View Agenda for this meeting

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 2009 AT 8:30 A.M.

Mayor Landry called the meeting to order at 8:30 A.M.

Pledge of Allegiance

ROLL CALL: Mayor Landry, Mayor Pro Tem Gatt*, Members Burke, Crawford, Margolis, Mutch Staudt

Mayor Pro Tem Gatt arrived at 8:37 A.M.

ALSO PRESENT: Clay Pearson, City Manager

Pamela Antil, Assistant City Manager

Mayor Landry said Council would be setting City Council goals and Council members would discuss suggestions and ideas.

Todayís Agenda

1. Process Review

a. Update on 2008/09 Strategic Themes and Goals
b. Update on January 14, 2009 Management Staff

Winter Institute and brainstormed ideas

Clay Pearson said the staff was present. He noted last yearís report was sent to Council in December and high lighted things that were included in the budget, in process and done. He said they were asking Council to brainstorm ideas they would like the Administration to consider in the year ahead and then those things would be ranked. He said Council had also received a report of the brainstorming that went on at Walsh College with 70 members of the leadership and management team, and leaders of the bargaining units. He said Council received that report at the end of January. He said this was a working document with contradictory ideas because there were 70 individuals giving their best thinking.

2. Confirm Major Strategic Theme Categories

a. City Council to discuss any additional themes to be added or changed;
Strategic Themes include:

  • Ensure public safety services meet the needs of the community (Police, Fire, Public Works)

  • Improve Infrastructure (Roads, Water and Sewer)

  • Encourage economic development to maximize City revenue and job growth

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

  • Be a community that values natural areas and natural features

  • Maintain a fiscally responsible government

  • Enhance park, recreation and cultural services

Mayor Landry asked if Council had anything to add to these Strategic Themes or make general comments.

Member Mutch thought they were missing a vision statement for these seven goals. He said when he looked at what was on the web site regarding five year goals, it noted that "each goal represents areas of focus to assist in reaching the overarching goal". He said that made sense when looking at the bullets under each of those goals identifying the specific goals they wanted to reach. However, when looking at the list, he questioned what it was trying to accomplish and what the big picture for Novi was. He thought it was important for Council, as they discuss each of these; they needed to have a discussion about where they wanted to be as a community in ten years. He said what kind of vision were they trying to achieve when looking at the seven goals. He said the question was where as a community they wanted to go. He said how do they work with not only the City resources, but the community resources to continue moving forward. He said the big challenge he saw, Novi was well positioned in south east Michigan, but south east Michigan, as a whole, was not well positioned in terms of the State, region or national economy. Member Mutch commented that as good as they were in Novi, there were a lot of challenges to overcome because Novi was already two steps behind the people they were competing with. He said Novi was 48th on the list of top 100 cities in America. He said the 47 cities ahead of Novi a lot of them were in places in the country where they have advantages of weather or better economy or they just donít have a negative impression. Member Mutch said a business leader or someone who wanted to move to a new community, there were 47 other choices before getting to Novi and a lot of them donít have the negatives associated with the Detroit area. He thought they had to elevate their game in terms of saying it was no longer good enough to be the best in our area but should start saying Novi needed to be the best at a national level and how do they get there. He said right now they didnít have anything that asked where as a City they wanted to go and then the strategic goals like these would drive them to that point.

Member Margolis stated she understood that concept and said she was not a fan of mission and vision statements. She thought Novi had one. She said when reading peopleís vision statement, we want to be the best, we want to be the place where people want to move; she understood that was a vision but thought most people couldnít tell anyone what that vision was as it wasnít memorable because it was not distinct. Member Margolis said these goals made Council distinctive because she saw goals as mini vision statements. She said this was the specifics of what their vision was and what they focused on to make Novi the best. She said if they looked at the survey that was where they were going. She thought they could have and did have a vision statement but what was going to get them there was this focus because vision statements would send them off to a kind of broad place. However, these seven things were their vision. She said they believed in public safety, infrastructure, customer service, economic development and all of these things were their vision. Member Margolis said she had about this, had looked at all the data and thought in many ways they were where they needed to be and they were moving. She thought what they

would do today was trim around the edges thanks to a great staff and a really cohesive goal; they were moving in the right direction. She commented the only thing she thought was missing from the list was what the character of this community was, and what got her thinking about that was the whole thing with Code enforcement and it showing up as a driver of satisfaction. Member Margolis said people in the survey talked about Code enforcement and the more she looked at it the more she thought that question got to the idea of weíre scared, and they also talked about run down buildings. She said they were a little lower in neighborhood as a place to live, not City. She said what she had read in the survey was that residents were saying they were scared, the economy was going down, and they looked around their neighborhood and saw a few houses going down and were afraid that it would affect the quality of life in their neighborhoods. She said it might mean they needed to do a better job at Code enforcement but it had to do with Council making sure that the neighborhoods stay the kind of places they wanted them to be. Member Margolis said they didnít have anything on the list about what this community looked like. A lot of time had gone into the Master Plan and making sure that they were very thoughtful about residential areas and in Ordinance Review talking about sign ordinances. She said they had strict sign ordinances because they wanted this character in the community of what they wanted the community to look like but there was nothing in this that said that to her; nothing that said they were trying to maintain a nice looking community, a high quality development and didnít want 10,000 signs issued. Member Margolis said if she were to suggest doing anything, she wondered if they should tweak one of the goals to at least be something that would keep their attention on that. She didnít know if it would go under "a community that values natural areas" and talk about being a community that values high quality development in natural areas. She thought they needed something that said that.

Mayor Pro Tem Gatt agreed with Member Margolis. He said they were just words and everyone who professes to have vision and value statements always said the same thing, they want to be the best. He thought Novi was already the best and what they wanted to do was to maintain the course of remaining the best and that was what the seven stated goals would do for them. He agreed with what Member Margolis said about the neighborhoods and that was a concern of residents that he had talked to. He said his only thought contrary to that was that Novi was a City that valued diversity and there were diverse populations in the City. He said he had lived in neighborhoods where someone down the street had a pink and purple painted home and everyone complained about it, but to that homeowner it was beautiful. So, Council would have to be careful. He thought they were already a community that valued and demanded the best in building but he thought what Member Margolis said was true and the number five goal could be tweaked and keep a community that demanded that the neighborhoods be kept up to a standard that the Building Department could develop.

Member Crawford said when she looked at the goals as a resident and of the mature population, and thought about all the other things the City did to help people with transportation services, assistance with taxes and the kinds of community service that they provided, she didnít know which one of the goals this would fit under. She thought if they were going to promote these goals to the public as what they valued, it was important to let people know they valued providing resources, information and linkage to ways they could help residents with whatever their needs might be. She knew that "Ensure public safety services" met the needs of the community. She said it was not necessarily public safety, transportation as a stretch could be under public safety. She said she was looking for something that would stick out and was sure it could come under one of these goals, but it might need to be written in or added to these overarching goals that they would be providing community services and linking people to the resources that would enhance their life.

Member Burke said he respectfully disagreed with Member Mutch. He said he saw vision statements as everybodyís fluff on how they were going to be the best. He said he had the right one for the dealership and had been involved with a couple others and it was always the fluff to convince everyone that they were the best. He thought formulating all of these goals into one statement wouldnít work out well. Member Burke noted he didnít see the need for a specific statement that said what they already knew. He said, regarding number 4 and number 5, that they would be able to address what Member Margolis mentioned. He said possibly adding some language that would promote the overall character of Novi by continued, enhanced or focused Code enforcement. He said all seven goals were fairly solid and he didnít think they would want to remove one; he suggested they amend one and add that language.

Member Staudt said he would renew his comment, from last year, on number 5 to be a community that valued natural areas and natural features. He said he didnít see that and said if they said they were a community that preserved, a more action oriented statement, he might see it but he saw it falling under other areas. Member Staudt said, to him, it was just not a major thing for the City; itís important but he didnít put it at the same level as infrastructure and public safety. Member Staudt said with the way things were going, they needed to start consolidation, collaboration, partnership and not just under each individual category but the theme of the City was that they would look for every opportunity they could to work with other entities such as the County, State and Federal Government. He said this would not be the one and only opportunity to have some infusion of cash. He said to him, just the process they went through with the school district recently, was a major undertaking and strategic position they took that they were going to partner with the school district on a major program. He thought that type of thing was big time and asked where they would go in the future with all the different relationships and how would they pursue that. Member Staudt said there had been a lot of discussion over the years about being a community that valued natural areas and features and he completely agreed. However, he didnít think it was at the level of some of the other things.

Mayor Landry disagreed and said he saw the goals as sort of what looked back at him when he looked in the mirror in the morning. He said when they ask themselves what

they had done this month for public safety, parks and recreation and how were they doing as they progressed through the year as vision setters for the community these sort of stare back at them. He thought it was important as a community to put out there natural areas and natural features. It didnít have to be as important as this or that but any one time of the year it might be as important. He thought the developers needed to look at it and know these were the goals of the City and he didnít think they needed to be ranked. Mayor Landry agreed with the previous comments about vision statements and didnít think anyone could talk about a city without talking about these topics because this was what cities were all about. Mayor Landry said this was the second year they had done the survey and if they donít heed what the survey told them, then why do the survey. If the survey was telling them they needed some work on Code enforcement and suggested rewording number 5 to "be a community with character that valued natural areas and natural features". He said then they would have a topic, as they started looking at their individual goals and a place that stared back at them all the time and that they could talk about. He suggested rewording number 5 and deal with the Code enforcement issue or the community character issue under that particular goal.

Member Margolis said she didnít think, in any way, they should put the words Code enforcement in these goals. She said she didnít think the people who answered the survey even knew what Code enforcement was because the question actually in parentheses had "needs abandoned buildings" etc. She thought it could say be a community that valued natural areas, features and high quality character, or high quality businesses in residential areas or something that said this was important to them to maintain.

Member Staudt said regarding number 5, no matter how they reworded it the word value, to him, was inconsistent with the rest of their themes. He said maintain, enhance, develop, encourage were action items but valued seemed to be a really passive position they were taking. He said he wasnít totally opposed to the statement, it just seemed to be weak to him.

Mayor Landry said letís focus on discussion on changing the language of number 5, if Council agreed and Council accepted that suggestion.

Member Crawford agreed with Member Staudt and she would cringe if they put in "high quality" as it sounded like they were being snobbish.

Member Staudt suggested preserve and protect. He said that would get the enforcement issues underneath that, it was a more active type of language and it would put a message out.

Mayor Landry said if they replaced value with preserve and protect would they want to add community character or anything like that.

Member Margolis agreed about "high quality". She didnít know what word but it kept coming back to her that they donít let billboards go all the way down Novi Road, and it was because they had this view of what Novi was. She said she didnít know how to encapsulate that in words and why were they careful to make sure lawns got mowed and it was because it was important.

Mayor Landry suggested the word preserve rather than protect because he thought it said the same thing. He said if it were a community that preserved natural areas, natural features and community character. He didnít want to say enhance community character because then it sounded snobbish but preserve meant they already had character and wanted to keep it.

Member Mutch said the only problem he would have was related to when Member Margolis brought up the issue of neighborhoods. He said he was concerned that community character would be too narrowly focused because he thought the neighborhood issues that people were concerned about were the things related to community character and Code enforcement. He thought they were also a little broader in the sense that some neighborhoods in the City would be turning 50 years old this year. He said the north end had dealt with a lot of these challenges because those neighborhoods were 80 or 90 years old. He said some of those neighborhoods would need a lot of assistance in ensuring that they would be relevant and places people would want to move to over the next 10 or 20 years. He said it was things like infrastructure and what kind of amenities the City could help build into those neighborhoods that would continue to bring people there. He thought community character might be a little too narrowly focused and wouldnít capture some of the other things that had to be done at the neighborhood level. Member Mutch said he didnít know if neighborhoods had to be at the top seven level, but maybe while having this discussion they could keep that in mind, he thought that would meet the need. He agreed that people who answered the survey didnít know that Code enforcement was what they wanted but they had concerns about certain things going on that needed to be addressed.

Mayor Landry said they shouldnít forget that these were just topics and doorways they walk through and then they get into the specifics of all of this. He said they didnít have to accomplish everything in the title and he agreed wholeheartedly with Member Mutch that they needed to talk specifically about neighborhoods. He thought this would be the place to do it. He asked if there were any more suggestions on these seven items.

Mr. Pearson asked if on the 4th item, they wanted to have it say "develop collaborative government structure" that was talked about and emphasize it that way. He also suggested "communication linkages with the community", which embodied the two way street with the neighborhoods and so forth. Mr. Pearson said those were the words he heard and thought they made sense.

Mayor Landry suggested, regarding number 4, "developing collaborative government structure and staff skills". He thought that captured the idea of collaborating with other governments. Mayor Landry said when he looked at topic 4 he thought staff and how to help them and thought education, Novi University and what they could do so the staff could most effectively deliver customer services. But this would be with a collaborative government.

Mr. Pearson said when they started hanging ornaments onto that one; it also involved some of the ordinance changes and things like that. He also suggested the word "linkages" mentioned by Member Crawford.

Member Margolis said she didnít like linkages and thought that what Mr. Pearson was talking about was what Member Crawford brought up.

Mayor Landry thought if they said communications with the community that would include linkages.

Mayor Pro Tem Gatt agreed and thought they could say the same for the word collaborative because it said partner with other communities.

Member Staudt thought it was way too long. He said he saw that as a staff oriented internal government issue as opposed to what he was talking about, which was to go out and look at every opportunity they had to work outside of the City. He thought this was an inside the City issue and all the things that fell under this in the past were staff development and how to work with people.

Member Mutch said it might be too long but it was an important focus because one of the criticisms the citizens and businesses had of the City, in the past, was a lack of focus on customer service and communication. He thought as a Council that was important enough that it was a major goal to pursue. He thought some of those things could be brought under that bigger picture but he didnít think they wanted to lose that concept because it sent a message to the community and also to the City staff that it was something they wanted staff to focus on.

Mayor Landry said the City of Novi was the staff and that was what the people identified with. He thought number 4 was the most important goal of all but the fact of the matter was the staff was the City of Novi and they couldnít lose track of that.

Member Margolis said she was comfortable with the list as it was and asked if there was anything they couldnít hang important things on, that was not here.

Mayor Landry asked if anyone thought they couldnít hang on one of the seven anything they wanted to hang on it.

Mayor Landry said this would be the third year in a row that they had tackled these in this order and suggested they start with 7 then 1 then 6 then 2 and bump back and forth. Council members and Mr. Pearson agreed.

Discussion on Item 7 Ė Enhance Park, Recreation and Cultural Services

Mayor Landry said they would talk about #1 Ė Remove Senior Services from Parks, Recreation and Forestry.

Initial ideas were:

  1. More and improve bike/walkways throughout the City as well as enhanced walkways within the parks

  2. Develop a Signature Park with recreational opportunities for residents of all ages

  3. Eliminate anything from PR & F that was not activity or programming oriented. No 2 departments perform similar services.

  4. Fully develop Fuerst Park

  5. Active recreation areas north of I-96

  6. Partnerships wherever and whenever possible with schools, private industry and surrounding communities.

  7. Allow community to adopt a pathway and focus resources and communication on linking communities

  8. Plan and develop the Landing property for the best use by all residents

  9. Develop a cricket field

  10. Establish City council/school board task force to address redundancy in recreation programs and community education. We should not be duplicating offerings

  11. Implement the plans for signature park

  12. Develop senior friendly walking trails as part of Signature Park

  13. Complete the Community Recreation Plan in the next 60 days

  14. Move the Historical Commission to a division of the Library

  15. Promote practical environmental conservation and "green" techniques.

  16. Take an aggressive approach to securing grants for park development and trail ways

  17. Improve the Theater to be more successful and recognized throughout the region

  18. Meet with neighborhood to identify neighborhood level services related to parks and recreation

  19. Increase program participation by 10% in the next 5 years.

  20. Incorporate a nature center in one of the parksÖ to educate and provide information

Member Staudt thought Senior Services had evolved past the typical recreational programming type things, especially the Senior Transit. He said this was a social benefit and he didnít see it as something that they should be grouping in Parks, Recreation and Forestry. He thought it was something that needed its own attention on a regular basis and evaluation, especially when talking about fully funded senior transit from the General Fund. He said there was a recreation millage and he didnít think it should be included under that umbrella in any way.

Mayor Pro Tem Gatt asked where they should put it and whether they should develop a whole new unit of development to handle it. He agreed that seniors had reached the point that it would do nothing but increase as time moved forward. He said it should garner more attention and not have to compete with Parks, Recreation and Forestry. However, his concern was that they were not in the mode to start a whole new unit of government.

Member Margolis said the organization did, technically, judge how much attention it got but the organization was not that big that things got lost.

Member Crawford said she had wrestled with this for a lot of years regarding whether this was the best place for senior programming and for seniors. She said many communities had their own separate department and she was not necessarily in agreement that they should set up departments for a specific population. She said the problem was they would need money, new hires and she didnít think she agreed with it ideally.

Member Crawford said transportation meant they needed to grow it and needed to grow Senior Services. She said there was a certain amount of protection that came with senior programming under Parks and Recreation that she liked. She said she wouldnít agree, at this time, to set aside money because it would cost and if they were going to do that, then all senior programming should be lined up in that department. Member Crawford said as much as she would like to see it as itís own department, she didnít think they could do it.

Member Mutch stated he didnít have a strong opinion either way in terms of where it went in the organization. However, going back to the session Council had when they were talking about the Block Grant money, if it was a priority, then it had to be reflected in the funding and the resources. He said Mayor Pro Tem Gatt raised the point that there was a set amount of resources to work with; so if Senior Services were going to be a high priority, which meant something else would be a lower priority. If Senior Services were going to get funding, that might mean something else would not get funded. He thought the problem was they wanted it both ways; they wanted to say Senior Services were important but they didnít dedicate the resources for it. Member Mutch said they might be able to do it now but if the trends continued and the demands increased they would have to tackle it at some point. He said it didnít mean a Senior Services department per se but ultimately if the Council said it was a priority, and that was where they wanted resources to go when they got to budget time then it would be reflected in the budget. Member Mutch said if Council said it was important but it was not important to put any additional resources to it, then when they got to budget time they shouldnít ask where the money was for Senior Services, since they had not said as a Council that it was important. He said they had to decide how important it was and then from there everything else flowed.

Mayor Landry said he would not be in favor of removing the Senior Services from Parks and Recreation because another unit of government would have to be created. He said he didnít know whether they had the funds, where would it be housed and where their offices would be. He said a whole other hierarchy would be needed to oversee all of that. Mayor Landry thought they could enhance the services without creating another unit of government. He asked, regarding fully funding the senior transit, was that the issue with the CDBG funds and how much they put towards the van and the committee wanted them to put that money towards housing.

Mr. Pearson thought that was what they were trying to convey. He said it was fully funded now but was from a couple sources.

Mayor Landry said if someone was suggesting that perhaps those CDBG funds would better be used towards fixing up houses, so they needed to find money through the General Fund and he could understand it. He said he was not in favor of that because they did find the money and fund the program. He said he would not agree with #1 and they already fund housing repair and he would not be in favor of doing it from the General Fund.

Member Staudt said they already were and this was his whole concern about Senior Services being a part of Parks, Recreation and Forestry. He said when they look at that and the subsidy from the General Fund they were looking at a big number, generally. He said they could look at the line items and see what they were actually subsidizing but when he looked at Parks, Recreation and Forestry and see $1.3 million or $700,000, he was not taking into consideration that a large part of that was only funding the Senior Transit Program. He said they were funding what they had from the General Fund and he would suspect that a considerable amount of the subsidy they make to Parks, Recreation and Forestry was a result of the senior programs. He said he wasnít opposed to that subsidy he just thought they had to better identify moving forward because as they move forward and the population aged that number would start creeping up to the point it could be a $600,000 to $800,000 subsidy. Member Staudt said in the State of the City address they talked about how seniors were green but they were also red in some respects. He thought they had to understand that and make a policy decision every year or in the long run that they would fund these types of social programs through the City government through Parks and Recreation or through some other entity. He said he was not in favor of pulling it out and creating a department and having a new infrastructure. However, he thought with the amount of money they were looking at spending on it in the future, they really needed to scrutinize and spend the time understanding where that money was going. He said he was afraid it didnít happen as clearly under the Parks and Recreation umbrella as it might otherwise. He thought at some point they would have to take their time and dig into those issues independently from Parks and Recreation. He said he didnít like to look at those subsidies every year, wondered why it was $300,000 and $400,000 and wondering why they werenít getting a return from their programs. Member Staudt said it was because they could never get the return from their programs that they were subsidizing. He said he didnít think the general public clearly understood the level they were subsidizing and didnít think they would until it was its own entity.

Mayor Landry asked if Member Staudt was suggesting that one of the things they do, was to account for it differently and more clearly. Member Staudt said he believed that at some point it would be its own stand alone department. However, at this point he would like to have it much more clearly defined so they could have policy discussions on it and make decisions without the subsidies.

Mayor Landry asked if that needed to be a goal or could it be done at budget time. Mr. Pearson said there was a department or division in the account structure already for older adult services. He said they had a division page on that and he noticed that they didnít go into the detail of having the expenditures and revenues for it and he would add it to the budget document. He thought the discussion was helpful but it was really about the means not the end. He thought Council was good at saying what they wanted to get done. He said he hadnít heard much talk about programs; it was how to get organized to get that done. He said they were trying to combine things and not trying to break things out generally.

Mayor Landry asked if they could take #1, Remove Senior Services from Parks and Recreation out and Council agreed.

Mayor Landry said they would now discuss Fully Fund Senior Transit from General Fund

Member Mutch said when they discussed this during the Block Grant funding one of the things that came forward was the significant need in the community for assistance with the Home Repair Program. He said one of the things the committee working on that identified was the fact that of all the activities that came from that fund, the portion of funding for Senior Transit from Block Grant was a small percentage of their overall funding. He said most of the funding for that program came from the General Fund. He noted the other thing that came out of that discussion was the fact that the City didnít have any other vehicle to take care of the Home Repair Program other than the Block Grant funding. He said looking at the two programs; they knew they could fund the Senior Transit from the General Fund and the Home Repair Program they knew they could only fund with the Block Grant. Member Mutch said the question was then, why they were cutting into the need on the home repair side, which they knew they couldnít even meet the current needs and had a two or three year waiting list, in terms of projected funding for that. He said he wasnít saying this was how they had to fund it but they had these two needs and knew the home repair need was significant and the only money to address it was Block Grant money. Member Mutch asked if they could better address that need by shifting the Senior Transit funding to the General Fund where most of it was already funded or would they just continue to say sorry they couldnít meet the needs on the Home Repair Program because it was more important to take the Block Grant money for Senior Transit.

Mayor Pro Tem Gatt said he didnít disagree but didnít think this belonged at the goal setting session. He thought it was an issue to be discussed at budget time when they discuss what they would do with the line item to increase that Block Grant.

Member Mutch said he would agree to take it off the list and bring it back for discussion at budget time.

Mr. Pearson said there 19 items on this and there were 6 other categories and asked if they would want to go through this level of detail with all of them. He asked Council not to feel like they had to take all these off as it was OK to leave them on, and then rank order a longer list, if they get to it and they would still be there.

Mayor Landry asked if they didnít discuss each one of these, how they would do it otherwise. Mr. Pearson said he wasnít suggesting not discussing each one of them; he was just concerned about the level of detail. He said they were on the list and they would rank order them and that would help too.

Member Mutch suggested going around the table to see if Council members had a particular question on any item. He thought some of them were self explanatory and he didnít think they needed to go through each and every one of them.

Mayor Landry asked if he was suggesting a general discussion on these one by one. Member Mutch said yes, if Council members had a particular item they had a question on why not just bring that up.

Member Burke suggested eliminating #19, Increase Program participation by 10% in the next 5 years, because it was a departmental goal at Parks, Recreation and Forestry.

He said he didnít think there was much Council could do with that and suggested sending it to the Director of Parks, Recreation and Forestry for him to take care of.

Member Margolis questioned #5, Eliminate anything from Parks and Recreation that was not activity or programming oriented and not have two departments performing similar services. She said she wasnít sure what that meant.

Member Staudt said he didnít think they should have two departments cutting lawns. He said they needed to look at every single way to consolidate everything in every department. He said this just happened to be the Parks, Recreation and Forestry section. He didnít think they should be doing things that other departments were doing or they should be doing those things and the other departments shouldnít be. He said he really wanted to see Parks, Recreation and Forestry be recreation and make the programs the very best. Member Staudt said he was the person that put down the 10%. He said it was very clear to him when looking at the citizen survey that they didnít have the level of participation needed in their programs and that tied back to #5. He thought they should fine tune what they were doing and consolidate services where they could departmentally. He suggested consolidating all services such as mowing, snow plowing, etc. to one department.

Mayor Pro Tem Gatt agreed and thought it was something Mr. Pearson should take note of and implement. However, he didnít know if that was a goal of the Council

Mayor Landry said if that was what they wanted to direct the Administration to do, then Council needed to be very clear and now was the time to do it. Mr. Pearson said they would be receiving a memo next week they were going to like.

Member Margolis said there were two levels and one was goals that they budgeted for and they were setting priorities here. She said not only did they have to be smart they had to be realistic. She said they would have less money this year and thought they needed to be very focused. Secondly, she thought these were great suggestions to share but her philosophy was that Council hired and fired the City Manager to run operationally the City. She thought it was their job to give him direction and say they were going in this direction and thought that had been the kind of thing they had been doing. She thought it was great do a suggestion but didnít think it was a Council goal.

Mayor Pro Tem Gatt said referring to #14, Complete the Community Recreation Plan in the next 60 days. He asked if the 60 days was from now or when they adopted this. He thought 60 days was kind of ambiguous. He referred to #17, improve the Theatre to be more successful and recognized throughout the region, and said it was important but he didnít know if it was a Council goal or something that should fall under Mr. Pearson and his staff.

Member Crawford agreed with #14 and didnít know if 60 days was possible. She thought #16, Take an Aggressive Approach to secure grants for Park Development and Trail ways, was an Administrative item. She thought they were already taking an aggressive approach and knew that Council wanted them to find money. Referring to #19, Increase Program participation by 10% in the next 5 years, she didnít know if that was feasible and wasnít sure it should be set as a Council goal. Member Crawford said she didnít think Council should tell departments what they should do, especially if they had less people to do more work.

Member Staudt said if a recreation plan was not completed in the next 60 day they would not be able to apply for grants. He said whether it was 60 or 120 days, the message was get a community recreation plan done because this year there were opportunities through the Trust Fund to do things that were very specific to Novi including parkland, pathways, etc. Member Staudt said they could not apply for any of those unless they get the plan done. He thought this was exactly the venue to put these types of things out. He said his goal was to get the Community Recreation Plan done now, so they could start dealing with this. Also, he would like to put out a message from Council to Administration to take an aggressive approach on securing grants for park development and trail ways. Member Staudt said they had at times been aggressive but for the most part they get aggressive when pushed. He thought it was absolutely critical in these times that they go after things aggressively; itís a Council issue because it took time and money to do it. He said it was important to allocate the resources necessary to go out and do the grants. Member Staudt said regarding #19, Increase Program participation by 10%, he was appalled, on the survey, how low program participation was for Parks and Recreation. He said they could throw out the 10% but he wanted to see a significant increase in participation; either they werenít offering the programs, have an apathetic community who wasnít interested in what was offered or they werenít communicating well. He said they needed more participation and hopefully the Signature Park provided an opportunity for that because it would open up things that they hadnít been able to do in the past, such as Basketball and Volley Ball leagues, etc. In the past they had 30 Volley Ball teams and now there were none. He said there were six people per team and that was a lot of people participating, and there were other communities who were doing this stuff. Member Staudt said it was absolutely critical to increase participation by better programming and better offerings. Referring to #5, Eliminating anything from Parks, Recreation & Forestry that is not activity or programming oriented. No two departments perform similar services; Member Staudt said he didnít see how the Senior Transit Plan fit into Parks and Recreation. He said it fit because it grew from a very small program that had very few people to something now that was extremely large and would continue to grow. He said it was important that they look at everything with a very jaded eye in terms of making sure they were doing things that made sense in that department.

Mayor Landry thought the discussion was fruitful and Administration was listening. He thought there were a lot of topics here that were too specific to be included in the goal. He didnít envision more than 3 to 5 goals ultimately and he saw them as big. He said when they look back at how this exercise had been fruitful, several years ago they looked at Power Park, set up and plan and accomplished it. He saw the goals this year in Parks and Recreation as #1, Signature Park and included pathways, and he thought if that was their goal, it should be stated. He thought the cricket field would be a huge draw and people would come from everywhere for tournaments. Mayor Landry saw the major goals as Signature Park, the Fuerst property, which they had a plan for and funded to a certain extent and they need to say whether they think their goal was to complete it at some point. He also thought the Landing property belonged there. He said last year at budget time they had found the money to do the study, which he thought they were doing now. He said looking at Signature Park, Fuerst property and the Landing property they were the big ones he thought belonged on this list.

Member Margolis agreed and thought they needed to be careful with what they put on here because this would drive the Administration in what they do with the budget. She said regarding the idea of increasing program participation, she thought what people did most was visit the parks. She said she had not participated in the programs because it just wasnít her and she thought they needed to look at what the community was asking for from Parks and Recreation. She said the whole idea of walking paths, and making this place more bicycle and path friendly was not a program but all the information they had been getting for the past three months was huge. She thought it needed to have more emphasis on it. She said she thought the pathways needed to be a part of the first phase of Signature Park because that was what people were asking for. She asked how they, in creative ways, get these sidewalks because it was a very clear bad public relations problem for them. Member Margolis said they also need to be very focused and couldnít tell the Administration they wanted them to go after grants because if you have ever written a grant they are the worst thing to write in the world and take a ton of time. She said they needed to tell them where to put their time and attention.

Member Mutch said he was glad to see people coming over to the sidewalks and agreed and thought it reflected the priorities that they saw in the survey. He thought in a sense it was validating and important. Member Mutch said the question was the resources and they could do as much as they were willing to put resources behind. He said he agreed with Member Margolis to a point in terms of the grant that they couldnít chase every grant out there and they needed to be focused on what they needed to do. He also agreed with Member Staudt in that Administration knew what they wanted to do in these various areas. They know trails and park improvements were priorities for Council and the Community and they needed to pursue those. He said that wasnít specific to Parks and Recreation that was true of everywhere. He said there were road improvements they needed to do and they know which roads were priorities and then they look for grant dollars to make that happen. Member Mutch said they had done what they needed to do. They had said it was a priority and now Administration needed to step up and meet those opportunities when they come forward.

Mayor Landry agreed pathways were a goal that should be a part of Phase I of Signature Park. He said he saw pathways and sidewalks as two different issues. He said sidewalks were really expensive and they were doing a little bit more every year, they had a committee that seemed to be working and itís interdepartmental. He said he could see giving Administration direction that, under the Parks and Recreation Department they wanted to develop pathways in the parks.

Member Staudt said they were, but they werenít, they were all a part of the connectivity that Council was trying was trying to do with the committee they established. He said the whole issue between recreation and community education would rear its ugly head as the school district got more desperate for revenue. He said things such as

establishing another theatre program in the City, he didnít think they would resolve this Administration to Administration. He thought it would take elected officials to sit down and really hammer out an understanding between us as to where they were going to go with these two programs. Member Staudt said as they overlapped more and more it would ruin both sides of the programs and not just recreation and community education. When he heard things like they were going to start their own theatre group, weíre struggling to do our own and now weíre going to have competition for dollars. He thought this was something that needed immediate attention; it would take a long time to work out and needed to go beyond Administration. He felt it needed to go elected official to elected official otherwise nothing was going to happen. Member Staudt said there was intense pressure on the school district to generate additional revenue and he felt it would increase.

Member Crawford said she looked at the survey data and said the bicycle, footpaths and walkways were really important to the residents. She said it was something everyone could do and it didnít cost money. She thought they needed to use the data that had been collected in a more effective way and keep referring back to it because that was what the community said they wanted. She said the one thing that she would really like to stretch a little was #17, Improve the Theatre to be more successful and recognized throughout the region. She thought Cultural Arts, which would include music, community choruses, band, and theatre, was something that should be promoted and made a higher priority. She said she didnít think of the City and school district competing. She said if they want the tallest building in town, then they just needed to concentrate on their building. She said they needed to concentrate on their program and let other things happen as they might. Member Crawford said she didnít disagree that they shouldnít have dialogue with the schools but she thought they knew how to do theatre and needed to continue doing it regardless of what happened around us.

Mayor Landry asked if they could vote and how Mr. Pearson wanted to do it. Mr. Pearson said if that was Councilís pleasure; he suggested organize the top five, if Council was comfortable with that. Mr. Pearson said it could be set at whatever Council wished.

The final five goals were:

  • Develop a Signature Park with recreational opportunities for residents of all ages

  • More and improved bike/walkways throughout the City of Novi as well as enhanced walkways within the park

  • Fully develop Fuerst property parkland

  • Plan and develop the Landing property for best use by all residents

  • Complete the Community Recreation Plan in the next 60 days

Ensure public safety services meet the needs of the community (Police, Fire, Public Works)

Council discussed their preferences from the items listed:

  1. Partnership wherever possible

  2. Fund improvement to DPW facility based on improvement plan

  3. Recruit more POC

  4. Move power outage responsibility from Police to Fire department

  5. Involve public safety staff in code enforcement activities as much as possible

  6. Maintain POC/Full time fire dept.

  7. Future of fire station #3 Ė do we need it

  8. Focus resources on crime prevention activities

  9. Implement plans to improve/replace fire station #1

  10. Generate revenue through rental of gun range to other law enforcement agencies

  11. Utilize CERT volunteers more frequently through City programs and for special events

  12. Centralize fleet services operations

  13. Implement appropriate recommendations of public safety study currently in progress

  14. Two shift format for DPW

  15. Utilize existing Fire personnel more frequently. Conduct more building and coding inspections

  16. Improve communication with the public regarding emergency services

  17. Continue to study and use data regarding accident and traffic patterns

  18. Replace/relocate Fire Station 1 to Delwal or sell Grand River frontage

  19. Look at specific neighborhoods that need additional police resources

  20. Improve neighborhood policing programs focusing on property crimes

Member Staudt said they could remove #15 and #10. He said he would like to see them use the gun range especially in lieu of the report they received for potential rental opportunities. He said he saw no reason not to and knew there were objections to it but it was a source of revenue they needed to consider.

Member Crawford said she would like to explore the possibility of the gun range but would like to rely on the Administration from the Police Department to say whether it was feasible and practical. Regarding #14, Two Shift Format for the DPW, she didnít now if that was something they should do or not and thought it was an Administrative call.

Mayor Pro Tem Gatt said his objection to a lot of these was that they were stepping out of their elected official responsibilities and into the Administrative responsibilities. He said he had always been against that as they were not the Police Chief or the City Manager. He thought they should remain focused on things that cost money and become a bigger part of the goal like moving Station #1 on Grand River in the future to Delwal. He thought they had discussed a year ago that it was not economically the time to sell that property. He said he didnít want to cross those lines.

Member Margolis said overall the satisfaction with public safety was extremely high. She said the major thing she got looking through all of the information was that they were doing a pretty good job in most areas. She said they needed to keep doing what they were doing and kind of tweak around the edges. She thought some of these things were Administrative and hopefully they were putting them out there as something they were paying attention to. She said they involved public safety staff and code enforcement activities were out there and were the eyes and ears out there all the time. She asked if there was a way to cross-functionally use those entities, to assist in this whole process. The only area that seemed to get a statistically significant drop was crime prevention, which dropped from the last survey. She said that could be a result of the economy and she thought it merited some attention as to what the community meant by that. She said they needed to find that out, so she thought the Police Department might want to look at it as to how they could beef up that piece. She thought implementing the recommendations of the Public Safety Study would be a huge part of these goals in the coming years.

Member Burke said he threw in #19, Improve neighborhood policing programs focusing on property crimes, on the coattails of #10, Generate revenue through rental of gun range to other law enforcement agencies because he wanted to be able to get it out there. He said it might not be the right time to do it now but thought it should be on the radar for sure. He said given the real estate values, etc., he thought sometimes there were certain addresses and Main Street Novi on Grand River would probably always hold a significant percentage of its value. He said there might never be a bad time to sell it might not be that far away from now. Member Burke said the way they operate there and he saw it every day and could speak to this, and said the station might be better placed on Delwal.

Member Mutch said a couple of the items he threw out were more to look for information but they did come up in the Administrative groupís comments a couple times. He said usually when something showed up more than once he assumed it was not just one person who had a particular issue they were hammering on. He said those were the question of centralizing fleet services and the two shift format for DPW. He commented he generally understood what those concepts were and would be interested in whether those concepts would save money or provide better services or both. He said there might be ideas that they didnít need to pursue. However, he thought it went back to earlier discussions they had about how they, as a City, had to look at everything and decide if the way they had been doing it was the best way, or were they willing to review it and see if there was a better way. He said there were about three fire station ones that could be combined into a single item when they voted, so they should probably do that. Member Mutch said he did the one about the issue of looking at specific neighborhoods that needed additional police resources. He understood Mayor Pro Tem Gattís point that they shouldnít be micro managing how the Police Chief ran his department. But one of the things that came out in the 2006 survey and the recent survey was there was definitely a geographic distribution in terms of the level of satisfaction with services from residents on whether they felt safe in their neighborhoods. He said it seemed there were areas of the City that people didnít feel as safe as maybe where some of the Council members lived. He thought that was an indicator that they needed to look at that closely and figure out why. He didnít think anyone felt unsafe and thought there were fairly high levels of satisfaction but there definitely was a difference. Member Mutch said if they identified areas that tended to have a higher crime rate or people felt less safe as compared to other parts of the City, then they as a Council were willing to commit the resources to allow the Police Department to address those needs. He said the Chief might say they were doing everything they could in those areas and throwing more money and officers at it would not fix the problem or it might be something Council needed to address.

Mayor Landry said he agreed with Member Margolisí comments and thought when it came to public safety he thought they were doing a great job. He said when they looked back over the past few years they had done pretty significant things in the public safety arena. He said with the forfeiture dollars they built a gun range, paid off the Police building bond and were making updates to the Police Station. He said they also updated the Fire Station and had done a lot of things in this area over the last few years. Mayor Landry said what he saw going forward was like they did last year, they didnít add any police officers but they got smarter and created the standards Sergeants. So, when they added personnel they had to be smarter with how they did that.

Mayor Landry said it appeared to him that the CERT program was doing well and had not heard anything to the contrary. He said he assumed that they were constantly evaluating how they could better utilize it. Mayor Landry said they now had 170 and he saw them out at all public events and he was sure the Chief and his staff was constantly overseeing it. He noted last year the Cadet program came out of this group and they were just bringing that on line now. He said the big ticket items such as Fire Station #1, he didnít see them being able to move the Station without a millage. He said that would take significant knowledge to move that. Mayor Landry said they would wait and see what happened with the park millage but thought it was something long range they needed to discuss. As far as Fire Station #3 was concerned, he thought they could look at whether they wanted to put more money into it or was it a Station that could be eliminated. He said if they could cover the City and do it safely, did they really need Fire Station #3. He thought that merited some discussion. Mayor Landry said needs like communication, mapping, weapons, equipment etc., they would hear about at budget time.

Member Staudt stated he wanted to eliminate #8 and #19 considering #10 roughly discussed that issue.

Member Mutch said, in terms of #10, he agreed with Mayor Landry and said they couldnít do anything regarding construction in the next 12 to 18 months. However, they could definitely have a discussion about whether they still needed Fire Station #3. He said that was something he could see happening within the timeframe of these goals.

Mayor Landry agreed and thought Member Mutchís suggestion was to keep #8 and eliminate #19. Member Mutch said they could keep #10 and add on discussion of future of Fire Station #3 to it. Mayor Landry agreed.

Mayor Pro Tem Gatt said keeping #10 meant implementing plans to approve or replace Station #1, and asked if they wanted to go down the road of implementing that plan.

Member Mutch thought Mayor Landryís point was they would have to have money in place. He said, as Member Burke said, they need to keep it on their radar.

Mayor Landry said Fire Station #1 was one topic and Fire Station #3 was a separate topic. Member Mutch agreed. Mayor Landry suggested they take out number #3, so they would have one goal that addressed #1 and one goal addressed #3. He said then they could rank them and have additional discussions on each one. Member Mutch agreed.

Ms. Antil said only the person who wrote #10 could make a change to it. She said they could delete it, but whoever wrote #10 needed to make that change. Member Staudt, who wrote #10 agreed.

Mr. Pearson said the ICMA Staffing and Utilization Study was underway but it had not been delivered to Council yet.

Member Margolis said she would say keep #14; she said they could change it if they wanted, but implement the appropriate recommendations. She thought they needed to say they were going to use what they paid for. She asked if the study was going to look at Fire Station #3, and the need for that as part of overall staffing.

Mr. Pearson said it would be a topic for the future and would not get into the details of "yes you should". He thought it would take a broad brush and say it merited serious consideration or was an idea for down the road.

Member Margolis asked if they wanted her to change the wording on it and Member Mutch said yes. Member Margolis changed the wording to "implement appropriate". She asked if they could delete #1 and Council agreed.

Mayor Landry asked if they were ready to rank.

The top five ranked from this goal includes:

  1. Implement appropriate recommendations of pubic safety study currently in progress

  2. Future fire station #3 do we need it

  3. Fund improvements to DPW facility based on improvement plan

  4. Generate revenue through rental of gun range to other law enforcement agencies

  5. Maintain POC/full time fire department

Maintain a fiscally responsible government included:

  1. Use part time staff when vacancies occur

  2. Use multi year approach to budgeting

  3. Create a venture team to look into self insured health insurance plan

  4. Continue to trim staff where application and reduce job replication

  5. Enhance efforts to partner with private/pubic sector

  6. Look at all opportunities to contract out city services

  7. Strictly prioritize goals and objective to focus spending and continue maintaining appropriate fund balance

  8. Increase training and recruitment of volunteers

  9. Eliminate duplicate services

  10. Use contract work wherever possible

  11. Implement an immediate hiring freeze in all departments

  12. Begin aggressive cross training across departments

  13. Improve internal processes in order to eliminate duplications

  14. Explore all ways to increase revenues

  15. Develop budget without statutory state shared revenue included

  16. Continue to encourage the seeking of private funds through foundations, i.e. Parks Foundation

  17. Replace Human Resources with technology wherever possible

  18. Utilize increased number of interns

  19. Apply for funds from Federal government that were just appropriated yesterday

  20. Use Drain Maintenance Fund to supplement Drain Revenue Fund

Member Margolis said she would play her hand at one thing, which was "strictly prioritize goals and objectives to focus spending and continue maintaining appropriate Fund Balance. Member Margolis said, this year, they probably wouldnít have a lot of space for wish lists and things in the budget. She felt they needed to be very careful on what they focused on. She said she knew they had talked about a two year budget and it seemed to be a popular thing. She said it sounded good but thought they had to take a look at that and make sure they didnít put that amount of time into developing a two year budget and then put in all that time the next year revising it. She said if they looked at the way a budget was constructed, they really did have a multi year budget in capital improvements. She said they play with it every year because the priorities change. Member Margolis said so much of the budget was personal services and public safety personal services, which, unless huge changes were going to be made to the number of police officers, would not change year to year. So, she said they were really talking in a two year budget that kind of top piece, which next year when there was an election in November, who knew what the priorities of that Council would be. Member Margolis thought it was a good idea but the question was whether it was worth the amount of time to develop a two year budget based on what could happen the following year, and really what it accomplished. She said she would be interested in discussion on that topic.

Member Burke said he had two. One was Eliminate duplicate services, and he said they had talked earlier about Parks and Recreation, DPW and a contractor doing grass cutting. He said there were three different parties doing this work but thought they could figure out how many people they had cutting grass through two different departments and a contractor. He said unfortunately they had to trim some staff because of the economic climate and they needed to continue to do so. However, in the same token, they didnít want to do that because it was not a good thing to do although it was being fiscally responsible, they would like to be able to bring more people on as the economy turned. He said they needed to be cognizant of where they were at, continue to move in the direction of running lean and making sure they didnít have job replication. Member Burke thought they could tie all this in as well as where they were able to insert technology where they could and where they were trimming staff.

Member Mutch said he put in the item about State Shared Revenue and it should be Statutory State Shared Revenue because there was a certain element that was constitutional and he would change that. He said based on what they saw out of Lansing, he didnít have a lot of confidence that even what they were promising this week, which was not to cut State Shared Revenues, would come to pass. He said he was kind of in agreement with Member Margolis regarding two year budgeting. He said

there were certain areas that he didnít think it would give a lot of payback in terms of the time invested. However, he did think there were things in terms of the fiscal analysis that the City had been doing, looking ahead at where they were going and how much revenue they would have. Member Mutch said at least having some of those long term discussions, prior to the actual budget process, of where they thought they were realistically going in terms of revenue they would have. He thought that some of the projects that they were talking about today, in terms of capital improvement projects, if they realistically looked at how much money they would have, they were simply not doable, or could be done if planned out over a multiple year process. He thought that was one area they didnít spend as much time on as they could. He thought a longer term budgeting process could have some benefits. He thought they should time them into the budget so at budget time they could discuss setting aside X to do this project that was three years out, recognizing they couldnít do it all at once. Member Mutch said the other issue was Fund Balance and that had been a priority for Council and would continue to be a priority to maintain the Fund Balance for him as they came to the budget. He thought it was the only financial safety net they had as a City. He said everyone hoped that things would turn around in the next year or two but thatís an unknown. Member Mutch agreed with Member Margolis that ultimately they would have to be really focused on prioritizing the dollars they had because if things continue as they are, there would be less and less dollars to spend on things they would like to do. He said they would have to focus on the things they needed to do.

Member Staudt said preserving Fund Balance and creating budgets that reflect current revenue and keep priorities. He said he had also put in a few of these other ones and coming from a business perspective, when things got tough they just didnít hire anyone else. He said if they needed to hire someone in a critical position, it was a decision that was made at the highest levels of the company. He didnít see how that was significantly different right now. He said the multi year budget approach, whether a two year budget or just looking at things out beyond the current year, he thought they already did that quite aggressively. He thought the fiscal analysis and capital improvement program were all part of a multi year approach to budgeting. He said it might be time to look at this a little more closely from General Fund revenue and some other things, because the decisions made today would affect what happened two or three years from now. Member Staudt thought it was critical, at this point, to take the analysis made by the Assessorís office and look at the Countyís numbers and come up with some realistic ideas of where the City would be several years down the road.

Member Crawford said there were things here that they already did and some that Administration was already doing. She said regarding #13 Implement immediate hiring freeze, she felt uncomfortable to say Council was going to do this and thought the Administration should come to Council with their thoughts on that. Regarding #2, Use part time staff when vacancies occur, she didnít know if that meant when part time vacancies occurred. However, if there were full time positions, she would be uncomfortable saying it should be replaced with a part time person. She thought there were some positions that should be full time. Regarding #8, Look at all opportunities to contract out, she assumed that the Administration looked at opportunities to contract out if it was more feasible or economically a more positive thing to do. She thought that was already done in the City. Regarding #14, Cross train departments, she said the City already did that because she had been impressed when sitting down with departments and they had told her how they had implemented cross training. She thought it had occurred in all departments already so there was no need to mention that.

Mayor Pro Tem Gatt said he did enter the 2 ideas, Part time staff when vacancies occurred and the two year budgeting. He said he was coming from the Oakland County approach because they were pretty successful in Pontiac and this was what Brooks Patterson had done and continued to do. He said there was a hiring freeze in Oakland County and a budget task force made up of Administrative employees and they look at every non-union vacancy in the County and then decide whether the vacancy should be filled with a full time person. He said it was working for them and when they didnít need to fill the position with full time, they filled it with part time staff. Regarding two year budgeting, he had been a proponent of that for a long time. He said Mr. Patterson had implemented a three year budget and his people looked at projections and then if they saw a shortage for next year, they made the correction now and didnít wait until next year. So, at the County they were looking at the revenue stream, expense stream and if they saw a problem they wouldnít wait until next year when they would have to lay off 100 people, they would correct it now by doing what they could to fill that projected hole. He said he knew they did something like that now, but he would like to enhance what they do. Mayor Pro Tem Gatt said Council only voted on a one year budget. The Administration prepared next yearís budget now, so they could foresee any problems and make corrections. He thought to contract out whenever possible spoke for itself and explore ways to increase revenues was something he put up there. He said he and Mr. Pearson had talked about how to increase the revenue such as a parking fee, a 5 cent sales tax on everything up at the mall. It would be something that wouldnít cost residents anything and he felt they would get a rebate from the City, if they were charged something. Mayor Pro Tem Gatt said the Federal Government would spend a trillion dollars and if they could get a couple dollars of that from them, letís do so.

Mayor Landry said as far as goal setting was concerned, he wholeheartedly supported as a City goal maintaining the Fund Balance. He said he was proud of what they did last year along those lines and thought it should be a high priority of Council. He commented a lot of the specifics that were up there were excellent suggestions and he thought they were already doing a lot of this. He didnít find it necessary to say they needed a hiring freeze because he didnít see this Administration hiring people but saw them consolidating as much as possible. Mayor Landry said a lot of the departments had been reorganized such as Building and Planning and that was already being done and he thought it was a great idea. He suggested they keep looking at that and exploring it. Mayor Landry said from a long term standpoint they should continue to pursue dollars from all private sources and it should be a goal of Council, the Parks Foundation being the number one example of that. Mayor Landry felt finding dollars had to be a public/private partnership, intergovernmental partnerships and a fiscally responsible government looking to partner as much as possible with other governmental entities. He said they had to do this much like they were doing Signature Park. He said Signature Park was exhibit A from a fiscal responsibility standpoint; they were partnering with another government unit and were about to decide that it couldnít be done without a millage. Mayor Landry said they were not going to saddle the residents of this community with a facility, should they approve it, that didnít pay for itself. He said they were examining this all up front and was the kind of thing that he thought they should keep doing. He said before they went to the public, they had to exhaust all other opportunities.

Mayor Landry said with respect to any of these specifics one that he put up there was creating a Venture Team to look at self insured health insurance. He said they had talked about this and every time they talk about it, it comes up they canít do it. He said yes, they can. He said he didnít think anyone ever seriously looked into it. He said he understood they had a lot of union contracts but he thought there were some products out there that they should seriously look at. Mayor Landry said they might find that it wasnít for them, itís too expensive or too risky but that shouldnít mean they donít look at it. He said this involved creating a Self Insurance Fund with a stop loss policy. The stop loss policy was a policy of insurance that didnít bankrupt the City so that any time a specific claim went over a dollar amount, that insurance policy kicked in. He said so youíre protected, but the City doesnít go bankrupt. He said it could potentially save the City a lot of money. Mayor Landry said obviously, the number one concern would be what kind of care was provided and what the cost would be. He said he would be in favor of a Venture Team with people from different departments, everyone looks at it and either votes it up or down. He thought that was the one specific opportunity that they could save significant dollars.

Member Mutch spoke about the issue of contracting out City services. He thought if Council wanted Administration to give it more attention, he thought that was within their focus to give them a green light to be more aggressive. He said the flip side of that was, at least in some areas, staff felt like they could probably do a better job and do it at less cost than contracting it out. He thought it was a two way street and they always needed to be examining whether how itís done today was the best and most cost effective way. Member Mutch said that also meant if something was contracted out and it could be done better in-house, they needed to be looking at both of those.

Mr. Pearson said, regarding the hiring freeze issue, they were not there, they had done a lot of things to get to that point and they were not a bloated organization like a lot of places have become. He said they were not going to do that; if the Police Chief or police officer left, they would be replaced. So, it set up the hiring freeze as something that didnít mean what it said. He said if they wanted to leave it up there for the purposes of balloting ok, but if it got to be one of the top ones he would have a problem with that because he was not going to do that.

Member Margolis said anytime they take these kinds of draconian words "not going to hire" or "cutting 10% across", those were organizations that were not effective because they didnít take the time to look at what made sense. She said she agreed with Mr. Pearson and thought he was right and agreed they would have to be very careful about doing those kinds of things. She said they needed to make sure they were hiring the right kind of people. Member Margolis said the same with the idea of hiring only part time staff because there were some positions that could never have a part time person.

The final four were:

  1. Strictly prioritize goals and objective to focus spending and continue maintaining appropriate fund balance

  2. Create venture team to look into a self insured health plan

  3. Continue to encourage the seeking of private funds through foundations, i.e. Parks Foundation

  4. Use a multi year approach to budgeting

Improve Infrastructure (Roads, Water and Sewer)

  1. Seek alternative funding

  2. Implement asset management approach to road improvement prioritization

  3. Address Grand River between Haggerty and Novi Roads with RCOC

  4. Build a water storage tank

  5. Continue annual neighborhood road repaving

  6. West Oaks traffic safety improvement

  7. Implement recommendations of transportation plan

  8. Aggressively pursue economic stimulus dollars for infrastructure projects

  9. Continue pursuing purchase of long term sewer capacity

  10. Street light key intersections

  11. Add lighted overhead road signs to major intersections

  12. Fix traffic problems in the AM a the high school

  13. Explore a complete streets program (implement road, sidewalk and landscaping improvements concurrently)

  14. Reduce peak hour water usage Ė conservation measures

  15. Develop plan to fund completion of sidewalk gaps through both budgeted dollars and possible private funding (for example "adopt a sidewalk program")

  16. Improve traffic flow at Ten and Taft.

Member Burke said he took his daughter to school in the morning and it was treacherous there and he didnít know how to address it. He thought something had to happen there at the high school because he thought a serious accident or fatality was eminent. Also, there were a few intersections in the City that were pretty dark and thought they should look at putting up some street lights. He said the others were pretty straight forward.

Member Mutch said one of the top priorities for him was they had to address Grand River between Novi Road and Haggerty. He said he knew it was in some out year funding programs and potentially stimulus funding but it was an embarrassment. He felt it was a bad image for the City, was a terrible road to drive and he thought it should be one of their top priorities. Member Mutch thought it was a detriment to economic development along that corridor because of the state that it was in. He said they also needed to look at City jurisdiction over some of the County roads. He didnít know if that was the right approach or not, but if they were going to wait around for RCOC to get some of the roads fixed, they would be sitting there for ten years. Member Mutch said the water storage tank wasnít his but he thought it was another high priority. He said the DWSD was killing them on water rates and some of it was self inflicted and was why he added something about working harder on conservation measures. He said long term, realistically speaking, they were not going to get people to turn off their sprinklers in the summer or stop filling their pools. He said they needed to implement the water storage tank. He knew it was a big capital item but he thought the long term would speak for itself. Member Mutch echoed Member Burke about intersection lighting; there were certain intersections in the City that just from a safety viewpoint would benefit from that. He also agreed about the high school and felt with the changes going on with the campus, there were some areas that needed to be looked at.

Member Staudt said they could remove the roundabouts. He said he did put up build water storage tank and with 4% to 20% compounded increases from the City of Detroit, he didnít see anything they could do in the long term future of the City that could financially assist the City more. He said for him it was at the top of the priority scale. He said for the short term, he suspected there would be multiple levels of economic stimulus dollar spending. He thought for the next year or two they needed to do whatever they could working with, getting earmarked by the State or Federal Government, they had to make an aggressive effort to get those dollars. He said everyone else was going to and they needed to be in line with their hands out because it was critical. He said Grand River and Haggerty was absolutely a priority, as it was the conduit into the Main Street area.

Member Crawford asked Member Burke if he would be willing to not only work with the schools in regard to the high school but also look at the traffic flow that could be critical when coming or going to the school. Also, most of the elementary schools had lineups on the main roads for the bus. She said she was concerned because traffic lined up on Eleven Mile Road to pick up kids. She said she was thinking about Parkview because she went down there all the time; the bus garage was there with buses coming in and out and now the gravel trains flying down there to do their development. She was concerned because traffic lined up on Eleven Mile Road to pick up kids and a lot of people were dropping their kids off instead of going by bus. She asked that they take a look at all the schools and the traffic instead of just the high school. Member Burke agreed with that and didnít want to dilute the high school because there were so many young and inexperienced drivers that werenít at the elementary schools. He said he would support looking at all of the school zones as it related to traffic but with the number of high school drivers, which was primarily what was going in there, that was where he saw the real big problem. Member Crawford said, regarding West Oaks traffic, she wasnít sure it was the Cityís responsibility that the traffic flow just didnít work at the entranceways and the back part of it that went into West Oaks 1 and 2, the traffic flow didnít seem to work. Also, going into Fountain Walk, all of those entranceways into the malls didnít seem to work well. She said whatever part was Noviís she would like to see a more assertive effort in looking at that whole West Oaks 1 and 2, the entranceways, exit ways because they just didnít work.

Mayor Pro Tem Gatt said #1 was a no brainer and he was sure the City Manager was already doing that. He said Grand River between Haggerty and Novi Roads was an embarrassment and the people driving it didnít know it was a County road. He said the RCOC didnít have any money and he didnít know how they were going to do it. but he thought it was something that had to be done. He was not in favor of taking over the road but was in favor of partnering with RCOC if necessary to fix that portion of it. He said Mr. Olsen of would be angry with him if he didnít mention the pinch points on Haggerty Road. He said there was an accident this year that the people could contribute to the road not being in its best maintenance. He said he wanted to partner with the RCOC on that and they should look at talking with Farmington Hills. Mayor Pro Tem Gatt said thinking out of the box, he didnít think the schools ever partnered with the City in the past about improvements to roads but it might be something to explore. He said it would be a benefit to the school as well as to the City to improve the roads and the traffic flow around the community.

Member Margolis said she was very interested from the PASER Study about the whole idea of Asset Management approach to the road improvements on the roads. She said they had put a lot of money into the roads and thought they needed to keep doing that. She said she didnít totally understand the Asset Management approach but what she did understand seemed to make sense. If they looked at that, what they managed to do was kind of keep pace a little bit with the roads, but actually the average PASER rating dropped. However, they had been able to reduce the number of road miles that were below a 5 rating so they werenít as bad. She thought the water storage needed to be looked at and thought it was in the CIP to do the first study on that in the coming budget. Member Margolis thought they needed to be careful as they addressed it. She said it was very expensive and the Detroit Sewer and Water could change their mind at any moment on how they charge the City for water. She said they could build the water tower and then suddenly peak usage hour could be part of the formula on what they charged. She thought they needed to be careful. Member Margolis thought they needed to find ways to fund those gaps in the sidewalks, and she thought in one of the staff items they had this idea of adopt a sidewalk. She said there might be neighborhoods, where their section was not on the priority list, who might step up and offer to do fundraising to get their section funded. Member Margolis said maybe she wasnít at Ten and Taft when it was bad but thought they absolutely needed to look at it during school times. She thought in terms of overall, Ten and Taft probably worked pretty well the rest of the time. Member Margolis said they needed to address the high school because it was dangerous. She said she didnít know how they were going to address Grand River because the County didnít have the money.

Mayor Landry said the high school start times on Taft Road were horrendous and it was insane. He said he didnít know what the answer was because they couldnít put up a traffic light because the cueing would be all the way back into the intersection. He agreed that something needed to be done. Regarding neighborhoods, Mayor Landry thought that was important and was one thing they had done every single year. He thought it was important to have in their goals to continue to address this. He felt the residents needed to see that they had that as a goal to continue annually to address neighborhood roads. Mayor Landry said just to comprehend the problem after putting in all the money they had they stayed at the same PASER rate. He also felt it was important to continue to pursue purchasing the necessary long term sewer capacity for the City. Mayor Landry agreed with Member Crawford that West Oaks was abominable. However, that was private and not a City road and he didnít know if there was anything they could do. He said he would certainly be in favor of doing it. Mayor Landry said the problem with Haggerty Road was it was half Farmington Hills. He recalled that when they wanted to address the pinch points south of Nine Mile they said no so they had to bite off the cost 100% when it wasnít 100% their road. He said that was something they could talk about if they wanted to shoulder that financial responsibility but itís only half Noviís.

Member Mutch said they worked with Novi Schools at Village Oaks to address some of the traffic flow, which was more of a pedestrian issue. He said they initiated the dialogue with them and had a process they went through where they had the police, engineering and school people all working together. He thought that would be a model for them to follow. He said if they had a general goal that said address traffic concerns at schools, and noted the high school as being the first priority, to give direction to Administration, would be a good way to go. He didnít know if there were problems at schools other than the high school or Parkview, then they should address them.

Member Crawford said West Oaks might not be a City responsibility but she would like Council to not close the door in trying to work with the private sector to come up with some solutions. She said the City were the ones who had to deal with the accidents and all the things that occurred there. She commented that there had to be some way to impact that.

Mr. Pearson said between Novi Road and Donelson was a City road; the one that came in from the bank and divided West Oaks 1 and II. Mayor Landry asked if that was on the list and it was.

The final five were:

  1. Address Grand River between Haggerty and Novi Roads with RCOC

  2. Continue annual neighborhood road repaving

  3. Build water storage tank

  4. Develop plan to fund completion of sidewalk gaps through both budged dollars and possible private funding (for example "adopt a sidewalk program")

  5. Fix traffic problems in the AM at the high school.

Be a community that values natural areas and natural features

  1. Work with newly formed group around Walled Lake

  2. Review tree planting policies to make sure they are fiscally sustainable

  3. Purchase hybrid vehicles when possible

  4. Establish Green initiative

  5. Work with neighborhood groups to preserve wetlands/woodlands

  6. Implement energy conservation measures in city facilities

  7. Focus on enhancing the natural features of the Landings property

  8. Encourage neighborhood associations to be proactive in maintaining their own "community character"

  9. Investigate through community input opportunities to improve community "code enforcement" satisfaction focusing on neighborhoods

  10. Preserve natural areas along Rouge River corridor

  11. Develop plan to protect historic structures (historic districts)

  12. Focus on maximizing the natural features in all of our current parks

  13. Maintain the Village Wood Lake Park as a natural area with minimum development

  14. Promote historic landmarks in the community

  15. Work with arts council to help fund art in public places

  16. Encourage volunteers to participate in plantings and cleaning up the cityÖ adopt a Stream, etc.

  17. Investigate ways to increase community satisfaction with recycling services

  18. Alternative transportation options like SMART

  19. Support and encourage groups such as scouts, Master Gardeners, etc. in participating in our programs

  20. Work with major employers to identify transportation needs and develop transportation options (ride sharing, van pools, etc.)

  21. Reduce overall energy costs

  22. Make community aware of opportunity offered by signature park to preserve green space in the city.

  23. Maintain high standards Ė donít be afraid to have high expectations

  24. Focus on incorporating the natural features of the Fuerst/Library properties

Member Crawford said she wanted to make sure that the property they were already developing, like the Fuerst Farm, Library and looking at the way they could maximize natural areas was in there. She thought they had an opportunity of working together on the Library and Fuerst Farm to work together on all the natural features of the property and was in support of it. Member Crawford suggested encouraging groups, like the Master Gardeners and Toll Gate Farms, to be involved providing programming. She said they had a lot of resources that they could do programming with. She supported using scouting and Master Gardeners as volunteers more frequently. She thought sometimes in their effort just to have a park, they purchase the property, and referring to #14,"Maximizing the natural features in all of the current parks", and she wasnít saying they didnít look at the topography on a continuing basis, but she thought there were existing features in the parks and they were doing the programming but were not continuing to focus on the natural features of those properties.

Member Staudt said he was astounded there was nothing in this about developerís fees. He said the natural features of the Landing property were an unbelievable treasure and they would have to figure out what they were going to do based on the study. He said whatever they did, they needed to preserve all the natural features of the waterfront property.

Member Mutch stated one area of focus for him was internally for the City. Member Mutch thought they had made some good progress in making sure that the money for the Tree Fund was set aside and not used for anything else. However, one of the concerns he had with the Tree Fund was that while approaching build out less and less money was coming into that fund. He said they had just gone out and planted trees both on public areas as well as on neighborhood streets and he asked if they could continue to do that at 100% City cost. He said if not, could they look at doing a cost sharing with the neighborhoods or even opening that up so people who were interested in contributing to the cost of tree planting could participate in having trees planted in their neighborhood. He was concerned that in 5 or 10 years they wouldnít have any money left in the fund.

Member Mutch noted another area of focus internally for the City was the whole issue of energy conservation and hybrid vehicles where appropriate. He said even if there was an additional up front cost, what that would mean to the community in the long term. He said the City didnít have people driving long distance commutes and that was what the hybrid vehicle was designed to do. He said a study had been done about implementing energy conservation measures and it was in process in terms of implementing those. He said he would like to see them be as aggressive as possible with that because once they make the investment in that upgrade, they would get an immediate return on it. He said it might not be the full return in the first year but they would already be reducing the overall energy costs, which was the direction they wanted to go. Member Mutch said the other focus he had from a community perspective was focusing on things like the Rouge River Corridor, which was an important resource in the community, and doing what they could to protect that. He agreed with Member Crawford when talking about the natural resources in the parks because there were some really fantastic natural resources that had been documented by studies. He said they were documented but they had not taken any steps to make sure they were maintaining them. Member Mutch said there were still a lot of structures in the community and some of them might be eligible for designation and he wanted to talk with private property owners who would be interested in that. He said there were benefits to them if they protect those through an historic district and then they were also protected for the community for the long term.

Member Burke stated he placed one item to establish a green initiative. He said he and his wife were proponents of recycling and they received a RRRASOC mailing. The RRRASOC stated that they had saved 49 acres of forest and 16,500 barrels of oil and he would like this information to go out to the community. He thought this was something relatively inexpensive that they could do to get this out in letter form to homeowners in the City. He also suggested sending this to significant businesses that generate a lot of waste every day. He said his guys practice reducing cardboard waste, etc. and he imagined other facilities in the City do not. He thought it would be a good idea to create more awareness within the City for recycling. He thought information and other resources available should be on the web site. Member Burke said under that same venue, green initiative, other things could be incorporated such as reducing energy costs in City facilities, hybrid vehicles, etc., which might be able to fall into this category that they could actually create a program or policy as a green issue.

Member Margolis said one of the things she put on was the idea of recycling. She said in the survey, one of the areas they received low satisfaction was with recycling opportunities. She said staff looked at that and gave Council ideas on why that satisfaction was low and a lot of it had focused on the availability of curbside recycling. She thought it was something they needed to look at and figure out. She commented it was something to look at and decide whether it was a part of the green initiative or really focus on the recycling. Member Margolis said, regarding code enforcement, she suggested investigate through community input opportunities to improve community code enforcement satisfaction focusing on neighborhoods. She said surveys were to get them focused but qualitatively they needed to find out what that meant to people. She said if that was a huge driver of satisfaction with the City in general, she thought it was important enough to look at and maybe that would be a Venture Team. Member Margolis said going forward with the Signature Park issue, she thought they needed to be very careful to focus on the opportunities Signature Park offered them to maintain green space in the City. She thought by nature, they were thinking a lot about the facilities that would be there, which were important, but that was a huge chunk of green space, which was what the community had said they wanted. She said they needed to make sure the community understood that it was a big part of this project.

Mayor Pro Tem Gatt thought the Council had to work in conjunction and closely with the neighborhood groups in the City. He stated he didnít want the City staff to be in a position to make that call, as they should be working with the neighborhood groups.

Mayor Landry said he put Venture Team up for Code enforcement and the reason he did that was because he wholeheartedly agreed with Member Margolis. He said he was not sure the survey really told them what the concern was and didnít know whether they wanted them to write more tickets or fewer tickets, or people were just saying they didnít want their neighborhood to go down hill. He thought they needed to determine what the residents were saying. He said he just thought a Venture Team because it was sort of across the board administratively because he thought this would take different areas of the Administration. He said he didnít care how it was done but thought they needed to ascertain what was meant by this and somehow address it. He thought Member Burke came up with good ideas about recycling and was sure they could do that in the City electronic letters or even on the web site. He said tree planting was something they could all be proud of and that had been done for many years. He said when going to other communities for Mayorís Exchange day he was astounded when they were at Wyoming. He said they took them through a brand new subdivision and there were no trees. He thought that now, since there wasnít as much money going into the fund, they should review the policy and see how they could perpetuate this effort. He thought it was a great idea and also thought it was a great idea that they should emphasize all the maintenance of the green space through the Signature Park program, Fuerst Farm and integrating new City facilities like the Library while maintaining green space and using the green space to enhance the facility. Mayor Landry said the Library even requested that they enhance the orchard there, which was wonderful and he thought they could do all these at once.

Member Mutch echoed Member Margolis and agreed they needed to spend more time getting more detail before going down any one path. He said he appreciated that Administration responded quickly to the concern and came up with some ideas, but he wasnít sure they really knew what that was. He said he would be looking at that not only from a code enforcement issue but going back to the earlier discussion about neighborhoods, if Council got community input that the concerns were not just code enforcement but maybe some other things the charge of that team would be broad enough to bring those back to Council as well. Member Margolis agreed.

Member Staudt said, as the president of a very big homeowners association, he got all the calls and the biggest issue with code enforcement was the lack of understanding. He said they come to him first 5% to 10% of the time and they donít understand that code enforcement was a City issue and not a subdivision issue.

The final five were:

  1. Investigate through community input opportunities to improve community "code enforcement" satisfaction focusing on neighborhoods

  2. Establish Green initiative

  3. Review tree planting policies to make sure they are fiscally sustainable

  4. Work with neighborhood groups to preserve wetland/woodlands

  5. Investigate ways to increase community satisfaction with recycling services.

Encourage economic development to maximize City revenue and job growth

  1. Partner with private business

  2. Use technology to expedite applications for permits, etc.

  3. Focus efforts to encourage employee relocation to Novi

  4. Continue to assist our business community

  5. Review on a periodic basis ordinances that restrict/prohibit/discourage economic development

  6. Create dedicated fund for MEGA matches, etc.

  7. Revisit DDA

  8. Continue to aggressively market new businesses to move here

  9. Identify and address "difficult development" areas by inviting creative development solutions from the development community

  10. Work closely with EDC in Pontiac and Lansing

  11. Continue excellent progress on marketing city to businesses through website and publications, etc.

  12. Mainstreet

  13. Partner with school district in our Economic Development efforts

  14. Implement Master Plan recommendations from last update

  15. Improve internal process is to achieve improvements in service

  16. Market Novi as a hub for international companies

  17. Continue partnership with commercial developers to market city properties and improve infrastructure

  18. Encourage redevelopment of the old EXPO center

  19. Market Novi as a center for energy ITC and alternative energy businesses

  20. Focus economic development incentives on infrastructure improvements

  21. Continue work to strengthen existing businesses

  22. Continue to learn about Brownfield

  23. Improve internal processes that highlight the elimination of duplication

  24. Invite Brownfield developments

  25. Partner with surrounding communities

  26. Set a vision as a community that aspires to attract ambitious and talented people and companies

  27. Advertise Novi at airport and in other communities

  28. Establish an alternative energy corridor

  29. Position Novi to be the center for medical services in SE Michigan

  30. Look at local business needs Ė neighborhood level versus regional

  31. Enhanced marketing and information delivery to all residents including businesses

  32. Work with county executive in his medical main street initiative

Mayor Pro Tem Gatt said he would talk about the topics he put up, review on a periodic basis ordinances that restrict, prohibit or discourage economic development. He said they did have an Ordinance Review team but he thought they should be more aggressive in that area, work closely with the economic development people in Pontiac and Lansing. He thought they should partner with surrounding communities to bring economic development to the area as something built in Farmington Hills might also help Novi. He said at the State of the County address it was announced that there was a new initiative called a Medical Main Street U.S.A. and Novi was prominently mentioned in his address. He thought they should work with the County to enhance even further Councilís efforts in the medical areas bringing business in.

Member Margolis said the fact that economic development was the goal was terrific. She said she had a hard time finding things to put on here because she thought they had done a phenomenal job in the past three years and staff had really stepped it up. She said a lot of what she put in was to continue the progress they had made on marketing through the web site and publication improvements, and the way they were getting the word out was terrific with a lot of credit to staff. She said another thing was just continuing the partnership with the commercial and business developers in town. She said when doing the Mayor Exchange Day, one of the communities took them through their whole economic development area that they were doing with their own City staff and she and the Mayor said this was what the developers did for them. She said Council worked with them and they were marketing their project and she thought that was a huge part of their success. She had also put in to continue their focus on economic development incentives on infrastructure improvements. She said that would be a battle on a State wide level but thought that was what would benefit them in the long run and continue their economic development. Member Margolis thought they should work with and provide the kind of support needed to strengthen existing businesses. She said anything they could do to provide them education and consultant services and kind of hook them up was really important.

Member Burke said some of the ideas that were being bantered about with the business retention team that was out and calling on them was needed and certainly on Main Street. He said there were a couple of things that even if he wasnít a business owner on Main Street, he would be interested in. Member Burke said things like angle parking instead of parallel parking on the Market Street side. He thought it might work if they got rid of the center turn lane. He said it was very difficult to park on Market Street and he would really like to see it be Main Street that was the public parking street. He said on Saturday and Sunday morning there was absolutely nothing going on down there. He said they talked briefly when they had the Signature Park presentation about farmerís markets out there. He commented he didnít know whether the fields would be available on a summer morning to be able to have a farmerís market. However, they could utilize the area on Main Street that was practically vacant until one or two oíclock in the afternoon. Member Burke said there was a nice project coming forward there and he thought it was one of their last best chances at a pedestrian friendly downtown Novi. He said unfortunately with the freeway and Grand River it wasnít very walkable down there. So, he would like to try to see if Trinity wanted to build a medical office building down there and expand their footprint. He said they needed something to regenerate that development because it was a big ugly hole that could certainly be a gem. He thought it might be time to revisit or have another discussion about the DDA. Member Burke said he had also heard conversation about getting Novi on a billboard or at the airport saying "invest in Novi or welcome to southeastern Michigan, Visit Novi or something like that to attract people coming off planes.

Member Mutch said he had a couple ideas out there such as marketing Novi as a hub for international companies and the other was marketing Novi as a center for energy and alternative energy businesses. He said he had one more about the medical services, which other people tied into. Member Mutch said these were not things that would necessarily be goals. However, they give back to the idea that as a community they needed to identify those things that could help Novi differentiate itself from other communities, locally and nationally. He said Novi was known across Michigan as the center of retail shopping opportunities. He thought that was probably rightfully so, as he couldnít imagine anywhere else in the State that had a concentration of retail development from a Main Street environment to a Twelve Oaks Mall. He said that was a one horse kind of town and Novi couldnít be that as it needed to have a couple of things that helped differentiate itself long term. He thought thinking about economic development going forward that those were areas they were already established and had a good concentration of international companies. He said they were getting this kind of critical mass of alternative energy and energy companies and they needed to think of how they could better take advantage of those resources to help set Novi apart from other communities, locally and nationally. He thought bottom level industry going in the direction itís going they needed to be moving in a direction that recognized the reality of that, and captured some of the new growth taking place. He thought a lot of these companies internationally as well as in the energy sector had long term potential. He said they needed to continue to leverage the technology they had or that they could implement to try to assist businesses. He said with the Invest Novi web site they had a good start. He commented he would be looking for Administration to be proactive in terms of pushing those initiatives forward. He said coming to Council, if they needed additional funding fine, but be proactive about how they could leverage technology that was in place to streamline that process for the customer and also internally as an organization. Member Mutch said the last Master Plan update had a lot of focus on the residential but there were also a lot of recommendations in the I-96/Novi Road area that addressed some of the things put up today, like the old Expo Center. He said they could even get into the discussion of Brownfields and DDAís. He commented that the problem with these Master Plan updates was if they didnít move forward on them, they sat on a shelf and never get implemented. He said there had been discussion on moving those forward and he would like to see them make that a priority for the next year. Then, those recommendations as they applied to the Novi Road/I-96 area didnít just get left sitting.

Member Staudt said the only areas that he focused in on were efforts that were related to employee relocation in Novi. He commented he was sure they were doing some of this already but working with the school district, realtors and mortgage companies they should be able to provide a company relocating a full package of information, so they could pass it on to their employees to strongly urge them to relocate to Novi. He said he would very much like to pursue that. There were a lot of opportunities around town for redevelopment such as the old Expo Center, the Water Tower and the facility near the railroad tracks that had been an eyesore to the community. He said he didnít know how they would encourage redevelopment there whether it was through attractive zoning, etc. but those things had to go at some point and they would require effort on the Cityís part.

Member Crawford said a lot of these goals included marketing and she said it was not to say that they werenít maximizing their marketing. She said most of it was to continue on with what they were doing and try to do more. She said they were asking people to do more with less and that was a challenge. However, economic development was really where they could shine and that was and what had saved Novi. They really had to concentrate on it and marketing was an important thing. She said one thing she didnít see here was about the signs. Member Crawford said for years people had asked her if Novi was near Farmington or Northville and no one really knew where Novi was. She said the new Novi signs were a new marketing thing and created a vision that the City had. She stated she would like them to continue thinking outside the box with marketing and learn to share what was going on throughout the State and nation as a marketing strategy also.

Mayor Landry said of any of the goals this was the most important because without this there wouldnít be any money to do anything else. He said Member Mutch raised a good point about where did they want to be 10 years from now, what kind of City did they want to be and what kind of community did they want to be and economic development was how they would get there. He said having said that, he thought this was almost what they did best. He commented what they had been able to accomplish in this economic environment was nothing less than outstanding. He said they had attracted international businesses, Novi/s neighborhoods were integrated, it had a very diverse community residentially and businesswise and culture wise and he thought it was one of the things they did best. Mayor Landry said it was because they put their efforts to it and they were very creative. He agreed with Member Crawford about marketing and thought they would have a difficult time coming up with a consensus because these were all good ideas. He commented he didnít think they disagreed with anything because all of the ideas were wonderful ideas. He thought the notion of going from an EDC to a professional was a brilliant idea and thought Mr. Topouzian had done a great job and he thought that economic development was just professional. Mayor Landry thought they should sunset the EDC because they now had a professional and this is what professionals do. He thought the kind of return they were getting now was because of the professional efforts that they made. He commented as far as the Michigan EDC was concerned, he would love to work with them but they wouldnít work with them. He said there was a tug of war going on and he didnít know why. He said what businesses wanted was the Mega Grant; they didnít want Noviís tax abatement. He said when they propose to them that Noviís contribution, which was all the statute required, was infrastructure, they say OK fine. He said instead of giving them a tax abatement, letís build a road for them so if they fail and leave, Novi still had the road, water and sewer and he didnít know why the Michigan EDC wouldnít accept it, but they donít. He said maybe it was because they thought every other community would start doing it. Mayor Landry said it made perfect sense to him. He said regarding Brownfields, in this economic climate they had to do everything they could to invite development and they had already started to discuss Brownfields. He said there were only certain limited areas of the City for them but they needed to market that yes, they would consider them

in Novi. Mayor Landry thought that, in Ordinance Review right now, was an effort to identify difficult areas to develop around the City. He said they came up with a map and they were talking about the southeast corner of Grand River and Novi Road and Meadowbrook and Ten Mile Roads and some of the areas they get hung up on new development. However, economic development could also be redevelopment and he thought they began the efforts to identify these on a map. He said they talked about the southeast corner of Taft and Grand River, nobody could build there because the building envelope was so limited. He said another building could not be built there, so the thought was to get a map, identify it as a developmental area and invite the community to come back to Council with suggestions and they would be considered.

Member Margolis said staff recommendations talked about City a wide communication and marketing plan and she knew there was economic development communication and communication about Parks and Recreation. She thought it would be helpful for Council to understand how those all interrelate and help focus, and she thought it was a great thought. She said in the surveys they talked about newcomers to the City, which was natural, being less positive and less engaged. She said if they looked at the piece on demographic differences, the less time spent in the City, the less satisfied they were with something. So, she wanted to find ways to involve newcomers, how do they reach out to them early on in their residency in Novi. She thought, for too many people, until something went wrong they didnít get involved in their City, so it would be nice to start out on a positive note. She agreed they needed to continue with education and training for staff, as it was crucially important. She said even though they were going through tough times, they had to be careful about that and felt they could not reduce that as they went into budget. She felt they needed to continue with education and training. She also thought they needed to continue what they had been doing in customer service.

Member Burke said there were so many items on the list pertaining to developing a collaborative government and there were so many items on the list that said to continue. He thought they had the government structure they were looking for and they were continuing to be effective in services and communications. He commented he didnít know how much more they could change to make it that much better. Member Burke said they got a message a while back that they needed to change the way they were and changes had been made in the last several years and he thought they were doing a great job.

The final five goals were:

  1. Main street

  2. Continue to aggressively market new businesses to move here

  3. Continue work to strengthen existing businesses

  4. Market Novi as a center for energy (ITC) and alternative energy business

  5. Identify and address "difficult development" areas by inviting creative development solutions from the development community

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

  1. Foster a culture of innovation and excellence

  2. Implement online tools for citizen initiated service requests

  3. Continue staff development and training efforts that feature customer service delivery

  4. Continuously evaluate staffing positions to assure the most customer friendly people are on the front lines

  5. More venture teams

  6. Keep doing what weíre doing

  7. Develop a city-wide communication and marketing plan to coordinate all communication across departments

  8. Continue to hire and attract the high caliber staff that we have

  9. Be more active in exploring opportunities for collaboration with surrounding communities

  10. Look at 4-day work week options for all staff

  11. Develop opportunities for newcomers to become involved in the City and receive information regarding city services and programs

  12. Continue to develop and enhance the Cityís electronic and web based communication with residents and businesses

Member Mutch said the first thing he put on was to foster a culture of innovation and excellence. He said it sounds like it wasnít a tangible kind of thing but he thought it sent a message to staff and the community that it was the kind of government they wanted. They wanted a government that was constantly looking at how they did things and ensuring that they were doing it the best way they could; if theyíre not, that they were not afraid as a City or organization to do things differently. He said if they found they could do thing better or differently, they were willing to change. He thought one of the biggest obstacles at all levels of government to innovation was unwillingness or the expectation that people were not willing to try new things. Secondly, technology tools, was an area that the City had taken on and started implementing tools for citizens and businesses to be able to complete or request and apply for permits, etc. He thought they needed to keep pushing that and not only because of the ease of use it provided for the customer or resident but it would also, over the long term, help hold down the Cityís cost. He commented they had to keep looking at how they could leverage technology, it wasnít a replacement for people, but it could allow the people in the organization to work more effectively and efficiently. Member Mutch said another item related to that was the four day work week and he knew they had looked at it and had implemented some options in that regard. He noted there were some limitations because of where people work and union contracts but he thought it was something they should continue to explore, if they have the opportunity to implement it. He thought they could do it in a way that would allow them to maintain the high level of service to the residents because there would be a lot of benefits to having a four day work week. Member Mutch said they had talked about looking at how they could collaborate more within the City and with surrounding communities. He said Council discussed, at a past goal setting session, having meetings with some of the neighboring communities Councils or Township Boards and the consensus was they didnít need a meeting.

However, the Administrative staff from both communities should be talking about whether there were ways they could work together and provide a better level of service or extend the level of service they were providing by pooling resources or working together. He said they had made small steps in that direction and had looked at opportunities that just didnít make sense for Novi. Member Mutch said they did that with Wixom and Walled Lake regarding combined police services. He commented they couldnít be afraid to look at new ways of doing things because the pressures would continue to mount, in terms of the cost of services, and the pool of resources they had to bring to that.

Member Staudt thought they needed to continue to promote entrepreneurial and outside the box thinking without worrying about whether or not they would be criticized internally or externally. He said the more they could do things differently and with some innovation, the better off they would be.

Member Crawford said there was a feeling, when times were tough, one of the first things to go was staff participation in local and national seminars always seemed to be one of those things that they decided was too expensive to send staff to. She thought seminars were valuable because what staff learned when going to these seminars by talking to other people in other parts of the country or meeting with people locally and sharing ideas was of value. She said they would have to make some hard choices regarding which seminars to attend but she didnít want them to think that times were tough so staff should not attend them. She agreed with, #13, being more active and exploring opportunities for collaboration. Member Crawford said, in the senior world, they would meet regionally and discuss a new free program by this person who was willing to come to Novi for free and put on a program. She said they could save so much just by collaborating and she thought it was time that was spent well. Member Crawford said training nationally and locally was very important.

Mayor Pro Tem Gatt agreed with Member Crawford, both being former staff members, that training nationally and locally was very important. He commented that they should just keep doing what they were doing because they already did everything that everybody said. He said they had a young, aggressive and professional City Manager and his staff and he thought Novi had the best staff that any municipality could ever have. He said he almost felt sorry for those people around Novi because they didnít have what Novi had and they were trying to get what Novi had and as long as Novi kept doing aggressive marketing, they would never get it because Novi would.

Mayor Landry agreed 100%. He said he was there 8 years ago when the discussion was cut all funds for seminars and there was discussion about cutting periodicals. He said he didnít agree then and didnít agree now. He thought if they looked at numbers 3, 4, 5, 6 and 11 they all say the same thing and he would hate to see this fracture. He said there were two aspects when he thought about staff development. He thought, one, staff developed for the purpose of enhancing customer service and, two was staff developed for their own personal development. Mayor Landry said the staff were professionals and should develop as professionals and Council should encourage their development personally as professionals. He said they needed to give them the tools and that included education, seminars and enhancing their personal and professional  development. Mayor Landry said he didnít know who wrote #3 but he wanted to suggest that they consolidate all of these into three, which would state "to continue staff training efforts to foster their personal development and customer service". Member Crawford agreed and the change was made.

Mayor Landry suggested they delete numbers 4, 5, 6 and 11. Council agreed.

The final five for this goal were:

  1. Continue staff training efforts to foster personal development and customer service delivery

  2. Foster a culture of innovation and excellence

  3. Continue to develop and enhance the cityís electronic and web based communication with residents and businesses

  4. Implement online tools for citizen initiated service requests

  5. Be more active in exploring opportunities for collaboration with surrounding communities

Mayor Landry asked if Council was in agreement that they shouldnít rank them and adjourn for the day. There was consensus of Council.


There being no further business to come before Council, the meeting was adjourned at 1:38 P.M.

______________________________ _____________________________
David Landry, Mayor                                 Maryanne Cornelius, City Clerk

______________________________ Date approved: March 9, 2009

Transcribed by Charlene Mc Lean