REGULAR MEETING OF THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF NOVI
MONDAY, APRIL 27, 1998 AT 7:30 P.M.
NOVI CIVIC CENTER - ACTIVITIES ROOM - 45175 WEST TEN MILE ROAD
Mayor McLallen called the meeting to order at 7:54 p.m.
ROLL CALL Mayor McLallen, Mayor ProTem Crawford, Council Members DeRoche (absent/excused), Kramer (arrived 8:00 p.m.), Lorenzo, Mutch, Schmid (arrived 8:00 p.m.)
AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION - None
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
Mr. Kriewall requested that Council add Personnel Resolutions as Item 2.
CM-98-04-123: Moved by Crawford, Seconded by Lorenzo, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve Agenda as amended
Vote on CM-98-04-123: Yeas: McLallen, Crawford, Kramer, Lorenzo, Mutch, Schmid
PURPOSE OF MEETING - 1998-99 Budget Study Session
PROPOSED BUDGET REVIEW
Mayor McLallen believes there have been many positive comments made for this year’s budget and this meeting is the time where individual council members can express their concerns. Mayor McLallen added that the $18.0M budget is based upon a slight millage increase.
Mayor McLallen advised she has received a letter from Councilman DeRoche listing his concerns. She reported he does not favor an increase in the millage. In addition, the Mayor stated that Councilman DeRoche suggested they could reduce or eliminate the budget by $400,000.00 because he did not view some things as priority items. Mayor McLallen reported Councilman DeRoche supports the proposal for an Assistant Fire Chief for $86,000.00.
Councilwoman Mutch noted that some items on Councilman DeRoche’s list have already been done.
Mr. Gibson advised they have reduced the Police Department’s Temporary Salary category by $30,740.00. Mr. Gibson then noted that Councilman DeRoche suggested that they add $11,000.00 to Domestic Violence. Councilwoman Mutch believes that amount is the grant and thought it was included somewhere else. Mr. Gibson advised they had not added it to the budget yet and added they planned to phase it into the budget once the grant is approved.
Councilmen Kramer and Schmid arrived at 8:00 p.m.
Mayor ProTem Crawford asked whether the $11,000.00 is budgeted for this year and would then amount to another $5,000.00 for next year. Mr. Gibson replied it is his understanding that the $11,000.00 was the city’s cost for the entire eighteen months.
Mayor ProTem Crawford understands it will then be less than that for this year and asked how would they show that item in the budget. Mr. Gibson explained once the grant is approved they will come back with a budget amendment to gross up the numbers.
Mayor McLallen understands the detective included in this grant is an entirely new position; Mr. Klaver agreed.
Mayor McLallen also understands there will be two additional officers and the total would then amount to three new positions; Mr. Klaver agreed.
Mr. Gibson moved forward to Line Item 7 and reported it costs approximately $5,000.00 every time they replace a vehicle or when they equip a new vehicle for patrol. Mr. Gibson advised the budget included $9,760.00 and because there are six new vehicles, they realized the number was too low. Consequently, they added $40,000.00 to that number.
Mayor McLallen recalled they acquired eight vehicles last year and she does not want to see the six new vehicles sitting in the back lot. Mr. Kriewall believes the police department is aware of that issue and added the problem is that they can only purchase vehicles once a year.
The Mayor understands that there are only five vehicles on the road at any given time and therefore, there are more vehicles in the lot than on the road. Mr. Kriewall advised the department can have as many as ten patrol vehicles on the road at any given time.
Mayor McLallen understands they have purchased fourteen new cars in twelve months and she believes they would never have fourteen cars in use at one time. Mr. Klaver recalled they discussed this issue in detail three years ago during the budget sessions and they came to the conclusion that if they bought fewer cars they could put more miles on them and replace them sooner. However, in the final analysis, Mr. Klaver reported it amounts to approximately the same.
Mr. Kriewall added they had tried to keep the number of vehicles to a minimum, but noted that when the vehicles are involved in accidents, they do not have enough vehicles.
Mayor ProTem Crawford asked at what point in time do they stop purchasing cars to reduce the mileage per car. Mr. Kriewall advised the police department retires approximately eight cars per year and the current budget is only asking for six.
Mayor ProTem Crawford noted if they authorize the purchase of six vehicles, then they are bound to authorize the outfitting of them.
Mayor McLallen asked whether Administration could provide a status report of the current patrol vehicles. Mr. Kriewall agreed to provide that report, but added that for budget purposes he would recommend the purchase of six vehicles.
Mayor ProTem Crawford asked how many cars are there? Mr. Kriewall believes there are between seventeen and twenty vehicles.
Mayor McLallen noted the reduction in Line Item 719; Mr. Gibson explained that item addresses the ADA compliance in the Police Department.
Mayor McLallen further noted that was included in this budget because there was an ADA complaint. Mr. Klaver advised they earmarked that amount from the mid-decade census revenue. He explained they decided if the bond issue did not move forward, there were still some ADA items that needed to be addressed (i.e., front door) and they decided at least to undertake some minimum improvements.
Mayor McLallen asked whether the $170,000.00 request is for the reconfiguration of the front lobby. Mr. Klaver replied they did not earmark that amount for that single project, and added it was difficult to tell where one project started and stopped. Mr. Klaver further advised they did not tie the census amount into any specific project other than ADA compliance.
Councilman Kramer believes there is a whole issue about whether they want to propose a police or city bond issue. He believes Items 1 and 8 could be combined if they wanted to link the parking lot and police upgrade.
Councilwoman Mutch suggested that they remove those amounts that are not enough for them to do something significant.
Mr. Kriewall suggested that Council should decide whether there is an interest to propose a bond issue for police station and other related repairs.
Councilwoman Lorenzo asked what is the earliest that they could propose a bond issue? Mr. Kriewall replied they were looking at August and would suggest reserving November for another road bond issue or for the Library Board. He added they did not want to propose a police bond issue at the same time that they would propose a road bond issue. Further, although Mr. Kriewall believes they can probably go another year before proposing a road bond issue, some approaching road projects (i.e., Eleven Mile, Beck interchange) may soon need funding pledged because they are on the fast track with MDOT. He added that Mr. Nowicki is formulating a road program that he plans to present informally before Council in approximately one month.
Mayor ProTem Crawford strongly favors a police bond issue. He explained although it was previously defeated, he does not believe the public understood its purpose. He then suggested that they reduce the request somewhat and added they should discuss whether they want to add other items to that request (i.e., parking lot). Further, he believes either August or November would be appropriate for this request.
Mr. Kriewall believes if they postpone the police department’s structural repairs, it will not only cost more the longer the delay the repairs, but something else within the building might fail in the meantime.
Councilman Schmid would probably agree to a bond issue so they can get the dollars together for the needed repairs. However, he believes the proposed bond issue should be on the November ballot because there is a greater voter turnout in November. Councilman Schmid added he thought Administration would provide a listing of those items that would be included in the proposed bond issue for tonight’s meeting.
Mr. Kriewall advised the reason they proposed the August date was because they planned to propose road bond issue in November. In addition, Mr. Kriewall would prefer that they propose the police bond issue in August and save the potential of the road bond issue for November because he does not recommend that they propose two bond issues for one ballot. He then explained that the voters will support roads, but he is uncertain about whether they would also support a police bond issue at the same time.
Councilman Schmid asked whether they could wait another year for the road bond issue? Mr. Nowicki is uncertain about what the time schedule is.
Councilwoman Mutch agrees November would be the most likely opportunity to place a bond issue because she believes they could better educate the public about what the bonds would cover.
Councilman Schmid believes they could address the ADA issues under the current budget. Mr. Kriewall disagreed and explained if they commit to the work, they must also consider the economy of scale.
Councilman Kramer would like to see an analysis of midrange financial planning. In terms of millage, he believes one issue is the Police Department and parking lot, and the second is the necessity of roads. Councilman Kramer would like to see a capital financial plan that keeps that even.
Councilman Kramer was originally in support of proposing both bond issues, but now he cannot see proposing both of them in such a close period. Councilman Kramer added he would support a road bond issue over the police and parking lot at this time. He suggested that they propose the police and parking lot bond issue next year, and develop an information campaign to support them.
Mr. Kriewall’s guess would be that they must propose the road bond issue this November. He reminded Council that the Ramco-Gershenson project is also driving this issue. He explained they have held a couple meetings with the developer and they are moving closer to mapping out their road needs for the community. He further explained many improvements are beyond the project’s needs in that they also consider the impact of the other traffic in the area. Mr. Kriewall reported Ramco-Gershenson has agreed to pay 100% for those improvements that clearly benefit their project. However, they have requested that the city fund 20% for some off-site improvements. He explained their rationale is that these are improvements that are currently coming through the grant que for state funding. Mr. Kriewall advised if they cooperated with the developer rather than waiting for grant funding in perhaps another six years, they can get the improvements now at the same cost.
Mr. Kriewall asked what is the total amount for road projects? Mr. Nowicki replied the total amount, not including Twelve Mile Road or improvements associated with Ramco-Gershenson, is $36.0M and added that figure is a long range projection. Mr. Nowicki further advised this long range projection allows Council to select carefully as they move forward.
Councilman Schmid believes that the city has major road problems and they are not addressing them properly. Councilman Schmid suggested that they contract traffic engineers to conduct a major study to advise the city about how they can handle the projected traffic. Councilman Schmid does not believe the road plan proposed by Ramco-Gershenson will solve the problem.
Mr. Kriewall believes there are clearly road problems and they must do another bond issue to be prepared to step forward.
Councilman Kramer believes they need along range CIP that includes roads.
Councilwoman Lorenzo would prefer to put the proposed police bond issue on the November ballot. Although she supports the bond issue, Councilwoman Lorenzo suggested that they retain the monies in this year’s budget and if the bond issue passes, they will have more contingency money. Further, Councilwoman Lorenzo believes there are certain items they must address for ADA compliance and if the millage passes, they can back those costs out and reapportion it to something else. Councilwoman Lorenzo further believes it would be irresponsible if they removed those things if the millage failed.
As for the road bond, Councilwoman Lorenzo is philosophically opposed to developer driven road bond issues. She explained she does not believe that asking the taxpayers to subsidize development projects like the Galleria is proper.
Councilwoman Lorenzo asked how is development helping the city? Mr. Kriewall advised if there are traffic problems existing today that are not caused by the Galleria, and they are willing to address those problems and take care of the future demands caused by the project, it is a mutually beneficial situation for the city.
Councilwoman Lorenzo disagreed because she believes the city needs to be better planners. Further, she believes if they are going to propose a road millage, she would rather put money toward neighborhood improvements that are not developer driven so that they have an overall comprehensive plan. Mr. Kriewall advised that all of their road bond issues have included residential resurfacing and added there are charter amendments that provide for city full funding of resurfacing subdivisions.
Councilwoman Lorenzo asked what is the improvement plan for Grand River Avenue so that it can become a major east-west road and remove some traffic pressure from Ten Mile Road? Mr. Kriewall replied they are currently considering the costs involved. He explained many projects (especially the county projects) need to be paced so that the city can take advantage of the federal funds. Mr. Kriewall believes it would cost $40.0M to widen Grand River and suggested that they wait for the federal funds for that project. He added Novi is in the same position that Farmington Hills was fifteen years ago and they need to wait for the federal fund to move forward. He does not believe that asking the taxpayers to pay $40.0M to widen Grand River Avenue is reasonable. Further, Mr. Kriewall disagrees that improving Grand River would relieve the traffic pressure on Ten Mile Road.
Mayor McLallen noted Grand River is a county road and therefore, there are jurisdictional issues.
If they proposed a bond issue for Grand River, Mayor ProTem Crawford asked whether the county would match 50% of the cost? Mr. Kriewall advised the county has no money for road construction, but added that he believes they may provide as much as 20%.
At first Mayor ProTem Crawford stated he did not originally care whether they proposed a bond issue in either August or November. However, he now believes August may be too soon for any kind of bond issue. Furthermore, Mayor ProTem Crawford would not favor two bond issues in one year because he believes it may be detrimental to either request. Mayor ProTem Crawford’s priority would be the police station because he believes there are too many outstanding road issues.
Mayor McLallen does not favor either bond proposal for this year because the city has not yet delivered on the last two bonds. Further, the Mayor believes the city did not properly propose the last bond issue and that they were ill prepared to get it realistically supported. Mayor McLallen would also prefer that Council devote its efforts to developing a committee to look more closely into all of the city’s buildings needs to specifically present those needs to the citizens and she does not believe they can accomplish that before November.
Mayor McLallen added she does not believe they can take on another road project when they have been unable to complete the ones they have now. Mr. Kriewall agreed that they need to complete some road projects and it would appear that they can probably begin construction on Meadowbrook Road between Twelve and Thirteen Mile Roads, and begin construction on Taft Road between Twelve Mile and West Roads this year. Further, Mr. Kriewall believes they could also begin the ring road project if things go well in terms of right-of-way acquisition. Mr. Kriewall’s point is that the whole road situation could be much different six months from now because most of the projects should be underway. Mr. Kriewall believes the lead time is where the difficulty lies. He explained if they have to wait until November of 1999 for the next round of road funding, everything will be pushed back. He added that road construction is difficult in Novi because of the right-of-way they must acquire.
Mayor McLallen asked when would the citizens assume increased taxes if Mr. Nowicki can get formulate a plan and the city’s administration can provide to Council a level of confidence that they could present to the citizen’s. Mr. Kriewall replied they would increase the taxes in July 1999.
Councilman Kramer asked how soon would they have to sell the bonds after the election? Mr. Gibson believes they would have to sell them in three years. Councilman Kramer understands they have the permission to sell bonds when the timing is right within a three year period; Mr. Gibson agreed.
Mayor McLallen understands they need to keep the window open if construction on the interchange begins and added although she does not want to diminish the windows, she also does not want to burden the citizens.
Mr. Klaver believes Council needs to keep in mind that they constructed the police department structure eighteen years ago and there were some significant changes in codes that differ from other city buildings. In fairness to the police department, Mr. Klaver believes the lack of maintenance has been a conscious decision based on the idea that there was going to be a bond.
Councilman Kramer asked if the repairs can wait for another year? Mr. Klaver agreed they could wait.
If a Police Department bond issue were passed in November, Mayor ProTem Crawford asked when could they realize funds and begin construction. Mr. Kriewall replied that the bond attorneys always recommend bond sales in January or February, which means funding would be available in March 1999. Mr. Kriewall noted if the bond issue passed in November and they did not want to advance to final design, they could probably authorize it some time in November. He added final design on the improvements would take three to four months and would coincide with delivery of the proceeds.
Mayor ProTem Crawford asked if they postponed a road issue until next fall, would it follow the same process as the police bond issue? Mr. Kriewall replied it would just take longer to spend the money.
Mayor ProTem Crawford whether they would see an increase in the July tax bill? Mr. Kriewall agreed.
Mr. Gibson noted because they historically sell it in pieces to match where it is needed, residents do not get the full tax impact at once.
Mayor ProTem Crawford believes a police department bond issue would be different and the citizens would get the full tax impact at once. Mr. Gibson restated historically they sold it in pieces trying to match the bond proceeds to where it is needed and in that way, the full tax impact does not occur at once.
Councilman Schmid believes the most critical problem in Novi is its traffic. Further, he believes citizens are getting upset with the roads and added that the city must provide the infrastructure for development. Councilman Schmid also believes the city made a big mistake in not having Twelve Oaks contribute to road improvements. Further, before they propose a bond issue, he would like to see a plan about how it is going to help improve traffic. Mr. Kriewall advised they can provide such a report.
Councilwoman Lorenzo believes the road issue is a planning issue. She explained if Council has a problem with road issues, then they should not support projects like Society Hill.
Councilman Schmid has a problem with spending money on roads, especially county roads. However, he understands they have to be proactive and restated that he would like to see how road improvements will improve the traffic conditions.
Mayor McLallen believes the problem is that the public is unaware of what has been done for road improvements.
Councilwoman Mutch believes they must address the police and road concerns at some point, and she does not believe they have many alternatives other than putting them on a ballot. Therefore, she believes they should spend the next year educating the public as to the need.
Mayor McLallen suggested that they hold a police station open house so that the public can see their investment.
Councilwoman Mutch agreed and added that as long as the public perception is that the police station is a place for housing criminals and coddled civic servants, they will not care about the condition of the structure.
Mayor McLallen believes they have acknowledged that there are needs in the community, but question whether the city is ready to campaign for those needs concurrently. She asked whether they should wait twelve months on the police issue to develop a better position. Further, Mayor McLallen believes there is a greater consensus to support the roads, but she asked whether they are only creating more development driven issues. Mayor McLallen thinks they can ask staff whether there is a case for one or the other of these bond issues.
Councilwoman Lorenzo believes if they are not going to move forward with a bond issue that they should at least look at some individual items (i.e., door) so the city’s own fire department does not cite the police department for non-compliance.
Councilwoman Lorenzo asked whether the chiller is a critical issue? Mr. Klaver replied the chiller is a part of the air conditioning unit and should be addressed when possible.
Councilwoman Lorenzo asked if the improvements to the locker rooms need to be addressed? Mr. Klaver advised the problem with this improvement is that it is tied to the expansion of the building and it then becomes a matter of cost efficiencies.
Councilwoman Lorenzo believes the chiller and outside doors should be addressed.
Councilwoman Mutch asked if there is a way to reconfigure existing space within the building to accommodate the locker room? Mr. Klaver does not want to say that it cannot be done, but noted they have to keep in mind that they must also provide plumbing to accommodate the shower needs.
Mayor McLallen asked whether a Council tour of the police department’s building would be helpful. Council members agreed it would be helpful and Mayor ProTem Crawford suggested that they focus on the items before them.
Mayor McLallen asked whether there is a Council consensus to leave some money in the budget instead of proposing a bond issue this year.
Mayor ProTem Crawford believes they should move forward and propose a police department bond issue. He explained they are putting off the inevitable and the improvements must be addressed. He added that these funds will never come out of the General Fund.
Councilman Schmid was going to support a police department bond issue, but he now feels the road improvements are more important. He restated he believes they need a traffic study and that they need money so they can move forward. Councilman Schmid added that he is not trying to downgrade the police department, but he would suggest that they leave the money in the budget for ADA improvements and anything else they must have. Further, he suggested that they should propose a road bond issue for this year and perhaps request a police department bond issue next year.
Councilwoman Mutch would agree to propose a bond issue if there were a majority of Council. Further, she does not agree that they are unable to put two issues on a single ballot.
Mr. Kriewall believes there is a greater voter turnout for state wide primaries than for local general elections. Ms. Bartholomew reported they generally experience a greater voter turnout for state wide primaries over local general elections unless there is a bonding issue on the local general election ballot.
Councilman Kramer would like to make certain that they have properly prepared the information for the bond issues before they propose them. Further, he believes Mr. Kriewall has made some very strong points for the road issue and that the police station work is inevitable. However, it also sounds as though they can postpone the police department improvements and that they should first address the road issue. Councilman Kramer believes they should calculate how it impacts the taxpayers and then determine when they should move forward with the police department bond issue.
Mayor ProTem Crawford believes roads have been and will continue to be a constant issue for several more years. Further, he believes because they have constantly put roads in front of everything else and the other issues moved to the back burner. Mayor ProTem Crawford believes if they follow Councilwoman Lorenzo’s suggestion and add the ADA compliance improvements, the figure would amount to $208,00.00. Further, he understands if they added 20% for inflation, the amount would increase to approximately the $250,000.00 that they need to find in the 1998-99 General Fund if they do not propose a bond issue. Therefore, Mayor ProTem Crawford strongly favors proposing a bond issue this fall.
Councilman Kramer understands they included the $175,000.00 ADA.
Mayor ProTem Crawford recalled that Councilman DeRoche’s position was to reduce Line Item 719 to $30,000.00 from $175,000.00 and propose a bond issue for the repairs.
Councilwoman Lorenzo advised if Councilman DeRoche were here she would make a motion to propose the bond.
BREAK - 9:36 p.m. until 9:46 p.m.
Mr. Kriewall advised Line Item 915 includes Hazardous Waste Day.
Mayor ProTem Crawford asked how important is Hazardous Waste Day.
Councilwoman Lorenzo thinks it is extremely important and she believes the residents would want it.
Mr. Kriewall believes it would be a good service.
Mayor McLallen believes it has much value in terms of public relations.
Mayor McLallen moved forward to Equipment Maintenance. Mr. Gibson advised that item has increased because of GIS hardware and they are out of first year warranties for some items (i.e., computers, fax machines, copiers, etc.) and they are beginning to pay for their maintenance.
Mayor McLallen noted that the Parks and Recreation maintenance shed seems somewhat expensive.
Councilman Kramer believes they need to continue to support Parks and Recreation and that the request for a maintenance shed is a step toward completing the park. However, he added if they cannot find $80,000.00 to improve the Police Department, that it might be a higher priority to put the money allocated for the shed toward the Police Department improvements for this budget year.
Councilman Schmid agrees they need to continue to support Parks and Recreation, and therefore supports the request to build the shed.
Mayor McLallen noted the service bay for the Police Department is not in the budget and therefore, they do not need to remove it. Mr. Kriewall added that item can wait for the bond issue.
Councilwoman Lorenzo asked what benefits will the citizens receive in the hiring of an Assistant Fire Chief. Councilwoman Mutch understands that by having a third administrator, they would have better supervision for all of the shifts. She further understands that they would divide the administrative responsibilities.
Councilwoman Lorenzo asked whether someone is currently on call. Councilwoman Mutch agreed there is one person, but noted there are four stations.
Mr. Klaver reported Chief Lenaghan is the only administrator and everyone else is a union member. Consequently, Mr. Klaver is somewhat uncomfortable about having only one person outside the union. Further, Mr. Klaver reported that Chief Lenaghan is concerned about the differences between paid on call and the full time fire protection officers, and he would use this position to divide the responsibilities between the two operations and provide better supervision. Mr. Klaver is also uncomfortable with the idea of someone in the union performing those duties long term and as a result, they could get to a point where they would be unable to fill that position with an administrative person.
Councilwoman Lorenzo understands they would also add $18,000.00 for a vehicle which would increase the amount for this position to more than $100,000.00; Mr. Klaver agreed it would amount to approximately $105,000.00.
Councilman Schmid is philosophically opposed to adding another full time position. He explained he believes it important to maintain a philosophy of keeping the fire department as a volunteer operation. Further, Councilman Schmid understands there are captains who can substitute for the Chief when he is unavailable. Therefore, he does not see the necessity in hiring another administrative person that would be a permanent expense to the city when the department is currently running smoothly.
Mayor ProTem Crawford recalled that they had an assistant fire chief in the past. Mr. Klaver agreed and added that Chief Lenaghan exchanged that position for two additional fire protection officers.
Councilman Kramer asked why Mr. Kriewall did not support this request? Mr. Kriewall believes the department operates extremely well under the current arrangement and that they should delay this decision until Chief Lenaghan is closer to retirement.
Mayor McLallen has concerns about the fire department because of the major capital plans and believes it is a great amount of work for a single administrator to handle.
Historically, Mr. Kriewall noted that the construction of the fire station is facilitated by the manager’s staff.
Mayor McLallen still believes they need more support in that department, even if it is not at an administrative level. She then suggested that perhaps Mr. Klaver is the person that needs the assistant.
Mr. Kriewall advised that the revised job description for the Director of Developmental Services will assume some of Mr. Klaver’s job responsibilities. Further, Mr. Kriewall believes they need additional staff in the Manager’s Office.
Since the Chief often drives the fire truck because there are not enough people to drive it, Mayor McLallen believes they need additional people hired for the Fire Department.
Councilman Schmid understands that Rochester Hills has no full time fire protection officers and they seem to function smoothly.
Mr. Kriewall believes they need to address the city’s entire personnel needs so they can make certain all of the department projects are completed. Mayor McLallen agrees the personnel problem is evident in every department.
Councilwoman Lorenzo does not support a road patrol officer, she would rather fund the D.A.R.E. officer in another way and she would propose to eliminate the Police Academy. Further, Councilwoman Lorenzo suggested that they remove $10,000.00 from the Tree Fund to free up the same amount in the General Fund. She explained they would then have $77,400 to pay for the D.A.R.E. officer.
Councilwoman Lorenzo also believes they could reduce City Council Conferences, Planning Department Conferences, and Community Promotions. She added that she is also uncertain about whether they need to update the Site Plan Manual at this point because they just completed an update. Further, Councilwoman Lorenzo is not supportive of the proposed Director of Developmental Services position or for a vehicle for that person.
Councilwoman Lorenzo supports the D.P.W. request for an additional sewer cleaner. Councilwoman Lorenzo proposed that they use the Drain Fund for that purchase and that it be used specifically to maintain the storm drainage system.
Mr. Kriewall advised they removed that item because when they analyzed it further, they determined that the one they use now was not being used full time. Mr. Klaver added he understands that it was being used fifteen to eighteen hours per week. Mr. Kriewall understands that they need to get more personnel to use the one that they have.
Councilwoman Lorenzo recalled that Mr. Jerome strongly believed that the department needed another sewer cleaner.
Mr. Nowicki interjected, he believes the fifteen to eighteen hours occurs in six hour segments, three days a week.
Councilwoman Lorenzo understands they are saying that to increase the maintenance program, they will need another sewer cleaner. Mr. Nowicki agreed that is true if they have the personnel available to operate it.
With the information she has, Councilwoman Lorenzo reported that the maintenance program is insufficient. She believes they presently clean their catch basins on a four year rotation basis. Mr. Nowicki does not know if four years is correct, but he does know that there is a lot more that they can do.
Mayor McLallen understands Mr. Smith is increasing the inspections; Mr. Nowicki agreed.
Mayor McLallen believes the question is which would be more cost effective now; capital investment in equipment or additional staff. Mr. Klaver believes they must do both.
Councilwoman Lorenzo believes that if the program needs to be increased, they will need to do this any way. She explained this will be mandatory for the General Permit that the city just applied for because they will need an up to date maintenance program. Councilwoman Lorenzo believes the Drain Fund’s purpose is to maintain what they have.
Mayor McLallen asked whether using the Drain Fund for this purpose is acceptable? Mr. Gibson agreed it is. He explained they are going to pass the personnel through the DPW pool and it will then be allocated out as they are used and where they are used. In addition, he advised the equipment dedicated to recurring maintenance can also be allocated from the Drain Revenue Fund.
Mayor McLallen understands they still must address the issue of funding portions of the personnel when they are not working on the drains. Mr. Nowicki believes they can keep the additional personnel busy.
Councilwoman Lorenzo believes once Mr. Smith’s maintenance program comes forward that they will see some of the deficiencies that they have in the city’s maintenance program. She noted another deficiency is the gas and oil separators. She does not believe that the program is currently being monitored to find out whether or not they are being maintained. She added if they are not being maintained, she believes they are virtually worthless. Mr. Nowicki advised that they are maintained. He explained that the Water and Sewer Department sends out notices and added they also have a street sweeping contract.
Councilwoman Lorenzo understands the city sends out the notices, but they do not follow up on them. Mr. Nowicki does not know that. Councilwoman Lorenzo’s point is that they do not know if they are clean.
Mayor ProTem Crawford asked whether there is a need for both equipment and additional staff? Mr. Kriewall replied it is their opinion that they are not using the machine they already have.
Mayor ProTem Crawford asked whether he is saying they are not using it enough or is he saying they could use it more. He continued by stating if Mr. Kriewall felt that they needed more equipment and more people to accomplish the job properly, why didn’t he recommend that they allocate the cost from the Drain Fund. Mr. Kriewall restated it is his opinion that they should use what they already have.
Mayor ProTem Crawford asked whether they are having problems with the drains. Mr. Nowicki replied they are not experiencing flooding, but they are at a point where they need to formulate a maintenance program.
Mayor ProTem Crawford asked whether they are on the verge of needing more people and equipment. Mr. Nowicki replied they did recommend it this year.
Mayor ProTem Crawford understands they took it out of the budget because they could only keep one person busy; Mr. Kriewall agreed.
Councilman Kramer’s inclination is to provide for the personnel and if they end up needing equipment, they can request a fund allocation mid fiscal year. Further, Councilman Kramer believes they should also analyze whether they should lease or purchase the equipment.
Councilman Schmid asked whether they really need an additional employee? Mr. Kriewall replied they are already requesting two people. Mr. Gibson noted they have budgeted for a new foreman and laborer in the DPW budget. He explained their pay is calculated to provide a true hourly rate because the employee charges his time to the appropriate category (i.e., major streets, local schools, drain fund, etc.).
Councilman Schmid understands they are still employees of the city’s General Fund; Mr. Gibson agreed.
Councilwoman Mutch believes until now, maintenance was not being done on any kind of regular schedule and if they had enough equipment, there are certain environmental improvements that could have been in place. Therefore, she believes they are at a point where perhaps they should move forward and not wait for a crisis to occur before they purchase additional equipment.
Mayor McLallen believes one thing that Councilwoman Lorenzo has pointed out is that they can get another improvement in the current budget by focusing on a funding source that is not a part of the General Fund. Further, she advised if they get six months into a program and discover that they need extra people, they can have a transfer of funds rather than waiting for the budget process.
Councilwoman Lorenzo’s philosophy about eliminating the road patrol officer is to see how the D.A.R.E. program works for this year, in addition to seeing how the Community That Care Coalitions works. She explained if things do not work out, then the D.A.R.E. officer can become a road patrol officer and they will not have to absorb an additional employee.
Councilman Kramer noted they received a proposal for Information Technology. He then asked whether a plan was developed for the Planning Department as for Mr. Pham and/or replacement of the salary range. Mr. Kriewall advised they were given some internal options, but they have not yet made any budgeting amendments yet. Councilman Kramer understands they have only made some personnel changes; Mr. Kriewall agreed.
Councilman Kramer supports the addition of three police officers because it is conservatively less than what they originally requested. Mayor ProTem Crawford concurred.
Mayor ProTem Crawford asked if the request to remove funds from the Tree Fund reasonable? Mr. Nowicki reported the fund is for construction projects and this one is specifically a subsidy for the sanitary sewer. Mr. Nowicki explained the fund is for tree replacements and when a project is a city project, the city also has to replace trees. Mr. Nowicki believes an appropriate request would be to provide trees for the Twelve Mile Road project. Mr. Nowicki believes the fund is currently at approximately $77,000.00 and they expect another $52,000.00 from other sewer projects. Further, as they get later into the season, the price will go up.
Councilman Schmid asked what was the $10,000.00 for? Mr. Nowicki believes those funds were for tree replacements throughout the community.
Councilman Schmid asked whether the city has to replace trees for their sewer projects. Mr. Nowicki replied they do not have to replace trees over the easement where the sewer is located in case they have to access the sewers at another time.
Councilman Schmid cannot think of anything more important than the aesthetics of the city and he believes they must continue to support the improvements of the streets. Therefore, he believes they should leave the $10,000.00 in the tree fund for additional trees.
Mayor ProTem Crawford asked where does that leave the original $10,000.00 request from Dan Davis and further asked if they can allocate money for the replacement of dying or damaged trees from the Tree Fund instead of the General Fund. Mr. Nowicki understands that is possible if they do not deplete the fund.
Councilwoman Lorenzo added if the fund experiences a wind fall, they could propose a budget amendment and give money to Dan Davis for further development of the Community Sports Park.
Councilwoman Mutch referred to the revised amount for Information Technology and although it will not make a big difference, she suggested that they decrease the Conferences and Workshops somewhat because she does not see how a new person would have the time to attend them considering the enormity of the job.
Mayor McLallen has many concerns with the Information Technology Department. She added that she would almost like to withhold any funding for conferences until the new person has become familiarized with the position. Mayor McLallen further believes they need to establish exactly what they want this department to realistically accomplish in twelve months.
Mr. Klaver believes there is a mechanism where they could allocate the money and give the person a reasonable amount of time (sixty to ninety days) to evaluate the system and provide a program to Council. He explained at that point, Council could release any money that they thought was justified.
Mayor McLallen stated their concern is putting more money into something where they are getting no deliverables.
Councilwoman Mutch agreed and added this is Council’s opportunity to provide those things that they would like to see accomplished. Further, she would like to make it clear that there are limits as to available money.
Councilwoman Lorenzo agreed and added that they need to provide objectives so that the new person can legitimize each category.
Mayor ProTem Crawford understands Council is at least willing to provide some seed money so there is something with which to work.
Councilwoman Mutch noted that salaries are a large portion of the amount.
Mr. Gibson advised that $37,000.00 is allocated for training the employees on Microsoft Office.
Councilwoman Mutch recalled they were in a situation last year where Council agreed that they were not opposed to spending money that is really needed. Council then put the money in a contingency so the department could come back and make a bid for it later. Councilwoman Mutch asked whether they could back out a portion of the money and put it into a contingency? Mr. Gibson agreed they could do that and recommended that they back out $54,000.00 of the $112,000.00 in capital.
Councilman Schmid will not support any new road tax and added that he has consistently opposed raising taxes. Councilman Schmid added that he would propose putting an additional $30,000-$50,000 into the Tree Fund so they can make Novi a city they can be proud of aesthetically. Further, he would propose that they reduce the overall budget by 2% and he does not care where they make those cuts. Councilman Schmid is in support of all the new employees, but he would hope that Administration would look into the viability of the D.A.R.E. officer. Councilman Schmid added overall, he opposes the Communities That Cares Coalition Program.
Further, Councilman Schmid would like to see the 2% cut invested in the Parks and Recreation program and its allocation can be determined as needs arise. He noted that he would like to see the parks completed.
Councilman Schmid restated he would like to see a traffic study conducted as a way to see how they can improve the traffic situation in Novi.
Councilman Schmid stated he would like to start a fund for future capital improvements.
Mr. Gibson does not believe an overall 2% reduction in the $18.0M ($360,000.00) budget would be enough to supplement both Parks and Recreation, and create a capital fund.
Mr. Kriewall believes this would be an opportune year for Council to leave the millage as proposed because he believes for a city of this size that they should have a half million dollars for property acquisition. Mr. Kriewall explained he believes there will be some opportunities for some park land acquisition this year. Therefore, Mr. Kriewall would propose that the budget be approved as presented.
Councilwoman Mutch advised that surrounding communities have gotten natural resources trust fund money for park acquisition and Novi has not attempted to procure that kind of funding. Councilwoman Mutch believes they should be more aggressive because Novi has many critical areas that the DNR wants to be saved. Councilwoman Mutch proposed that perhaps they need a grant writer. Councilwoman Lorenzo agreed.
Mayor ProTem Crawford believes they seem to nickel and dime themselves by cutting items that may not seem necessary and added that by not levying a little now and then may be somewhat irresponsible He believes the city would not be in the position they are today had they levied something every three years. He also agrees they should build a capital surplus so they can develop a capital fund to maintain and improve the city’s buildings. He added that he agrees they should purchase park land when the opportunity rises. Further, he does not support cutting conferences and seminars because he believes they cannot measure the value from networking with other people. He added that if they continue to cut the small items, they will put a strain on an already tight budget.
Councilman Schmid does not mean to nickel and dime the City of Novi, and added that he has consistently been conservative over the years. Further, he has held the philosophy that developers should pay for many of the improvements and not the taxpayers.
Councilwoman Mutch asked whether they are doing anything further with the lake front property? Mr. Kriewall replied they want to wait until they can determine what they are going to do with the tree farm property.
Councilwoman Mutch would appreciate any consideration for sidewalks apart from what they would ordinarily receive from road projects. She explained there are some key areas where a little bit of money can make a big difference.
Councilwoman Mutch would like to know what they are going to do about funding for Oakland Family Services.
Councilwoman Mutch added that she would like to roll over the $25,000.00 allocated to the Fuerst property from last year because she believes they will see some dramatic changes if they include that money for restoration.
Mayor McLallen would like to see a program developed to enhance and improve the entryways to the city. Further, she agrees they need to develop their maintenance programs for the city’s assets (i.e., asphalt bike paths, Lakeshore Park, etc.). She added she personally would never like to see a structure constructed at Lakeshore Park.
Mayor McLallen believes the city needs a special project’s coordinator and a grant writer.
Mayor McLallen would like to see a true merit program developed for employees. She explained that she believes Novi has some of the best employees, but because of the union, they cannot recognize them in terms of merit. Therefore, she believes the city should have a true bonus program.
Mayor McLallen is pleased that they are hiring new employees and added they must still postpone some items until next year because there is not enough time to develop them properly. The Mayor added this is her fifth budget and she believes it is the one where she has experienced a real compromise between Council and staff.
Mayor ProTem Crawford believes they can contribute much of that to Les Gibson and Kim Pittl in terms of how the budget was presented to Council over the last couple of years. He explained it has been a much easier budget to understand and has allowed Council to have a more clearly defined discussion.
Councilman Kramer believes it is appropriate to take the 2% and apply it to those areas connected with the city’s aesthetics.
Mayor ProTem Crawford disagreed and explained that he does not support spending those kinds of dollars on the city because of where that money is coming from.
Councilwoman Mutch asked whether there is a Council consensus to support Oakland Family Services? Mayor ProTem Crawford believes the city already contributes their share for these kinds of services. Mayor McLallen advised there is a Council consensus to deny funding to support Oakland Family Services.
Councilwoman Mutch sees a need for the work that they will assign to the Director of Developmental Services. However, she is concerned that there has already been a lot of work assigned to this new position and that person would unintentionally be set up to fail because of the magnitude of the expectations. She believes they should be very careful because it will be an expensive mistake if it does work out.
Councilwoman Mutch still supports the idea that they recruit a professionally trained planner for the Staff Planner position. Further, she would propose that they first consider the person recently hired in the department because of her educational background and leave Mr. Pham in his current position, but realign the responsibilities.
Councilman Kramer believes they agreed to upgrade Mr. Pham and that he would fill the position until they filled the position from the outside with someone with the appropriate educational expertise.
Mayor ProTem Crawford understands they have an inside person with those qualifications.
Mr. Klaver advised he met with Mr. Kriewall and Mr. Wahl, and because Mr. Pham’s responsibilities would not significantly change, he would move into the Staff Planner position. He noted that the new person has minimal experience because she is a recent graduate.
Mr. Wahl advised the department currently has seventy five projects in process and he does not believe they are in a position to have two new people. Further, he believes because Mr. Pham is very knowledgeable of the process and is someone that has a good reputation within the department, he believes this would be a good opportunity to develop the Staff Planner position into a position that would concentrate on site plan problem solving. He added that he believes their new staff person will do an excellent job in the position for which they hired her.
Councilwoman Mutch supports assigning all of these responsibilities to Mr. Pham. However, she questions giving him the Staff Planner title because it is a professional position. She believes he should keep his current title, realign the responsibilities and still pay him additional money for the additional responsibilities.
Mayor McLallen suggested that they develop a new title for Mr. Pham’s position.
Mr. Wahl advised that the Staff Planner works with the Planning Commission, works with the Planning Commission Work Program and that the actual planning role is in the site plan process. Mr. Wahl does not believe it makes sense to have the Community Development Coordinator involved in the site plan process and also be responsible for the infrastructure coordination. Mr. Wahl explained he believes there is a real connection between the Staff Planner and planning the community. In terms of innovative planning concepts, Mr. Wahl believes that would be a responsibility of his own position.
Councilman Schmid believes that it is very important for the Planning Department to operate within itself. Further, Councilman Schmid believes Mr. Pham has learned a lot on the job and that he would do a better job than someone right out of college. He added he believes they should offer the new staff person the opportunity to learn on the job and that perhaps she may be ready to assume the position when Mr. Pham ultimately resigns.
2. Personnel Resolutions
CM-98-04-124: Moved by Crawford, Seconded by Mutch, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve 1998-99 Fire Department Wage Proposal as submitted
Vote on CM-98-04-124: Yeas: McLallen, Crawford, Kramer, Lorenzo, Mutch, Schmid
Mayor McLallen reported there is a Council consensus to allow Mayor ProTem Crawford to abstain from voting for the Administrative Staff 1998-99 Wage Adjustment.
CM-98-04-125: Moved by Lorenzo, Seconded by Kramer, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve 1998-99 Administrative Staff Wage Adjustment as submitted
Vote on CM-98-04-125: Yeas: McLallen, Kramer, Lorenzo, Mutch, Schmid
CM-98-04-126: Moved by Crawford, Seconded by Mutch, CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve Resolution authorizing City Clerk 1998-99 Salary of $61,661.00
Councilman Schmid understands Mr. Kriewall conducted a survey. Mr. Kriewall replied he computed the figures by comparing Novi with those communities that they normally use to derive a particular number and then adjusted it by 3%.
Councilman Schmid noted that the City Clerk added another community. Ms. Bartholomew replied there were a couple of differences and she compared Novi with communities that were more similar in size. Ms. Bartholomew believes this increase will bring her salary more in line with other communities.
Vote on CM-98-04-126: Yeas: McLallen, Crawford, Kramer, Lorenzo, Mutch, Schmid
CM-98-04-127: Moved by Schmid, Seconded by Kramer, CARRIED: To approve Resolution authorizing City Manager 1998-99 Salary of $98,880.00
Councilwoman Lorenzo believes they are already at the high level for the city manager’s salary.
Mayor McLallen understands the salary falls within the range.
Councilwoman Lorenzo advised they have the city manager’s salary in addition to bringing in another director at $63,000.00 with benefits and she is concerned that they are getting top heavy. Councilwoman Lorenzo believes the city manager should be handling many of those responsibilities that will be assigned to the new director, particularly for $98,000.00 per year. With the addition of the new administrative position, Councilwoman Lorenzo sees the city as having three city managers .
Mr. Kriewall stated most cities of this size have four to five comparable people in those positions.
Mayor ProTem Crawford believes they really do not have an assistant city manager because Mr. Klaver is involved in many different projects unrelated to the responsibilities of a typical assistant city manager.
Vote on CM-98-04-127: Yeas: McLallen, Crawford, Kramer, Mutch, Schmid
In the future, Councilman Schmid suggested that Council consider first having individual department heads present their budgets and then have the City Manager offer his recommendations.
Mayor McLallen agreed and suggested that Council could meet with department heads in October. She further suggested that they could hold two intensive sessions in February to discuss how the city is operating.
Councilwoman Mutch also agreed with Councilman Schmid.
Councilman Kramer believes they should go through the process and solicit Mr. Kriewall’s opinion. He further believes that hearing from the various departments is educational and reasonable, but he believes Mr. Kriewall is responsible for making the ultimate cuts.
Mr. Kriewall noted the budget process that Novi follows is typical of many other communities.
Councilwoman Mutch noted some communities just present and approve the budget as is.
There being no further business before City Council, the meeting was adjourned at 12:20 a.m.
Mayor City Clerk
Date Approved: June 22, 1998