PARKS, RECREATION AND FORESTRY
The meeting was called to order at 7:31 PM with Commissioner Staab presiding.
ROLL CALL: Commissioner Enright (Present), Kerbrat (Excused Absent), Kopeika (Present), Paul (Present), Place (Present), Staab (Present), Staudt (Present).
ALSO PRESENT: Randy Auler, Director of Parks, Recreation and Forestry
Jack Lewis, Deputy Director of Parks, Recreation and Forestry
Wendy DuVall-Angelocci, Program Director of Parks Recreation and Forestry
APPROVAL OF AGENDA: No changes were made to the Agenda.
AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION: None.
Approval of December 12, 2002 Regular Meeting Minutes: A motion was made to approve the minutes as submitted Place
Commissioner Paul (C-Un)
Election of 2003 Officers:
Commissioner Staab noted that this would be a short term, running from January to October to conform with the City Charter. Commissioner Place nominated Charles Staab. Commissioner Enright nominated David Paul. Both Commissioners accepted. Commissioner Staudt asked each nominee why he wanted to be Chairperson and what made them qualified. A ballot vote was taken. David Paul received four (4) votes and Charles Staab received two (2) votes. It was decided that Commissioner Staab would remain chairperson for this meeting.
Commissioner Paul nominated Charles Staab. There were no other nominations so Charles Staab was elected by acclimation.
Selection of 2003 Committees:
c. Strategic Plan Committee:
Director Auler stated that this committee focuses on working with the Strategic Plan as well as other long range plans that may come in to consideration. These may include things such as policy manuals, revenue policies, etc. There should be two or three people on each committee. Commissioner Staab, Commissioner Kopeika and Commissioner Staudt will serve on the Strategic Plan Committee.
d. Park Development Committee:
This committee will focus on planning and design of projects like the Community Sports Park project and helping with the creation of the Master Plan. Commissioner Paul, Commissioner Place, and Commissioner Enright will serve on the Park Development Committee.
e. Resource Development Committee:
This Committee will assist with cultivating donations, looking at a naming rights policy, grant opportunities, potentially forming a Parks Foundation if there is an interest and looking at how to bring resources in to help move forward the Strategic Plan. Commissioner Kerbrat, Commissioner Place, Commissioner Staudt and Commissioner Staab will serve on the Resource Development Committee. Director Auler pointed out that if there are four (4) Commissioners on a Committee it becomes an official Park Commission Meeting and would need to be posted in advance and televised. It was decided that this Committee Meeting will become part of the regular Commission Meeting.
Consideration of 2003\2004 Capital Improvement Program Request:
Director Auler noted that the Capital Improvement Committee, which consists of two (2) Council members and two (2) Planning Commission members, will meet on January the 23rd. A packet from the Parks, Recreation and Forestry staff will go out to the Capital Improvement Committee on January 17th. The Capital Improvement Committee reviews all capital requests from all of the departments and gives a recommendation in ranking and priority to the requests. This is forwarded to the Planning Commission, which reviews the information and makes a recommendation as it relates to the priorities. It then goes to City Council, who then decides which projects are funded and the priorities. Director Auler provided the Commission with a hand out of what was submitted as a request by the Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department. On Capital Improvement projects the request was about $468,000 for the upcoming fiscal year. We also requested funding for some software for street tree inventory as well as equipment to help with the forestry operation. Last yearís total Capital Improvement Budget for the department was $280,000 and we received a $55,000 grant from the Community Development Block Grant Program for a total of around $335,000. The reduction of State Revenue Sharing and the State Deficit could affect what we may receive so Director Auler did not have a "ballpark" figure of what would be realistic of the amount we may receive. The staff tried to list the key projects. The first priority is the beginning phase of the ADA improvements. The other projects, in order, were the Power Park Softball Complex, hazardous tree removal (due to the Emerald Ash Borer), the second phase of Community Sports Park Project (upgrade two ball fields), street tree replacement, and phase two of the Lakeshore Park Project (structural issues of the concession/day camp building). We also need to purchase a stump grinder because we are renting one and actually need a bigger one than we are able to rent. The last street tree inventory done was in 1987 so it is obsolete and we have no way to manage all of the street trees.
Commissioner Paul asked what would the possibility be for recommending to the Planning Commission or to the City to change the ordinance to require the developers replace trees.
Director Auler stated that the Parks, Recreation and Forestry Commission could encourage that change. He also noted that the staff is also including, in their recommendation, a narrative that focuses on policy issues which includes a street tree ordinance that would make developers responsible for planting trees and maintaining them for two (2) years. If the trees died within the two years the developer would be responsible for replacing them.
Commissioner Paul also asked what the total dollar amount was this past year for Community Sports Park.
Director Auler stated that we are at around $100,000 to $120,000 depending on how much is left from the Brookfarm Project. This information will be available to Director Auler tomorrow. What needs to be decided is whether $25,000 should be spent on a shelter or spent on ballfields. The money allocated for the ADA improvements has to be used for that purpose.
Commissioner Paul asked if it is still possible to do improvements on two (2) ballfields.
Director Auler stated that he believes that one field can be done completely and begin work on the second field depending on the bids. We canít complete two (2) but we can complete one and start on the second with grading or irrigation depending on the field.
Commissioner Place asked that if we complete one field whether it would be available for use the following season.
Director Auler stated that would be a decision that would have to be made. Ideally, when a field is built they should not be played on for a year but we donít necessarily have that luxury.
Commissioner Staab asked Commissioner Paul which trees would be affected by the proposed ordinance.
Commissioner Paul stated that they would be the ones between the sidewalk and the street. He suggested that developer be required to plant so many trees in the subdivision and some of the trees could be used at the entrance or berm.
Commissioner Enright asked if the City has no inventory or know which trees are dead or need to be replaced. She heard that there is a five (5) year waiting list.
Director Auler stated that we still need to have allocated monies to deal with replacement trees that are issues now. There is a list.
Commissioner Staab asked how actively we reduce that list each year.
Deputy Director Lewis stated that last spring he believes we replaced around two hundred and fifty (250) and this fall another two hundred and fifty (250).
Commissioner Paul stated that the new ordinance would apply from this point forward so that a developer with a new subdivision would be responsible for so many trees into that subdivision in a particular location and be responsible for them for two (2) years.
Commissioner Staudt asked if Capital Improvement in forestry has been a neglected area in the past.
Director Auler replied that has been neglected. We have one urban City Forester and one forestry technician (who works out in the field). We have over 20,000 street trees alone that the Forester is responsible for with no tree inventory management program to manage them. Because of safety and MIOSHA, any time tree work is being done it requires two (2) individuals who are certified, which requires that we take one of our three (3) park maintenance staff over to forestry. We have two people taking care of trees and two people taking care 700 acres, parks and all of the ball fields. We have no equipment to do the tree work. We have a boom truck but we donít have a stump grinder and a chipper that is old and needs to be replaced but are putting that off for a year.
Commissioner Staudt stated that he read in the newspaper that Novi was going to be a disposition area for ash trees.
Director Auler stated that the State is looking for locations through out the state that would be a secure area to come in and grind up all of the ash trees.
All areas would transport in their ash trees to a location and the State would dispose (grind up) all of their ash trees. It has not been determined that we are going to be one of those sites. They have expressed an interest.
Commissioner Staudt asked if this would be source of revenue.
Director Auler stated that it does not appear to be. The State would fund the operation through a grant. The City or Department would provide the site and the fenced area so the site is secure.
Commissioner Paul asked why new carpet is put in the Parks and Recreation budget.
Director Auler stated that the Department is responsible for the interior portion of the Civic Center in a separate budget called the building and grounds budget that we are responsible for overseeing and administering.
The carpet in the office complex and City Hall is thirteen (13) years old and is worn in many places. This will be done a few years from now since it is an expensive item and there are other priorities.
A motion was made to accept the recommendation of the 2003/2004 Capital Improvement Program Request and forward it to the Capital Improvement Committee (Paul, Enright C-Un)
Director Auler will include in a letter that the Commission is looking at proposing to the Ordinance Review Committee and the Planning Commission, a street tree ordinance. He still recommends that we provide a recommendation to allocate the $50,000 for street tree removal.
Park Development Report:
Director Auler provided a report for each Commission member since it was not included in the packet. The only new item is that the bids are being prepared for the Lakeshore Park Building.
The Novi Parks, Recreation and Forestry Commission recommendation to reject the two (2) parcels of property from Sandstone as park land was accepted at the January 6th City Council Meeting. At the next Commission meeting Director Auler will have the full calendar for the budget process. He also included a draft copy of cooperative service agreement, which is a partnership agreement. This would provide documentation with any group we partner with as to their role, our role, their cost, our cost, what each bring to the agreement and who has priority. This would answer if out affiliate groups are running background checks for coaches, a code of ethics signed by their coaches, and doing all of the things that we require our program to do? If they are using our facilities we have exposure. Director Auler would bring the agreements to the Commission as they are done, make sure they are on file and continually update them on an annual basis. Director Auler provided a draft of one that is being discussed with the Novi Jaguars since they are in the process of planning their annual tournament.
Commissioner Staudt noted that one thing not covered in the agreement is how disagreements will be mediated.
Commissioner Kopeika suggested that the agreements be reviewed by the city attorney.
Director Auler and Tracie Ringle have been making changes and working on a new look for the brochure. It is running a little behind schedule but should be out in a couple of weeks. The Chilly Willy has been canceled this year because in the past few years it has declined to a chili tasting contest and the original intent was an outside winter event with skating, sledding, making snowmen, etc. We hope to reorganize and possibly move it to the Ice Arena.
Deputy Director Lewis noted that the Parks, Recreation and Forestry department is now responsible for all of the walkways in the city. If the police department calls the DPW to start plowing streets then our staff will start clearing walkways with first priority from the subdivisions to the schools.
Subdivision walkways are not included in this, just main thoroughfare walkways. This is budgeted out of the street/road fund.
Commissioner Staab noted that he was glad to see that Jim Benton and Sarah Shaul will be working at Camp Lakeshore.
Director Auler stated that in the youth basketball program we did not have to turn any youth away thanks to the school district and a donation from Providence Hospital to enable us to install permanent adjustable goals. We hope to expand that next year to the other schools as well at the ones under construction. We were not successful in being able to obtain access to Walled Lake Schools although they do have children from our community. We will continue to encourage them to work with us. The basketball sport steering committee is in place but we still have a few vacancies. The evaluation process went well and more people showed up than was anticipated. Each child was given a grade and at the end of the season each coach will give each child on his team a grade. Site supervisors will also provide a grade. These will be confidential and will come to staff only. This information will be used next year to place the players on teams. Only new players will need to go through the evaluation process.
Commissioner Paul stated that he called Bob Steeh, the Director of Community Education, a message thanking him for the gym space. He asked if in Youth Lacrosse we could get into a league with Kensington Valley or Milford. His concern is that 4th and 5th grade boys would scrimmage 6th and 7th grade boys and a head to head collision (which happens in lacrosse) of a 4th grade boy with a 7th grade boy could be a major problem.
Program Director Wendy DuVall-Angelocci replied that we have been invited to join Northville, Farmington, and two other cities that they are contacting to do inter city scrimmages for the older grades. The younger grades will be instructional. If the other communities have 5th and 6th grade teams we will do scrimmages with them. The meeting is in three weeks. Jeff Blackledge has offered his time as a representative.
Commissioner Enright asked if there are U14 boys and girls soccer teams.
Program Director Wendy DuVall-Angelocci stated that since our Middle School has boys and girlís soccer teams, we take an interested list and if there are enough players we make a team and put them in a league.
Kathy will be back to work full-time next week.
COMMISSIONER REPORTS AND QUESTIONS:
Commissioner Paul asked about the Adult Softball League and the Actual Revenue versus the Budgeted Revenue and the Expenditures and what the large differential is.
Director Auler replied that the fiscal year ends June 30th so many of those expenses occurred after June 30th of last year and we havenít had the revenue for this spring come in yet. When the revenue comes in the spring it will put us at a positive cash flow.
Thanked Director Auler for spending a couple of hours with him to give him information on Parks, Recreation and Forestry. He asks if a list of potential grants has been formulated so that it may be submitted quickly after the Strategic Master Plan has been approved by the state.
Director Auler replied that there is a list of grants and that we will not be eligible for grants, state or federal, this year. We will be eligible next year starting in January.
Commissioner Staudt asked about the concession stand operations and the options that are being looked at and who manages the vending machines.
Director Auler stated that there are three (3) options. They are to operate it ourselves, work out a partnership (possibly Novi Youth Baseball league), or hire a company. We are exploring the third choice. We are looking at combining our vending machines package with the Ice Arena and getting a better value and possibly an opportunity to get some capital monies for development of facilities.
He received a newsletter from the people who designed the Tim Pope Memorial Playstructure on sanding, sealing, and other maintenance. It also talks about Playground safety week, which is April 21st Ė 25th.
Deputy Director Lewis stated that our parks supervisor Matt Wiktorowski also received one of the newsletters.
Commissioner Staab mentioned that we support the Novi Choralaires. At Borderís Books, January 17 Ė 19, a portion of any book sale would go to the Choralaires if a flier is presented at the time of purchase. These fliers will be available at Park and Recreation. On Friday, February 14th (Valentineís Day) the Choralaires will have "Cabaret and Chocolate" starting at 7:00 pm at Meadowbrook Commons for $4.00.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:42pm.