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PARKS, RECREATION AND FORESTRY COMMISSION
The meeting was called to order at 7:39 PM with Commissioner Paul presiding.
ROLL CALL: Commissioner Engebretson (Present), Enright (Absent), Kopeika (Present), Paul (Present), Place (Absent), Staab (Absent), Staudt (Present).
ALSO PRESENT: Randy Auler, Director of Parks, Recreation, and Forestry Jack Lewis, Deputy Director of Parks, Recreation and Forestry
WELCOME: Commissioner Paul welcomed Susan Engebretson to the Parks, Recreation, and Forestry Commission.
APPROVAL OF AGENDA:
Agenda was approved as written. (Staudt, Kopeika C - UN)
PRESENTATIONS: Novi Jaguar Soccer Organization – Tabled.
1. Park Development Committee
a. Community Sports Park Ball field Project (Phase 1)
Director Auler reported that we are currently looking at the drawings and specifications for the Community Sports Park ballpark improvements. The project should go to bid late next week, with bids being due August 12, 2003. Construction should begin in September, with a completion target of May, 2004 (the field will not be used next season). A bullpen, a warning track, and a form of a dugout are included in the design. The dugouts will be included as an amenity in the bid, not a necessity. Dean Allen, the current president of Novi Youth Baseball, supports the plan and indicated that the league may take on the dugouts as a community project. Director Auler feels that we may be able to acquire a scoreboard as part of the soft drink contracts. Following the project’s completion, we will be looking at cost estimates for the next three fields (which will require drilling a new well and many upgrades). He has had some initial contacts with corporations and feels several may want to "get involved" with the fields. Commissioner Paul asked that Commissioner Engebretson be provided a copy of the drawings.
2. Strategic Planning Committee-
a. Strategic Master Plan Update
b. Request of joint meeting with City Council
Commissioner Kopeika reported that the committee is ahead of
schedule. In the last several weeks the committee has incorporated
the changes suggested by staff and the commission. The plan will be
available for public consideration soon, with presentation to Council in
3. Resource Development Committee
a. Parks, Recreation and Forestry Foundation
Commissioner Staudt reported that the committee has made the
contacts with presidents and CEO’s of existing foundations, seeking
guidance and input for the committee. He feels that once the Strategic
Master Plan is completed the foundation issue will move forward quickly.
Director Auler asked that the commission note the information in their packets regarding arranging portraits, he’d like that done as soon as possible. He pointed out that contact sheets are included in the packets. He also reported that the staff is preparing Performance Agreements now. The Performance Agreement lays out four or five critical target areas for each administrative staff person in the city. These target areas are very important to spend their time on and are identified by using the following:City Council Goals Community Input City Budget Strategic Master Plan
Commissioner Staudt noted that the Assistant Director is responsible for completing A.D.A. improvements, he feels a "daunting task".
Commissioner Engebretson noted the identified need for additional staff at Meadowbrook Commons.
Commissioner Paul thought that Performance Agreements are an "excellent tool" and the items are consistent with both the Master Plan and discussions as a Commission. He notes that the key will be "taking it to the next step" both in implementation and that the individuals involved have an action plan with a specific time line.
Staff Monthly Reports:
Commissioner Kopeika inquired why the City of Novi is being so hard hit by the Emerald Ash Borer problem. Director Auler reported that the problem is being felt all over the state and that the City of Southfield is estimating the cost of removal of their trees will reach $650,000.00 - $850,000.00. The problem stems from planting moni-cultures and not diversifying the plantings. Volunteers are currently inventorying the ash trees. It is estimated that on public right of ways alone, over 2,000 ash trees are impacted. Contracting for tree removal (with no replacement costs) are estimated to be almost a million dollars. It is estimated that with the new staff included, the department can remove between 250 and 300 trees annually. There are limited funds for a replacement program. The Forestry Division has a long waiting list that does not include ash replacement. We are currently looking at a 50/50 match, allowing us to replace twice the amount of trees. There is currently no state or federal funding, although there was a bill introduced in Congress to assist the quarantined areas.
Commissioner Engebretson asked if our approach is consistent with other communities. Director Auler said that some are contracting the cutting out, some are cutting in house, and some are injecting. There is still no definitive plan.
Commissioner Paul asked if residents have the option to remove and replace the street trees in front of their houses themselves. Director Auler replied that officially the answer is no, the Department is researching this.
The Catholic Central project is helping with this situation. The first year they will plant 200-300 trees on their property, years 2-10 their students will plant 200-250 trees within the community.
Commissioner Staudt asked if there was a plan to utilize the area of Old Township Hall and the Fuerst farm. Director Auler replied there is no long- range plan that has been developed, this issue rates low on the City Council goals. He also asked if Michigan’s 3% decrease in revenue sharing from the state affected our budget, Director Auler stated that it was anticipated at budget time and did not affect our budget.
Commissioner Staudt questioned the comment on Derek Smith’s report regarding park concessions that "it may take through the end of 2004 summer before an accurate number can be drawn". Mr. Staudt’s understanding was that this was going to be the evaluation period and in the fall talk about how to handle it for the spring. He asked if an agreement was made to extend that. Director Auler said that the evaluation would be made at the end of this season, develop a plan for next season, and move forward. Commissioner Staudt wanted it noted that we would not wait until next season.
1. It was moved and seconded that the minutes from the June 12, 2003 meeting be approved.(Staudt, Engebretson C-U).
2. Approval of Parks, Recreation and Forestry Commission Organizational Rules and Order of Business- Commissioner Staudt wanted it on record that there were too many items in the document that do not apply to the Parks, Recreation and Forestry Commission. He feels that things that do not apply to how this commission conducts their business and those items should be eliminated from the document. He asked what purpose do these rules serve?
Commissioner Kopeika agreed that the rules were too lengthy and many did not apply to this commission. He thought we were rewriting the document, not using an existing document that didn’t apply to this commission.
Commissioner Staudt asked if this was a document to guide the commission on how to conduct meetings or is it an "actual ethical guideline that we’re following and signing onto"?
Commissioner Paul felt that many of the standards of conduct were addressed in the oath that the commissioner’s take in the City Clerk’s office versus what standard operating procedures.
Commissioner Staudt felt that K2 (an item requiring financial disclosure of commissioners) does not apply to apply to Parks, Recreation and Forestry, as no commissioners have been required to sign financial disclosures in the past.
Mr. Staudt asked that the sections applying to financial disclosures be examined by legal counsel and an opinion issued.
Director Auler said that although disclosures have not been required in the past, as the department moves forward they may be required. Commissioner Staudt asked that legal counsel be consulted on those issues. He also asked that the areas where "council and mayor" are referenced, changes be made to read "commissioner and chair". Commissioner Paul said that he would take "ownership" of the document and "redline" it and agreed that the document should be correct and the commission should understand what they are signing. He commented "if we are going to do it, let’s do it right".
It was moved and seconded that the item be tabled until the next meeting, forwarding comments to Director Auler. (Staudt, Kopeika U)
1. Community Recreation Facility Use update - Tabled until next meeting.
Commissioner Engebretson – None.
Commissioner Kopeika – None.
Commission Paul – He asked when the ball fields and soccer fields that the high school is developing would be available. Director Auler said that they are out for two years.
Commissioner Staudt – Commissioner Staudt asked about the tracking item from last month entitled "Novi Parks, Recreation and Forestry Commission Liaison to Novi Community School District". He said it was on the tracking table that an update would be presented at the July meeting.
Director Auler stated that this item is essentially the Community Recreation Facility Use update. Bob Steih and Deputy Director Lewis are working out a plan for gym use. To summarize:Gym space will be very critical this year. The high school varsity gym will not be used, so the field house, Novi Middle School, and Novi Meadows will be full with high school activities. The elementary schools will be assigned given Community Education preference before Parks, Recreation and Forestry. The adult and youth basketball program will be significantly impacted.
Director Auler hopes to have the information by September because the next brochure goes out in August. We will put "generic information in the brochure, a situation he hates doing, a situation he’s tried to end since he’s arrived".
Commissioner Staudt advised that this be communicated to the residents early on; so they have the information when they try to decide between the Parks, Recreation and Forestry leagues and the private leagues.
Commissioner Paul said it was agreed upon in the May meeting that everything possible be done to continue to provide the level of service to everyone that wants to participate in the youth basketball program. The second thing that was decided was that there is enough space for games, with maybe a problem with practice space. His feeling from the meeting was that with some space trading there would be available practice space.
Commissioner Paul asked if Bob Steih delivered a copy of the file he promised. The Athletic Director is the critical link. He asked Director Auler to follow up with Bob Stieh.
Commissioner Paul reported that Ayres, Lewis, Norris and May sent him information regarding grants available that are related to Parks, Recreation and Forestry.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:52 pm.
Signed, David Paul, Chairperson
Signed, Charles Staab, Vice Chairperson