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SPECIAL MEETING OF THE NOVI CITY COUNCIL
COUNCIL CHAMBERS Ė NOVI CIVIC CENTER Ė 45175 W. TEN MILE ROAD
Mayor Csordas called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m.
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
COUNCIL: Mayor Csordas, Mayor Pro Tem Landry, Council Members Capello, Gatt, Lorenzo*, Nagy and Paul
LIBRARY BOARD: Bauer, Casey, Cutler, Margolis, Smith, Sturing, and Swope
ALSO PRESENT: Rick Helwig Ė City Manager
Brenda Evans, Library Director
Marcia Dominick, Administrative Assistant, Library
Mary Ellen Mulcrone, Assistant Library Director
*Member Lorenzo arrived at 7:01 p.m.
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
CM-05-03-080 Moved by Nagy, seconded by Paul; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve the agenda.
Voice Vote on CM-05-03-080 CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY
PURPOSE OF SPECIAL MEETING
1. Discussion of Library fundraising program.
Library Board President Margolis thanked Council for agreeing to have the joint meeting; she stated that the Library Board was very pleased to see on Councilís long-range goals a goal relating to the pursuit of a new library. She stated the Library Board was basically looking for a chance to meet and discuss how the Libraryís progress and goals related to Councilís goals and to see the opportunity for the two to work together.
President Margolis stated that she would go through a short presentation to be sure that everyone was on the same page in terms of knowledge of where the Library was and what it had been doing.
Ms. Margolis stated that the Library Board recently had a Strategic Planning Task Force that proposed a mission statement which was approved by the Board; the Novi Public Libraryís mission statement was that it provide the resources and programs to support the educational, cultural, informational and recreational needs of its diverse community. She stated that she was going to talk about the Libraryís goals, its services and its plan, as she went through the presentation.
President Margolis gave an overview of the Library Board; it was authorized by City Charter and it was a seven-member board appointed by the Mayor with the approval of Council. She stated it was not an advisory board to the Library but a governing board for the Library with fiduciary policy-setting and long-range duties. She stated that the Board members were a strong, diverse group in skills and a working board; it was their third meeting this week.
President Margolis stated that she would give a brief overview and then turn it over to Robert Cutler, Facilities Committee Chair, and to Rick Smith, Fundraising Committee Chair.
President Margolis stated that 87 percent of library funding came from local property taxes; that was pretty normal for libraries to have funding from property taxes. She stated that of the local tax dollar, 2.1 cents went to provide services to the Library. She stated that classes of libraries were based on population and that Novi was a Class 5 Library; Class 5 libraries served populations from 26,000 up to 49,999, so based on previous census and where the estimates were for Novi, the Library was actually on the high end and almost a Class 6 library. She stated that Novi fell in the middle for Class 5 libraries in per capita funding, even though it was on the larger end. She stated that it was a heavily used library. For instance, the average Class 5 library circulated about 212,000 materials a year, and Novi circulated about 320,000; average Class 5 libraries received about 26,000 reference questions and Novi received about 73,000. She stated that the other area that Novi excelled in was program attendance; the average Class 5 library program attendance was 6,300 and Noviís program attendance was about 21,000.
President Margolis stated that in terms of growth, the Library had paralleled the growth of Novi until about 1990; since that time, the population had really boomed and the Library had not kept pace with that; it was at about 23,000 square feet. She stated that space was really one of the issues for the Library. In terms of technology, Novi was a heavy user of technology; she stated that the wonderful thing was that Novi had kept up very well in terms of technology.
President Margolis stated that the Library Board set up a Strategic Planning Task Force to look at long-range planning and goals in terms of the services that the community needed and wanted. She listed six long-term planning goals:
President Margolis stated that one of the huge goals was facility planning and the need for more space for all of the services that were requested. She stated that the Library had a Facility Planning Committee that looked at that and made a recommendation to them based on the information from the Strategic Planning Task Force. She stated that the result of that was that the ultimate need at build-out for Novi would be in the area of 90,000 square feet; the Facilities Planning Committee decided to suggest a 60,000 square foot building be available and be built, with the capacity to build more as those needs increased over the years. She stated that Robert Cutler would take Council through the Facilities Planning Committee and some of its findings.
Robert Cutler stated that for Noviís population size, the Library should have approximately 50,000 square feet instead of the 23,000 square feet that it now had. He stated consultants worked with the architect to recommend 60,000 square feet for the current Library to hold its own, and by the year 2030, the Library would need an additional 30,000 square feet. He stated that the estimated cost to expand the current Library would be close to $19-million; the estimated cost for new construction would be $21-million.
Member Cutler stated that the Facilities Planning Committee put together advantages and disadvantages to both options. He stated that renovation and expansion, the Library would remain part of the municipal complex; it would be accessible to high school students; there was adequate space to expend and the construction costs were lower than for new construction. He stated that the disadvantages the project would require a phased approach, which meant closing down some programs for approximately two years; there was a great increase in vehicular traffic at the current site; there was increased exposure to health and safety issues during construction and a larger percent of project cost was dedicated to executing the project.
Member Cutler stated that with new construction, the proposed site would be at Eleven Mile Road and Beck Roads, the property allowed improved environment surrounding the building; it allowed the Library to plan a complete Library rather than try to shift things and make due; a smaller percentage of the project would be used to execute it and there would be a minimum of health and safety issues because the current Library would keep working until the new building was finished. He stated that the disadvantage would be the difficulty of working out an arrangement between the Library and the School Boards; the Library would be moving west and north, away from current population areas but somewhat closer to where some of the new growth in Novi was; and the cost of new construction was higher than renovation and expansion.
Member Cutler stated that in summary, the Facility Planning Committee found that there was an immediate need for 60,000 square feet and ultimately for 90,000 square feet as they approached the year 2030. He stated that the Committee concluded that the new construction offered significant advantages, in that the current site had some limitations where it was right now. The Committee was comprised of parents, previous members of the Library Board, and Novi residents and examined a number of options. He stated that the Library Board with due diligence offered to trade or exchange current library property for a similar valued piece of the Novi Community School District property located at Beck Road and Eleven Mile Road. In the event the Beck Road site proved impractical or not cost effective, the existing library should be renovated to 60,000 square feet with the option of expanding to 90,000 square feet in the future. He stated that a second floor could not be added without a number of structural changes; that was part of the problem. He stated that the Library board committed to a millage election in November 2005 or 2006 and to establish a timeline of activities necessary to accomplish that goal. Board Member Cutler stated that he would turn the fundraising over to Rick Smith.
President Margolis stated that Rick Smith was the Chairman for the Libraryís Fundraising Committee and would talk about that. She stated that the Facilities Committee suggested that the Library look at a millage election in 2005; the Board had quite a discussion about that and the importance of making sure that the Library really didnít split its efforts and make sure it was making progress toward things. She said the Board had some significant work to do in fundraising; that was why the Board actually amended that piece to really leave it open to focus on some other things in the short term and really establish that timeline.
Fundraising Chairman Rick Smith stated that he been on the Board since August 2004 and took over as the Fundraising Committee Chairman in October last year. He wanted to spend a little time to take Council through the activities that it had gone through to date and what the plans were for the remainder of 2005.
Fundraising Chairman Smith stated that the fundraising efforts were divided into two different focuses: independent fundraising activity and contracted fundraising. He stated that the Board was interested in engaging a professional organization to help in that effort, but until then, it was involved in independent fundraising. He stated that it was important to talk about the purposes of the two groups to understand how the tracks were working. He stated that the purpose of the independent fundraising was to promote awareness of the Walker Donation and the matching challenge to try to match the second $1-million that they offered in terms of matching funds that the Library could gather from the public over the remainder of 2005. He stated that the Board had a goal of 20 percent of the $1-million funds that it was trying to secure using several smaller events. He stated that the Board was trying to build early support for an eventual millage; they wanted people to understand the matching donation opportunity and to see an active group in the community working to make it happen.
Fundraising Chairman Smith stated that there was information on the Library website; the Friends of the Novi Library had launched a "Million Pennies" campaign; the Library staff had also kicked off a "Million Books" campaign. He stated that there had been a lot more focus on news stories in the Novi News to get the word out; and there was a Library banner regarding the Walker match.
Fundraising Chairman Smith stated that the Board had been engaged in building in April a "momentum" event to reach out to other potential fundraisers to gather people from the community together to get their interest in the campaign and to have them potentially sponsor events or fundraising efforts. He stated the Board was starting in-house marketing to spread the word that they will start to use in April. He stated that it hoped to have two or three additional fundraising events that the Committee itself organized throughout the remainder of the year. He stated that the Committee hoped to spawn off 5 to 10 events sponsored by other community groups such as the Lions or public schools.
Fundraising Chairman Smith stated that the purpose of the contracted fundraising was to raise 80 percent of the donations for the matching opportunity; he stated that it wouldnít stop at that point in time, but in terms of a goal for 2005, it was focused on raising the $1-million that would be matched. He stated that the opportunity was focused on one-on-one meetings with community leaders to secure five or six figure donations for the cause. He stated here it was a much more pointed effort; it was really where fundraising programs had the greatest opportunity to make big steps forward in terms of donations. He stated that naming opportunities around the design of the Library could be presented so that people could get engaged in the vision and create a lasting legacy for them. He stated that another opportunity was to engage local businesses in contributions aimed at win-win scenarios for good will toward businesses in the community.
Fundraising Chairman Smith stated that activity to date, they had solicited bids in early 2004. He said they reviewed responses and then focused on one organization, C.C.S., to continue on through the process. He stated that the Committee had also reviewed the bid process with the City Finance Department to make sure that it was adhering to the processes that would be expected from the Library as it entered a contract. He said the Committee had developed a contract that was ready for review with legal counsel.
Fundraising Chairman Smith stated that the main step was to come to a decision on the building location. He stated that companies the Committee had talked to about helping the Library with fundraising had stressed that the success of the fundraising campaign, especially when it related to five and six figure donations, was around forming a vision. He stated that the Committee would settle any legal aspects of the contract and enter into an agreement to commence work in May.
Mayor Csordas asked for any questions or comments.
2. Exchange of thoughts regarding future Library facility.
Member Lorenzo stated that Council sent through the Task Force recommendations and asked if the Library Board adopted the recommendations as presented.
President Margolis stated that the only change that was made was the Task Force recommended that the Library Board commit to a millage election in 2005, and there was some extensive talk from the Board that it needed to make sure that it took care of a variety of activities, including the fundraising, and so added the section about the 2006 election.
Member Lorenzo stated that the goals of the Strategic Planning Task Force went in order 1-6.
President Margolis stated that there was some minor wordsmith changes done, but those were the goals and the order that they actually presented them to the Board.
Member Lorenzo stated that she wanted to preface all of the conversation; she said it was somewhat awkward and challenging discussion this evening. She stated that they were basically all there as volunteers with the best of intentions. She said that in terms of offering constructive feedback, it would be that her concern was the approach in terms of the fundraising being goal number five. She stated that in her own mind as a taxpayer, she would put as the number one goal to make sure that the services offered by the Library right now were maintained and that the Library maintain a facility for the public. Right under that, knowing that the time clock was ticking away, the fundraising would be the most important thing that the Board would focus on.
Member Lorenzo asked if the Library Board actually went to bid on a company to do the fundraising prior to actually receiving the money in May, 2004.
President Margolis answered no.
Member Cutler answered that he had used the words "early 2004"; he meant earlier than August 2004 before he was involved.
Member Lorenzo asked if it was after the donation was received.
President Margolis answered yes.
Member Lorenzo stated that the other observation that she would make, and she understood the catch-22 position that the Board was in because it had professional fundraising consultants telling it that before they could contract with the Board, they wouldnít feel comfortable doing that unless the Board had a specific plan to show its potential donors, but by the same token, the Board knew the clock was ticking. From her perspective, she would have thought the Board would have gone on two tracks; one towards the actual plan and the second doing all of the fundraising activities that the Board had just mentioned, aggressively pursuing those as soon as it received the money in May. Because 10 months have gone by and unfortunately, according to Kathy Smith-Roy, as of March 14, 2005, the Board had $10,558.14. She stated that it averaged out to just a little over $1,000 a month that the Library was taking in; if the Board kept on that track, the Library would have $9,000 by the end of the cycle to meet the challenge, for a total of $19,000. She stated that the fundraising goal was at least $200,000, so the Board had a significant challenge. She asked if the Board could meet that challenge within nine months; she thought it was starting to have a good plan if it aggressively pursued it.
Member Lorenzo asked if the Board had identified a millage number that it would be seeking.
President Margolis answered no; she stated that basically the conversation the Board had was not to set that goal in 2005, that the fundraising took precedent and once that was complete, the Board would have a better idea in terms of what the specific needs were.
Member Lorenzo stated that in terms of the millage, the fiscal impact analysis that was just completed told Council that as early as November 2006 the next City Council would have to go to the voters to ask to continue the 10.5416 that it had been working with. She wanted the Board to know that the City as a whole would be competing with the Library portion of it, possibly others such as road, parks and recreation, police and fire considerations.
President Margolis stated that was why the Board was so pleased to have this joint meeting, because it didnít want to be planning in isolation.
Member Lorenzo stated that the positive was that City taxes would be reduced within two years; the negative was that if the community wanted to continue to maintain what the City was doing today in terms of employees and services, the voters might be asked to maintain that level of millage.
Member Lorenzo stated that the other thing was the decision or indecision as to where the Library was going to be built, which went back to the fundraising efforts; if a fundraising firm told the Library that it must have a plan, she thought the Boardís indecision was paralyzing the fundraising, because until a decision was made, the Board couldnít go any further with that.
President Margolis stated that it was not so much the Boardís indecision; the Board was trying to move forward with the School Board and try to have conversations to get to a final point where it would decide to go with a second plan if the first plan wouldnít work.
Member Lorenzo stated that she would have done that sooner than later; she would have given a timeframe and make a decision in order to meet the challenge. She thought it would have put the Board in a better position had it made the decision already and much sooner.
President Margolis stated that the decision was also made in consultation with the fundraisers in terms of the amount of time they felt the Board needed to do a campaign. She asked Mark Sturing to fill Council in.
Member Sturing stated that when the Board talked to the professional fundraiser in mid-2004, they suggested the Library should have a four- or five-month intensive campaign, so the thought pattern was to have the intensive campaign early-on when the plans were less finalized, less identified and less circulated through the community or to do it more toward the end of the period after the plans had a fair amount of public comment and then the closer to the final product would be the time to have the massive public fundraising through the professional fundraiser.
Member Lorenzo agreed if there was luxury of time, but her concern was that there were nine months to go for the challenge; if the Library needed a five-month campaign, that basically gave the Board four months to actually do the fundraising.
Member Smith stated that the Board was probably two to three months behind the schedule that it was trying to be on when it was formulated in October of last year, due to a late opportunity around the property that then put the Board into another discussion, so the Board was reacting to that and focused on a main body of this fundraising. He stated that it was very difficult to imagine that a group of volunteers would come together and drive $1-million out of the community by having some dinners and pull people together, so it was important for the Board to have a plan and to work the plan and to be in more of a hurry to be successful than to be in a hurry to launch a bunch of events and get ahead of it, though the Board recognized a little frustration because people were aware of the thing that came up in May which had a time limit but the Board also felt it was important to build out the plans and have a vision for what it was doing. He stated that it had added some risk for the Library now over the last two months and he thought the decision that the Board had that they could probably be criticized on not making in the next month or so was if it couldnít come to a conclusion wit the School Board in the end of March early April timeframe, could the Board then back off and make a decision to stay where the Library was and proceed that way; that was the challenge.
Member Lorenzo stated that she had suggestions in terms of fundraisers: 1) ask parents of the story time students to donate $1; 2) bake sales from Brownies, Girl Scouts; 3) auctions, including community quilting which could be contributed to the auctions; 4) fashion shows; 5) home tours; 6) communicate with the public via the Library website. She had suggested that the Library Board minutes be placed on the website.
Member Gatt stated that he thought the marketing endeavor to date had been successful; people he talked to in his neighborhood donít know about the Walker gift or the matching fund and they may not read the Novi News or they may not go to the Library and see the endeavors. He stated that the Library needed to have a better plan to get the 50,000-plus citizens aware of what it was doing. He asked what the Boardís arrangement or contract with the professional fundraiser was; he had some experience with that in the police world. He stated that when the police hired a professional solicitor, the company kept about 85 percent of the donated funds.
Member Smith answered that it would be a fixed-price contract; it would not be based on the amount of money that the Library raised. He stated that they would be providing the Board a full-time manager of the fundraising campaign and then also other people within their organization, such as marketing people.
Member Gatt asked if they would do mostly phone solicitation.
Member Smith answered that they would be mostly focused one-on-one meetings with people in the community; he said there would be another element working with businesses, and he thought the Board could provide more detail around the actual contract and make that available to look at.
Member Gatt stated that he would like to see that.
Mayor Csordas stated that he thought direct mail would be far more productive; he said the Board could work with companies that provided it with a shell unit, the Board would design the produce and they would do a business reply card-type mailer and the Library had a list of 31,000 voters and ask for $50 to $100 or whatever. He stated that the one-on-one stuff wouldnít work unless you talked to wealthy people. He didnít know how much the Board would pay the firm to make recommendations but the Board didnít need to pay a firm to have help with direct mail.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry commended the Library Board for the presentation and the thought that had gone into it. He commended the Board for its prioritizing fundraising before millage-seeking; he stated you were ultimately in a better position when you ultimately went to the public if the Board had raised a portion of the money itself. He also commended the Board on the Eleven Mile Road property thought; he stated that idea was brilliant. He stated that the vision the Board had was a large one and it should be large. He stated that the Board had to build a Library for 75,000-80,000 people; he stated that it should go for a first-class library, not a cheap one. He had a suggestion: donít focus solely on a millage; there were other alternatives. He suggested the development community; look at the Singh Trail that was essentially given to the City by a developer who wanted a little something and in return gave a little something. He stated that Lyon Township had recently done that; they worked out a settlement and received an entire Library building from a developer in exchange for a PUD. He stated that if the Board did not let the development community know that was what you wanted, they would never offer it to Board.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry stated that the Board should keep the Walker challenge in perspective. He stated that the Library was given $1-million and had the offer of another $1-million if the City raised $1-million. He said if the Library didnít raise $1-million, all was not failed in this. He said it was not the end of the world; everyone wanted to push to get the $1-million, but keep pushing because Novi needed a Library.
Mayor Csordas stated that he knew a company that could put those pieces in the mail and deliver them for 68 cents each, so youíre looking at $21,000.
Member Nagy commended the Library Board in the excellent presentation; she knew a lot of work had gone into it. She asked if the Library did not raise $1-million to match the $1-million, the $1-million goes away, right?
President Margolis answered no, the Library had $1-million in its bank; that was theirs. She stated that there was an extra million that was available that was matching.
Member Nagy stated that she agreed with Member Gatt that people didnít know about it; she thought the readership of the Novi News was only 5,000 people. She thought the Mayorís suggestion about direct mailing was wonderful; she thought the Board should contact David Staudt of Parks and Recreation because he had a company and the Board could maybe get a discounted rate. The Board could get the names of all the voters from the City Clerk on a disk. She could understand the logic of what the Board had been doing, but she thought the fundraising was especially important because it would get people excited. She stated that all the people who participated in the summer program should donate $10 per person, unlike Member Lorenzoís $1 per person.
Member Nagy stated that one of her goals as a City Council member was to have a farmerís market at Fuerst Farm; however, she asked if that property was looked into for the Library.
President Margolis answered that it was owned by the City. She stated they did not have an issue in terms of space; she stated the renovation and expansion could go on there without even that additional property. She stated that it was the issue of being on that one property and doing those kinds of phase things.
Member Nagy asked if the Board had traffic concerns.
President Margolis answered that in order for the Library to build on that property, they couldnít build all new on that property. They would have to build a piece, move into that piece, then renovate the old Library and move back; the costs and time associated were major factors in saying was there a Greenfield piece that the Library could possibly work out. She stated that the High School was at the Libraryís backdoor; rather than build a whole new Library and then have the School Board in six months state that it could have used it, the Board decided to pursue the issue with the School Board.
Member Nagy stated that she strongly agreed that the Board should not only approach the development community but also the Chamber of Commerce. She stated that last time there was a Library issue that failed, no one had a visual, no rendering whatsoever; she suggested that the Board should have a visual when it went to millage.
Member Paul stated that she agreed with all of the comments; she thought visuals were important and that the userships should really be hit. She stated that Maryanne Cornelius, City Clerk, stated that at Rotary meetings they had fun things to do, such as Bob Gatt had a gray tie with diamonds on it, so he had to pay $1; Member Nagy and Member Lorenzo had red hair and had to pay $1 each. She said that they earned quite a bit of money in that way. She stated that was something that Friends of the Library could do; she really wanted to see the Friends try to meet the money that they could have as an opportunity. She thought the voters would be much more appreciative if the Library said it had $3-million.
Member Capello stated that given the time, he would pass.
President Margolis stated that the Board appreciated the input; she wanted to put it out that in the evening on April 30th, the Library had an event to get community groups involved in the effort. There would be a chance to look at the current Library and see the services it had and the services it would like; she said there would be opportunities to be part of the volunteer effort.
Member Paul stated that when the City had acreage that was south of the High School that it donated to the School, it was done in a relatively quick manner. She stated that she was a little bit disappointed that the School had not had a definitive answer. The City gave the Schools that without anything in condition. She stated that she would at least like an answer for the Board; she thought that the Administration could help a little bit there. She said it was not fair that the City was asked to give 40+ acres, ask nothing in return, and could not even get an answer for the Library Board.
Member Nagy stated that there was a list at the Novi Homeowners Association that could be sent out to every association person to be taken to the meetings for fundraising.
Mayor Csordas thanked the Library Board and members of City Council for taking the time to come this evening.
AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION - None
There being no further business to come before Council, Mayor Csordas adjourned the meeting at 8:02 p.m.
Lou Csordas, Mayor Maryanne Cornelius, City Clerk
Transcribed by Sue Troutman
Date approved: April 4, 2005