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SATURDAY, JANUARY 13, 2007 AT 9:00 A.M.

Mayor Landry called the meeting to order at 9:00 a.m.


ROLL CALL: Mayor Landry, Mayor Pro Tem Capello Council Members, Gatt, Margolis, Mutch and Nagy and Member Paul

ALSO PRESENT: Clay Pearson, City Manager

Pam Antil, Assistant City Manager



1. Emerging Priorities Session for Strategic Planning Process.

Rebecca Kraus, facilitator, reviewed the steps from the previous meeting on September 18, 2006. She explained the staff had worked on the opportunities and threats and the gap measures to close that. She began by explaining strategic planning as the task of thinking through the process. She reviewed the emerging priorities from the September 18, 2006 meeting, and then reviewed the results of the National Citizen Survey. The planning process had to be a collaborative effort of citizens, Council and staff. This was accomplished by people, technology and the process.

Major themes were public safety, public services, water and sewer services, strong, healthy business community, high quality of life, strong neighborhoods that were involved, green community, protect woodland and wetlands, partner with other communities, and strong customer orientation.

Top priorities at the September 18, 2006 meeting were to maximize the tax base, roads, safety, water and sewer. Those were the top four that were critical. That document from the first meeting in September was critical to their planning and being able to use the major themes. Member Mutch asked about the process and between the Council and the citizens. Should they have obtained the citizens input first as citizens identified customer service first. He asked how we ensure the two will be brought together. Rebecca Kraus responded that the work group saw where there were a few disconnects and there was more alignment than disconnects. Mr. Pearson explained that the questions were customized, explained to residents and became circular. Member Margolis stated anything containing the word investment ranked lower. Mayor Landry explained this information must be interpreted as it was essential to lump in essential and very important.

Rebecca Kraus noted the 12-15-06 workgroup focus was a review of council emerging priorities, alignment check of survey feedback with council emerging priorities, identification of city strengths and weaknesses, identification of potential opportunities, evaluation of potential opportunities relative to degree of impact, and financial feasibility.

The workgroup came up with the following:

Quality customer service from employees
Right growth
Quality roads
Less traffic congestion
Economic Development
Attractive community and green space
Cost of living issues
To be listened to

Member Nagy felt it was good to know that citizens also liked the idea of customer service by employees. Member Margolis stated the good news was the citizens rated the customer service as very high by employees. Mayor Landry asked if this was related to every city or just Novi. He asked the same question about roads, is it just our Novi roads or all roads in all cities. Member Paul noted outside the community, people talk about Novi Road by the mall, Wixom Road near Catholic Central, and lastly they complain about Beck Road going south to M-14. Mr. Pearson responded the ease of car travel in Novi was similar to the norm. Member Gatt noted the majority of citizens feel safe inside the city but he doesn’t think we should take discretionary dollars and spend them elsewhere. Maintain what we are doing and use additional dollars to address areas of concern. Member Nagy stated the survey went to residents so traffic issues were from people traveling to and from work. This isn’t a true negative because it happens everywhere in Oakland County.

SWOT was a term used to describe strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in the Strategic Planning process.

The purpose was to analyze the current situation and take a realistic look at where the city is today. The current assessment from the staff included the following:

Crime prevention
   Safe neighborhoods
Public schools
Code enforcement, weeds, abandoned building
   Sidewalk maintenance
Traffic enforcement
Customer service
   Overall impression
Fire prevention
Infrastructure improvements
   Storm drainage
   Street repair
Economic development
   Planning and building
   Quality building ad planning – safe structure
   Diversity of economy relative to a lot of areas in the Redevelopment
Fiscally responsible
Public trust

Ms. Kraus asked if anything were missing according to Council. Member Mutch added relatively low tax base. Member Gatt stated strength of strong customer service.

Areas listed for improvement were:

   Appearance, maintenance of parks
   Accessibility of parks
Recreation centers
   Recreation programs and classes
Lack of city services
   Snow removal
   Street cleaning
   Street lighting
   Cable television
Services for Low-income people
   Bike paths
   Nature trails
   Streetscape improvements
   Lack of public parking
   Clean up trash on a regular schedule in right of way
Entryway signage
Resources to enhance quality of information and expand services
Uninformed/apathetic residents

Member Margolis explained that library services should be added as to the quality and quantity of library services.

Rebecca Kraus explained the results of the workgroup from the December 15, 2006 meeting and she referred to the potential opportunities. Mayor Landry felt it was important to note that employees embraced the idea of moving forward with the Sikich proposals. Member Nagy noted that while employees and residents do communicate, it was noted elsewhere in the report that there might be apathy on the part of the residents. Member Paul commented when we hold meetings, a lot of people watch the meetings, maybe during that time, we could highlight the intentions of the city to improve specific areas such as services to seniors or library services. Another major category was staff development and resources – Member Mutch commented that staff should be encouraged to be receptive to innovations and new ideas and there should be a process for them to bring that idea forward. Member Margolis stated we should look at ways to increase employee satisfaction with an eye to increasing customer satisfaction. Ms. Kraus noted she usually is avalanched with what isn’t working in a community and she didn’t have that with this group.

Ms. Kraus explained the degree of impact :

1 communicate and engage with citizens
2 development and implement the strategic plan
3 staff development and resources
4 economic development to increase/diversity the tax base
5 partnerships and shared benefits
6 modernize governing.

She reviewed page 7 of the meeting report comparing the Council identified strategic priorities and workgroup opportunities categories.

Ms. Kraus began speaking about the potential threats to the categories. The first category was Maximize Partnerships and Shared Benefits:

Summary of Threats Potentially Impacting This Opportunity Area:

  • Staff Resources, benefit analysis (equal exchange) and time
  • Territorial Issues
  • Making partnerships a priority – need to be more entrepreneurial
  • Logistical challenges to make them successful partnerships
  • Communicating benefits and getting buy-in
  • Potential for an equal distribution of labor among partners
  • Operational differences
  • Labor contracts
  • Difference in level of community activities (growth)

Member Mutch added the idea of financial questions. Member Nagy added the topic of staff input to department heads.

The next threat category was Develop and Implement a Strategic Vision (Planning Ahead/Forward Thinking)

Summary of the threats potentially impacting this opportunity area:

  • Committing and supporting a long term strategic plan (Politics and changing Council’s impact this)
  • Funding to implement
  • Cultural focus more tactical versus strategic
  • Many staff do not have the time to think and work strategically
  • Continual shifting priorities
  • Lack of consensus and buy-in

The next category was Communicate and engage with citizens

Summary of threats potentially impacting this opportunity area:

  • Citizen apathy
  • Inability to have citizens understand boundaries and functions of the City vs. other governing agencies
  • Lack of staff resources and time to communicate and engage
  • Lack of a communication plan
  • Competing for citizens attention

The next category was Increase Staff development and Resources

Summary of threats potentially impacting this opportunity area:

  • Lack of funding
  • Work demands challenge staff development time
  • Work created by outside entities, governmental agencies creates demand on time
  • Not aligning staff training with the strategic plan

Mayor Landry felt this was phenomenal to get the opinions of citizens first and then the staff and he appreciated the staff input and candor. Member Margolis stated we have met the threat and it is us. She felt Council should be careful of what they demand from staff, in other words, the care and feeding of Council. Mayor Pro Tem Capello asked if department heads spoke to their staff, employees working for them, and got their input. Mr. Pearson responded that the city also got the opportunity as employees to complete the citizen survey and overall, that was very positive. He explained that under the idea of willingness to learn, the explanation was that some want to learn everything, some will do so if told to and others drag their feet. Mayor Pro Tem Capello also asked about staff turnover. Mr. Pearson explained that is something that happens everywhere. Staff realizes that if someone retires, they take a lot of knowledge with them and also if someone is on vacation, all their work is still there when they return and while common, it is a fact of how lean we are.

The next category was Grow Economic Development to increase/diversify tax base.

Summary of threats potentially impacting this opportunity area:

  • Inability to control the negative perceptions/realities of the current Michigan economy
  • Some community resistance to growth
  • Disconnect between desire for services and growth in tax base to pay for services
  • Perception of difficulty in building in Novi because of requirements
  • Balancing of retention vs. attraction activities
  • Competing with similar municipalities

Member Nagy thought our city didn’t have any economic development on the city’s website. She also noted we should show and display more of what we have attracted to the city already such as the bigger companies we have recently recruited including the need to spotlight local businesses on cable.

The next category was Modernize Governing.

Summary of threats potentially impacting this opportunity area:

  • Resistance to change/risk
  • Time and resources
  • Lack of willingness to look at all good examples to benchmark against
  • Lack of facilities to do the work.

Council recessed at 10:40 a.m. and reconvened at 10:50 a.m.

Rebecca Kraus began by explaining the chart of rated threats from highest to lowest:

1. develop and implement a strategic vision (planning ahead/forward thinking)
2. maximize partnerships and shared benefits
3. grow economic development to increase/diversify the tax base
4. increase staff development and resources
5. modernize governing
6. communicate and engage with the citizens.

Council then focused on the gap items for the category to develop and implement a strategic vision and the top four were the most important.

  1. Institute a two year budget process
  2. Utilize the leadership team meeting to review strategic plan first and foremost vs. city council agenda planning.
  3. Dedicate funding to the strategic plan
  4. Council adopt this plan with its goals and objectives to set a clear direction.

The gap items for the category to maximize partnerships and shared benefits

  1. Hire a consulting firm to annually work with all departments to inventory existing mutual aid, etc.
  2. HR should investigate cost savings that might be available to purchase healthcare with another agency to achieve savings for Novi
  3. Finance/purchasing continue to investigate shared purchasing
  4. Establish a purchasing committee to investigate research opportunities for sharing in a competitive bid process

The gap items for the category to Grow Economic Development:

  1. Continue to share all positive benefits of Novi
  2. Recruit an experienced Economic Development Manager
  3. Partner with regional interests
  4. Medical services industry seems like high growth potential make that an active target

The gap items for the category for Staff Development & resources:

  1. Increase funding for conferences and workshops
  2. Council needs to let city manager manage training budget
  3. Give top 20% best performers the opportunities for professional growth
  4. HR needs to develop a comprehensive training program for effective communications.

The gap items for the category to Modernize Governing:

  1. Charter amendment to increase purchasing thresholds
  2. Get rid of 5-vote requirement for appropriations
  3. Review other community’s code, ordinances to find best practices
  4. Review and update workplace plan for city offices

The gap items for the category to Communicate and engage with citizens:

  1. Develop and initiate a comprehensive communication marketing plan
  2. Repeat national citizen’s survey annually
  3. Solicit customer feedback
  4. Continue to share a consistent message from all levels

Mayor Pro Tem Capello asked if communicating with citizens meant residents only or included business people. Mr. Pearson responded it’s a broad term to include everyone.

Member Nagy expressed she would like to have additional residents receive surveys not just the few 1200 that were sent. She was also concerned that developers would be looking out for their best interests. She would also like to poll smaller businesses that have been in the community for some time. Member Margolis explained that the surveys that went out were required to use the birthday method. Mayor Pro Tem Capello asked how residents were chosen. The response was it was totally random.

Ms. Kraus noted the next phase was for the goals as being broad statements of what the city will achieve. Goals state what must be done, not how it is done. They are the foundation of the plan. They are measurable and quantifiable points on the way to reaching our objectives.

Member Paul mentioned the parks, trail system, fire station improvements, green space, long term expenditures.

Member Margolis felt goals were broader rather than initiatives. She referred to page 7 of the meeting report from today.

Ms. Kraus asked Council to focus on the broader goals. These are the five year goals and the short terms goals (12-18 months).


1. Ensure public safety services meets the needs of the community (Police, Fire, DPW)

1.1 Strategy – assess and develop a plan to meet the long term staffing needs of the public safety services

1.2 Strategy – address facility and resource needs of public safety services

  • Short term goal - prioritize Fire department facility needs
  • Short term goal – use drug forfeiture funds to build indoor pistol range at the DPW site, pay off bond on existing police building, and complete critical needs at the police building as identified in 2006 facility study.
  • Short term goal – develop and implement a plan to increase and fund staff levels at the Police and Fire departments

2. Improve Infrastructure- (Roads, Water and Sewer)

2.1 Strategy – address major roads and neighborhood roads each year

2.2 Strategy – pursue partnerships and external funding for infrastructure improvements

2.3 Strategy – continue annual plan to inspect and maintain existing water and sewer infrastructure

  • Short term goal – obtain additional sanitary sewer capacity
  • Short term goal – begin implementation of recommendation of CMOM study
  • Short term goal – begin implementation of recommendations of storm sewer study
  • Short term goal – implement short term Beck Road improvement plan
  • Short term goal – implement priority plan for bike path/sidewalks
  • Short term goal – continue neighborhood road improvement program
  • Short term goal – Encourage and assist Road Commission to complete Novi Road link between 10 Mile and Grand River Strategy

3. Encourage economic development to maximize city revenue and job growth

3.1 Strategy – support and annually update the economic development plan

3.2 Strategy – explore redevelopment opportunities obsolete and underdeveloped sites

3.3 Strategy – explore creative strategies for government assisted financing for development opportunities

  • Short term goal – hire experience economic development manager
  • Short term goal – implement community development reorganization plan
  • Short term goal – revise existing ordinances to provide for redevelopment opportunities for obsolete and underdeveloped sites
  • Short term goal – implement in-service education program for Council, board members and residents

4. Develop government structure and staff skills for effective delivery of customer services and communication with community

4.1 Strategy – develop and implement a comprehensive staff training program

4.2 Strategy – analyze and update the charter

4.3 Strategy – continue to study and streamline/coordinate city services with input from customers and staff

4.4 Strategy – Council to commit to set long term vision and empower staff to implement the plan

4.5 Strategy – implement updated technology infrastructure

  • Short term goal – create a committee to study the City Charter
  • Short term goal – invest in the technology infrastructure in the city

5. Be a community that values natural areas and natural features

5.1 Strategy – continue to enforce environmental ordinances

5.2 Strategy – identify and protect important natural resources

5.3 Strategy – to allow and encourage green building and development

  • Short term goal – develop a long term funding plan for the tree fund
  • Short term goal – review ordinances to determine where changes are need to become more environmentally friendly

6. Maintain fiscally responsible government

6.1 Strategy – update fiscal analysis each year

6.2 Strategy – continue to manage legacy costs and commit to reducing legacy obligations

6.3 Strategy – establish capital improvement funding targets by category

  • Short term goal – explore the possibility of a two-year budget
  • Short term goal – continue to explore options for reducing health care costs
  • Short term goal – reduce outstanding health care liability
  • Short term goal – maintain current 10.5416 millage rate

7. Enhance Park, recreational and cultural services

7.1 Strategy – develop creative means of funding

7.2 Strategy – Commit to annual improvements of park facilities

7.3 Strategy – develop culturally and demographically diverse recreation programs

7.4 Strategy – work cooperatively with the Library to provide services

7.5 Strategy – develop a senior/community center with non-taxpayer dollars

  • Short term goal – develop a rate for charges for recreational activities that are equitable and based on cost accounting methods
  • Short term goal – explore obtaining additional active recreational property through partnerships with the school districts and developers
  • Short term goal – support improvement to Library services and facilities

Council discussed that the short term goals were envisioned to be accomplished in the next 12-18 months and while not all-inclusive, these examples of short-term goals were in concurrence with the staff workgroup to also be pursued. Member Nagy’s suggested there should be training for new Council members when they begin as to the Council rules, methods of voting, budget education, changing goals with changing Council’s, etc. Member Mutch explained that is the nature of Council since it changes, then the goals change but the strategic planning process should be regular in order to provide direction for the city staff. As the views of the residents change, the end goals should always have flexibility. That is reflected in those who have been on Council. Further discussion centered on the need to separate green space from quality of life issues related to accessibility of parks, programs, activities and cultural resources. Also discussed was the idea of enhancing communication with residents, maintain flexibility in the master plan.

Roll Call Vote on CM 07-01-08 Moved by Capello, Seconded by Gatt: CARRIED

UNANIMOUSLY: To adopt the goals as presented.

Members Nagy and Mutch commented that while they do not agree with all of the goals presented, they will still be voting in favor of those proposed.

Yeas: Landry, Capello, Gatt, Margolis, Mutch, Nagy

Nays: None

Absent: Paul

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 2:55 p.m.


___________________________ _______________________________

David B. Landry, Mayor Maryanne Cornelius, City Clerk

Date Approved: January 22, 2007