Cocktail Lounge, LLC for a new full year City quota Class C liquor license with Dance-Entertainment Permit to be located at 43155 Main Street, Suite 502; MOTION FAILED.
Member Lorenzo asked what distinguished a "martini" bar from every other bar we have in Novi.
Mr. Gregory answered that he would have the expert, Mr. Dan Helka, address that question.
Mr. Helka responded that a martini bar doesnít have a bunch of TVís, pinballs and amusement games; itís more of a place where people meet to meet, and they meet to converse and talk, take clients out to entertain or meet people after work. He stated that it was not a place where you would find guys sitting around watching TVís, stump on a log type thing; itís more of an interaction, retro kind of feeling, back to the 40ís and 50ís kind of get out and actually mingle and mix. He said that was where they derived the name from.
Member Lorenzo asked if the bar served other drinks besides martinis.
Mr. Helka answered that they would have a world selection of beers and wine, as well as top shelf liquors; pretty much anything that you could get at any lounge or bar you would be able to get at their place.
Member Capello stated that they had a license in Grosse Pointe right now.
Mr. Helka answered that it was Grosse Pointe Park actually.
Member Capello asked why they didnít just transfer that license to this location instead of selling the license.
Mr. Helka answered that since they had applied for this license, they had actually sold the interest in the Grosse Point lounge with the anticipation of moving west. Two of the four of them were already living in Novi and were planning on moving this way, moving away from the east side. At this point as of less than three weeks ago, the license closed in Grosse Pointe Park.
Member Capello asked if they hadnít thought of bringing that license here instead of selling it out of Grosse Pointe.
Mr. Helka answered that they never considered that.
Member Capello stated that he thought they had a great concept, but his problem was that they were just a tenant here, that they had no history here in Novi. He stated that 70 percent of sales would be generated from alcohol without any additional food and had met very few of the requirements in our ordinance. Member Capello stated that he had a problem with that when they were giving away their last license. He stated that he would love them to come to Novi but he just thought they should go out and get their own license instead of taking the last quota license.
Mr. Helka stated that they did plan on doing food. At this point, the two other lounges that they had operated did not have room so they didnít have a kitchen in there. Mr. Helka stated that they knew the martini lounge side of the business and want to create and develop a food market. To what extent, the percentages of what theyíre going to be, if it would be 70 or 50, if he sold food at 70 percent and liquor at 30 percent of that, he would have no problem with that. Itís just a matter of what he knows right now, what the market will bear as far as Novi. There were a lot of great restaurants; there were restaurants in that complex right now. The landlord wanted not to compete so much with other tenants they had in there, so he was a bit happy that they were a little bit slanted more on the martini lounge side because they did have existing tenants in there that did the food, so it was kind of a good mix for the space.
Member Capello asked whether we had other applications for the last quota license.
Ms. Cornelius answered that we have had contacts by two other facilities but she didnít believe that they had been received yet.
Member Capello asked if there was someone who would know for sure.
Ms. Cornelius responded that they had had contacts by two different new owners asking for information on the last remaining Class C license.
Member Capello stated that if they coming in and asking for a transfer, their application was impeccable and that they had a good product; he was just concerned about giving away the last quota license. He thought Council should table this and take a look at what else was out there; he didnít think the quota license should be a first come, first served type of license. He thought they should look at what their other options were and make a decision, if weíre going to give our last quota away, on which was the best restaurant to give it to.
Mr. Gregory responded that they had reviewed the different criteria that was available to an establishment coming in for the quota liquor license, and he thought they had met some of their criteria, such as whether there was a need for the facility at the location, a proposed need, which they felt there was a need for any vibrant downtown area that was looking to grow to have an upscale martini bar that the people in the plus-30 age bracket could go to. He stated that another one was whether the facility tended to provide a service, product or function not presently available to the general public residing in the community and, as of right now, he didnít know of any martini bar in Novi. He thought that met the criteria. He stated that another criterion was the uniqueness of the proposed facility when contrasted against other existing facilities. As Mr. Helka mentioned, they werenít looking to compete with any other business, other than to complement the business and to hopefully complement the Master Plan Council was working so hard on.
Eric Lowery wanted to make a comment. He stated that he was a five and one-half year Novi resident He stated that one of the things when they moved here Ė his wife was from Farmington Hills and he was from Dearborn Ė that they found curious was that being an area that had a tremendous amount of restaurants was that their choices were very limited as far as when they wanted to go out and enjoy a cocktail and maybe see a little entertainment. He stated that there were some establishments that had opened up in the last five and one-half years, but there still was not anything in the City that would attract him and his wife or any of their neighbors, for that matter. He said that he was a perfect demographic for Novi: he was mid to late 30ís, decent income, and all of his neighbors, that none of them had anywhere to go in Novi. If they wanted to go to dinner, sure there were plenty of choices but they didnít want to sit at a 12-foot bar in a restaurant to converse. He also stated that they would not go to some of the more 20 something places that had opened recently, so he was very excited to become involved in this project because he felt that if there was ever going to be something unique, that would fit the bill. He stated that his neighbors would agree with him; he had talked to them all, had done some research before he was going to become involved in the project.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry agreed with Member Capello and stated that he would love to see them come to Novi. He would see no reason to deny a transfer of a liquor license; he thought that they qualified for a transfer of a liquor license, but the problem that he had was that they had a liquor license and could have transferred it but chose to sell instead. He said that that was a business decision that they made, he couldnít quarrel with that, but they chose to sell that liquor license and now they were coming to Novi and asking Council to give them a license that they already had and chose to sell.
Mr. Helka replied that they didnít sell just a license; they sold an entire business that was in the City of Grosse Pointe for a long time. He said they hadnít opened this business based on transferring something in; it was a viable business at that time.
It was also noted that there were different owners in that group.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry asked if they had a liquor license in Grosse Pointe Park.
Mr. Helka answered that the entire group did not; that he, Mitchell and another partner did. He said it was not the same group.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry asked if they sold the business.
Mr. Helka answered that they sold the business.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry asked if they sold the license.
Mr. Helka replied that they sold the business and the license.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry stated that personally, again, he thought they would qualify for a transfer, but he didnít see the uniqueness and he would not support the motion.
Member Paul stated that it was a surprise to her that since some of the members who were sitting here said they would not support this liquor license were supporting Fox Run. She stated that we had a large demographic of people who were between mid-30ís to mid-40ís and there was a need for entertainment of blues, jazz and acoustic piano. She said that many people head to Birmingham; she really wanted to keep people here in this City. She thought it would offer great entertainment, that the bar was upscale and she thought it would really help our Main Street. She stated that Main Street needed help desperately. She stated that we had a situation where we could bring a bar that was upscale into an area that we want to have as upscale. She said that there were vacancies galore on Main Street, and local color was now gone. She stated that she had no idea why we would deny this. She would be supporting the motion and really hoped that everyone took a look at what Novi had to offer here to residents.
Member Gatt stated that he, too, was surprised but for different reasons. He said that he could not support because he did not see the uniqueness of it. He stated that he was not an attorney but the attorneys who spoke tonight made perfect sense to him, that if you could transfer a license in, he agreed with Member Paul that it was unique place. He said that it was not so unique to him that he would give away Noviís last liquor license in the City.
Member Nagy stated that she agreed with the applicant. She thought that whatever business decision two of these gentlemen made when they sold their business that they sold it as a package deal. Number two, Council had not only entertained giving Fox Run, which was a senior citizen area, a liquor license, but gave Chuck E Cheese a liquor license. She thought that the gentlemen gave a very good point regarding adult entertainment. With all due respect, as a person who has friends coming into town, she had been to a martini bar and they were very entertaining and there was music there but it was never in Novi. She said that there was not a place where adult friends could go to sit down to have a drink, to listen to jazz, to have some nibbles with their cocktails or even non-cocktails. She said that there was nothing adult here, that it was all geared towards families and people in their 20ís, with all due respect. As she had said, she has friends from out of town and she takes them to Birmingham. She would rather see two people who at least live in Novi at the present who were paying to taxes to the City of Novi and who would come in with a unique idea. She said that if you go into a martini bar, it is an adult atmosphere, it is different; it is a much more sophisticated crowd. She thought that there was a definite need, and she thought adults would appreciate that.
Member Nagy stated that we did have entertainment somewhere Ė she happened to love Mesquite Grill, but it was basically a restaurant with some entertainment there and basically you were dining there. She said it was uncomfortable to take people in and sit by the bar, at the bar, and try to have conversations. Yes, there were a couple of booths you could sit at, but basically what they wanted to do was serve their meals. She thought it was a unique idea; she thought it was something that Novi was looking toward or should be looking toward. She didnít want to go to Birmingham; sheíd been to Grosse Pointe and Grosse Pointe Park and they had some unique things. She did not see why, if we considered Fox Run and we gave a liquor license to Chuck E Cheese and we have two people here who live in Novi and pay their taxes, we could not give them this liquor license to bring in something new, unique, and sophisticated for adults.
Member Lorenzo agreed with the previous speaker. She thought that particularly in this case they did offer something different and that would attract a different demographic than the 20-somethings that obviously we did attract in Novi. She stated that here we also had two Novi residents who were entrepreneurs and who were investing in Novi, willing to invest in Novi not only in homeownership but in a business venture. She stated that, as the previous speaker mentioned, she did remember there were members sitting here on Council that voted to give Chuck E Cheese a license; there was nothing unique about Chuck E Cheese, thatís for sure. In fact, she voted against it for that reason. She thought she could support this and hoped others would reconsider.
Member Capello stated regarding adult entertainment Mesquite Creek, Gus OíConnorís, Moeís On Ten, he thought they had jazz a couple of nights a week, the Back Room at the Novi Chop House, just off the top of his head, was exactly the type of entertainment we were talking about where adults could go and have a quieter drink without the Post Bar and Fifth Avenue billiards-type of atmosphere.
Member Capello stated that Novi gets our census every 10 years. He knew in the past there had been some mid-year census calculations so that the City could get additional quota licenses. He asked Mr. Helwig if he had any idea where it would put the City if a 2005 census were done.
Mr. Helwig answered that he would be happy to research that. He noted there would be a cost associated with doing that.
Member Capello asked Mr. Fisher, if there was a mid-year census in order to qualify for additional quota licenses, would there be a way to pass that administrative fee on to the application for the quota license so the City would not have to bear the financial burden.
Mr. Fisher answered that he thought it would be possible because it would not be anything that would be required, they would be paying it for a number of licenses that would become available, if any.
Member Nagy stated that in the martini bar that she went to, it wasnít the usual setting of a restaurant. They had, for example, arm chairs with tables around it, couches. It wasnít the usual. There was a bar there as well, but you walked in and there was a little table to sit at like a restaurant. She asked what their interior would be like.
Mr. Gregory stated that the basic plan with the space they were looking at now would have a couple of different feels inside the one place. He said that up front they were hoping to make use of windows on Main Street with some high top tables; they were hoping to do something with the faÁade, possibly, to create openings in the windows so on nice days you could have the windows open and create a patio atmosphere. He said that they wanted a 45-foot long bar. He stated that in the back area they were looking for that type of lounge area where there would be couch seating; there would be a small entertainment area going on there and there would be some high top tables throughout the place as well. He said that when someone was inside there, they could be in a couple of different spots and get a couple of different vibes or they could sit at the bar.
Member Nagy stated that she believed that it was unique.
Member Paul asked Ms. Cornelius when they had the Chuck E Cheese that had their license if it was done through the City licensure or was it done as a transfer of liquor license.
Ms. Cornelius answered that her recollection was that the initial request was for one of the Cityís quota licenses, and they were denied and came back with a transfer.
Member Paul asked about Imagine Theater.
Ms. Cornelius said that she would have to check the record on that.
Member Capello stated that it was a quota license.
Member Paul stated that Emagine Theater was given a liquor license inside a theater. One of the very few last liquor licenses was given to that establishment and here was a unique martini bar and Council has the opportunity to welcome them in the City and to fill up Main Street thatís failing. She thought that was a real shame.
Roll Call Vote on CM-04-09-338 Yeas: Lorenzo, Nagy, Paul
Nays: Capello, Gatt, Csordas,
4. Consideration of the request from Lucky Strike Novi, Inc. for an Arcade License with 113 machines to be located at 44325 Twelve Mile Road.
Scott Light stated that he was the attorney for the Petitioner. He also had Mr. Edward Bork, who was the General Manger of Lucky Strike Novi, to answer any questions you might have. He stated that they had other issues that they would like a presentation to talk about, if we could.
Mr. Light stated that the application for the arcade license had been discussed before by the Council. He said that there was in December, 2003 an amendment to the ordinance to insulate minors from alcohol service in the facility where it was agreed that there would be no bar sales from bar two prior to 7:00 p.m. They had also recently submitted to Council the gaming plan, the actual layout of the different games that would be there. He said that there was also some precedent for this approval: Margarita Mamas. He knew that this was a different Council than it was, but in 2000, they were approved for 124 games on a 30,000 square foot facility; he stated that they were only asking for 112, he thought it said 113, but it was 112 games in a 35,600 square foot facility. On the games themselves, the 97 of 112 games had a rating of green, which was the lowest rating by the parental advisory system for gaming manufacturers established by the American Amusement Manufacturers Association. He said that obviously when the games go in they are subject to the approval of the MLCC; there were no video poker games, no black jack games. He said that Mr. Bork was there if anyone had any questions on the enforcement procedures that they would install; obviously, they would comply with the ordinance. He said that they would start screening, for example, with 16 year olds at about 6:30 p.m. because they have to be out by 7:00 p.m.
Mr. Bork stated that, according to the ordinance, all minors under the age of 16 shall be asked to leave the arcade by 10:00 p.m. He stated their sweep would start at 9:00 p.m. letting those under the age of 16 know that by 10:00 p.m. they needed to leave the building. They would do another sweep at 9:30 p.m., 9:45 p.m. and then by 10:00 p.m. they would be asked to leave the building. He said they would do that with their own security within the building and staff members. He said that student IDís could be used for proof of age.
Member Gatt recalled that when it was approved, Council had special limitations or provisions on that ordinance regarding their establishment.
Mr. Light answered yes, school nights. Also, on school days, 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., no one under the age of 18 would be allowed in the building.
Member Paul wanted to know who in the City asks for the application for the arcade license, was it from the City or from the state? She wanted to know where it came from.
Mr. Fisher answered that this was strictly ordinance, so it was a local requirement for the application and local review.
Member Paul wanted to make an interesting point. On page two, the application asked for references and it asked for five reputable citizensí names and addresses of community where last resided and attach written recommendations of at least two such citizens respecting moral character of applicant, but the application reads, "My affairs are private from my neighbors." She wanted to know if that was a requirement, why that was not being fulfilled.
Mr. Light responded that Mr. Foster had appeared before this Council earlier. He thought that if that was going to be an impediment, Mr. Bork was here and they could apply with Mr. Bork, if that would be an impediment.
Member Paul stated that she thought it was a very important part of this, when it would be around children. We are exposing a 70,000 square foot facility with many children, she guessed they were going to anticipate for that space, and we have asked for moral character review of this person, and they donít answer it.
Mr. Light answered that Mr. Foster was the 2001 Ernest & Young Entrepreneur of the Year in the country sponsored by CNN, but he understood that if that was a requirement of the ordinance, then they would comply with it. He said that was not done to circumvent the process.
Member Paul requested a motion to postpone until they had the ability to have the five references fulfilled and come back Council at a later date, because she didnít want to expose children to anyone who couldnít even meet basic requirements on this application.
CM-04-09-339 Moved by Paul, seconded by Nagy; To postpone consideration
Of the request from Lucky Strike Novi, Inc. for an Arcade
License with 113 machines to be located at 44325 Twelve
Mile Road; MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.
Member Capello stated that she was right that in the previous applications, particularly through the Liquor Control Commission, that his moral character was investigated and reviewed and approved by Council at one period of time. He stated that he didnít see the need to do it again, particularly since in approval of the liquor license, the investigation was much more in-depth and strenuous than it is just for an arcade license, so he could not support that motion.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry asked if Council put this off for two weeks, if it would hurt them.
Mr. Light answered that they would like to open on October 9th.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry stated that Council could put this off to the last meeting, they could provide those references, and Council could vote to consider it at the last meeting in September.
Mr. Light responded that if that was what was required.
Member Capello stated that, if this were going to be tabled, he wanted to bring up a couple concerns now. He said that he was a real advocate to bring this to Novi; he had been to a Jillianís out in Denver somewhere between when they applied and when the got approval, and he was very impressed with them. One of the things that really sold him on it was the upscale bowling alley they had. They were more than a billiards hall and more than just an arcade. He stated that, as he understood it through construction now, they were only planning on constructing and developing an opening to build in the arcade. He wanted to know his plan for completing the bowling alley upstairs.
Mr. Bork answered that they had plans to finish that in two phases: There is a Mexican cantina on the front end of that and then bowling alleys in the back end of that. Six to eight months was when they planned to finish the top floor; he said they had to gut the entire top floor to make space for the bowling lanes and the pin setters.
Member Capello asked if they had pulled permits for that upstairs yet.
Mr. Bork stated that he could not answer that.
Member Capello asked Mr. Fisher if Council could grant the arcade license on a temporary basis to kind of force them to complete the upstairs.
Mr. Fisher answered that they could only do that if there was a requirement to have the second phase or the upstairs aspect of the facility in order to gain an approval.
Member Capello stated that when Council approved the plan originally, the plan was a full two-story establishment with all of the uses. He stated that now theyíre coming back and theyíre going to only open in phases; thatís why he was thinking Council might have an ability to give them an arcade permit, have it expire in 12 months, giving them ample time to finish the upstairs.
Mr. Fisher answered that he thought that Council could only do that if the bowling aspect of it was required in order to have a complete facility. There were many instances, for example, where somebody would come in with a proposed development with two phases and never do the second phase.
Member Capello stated that was his concern.
Mr. Fisher thought that in a license like this, if Council issued it and there was a huge expenditure of money to bring these games in, and the second phase doesnít go in, the question is whether it would be legitimate to continue the license based upon something that wasnít required anyway.
Member Capello stated that he could discuss that before the next meeting.
Mr. Light stated that the arcade was only going to be on the first floor; there wonít be any video games on the second floor.
Member Capello replied that that was his concern. He wanted to make sure that the second floor was finished.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry wanted to echo the comments of the previous speaker. If this matter was postponed, he wanted to see some sort of assurance that they would carry through with the bowling alley, because he, too, approved this, assuming there was going to be a bowling alley. He stated that he would like to see whatever assurances, any contracts, anything like that, that they executed for the construction at the next meeting. He said Council did not need to see full layouts, that kind of thing, but any kind of assurances that they could give would be very helpful.
Mr. Fisher stated that there was certainly nothing that would prevent the applicant from coming forward and offering voluntarily to commit to doing the second part of the project as a condition to getting the license.
Member Gatt wanted to go on record as agreeing with Member Paul wholeheartedly. He knew a background investigation was done for the liquor license but found that the comment, "My affairs are private from my neighbor" rather ostentatious and belligerent, almost like "I donít have to tell you anything". He stated that he would never vote to approve this with that on there.
Member Paul asked a question for administration. She stated that Council received a memo dated September 7, 2004, from Kathy Smith-Roy stating that the developer had actually defaulted on his taxes; they were delinquent. She said that this was in the same establishment, and it was a concern to her. She wanted to know what Council would do in this situation if the City was not getting income from this area.
Mr. Helwig answered that, as outlined in that memorandum, there was a process for the City being made whole. He said that, just to further heighten their concern, he read today in Crainís that they had filed for a bankruptcy, a financial reorganization. He was not aware until he had read that. He said that they had put a positive spin on that, hoping that this would be sorted out in a shorter period of time than the normal one to two years. He stated that Council needed to stay tuned and be vigilant. As seen in Kathy Smith-Royís memo, there was a way for the City to be made whole there, but certainly for them to get though all of this, there needed to be viable commerce there, whether it was this business or other business, that obviously was beneficial.
Member Paul also stated that it was her understanding that a lot of the people who were being drawn into Fountain Walk were not paying a full amount of rent for an incentive to come to Fountain Walk, which may be one of the reasons why they were not having the ability to pay their taxes. She wanted to know if it was something they could actually ask in this circumstance if they were paying rent to Fountain Walk at this time. She just wanted to make sure that they were going to get their taxes back, not just by default from the county, but in the long term, because we all paid taxes whether it was county, city or state, it all came from somewhere. She knew that many people were really in favor of this project and she knew that a lot of people in the community really supported it, but, we had someone who, as Member Gatt said, "Iím not answering this question about my references" and the developer was not paying his taxes. She had a real hard time supporting this project at this moment in time for both of those reasons. She wanted to see this be successful as well as see Main Street be successful. Both projects were put in before her time sitting on this Council, but she wanted to see both of them being successful. She stated that when someone was filing bankruptcy and when they werenít paying their taxes, it was a very a big red flag. It was also a big red flag when someone was saying that they were around kids and didnít need to answer our moral character question. She stated that those were here issues.
Mayor Csordas stated the issue of Fountain Walk and whatever their financial stability is wasnít any of this entityís issue. They were an ongoing company that would actually bring revenue to this development which would enhance their financial ability to succeed and pull away from, if they filed for a Chapter 11 or 13 or whatever they filed for; that was a totally separate issue. The flip side was that they definitely needed five references on that, and that was a very peculiar response to that. That was why he would support the postponement.
Roll Call Vote on CM-04-09-339 Yeas: Gatt, Lorenzo, Nagy, Paul,
Csordas, Landry, Capello
5. Approval of settlement agreement to resolve pending Circuit Court litigation initiated by the City against the owners of the Old Dutch Farms Mobile Home Park to: (1) Require a decommissioning of the current sewage treatment plant and lagoon system; and (2) Compel connection of the Park to the public sanitary sewer system.
Mr. Helwig wanted to thank so many of the residents from attending from Old Dutch Farms and for speaking and wanted to thank Ms. Charmaine Jones for being an ongoing steadfast leader who had certainly brought to Councilís attention many of the ongoing issues that had gone on a long time, not dissimilar to what the City was facing in Hometown Chateau Novi. He said that as he looked back in their key meeting with the resident leadership, Ms. Jones in particular, many of the issues were arrayed, and we sought to get the status of issues from the state. He remembered asking the question what the number one priority was at that time. The clear consensus was to get connected to the public sanitary sewer and to decommission the waster water treatment plant and the lagoon system that was present out there. The time line is for approximately 10 weeks to get that connection, which was sorely needed.
He stated that to continue to pursue matters, certainly the public drinking water was next; he thought that that would be the first issue that they would go after, based on their Hometown Chateau Novi experience, which was public drinking water, but the consensus was on sanitary sewer connection first, as the principal issue that needed to be resolved initially. Their recommendation to Council was to not stop there but to continue the meetings with the residents and the state and to make sure that we were on the same page to get all these other matters complied with and to get the entire neighborhood upgraded.
Mayor Csordas stated that he wanted to let the residents know that they did have experience like that in another mobile home community and were successful. He thought that it was logical and thought it served them best to close this issue and get this thing done because they had seen a sample of the water. He said that there was no way that anyone should have to have that kind of drinking water at their home, not in this City. We had addressed that in another park and were successful, and we would do the best we could to pursue that.
Mr. Fisher stated that he had a discussion with Vahan Vanerian, who really was the lead person on this, and he was under the mistaken understanding that the terms of this resolution, although it did leave out a number of things that the state was pursuing separately, did basically satisfy the concerns of the residents. That was obviously in error and he didnít attribute the error to Mr. Vanerian or the residents, but obviously they needed to square this away. He was not aware that waiting two weeks to square that away was harmful. He thought it was worthwhile and obviously a very significant thing, so he wanted to have Mr. Vanerian help them by providing more details on why those other matters werenít included in this resolution. Mr. Vanerian had indicated to him that they were not included because they were within the stateís jurisdiction and, mobile home parks came under a very special set of regulations in the state of Michigan, much of which they did not have a right to deal with. Mr. Fisher stated that if that were the case here, then he thought they should know about it and have it clear on the record so that they could advise the homeowners of that fact. He did not want to create the impression that they were recommending that the Council act in a manner that they were bulldozing anybody here tonight who was obviously out here in good faith. He suggested that they come back in two weeks and get these answers and have them for the record.
Mayor Csordas stated that he liked the logic of that, especially since it had been pointed out that it clearly did not address all of the concerns that were brought up initially. He thought that water purity should be another issue, so that they could knock that down and immediately attend to the health and welfare and the drinking water, the water usage of this park. He stated that it was not a good thing that they were seeing. He asked Mr. Helwig if he were recommending postponement to the next meeting.
Mr. Helwig responded yes.
CM-04-09-340 Moved by Paul, seconded by Nagy; To Postpone the approval of settlement agreement to resolve pending Circuit Court litigation initiated by the City against the owners of the Old Dutch Farms Mobile Home Park; MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.
Member Capello wanted Mr. Fisher to look at the extent of paragraph 9 of the agreement, as itís very general.
Mr. Fisher stated that was one of the reasons why he wanted to get that squared away.
Member Capello stated that he saw that how the City was charging the tap fee was by monitoring the sewage usage and wanted to know if they had City water or if they were on some kind of community well system.
Mr. Fisher answered that it was not public water and that was one of the things that they were trying to achieve.
Member Capello answered that was why they needed to monitor the sewage, as opposed to just billing them based on the water rates. He stated that the community well was an issue but wanted to know that there was nothing wrong with the Cityís supply of their water.
Mr. Fisher stated that was correct.
Roll Call Vote on CM-04-09-340 Yeas: Lorenzo, Nagy, Paul, Csordas,
Landry, Capello, Gatt
6. Approval of 2004-2005 Winter Maintenance Agreement with the Road Commission for Oakland County for snow and ice removal operations by the City of Novi on Novi Road, Ten Mile Road, Twelve Mile Road and Grand River Avenue within the limits of the City of Novi.
CM-04-09-341 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Capello; To approve the 2004-2005 Winter Maintenance Agreement with the Road Commission for Oakland County for snow and ice removal operations by the City of Novi on Novi Road, Ten Mile Road, Twelve Mile Road and Grand River Avenue within the limits of the City of Novi; MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.
Member Lorenzo had two questions. She asked if the $83,355.42 represented the true actual costs of the equipment, operations, salt, material, and so forth of this additional responsibility.
Mr. Helwig answered that was to be determined. The first year we entered into such an agreement, we "made money". What we were reimbursed for, which was a flat fee per lane mile, was more than what our costs were. Last year, the reverse was, true because we had so many operations where we were out a larger number of times and Mr. McCusker said that we didnít cover our costs of reimbursement. This was what we would be receiving in the upcoming winter and we wonít know if that will cover our costs until we see how much snow or how many operations we had.
Member Lorenzo asked why we didnít negotiate an agreement that covered the costs. Not that we wanted to make money on the situation; obviously, we donít want to lose money on the situation.
Mr. Helwig answered that the Road Commission doesnít offer that alternative.
Member Lorenzo asked Mr. Fisher if that was something that Council could pursue.
Mr. Fisher answered that Council could always pursue something; if they just reject it and wonít talk about it, Council couldnít pursue it for very long.
Member Lorenzo stated that was true. She asked if discussion was held with Mr. Bair or with road commissioners who made decisions.
Mr. Fisher answered that contacts were made with the administration, but the Commission had to approve the agreements.
Member Lorenzo asked if the Commission could also make determinations and judgments alternatively from what the administration recommends, just like this body.
Mr. Fisher answered that it was quite parallel to this body.
Member Lorenzo stated that she was inclined to agree with this for this year. She didnít want to throw a wrench into this yearís program but suggested that we try to pursue arrangements and, if we had to, talk to the Board of Commissioners, then so be it.
Member Lorenzo next asked whether this additional responsibility would not impact the timeliness of snow plowing removal services to our residential customers.
Mr. Helwig answered that it would not. In fact after their fire last year, we assisted the Road Commission with Twelve Mile Road and also did the turnarounds on Twelve Mile Road, so he had been assured by the department. At the same time Council authorized the purchase of the articulated snowplow, heavy dump truck and that certainly helped the costs, so that will not set us back. They actually felt that this would help us in getting to our residential streets.
Roll Call Vote on CM-04-09-341 Yeas: Nagy, Paul, Csordas, Landry,
Capello, Gatt, Lorenzo
7. Consideration of Annual Salary increase for City Manager.
CM-04-09-342 Moved by Gatt, seconded by Capello; To give the City Manager
a 4 percent salary increase retroactive to July 1, 2004, and because the City Manager does not accept a City pension or City medical benefits, saving the taxpayers over $20,000-plus, that the City Managerís deferred compensation package be increased by $1,000 this calendar year and $2,000 beginning on January 1, 2005;
POINT OF CLARIFICATION
Member Lorenzo asked if this motion was different than a previous motion made at the last meeting.
Member Gatt answered yes.
Member Lorenzo just wanted to make sure that they werenít on the same path that they were last time where they couldnít repeat.
Member Gatt answered that the difference was $1,000 increase in his compensation package this year; the last motion he had made was $2,000.
Mayor Csordas asked if that was fiscal year or calendar year. He wanted to know if it made a difference.
Member Gatt stated that it made a difference. His motion was that the 4 percent salary increase be retroactive to July 1st of this year, the fiscal year. The deferred compensation package of $1,000 be paid for the remainder of this calendar year, 2004, and in the year 2005 it be increased by an additional $2,000.
Member Paul stated that she had a discussion with Mr. Helwig in which she told him there were areas that he did extremely well in and she also saw areas that we could improve upon. She stated that at the last meeting and she wanted to bring up some things that she saw as very positive. Mr. Helwig was a great cheerleader for all of Council and supported each of them individually. She also thought that he did a very good job when it came to neighborhood concerns and when people addressed them to him, she has had homeowners presidents come forward and state that he had done a very nice job. There were also different projects that have been done that have been very much a part of a very big group setting, such as Beck Road interchange, South Lake Drive, Grand River. There were a lot of projects that had been completed under his management, and she thought some had been done extremely well and some had problems. She stated that not all problems were directed to Mr. Helwig individually, but he was the one that they had to appoint as the end all be all to areas of concern.
She stated that one of the areas of concern was that there were four positions that needed to be filled. Two departments that have been a concern: Engineering and Planning. She thought that Planning was going great strides with Barb McBeth being appointed as our new leadership role. There was a vacancy there and she looked to see that improving under Barb McBethís direction, as well as Mr. Helwigís. She said there were numerous Building Department complaints, from the Target TCO to Betty House to the Nevilleís, so there were areas that could improve. When he presented the areas of rating, these were ratings used for his employees; she thought that all employees should be treated the same. Exceptional was 4 percent; highly proficient was 3.2 percent; proficient was 3 percent. She thought that proficient was very well explained; Mr. Helwig said that was when everything was meeting expectations and fair was when there was a concern.
For proficient, just for the audienceís point of view, overall performance was characterized by high quality and quality of work produced, exhibits professionalism and services provided to customers; meets expectations. She stated that many of those things he qualified under it, but "meets expectations", she would like to see some improvements in the Building Department and in the Engineering Department, we have two vacancies. She thought that with all of these things she had mentioned, she would like to see performance objectives that could be measured and looked at, such as other CEOís. She stated that in situations where a CEO comes forward, they have performance objectives that are measurable criteria. She thought several people mentioned overall communication between some of the management staff could be improved on so that he was more aware of certain situations that had come up that was kind of reflective was South Pointe Condominiums. With that, she stated that she would not be able to support this motion. She was really hoping that we werenít going to go back to the very beginning and have the same discussions over again. The majority of Council at the last meeting was at 2.3 percent, and the minority was at 3 percent. She was really hoping that they could come somewhere in the middle and really have a nice discussion. She stated that she could see that that was not going to be the case, so she would not be able to support the motion. She said that it was not that she didnít support Mr. Helwig or that he was not professional nor met a lot of the requirements that were expected of him. She stated that he had a very large amount of responsibilities in this City, but she did think that there were some areas that could improve.
Mayor Csordas wanted some clarification. He believed that the majority was not at 2.3 percent at the last meeting. He thought that the majority would have said another number. He asked the City Clerk what that was.
Ms. Cornelius stated that it appeared that it was a 4/3 vote with a 4 percent.
Mayor Csordas stated that was the way he remembered that.
Member Capello stated that he guessed that it was a little bit off topic, but thought it was unfair to say that the Building Department had not met or even exceeded expectations; they were understaffed and overworked and did an incredible job. He knew that oftentimes a builder would call him and complain that a license or permit did not get issued in a timely manner. He could call up Don Saven and within 24 hours he had tracked the status of that permit and, low and behold, it was always some delay from the builder getting the information or revising the prints or complying with the ordinance. He didnít see where Don and his department were deficient at all. Everybodyís going to have some complaints, especially when a house is being built, but he thought it was unfair to pick the Building Department and say that theyíre not living up to the expectations of the City. Again, that would fall back to Mr. Helwig who was doing a fine job with the Building Department.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry wanted the Council to consider some numbers when they considered this particular motion. The difference between a 4 percent raise and a 2.3 percent raise was $1,935, so weíre talking about $1,935. With respect to the additional $3,000 toward the retirement, that would mean that it would be $17,000 toward the retirement. He stated that when Mr. Helwig first accepted this job, he could have said simply give me what everybody else had, nothing special, just the regular MERS retirement. Had he done that, it would cost the City this year 55.4 percent of his salary toward his pension. Thatís the system which existed when he arrived on the scene. That figure would be $63,078. Therefore, by Mr. Helwigís saying I donít want that, give me the lesser amount of the defined benefit contribution, weíre talking about a $17,000 contribution towards pension as opposed to a $63,000 contribution. Thatís a savings of $46,000.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry stated that what they were talking about was a $1,900 difference and a savings of $46,000 to the City that Mr. Helwig had voluntarily agreed to accept. He thought that spoke volumes about commitment toward the City; he thought that his performance had been excellent. With respect to comparing the salary that we pay to other cities, Southfield pays its City Manager $130,000; Troy, $133,000; Bloomfield Township, $115,000; and Farmington Hills, $130,000. Mr. Helwig makes $113,840, less than any of those. He also stated that he had run some numbers with respect to average annual raises that those municipalities give their City Manager. In the last three years Southfield has averaged 4.6 percent; Troy, 5.4 percent; Bloomfield Township, 4.1 percent; Farmington Hills, 3.4 percent. He stated that the salary Mr. Helwig receives is lower than they get; the projected or proposed 4 percent raise is certainly on par, if not lower; and his pension contribution is saving the City $46,000. He thought he was doing a fine and would ask that they would support the motion.
Member Nagy stated that one of the things that she wanted to indicate to anyone listening in the audience was how this works. The first thing was, in the City charter it stated that the City Manager serves at the pleasure of Council. Just like all members of administration, he receives a yearly evaluation. Our City Manager requested that his performance evaluation be done in private, not in public. She thought that was why the last time she had a lot of good things to say, but she didnít say any of the things that she had concerns about. She also wanted to point out a couple of things. As she recalled, when the City Manager was hired in, one of the reasons he didnít get into MERS was that it took 10 years to be vested. She thought at that time it was the City Managerís plan not to stay 10 years, and so he wouldnít have been eligible for that as well. As much as she appreciated some of the comments made by the previous speakers, there are other things that she wanted taken into consideration. She understood that we did not provide our City Managerís health insurance; however, we have what was called cash in lieu of benefits, which we pay at $155 a month. We also have a car allowance of $6,000 a year that was paid on a monthly basis and, above and beyond his salary, all regular benefits: workerís compensation, life insurance, dental, long term disability insurance, etc., was also part of the total package.
Member Nagy continued that she could say that she found Mr. Helwig to be a very pleasant, intelligent man; she thought he had done a fine job in many areas. She thought that some of the things, thank God, were in the past, such as Sandstone, but a lot of the things that they saw that they might take credit for has also been contributed to by a lot of people. Take the Beck interchange: she thought Pete Hoadley mentioned it years and years ago. She thought that there was a group of residents when the road bond came up that worked to get out the vote, which $6-million of that money went to the Beck interchange. She thought that Senator Cassis interceded on our behalf with regard to the Beck interchange in discussion with Governor Granholm. Mr. Helwig played a part; there were numerous people that played a part in this particular area. Likewise with Catholic Central. Our former mayor, Mayor Clark, helped negotiate part of that, Mr. Helwig was part of that, the Planning Commission was involved in that, the City Council was involved in that, so a lot of these things takes a group effort. She appreciated Mr. Helwigís work on Sandstone; that she appreciated his work on all the things. However, she was going to base her opinions not only on her time on City Council but as the Chair of the Planning Commission. She had occasion to meet with the Vice-Chair, the Secretary of the Planning Commission, with Mr. Helwig and Mr. Pearson, with Mr. Helwig and Mr. Evancoe at the time. There were a couple of things that she had mentioned during that time that she felt needed improvement.
She stated that one of the departments had a hard time responding to the Planning Commissioners, let alone residents. She had received a lot of complaints regarding that; that was something that she expressed to the City Manager. One of her areas of concern was communication and what the Council received in terms of communication and what it did not. One of her areas of contention was South Pointe Condominiums, that all of the condominiums within the City that she knew of had to build and add parking lots to their own property out of their own funds or dues given monthly. She thought she was a little disappointed because she ran into a board member who told her about how the City would be felling trees and putting in asphalt parking lots for them, fixing up their front. She mentioned it to Mr. Helwig at the end of June or July. Whether this agreement was made by Mr. Helwig or not, was not for her the important part. She stated that the important part was that Council was not informed right away. This kind of an issue had to come before City Council for approval; those funds could not just be allocated. She would have also preferred the answer to South Pointe that whatever department head might have made a deal with them, he had to take it to Council for approval. She would have appreciated that; she thought that would have been the right thing to do.
The other thing that she had a little bit of a problem with was one project that had been done since Mr. Helwig has been here from start to finish was South Lake. She stated that South Lake was something that all the taxpayers paid for. She thought that she had probably been the most vocal on this because all of the complaints that she had received and the many times that she had gone out there and the number of times that she brought it up at Council. There was still ponding to do to the west of South Pointe. She thought that the memo that she received from the department head was that there was ponding there all the time. She stated that weíre spending all this money, letís do it right. Drainage issues still existed on the side streets, Buffington, Henning, Eubank, weíve changed the drainage there. She stated that it would be an ongoing problem that the taxpayers will end up paying for. The excavation of the berm; she thought that she had asked if we paid for it twice, it was kind of interesting.
Mayor Csordas stated that he thought that Mr. Helwig insisted that his performance review be done in private, and he wanted to stay on target of the pay.
Member Nagy believed that basically there were areas that she would like to see improvement. The communication to Council; she would like to be more aware of what was going on. She wanted to see improvement with regard to residential issues; she wanted to not have many residents contacting Council members and you felt as though you had to intervene on behalf of the residents in order for the City to respond to them. She wanted to see a little more oversight in terms of the department heads and the permits issued, etc. She stated that she would not be supporting this issue. Again, she wanted to state that it was not personal. As someone likened at Council, the City Manager was like the CEO, well, as we all saw with Enron, that CEO was now taking responsibility for everything. She also believed that the Mayor made a good point where he said that all of our opinions were valid. Member Nagy stated that it was based upon her experience; it was not an indictment, she just wanted to see improvement. She thought that at this time, she could not support that.
Mayor Csordas stated that he wanted to make sure that all further discussion was not a repeat of performance review which he requested be in private; we will honor that.
Member Lorenzo wanted to echo what the previous speaker said, that the City Manager served at the pleasure of the Council, and it was the seven Council members that actually did the review for the City Manager, which happened once a year which we just did recently. She thought that each of their opinions and each of their experiences were valid and legitimate and had to be respected. With regard to performance, as she previously stated at the last meeting, she recognized and commended the City Manager for his many accomplishments and his contributions to those that he placed on the preparation sheet of the summary report that he gave to us. By the same token, she couldnít ignore the areas that she believed were in need of improvement. She could not kid herself or the public that the City Manager met her expectations; she would be lying. So, with regard to costs, she also wanted to reiterate some of the comments she made at the last meeting.
Member Lorenzo stated that, as the previous speaker also said, the City Manager was not really eligible for the City participating pension because the City Manager made it clear that at least his intention at that time was not to stay in the City for 10 years. In fact, she believed that at that time the City Manager looked at his plan in five year increments. Additionally, when we looked at the City Managerís salary, that was negotiable between the City Manager and the Council; it had nothing to do with the City of Southfield or Farmington Hills or anyone else. Those cities were obviously much larger cities with, she assumed, many more employees and responsibility, even though the City of Novi did have a lot of responsibility with 50,000-plus people, but some of the cities might have twice as many people as lived in the City of Novi. The Council at the time and the City Manager agreed to $100,000, and over the last three years the City Manager had received a 13.25 percent increase above that. She did not think that was too shabby, particularly when she looked at what corporate America had done over the last three years. In fact, there was just an article in the paper last week about salaries and corporate America and that corporate America had not been giving large increases as they had in the 90ís; that 3 percent was probably at the top half of what had been given to its employees. She thought that when we compared our business with private or corporate business, we had been very generous in our compensation to Mr. Helwig.
She stated that deferred compensation was also negotiated between the City Manager and the City Council, and it was agreed that the City Council would pay $8,000 into the deferred compensation plan. The City Council had no obligation to increase that amount in subsequent years, even though City Council did increase it to $11,000 in 2002, and to $14,000 in 2003, which came to a 75 percent increase over the $8,000 amount. Again, she didnít believe that it was just a little bit of an increase; she thought it was a generous increase, particularly given our economic climate and particularly over the last few years we had state revenue sharing losses. So for all of those reasons, she, too would be looking for measured improvement; she didnít want to go into detail but just wanted to give the headings where she would be looking for measured improvement. She stated that it would be in the areas of oversight and follow-up; communications to Council; Council/Manager relations; and monetary control of legal costs. Those were basically her comments for the record.
Mayor Csordas liked the performance criteria; he thought that made a lot of sense. He wanted to ask Kathy Smith-Roy for clarification on a couple of areas. He wanted to know on the issue of MERS if she could clarify the vesting situation.
Ms. Smith-Roy answered that there was a 10-year requirement for vesting in the City of Novi unless someone had served in a Michigan community, and then the vesting period would include the time period worked for another Michigan community. In terms of the percentage of contribution, there was a large contribution to that group because there were only three members in that division and there were two components to that contribution.
Mayor Csordas asked Ms. Smith-Roy if she was saying that we had two people subject to that formula because the City Manager opted out.
Ms. Smith-Roy answered yes.
Mayor Csordas asked who the other two people were.
Ms. Smith-Roy answered the City Assessor and the City Clerk are in that group.
Mayor Csordas asked if their annual contribution was 55 percent of their annual compensation.
Ms. Smith-Roy answered yes, but there was a reason for that. She stated that a couple of things had happened over the years in Novi. When Council added pension improvements, they had made them retroactive to the employee to the date of their first hire. As a component of that, when the actuary did the computation, there were two components to the percentage that was contributed. The first part was called the normal cost, which is what would be contributed if an employee came from day one and the City was contributing as an employer to the fund. The second component is called accrued liability, and that is the portion that covers the retroactivity. So for someone who had been here for 10 years, for example, that percentage would be applied to cover that 10-year period that that employee would be eligible for that benefit. That is why that percentage is so high: There were a number of improvements in that retirement plan and the accrued liability is funded over a 30-year period. There were two individuals who immediately collected in that group, and there was also a window which also compounded the cost of that.
Mayor Csordas asked if she was saying that the City fund did incur two retirements -- he didnít want to know the two names Ė but wanted to know if two people retired under those criteria.
Ms. Smith-Roy answered under that group, that was correct. As a result of that, the percentage that we were contributing for that group increased incrementally over the last couple of years and then it increased again when the City Manager opted out of the program because now there were only two peopleís salaries to base the amount needed to make the contribution for, because the presumption was that there would be three individuals in that group for the next 30 years.
Mayor Csordas asked Ms. Smith-Roy if these were actuarial figures.
Ms. Smith-Roy answered that was correct; they were not computed by the City but by the actuary.
Mayor Csordas asked if that was where she came up with the $66,000, because he was relating back to the years of service times the multiplier and all of that, but that clearly did not apply to those three individuals.
Ms. Smith-Roy answered yes. The calculation of the benefit they receive would be those computations you described. The amount contributed is based on an actuarial percentage of payroll.
Mayor Csordas said that it was stated that in the three years, he might be misspeaking here, but in the time that the City Manager had been here, that his pay had increased 13 percent.
Ms. Smith-Roy stated that it sounded reasonable, but she didnít actually do the computation herself. She would have to go back and do that.
Mayor Csordas stated that he needed clarification. He asked Member Lorenzo if it was a three-year period.
Member Lorenzo answered yes.
Mayor Csordas stated that it looked like there was a 4 percent and then a 5 percent and then something else. He stated that he believed that the City Manager had done an excellent job. That had been his experience with him as the Mayor and that was his experience as a City Council person representing everybody in the City, too.
Roll Call Vote on CM-04-09-342 Yeas: Csordas, Landry, Capello, Gatt
Nays: Paul, Lorenzo, Nagy
Mayor Csordas stated that he was going to end this discussion and move on, based upon a memo to the Mayor and City Council members from Mr. Helwig. This was not a confidential memo, so he would just read a paragraph out of it.
In the second paragraph, Mr. Helwig stated that given the magnitude and the wide range of accomplishments during the last year, the adjustment of 2.3 percent -- which was not the motion tonight -- suggested by some Council members, was unacceptable.
Mayor Csordas asked Mr. Fisher if he was within his rights to just end the discussion and move on to the next agenda item.
Mr. Fisher answered that he was the chair of the meeting, and somebody has a right to make a motion to override that, then itís voted on by the entire Council. Subject to that, he had the right to chair the meeting.
Mayor Csordas asked if anyone would like to override that, please say so.
Member Paul wanted to make a motion that the annual increase be 2.5 percent and deferred compensation would remain at $14,000, which was a 75 percent increase over the $8,000 employee contract.
Mayor Csordas asked if that was out of order from what he just asked.
Mr. Fisher answered that it should start with a motion to override.
Mayor Csordas asked if there was a motion to override.
CM-04-09-343 Moved by Paul, seconded by Lorenzo; To override ending the discussion on Item #7; MOTION CARRIED.
Roll Call Vote on CM-04-09-343 Yeas: Landry, Capello, Gatt, Nagy,
Nays: Csordas, Lorenzo
CM-04-09-344 Moved by Paul, seconded by Lorenzo, To give the City Manager a 2.5 percent annual increase, deferred compensation will remain at $14,000 annually; MOTION FAILED.
Roll Call Vote on CM-04-09-344 Yeas: Lorenzo, Nagy, Paul
Nays: Landry, Capello, Gatt, Csordas
CM-04-09-345 Moved by Landry, seconded by Capello; To give the City Manager a 3.27 percent raise retroactive to July 1, 2004, which happened to be the average raise given to all administrative employees in the City this year, plus an additional $1,000 for calendar year 2004 and $2,000 beginning On January 1, 2005 to his pension contribution; MOTION FAILED.
Roll Call Vote on CM-04-09-345 Yeas: Capello, Gatt, Csordas, Landry
Nays: Lorenzo, Nagy, Paul
Mayor Csordas, as the chair, asked Mr. Helwig whether to continue or move on.
It was moved by Member Lorenzo to give the City Manager a 2.75 percent raise. Mayor Csordas explained to Member Lorenzo that he respectfully requested an answer from Mr. Helwig.
Mr. Helwig stated he would request Council move on to a break.
Mayor Csordas recessed the meeting at 9:37 PM
Mayor Csordas called the meeting back to order at 9:52 PM
Mayor Csordas stated that it was his decision to honor the City Managerís request to end the discussion on the salary adjustment.
James Korte, of Shawood Lake, wanted to comment on a past discussion. He stated that one reason so many people had to call Council members, was that they call department heads and he felt they might as well bang their heads against the wall.
He wanted to talk about ordinance enforcement at this point in time. Some time in November he ran into some problems with a vehicle that was presumably inoperable; he said it was always operable. Three court sessions later, he proved himself to be right, that it was always operable, it was always licensed, and it always was insured. In that situation, the ordinance officer trespassed 120 feet to peek around fences to take pictures that were not usable in court. He stated that is what happened when someone was out to get someone in this City. Now, across the street from him, there were two inoperable vehicles. He stated that he had been told, "You couldnít see them from the street, so they couldnít do anything." Mr. Korte asked why he was in court three times then to prove he was legal. That specific house had open building permits, which meant that the Building Department or that end of the City may be on that piece of property at any point in time. He wanted to know why his vehicle was in exactly the same situation and he ended up in court three times.
He stated that once, because of an issue and a postponement, they put a warrant for his arrest because the paperwork didnít go right. It was immediately reversed and the judge was so apologetic. He wanted to know why he was being treated different than his neighbor. If the answer is whatever it is, itís discrimination and he would sue. The vehicles were in exactly the same situation. All the person had to do was cough up the legality. It took him three times in court and he shoved it in the judgeís face that he was legal and that vehicle was legal. He stated that the vehicle was legal until January and, now it was a matter of principle. He said that the interesting thing was that he sold it in January, and it sat six houses from him and no one challenged it. Same vehicle, same subdivision, same street. He wanted to know why the two vehicles at 2027 do not have to be legal.
Mayor Csordas asked Mr. Helwig to follow up on that.
MATTERS FOR COUNCIL ACTION Ė Part II
8. Approval to award the contract for sidewalk gap construction for (1) Meadowbrook Road Shopping Center Gap and (2) Wixom Road: Birchwoods Gap (east side of Wixom Road north of Delmont), to the low bidder, Commerce Construction, in the amount of $55,984.
Mr. Helwig wanted to mention that each of these items were budgeted at $50,000 a piece in the adopted budget that Council approved this year and whether by combining them they came back with an excellent bid of just under $56,000 to get both accomplished. The one had been a long-standing issue and got involved with the bank at the northwest corner of Meadowbrook and Ten Mile Road in terms of they ultimately did provide the land for the extension of the sidewalk so that people from Meadowbrook Commons could go all the way down to Ten Mile. Then the section on Wixom Road north of Delmont to facilitate families and certainly students proceeding north to the Deerfield and Middle School Complex.
CM-04-09-346 Moved by Capello, seconded by Paul; To award the contract for sidewalk gap construction for Meadowbrook Road Shopping Center Gap and (2) Wixom Road: Birchwoods Gap (east side of Wixom Road north of Delmont), to the low bidder, Commerce Construction, in the amount of $55,984; MOTION CARRIED.
Member Capello stated that the bid they were approving was for $55,000, that he was glad that was all they were spending and they were spending what they budgeted, but the second closest bid was $20,000 more, then the bids went from $80,000 all the way up to $148,000. He asked Mr. Helwig why Commerce Construction was that much lower than everybody else.
Mr. Helwig asked Mr. Pearson to comment on that.
Mr. Pearson answered that Phil Loud of Ayres Lewis, of the consulting engineers, did review and recommend Commerce. They had some experience with them on other similar work, so he asked Mr. Loud to clarify that.
Mr. Loud said that they had anticipated that question. He thought it was a combination of the time of year that we were bidding this. He said that this was really late in the project, some of the contractors had put these numbers together sort of hastily, but despite that fact, the good news was that the low bidderís numbers unit prices fell within what we would have expected, looking at other projects that they had already done this year in other adjacent communities. He thought it was part of the amazing haphazardness of contractors. He said that their bids would vary 50 percent amongst five or six bidders on any kind of a bid, especially this kind of year.
Member Capello asked Mr. Loud if he was confident that we wouldnít cut corners and get everything done for $55,000.
Mr. Loud responded that every report that they had gotten on this particular firm and the work that they had seen them do on their own projects had been very good.
Member Capello asked whether it was concrete or asphalt.
Mr. Helwig clarified that Wixom Road was asphalt; and the other concrete.
Mayor Csordas stated that we had cement roads and asphalt roads in this City and asked why we had cement roads when they fell apart in 10 years.
Mayor Csordas appreciated his comments. He stated that was probably the problem; the experts thought that common sense might say that we had some subdivisions around here that would rather have asphalt than cement falling apart.
Member Nagy wanted to ask, since we had so much clay in Novi, if it would be more feasible to have asphalt roads with curbs and gutters because, as he said, there could be repairs to the asphalt. She stated that asphalt was supposed to last 10-15 years, and in between those years, the City could repair cracks. She wanted to know if it would be more feasible financially for the City in the long run.
Mr. Loud answered that it could be. He said that the thing that really affects the long-term durability of either of those products was probably how the City dealt with that clay underneath and the drainage of that road. If curbs and gutters were added to some of the roads, which added a lot of expense to residential roads, a lot of drainage issues that were compounding in the areas would be resolved. That obviously added a lot of expense and other additional encumbrances, curb cuts, driveway, and everything else that went along with it.
Member Nagy also stated that it depended on the aggregate put down; she didnít understand how the expense would be greater for the developer because he was using asphalt versus concrete where a certain depth was needed. She just wanted to second what the Mayor was saying, that we need to look into that. She stated that she would support the motion.
Member Lorenzo wanted to clarify that the work was to be completed within 30 days.
Mr. Loud said that his recommendation letter stated that they were really going to try to get this done quickly; if they received approval for the contractor, they would get the contracts signed, get them to legal counsel for review, and initiate a preconstruction meeting within two weeks with a goal to have them installed by the end of October.
Member Lorenzo stated that hopefully that would be the case; the Council did not want to get into the colder weather coming through.
Roll Call Vote on CM-04-09-346 Yeas: Gatt, Lorenzo, Nagy, Paul, Csordas,
9. Approval to award bid for Community Sports Park irrigation system to Mark Dutton Irrigation, Inc. the low bidder, in the amount of $42,390.
CM-04-09-347 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Nagy; To award bid for Community Sports Park irrigation system to Mark Dutton Irrigation, Inc. the low bidder, in the amount of $42,390; MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.
Mr. Helwig wanted to clarify for people at home that there was $44,000 budgeted for this item, and the expectation that approximately $30,000 would be needed for the basic infrastructure to irrigate one field. Actually, going through the bidding process, we not only got the basic infrastructure, but the ability to irrigate three fields.
Member Capello stated that at the time of the budget, there was a lot of discussion; there was a $55,000 figure thrown out there for irrigation of the fields, and he thought they had a lot of discussion on where that fell within the priorities. He wanted to know if that was a different budgeted item than this, because he saw that this should irrigate four out of our eight fields.
Mr. Helwig answered that this would irrigate three additional fields, so there would be four total out of the eight. He said that he did not recall the $55,000 but there was a total of some $80,000 for recreation and parks additions. It went to the Parks and Recreation Commission and they recommended the allocation. He said that $44,000 for irrigation was in that communication. Itís under budget and weíre getting two more fields irrigated. So this went through the priority setting through Parks and Recreation.
Member Capello stated that the irrigation he was thinking fell rather low: four, five or six in their list of priorities. He wanted to know if it had been moved up, or if they were still getting those five or six items done.
Mr. Helwig answered that it was in various stages of progress. The ADA improvements, the playfield improvements, the walkway improvements, shelter improvements were all done. He said that after a lot of heartache this spring, this was coming in under budget and getting two more fields irrigated. He said it was in the adopted budget this spring.
Member Capello said that a few weeks ago Council was informed of the fence over at Lake Shore Park, and that seemed to be a much higher priority than irrigating these fields and before he spent the money, he wanted to see what Council needed to do to allocate some money toward getting a quality fence put up as opposed to a vinyl covered chain link fence.
Mr. Helwig answered that would be coming back to Council after Parks, Recreation, and Forestry Commission visits the fencing item. He stated that Member Capello was correct, that it was a safety improvement. He stated that this was according to the plan and was recommended to Council.
Member Paul commented that she was surprised this was under budget, since during the discussion, $30,000 was going to the infrastructure and would irrigate one field, and now there are three fields that we are going to irrigate. She wanted to know what the contractor was like, what other work had he done.
Mr. Auler answered that he was an excellent contractor. He stated that what they did with the bid process was to prequalify a list of contractors that had performed to a high level of quality standards, and they participated in a pre-bid process that actually toured the site. All of the contractors spent about five or six hours with them on site going through the project in detail. He stated that the contractor that they were recommending had done high-profile projects, such as the irrigation for the Comerica Field where the Tigers play, the Detroit Lions practice field and the Michigan State varsity fields for their athletic teams. He stated that they were very pleased with the bid that came in; it was similar to what the gentleman from Ayers Lewis indicated in terms of the pricing coming in; it was time of year. There were not a lot of irrigation projects out there for bid right now, so we happened to hit it in a competitive market favorable to us.
Member Paul asked Mr. Auler what the timeframe was for getting this done, October 31st?
Mr. Auler answered yes, and actually it would probably be sooner. The contractor indicated that if Council made the award, he would anticipate being able to mobilize within seven days so would anticipate work starting next week and, weather permitting, should have the work completed in two to three weeks.
Member Paul asked whether they had done any other projects that he was aware of that had been done well.
Mr. Auler answered yes and that they had provided a list of references of work that they had done for other school districts and, as mentioned, the Lionsí practice facility, Comerica Field, and Michigan State varsity fields.
Member Paul said thanked him and said she would be supporting the motion.
Member Nagy just wanted to say that she thought our timing was perfect because the City saved a lot of money; she thought he did a great job. She said that he had $16,000 that could be spent elsewhere; she was very happy with it and would support the motion.
Roll Call Vote on CM-04-09-347 Yeas: Lorenzo, Nagy, Paul, Csordas,
Landry, Capello, Gatt
10. Approval of the following changes to the Michigan Employees Retirement System for the Administrative Employee and Appointed Officials groups: (a) B-4 Benefit Program (b) F-55(25) Benefit Rider. These changes will provide additional opportunities for streamlining of administrative positions.
Mayor Csordas asked Mr. Helwig to expand on this a little.
Mr. Helwig answered that a number of factors had come together to bring this recommendation at this time. Staff for some time had been sharing with him the data that was attached, in terms of neighboring communities that did offer for administrative personnel when it came to retirement and pension benefits the 2.5 percent multiplier and the ability at age 55 with 25 years of service to enter retirement. That, as you could see, was very prevalent throughout the region. His concern had been with who bore the costs for making this happen. He remembered during budget discussions, in fact earlier this evening Member Nagy raised the point about an early buyout program which, if you watched any of the programs even recently in Michigan, particularly for teachers, involved a cash outlay as an incentive, almost like paying that person for some years that they were not serving so they would opt to leave on a true buyout plan. He said that involved cost, which he always felt was questionable for what the taxpayer got for those out-of-pocket dollars. They went back to the drawing board after the budget discussion, and that suggestion was broached, and really hit upon the notion and asked for the actuary study to be done that the employee should be responsible for picking up the enhancement to the multiplier going from 2.25 percent to 2.5 percent, that would be totally the employeeís cost, and you could see that was the higher of the two figures here and that was always a concern to him.
Me. Helwig stated that there were communities where the employee was not picking up that much of the 2.5 percent multiplier. He even saw a 2.8 percent multiplier here, so that was a concern to him. Then looking at the F-55 years of service rider, he saw an opportunity there based on the demographics of the organization, that if you authorized that to help us be more competitive in the region, this would be a cost, approximately $34,000 annually that the City would bear to further streamline the organization and therein easily pay for itself.
Mayor Csordas asked Mr. Helwig if that was a fixed annual cost or was there some sort of rate of inflation or trend in that.
Mr. Helwig didnít want to misspeak and asked Ms. Smith-Roy to answer.
Ms. Smith-Roy stated that the $34,000 was an estimate based on the 2003 wage summary that was reported to MERS.
Mayor Csordas asked if that meant that it was tied to wages which meant that it would be increased annually.
Ms. Smith-Roy answered that it was a percentage of payroll.
Mayor Csordas asked logically if the payroll for the City were to increase by 3 percent annually, then the $34,000 would increase by 3 percent.
Ms. Smith-Roy answered yes.
Mr. Helwig stated that another aspect of the streamlining would be that the City would not be making the longevity payments to individuals who would opt to take this retirement at age 55 or whenever after 25 years of service were reached.
Mayor Csordas asked Mr. Helwig if those five individuals that he was referring to currently had longevity.
Mr. Helwig answered yes. He stated that was the background on all this. He saw it as competitive enhancement for retaining and attracting top quality people and an organizational streamlining cost reduction opportunity for our organization. His plan would be in the budget to come to Council March 31st to at least have that one position identified and reduced in the budget. So all of this was coming together to why he was now in a position, after nine months of thinking about this and Member Nagyís comments during the budget, recommending them to Council.
Mayor Csordas wanted to clarify that the F-55 rider meant that the employee could retire at 55 years of age if they had 25 years of service, so that was what the F-55(25) stood for.
Member Lorenzo stated that he had hit on one of the questions she had. She didnít feel like she had enough information to come to an informed decision on this, particularly regarding potential costs, not only now but down the road. Also, Mr. Helwig had not identified where this possible streamlining would occur, and the concern that she had when she looked at this, five positions had been projected to be eligible for this retirement benefit. When she looked at those five positions, it was hard for her to see where any streamlining could be attained. In addition to that, her concern was that even if we had five positions retire, we would be paying 80 percent of their retirement benefits, health care, and then assuming that we donít eliminate any of those positions, we would then have five new people in those positions. She said that she would assume that they would be younger, with younger dependents, and she would assume that they would take our health care. She said if she made those assumptions, what had not been provided to the Council was an analysis and a pro-con basis of where we would be in terms of how much money we would be spending in terms of health care for these five new employees.
She just pulled out an article in Saturdayís Detroit Free Press News that basically told us what we already know, Mayor Csordas had given this to us several times, cost of employer-sponsored health coverage rose an average of 11.2 percent in 2004, 13.9 percent in 2003, and the trend over the last four consecutive years had been double digits. She said that if this continued, her concern was what are the pros and cons of this; how much were we really going to be paying if we had to replace all of those people. So from her perspective, she really needed additional information on (a) whatís the plan, (b) who does the administration see as possibly being streamlined, what positions, and then an analysis of who was going to be hired, they would be younger and have families, (d) what would we really be paying potentially in health care costs, (e) were we really going to be saving money or were we really going to be paying more money. She said that if Mr. Helwig was not prepared to deliver this to us until budget time, maybe this whole discussion on the 55 rider should wait until the budget, too, so we could do a proper analysis of these other variables and you could come to us with an actual plan.
Mayor Csordas interjected to ask who the Cityís actuary was.
Mr. Klaver replied that the actuary was obtained though MERS, Gabriel Roeder.
Mayor Csordas stated that this was not a spreadsheet that could be developed by Kathy Smith-Roy or Glenn Lemmon or anybody. He wanted to know what they would charge to do a spreadsheet on something like that along the lines that Member Lorenzo was talking. He wanted to know if a spreadsheet could be done that would call out those specific numbers and maybe annualize it to five years out, 10 years out.
Mr. Klaver answered that it was hard to do a cost estimate because at this point in time they were only dealing with pension issues. In the direction of health care, suppositions could be made and that could all be calculated. Everything Gabriel Roeder was currently doing was with the confines of retirement issues.
Mayor Csordas stated that was what he was talking about. He knew that health care was going up 13 percent a year; there was nothing they could do about that. He said we could make that assumption fairly easily, but he thought that they could do that process for the retirement. Mayor Csordas asked if that would help.
Member Lorenzo answered that it would certainly help to have it, even if we assumed 13 percent a year, to see what we would be looking at for five new employees with dependents in terms of the health care that we could possibly be spending for those folks, and it would also be helpful in terms of the plan that the administration was thinking of as to where we saw the streamlining done. She also wanted to know who could be eligible in the future if they bought some years of service; who was 55 now but could buy a couple years of service and would be eligible, how many employees in the City. Again, looking at those positions, how many of those positions would have to be filled, and how much would we be paying for 80 percent retirees, 97.5 percent health care costs for new people that have dependent children. She said that was where she was coming from on this.
Mr. Helwig answered that streamlining an organization was an art. While trying to enhance service packages at the frontline levels, it was all based upon opportunities. It is necessary to have tools to be able accomplish it. This was a tool he was asking for. Member Lorenzo had touched on it, there were other ways to accomplish this turnover, but, again, it was by choice. We wonít really know until we put it out there. He had a pretty good sense of things in talking with people in the organization and he would not have brought this forward if he didnít feel that we could deliver on certainly covering the $34,000 easily. He stated that he didnít know how an actuary would figure that out; that was the stuff of management, the stuff of reducing layers of management, reducing the number of managers like we did the Director of Public Services and Economic Development Coordinator. He said that this was a tool and it had taken a long time to convince him to get to this point.
Member Lorenzo stated that it would take equally as long to convince her; he had had time to digest it and become comfortable with it and she had not.
Mr. Helwig said that he understood that. He stated that they could see what we were up against in the region, in terms of trying to be more competitive.
Member Lorenzo stated that she was more concerned right now with what it was going to cost the taxpayer, not only now but five years down the road.
Member Nagy stated that she appreciated Mr. Helwigís thinking about this, because it was something that she had mentioned during the budget time, mostly because she was taking a look at other cities around us. For example, a near city that just recently was discussing attrition and implementing attrition was Farmington Hills.
Member Nagy said that there were savings that they were already doing at the present time for the taxpayer, like recent employees that no longer get longevity payments, etc. She wanted to know if we could take one job with everything and compare it to the cost outlay, and then this would be our cost outlay if we did this attrition, or was that too simplistic.
Ms. Smith-Roy answered that she thought that it was a little too simplistic. She thought that the suggestion here was that there might be a change in responsibilities and other components that were more HR and management-directed.
Member Nagy asked, as a Council, didnít they just recently vote on things with health care. For example, what the copay was going to be. She said that the best way she could describe it was, for example, people who retired from Ford Motor Company and the principal person died. As time went on, even though the spouse received Blue Cross Blue Shield, they now had to pay more into it. She wanted to know if we had that kind of ability to require the retiree to pay more of the cost. She wasnít talking about the deductible; she was talking about the actual cost.
Ms. Smith-Roy answered yes. For the administrative staff, Council could do that during the budget process. They could determine the percentage; it currently was 80-20 which mirrored our bargaining units.
Member Nagy responded that not all the positions were union positions.
Ms. Smith-Roy answered that was correct; we were talking about the administrative group.
Member Nagy stated that within the union positions, we would have no choice.
Mr. Smith-Roy answered that within the union positions, it would have to be negotiated.
Member Nagy thought that this was worth looking into. She said if there was some way to satisfy the questions of the previous speaker, she would like to give her the answers and maybe just postpone it for a short period of time. She wanted to know if that would work for Mr. Helwig.
Mr. Helwig answered that there was certainly no rush. That was Councilís prerogative; it was a major policy decision. The sooner we had it available, the sooner we would have the answers to the questions.
Member Nagy stated that the question before Council was to actually implement this policy.
Mr. Helwig answered, to adopt the B-4 benefit program and the F-55(25) benefit rider for administrative personnel; that was their recommendation, and then pick a date. Today he happened to be talking with Member Paul about January 1; Tia Gronlund-Fox put November 1. There was nothing magical about that, but if Council made it available January 1, people could start making plans, we could do more communication and the streamlining could maybe occur before April.
Member Nagy asked if January 1 was a little soon. She then asked Mr. Fisher if Council adopted that as a policy, we could always change the policy once we get the actual figures.
Mr. Fisher answered that if Council made that available to somebody, it could not be withdrawn.
Mr. Helwig stated that it became a pension option, just like age 60, 10 years remains a pension option.
Member Nagy stated that she saw some benefit to it; she knew others around us were doing it as well. She knew that there were certain departments which may not be administrative where the person had 30-plus years and if they opted out, we could hire one person who was more productive.
Member Lorenzo stated, with children.
Member Nagy answered that you never knew if people had children or not; that was not something they could ask anyhow. So she liked this idea.
Member Gatt said that he liked the idea very much and would not be in favor of postponing it or delaying it in any way. Just as a matter of clarification for anyone in the audience and the people at home, there were two matters here tonight: the B-4 and the F-55 and they were very separate. To clarify, the B-4 was simply a multiplier, how an employee here figured his pension. There were several different unions in the City of Novi right now, and everybody in the City fell under the MERS plan, the same multiplier formula. There were different B programs: some employees had a 2 percent multiplier; another employee union that we just ratified a few weeks ago, had a 2.8 percent multiplier. So this 2.5 was somewhere in the middle; it was something he retired under and was something that was very competitive in the market place and something that we should move toward. He stated for everybody out there, know that this was an employee-paid benefit. The employee would pay 100 percent of this increased cost to the City. So, again, he thought it was two separate issues; if Council voted, he believed they should vote two separate issues.
The F-55(25) rider was something that was lagging in the City, and it was something that should be implemented, in his one-vote opinion. What he was hearing tonight was how much it was going to cost to replace those people and so on. Right now the City of Novi does not have an F-55 rider; you had to be 60 years old to retire. So what weíre talking about was five years. There were several people of the five, at least one or two that he knew of, that were already 60; they could go right now but, for whatever reason, they had decided to stay. One thing was for sure, when they reached age 60, they were going to retire or when they chose to retire they were going to be replaced with a younger person, and that person would not get longevity. Now every employee in the City of Novi hired before four or five years ago gets a longevity check in December of every year. He said the people weíre talking about, these senior employees, got 8 percent of their salary as a longevity payment. So, if we passed this tonight, the City would immediately recognize an 8 percent times however many people that retire savings.
Member Gatt continued. He stated that the person that replaced the employee that retired would no doubt probably come from the ranks and he or she would also have longevity. But it was a bumping game, and the person who hired to replace that person wouldnít have it. So the new employees wouldnít have it; the City would save 8 percent times the number of people that left, and that would be forever more. He stated that the $34,000 increase in costs that we saw here would be saved by that alone, if people decided to go. The 3 percent a year, like Mr. Helwig stated streamlining, if one person left the City and was not replaced, we streamlined the organization, with an average salary of $50,000-$60,000-$70,000 a year plus benefits, the math was very clear that we would recognize a 200 percent savings just by streamlining the organization by one. He stated that it was a proposal that was good for the citizens, good for the City, good for the employees, good for the administration here when they were out recruiting more people. It was something that he thought the Council should look at very closely. We could get actuary studies and we could get figures, but what he just said was something that the average layman would understand. We would save money. Now, an actuary takes months to do; he had seen actuary studies and pulled out the little hair he had left because he didnít know what they mean. What was a fact was that the employees who were hired would not get longevity; what was a fact was that the $34,000 would be buried with one employee leaving who was not replaced. It was good for the City, good for everybody, and urged that Council really take a look at it.
Member Paul stated that she had several things that she discussed with Mr. Helwig, and she thought that this was a very attractive package and something she was interested in. She still had a few questions. First of all, she stated that we were down four employees at this time and, to think that this would be offered and possibly five more would go, we still had to serve the citizens; that could possibly be nine people that would leave. That was a concern of hers and that was why when she talked to Mr. Helwig she mentioned the January 1st date to give him time to replace the current four employees; therefore, we wouldnít be void a possible nine people, maybe even more because some people could purchase years of service.
Member Paul said that her other point was that if we had these appointed official groups that were also involved in this, that was three employees that were appointed, she really didnít understand how that was going to affect them and their package. She thought there was some merit to postponing this to the next meeting to get a plan from Mr. Helwig as to what position could possibly be eliminated if these five people that were eligible would retire in January. She would support postponing this for two weeks or whenever he thought appropriate since Tia was on medical leave. She thought it was a good plan. She would be willing to, after the appointed officials group since there were three employees that that would affect, look at the B-4 benefit program and how it would affect them. She didnít know if all of them were aware of this; she would like to hear their point, and also make this available to all employees. Those were her concerns. She did think that it was a good program; she really believed that the long-term attracting more people in our community was very positive and she appreciated his efforts in bringing it in.
Mr. Helwig responded to the appointed officials comment, which was the City Manager, which wouldnít apply to him but to his successor, the City Clerk and the City Assessor. He stated that right now those three, be they past individuals or the two current individuals did not contribute to their pension; in his humble opinion, that was wrong. His recommendation was that by going to the 2.5 percent multiplier, those three individuals should pay that increase in costs from 2.25 percent to 2.5 percent, just as any other employee was paying. He felt very strongly about that; he knew that there were some folks in the organization that felt differently about that. He thought that, in general, the City employees were paying a relatively smaller percentage; itís even magnified in some of these other communities based on his experience. That was his recommendation as it related to that group.
Member Nagy stated that they had not paid any employees that were hired from 1994 forward any longevity. She stated that the second thing was they did talk about some of the employees that they needed to replace. She thought now would be a perfect time to do what she had talked about during the budget, which was an operational audit. She stated that we might have to look at, she was going to use this particular department, because it was something they should think about doing, weíre down two people in engineering. We talked about doing an operational audit at the goal session; maybe it wouldnít be a bad idea to do it now because we might be able to factor out the long-term costs of a full-time employee versus the cost of a consultant. She thought there were various things that they could do. There was also the possibility of people that were 53 years old, in two years they would be 55 years old and able to retire and they would have to contribute. She liked the idea that Member Gatt said that we should make this a motion of separating the B-4 from the F-55.
CM-04-09-348 Moved by Nagy, seconded by Lorenzo; To approve the policy for the B-4 Benefit Program with a 2.5 multiplier, the cost will be incurred by the employee, effective January 1, 2005; MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.
Roll Call Vote on CM-04-09-348 Yeas: Nagy, Paul, Csordas, Landry,
Capello, Gatt, Lorenzo
CM-04-09-349 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Paul; To postpone the F-55(25) Benefit Rider for additional information; MOTION FAILED.
Roll Call Vote on CM-04-09-348 Yeas: Paul, Lorenzo
Nays: Csordas, Landry, Capello, Gatt,
CM-04-09-350 Moved by Gatt, seconded by Capello; To adopt the F-55(25) Benefit Rider for all the administrative employees effective January 1, 2005; MOTION CARRIED.
Roll Call Vote on CM-04-09-350 Yeas: Csordas, Landry, Capello, Gatt,
11. Approval to award the contract for Design Engineering Services and Construction Contract Administration Services for Lannyís Relief Sanitary Sewer project to the low bidder, Ayres Lewis Norris & May, Inc. in the not-to-exceed bid amount of $131,732.81.
Member Capello stated that in looking at a report prepared by administration, it appeared that in the Ayres Lewis proposal they included additional services, some additional modeling of the system which we did not ask the bidders to do. He wanted to know if anyone went back to the one higher ranking bidder, Fishbeck Thompson, or the bidder ranked even with Ayres Lewis, Wade-Trim, and ask them what it would cost for them to do the additional modeling.
Mr. Pearson answered no. He stated that he asked when it came forward if there was some value that could be placed on that for comparative purposes and was not provided that there was a number that he could share with anyone.
Member Capello stated that Fishbeck was about $16,000, and if we could get the additional modeling for the same amount of money and go with the second-ranked bidder instead of the third-ranked bidder, he would be much more comfortable.
CM-04-09-351 Moved by Capello, seconded by Gatt; To award the contract for Design Engineering Services and Construction Contract Administration Services for Lannyís Relief Sanitary Sewer project to Fishbeck Thompson for $115,596.00 and ask them if they could perform the additional modeling that we were looking for in an amount not to exceed $15,000.00; NO ACTION TAKEN; MOTION TO POSTPONE FOLLOWED.
Member Lorenzo asked if we just recently approved the sewer master plan setting.
Mr. Pearson answered within the last six months, yes.
Member Lorenzo asked if this would be included in that in terms of capacity.
Mr. Pearson answered that this was very specific to this area in this line and the future uses in that area. He could certainly ask for clarification but the master plan would not necessarily give you that level of detail. There were actually three phases to this: There was the analysis and review of the existing report, there were design alternatives in routing out which route this sewer bypass would go and then construction and administration inspection. He answered that the master plan would not provide you two and three and probably very little of one.
Member Lorenzo asked if it wasnít going to provide some sort of capacity. She thought they were going to take a look at land use in the City and then capacity issues. She wanted to know if that wasnít what they were looking for in this situation.
Mr. Pearson answered true, generically, but this was for specific lines and specific area and it wonít be any kind of master plan overview of broad projections and land uses; it would be flow analysis for this service area and then the actual cost of alternate lines, whether they go north to 96 and across or whether they go a different route down Grand River. It was much more detailed in terms of alignment in comparison of the project.
Member Lorenzo wanted to have more information from whoever was doing the master plan as to how much would be involved in this; she certainly wouldnít want any overlap. If we were paying someone for a master plan, we shouldnít be paying somebody else to do sort of some of the same work. Other issues and questions that she had were about land use. She stated that it mentioned that the district continued to expand with the inclusion of the former Links of Novi, which is Quail Hollow. She asked that it wasnít to say that Quail Hollow didnít have capacity at this point.
Mr. Pearson answered that as he recalled from the discussions about Quail Hollow was that they did have capacity.
Member Lorenzo wanted to make sure that they did, because that was what she thought; that when they reviewed it, when the engineering department reviewed it, it came back that they had capacity, but also if they didnít have capacity, that Singh Development would be responsible for putting in their own lines and so forth to give them capacity. Now weíre talking about that it was anticipated that because of the repeated expansion of the sanitary district, certain portions of the sanitary sewer would be over capacity within a decade. She wanted to know if that was to assume that it would only be over if and when additional projects that we donít even know about came on line.
Mr. Pearson answered that he could not tell her that assumption was only for the future projects, but it was probably safe to assume that, meaning that the existing Lannyís Road line that was built was built based upon Island Lake, for example, not developing at the density that it was. He said that the fact was that the land use decision was made, Island Lake was developed, and it was using potentially some of the capacity of the Lannyís Road system that was in there now. So this study, this multi-phase report, would go in and conduct the full analysis and the actuals to see whatís going through it now, make some projections based upon what had been approved, make some assumptions based upon the future, then give approval or not as to capacity.
Member Lorenzo stated that her point exactly was the future. She said they were talking about the future at the next meeting, which was the Master Plan. She said that her concern was that the timing of this was premature. They were only going to have discussions on the Master Plan and, by virtue of what you said with Island Lake, much of the land in the west end of the City is still zoned RA; granted that they had a lot of projects coming in under RUDís which changed the density, just as Island Lake did. She wanted to know how we knew that until a project came in and said this was my project, we were doing an RUD, we have the calculations, this was the density. She wanted to know how we knew what size of a sewer line needed to be placed in there. She wasnít going to oversize it for the most density that we could possibly have there, and she wouldnít know what to assume what the density might be. She felt that it was like the cart before the horse. First we need the Master Plan and we need to know what the future land use was out there; then to her she didnít see why weíre jumping the gun and putting the cart before the horse. She wanted to know why they didnít wait for the project to come to us and say weíre an RUD; weíre a single family large lot sub, weíre whatever we are, instead of doing this.
Member Lorenzo stated that we have had other projects, be it Maybury or others, and end the ones in here. They put in their own sanitary sewer; they did it by SAD. She had concerns that we were putting the cart before the horse and that weíre also taking money out of our own water and sewer fund and we donít know when we get paid back because nothing was even on the horizon to come in. She said it made more sense to her to see the Master Plan, see what general land uses we were going to agree to in that area, and then have the project come in and tell us what and who they are, and then decide on what the size of the sewer line needed to be based on what the actual land use was going to be, not a guess. She did not feel that she could support that at this time.
Mr. Pearson stated that it was important to understand but the bypass that was being talked about was really for a pinch-point in the Beck/Grand River vicinity where the service was going. It was not necessarily for new lines within; he was sure that Council understood that, but another factor in terms of timing was that there were units being built and permitted right now in Island Lake and other areas that could potentially, if this project were in place, could start to contribute to the recapture of that. He said that once those are permitted and built, that opportunity is gone, as far as Ms. Smith-Roy explained some of the homes in Island Lakes. He said that was the only financial timing thing he might bring up.
Member Lorenzo said that she would appreciate having that additional information; it would certainly be helpful in seeing whether this was something that we should or shouldnít do and would have hoped that would have been included in the packet to give us additional information.
Member Nagy wanted to know if the bids were predicated on JCKís work product.
Mr. Pearson answered that it was something that the City had paid for and bought and, to be fair, that was distributed to everybody as the starting point just like any other GIS information that the City had acquired.
Member Nagy wanted to know if the project was ever in a CIP.
Mr. Pearson answered yes.
Member Nagy wanted to know if this was supposed to be bid out before.
Mr. Pearson answered that it was something that had been out there and had been talked about and, as JCK had that original study, something that had been on the planning horizon.
Member Nagy wanted to know if we were going to service the northwest side.
Mr. Pearson answered that it was west and southwest and Mr. Pakkalaís presentation referred to was strictly water distribution, nothing with sanitary sewer.
Member Nagy stated that she thought the previous speaker had a valid point; she would like to look at the Master Plan. She wanted to make sure that it was necessary. She wasnít sure that she agreed with the motion regarding the firm that had been chosen. She asked why the bid was almost $16,000 more.
Mayor Csordas asked Mr. Fisher if Council could ask him only because he was present without asking the other bidders.
Member Nagy stated that she would not ask the question. She thought these things needed to be done. She asked Ms. Smith-Roy what they had in our funds to do this kind of work, wasnít the water fund or something like that, $39-million.
Ms. Smith-Roy answered that we had sufficient cash and investments to proceed with this project. From a financial standpoint, it is strongly recommended to proceed with the project in order to establish a payback amount and recoup as much of the capital project as possible.
Member Capello stated that he understood what Member Lorenzo was saying, but given what we have coming up in that section, we have Maybury in Eight Mile Road, we have Tuscany on Eight Mile Road, there were a couple parcels to the west of Garfield that he knew there was some interest in. We knew that Island Lakes was going to run out of capacity, we knew that when we approved the PUD. We knew we had the Singh project on Ten Mile Road, the Links, and then the project directly to the south of that. There was some activity along Eleven Mile Road, and we have Providence coming in with their new center. We donít know everything that was going on but there was enough going on that we would run out of capacity. He said we needed to do this study so we could get some new sewer lines in; he just didnít see how because we didnít know everything that was going to go on in that area that we couldnít now begin to conduct our study and move forward; otherwise, itís going to be too late. He said whoever we award it to, we needed to do it or at least do it in the next 30 days, and then they could give us an assessment of the variables of the undeveloped pieces and see how they fitted into the puzzle. He said we knew enough now of whatís already approved and moving forward, and he guessed we donít have capacity to satisfy what had already been approved right now. He couldnít see any delay, particularly any long-term delay, longer than 30 days.
Member Lorenzo asked how about 30 days.
Member Capello answered that if she thought something would get accomplished to give us additional information in 30 days, he would not have a problem with 30 days, but wouldnít know what information that could give us.
Member Lorenzo answered, looking at the Master Plan next week.
Member Capello stated that he would not have any objection to adjourning it until after they looked at the Master Plan next week, if that would help.
CM-04-09-352 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Paul; To postpone approval to award the contract for Design Engineering Services and Construction Contract Administration Services for Lannyís Relief Sanitary Sewer project until October 4, 2004; MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.
Roll Call Vote on CM-04-09-352 Yeas: Landry, Capello, Gatt, Lorenzo,
Nagy, Paul, Csordas
Mayor Csordas stated that Ms. Smith-Royís comments were very good; there was no question that the community was going to grow and capacity will be an issue there, there was no question. He supposed that postponement to the next meeting or one month from now; he didnít now that there would be any financial opportunity missed at that time, but he thought her comment was very insightful and important for us all to listen to that once we do this, we establish a fact and we have the opportunity to recover some of these taps, or whatever you call them, at an earlier time. He thought that would be good. That helped him a lot.
Mr. Pearson wanted to bring back and explain the assumptions that capacity was available for both projects. He was not sure if those were assuming that this would be in place because it was a part of the CIP; he didnít want to mislead or say that that wasnít a part of that presentation that there would be capacity.
Member Lorenzo said that was all the better reason to give it another meeting so we can get the information from Ms. Smith-Roy so we would be in a much better position to have an informed decision at that point.
Mayor Csordas stated that he did support this project because there was no question that capacity would be an issue on that side of town, so the quicker we acted on that the better. He said that he had already made his comments about Ms. Smith-Royís financial opportunity on that.
Member Capello asked Mr. Pearson if he could see what the cost from Fishbeck and Wade-Trim would be to do the additional modeling.
Mr. Pearson answered that it that was the consensus of the Council; he would certainly be pleased to do that.
Member Capello stated that he would like to see the fees of all of the bidders, if we could have it.
Mr. Pearson stated that they typically opened the five, but we could open the rest.
Mayor Csordas stated that he thought he was just asking for the five.
Member Capello stated that he wanted to see all the bids to see where they fell in place.
12. 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 Ė 2nd Reading
CM-04-09-353 Moved by Landry, seconded by Capello; To approve 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; MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.
Member Paul wanted to make an amendment. On page 4, section 38-21b there was a section in the bottom third of the paragraph, " in reaching this determination the director shall only take into consideration weather conditions or delays in securing required approval permits from other regulatory agencies" to be added in there. We had several discussions specifically talking about what the director shall consider for extending TCOís, and we gave them a one six-month timeframe. We based it on weather conditions and outside agencies, such as MDEQ.
On page 5, at the very top of the page, the very first full sentence says "If a further extension" "If an extension is requested for factors other than weather conditions or delays in securing required approvals/permits from other regulatory agencies or a further extension is requested", that to also be added in this item. She wanted to add those two items into the ordinance; the rest of it looked good. We made a lot of changes at the last meeting and she hoped they could include those sentences for clarification so there was no question at all in this matter.
Member Paul stated that she discussed with Ms. Neumaier the language specifically.
Ms. Neumaier stated that the section that Member Paul was referring to would be section 38-21. The proposed language change would simply be to only allow as a basis for granting an extension by a building official, weather conditions and/or approvals delays in obtaining approvals from outside regulatory agencies. It would only allow for those two criteria. She stated that the language that was proposed at the top of page 5 would say, "If an extension is requested for factors outside of those two criteria or if a further extension is requested they would have to appear before city Council to approve that extension request."
Member Paul stated that Council could make that extension if they thought it was a condition that they thought was necessary.
Member Capello stated that he had three misunderstandings. It appeared that the way she read it, we were saying was if it was an extension due to weather conditions or delay in getting permitted from another agency, the building official could grant that; any other type of extension came to City Council. So really, we would be giving the building official some authority to grant extensions without coming to us.
Member Paul stated only one time, for the first six months.
Member Lorenzo wanted to commend everyone involved with this; we had come a long way. This was an improvable condition; she appreciate everyoneís time and effort and patience. Now the only thing they needed to do was to get some type of tracking system in place. She saw that they did have some preliminary information on their desks, and also looked like they would potentially have a technology fee to pay for the tracking program, which was also great information. The only question she had was, under this ordinance, unless they had come to the City Council, could Target have received more than one six-month temporary certificate of occupancy. In other words, did this ordinance preclude that, and if this ordinance had been in effect at the time Targetís request for additional certificates of occupancy had come forward, would the building director be allowed to do that under this ordinance.
Mr. Fisher answered that he did not know whether the consent judgment spoke to that at all.
Member Lorenzo stated that the consent judgment, at least according to the Assistant City Manager, speaks to final certificate of occupancy, unless it speaks to temporary.
Mr. Fisher responded that he didnít know; he would have to read it for that purpose.
Member Lorenzo stated that hopefully they could do that because they would talk about it later. She was going to want to know if this, in fact, precluded that from happening again, not only with Target but with any request. She stated that Mr. Fisher was saying that if it was not in the consent judgment, the ordinance would apply.
Mr. Fisher answered yes.
Member Lorenzo asked Mr. Pearson if he knew if the consent judgment spoke to temporary certificates of occupancy at all.
Mr. Pearson said that it did. It outlined what had to be done in terms of meeting the standard requirements which were done for issuing the temporary certificate of occupancy. But the problem that he tried to explain was that the particular Target project would have likely already had its full certificate of occupancy but for the consent judgment, which made requirements before the full certificate of occupancy could be issued for the wetland mitigation area and but for the fact that Phase I of Novi Promenade was acknowledged and provided for in the consent judgment. They took on responsibilities for the entire site in order to open; meaning they took on some of the wetland mitigation areas for their total site and they had also posted a financial guarantee for the woodland bond for the entire site, which we would be addressing with the future phases. That meant moving them off of Target and onto land for the balance of the site. So, it has always been more complicated.
Member Lorenzo stated that it would be helpful if Council had a copy of the consent judgment so they could actually read whatís what. She said that her concern was, if they put that in the consent judgment, they should try to avoid such language in the future.
Mr. Pearson agreed that if weíre involved in writing one of those again, they would definitely approach it differently.
Member Lorenzo stated that it didnít appear that there was any incentive for the applicant to complete the items or to even get a final certificate of occupancy if the applicant was just going to be receiving temporaries forever and ever. She stated that there had to be incentive to want to complete the project and to get a final certificate. She stated that she would wait to pass judgment until she actually had read the document.
Roll Call Vote on CM-04-09-353 Yeas: Gatt, Lorenzo, Nagy, Paul,
Csordas, Landry, Capello
13. 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. 2nd Reading
CM-04-09-354 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Paul; To Zoning Ordinance Text Amendment 18.190 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; MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.
Member Capello stated that, as long as they were revamping all of this, it was his understanding that if the utilities were not going to be dedicated, there was no performance guaranteed. He wanted to know if that was fair to say.
Mr. Pearson stated that they accepted financial guarantees for residential site condominiums all the time, was that what he was thinking of?
Member Capello answered yes, that he thought whether it was a site condo or not, if the utility was not going to be dedicated to the City, he had been under the impression that with the condos we didnít require any financial guarantee. For that particular utility, and roads was a good example, if they were not going to dedicate the roads, we donít require them to post a financial guarantee to complete the roads. In one sense, that made sense because if the Cityís not going to take it over, we donít care. But on the same hand with a subdivision that was going to be dedicated, we donít accept it until itís done anyway. He thought they needed to take a look at that and treat condos, whether they were going to accept them or not, the same as they treated a subdivision.
Mr. Pearson stated that it had come up and it was true, but the problem with trying to do that was you would be talking about, and he remembered what it was, it was back at the actual building even, not just the utilities that werenít going to be public, and it was thought we should have the financial guarantee posted for the entire facility to make sure that they finish that. Then youíre talking about just such huge numbers potentially for those kinds of improvements.
Member Capello answered that he was not talking about buildings; he was just talking about the site where the type of utilities that we require of the regular subdivision.
Mr. Pearson answered that Member Capello was right, that they didnít require it for some of the other things that remain private.
Member Capello stated that he thought they should treat them the same. He did not see it anywhere in this ordinance where we distinguish it, so it must be just our policy of how we charge the guarantees and accept them because he had thought that some developers preferred to go condo, besides the faster the process and the approval, they didnít have to post as high an amount for the financial guarantees. He would leave it at that.
Roll Call Vote on CM-04-09-354 Yeas: Lorenzo, Nagy, Paul. Csordas,
Landry, Capello, Gatt
CONSENT AGENDA REMOVALS FOR COUNCIL ACTION: (Consent Agenda items, which have been removed for discussion and/or action)
C. Acceptance of Drainage Easement from South Pointe Condominium, for the amount of $1.00.
Member Nagy stated that she received a call by a resident and went out to South Lake. There were a couple of areas that she had concern about. She wanted to know who did the work for the removal of the trees and the asphalt for the six parking spaces and for the repositioning of the sprinklers and the electricity.
Mr. Helwig answered that the removal of the trees was Parks, Recreation and Forestry and the other work was Public Works.
Member Nagy wanted to make known that the catch basin at South Pointe on the north side of South Lake Drive looked like it was collapsing; it looked like there was a depression in the road. She wanted to state that she was really disappointed that they did all the work on taxpayer money on a private property, but the deed was done.
CM-04-09-355 Moved by Nagy, seconded by Lorenzo; To accept the Drainage Easement from South Pointe Condominium for the amount of $1.00.
Voice Vote on CM-04-09-355 CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY
Member Lorenzo wanted to state for the record that it was $1.00 plus the expense of the asphalt for the six parking spaces and the time of our DPW and our Department of Parks, Recreation and Forestry to go out and do the work. She thought that it needed to be said for the record that in all actuality that they spent more than $1.00. In the future, they would like this information brought to Councilís attention as soon as administrators were made aware of it.
D. Acceptance of streets and utilities in Haverhill Farms Subdivision 1 & 2 from the Homeowners Association and adoption of Act 51 New Street Resolution for Kingswood Boulevard, Kingsley Lane, Paisley Circle, Kingsley Court and Chatsford Street.
Member Lorenzo removed this because she didnít see anything in this packet relating to the conditions of the roads that we were about to accept.
Mr. Pearson stated he would assemble it and bring it back.
Member Lorenzo agreed, that unless the roads were in good condition, they certainly didnít want to accept roads and then come to realize that itís a pacer two or three and we needed to go in and revamp them all.
CM-04-09-356 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Landry; To postpone Acceptance of streets and utilities in Haverhill Farms Subdivision 1 & 2 from the Homeowners Association and adoption of Act 51 New Street Resolution for Kingswood Boulevard, Kingsley Lane, Paisley Circle, Kingsley Court and Chatsford Street for additional information.
Voice Vote on CM-04-09-356 CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY
G. Approval of Claims and Accounts Ė Warrant No. 680.
Member Lorenzo removed the warrant specifically for the City Attorneyís bill. Under nonlitigation, there were a number of new fees that she had never seen there before: prepare fees at $21 each. Ms. Smith-Roy advised her that this used to be in the escrow the applicants were paying; now it appeared to be in our General Fund expenditure.
Mr. Fisher answered that he did not know what the line item was, but that his assumption was that it was a form that they were preparing to be utilized in the future.
Member Lorenzo said that it was her understanding that this was a form utilized when preparing the fee for a project to let the City know what it was going to cost the applicant. From what Ms. Smith-Roy told her, that used to be borne by the applicant; now it was obviously on our General Fund account. She stated that from her perspective, she would like to see all of the $21 fees, which were numerous and which were being charged to the General Fund at this point, go back to the escrow account for the applicant.
Mr. Fisher answered that he would have needed to have this information in advance so he could look at it and see what it was and talk to whoever did it.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry suggested that they approve everything except the $21 fees.
CM-04-09-357 Moved by Lorenzo; seconded by Capello; To approve everything except the $21 fees in Warrant No. 680.
Voice Vote on CM-04-09-357 CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY
Ms. Smith-Roy stated that it would be their preference if it were just deducted on the next payment or applied the $21 fees, because the check had already been made. She said that she didnít want to hold up other payments.
Mr. Fisher stated that a motion to reconsider needed to be made.
CM-04-09-358 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Landry; To reconsider the previous motion to approve everything except the $21 fees in Warrant No. 680.
Voice Vote on CM-04-09-358 CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY
CM-04-09-359 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Landry; To approve Warrant 680 subject to deducting the $21 fees and applying them in the appropriate locations.
Voice Vote on CM-04-09-359 CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY
MAYOR AND COUNCIL ISSUES
1. John Richards Ė Member Nagy
Member Nagy asked when Mr. Richardsí company did not provide the silt screening for the catch basin, there clearly was debris that went into the catch basin. She wanted to know who was responsible for cleaning that. She was talking about Autumn Park on White Pines; she brought it up last week.
Mr. Helwig knew what she was talking about. He would have to follow up on that and see what was happening.
2. Memo regarding Activities of Novi Police Department Ė Member Nagy
Member Nagy asked why this volunteering of Novi personnel to other departments but not emergency had been discontinued.
Member Nagy stated that it came from Deputy Chief Rasmussen in a memo dated August 10th. It says activities Novi officers have participated in outside of the City of Novi in the past 24 months: Northville High School graduation in Plymouth Township; Northville Fourth of July parade; Woodward Dream Cruise; Special Olympics Torch Run from Novi to Berkley. Then there was contracted overtime for the past 24 months, which she didnít see any of these things in there. Then it said the volunteering of Novi personnel to other departments but not emergency events has been discontinued. Her question was why.
Chief Shaeffer answered it was an issue raised and discussed with Mr. Helwig.
Mr. Helwig was made aware of these out-of-community activities going on which takes officers out of the community. We had struggled through a budget session trying to get additional personnel hours out on the street; that message was made clear by Council in terms of not only rank and file but frontline supervision, so discussing with the Chief, he thought this was triggered by the Fourth of July Parade in Northville, which just made no sense to him after all the struggles they had been through in trying to get more personnel serving our community and then at his initiative this list was compiled. Mr. Helwig thought he should send it out to Council so Council was aware of it, because he certainly was not.
Member Nagy asked, using Northville Fourth of July Parade as an example, if they got overtime.
Chief Shaeffer replied that they had not paid them overtime for those types of things.
Member Nagy stated that the reason she asked the question was that there were a lot of people who lived in Novi whose kids went to Northville who attend that Fourth of July Parade, and actually theyíre paying their tax dollars. The other thing, too, was that she had seen it before when the officers were using the Fourth of July Parade as training for crowd control for new people. She thought that because they had Novi residents who attended Northville Schools and go to that; she didnít think that was such a big deal, quite frankly.
Member Gatt said he didnít understand why we would want the City of Novi Police Department patrolling and protecting the City of Northville.
Member Nagy answered because some of the people whose kids go there to Northville Schools had asked.
Member Gatt said that they pay school taxes, they donít pay the City taxes; they donít pay for our police department.
Member Nagy stated that the people who live in Novi whose kids go to Northville School District, they pay City taxes. It was just a question she had of the Chief; he gave her the answer.
3. Email received from Mr. and Mrs. Young Ė Member Nagy
Member Nagy stated that she thought they all received an email from Mr. and Mrs. Young who live on Galway at the corner of Foothills Court and Galway; she wondered if the administration received this and if there was any answer to rectify the situation.
Mr. Helwig answered that they were definitely going to rectify the situation. He said that they had since received information from the engineering firm regarding this. He said that theyíve placed calls to the residents; they want to make it right. He said that there were major differences of opinion as to how we got to where we were now. He said weíre trying to get a call back from the resident to make it right and not to go through the who did what to whom and when, because we were getting a lot of that from the folks who had been working out there in response to this. Mr. Helwig stated that we wanted to correct it.
4. Right of Way Permits Ė Member Nagy
Member Nagy stated that this was just a question she had when talking about employees and attrition. She wanted to know who was now issuing right-of-way permits and asked if it was a function of engineering.
Mr. Pearson answered that Ben Croy was doing that.
Member Nagy stated that he was a regular engineer and was qualified.
5. Maintenance of Thoroughfares and City Hall Ė Member Capello
Member Capello stated that he was not criticizing any department or administration and as a Council member for a couple of years, he was taking responsibility for what was going on out there. Coming into our City Hall main entrance, he mentioned that last year they had repaired some of the failing paving blocks that were out there. But he stated that the concrete was chipped up, there wasnít a single flower in the flower bed and then we come in and hold these developers to the highest standards we could possibly do; it was an embarrassment. He had the opportunity to go over to Troy and Sterling Heights and it was beautiful. We probably were not allocating enough money budget-wise; we needed to do something. He said that he wasnít criticizing them, but driving down Grand River, we had a new street and new sidewalks and the small area between the street and the curb; he was sure that most of that was the responsibility of the property owner but there were some areas that had two feet high weeds. He said we needed to do something to take charge. On Twelve Mile Road you could still see the difference between Farmington Hills to Novi in who the medians were taken care of and manicured and plantings, flowers and that type of things. We had a lot of money here and weíre putting a lot of money in; we needed to maintain what we were doing. He was asking Mr. Helwig to tell Council what he needed.
Mr. Helwig thanked Member Capello for identifying some problems. He stated that they had removed a lot of the failing panels of concrete, last year and added the arc of more tree plantings and grass out there. He said that they had asked Mr. Klaver to develop a plan and they had walked it with Mr. McCusker to remove some of the other panels before they went in to replace more out there, to put more greenery in the entranceway. Originally, that was thought to be a plaza gathering place and over time that really has not materialized, so we will be coming back to Council to enhance that. He stated that we would need some maintenance funds to do that.
Mr. Helwig stated that in terms of Grand River Ė he was so frustrated. He had been avoiding Taft Road and now itís open and now he was using Grand River again. Weíre going to talk to the Road Commission about this; the contractor needed to come back in and get grass growing in those tree spaces. He stated that they never restored it this spring after last yearís construction. On Twelve Mile we had been getting lots of compliments on how it looked. What had happened recently with the dryness was that the part east of Novi Road was not irrigated, so that dryness of grass was starting to show. He thought that one of the decisions in the future would be the remaining funds from SAD 155, did you want to apply that to irrigation there, do you want to apply it to aboveground landscaping other than grass there. He mentioned that they had been receiving a lot of compliments in the areas that were irrigated farther east and then west of Novi Road in terms of their appearance.
Member Capello told Mr. Helwig to let them know if he needed anything.
6. Target Certificate of Occupancy Ė Mayor Pro Tem Landry
Mayor Pro Tem Landry asked Mr. Pearson, from his memo of September 8, 2004, if what was needed for a permanent certificate of occupancy were closing documents and wetland mitigation. He asked what closing documents, what wetland mitigation and do we expect that it would be completed by December 31, 2004, when the temporary certificate of occupancy expired.
Mr. Pearson answered that there were three items identified; they were: the maintenance bond, up-to-date title policy with subordination agreement and a sedimentation detention basin maintenance agreement which typically came to Council for consideration.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry asked if they expected to receive that by December 31, 2004.
Mr. Pearson answered, as with all of these follow ups they were trying to juggle, it was their full expectation to make Target aware of these and start putting more pressure on in terms of financial guarantee, just like we had with Meadowbrook Town homes and others where we threatened their financial guarantee if they didnít come up with the paperwork or the work to be completed. He said that he would add that on and work over the next three months to make sure we try to get those in.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry asked if they were waiting for them to present us with drafts of these documents so we could have our administration and legal counsel review them.
Mr. Pearson answered yes.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry stated that, if he understood his comments as listed to Council, you would indicate to them if they did not get those documents in time to completely review them by December 31, 2004, we were going to start executing on some bonds.
Mr. Pearson stated that it would be our recourse unless counsel advised otherwise. He said that as Mayor Pro Tem Landry identified, the paperwork was something that needed to come from them as an agreement that they present and we sign off on, so taking their money isnít as effective or straightforward as completing the wetland mitigation work which, there was in the material we provided a longer list; we wonít go into that. That was something where we could go onto the property and under the right circumstances complete the work; it was a little different than the paperwork.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry asked if we truly thought that they would complete this wetland mitigation by December 31, 2004.
Mr. Pearson had not been told by the reviewing agency, in this case it was JCK, that there was any reason that it could not be done. He hated to promise that they would but again would take the interest of the Council to them and tell them that they needed to get after this and get their people going on this.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry asked, given the understanding from JCK that it could be done, what would the game plan be if it was not done.
Mr. Pearson replied that if it was not done, the City would give due notice, as they did in the Meadowbrook Town Homes case, and say that the City would complete the work and would use their money to do it. The two caveats on this one were that the wetland work was off of the Target property; itís on the Landon property, part of the total Novi Promenade site. The second thing, as with anything when threatening to do the work yourself, you were buying the problem, that was to do the work hiring the contractors and being responsible for the follow-up and going on someoneís private property and doing the work. He said that we could do it; it was just not as easy as doing it.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry wanted to know if this was something that would first be brought to Council for them to make the decision on or would the administration make the decision on these.
Mr. Pearson answered that if we followed the same course as with Meadowbrook Town Homes it would be an administrative action in enforcement of this case, that was his reference, that they would just have to come back to Council, it was just administering it. He said that the only caveat would be we would want to stay close and report back by November 1st as to the status of both of these documents so that the City Council could be made abreast of what was going on and what developments, what communications had been made with Target and what responses and what our expectations were.
Mayor Csordas asked if there was consensus on that.
Member Lorenzo thought we should give them one month. She said her suggestion would be to put them on notice now, give them their 30 days, allow them to come back within the 30 days and say they were making a firm commitment to do it; here weíve got the company lined up, so and so. Or else just tell them that weíre going to get a company and that in 30 days if they did not comply, we would go out to bid for a company to do the mitigation.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry replied that the reason he stated November 1st was that he would like to give the administration an opportunity to deal with Target and he was not so sure what he would do. He stated that there was a consent judgment to deal with and, as Mr. Pearson said, there was a lot to bite off, that it was easier said than done to say we would just go in and execute on their bonds, so he would like to give the administration an opportunity to tell them City Council was seriously looking at this, that they were tired of waiting, it was too long, they wanted to see something done, and then come back to us and we can decide whether to execute on the bonds.
Mayor Csordas mentioned that it was only two weeks past the 30 day notice.
Member Paul stated that a lot of the comments that Mayor Pro Tem Landry and the previous speaker spoke of, she agreed with. She said there were many issues that had been going on and she thought that was why they had a performance guarantee so that they had the exact information of why they would be aware as a Council why there was an extension and we would be kept abreast of that every six months. The second point she wanted to make was that this had been going on for almost four years; they have been open two years this October. Thatís a long time for someone not to complete what they were supposed to. She said that the consent judgment stated that Target must do the wetland mitigation, be it on their property or not.
Member Paul asked what in the consent judgment were the legal requirements for them to progress forward in Phase II and Phase III without completing the requirements in TC of O.
Mr. Fisher stated that his opinion on that was that if we could identify certain threats to the public health, safety and welfare that would provide a connection between those things that had not been completed and moving forward with the future phases that were otherwise independently approvable, then we would have something, if we could demonstrate that connection. He said that in the absence of that connection, he did not think we could hold them up on a future phase based upon certain things that werenít done in an earlier phase.
Member Paul stated that when it came to wetland mitigation that we did have a little bit of leg to stand on when it came to health and safety because the water that went downstream was eventually our drinking water. So, it was a stretch, but she stated that she did think that there was a health and safety issue if the wetland mitigation was not completed. More so was the length of time that it had taken them to complete this in the consent judgment. She never expected the administration to continue the extension; she was very surprised and very disappointed. She wanted to see whatever documents that would be helpful for Council to make some decisions on that, and maybe November 1st give Council some kind of legal opinion and how we could accomplish having them finish their requirements. She stated that she wanted to postpone any type of the phases until we get some legal opinion if this actually could or could not go forward.
Mr. Fisher suggested that to postpone future work would involve a lawsuit for sure. If we were postponing a future phase that was ready to go, you were talking about contracts, obligations and commitments that were worth hundreds of thousands of dollars that we would have to come forward and demonstrate something very critical as a basis for stopping them; he didnít think that we would have that on the basis of wetland mitigation.
Member Paul thanked Mr. Fisher and stated that she would be supporting Mayor Pro Tem Landryís motion.
Member Nagy stated that she would support Mayor Pro Tem Landryís motion but thought they needed to simply pressure these people into doing what they were supposed to do. She believed they could do that.
Mayor Csordas stated that he believed they had a consensus on that.
Karl Wizinsky, of 26850 Wixom Road, stated that the development company, the Promenade, would be coming before the ZBA next month for three variances for Samís Club. He understood that the City Council usually didnít have any influence on the ZBA, although this very board minus maybe one person did direct them to rescind something on behalf of his family. He thought that as a neighbor of Target, it was really inconceivable that a developer would come back and ask for variances for Samís Club when they had all these outstanding issues. He actually did want to add that, although Mr. Pearson believed there were only two things left to be done, there have been things that he had asked to be done for a very long period of time. Some had been done; we had a cement wall go up; no follow up, we did get brick on the wall. We had some additional plantings but, he had to tell Council that every time he looked out the door and looked at that and thought that it was 80 percent opacity in the winter and 90 percent in the summer, it was a joke. We were month from being at two years, and the opacity was terrible.
He stated that when they took out the silt screen this year, they cut the silt screen at the ground or they ripped it; he had silt screen buried; he would not take his tractor over that. In March when they took out the silk screen, we found out that the drain was too low; he had six memos to the building department about. That drain was still too low and backs up water onto his property. He couldnít tell how frustrating it was for him to have variances approved for the Novi Promenade with all the trouble that had gone on. It was really the follow-up on the City for what had gone on next-door to them had not been good. He stated that he would really appreciate whatever Council could do to get it done right as soon as possible. He noted that many Council members had raised children; if you had children and there were no consequences when you donít do something, you really had growing problems. You had to have consequences; he stated that he had seen no consequences next door.
There being no further business to come before Council, Mayor Csordas adjourned the meeting at 11:57 p.m.
Lou Csordas, Mayor Maryanne Cornelius, City Clerk
Transcribed by Sue Troutman