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SPECIAL MEETING OF THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF NOVI
Mayor Landry called the meeting to order at 10:00 a.m.
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
ROLL CALL: Mayor Landry, Mayor Pro Tem Capello, Council Members Gatt, Margolis, Mutch, Nagy-absent*, and Paul
*Member Nagy arrived at 10:08 a.m
ALSO PRESENT: Clay Pearson, Interim City Manager
Kathy Smith-Roy, Finance Director
Matt Lyons of the Creed Development Group, was present representing Dr. Robert Peterson. Mr. Lyons said Dr. Peterson was inquiring about a possible sale, or consideration of a sale, of the Fire Station at the corner of Eleven Mile and Beck Road. Mr. Peterson would like to purchase the property and use it as his doctorís office. Mr. Lyons said if Council would consider this the proposal was on the letter that he had handed out. If there are any further questions he would be available.
Mayor Landry said historically the first budget had been an informational type meeting. The City Mayor would go through a summary of the entire budget, and then City Council members would each give their likes, dislikes and general comments on the budget. They would also ask information. Mayor Landry noted there would be another budget session April 30th, and in the interim he was sure Council members would want additional information. Historically, the first budget session was not a session where motions were made. Motion could be made and thatís an option. Mayor Landry said the first meeting was to gather information and then most motions are made at the second meeting.
The budget document had been given to Council, and if no motions were made that would be the document that would be considered, and required five votes to pass. Council would be able to remove, add or change items in the budget, and would take four votes to change the document. It would take five votes to implement the document.
PURPOSE OF SPECIAL MEETING Ė 2006-2007 CITY OF NOVI BUDGET
Mr. Pearson began by thanking everyone for putting together the entire budget document. He listed the City of Noviís strengths, quality of education, great location, sound infrastructure that is being enhanced through roads and water and sewer improvements, excellent public safety for neighborhoods, schools and businesses, powerful retail magnet including Nordstromís, high tech office opportunities including medical office and research with Providence Hospital, dynamic and diverse population., green community boosting parks, woodlands and wetlands.
b. 2006/07 Budget Overview
Mr. Pearson said the budget was balanced fiscally and financially. The revenue was $32.65 million, and the City maintains a 14% Rainy Day Fund. General Fund revenues account for 65% of the budget. He noted the City would maintain the 10.6514 mills, and there was no Headlee amendment necessary in this budget. He said public safety was where the majority of the Cityís funds were expended, and $5.28 million was earmarked for the Rainy Day Fund. They were recommending a million dollars be allocated to the Retirees Health Care, and last year there was $260,000 put into that fund. There was a one time allocation to Ice Arena to write off the debt they, and they were looking for self sufficiency for the ice arena. There was also an allocation for negotiations to include Administrative and union employees. Water and Sewer Funds are operational funds and are self sustaining. The proposed library expansion and how that would fit into the City was included in the overall budget, including cost sharing. The Drug Asset Forfeiture Fund has received $3.64 million, and an additional $3 million was still expected. Mr. Pearson said suggestions were made to utilize the funds for marked and unmarked vehicles. However, he was suggesting they hold off on expending those funds until the report was received from WOLD that Council had just approved.
c. 2006/07 Budget Highlights and Priorities
Mr. Pearson commented they tried to formulate these around different areas that could reinforce our strengths. He noted, regarding technology, the have a good track record of implementing technology solutions, and once implemented they are very valuable to the City. He advised Council they would like to do a voice system for Building permits, reinitiate the PC replacement program, and was suggesting funds to rewire and upgrade the wiring at the Police Department. Mr. Pearson said they want to build on the success of the past. The 2000 Road Bond ran out last year, but for 2006 construction there were enough savings from other road projects to do the full $1.5 million in neighborhood road construction. They were asking Councilís consideration to fully fund neighborhood roads in 2006 for $1.5 million, and provide the $200,000 for engineering design for next yearís program. There were four sidewalk locations, which are becoming more of a priority and material was in Council packets on this item. Mr. Pearson said performance measurements and enhancements and staff development. He said the people in this organization do the work, and he thought they should have the resources needed to do the job, and to measure and report on how weíre doing that job. He suggested undertaking a community survey to determine what the residents thought was important, in terms of level of service and what they would pay for those services. Mr. Pearson noted they were strongly asking Councilís support for implementing an employee assistance program. He said it was a relatively small investment that could provide big dividends for all of our employees. It would be an entirely confidential service for referrals and helping people with workplace or out of workplace stresses, and things that come up in life.
Mr. Pearson said quality economic development probably gets to the core of enhancing our strengths, and they were suggesting a marketing piece besides what we already have. It would be something that could be circulated and/or left at gatherings so that people could take it with them if interested in coming to Novi.
They were suggesting that Council set aside funds for Building Department assistance for when the time comes and the report authorized was back so resources are available to meet the demands of our growing City. Mr. Pearson said the wetlands and woodlands maps, that are used everyday, are very much out of date and an allocation was needed to update them.
He commented they wanted to maintain the City facilities that we have, and live up to the expectations we put on others to maintain their buildings and property. The Civic Center needs upgrades, such as elevator, parking lot lights, fire safety alarm, seating in Council Chambers. The chiller was obsolete and they canít get the refrigerant for it anymore. He also suggested an architectural analysis of the Fire Station to have a plan for growth and moderation.
Regarding fleet management there was equipment in the budget for Public Works; a fire pumper was needed and was part of a scheduled replacement. Also, recommended for Park and Recreation, was a senior van, and for the Police Department a second canine vehicle. He said regarding Emergency Management Preparedness, we have citizen volunteers that are being training to staff comfort stations, thereís a CERT Committee, emergency response team program available that would give residents some of the actual bags of equipment and supplies needed for an emergency. They were also suggesting the replacement of the Self Contained Breathing Apparatus, 40 Units for fire fighters, and a training center and firing range at the Police Department when the architectural analysis was received in June.
Capital Improvements would be roads and utilities and a series of water and sanitary sewer improvements to meet the demand and maintain service per the Master Plan. Roads, other than neighborhood, the Novi Road link between Ten Mile and Grand River was scheduled for construction. Mr. Pearson said they were also recommending funding for northwest ring road connection in the core Novi/Grand River area, including land acquisition and design update. There are funds for 11 Mile Road improvements such as the culvert west of Meadowbrook Road, and for Haggerty Road and Taft Road improvements. Also, there was funding recommended to implement the Master Plan for sedimentation control, drainage improvements and a significant investment for capital improvements into our Parks and Recreation facilities. Community Sports Park needs a storage facility and ball field improvements for one more in field. Then finally to try to make a dent in the work that needed to be done at Power Park, with phase 1 funding with the basics of fencing, lighting, irrigation and infield.
The budget also provided a list of unfunded projects, and, in the blue book, there was material regarding fee increases for cost recovery.
Mayor Landry thanked Mr. Pearson, Kathy Smith-Roy, and every member of the Administration for the time and work that had gone into the budget document.
2. City Council discussion and decisions regarding the plan priorities:
Mayor Pro Tem Capello thanked Mr. Pearson for the fine budget put together by his team. Regarding the CIP request, blue book, of $75,000 for a new fire alarm for Civic Center he wanted to know how it would function. Mr. Pearson explained there was an electrical situation that caused us to clear out the building, and then it was a search to find out where the problem was coming from. If it was a modern system zones the alarms much better and gives multiple panels so when the department responds they know where to go to find the source of the alarm. Also, the building doesnít have strobes, lighting, and siren for the hearing and sight impaired people, which would be required if it was a new building. Mayor Pro Tem Capello needs to find $340 to $400,000 to have what he wants put into the budget, so he would rather not fund or partially fund this year. Same page, next item, Parking lot lights replacement would be the Civic Center, and he would prefer, before putting any improvements into this parking lot or any in Powers Park, to see where theyíre at with the firing range and the training center, and what additional parking and lights would be required. Mayor Pro Tem Capello agreed with replacing the chiller. He noted the pumper rescue vehicle had a ten year life and it was now 14 years old and said $420,000 was a lot of money and he would rather budget that over a couple of years. He asked them to come back to Council and report how many times itís used, what for and the last time used. Mayor Pro Tem Capello also asked Mr. Pearson to come back to Council on the Self Contained Breathing Apparatus with a report on when the had to be used, and how important it was to purchase all 40 units at $175,000. There could be some of the units in every fire station. These are items currently in the budget.
Mayor Pro Tem Capello said under Parks, Recreation and Forestry, the sound system for the Civic Center, which was not in the budget, would be $30,000, and Administration had told Council it would be a savings of $25,000 of that within the next year and a half. He felt that it was needed now, given the fact that money would be saved by not having to contract out sources would be a wise investment for this year. He favored forfeiture funds allocated to the fire arms range and training center. He would not agree with the Canine vehicle, and would rather have it included in the budget as he didnít want to use forfeiture funds for vehicle replacements. He moved on to Service Improvement requests, page 18 in the blue book, and said he wasnít sure about the Community Perception Survey. Page 28, Engineering -Scanning of as-built drawings, he wanted to pass that fee back to the developers. He asked about planning interns for $15,000, and whether the City would benefit from that, or were we providing a community service. Mr. Pearson said it was more to get work done and provide for specific projects. Mayor Pro Tem Capello said if we are benefiting he had no problem with it. He felt updating environmental maps for $8,000 wasnít needed, as we had enough information to have a general idea of what to look for.
Blue book, Capital outlay requests regarding entryway signage proposed for $20,000. He thought a strong effort was needed to sell Novi. Our signs really donít indicate that youíre entering Novi. He thought they needed to redo all the signs and landscape them. They should be at the expressway exits, the Expo entrances. He wanted to allocate the money this year, and didnít feel $20,000 was enough, and that it would be $60,000 to $100,000. Under Fire -Confined Space Communications and Cold Water Rescue Suits and craft, he thought they must be something they are using now. He asked for a report at the next budget session on when these items were last used and how often to Council on when we utilized them last and how often. Under Parks, Recreation and Forestry, he asked when the Singh Trail was scheduled for completion. Mr. Pearson said last year, but would be completed this year and we have already been paid for that. Vehicle requests, Mayor Pro Tem Capello said he didnít want to use forfeiture funds for the canine unit. Mr. Pearson said that was recommended out of State funds and Mayor Pro Tem Capello said that was fine, but not out of Federal funds. Next, all funds line item details. Page 19, Conferences Ė Planning, he had no objection to $11,100 for conferences. He asked about $141,000 in overtime for the Building Department, and page 17, $223,000 for DPW overtime and he asked Mr. Pearson for a report back on what the cause for overtime was. The Police overtime was $400,000+ and some of it was reimbursed through grants and others. He asked how much was reimbursed, and if there was a way to cut back. Kathy Smith-Roy said they broke out the overtime that was reimbursed on separate line items. This overtime includes everything from working holidays, to court dates and standby, training, and emergency call in. Mayor Pro Tem Capello, page 21, asked if work was being done on the Meadowbrook Bridge over I-96. Mr. Pearson said no, just maintenance to keep what we have. Page 25, Bike Trails and Sidewalks Ėhe said it looked like they were doing just a couple of very small gaps and asked how they got to the $365,000+? Mr. Pearson said, in the white book, they were recommending locations including gaps on Ten Mile, Nine Mile around Thornton Creek School, near Ice Arena Drive, and on Meadowbrook near Penton Rise, and what private development had done all the way to Ten Mile Road. Mayor Pro Tem Capello asked them to take a look at the sidewalk west of the Civic Center on 10 Mile on the north side, because if that gap could be bridged we would be close to having sidewalk from Novi to Beck on the north side. Then continue on Ten Mile west of Mockingbird, the two homes that went in should be required to put in their sidewalk. Once the sidewalk was all along 10 Mile, it would connect with the Singh Trail. Blue book, Page 27, All Funds Line Item, Power Park- he felt that no money should be put in there this year. It needed a lot of work but he assumed it was used more by non-residents than residents. Since itís unknown where the firing range and training center would be located and what parking requirements there would be, we might have to take out one of those fields for the training center, and then focus on Power Park. Mayor Pro Tem Capello didnít see anything budgeted for retirees cost of living increase. If they had an increase this year, with no pledge for future years, it would cost $60,000 for just this year, and he would like to see that in the budget. This would give retirees a 3.4% increase for the next year with no pledge for future yearly increases.
Lastly, Service Improvement Requests, page 13, He was not in favor of hiring any new full time employees, except he was glad to see that the City Manager put in an Economic Development coordinator. He thought they needed to market Novi and to do that they would need someone dedicated to economic development. He wanted to see a supervisor in charge of Building and Planning combined. When a developer comes in with a new project, he thought they should start with a person geared to development, who would not get detailed with planning and building code issues. Someone was needed with a wider vision saying we want you in our City, and we would make this work, and then that person would take control of the Planning and Building Departments as a whole, follow the process, and make sure that it works. Mayor Pro Tem Capello noted that the year would be half gone by the time a new City Manager was on board, so it should be a $45,000 fee for a half year instead of the $90,000. Also, he doesnít see anything in the budget to do the Planning Department study. Mr. Pearson said that just came up this past Monday. Mayor Pro Tem Capello suggested $20,000 or so would be needed, and he wanted to see that in this budget.
Member Mutch stated Council was there to apply what they felt was in the best interests of the citizens. One thing that struck him was how well we are financially as a City, and we are fortunate, which gives Council more options. Secondly, he thought the overall objectives were as a City Council needed to spend resources wisely, but never more than needed. As long as weíre providing the services, and making investments in the community he believed they were meeting the needs of the residents. Investments needed to be made and there are capital and long term costs that need to be funded to ensure that Novi would continue to be financially successful. One of the things he would focus on was the millage rate, and he didnít feel the General Fund millage needed to be increased this year as proposed. The overall millage rate would remain constant, but an increase from 4.68 mills in the General Fund to 4.8 was proposed. He thought looking at the growth in the Cityís tax base, which has doubled in the past ten years, the fact that the City hasnít had a Headlee rollback last year or this year, which meant the City was capturing all the dollars coming in from new growth. He felt the City was in a position to give a small tax relief to the residents without cutting services, and still make the investments in the community that need to be made. He felt a millage reduction could be done in the General Fund millage to 4.6028, and based on the protections from the Fiscal Analysis and the current request for the Capital Improvement Program; he would be looking at a Drain Revenue Fund levy reduction that wouldnít impact the maintenance or capital projects. Regarding the millage reduction, he explained that as the overall millage rate had stayed the same the General Fund millage had increased over the last several years, the capacity, under the Charter, had eroded. The City Charter had the authority to levy 5.02 mills for General Fund without going to the voters. That capacity would be important for bond rating agencies look at that capacity because that was the Cityís ability to raise more money without going to the voters. So the larger the amount of millage remaining under the cap the more favorable the rating agencies look on the Cityís finances and it is important if the City needed to raise that money. Also, Council had to recognize that there were a lot of people in the community that were struggling for many reasons and every dollar counts.
Member Mutch commented on the Fund Balance. The $1 million toward retiree health care costs, he agreed and thought it was important to pay down those legacy costs, but also thought it had to be balanced with other needs in terms of projects and reducing the millage. He said the million dollars was higher than he wanted to put in this year. He said under this budget year Council would fully fund this yearís current obligations plus a share towards the amount needed to reach that 70% to 80% funding goal. He felt that was a significant achievement without the million dollars. He proposed adding a lesser amount and use part of that $1 million to fund other projects. Ice Arena debt Ė He understood the desire to clean up the books, but when the Ice Arena was presented to the community it was to be self sufficient, and if we needed to make that investment to the community, they would pay it back. He said $694,000 from the General Fund to a single facility was a lot of money, and he would not support that. He suggested allocating a certain amount to them that they would set aside for a Capital Reserve Fund for items that come up, but not $694,000. He asked Ms. Smith-Roy about State Forfeiture Funds vs. drug forfeiture. She said there was approximately $120,000 to $140,000, and the entire canine program was funded from the State Forfeiture Funds annually. She said the revenue was not predictable, some years none, other years it was significant. She said the canine program ran $15,000 to $25,000 per year not including officers. Member Mutch said in the Local Road Program Maintenance asked the cost of doing overlays on Beck Rd. between 9 Mile and Ten Mile this year. Mr. Pearson said it was $35,000. He would look for a minimum overlay between 8 and 9 Mile on Beck was much worse. Council needed to address the entire length of Beck Road. He said with Providence coming in there is potential for significant economic development from Beck Road improvements. If nothing else was done Beck should be done between 8 Mile and 9 Mile.
Regarding Sidewalks, he wanted to look at the west side of Meadowbrook and north of Eight Mile. There are a couple short segments that needed to be completed because there was a significant amount of residential. Building Department costs, the study, building improvements, and staffing are not reflected in the budget. Mr. Pearson said there was $342,000 set aside out of contingency, but they do recognize it and there would be something there. Member Mutch asked if that would fully cover the cost. Mr. Pearson said they used the number Mr. Saven recommended initially, so thereís no reason to believe it wouldnít. Member Mutch asked where it was in the budget. Ms. Smith-Roy said it was in the Fund Balance and was approximately 16% rather than 14%, so they could cover the cost of patrol vehicles and unmarked cars. Member Mutch would like to see that broken out because it wasnít obvious. His position on the Drug Forfeiture Fund and Car Allocation was there was close to $700,000 in the Drug Forfeiture Fund that was not allocated, and he would like to see some of it allocated for vehicle replacement. The goal of that fund was to focus it on significant investments in the community such as paying down the debt, pistol range proposal, but he would like to see it used to fund capital costs. He agreed with the entryway signage. He thought they should look at how to get the developers into those locations to assist with getting those signs in, and the City would have to do some funding for that. While $60,000 was higher than he was willing to put in. He asked if the Tree Fund had enough to help with additional landscaping in the interchange areas. He asked Administration to put together some numbers on what a proposal for that purpose would cost, and then bring it back to Council.
Member Nagy agreed with Member Mutch regarding the landscaping at the interchanges and wanted to include I-96 and Novi Road. She also agreed that refunding something to the taxpayers was a good idea, and there would still be a very good budget. She noted she was not in favor of forgiving the debt for the Ice Arena. When it was built they were given 15 to 20 years to pay it back. She said this was paid for by the taxpayers, and the actual user was a small percentage of the taxpayer. She was not in favor of paying $1 million for retiree health care, and agreed with Member Mutch. When taxpayers are in City driving around, they want to know where their tax dollars are going, and the important part were the basic City services, and the largest usage taxpayers get are the roads. She too felt that Council needed to look seriously at Beck Road, and believed it could generate business for the City. She wanted money put back into the Road Fund. She said east of Novi Road, there were many neighborhood roads that needed to be repaired. She said regarding the reserve for the employee agreement when settled, she said there would be the Administration, and four groups and 200 employees, correct. Mr. Pearson said they are rough numbers, but it was the two groups mentioned, plus Fire Professional group, Police Command and Administration. She suggested taking money from the Water and Sewer Fund for some of the maintenance vehicles. Ms. Smith-Roy said the equipment and vehicles specifically related to the Drain Fund or Water and Sewer Fund are directly charged. Equipment utilized throughout the DPW department for all things, roads, drains and water and sewer are allocated through an accounting mechanism. She said they use the Act 51, which sets out rates for equipment, the employeeís the hours they spend and their hours on the equipment get charged back to the Water and Sewer and Drain Fund. Member Nagy said the departments were sorely lacking in equipment. She would be in favor of DPW and Fire department equipment needs. She thought funds were allocated for the Fire Department, but she felt they were still lacking equipment. Regarding the Library, she wasnít certain why they were sitting on their $683,000. Member Nagy wondered why it was not being used, because it was taxpayer money and it looked like they werenĎt using their operating budget. She asked why they didnít use some of that to generate matching funds. Drug Forfeiture Funds Ė She thought they should be used for the Police Department itself, and not for wish lists. They should be used for cars and capital improvements of the building. Money was not allocated for the replacement of windows, which would safe on energy bills. She asked about the voice system in the Building Department, and if it saved time why would another clerical person be needed. She was in favor of the Arc GIS and the computers, because they are vital. She thought the Router Patch Panel and wiring update to the police station could also be taken from the forfeiture funds. Member Nagy said regarding roads, she believed that maintained roads was something owed to the taxpayers. With regard to sidewalks, she wanted to make sure that going west on Haggerty on 10 Mile, she would like to connect Meadowbrook on the west side going north so that you can hook into the sidewalk that already exists on Ten Mile. Also, connect the gap on Nine Mile for the school. She agreed with Member Much on the 8 Mile north on Meadowbrook Road sidewalk. She was in favor of sidewalks. 2007 Engineering Program - she didnít want to allocate any funds for that as it was too soon. She thought Performance Measurement Enhancement of staff was important to update their knowledge. She believed updating the environmental map was important. The City facilities Ė She thought that the funds requested were good. They need to do these things. She said two of the parking lot lights fell off, and for safety, she would like them replaced. It is important to fix the elevator, fire safety to comply with the ADA. She felt if the Chiller was needed take care of it, because our residents use it and pay for it. Also, the Council Chamber seating should be replaced. She said she was a strong proponent of the architectural analysis and master plan for Fire Stations 1, 2, and 3. Last year Council was discussing the lack of facilities for the women fire fighters, the stations are in bad shape, and the Fire Department never got funded appropriately and they did provide a very important service to this community. Obviously, roof replacement is very important and she was all for that. Fleet Management and Parks and Recreation Equipment - She would like the City to build a secure facility first before buying equipment. She was for the senior van replacement. The Canine Forfeiture Funds should be used. She thought certification for volunteers was important. Regarding water and sewer, she thought they had already approved the Lannyís Road sewer. Mr. Pearson said this was to roll it over to the next year as construction was in 2006-2007. She was in favor of the Water and Sewer utilities. The storm water areas would be charged back to the Drain Fund and she was fine with that. Community Sports Park - She was in favor of completing the whole park. She asked what the naming rights would bring into the City and that might offset some of the costs. Power Park Ė She had mixed feelings about. She believed that was one of the parks that the adult baseball leagues use and it generates income so that might be a reason to do it. Mr. Pearson said both parks charge field rates. Member Nagy said her big concern was the Lake Shore Park shelter because the park was beautiful but the shelter was falling apart. She would look to repair the shelter first because then they would be done with that park. Again, she would look for naming rights to help with the park situation. Unfunded Projects Ė Member Nagy didnít want to see civil engineer in training as she didnít think another engineer was necessary.
Member Capello exited the meeting at 11:30 a.m.
She agreed with Member Mutch that they could be getting closer to asking the residents for a tax increase. She said she was in favor of the tax reduction and that they had the means to do it. She knew the Fund Balance was 16%, but even if they had 14% or 15%, she thought they could give it back to the taxpayer.
Council recessed at 11:32 a.m and reconvened at 11:45 a.m.
Member Paul began with Budget Highlights - She was in favor of the technology system and voice system for the Building Department and supported it. She asked if that would assist the Building Department. Mr. Pearson said it would help them hold the line in what they are doing now. Member Paul asked for an analysis of all the different functions of a field inspector and if they do something with ordinances, maybe that could be allocated to Neighborhood Services, so that some of their functions could be alleviated. She would like a general analysis of that department. She would like to hear from other members about someone buying Fire Station #4 at Beck and 11 Mile. She asked because there have been comments about a senior center, gun range, and the more buildings added, the more overhead there is. It would be a positive to take money in and possibly be able to free up the overhead expended. Computer Replacement Ė She asked what order and in what departments were computers being replaced. Mr. Pearson said they would be scheduled replacements, not by department but by oldest first. Member Paul asked about having computers in the field, implemented into the cars, so Neighborhood Services wouldnít have to come back to the building. She thought other cities did that, and asked if they could come back with that. Sidewalks Ė Her goal was to get sidewalks to aid children in getting to the schools, and she would like to continue looking at that. On 9 Mile, there are two gaps by Thornton Creek, which if completed would complete 9 Mile. One segment is to the west side of Thornton Creek, and one on the east side of Thornton Creek. Also, Cedar Springs was to the east of Taft Road, and to finish the 11 Mile sidewalk section would connect them to Taft Road and two elementary schools and the Meadows. The Meadowbrook sidewalk segments were good ideas also. The one on Meadowbrook on the west side between 9 and 10 Mile would help get a large amount of people to the center of the downtown area. Also, by Orchard Hills North there was a stretch that Mirage Development would put in and then a church and another empty space, and that would get towards Orchard Hills. If it went to the corner of Meadowbrook that would finish that 10 Mile segment. The sidewalk that Mayor Pro Tem Capello spoke about was from the Jamestown area to Taft Road on the north side of the street. It was completed on the south side to the High School. So, she would like to put in segments where there isnít completion on both sides of the road or by the school as a priority. She asked where the sidewalk was proposed on Ten Mile. Mr. Pearson said it was on the north side of 10 Mile between Homestead Court and Roma Ridge and a small portion on the south side next to Beck Road. 2007 Engineering - She asked what project the money was allocated for. Mr. Pearson replied it would be for the next round of neighborhood road that would include the next PASER ratings or next streets recommended, itís to get an additional five or six months start on designing that program. She said this is the money for the engineering projects of whatever neighborhood roads would be done. Member Paul stated she was in support of Performance Measurements and Training this year. She said last year Council saved $1.6 million in the Rainy Day Fund and asked if it was rolled over into this yearís Fund Balance. Ms. Smith-Roy said they begin with the actual Fund Balance from the audit and re-evaluate the revenue and expenditures based on the estimates for the current year to come up with the amount that is eligible to be reprogrammed. Member Paulís concern was not saving for next year, and she hoped they werenít looking for bonds. She said $4.6 million was allocated for Beck next year, and another $1 million two years out between Ten and 11 Mile. She wants to get the Economic Development on Beck Road to feed into the hospital. She wanted to make sure that the money was being put where the money was going to come in. People will come for the hospital, medical offices, supply companies, etc. and to aid that and bring in tax revenue was positive. She had suggestions for Beck Road and the whole road project in general. She asked when the last Community Perception Study was done. Mr. Pearson said this type was never done. He said any survey was 3-4 years ago prior to the adoption of the Master Plan. She asked for the number of surveys sent out and returned. What information did it give us and what was the cost of that portion of that study? She didnít want to do any studies that they canít implement and this one is bordering that. She asked when the Compensation Study was last done. Mr. Pearson said itís underway now, it was $8,000 and the Michigan Municipal League is embarking upon that. That money would be to have a pot of money so equity adjustments could be implemented for any positions out of kilter with external comparables. He said the study was done in 2000, and it was used for any subsequent equity adjustments, but this would be to update positions as the market had changed. She wasnít sure she would want to do that. She said if our employees are being asked to contribute and do more, why spend $20,000 on the study; why not allocate that to the employees. Economic Development Ė Member Paul thought they should only look at contractual people. Mr. Pearson said it would be part time or contractual. Regarding City Facilities, just in regard to the fire alarm system whatever the needs are of this group, anytime we are getting into ADA requirements it was important to aid anyone in need. The Civic Center lights are a must since 2 or 3 have already fallen, and with that kind of liability she wanted to take care of that and add decorative lighting and entryway signs. She requested down lighting not up lighting. She commented the chiller needed to be replaced, and a new roof for the fire station was needed. Council Chamber seats she could hold off on as most are ok, and there are a lot of meetings that they arenít even close to being full. Fire Station Analysis Ė She asked if there was an analysis done in the last ten years, and Council hasnít done anything with it, she didnít want to reinvent the wheel, report back to Council on what was already done. Fleet Management Ė Member Paul was fine with what was proposed, but would like an analysis of what money had been set aside in the police department. Ms. Smith-Roy said they currently show as line items within the police budget those items that are funded from other sources. For example, the LLEBG grants, the Bicycle overtime, are all listed separately. There was nothing that wasnít in the budget already. The Canine Funds are held in an escrow account and have been used for sonic vehicles, canine vehicles and the canine program, etc. Member Paul said there was a DPW master plan for $30,000; can that money come out of water and sewer? Ms. Smith-Roy said indirectly those costs do get charged back to water and sewer for overhead that shows up as a revenue item in the General Fund. Any costs that are not directly allocated do get charged back to the Water and Sewer Fund. Member Paul said a year ago $51,000 was allocated for the DPW, and this winter they built a portion to the DPW building. She asked if more office space could be added in that area, or would it require a second story. Mr. Pearson said short term there was some build out space available; areas are possible above the bays and decks. Long term this would give a plan for storage, vehicles and also the City owns land up to 11 Mile, so there might be some surplus land, but you wouldnít want to do that until we have the overall study. Water and Sewer Funds Ė She said the continuation of the Water and Sewer Study was $100,000, and since Council just did phase 1 in 2006, and we had some repair, some storm water leakage in that area, we have to buy capacity, and she didnít want to move on to the next phase until we do what had been recommended. She felt they should start saving some of this money. She felt there were many items related to studies that should wait until things were done. If we hold off on items 3 and 4, which are similar, then Item #5 for the pump replacement was $250,000, the Hilton pump station was $100,000. If Council held off on those two studies only $50,000 would have to be taken from that fund to pay for the entire thing, and get some of the equipment to communicate better with the DPW Department. Roads - Member Paul said under Grand River in one item it said $500,000 but in the message it said zero. She said thereís zero dollars we are allocating, but Oakland County has allocated money for engineering for that and itís only a very broad engineering for that road. Ms. Smith-Roy said she was correct. In the CIP they show both leveraged dollars and City dollars. The $500,00 is the leveraged dollars. She said we are not allocating any money in that for this year. Ms. Smith-Roy said no. She asked when this would be done because it was supposed to be 2006. Mr. Pearson said it was scheduled for right-of-way acquisition in 2006 and construction in 2007. He received a note and they are still planning on that to begin construction this winter. If that doesnít happen, Council had allocated that money from the road bond. Mr. Pearson said it would happen at some point as they are moving forward with ROW acquisition. She was looking at the possibility of switching the funds to Beck Road if Novi Road doesnít happen. Mr. Pearson said he wouldnít want to hold that up, because we have moved into intergovernmental agreements for the link so we are obligated to do that. He said the Road Commission is deeply into this project too, and has money set aside for this project. Member Paul said 11 Mile Road through Town Center isnít that bad, and she would like to put that money elsewhere. COLA Ė She asked what an increase would do to the pension and health care fund. Ms. Smith-Roy replied currently because of the funding situation of the pension with MERS they would not be adopting a MERS resolution and a permanent COLA because we arenít able to do that now for the two groups that are under funded. An allocation could be made with the other groups, but we would have to check with MERS to see if they would allow a resolution to do that. Member Paul asked if she could get numbers back to Council related to the different unions and how that would hit us financially. Ms. Smith-Roy said her understanding here was that the discussion was not for a permanent COLA resolution, but instead a one time COLA disbursement. If done, the City would have to write a check to the retirees, it wouldnít go through MERS. A COLA of 1% would be approximately $18,000, 2% would be $36,000, 2.5% would be $45,000 and 3.3% would be approximately $60,000. It would equate to check of about $30 to $1,700 depending on the individual or family member who is receiving the retirement. She said it would have no impact on retiree health care fund. Member Paul said if our employees have to contribute more into their health care and more into their retirement plan, she had a concern that giving the COLA adjustment would be a tough one. She said she looks at Detroit and Pontiac who are in utter disrepair and some of this is what they did, and she didnít want to get there. Even if we pay that amount of money up front we still have concerns with what we are doing with our employees and what that sets as precedence. She said there are 3 unions and one questionable union that is looking at their negotiations, precedence was a concern to her. Roads - She wanted to see what the County and Farmington Hills was planning for Haggerty. The Taft rehab - she wanted to know why it went from $500,000 to $750,000. Mr. Pearson said it was based on soil situations, that was why the increase in funds for Beck Road. Member Paul said she knew that area was in need, but she was looking at $500,000 to $750,000, and wanted to look at top coating that first. Her main focus was Beck because she was so concerned the money might not be there next year. Next, constructing the water main at the DPW. for $250,000, and she asked if that was being proposed. Mr. Pearson believed that was included for looping the system. He said they were not able to recommend it. She asked if it could be taken out of the Water & Sewer Fund, and would it add water pressure.
Mr. Pearson said it would still be a dead end, it wouldnít improve pressure but would provide additional circulation. She asked if the Storm Water Plan 15-18 would come out of the Perpetual Drain Fund. Ms. Smith-Roy said no, it would come out of the Drain Fund with the millage rate. She said they had not tapped into the Drain Perpetual Maintenance Fund; those funds are still being accumulated. She asked if the 15-=18 were being proposed, Ms. Smith-Roy said it was. Member Paul asked, under the CIP budget, Mr. Auler about the $152,000 for the storage shed and asked what that would do to save man hours. Mr. Auler said it would be added onto the existing restroom at Community Sports Park, which would be totally secure. Currently they transport equipment from the old Fire Station out to the park, and they spend 650 hours each year doing that. He noted that was 3-4 hours each day hauling equipment and bringing it back, or half of their work day. Member Paul asked if that would save on their man hours, and he said it would. Member Paul asked what goals they had to improve the parks with the saved time. Mr. Auler replied it would enable them to get to projects and daily functions that they are not able to do now, i.e., playground inspections, facility, landscape, and turf enhancements, etc. Member Paul said there are three organizations that use that park very heavily, and asked if there would be a storage portion that could be rented out to each of them to make money for overhead and repairs. Mr. Auler said there had been preliminary discussion with them to see if they have storage needs for their equipment, and if so space could be allocated at this facility. By attaching it onto the shelter restroom facility it would reduce the cost of the facility to be built, because thereís water and electricity there already. Member Paul asked about field renovations. Mr. Auler said field #2 was first and they plan to do a field each year and hopefully having the partners contribute to the cost and totally renovating the infield. Included in the budget was a map of the infields, and many of the fields are larger than a major league baseball field. He explained the safety features of the fields, once irrigated and maintained. Member Paul asked if this would be done at more fields and if staff could do it with man hours saved. Mr. Auler replied what was in the budget was contracting that out because of the time period that it had to be done in. They would want to start the work in July and August and finished before winter. Member Paul said if the storage facility was built, could you do the work yourself, and do more than one field at Community Sports Park. Mr. Auler said they could do portions of it using seasonal help, and it would have to be done in July and August. Member Paul asked Mr. Auler to come back with information on that. Mr. Auler explained the Parks group had discussed utilizing organizations for these things. Member Paul asked what the usage and field needs were of Power Park. Mr. Auler said it had 133 teams in the adult softball program and had 2,000-2,500 participants. Leagues run from April to October, 7 days a week with tournaments on weekends. They are trying to expand the tournaments because itís an opportunity to have a significant economic impact. He said economic impact studies had shown that i.e. a national tournament coming in with 100+ teams would have an impact of $800,000 to $1 million plus for the weekend. They want to tap into the youth market more for fast pitch tournaments. Power Park was also used by youth 4 to 5 days each week. He said operationally, it created a challenge as the adults pay a lot of money for use of the fields. Member Paul said Power Park had 3 phasesí irrigation, fencing, infield replacement, and engineering consulting and design, and the engineering was $30,000. Mr. Auler said it is about 10% of each line. He said that was estimated on the high side because itís being done in phases rather than all at one time. Member Paul asked when phase one would be done. Mr. Auler said in the fall of 2006. Member Paul said she would like to see these improvements done, but Mayor Pro Tem Capello thought the firing range needs might interfere, and she thought more fields were needed. Mr. Auler said they use 47 fields for games and practice. They also use school fields behind Novi Meadows and Novi Woods. The program was continuing to grow to the point that the partner organizations and our program was challenged in trying to meet the needs. We turn teams away as we have no practice space, and lights have to be off by 11 P.M., etc. Member Paul asked if they could do lighting for night games. Mr. Auler said in a future phase, lighting was included for Power Park. He said current lighting was 23 years old and have spill over. New lights would have no spillover, and would be energy efficient cutting costs by as much as 50%. Member Paul would support the theatre sound system for $25,000. When there was a theatre production what does it cost to rent the sound system? Ms. Smith-Roy said the total annual budget for this year was about $25,000 for rental of the equipment and the operator. They didnít recommend including it in this was, in working with Mr. Auler, they thought there might be an opportunity to fund this by not paying that fee, and only charging out services. That contract would come up in the next month or two, and they would come forward with a proposal at that time. Member Paul said in regard to the economic development person, she would like to ask if it would be a consultant or a part time position. She was also in favor of lowering millage rate.
Member Margolis commended the staff as someone who works with businesses, the amount of background information with rationale for decisions, and it was easy for her to understand what the rationale was to make these decisions. All the information helped her to understand the expertise of the people hired to do this. She felt her responsibility was to take a broad look at the entire budget. She considered the fiscal analysis as well. She would like to see the percent increase in this budget, not including capital expenditures and not including those non-recurring items such as paying down the health care liability vs. last years approved budget in May, and then what the percentage increase in these expenditures are over the projected end of the fiscal year this year. Also, in the Fiscal Analysis one of the pieces talked about was the difference between two fiscal models, one based on the inflation rate that projected we would be in good fiscal shape. The second analysis was a budget request that If we funded everything everyone asked for it would be problematic. It was two extremes. She would like to receive an idea based on this percentage increase, where we stand on that fiscal analysis. Ms. Smith-Roy said there would be some adjustments that have to be made and it would take quite a bit of time to get her even the first part, and to explain why was because there were some contracts outstanding, changes were made in the funding of the retiree health care expenses, etc. She said they would have to make adjustments so the percentages are not skewed, and would try to identify those items separately so it was clear that they were comparing apples to apples. In terms of the Fiscal Analysis and updating it for the percentage, the base model follows along that line pretty much. To make it as simple as possible and still have it by the next meeting they could update that for the new taxable value that we have. The percentage they put in the assumptions was comparable to what they would come up with in these numbers. The big variables are the percentage on personnel costs and the percentage the tax value had gone up. Member Margolis said she didnít expect them to update the fiscal analysis, just tell her that the fiscal analysis says we are increasing by this much and we are increasing by this much, and where that put us. She referred to the Bartell formula used to determine police staffing levels, and we have used the FBI formulas. She said the Bartell formula bases public safety staffing levels on the particular needs of the community. Her concern about the FBI study was that it took every community as the same community. She would like to consider this after the budget sessions. She said, for staff and Council, there had been discussion about the fund balance, and the City is carrying a 14% fund balance for the past few years and this year it could be 16%. She understood increasing it 2% because there are things they needed to plan for but didnít have the exact figures yet. However, our own policy document talked about maintaining an 8 to12% Fund Balance. She said her background in non-profit governance told her that fund balances between 10 to 15% are generally recommended. The reason you donít develop a huge fund balance is that the concept is that what the people are paying now should go towards services that they are receiving. She would like to take a look at why that 14% has become so important to us. She was thrilled with the $1 million payment to the legacy costs on retiree health care and would absolutely support that. She suggested paying down that million dollars and would like to pay it down a little more because it would force them to be more fiscally conservative because that money would be put away. She thought the money should be put away up front instead of the end of the year. She said when they put money into the Retiree Health Care; do we get a higher rate of return? Ms. Smith-Roy replied yes, because there is a separate investment policy that was far less restrictive than the policy for general and special revenue. Member Margolis said thatís another concern, anything put away in that fund would impact us long term. She would like to put away as much money into the retiree health care that is now 15% funded. We are way ahead of most cities, and should look at that. She said that would be her concern about reducing the millage rate, she wouldnít reject it out of hand but wanted to see if it would even be significant to the residents. Process Studies Ė She wanted to make sure they build into this for the Planning Department Study. Senior Van Ė She asked if this would this allow some evening transportation for seniors. Mr. Auler said they donít offer transportation in the evening and would like to, but it would require an expansion of personnel. He said included in the packet was to hire a senior replacement van driver because most of the senior van drivers go to Florida for the winter. Member Margolis said there has been a lot of talk about forgiving the Ice Arena debt. She said the City had already paid that money to the ice arena, and had paid the debt but itís not carried on the books. Ms. Smith-Roy said she was correct, and the first couple of years of operations their expectations were not met. The first year construction came late and the second year the debt service payment couldnít be made. This payment was really making up for the debt service payment that the General Fund had already done in prior years. It isnít about cash, but about changing it on our books as a receivable and converting it to an expense. She said it went back to what Member Margolis had said earlier about having the 14% Fund Balance. One of the reasons they bumped up the percentage of Fund Balance from 12% to 14% was for two reasons, and the Ice Arena was one of them. Since itís not cash, Itís not cash available to us in July and August. She said the first two months of the fiscal year are very tight in terms of cash flow because 90% of our property tax collection comes after August 15 and is the source of their revenue. Also, two of our State Shared Revenue payments, over 30%, came after July 1st of the next year. Member Margolis said she was not against doing that, and thought the ice arena was not paying its way. She said the payment would make the books much more realistic. Sidewalk Priorities Ė said it made sense to her to have sidewalks around schools and small gaps. She wanted information on how they were setting sidewalk priorities, and not on locations but on where we would put our money and a basic review would be helpful. Benchmarking Study from ICMA Ė Member Margolis said in order for Council to make governance decisions, they needed to know how they stacked up. It would help Council set targets and would help the Administration. So she would agree with that. Member Margolis would support the survey of the community, because at budget they talk about what they thought was right for the City. We only use our own subjective information, and it would be much more fiscally responsible if they put the money into things people want. She was in favor of technology investments, and that made sense. Economic Development Coordinator - She thought it wasnít a bad idea to have good ombudsman to help bring in economic development. However she would hesitate to do that before we have a new city manager in place. She was thrilled about the branding package for the City for economic development at no cost. COLA Ė Member Margolis looked at past practice, and the reality was that every year until the last couple of years, this City gave a 2% COLA to its retirees. She felt that constituted a type of a promise to people who have retired. She would be in favor of a COLA for retirees, and thought they needed to fund it completely, meaning they were not requiring anything of a future Council that we havenít taken care of here at the table.
Member Gatt began by commending the staff and Mr. Pearson and Ms. Kathy Smith-Roy. He considered this budget very lean and balanced. It comes in with no additions to the work force, no bonds, no tax increases, etc., and in stark contrast to what other cities are facing. The experts are the people weíve employed to compile this budget. It is Councilís job to oversee and direct the spending. Upon review, he focused on the senior citizen population, and thought they were the fastest growing population in Novi. He spoke with Rachel Zagaroli and Kathy Crawford. He asked what their wish list would be, and it was very modest. They need another vehicle, not necessarily one with a lift. Ms. Smith-Roy said they were getting a new van and the DARE van would replace an older car they have. Mr. Gatt said three of their vehicles are over 100,000 miles and they need these for medical appointments. There were 500-600 more trips this year than there were last year. He would support another part time person for them as itís difficult to find the right person to be employed there. Another item would be a computer program for scheduling purposes. He said over 10,000 people in a year are being scheduled in an Excel program now. Public Safety Ė Member Gatt said although there are no additions to the work force this year it should be noted that two police officers and a fireman were added last year that are just coming on board now. Mr. Pearson said they were hired at mid year out of the Drug Forfeiture, so this budget is for the first time picking up those two police officers out of the General Fund. Mr.Gatt agreed with using the Bartell system as opposed to the FBI system, and encouraged Council to consider it regarding the demands on the Police Department. Drug Forfeiture Fund Ė He believed there would be enough money to fulfill everyoneís wish list without having to piece meal it out. There would be enough money that had to be spent within two years on police items that they would be able to pay off the debt and build a pistol range, training center, windows, renovations, etc. There are many guidelines that must be met before spending the money and he believed they would be able to do so. He shared Member Paulís concerns about removing a ball field in Power Park, and didnít want to see that happen, and was for renovations of that field. He was concerned about it being used by non-residents more than residents. Unfunded Health Care Ė He was aware that many people talk about this locally. We are very fortunate, in this community; because Kathy Smith Roy knew about this many years ago and started putting money away. It is only an 85% unfunded liability, and we are now moving in the right direction, and he was in favor of adding more money to that and reducing it as quickly as possible. It was important that everybody knew that this Council had made some very tough decisions and the goal was that the new employees would not be afforded the same benefits that the employees that are here now receive. The sooner this debt can be reduced the sooner it would make it easier to borrow money. Ice Arena Ė Member Gatt said if it is a paper thing, letís pay it off. Member Gatt said Itís a great document, and he was almost ready to vote on the budget as presented with a few changes because the experts put it together and it is a wonderful document. Retirees Ė Member Gatt felt that the retirees are easy pickings, theyíre not here and donít have contracts, but as we talk about Providence, Twelve Oaks, roads, etc., the retirees are the ones who were here before Providence Hospital and are the ones that built this City. The retirees were here patrolling Novi Road before Twelve Oaks was thought of. The roads we think about paving and many roads were not paved back when he was a member of the department. The reason he was talking about this was because the retirees that Council talked about are the one who built the City and made it great, and the ones who made it what it was today. Council asks the present employees for sacrifice and cut backs, and he agreed Council was asking them to do a lot. The difference was they were getting a 3% and 4% raise every year. Retirees havenít had a raise since December 2003, and their costs have gone up including their health costs. He was in favor of a small COLA adjustment for the retirees. The proposal that Mayor Pro Tem Capello had would be small dollars that wouldnít go through MERS, and would be a one time check that could be addressed again next year. He explained that promises were made and should be kept, Novi could afford it. Member Gatt supported entry signs to the City. He noted some cities have magnificent signs and you know youíre entering a great City.
Mayor Landry wanted to talk about the process. He hoped this would be the last time Council did the budget this way. He would propose that after this budget, Council meet in September to set budget goal setting sessions, and talk about City goals in terms of the money they have. Then decide what to focus on for roads and Parks and Recreation. He felt it was important to give the Administration some priorities. With respect to this budget, he said it was well constructed, well dimensioned, balanced and addressed every aspect of the City. It addressed future needs to lay the groundwork now and that was the hallmark of a good Administration and the hallmark of good budgeting. He said $1million towards unfunded retiree health care was an absolute must, as that problem will not solve itself and it would cripple this community like it has others if they donít address it. Ice Arena Debt Ė Mayor Landry thought that this was subject to being misconstrued. This would not cost the City a nickel; however it was simply an accounting action and was on the books as an asset. He said to be true to ourselves wipe it off the books so it truly reflected the condition of the City. The goal was to have the ice arena take care of itself. He said the ice arena was in the black now, and thought that Council should have every dollar the ice arena is in the black should be put in a reserve account so when something was needed it would not come from the General Fund. He was in favor of all of the technology and efficiency aspects, including the PC replacements, and police station wiring. Roads- It is amazing that because of what Council had done there was still $1.5 million to deal with the neighborhood roads. He thought they should be dealt with according to the PASER ratings. He also liked the fact they were spending $200,000 to do PASER ratings so next year they would be in a similar position. Sidewalks Ė Mayor Landry said a lot of money was going into sidewalks and he had no problem with the priorities given by the Administration. Performance Measurement, Enhancement and Staff Development he was 100% in favor of. How could more and more be expected from staff if they donít have continued training, and are not allowed to have result oriented strategies, which was what this was for. The Compensation Study Ė The employee assistance program is a small item, but itís a statement to the employees that Council cares about their employees, everyone has problems in their personal life and we all need help so the City would pay for some of it. The City was constantly asking for concessions and this was one thing they could do for the employees. Economic Development Ė Mayor Landry loved the branding brochure. He would like to see more information on the planning interns. Environment Ė He favored updating the natural features mapping. City Facilities Maintenance Ė He was very pleased that they were practicing what they were preaching. Letís fix the chiller, fire alarm system and modernize the elevator. Mayor Landry favored all those items presented. Public Safety Ė He was in favor of architectural analysis on Fire Stations 1, 2, & 3. He was in favor of the roof replacement. Mayor Landry said regarding Fleet Management, we need the vehicles. He said if the public wanted to know what it took to run the City just look at the number of vehicles we need to replace every year. He supported Emergency management. Capital Improvements Ė Mayor Landry was for the Water and Sewer. Road Improvements Ė Mayor Landry said 11 Mile vs. Beck Road, he wanted to see the culvert replaced on 11 Mile. He felt the money should go into Beck because there was a lot more traffic on Beck. Signalization - Wixom and 11 Mile and Cider Mill and Beck.- He didnít think a signal was need at Wixom and Eleven Mile, and as far as Beck if itís going to be improved in a couple of years why not wait to do that. If Council was to do those two signalizations it would cost $350,000, and if the culvert was put on 11 Mile but didnít do the road that was $250,000, a total of $600,000 that could go toward Beck Road. He asked Administration to send them a memo if this was the wrong way to look at it. Mayor Landry was in favor of the Haggerty Road 8-10 Mile pinch points, and was assuming that was only our share. Mayor Landry was in favor of all of the storm water indications in the budget. Parks and Recreation Ė Mayor Landry favored the Power Park renovations 100%. We have to bite off a chunk of this sooner or later or we will never get there. It serves youth, adults, etc., and it was very important to get that done. Drug Forfeiture money Ė Mayor Landry said it doesnít serve us to talk a lot about this now because the money was not here. There might be money to do everything we want, but wanted to wait till it comes in.
Mayor Landry talked about things not in the budget and comments about conversation at the table. He said the sound system should be accomplished this year since it is costing $25,000 a year it seemed pointless not to spend $30,000. He said if Administration could get it done without putting an extra budget item in there thatís fine with him. If it would help to put $5000 or 10,000 aside he would be willing to do that too. He said it could also be used outside. Economic Development Coordinator Ė Mayor Landry supported a coordinator, and would be in favor of budgeting the money now and letting the new City Manager decide where to go with it. Mayor Landry said they had heard there was trouble staffing Station #2, and he wanted to know how much had been spent on recruitment. He requested a brief report on what the efforts had been in the last year to recruit for all the stations. Also, what was the plan for recruiting paid on call fire fighters. He wanted to know who was in charge of recruiting, what was spent last year, how much was going to be spent in the future, and what the game plan was. Sale of Fire Station #4 Ė Mayor Landry was not in favor of selling Station #4, because we need it and itís not for sale. We need it as a center to deal with plans and inspections. The Sewer had been authorized and would be connected there so not in favor. Mayor Landry was in favor of entranceway signs. COLA Ė He supported a one time increase. He asked if Council could give a flat fee to every body. Ms. Smith-Roy said since it was outside of MERS Council could do it in any fashion they wanted. Millage rate Ė Mayor Landry said he was not in favor of decreasing the millage and decreasing the taxes. He felt it would be a huge mistake but understood the spirit in which it was suggested. Mayor Landry said we have a huge unfunded accrued liability in legacy cost. Why not use whatever extra money for that purpose that would cripple, because if we donít deal with that ten years from now services will be cut to deal with it. Most cities are cutting services to deal with these things. We have how many contract negotiations going on right now. How would we tell employees that they need to contribute more, but give money back to the taxpayers? It would kill contract negotiations. The Library wants to go for to the City for a millage increase or a bond. How are they going to convince the public to do that if your refunding money to them. Itís a mixed message. He couldnít support that.
Member Mutch thanked the Administration for placing the budget on the website, and he hoped changes and additional information would also be placed on the website. He asked about Welch Road near Galway, and said it was not proposed for any improvements and he asked that Administration report back on that. He said there were some Water and Sewer CIP items that no funding was included for those and asked for an explanation why. Mr.
Pearson asked 607, Member Mutch said yes. Member Mutch asked for a schedule of how the retiree health care costs were being paid for the current year and a projection outward. Ms. Smith-Roy said she would tell them how we are paying current costs plus a portion of the future costs. He wanted to see that schedule and what the numbers equaled, and also the million dollars in addition to that. He wanted to see what the revenue would be for the General Fund millage at the number he had proposed, which was the current years millage. He wanted to know what the difference was. Ms. Smith-Roy said it was about $400,000, and Member Mutch asked for that in writing.
Member Nagy thought Council should be provided with a copy of the salaries of all retirees at the present time. She said last year they voted to increase some memberís health insurance and wanted to know what that cost was. She said there are a lot of different health care plans and other cities didnít seem to have as many. She suggested it was time for a re-bid on these services. She appreciated everything everyone had done to prepare the budget. She thought Council was obligated to review the budget, and give their input as representatives of the taxpayers and their best interest. She said that because she doesnít always defer to the proposed items, it was because she felt it was her obligation was to investigate what had been given to them. Member Nagy recalled that in last yearís budget, money was found to get things done.
Member Paul said when talking with the Mayor they did discuss a plan to predict what our retirement health costs would be. She asked Administration to look at what the long term plan was and what was the best way to invest the money. She felt that was imperative for future Councils. Ms. Smith-Roy had done such a good job providing information on the budget. Member Paul said in regard to the on line computer services for retirees, she asked if the software put in place for Parks and Recreation could be hooked into that for the senior center scheduling. If it could help without adding to our fleet service it would be helpful. If we have to add to personnel and vehicles then she would like to look at that. She also asked for a little more understanding of where the trips are going. She said most places have a boundary of where they will deliver to. She requested an analysis of where they are going and have a boundary set so Council understands how that might change. Providence Park Southfield is far and we might not need that for the future because the hospital was being built here. Member Paul was concerned with so many complaints about the light at Cherry Hill, and she thought a signal might be necessary. She asked for a cost analysis of overlay and what that would be for the entire Beck Road stretch, but with all the improvements being done a light might not be needed. She said it might behoove them to do sections every year based on the amount of trucks using that road. Neighborhood Roads Service Program is extremely important. We have some failing surfaces in new and old neighborhoods. We have to be fair in how that money is allocated. She had noticed that when they come in to do the repair work they sit those huge vehicles with a tremendous amount of weight on those roads. She asked if smaller trucks could be used so that weight was not on our brand new roads. She said she would like the following roads looked at, Wintergreen Circle, Windbridge, Latham Road, and Elizabeth Lane in Addington. One of the problems with the PASER analysis was it only looks at the understory of these new concrete road. But they have an 8 inch gap between all the seems. She asked that the some one, as the GIS Department and Mr. McCusker did, go out and look at the roads and drive them. She had commented to the Mayor that Beck Road was traveled constantly, and 11 Mile isnít. The 11 Mile corridor from Town Center west to
Meadowbrook has probably 4 or 5 pads of concrete that are failing, and the storm water system. She would like to have the DPW replace those 4 or 5 pads, or roll it over into our
neighborhood service roads. She would need an analysis to have a better understanding of the decisions we have ahead of us.
Member Margolis asked that the Administration weigh in on concept of the Fund Balance and the percentage that we are carrying, the 14% versus a lower amount for the next meeting.
There being no further business to come before Council, the meeting was adjourned at
David Landry, Mayor Maryanne Cornelius, City Clerk
_______________________________ Date approved: April 17, 2006
Transcribed by Charlene Mc Lean