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REGULAR MEETING OF THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF NOVI
Mayor Clark called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m.
CALL TO ORDER
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE: Scout Troop 407
Leader: Frank Hlavaty
Scouts: Nick Abraham, Jeremy Church, Dan Church, Ian Hart, Dana Hlavaty, Michael Leppek, and Eric Miller
ROLL CALL: Mayor Clark, Mayor Pro Tem Bononi, Council Members Capello, Csordas, Landry, Lorenzo, Sanghvi
ALSO PRESENT: Richard Helwig – City Manager
APPROVAL OF AGENDA – Mayor Clark added Item #2 under Presentation, "Proclamation with reference to Mental Health Month." Member Capello added Item #1, "Ice Rink", under Mayor and Council Issues. He added Item #2, "Status of no Left Turn Light from the Library at Glenda." He also added Item #3, a status of the water and sewer rates; and Item #4, status of the amendment to ordinance, "Setbacks along Major Thoroughfares and Intersections."
CM-03-05-146 Moved by Capello, seconded by Csordas; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve the agenda as amended.
Vote on CM-03-05-146 Yeas: Clark, Bononi, Capello, Csordas, Landry, Lorenzo, Sanghvi
Mr. Joe Kapelczak of JCK and Associates presented to Council the status of the city’s water study. He said that the Detroit Water and Sewer Department (DWSD) has caused some "lengthy trials and tribulations" with the study. In April, JCK received, and agreed with, the DWSD’s hydraulic gradient on the pipe that was completed on 14 Mile Road. It was assumed at JCK that some numbers provided by the DWSD were in error. The incorrect figures made a large difference in the study. The DWSD took twelve months to complete one item, "meter calibration and reconstruction."
Doug Pakkala of JCK explained that Novi is completely dependent upon the Detroit Water and Sewer Department for both pressure and quantity of water. He said that 95-98% of the city’s water comes from one connection on 14 Mile Road. The DWSD has been replacing or rebuilding water meters, some of which are 30-40 years old and are subject to large inaccuracy. This project was supposed be completed by early 2002, but was delayed. He explained that determining a city’s water peaking factor is very important in determining that community’s water needs. Incorrectly computing the city’s peaking factor could mean too much or too little water pressure. Because the DWSD was rebuilding and replacing water meters, JCK was not able to get accurate data on water flows, and thus could not determine Novi’s peaking factor. In addition, the DWSD was surprised by some water usage levels stemming from the 14 Mile Road pipe, and was not able to accurately determine the hydraulic gradient on that pipe. The new meter system was completed in July, following two years of estimated bills from Detroit. Only in October did very accurate data become available from Detroit, in the form of a rate study for the city of Novi. To JCK’s surprise, Novi’s peaking factor has actually decreased from 1985 levels. As Novi’s water meters and pressure gauges are fairly accurate, JCK could not get its figures to match those of the DWSD. JCK requested detailed information as to how the DWSD computed its peaking factor data, which it received in January of this year. The results of this study were that while the peaking factor for rates in the city decreased, the peaking factor for water flow actually increased. Using this data, a detailed model was created which supplied information for the first water study report, submitted to the city by JCK in February. This report, however, lacked detailed information on how much water could be obtained from the 14 Mile Road station, information which JCK received in April from Detroit. This information was critical for an accurate report, because the February study did not include precise data regarding the 14 Mile Road booster station, and called for the construction of water storage tanks in the city. With the new, improved hydraulic gradients, the water storage tanks are no longer needed, and the city can likely get by with only the booster station for the next 20 years. He apologized for the delay in submitting the report, but said that the accurate data from the DWSD was absolutely essential for Novi to efficiently manage its water supply. If Council approves the recent study, JCK can provide a finalized report by June 1st.
Member Csordas thanked Mr. Pakkala for providing the detailed update on the report. He asked if the 14 Mile Road pump station would affect the underground water reservoir near that site. Mr. Pakkala said that the reservoir only might affect how the station is operated, but not the status of it. He said that the city of Novi is currently renegotiating its service agreement with Detroit. Detroit has a standard agreement that it will provide water pressures between 20 and 150 pounds per square inch (psi), the specific pressure will be determined later. Since a change in psi during peak use periods can have an enormous effect on water pressure in the community, the proper language needs to be in effect in the agreement to ensure that problems with the water supply that arose last summer do not happen again.
Member Csordas asked for the status of the reservoir under that pump station. Mr. Pakkala said that the reservoir is not online yet, but is in the process of being tied into the system. He said that the reservoir should be in service by late summer. Member Csordas asked what the impact would be on the water pressure, especially in the southwestern portion of the city west of Taft Road and south of Eleven Mile Road. Mr. Pakkala said that there would be an immediate impact on the pressure, especially during summer months of low rainfall. In addition, the second phase of improvements by DWSD will take place near Milford, where a 30 million gallon reservoir will be brought online. This additional construction will further improve and stabilize the city’s water system and pressure. Member Csordas noted that Mr. Pakkala previously mentioned that the city’s water supply would be taken care of for the next twenty years. He asked Mr. Pakkala if additional growth in Novi was considered when this assessment was made. Mr. Pakkala responded that JCK expects significant development in Novi and tie-ins to the water supply for the next 5-10 years, as much as 25% in Novi alone. He said that Phase 2 of the DWSD’s improvements further west of Novi would complete the stabilization for the 20 year period. Member Csordas thanked Mr. Pakkala and Mr. Kapelczak again for their presentation.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked Mr. Helwig when the actual deliverable date for the product should have been. Mr. Helwig answered that March, 2001 was the original date. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked him if the new deliverable date was June 1, 2003, which Mr. Helwig answered he believed was correct. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked who in administration would handle negotiations with the DWSD. Mr. Helwig answered that both the manager’s office and that of Mr. McCusker would be involved. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi noted that an agreement was made reference to in the submitted report that Mr. Helwig had not received. She asked the representatives from JCK to submit a copy of the referenced agreement to Mr. Helwig, which they agreed to do. She thanked Mr. Helwig, and said she looked forward to the resolution of the matter.
Member Lorenzo said her biggest concern is a lack of communication between parties. She said that JCK should have notified Council of the reasoning behind delays in the report, and said that an explanation could have prevented some misunderstandings regarding the report. She asked the JCK and Associates representatives why the city was not notified about delays. Mr. Pakkala said that the company attempted to communicate through staff, and the company apologizes for the delay. Mr. Kapelczak said that if anyone is to be held responsible, it should be him. He spoke with Mr. Helwig and apologized for not writing him with an explanation earlier. Member Lorenzo said that a notification should also have been sent to Council, which Mr. Kapelczak agreed with and apologized for. Member Lorenzo said that Council may have been able to expedite the process with the DWSD had it known about delays by that department. She expressed her concern with Novi residents paying for improvements to the city’s water system when developers also benefit greatly from the improvements. Mr. Kapelczak noted that there was litigation between Novi and Detroit many years ago, possibly in the early 1980’s, and that this information may be of some use in determining how to approach the issue. Member Lorenzo thanked the representatives for their assistance.
Member Capello asked what the additional cost to the city was for gathering the extra needed information for completion of the report. Mr. Pakkala and Mr. Kapelczak both answered that there was no additional cost, and that nothing has been billed yet. Member Capello asked if there was a pre-requisite that Novi or Detroit would provide JCK with the information with which to prepare their study. Mr. Pakkala answered that there was a pre-requisite, but that the delay was simply part of doing the study. There would be no change in cost for completing the study due to this delay.
Member Landry said that he was asked to serve on the Novi Public Library’s Strategic Planning Task Force, and is quite pleased to do so. The Novi Public Library is looking at ways to meet the public’s demands for the future. The Task Force is comprised of a number of individuals from the community. The Novi Public Library is not just sitting back after the failure of its bond issue in the last vote. The Library is interacting with the community to learn what is wanted and needed. The Novi Community Schools are also involved in the process, with everyone from students to teachers participating. On June 4th, from 7-9 p.m. at Meadowbrook Commons there will be a community forum. Everyone is invited, and the librarian from the State of Michigan will be there. Member Landry encouraged "anyone and everyone" to show up and share their input.
1. Recognition of Novi High School Robotics Team
Mayor Clark said that it is a pleasurable activity of the mayor’s duties to recognize the young men and women of Novi who have made a contribution to the community. He presented the Novi High School Robotics Team with a Proclamation of Commendation for their participation in the F.I.R.S.T. Robotics Competition.
2. Recognition of National Mental Health Month
Mayor Clark presented a proclamation in recognition of National Mental Health Month.
Member Landry asked Mayor Clark to return to discussion of the Novi High School Robotics Team. He said that the presentation would be lacking without mentioning Jennifer Harvey. Mrs. Harvey was involved with pushing the program through the Novi Schools long before most people had heard of it in Novi. Her perseverance brought the program to the attention of the Chamber of Commerce. Without her perseverance, the program would not exist.
1. Public Hearing on 2003-2004 Proposed Budget
1. CITY MANAGER - None
2. DEPARTMENTAL - None
3. ATTORNEY - None
Mayor Clark announced that members of Scout Troop 407 wished to address Council. Frank Hlavaty presented his troop to Council, and announced that they were working on earning their citizenship badge for scouting called "Citizenship in the Community", with which they’ve learned a considerable amount about the Novi community. To complete their activity, they will present an issue to Council, as well as their opinion about that issue.
Eric Miller said that building Catholic Central High School is a good idea for Novi, so long as students replant the trees removed for construction of that facility. Opening up the campus to students and teachers is a good idea. Catholic Central students would be available to referee some Novi sports, which could save the community money. Overall, building Catholic Central is a good idea.
Ian Hart has read about the "Preserve First" program in the news. He agrees that existing roads should be given priority for improvements, but believes that certain projects like the Beck Road interchange should not be canceled because of the program. He believes that state road funds should be used to work on needed road projects in the area.
Dana Hlavaty has heard that Clark Street and Lanny’s Road will be closed following the completion of the Grand River Road improvements, and could be changed to be one-way roads. This is a bad idea because people in that area would have to drive to Taft Road to access Grand River, which would waste time and gas, and would increase congestion at the Taft-Grand River intersection. He said that leaving at least one of the two streets as a two-way street would prevent the above problems.
Jeremy Church said he is a Novi resident, and attends Novi Middle School. During the past few years, the community has grown and many new houses have been built. He believes that Council should create a commission to examine the number of new homes that will have children, relative to the amount of space available in Novi’s schools. This would allow the school board to be better prepared to plan for a large number of students. Also, the city should be providing the school district with increased funding to construct new schools, and properly maintain existing facilities. Overall, this program would serve the needs of the city, and allow better preparation for new students. Council should take charge of this growing city, while encouraging education to the fullest that it can be.
Nick Abraham believes that the city should provide a bus with a handicap lift on it. This would allow people using wheelchairs to get around in the city. His sister uses a powered wheelchair and cannot go anywhere around town if the family’s van is not working. If a public bus was available to transport her to the library or mall, she would not be stuck at home during times when the family van is broken.
Michael Leppek believes Napier Road should be paved. The road is in poor condition from potholes and bumps. Though there is a detour for the road, it is very long. Most people in the area use 8 Mile to go home instead of Napier, because the road is so bumpy. This causes a significant amount of congestion at the 8 Mile and Napier intersection.
Mayor Clark thanked the scouts of Troop 407 for presenting their comments to Council, presenting the colors and leading the Pledge of Allegiance.
David Ruyle invited Council and the audience to attend the Memorial Day service for veterans at Brightmoor church at 9:00 and 10:45. The church will be honoring all veterans of all branches of the service.
Terry Margolis, 45425 Addington Lane, represents the Novi Public Library Strategic Planning Taskforce. She is the president of the Novi Library Board. The Library Board is very committed to a strategic planning process. The Taskforce will use every means to gather information. The first step of this process is the community forum that Member Landry spoke of earlier. The Taskforce would very much like as many members of the community as possible to attend this meeting, on June 4th from 7-9 p.m. at Meadowbrook Commons.
Linda Mulder, 21641 Kilrush Dr., said she was in attendance to discuss SAD 165, which Council was scheduled to vote on that night. The people in her SAD have some questions, and were hoping that Council could answer these at some time during night, before, during or after the vote. If the SAD 165 contract is awarded, how long would it take to conduct and finish the work? She and neighboring residents hope that Council will vote to approve and award a contract for SAD 165. She said that residents want to know when they will be notified if the project is completed. She asked when residents would be voting on the final estimate. Residents within the SAD are not trying to be impatient, but know little or nothing about the project’s schedule.
CONSENT AGENDA (Approval/Removals)
CM-03-05-147 Moved by Bononi, seconded by Landry; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve the Consent Agenda as presented.
Roll Call Vote CM-03-05-147 Yeas: Clark, Bononi, Capello, Csordas, Landry, Lorenzo, Sanghvi
(Background information for Consent Agenda items is available for review at the City Clerk’s Office)
A. Approve Minutes of:
B. Approval of First Amendment to Open Space Preservation Easement Agreement for the Bristol Corners Development; Bristol Corners North, South, and West.
C. Acceptance of Wetland Preservation Easement Agreements for Bristol Corners West Subdivision 1, 2 and 3 as described and depicted on plats for all three subdivisions.
D. Approval of License Agreement with Summerlin Homeowner’s Association for the placement of an entryway sign.
E. Approval of Traffic Control Order 03-06 for the installation of a "Yield" sign on Park Ridge at Queens Pointe in the Meadowbrook Glens Subdivision.
F. Approval to award bid to Photo Dynamics, the low bidder based on unit pricing. (Provides photographic services for individual and team pictures for youth sports programs).
G. Approval to award bid for ConnecTables and Locust chairs for the training centers for the Police and Fire Departments to Global Office Solutions, the low bidder, in the amount of $7,344.25 for the Police Department and for the Fire Department in the amount of $11,793.45
H. Approval of Ordinance No. 03-37.29, an Ordinance to amend the City of Novi Code of Ordinances, as amended, Chapter 34, Section 34-16 to add the definitions of Debt Service Charge and User Connection Fee as applied in Article II in respect to the water supply system; to amend Chapter 34, to add Section 34-21.1 to provide for an uniform availability fee for service for parcels connecting to the water supply system which have not otherwise paid for water main construction of mains constructed after January 1, 1976. 2nd Reading
I. Approval of Resolution setting Uniform Connection Fee for parcels connecting to the water supply system constructed by the City of Novi, which parcels did not otherwise contribute to the cost of construction.
J. Approval of renewal of Arcade Business License for Novi Bowl & Recreation, 21700 Novi Road.
K. Approval to purchase five (5) sets of fire fighter protective clothing from Apollo Fire Equipment through a joint bid with the Tri-County Purchasing Cooperative in the amount of $5,475.
L. Approval of Special Assessment District Resolution No. 4, setting public hearing number 2 for Monday, June 2, 2003, Pioneer Meadows Subdivision Sanitary Sewer, Revised Special Assessment District 162.
M. Approval of Special Assessment District Resolution No. 4, setting public hearing number 2 for Monday, June 2, 2003, Pioneer Meadows Subdivision Water Main, Revised Special Assessment District 163.
N. Approval of Claims and Accounts – Warrant No. 649
MATTERS FOR COUNCIL ACTION – Part I
1. Adoption of Budget Resolution for fiscal year 2003-04.
CM-03-05-148 Moved by Landry, seconded by Csordas; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve the Budget Resolution for fiscal year 2003-2004.
Member Lorenzo said that Mr. McCusker has been helpful in providing information pertaining to the chip sealing project by the City, but she wished to ask him a few more questions. Member Lorenzo’s concerns center around the life expectancy of the chip sealed roads. In a memo to Council dated April 23, 2003, Mr. McCusker indicated that the life expectancy of chip seal is 8-10 years, if properly maintained and applied to a gravel base with drainage. He further elaborated in another paragraph of the memo that "the base preparation and proper drainage are very important in the success of the chip seal pavement’s life expectancy. As with any type of pavement, proper drainage is essential. Examples of pavement failure due to clay base and poor drainage would be Addington, Westmont, Windridge Place, Wintergreen, and Walden Woods. These concrete streets are failing within their first 10 years of life." In his second memo, dated 5-15-03, Mr. McCusker indicated that "all existing ditches and drains will be cleaned and inspected to ensure that they are functioning properly. During final chip seal application, the road crown will be installed to provide proper run-off of storm water." Member Lorenzo asked Mr. McCusker if chip seal is satisfactory to accomplish the base and proper drainage that he indicated is so essential. She doesn’t want to see failing roads in 2 or 3 years because of proper base or proper drainage of a road. Member Lorenzo asked him to explain what proper drainage is.
Mr. McCusker said that DPW has stripped some of the streets out in the past 2 to 3 years, and has switched to a limestone base, and a heavier aggregate in wetter areas. DPW has re-cultured ditch lines so that they flow as they should. Catch basins have been added to areas where water pockets are known to form. Streets without a drain adjacent to one side of the road will be crowned so that water flows off the road. The biggest cause of road failure in this area is the pocketing of water on roads.
The freeze and thaw situation usually destroys a road. By moving the water away from the road and its base, most road problems can be prevented for any road. Chip seal is a maintenance activity that reduces DPW’s maintenance and labor spent on roads. This is not a new maintenance activity, but has been used over and over. Road Commissions use chip sealing in areas all around the Midwest. This is an accepted practice by the Michigan Roadbuilders’ Association and the Federal Highway Administration, and reduces the amount of time DPW must spend on a road. He said that DPW spends more time on gravel roads in Novi than on any side streets, especially after rains and freeze-thaw cycles. Member Lorenzo asked Mr. McCusker to confirm that the roads Council authorizes to chip seal will have a proper base and drainage so that a life expectancy of 8-10 years will be maintained. Mr. McCusker said that the DPW does perform a mid-term maintenance activity where it will clean up areas in need of improvement, but this is a minor requirement compared to constantly maintaining a gravel road. Member Lorenzo said she hopes to see the chip seal project lasting 8 to 10 years, and will hold Mr. McCusker accountable for this. She said she would support the chip seal project in Novi.
She asked if Dinser, Delmont and Delwal were the only streets planned for chip seal this summer. Mr. Helwig answered that the budget only includes Dinser and Delmont. Administration was asked to provide a memo with some estimates subsequent to these to include Delwal, which would be a heavy truck traffic entranceway to the Public Works facility, and Austin Road, which is a heavy irrigation, downhill road. Right now there is $50,000 for Delmont and Dinser in Mr. McCusker’s maintenance operating budget. Member Lorenzo asked if the $50,000 is only allotted for Dinser and Delmont, which Mr. Helwig said was correct. She asked if this included the labor and materials necessary to prepare the base and properly drain the road. Mr. McCusker said that the $50,000 is to take care of the final seal, final crown, and related materials for the roads. Much of the drainage work will be done in-kind with the contractor, to ensure that the DPW is satisfied with the drainage of the sealed roads. Member Lorenzo asked if $50,000 would provide chip seal, all the coats necessary, base gravel, drainage, and other needed tasks. Mr. McCusker said that the $50,000 is actually for the 3 inches of stone, the seal, the final stone seal, and the rolling and grading. Most of the base work will be done in-house, as it is on all gravel roads. Member Lorenzo asked Mr. McCusker if more than $50,000 needed to be budgeted for Dinser and Delmont. Mr. McCusker said that more money would not be needed, since the other work would be done as maintenance work by DPW. Member Lorenzo asked if Delwal would also cost $50,000. Mr. Helwig said that Delwal would cost $28,000, and Austin Drive would cost $50,000. Member Lorenzo asked if these totals would complete each of these projects, which both Mr. Helwig and Mr. McCusker said was correct. She asked Mr. Helwig if he would need an amendment to the existing budget to include Austin and Delwal. Mr. Helwig said that any chip seal projects other than Delmont and Dinser would require direction from Council. Member Lorenzo thanked Mr. McCusker for his information.
Member Lorenzo had included a request for administration to consider adding Beck Road rehabilitation between Nine Mile Road and the city limits for a cost of $350,000, because this is a heavily used road and the paser rating is poor. Mr. Helwig said that administration has had no further input except waiting for the direction of Council on the issue. Member Lorenzo asked Mr. Helwig if the Beck Road project could be accomplished this year. Mr. Helwig answered that Westmont Village has a reserve fund balance of approximately $700,000 to advance fund this project. Ms. Smith-Roy indicated that the noted section of Beck Road could be worked on this year if so desired by Council. Mr. Helwig said that outside design and construction assistance would likely require outside assistance for completion. Member Lorenzo said the Westmont Village is still "up in the air", and that Council has not finalized the spending of funds for that project. Mr. Helwig said that four or five other neighborhood roadways are also candidates for work, but are using Westmont as a trial project.
Member Lorenzo said she continues to not support the Meadowbrook Road widening project. This was a project that was not supported by a failed road bond some years ago. She is not sure whether there is a lot of foresight going into this project, which doesn’t include utilities. She asked Mr. Helwig for information on this project. She asked if, in coming years, utilities will be installed along that road. Ms. McClain said that a reason that utilities are not included with the Meadowbrook project is that several developers have placed sanitary sewer along the western side of the road at their cost. The city already has a water main along that area. If there were minor storm water changes that needed to be done, they would. Administration is not proposing to place increased culvert sizes and storm water collection systems because of the new storm water ordinance. Member Lorenzo asked if water and sewer are covered on both sides of the street. Ms. McClain answered that this is correct. Member Lorenzo asked if no water and sewer projects would be needed on that stretch of road, which Ms. McClain said was also correct. Member Lorenzo asked Ms. McClain if she could officially state that no drainage culverts would need expansion along the road, since the area is not yet built out. Ms. McClain responded that the drainage district for that area drains towards the lake at Twelve Oaks Mall, which will cover the increased need in storage. The east side of the road drains towards the east, since the road is the highpoint of that area. Member Lorenzo asked Ms. McClain if she can foresee any need for drainage work or enlarged culverts in that area. Ms. McClain said that she cannot. Member Lorenzo thanked her for her time. She said the main reason that she does not support the project is that it failed as a bond issue.
Member Lorenzo asked Mr. Helwig to review the water projects that are proposed for construction during the fiscal year. Mr. Helwig said he was looking at Appendix C on page 245 of the budget document. The proposed projects for 2003-2004 include the I-96 crossing at Meadowbrook Road, the storage tank facility at Grand River and Beck, the Twelve Mile Road, West Park Drive – Grand River 24-inch water main is the key I-96 crossing that administration wants to get under construction this year. The section 1 and 12 water main that is in the same area where Council has already awarded a sanitary sewer, the office service technology corridor, will be started for design. Member Lorenzo said that her concern with all of the projects is that she has trouble distinguishing what is and is not necessary. She also questioned how many of these projects the city should be paying for without contributions from the development community. She asked if the expo center is one of the two easements that are still needed by the city to complete the noted I-96 water main crossing. Mr. Helwig said that this is correct. She asked if Mr. Bowman would be donating that easement. Mr. Pearson said that administration is in discussion and estimating the value of that easement, and will be returning soon to Council with this information. Member Lorenzo said that she would expect that easement to be donated in response to an 8-year-long tax abatement granted to Mr. Bowman. Mr. Pearson said that there will be tap fees paid for hooking into the system, so there will be payments to the water system. Also, there will be a value placed on that easement. Member Lorenzo thanked Mr. Pearson. Member Lorenzo said she would reluctantly support the water projects portion of the budget this evening, but would expect extensive discussions regarding the funding and necessity of these projects.
Member Lorenzo asked Mr. Helwig to confirm that no changes have occurred in Personnel Services between what was received previously and the numbers in the proposed budget. Mr. Helwig answered that there were no changes. Member Lorenzo said she was asking because an extra employee was added to the personnel list last year without knowledge by Council. Mr. Helwig explained that this mistake occurred while the Department of Public Services was being dissolved, and a large number of employees were being transferred to other departments. He said that the mistake from the past year would definitely not be repeated this year with any large departmental changes occurring. Member Lorenzo said that the employee was not simply added to a vacant position, but instead had a new position created for her without Council’s direct authorization. She said she only does not want to see a repeat of this in this year’s resolution.
CM-03-05-149 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Bononi; MOTION FAILED: To amend the motion to include, under the chip seal program, Austin and Delwal Streets; also, to include Beck Road between Nine Mile and the City Limits for $350,000 under the rehabilitation program.
Member Sanghvi wished to discuss the addition of two more roads to be chip sealed under the budget for $78,000. He said that in his time serving on Council, three projects have been done by a firm that was not the lowest bidder. He asked how much extra money the city is spending versus using a low bidder on these two additional roads to be chip sealed.
Member Sanghvi said that he has lived on the east side of Novi for 28 years, and uses Meadowbrook Road everyday. He said that the road is a disgrace to the City. He is a resident of Novi, and would like something to be done to improve the condition of Meadowbrook Road. He said that whether people like it or not, Meadowbrook Road is one of the major north-south arterial roads in the City. The condition of that road north of Grand River, and especially north of the I-96 Bridge, is appalling. He said that he doesn’t care whether or not the road is widened, he just cares that the road is repaired so that it can be driven on without problems.
Member Sanghvi said that he has reservations about supporting the budget, but that nobody will always agree to every budget request put before Council. He said it is crucial to fund the important projects to ensure that they are worked on as soon as possible.
Member Sanghvi asked Mr. Fisher if the City has a clause in contracts issued to contractors that penalize for late completion of projects. Mr. Fisher answered that this type of language can be offered up in proposals, but this may affect the number responses to the City’s proposals. He said that contract proposals can include penalty clauses if so desired by Council. Member Sanghvi said that, as far as he knows, those penalty clauses are often used in other types of contracts. He said that with penalty clauses in every contract, companies would not be 2 years overdue in submitting reports. He believes the City should incorporate late penalties into contracts as a matter of rule.
Mr. Helwig said that he has seen many construction contracts containing liquidated damage clauses, particularly where there is a significant public health and safety emergency. He has also seen bonus payments for early completion of a project, but said that this is normally built into a proposal. He said that these could be considerations for further policy discussions, particularly for case by case situations. Larger contracts especially may be beneficial to that language.
Member Csordas does not support deleting the repair of Meadowbrook Road from the budget, as he agrees with Member Sanghvi that parts are a safety hazard to drivers. He also has received phone calls from residents in Meadowbrook Commons, who are concerned for their safety while driving up Meadowbrook Road.
Member Csordas said that he supports the chip sealing of Delmont and Dinser Roads, but cannot support the other proposed roads for chip sealing. He said that he has historically opposed the city paying for chip sealing roads, as this is what Special Assessment Districts (SAD’s) are designed for. However, Mr. McCusker’s cost-benefit analysis of the chip seal projects was so logically presented that it only makes sense to have Delmont and Dinser chip sealed. Mr. McCusker said that over an 8-year period or so, chip sealing those roads will be cost efficient and reduce maintenance, which Member Csordas has no reason to doubt.
Member Csordas expressed concern regarding land takings by the City from Mr. Bowman. He advised Mr. Pearson to consult with the City Attorney before discussing easements with Mr. Bowman regarding the expo center, because Mr. Bowman has the right to do as he wishes with his property. Member Csordas added that he feels the water main connector under I-96 is "clearly essential." He recalled a conversation from six year ago, in which former Director of Public Services Tony Nowicki warned of the need for another water main connection.
Member Csordas said that he cannot support the motion to amend the budget.
Member Capello said that he could not support the motion to amend the budget, either. Austin Drive is a private road, and other residents have paid for the paving or sealing of their roads either through house costs or SAD’s. It is not fair to the City’s residents to pay for the chip sealing of a private road. If those residents want Austin Drive paved or chip sealed, they should do it themselves. Delmont and Dinser are different situations, because they are not subdivision streets. This used to be the main north-south connector road before Wixom Road was extended, and it makes sense to pay $50,000 for these chip sealing projects.
Member Capello does not see the rational in not paving Meadowbrook Road, as the road obviously needs improvement. Though the Meadowbrook Road repaving failed in a bond issue, this occurred several years ago. He agrees with Dr. Sanghvi and Member Csordas that the road presents a safety hazard. He is not in favor of the motion to amend the budget.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said she has discussed the chip seal issue with Wayne County engineers, who agree that chip sealing is a commonly used technique all over the region. Chip sealing roads not only reduces maintenance needed to upkeep dirt roads, but also reduces erosion and sedimentation. She questioned how to distinguish the priority of one road from another, because they are all city streets. She supports the chip sealing of Delwal.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said she believes a city of the size and stature of Novi deserves a formal budget presentation, complete with visuals so that home-viewers can observe better. This process has been used in the past, but was noticeably absent in this budget. She is disappointed by the City Council’s short-term and long-term goals listed on page 8 of the budget. She said "some priorities just seem to fade into the woodwork, while other unknowns seem to come to the floor." Particularly absent is item number 6, the manner in which the city negotiates development proposals and community benefits. This is one of the greatest problems with regard to quality of product in the community. With regard to #8, the incomplete 2000 road bond intersection improvements, she finds this lacking. She believes that progress has been made on #19, requiring maintenance to storm water systems to be timely per budget commitment, but this is a short-term priority that has not been met. Her point in mentioning these items is that priorities that Council has decided have not always addressed resident concerns.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked Mr. Helwig about an article in the Oakland Press about the state’s shortfall which has been upgraded to $1.7 billion. She said that "the shoe will drop in August to October of this year," and it is unknown how Novi will be affected by the budget shortfall. Mr. Helwig said that what is included in the budget is the Governor’s proposed 3% further reduction in state shared revenues, and an additional 2.5% held in reserve should the legislature upon reviewing the Governor’s proposal decide otherwise, or should the state’s economic condition worsen. Novi is one of the few cities that prudently sets aside some percentage for the possibility of further reduction of state shared revenue beyond the state’s 3% reduction. Backup means are also available: The City has 14.2% of its annual appropriations in rainy day reserves. In the end, these choices are Council’s decision. This is over and beyond the standard for past years, in meeting a minimum of 14% appropriations in rainy day reserves by also including 2.5% of state shared revenues also held in reserve. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said she understands this and that the numbers seem to work if the $1.7 billion shortfall is a static figure, which is not known. Her point in bringing up the issue is that from a standpoint of the expenditures included in the budget, across the board particularly departmental wise, she has objected to items. In looking at this article as a government employee who is in contact with other cities and townships, she has asked what other municipalities’ practices will consist of with their budgets. Without question, 95% of those governments are instituting hiring freezes, are talking about rates of compensation increases that are consisting of 1.2% with regard to the rate of inflation and price indexing. They are stockpiling money from September to October. She is concerned that Novi is not taking the time to do this, particularly with regard to the Meadowbrook Road paving. She realizes that the Meadowbrook Road existing pavement does not meet the weather conditions, but she suggests that quite a bit of deterioration on that road is due to the pounding of construction vehicle use. She said that while everyone will benefit from repaving the road, the road should not be widened. Instead, the road should simply be repaved in its current form until it can be improved properly. This will allow the people who will benefit from the improvements to participate in the community. From the standpoint of saying you get what you pay for, she is all in favor of doing the job once, and doing it right. She doesn’t believe this proposal represents that.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi also asked for a definition of surplus property at the last budget meeting. In particular, she questioned the minimal adaptive reuse of fire station #4, and asked for a simple presentation in writing of what that site is worth, and what the potential uses of that site could be. The city needs another post office, and could use a library for children or a day care center. This is an attractive site and could present a community hub location. Her biggest concern is that there isn’t a surplus property mechanism where surplus property is examined. Finally forced onto the agenda was a piece of property that Novi owns at the northeast section of Grand River and Novi Road. She asked what the City’s plans are for that parcel. There are questions about how the City uses its resources and what they’re worth. She had asked for a determination of what the fire station property was worth, because it was odd that an adaptive reuse item was included in the budget. She asked Mr. Helwig if approving the budget would mean that the fire station #4 would be used for landscape maintenance purposes. Mr. Helwig responded that it would not, and that nothing can go forward on a matter like this without detailed Council review. He said the issue broached a need that the city will have in the middle of the fiscal year. He anticipates a discussion with Council regarding the larger surplus property issue. The City should have a policy and process to examine surplus property.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said that, with regard to the proposal that was brought forth by the residents who live on Austin Drive, she believes that "those folks brought forth self-initiated action on their part. They investigated prices estimates, the specification of chip seal because of the mud and dust situation that they put up with. They presented this to the city, from the standpoint of wanting to be involved in problem solving. To not include them in this process at this point would be unfair." Thus, she seeks to include them in the chip seal process.
Member Landry moved for the approval of the budget because he believes it is a fiscally sound budget which is well thought-out. He said there have been 3 televised study sessions on the budget, and all of these items were discussed in the open. The base budget items increases are held to 1.5%, or the inflation rate. In the last fiscal year when this city was grappling with the largest municipal verdict ever entered, it was able to settle that verdict and Novi’s bond rating even increased. The City became more favorable to creditors because of its fiscal responsibility. Novi is growing by leaps and bounds. He said the proposed budget included additions to public safety – police and fire. All year, Council heard complaints about the SAD process. The proposed budget includes an addition of a financial services officer so the city can dedicate somebody to the SAD process. This budget includes a code compliance officer to deal with some of the code compliance issues from the explosion in building in Novi.
Member Landry said Council can look at other cities and notice their hiring freezes, but said "let’s compare apples to apples." Novi’s population has doubled in the past 10 years. The City can’t expect increased services and not be willing to pay for it. The City is increasing in population, and everyone who moves here wants the best, which is why they move here. The budget allocates dollars for a growth management plan so that Novi can manage its growth in the future. He said he could fully support this budget. It was very well put together, very well presented, and has been discussed in public. He said he is very proud of the way this budget process has proceeded so far. With respect to the proposed amendments, Member Landry said: "The chip seal program was presented as a trial program for 3 years. The city can revisit the program on other roads in 3-6 months. The cost of maintaining dirt roads would exceed the cost of the chip seal." He noted that he is not opposed to chip sealing Austin or any other roads. Chip sealing was presented on the budget as an experiment to test for further use. The City can revisit Austin this year, and not funding that project this year is not a prohibition for chip sealing that road. He will not support the amendment because he thinks the City should support the reasonable approach of this budget, deal with Delmont and Dinser at this time, then revisit the other roads at some other time. He said $300,000 funding for Beck is not good to discuss at the 11th hour, and he does not support this at this time. He stated he did not support the amendment, but did support the budget.
Mayor Clark concurred with everything that Member Landry said. He said Member Landry was correct, and "if you expect these services, you’ve got to pay for them. There’s no free lunch." The chip seal program has been discussed as being a demonstration project, and was presented to Council as a way of saving costs. Yet at the same time, at Council’s table, he said he’s heard about the $1.7 billion shortfall in the state budget. He’s an optimist. He said "there’s nothing wrong with the economy in this country, if the nay-sayers would just give the economy a chance. They seem to delight in running this economy and this nation down. We are the strongest and most prosperous nation in the world. All we have to do is believe in ourselves." He thinks that the economy will see a turn around this year. He asked if it is prudent, when the state says we’ll have a projected shortfall, to make provisions for that because of the effect that it has on every community. He answered "Yes, and I think that we’ve been more than diligent in that regard." Delmont and Dinser were presented as demonstration projects. He drove down Dinser recently, and thinks that a road grader could be secured so that it wouldn’t disappear, and just go out there and grade the road every time it rains. As Mr. McCusker said, there’s a tremendous amount of maintenance work that must be done to upkeep these roads. If Novi can come up with something that will take care of the problem for 5-10 years, he’s all in favor of it. He said these chip seal roads are used all over this part of the country and they work great. Mayor Clark said that chip sealing a road is far better than leaving a washboard gravel road. Mayor Clark said he can support funding Delmont and Dinser for this year. He agreed that Beck Road needs help, but said the City can wait another year for Beck Road, especially in light of all the construction that is going on in the western half of the city. He said Meadowbrook is in deplorable shape, and didn’t think Dr. Sanghvi exaggerated much in saying that if a pregnant woman wants to speed up her delivery, all she needs to do is drive up and down that road a few times and she’ll be ready to go to the hospital. He lived in that end of the city for 16 years before he moved to the western end of the city. The road needs to be fixed, and it needs to be fixed now. If one wants to compare Meadowbrook to Beck, Meadowbrook takes precedence because its in the older end of the city, and the City is finally starting to pay the attention that it should there and to roads in the north end such as South Lake Drive. Meadowbrook should receive funding first, especially in light of all the construction that is going on, and all the increased traffic on some other roads that are occurring due to construction on Grand River. The City will have intersection improvements at Novi Road and Grand River.
Mayor Clark said as he understands it, there will be other intersection improvements this year. He asked Mr. Helwig if this was correct. Mr. Helwig responded that the City went through the action map at one of the work sessions. Ten Mile and Beck Road just recently had signalization installed. The intersection of Novi Road and Grand River is contingent upon Council’s action and the Road Commission getting the northwest and southwest corner property that they need. Next year, Ten Mile and Novi Road will be accomplished. These intersection improvements go a great length along Novi Road. They are presumably to go to the south and to the north to the launch points for the overpass that will be built eventually over the railroad tracks, and are well beyond the immediate intersection projects. Mayor Clark thanked Mr. Helwig.
Mayor Clark said regarding the comments relative to the fire station, he agrees with Mr. Helwig that any action that is taken in that regard will come back to the City somehow. He appreciated the comments of Mayor Pro Tem Bononi in suggesting ideas such as a branch library at that site, but said "if you’re going to have a branch library there, you’ve got to have people there to work. If you’re going to employ more people, you’ve got to pay them, which means more overhead for the City. That is something that the voters have already expressed concern with a couple of times, which is why the Library’s new taskforce has been assembled. If you can get some private entrepreneur that wants to do something with the building that’s not disruptive of the neighborhood character that it finds itself in, Council would likely support that. But we’ve got to be very careful and be mindful that that station, which will be vacated when the new fire station comes online, is located in a very residential setting."
Mayor Clark said the post office faces a similar situation. Council knows it has a tremendous problem on Novi Road. The post office is already too small for this community. That location won’t become larger, and he does not believe the City could get the federal government to open two post offices in Novi, at least not in the state of the economy that some people in Washington continue to complain about. The fire station location would provide even less parking than the Novi Road post office, which is already "pretty tight." In the near future, new property may open up, perhaps on the east side of Novi Road, which may be supportive of a bigger post office. That is the time when the City should perhaps initiate discussions with the federal government.
No matter where any post office goes, one thing Mayor Clark would like to see would be a traffic signal so that whoever is going to the post office "doesn’t have to play Russian roulette" getting out of the post office. He will support Meadowbrook Road improvements 100%, and can support Austin next year, but said the City can certainly hold off on Delwal during tight budget times. Mayor Clark recalled voting on most areas of the budget, and believed the support for widening and improving Meadowbrook Road was indicated by majority of vote. The Grand River – 12 Mile section of Meadowbrook is in far worse condition than the portion of Beck Road. Beck Road can be looked at next year, but a third of a million dollars is a lot of money to spend at this time on Beck. He cannot support an amendment that funds Beck Road, Austin, or Delwal at this time. Having said that, he agreed with Member Landry that Council should be reminded that state law required the City to adopt a budget that night, and nobody was going to get everything they wanted.
Member Lorenzo clarified that her amendment had nothing to do with eliminating Meadowbrook Road improvements. Her amendment only added Beck Road, and also added Delwal and Austin to the chip seal proposal. Member Lorenzo said that, regarding Meadowbrook versus Beck, if Council was talking about rehabilitating Meadowbrook Road, she would support it 150%. But she said the City was not considering rehabilitating Meadowbrook, but was instead considering widening it. She noted that Meadowbrook would not be completed this year, but would only be designed for widening. The City would not see any benefits in the 2003-2004 calendar year. If Council was discussing simply rehabilitating Meadowbrook Road this year, she would support it. This is why she supported the improvements to Beck Road, because they would be felt this year.
Member Lorenzo recalled that a young man had earlier supported Governor Granholm’s Preserve First program. Member Lorenzo said that Novi’s version of Preserve First would be to rehabilitate roads like Beck, but not widen them. As for the chip and seal being a demonstration project, she would like to ask Mr. Helwig if he considers it a rehabilitation project, and if the administration supported the addition of Austin and Delwal from a cost-effective standpoint. Mr. Helwig said that administration believes in chip seal - something he has called asphalt emulsion for many years. City Council has a goal to do something toward paving Delmont and Dinser, which is what drove administration’s recommendation, and why administration focused on those two roads. He is aware that doing anything to an unpaved road without an SAD is very sensitive in this community. This was introduced in the budget as a limited approach to gain confidence. It’s really entering into the chip seal program, helping the community to move forward rather than looking at the past, saying that "well, these 13 miles of unpaved roads, what you’re doing is what you need to be doing forever." He said maintaining unpaved roads is costly, and detracts from the city’s ability to respond after storm events because of road grading needs. The city believes in chip seal, and it’s a policy matter beyond that. Mr. Helwig said Austin and Delwal would be chip sealed only if Council asked for the roads to be done.
Member Lorenzo said she was looking at the issue through Mr. McCusker’s memos. In his memos, he seems to indicate that it’s more cost effective to chip seal roads rather than maintaining them on an annual basis. She asked if Mr. Helwig agreed with this, which he said he highly recommends. Member Lorenzo asked Mr. Helwig if, as manager of the City of Novi, he recommends that Council begin to chip seal unpaved roads. Mr. Helwig said that he is recommending this in the budget.
Mayor Clark said that with reference to Meadowbrook Road, it doesn’t make any sense to rehabilitate the road for one or two years when the road needs to be widened. He recalled that when 10 Mile between Meadowbrook and Haggerty was resurfaced, it cost the City just over $1,000,000. He said it doesn’t make sense to resurface Meadowbrook, but then rip up the road again in a couple years when the road is widened. The Mayor said "Let’s do it once, let’s do it right." He noted that some older city roads have not received the maintenance that they should have. He recalled that there were cost overruns in repairing the road at Village Oaks, because the road had not been worked on in 30 years. Mayor Clark noted that not repairing roads will lead to consequences. He said the same thing will happen on Meadowbrook if Council continues to "stick its head in the sand." The road has been improved north of Twelve Mile. He advised fixing problems from Twelve Mile south to Grand River, including the widening of that stretch. He said the City should "do it once and for all, so that we have a road that can be easily maintained for the next 20-30 years without any major problems. This is cost effective, and this is where we should be going."
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said that in the interest of moving forward and creating a budget that everyone can support, she would make a suggestion: ask the maker of the amendment to consider removing the Beck Road improvement for $300,000, including Austin Drive chip seal, and removing Delwal. The reason she proposed this was simply numbers and budget, and the suggestion benefits everyone. She said the City could at least spend $128,000 to benefit residents and residential streets in addition to the other neighborhood improvements that will be done this year. As she understands it, Novi has thirteen miles of dirt roads. This would be a beginning towards bringing Novi neighborhoods that have not had the benefit of hard-surfaced roads, and its DPW having the benefit of easier and more effective and timely maintenance, to bring everyone together with regard to standard. She asked the maker of the amendment to the motion if she would be agreeable to remove the $300,000 expenditure for Beck, add Austin, and remove Delwal. Member Lorenzo said she would be agreeable to this if it will gain enough support to pass. If it would not, then she would rather maintain her position. Member Lorenzo said she would prefer to follow through with the current motion, and possibly create another motion if the current amendment motion failed.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-05-149 Yeas: Lorenzo
Nays: Bononi, Capello, Csordas, Landry, Sanghvi, Clark
CM-03-05-150 Moved by Bononi, seconded by Landry; MOTION CARRIED: To amend the main motion to include only Delmont, Dinser, and Austin Drive in the chip seal program.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-05-150 Yeas: Bononi, Csordas, Landry, Lorenzo, Sanghvi, Clark
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-05-148 Yeas: Csordas, Landry, Lorenzo, Sanghvi, Clark, Bononi, Capello
Council recessed at 10:00 p.m.
Council reconvened at 10:15 p.m.
2. Award of Professional Services Contract for Special Assessment District (SAD) 165 Connemara Hills Water Main for Design and Construction Administration to the low qualified respondent, Ayres, Lewis, Norris & May, Inc., in the amount of $24,787.93.
CM-03-05-151 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Bononi; MOTION CARRIED: To approve the Award subject to an identified deliverable.
Mr. Helwig said that administration will approach Council in June with a policy discussion, "Options for Streamlining and Enhancing the Special Assessment District process." One set of comparables from other communities in the area has already been sent. In this instance for Connemara Hills, Council has accommodated Public Hearing #2 ahead of schedule to keep the process moving. The timetable he is looking at has a bid award date of September 22, and a construction start of October 6. Administration has already had one ballot in this process to continue to move forward, which was a 12-5 decision. The deliverable is for construction to start on or about October 6 after bids are awarded on September 22 of this year.
Mayor Clark asked if there is a projected completion date for the project. Mr. Helwig said he didn’t know at the moment, but would report back to Council with that date. Mayor Clark said Council is well aware of the sense of urgency of bringing water to that SAD, and will do everything it can to keep the project moving as expeditiously as possible.
Member Lorenzo asked Mr. Helwig if the construction bid award would be in September. Mr. Helwig answered that September 22 would be the date. Member Lorenzo asked if it is known when Ayers, Lewis will complete their design. Mr. Helwig answered that the final design is due July 7th.
Member Sanghvi asked when water would actually be available to residents in SAD 165. He said he doesn’t care about any other dates except when those residents can expect water. He said there should be a deadline for this, and a penalty clause in the contract. Mr. Helwig said a design would be needed to determine an estimated time length of construction. Ms. McClain said the goal is to have water turned on in mid-November. The largest variable in this, however, is receiving a permit from the Detroit Water and Sewer Department (DWSD) and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ). Right now, that permit process is running between 8 and 12 weeks, and no construction can begin until that permit is obtained. What the City has done with the timeline is overlap the time to get the permit with the rest of the process from the final design completion through advertising. The City would be looking to advertise the project without having the permit yet in hand, rather than wait for the permit to arrive, which could add a month on to the time frame. Member Sanghvi asked if the next time Mrs. K. calls him about the SAD, he can tell her to expect water by Thanksgiving. Ms. McClain said the City will endeavor to have water available by Thanksgiving, and will look at putting both incentive and penalty clauses into the construction contract.
Member Csordas said he noticed that Ayers, Lewis is the 3rd ranked of the top four bidding engineering companies, and he can see they are the lowest bidder. He asked what the bid amounts were from the other bids. Ms. McClain answered that the other bids were not opened. A qualifications-based process was used, and only the bids from the four highest rated companies were considered. Member Csordas asked for a 60-second overview of the point system, and why Ayers, Lewis was the third-most preferred out of three companies. Ms. McClain answered that the point system and the qualifications-based system do not consider the number proposals until after the companies’ proposals have been examined. The companies must respond to the City’s request for proposal (RFP). Part of the rating is based on the history of the firm, their design experience, their construction experience, and their testing experience, how they have performed on budgets, references, and other factors. The companies are rated on a scale of 1 to 5. If a company received a strong grade for a factor, they were rated higher; if the company did not have any past history or records pertaining to a factor, they were rated low or even zero. Four independent graders rated the companies, and their scores were added up to equal the final grade. Ayers, Lewis was the 3rd-highest rated company out of 8, but by no means had a low score, and had the lowest bid total of the four highest-rated companies. Member Csordas asked if the raters worked as a committee or individually. Ms. McClain said the raters work individually, but discussed items following tabulation of scores. Member Csordas thanked Ms. McClain.
Roll Call on CM-03-05-151 Yeas: Landry, Lorenzo, Clark, Bononi, Capello, Csordas
4. Approval of Highway Easement Conveyance to the Road Commission for Oakland County from the City of Novi for road improvements at Novi Road and Grand River Avenue (northeast corner of intersection).
CM-03-05-152 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Capello; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve Highway Easement Conveyance to the Road Commission for Oakland County from the City of Novi for road improvements at Novi Road and Grand River Avenue (northeast corner of intersection.)
Member Capello said the Oakland County Road Commission would be tearing up brickscaping and amenities at the intersection. He asked if there was a provision for the Commission to replace these. Mr. Pearson answered that there will be a provision for this. Member Capello asked where this agreement is located. Mr. Pearson responded that the agreement will be part of the construction contract with Oakland County. Any costs will be included as part of the project costs.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked if it is known what the actual value of the property easement/right of way is at the site. Mr. Pearson said that a market analysis was not done for this easement. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said the reason she asked is that she realizes the City partners quite frequently and meaningfully with Oakland County. However, she recalled a recent $75,000 application fee to Oakland County. She suggested that a value be attached to the easement, so that both entities can achieve their goals without one goal being particularly financially burdensome to the other. She asked Mr. Helwig what he would suggest. Mr. Helwig suggested that "the city start keeping score." The City has been working so quickly and furiously in trying to begin or complete a number of projects that some details may have been overlooked. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said she is not looking to making any money off of a partner, but is looking forward to recovering costs and sharing costs with partners whenever the City can. She asked Mr. Helwig to submit recommendations in writing within 90 days regarding the issue.
Roll Call on CM-03-05-152 Yeas: Lorenzo, Sanghvi, Clark, Bononi, Capello, Csordas, Landry
AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION - None
MATTERS FOR COUNCIL ACTION – Part II
5. Approval of Memorandum of Understanding for entry of Consent Judgment, under agreement dated June 25, 2002 (Sandstone). (Includes changes made by City Council May 5, 2003 and changes made after meeting and conferring with Sandstone May 14, 2003).
Mr. Fisher said that on May 5, the Memorandum of Understanding was presented to Council, who made some substantive changes to the document. One required tree replacement on the Block Grant property, by Sandstone, in accordance with the formula in the city’s Woodlands Ordinance should the property transfer not be approved. The second change related to a deferral of the obligation of the City to clear and remediate property that Sandstone will receive as a result of the failure to clear the deed restriction claim. Under the original agreement, Sandstone had an election to make between a parcel of 4.8 acres and a parcel of 9.6 acres, each with different rights and obligations by Sandstone in the two cases. Sandstone has elected to take the 9.6 acre parcel. With regard to Sandstone’s reaction to those changes when presented, he revised the agreement and sent it to them. The revised Memorandum was presented to Sandstone on May 6: the company accepted the tree replacement obligation, and noted its understanding of the City’s objective with the deferral. At the same time, the new language opened a previously un-existing issue with Sandstone, which is that under the arrangement of the 9.6 acres, Sandstone would be retaining a portion of that land, 5.1 acres, in all events. Part of this, however, would depend on whether the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) approves the Block Grant exchange. If HUD does not accept the exchange, then the City must clear and remediate the entire area. The "Catch-22" is that there is no time restriction within which HUD must act on the City’s application. In the meantime, Sandstone will have the 5.1 acres in all events, and has obvious intentions to market and utilize the property. What Sandstone is seeking is a timeframe in which the 5.1 acre parcel would be cleared and remediated.
Mr. Fisher said the City’s legal counsel provided for Council’s consideration was to an established time frame. When counsel spoke to Oakland County, they were informed that similar HUD decisions typically take 60-90 days. Counsel took the 90 day time frame, and determined it would not remediate anything during that time, or until roughly September 1. On September 1, the City would have an obligation to remediate only the 5.1 acres, which Sandstone will retain in any event. Counsel’s concern with this was that if HUD rejects the City’s proposed property exchange, the City would then be required to work on the property for a second time, thus incurring additional expense. This was countered by a proposal from Sandstone that reduces the amount that the City will pay to Sandstone from $113,650 to $100,000. That change is contained in the 2nd and 3rd drafts of the Memorandum, which were held by Council. Between 5:30 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. this evening, the City received another phone call with regard to further clarification of the document. Mr. Fisher presented Council with text to replace Paragraph 10 of the Memorandum. This was intended to address a perceived ambiguity by Sandstone with regard to the event of HUD not approving the Block Grant exchange. One of the original terms of the agreement was a Sandstone-requested reduction in the northerly setback, from 50 feet to 25 feet. In exchange, Sandstone was willing to reduce density on the site from 15 to 13.5. The language in the text before Council clarifies that in the event that HUD does not approve the Block Grant exchange, then the reduction in the setback and the reduction in density would be void. This is nothing proposed by Council, but is merely a clarification.
Member Landry said the proposed change to paragraph 10 did not bother him. He asked Mr. Fisher to clarify that the reduction of $13,650 benefits the City, even if HUD decides within the 90 day period, so the City benefits greatly. Mr. Fisher said this was correct. Member Landry said he approved this change.
CM-03-05-153 Moved by Landry, seconded by Sanghvi; MOTION CARRIED; To approve the Memorandum of Understanding for entry of consent judgment as proposed to Council.
Mayor Clark said the last time the issue was discussed, he asked how many times the City must be struck by lightning to learn. There comes a point in time when the Sandstone issue has to be put to rest. The debating between the City and Sandstone has been like a bouncing ball seen in cartoons. The people of the community want this nightmare put behind us. He said Council should vote on the matter tonight, support it, and be done with it. Mayor Clark said he has heard complaints about the City’s legal expenses, but noted that continued negotiations involving Mr. Fisher are not free, and he doesn’t expect Mr. Fisher to work for free. Now is the time to put the issue to rest
Member Lorenzo said her concern regards the deadline, and that the City would have to remediate separately. She assumes that the cost would be greater than $13,650 to totally remediate the 4.3 acre parcel, based on remediation of the other parcels. She doesn’t see the agreement as equitable. What she views as being equitable would be to change the date of one line of the agreement on page 4 which states, "In the event HUD approval has not been granted by 12/31/03, Sandstone shall have the option to terminate by written notice City’s obligation to request HUD approval" to September 1st, 2003. In other words, if HUD has not approved the application by September 1st, 2003, the City remediates what it needs to, and foregoes the Block Grant swap. In her mind, Sandstone should agree to this because Sandstone wants the Block Grant parcel more than the City wants the swap. If the parties are going to be fair and equitable, the City should not be losing out on this issue. She doesn’t want to rely on the County’s word that a federal bureaucracy will only take 60-90 days to review the Block Grant exchange proposal. She is not in favor of the Memorandum because of this reason. She asked Mr. Helwig if he knew how much it would cost the City to remediate 4.3 acres.
Mr. Helwig said that he noted in the just-adopted budget that administration did not foresee a need to include anything additional in the judgment trust fund in this fiscal year dealing with the 5.1 acres. If the City has to remediate the 4.3 acres, which is powerful incentive for the swap to go through so that the City does not have to remediate and incur that cost, don’t have to clear mature trees, and does not lose parkland that is contiguous to other City parkland. There are many, many strong incentives for the City to try and get the Block Grant swap to go through. The City has its first formal meeting with the County next Thursday, May 29. In terms of cost, administration believes the remediation of the 5.1 acres would cost $250,000, and that of the 4.3 acres will cost a certain percentage less than $250,000. The City is better at remediation now than when it first started. The $13,650 is something that administration broached when Sandstone broached the need for a certain date to get things started. This is to cover Council’s concern about restaging costs, but is not meant to cover remediation costs.
Member Lorenzo asked if the $13,650 would totally cover restaging costs. Mr. Helwig said administration believes it will, though it can’t be totally certain. Member Lorenzo suggested that the Memorandum state that Sandstone must pay the restaging costs. Mr. Helwig said that he doesn’t believe the City can know what the restaging costs will be, because the private sector will bid unit prices. The contractors shown are hungry for the work, as the City has received 7 proposals already. Member Lorenzo said she doesn’t see the equity in the agreement, because Sandstone has an equal or greater amount at stake in the exchange as the City.
Member Sanghvi asked Mr. Fisher if he would describe the situation as bargaining from a position of strength, or as begging with no choices. Mr. Fisher said the City is certainly not a beggar by any means, and has entered upon these discussions on an equal playing field. Member Sanghvi asked if the City can bargain further then. Mr. Fisher answered that "it’s just a matter of the clock is ticking against us more than anything else, with regard to an obligation to do a grading of the old historic orchard areas." Member Sanghvi said the City has learned from experience just how much arsenic could be in the soil, and how much it could cost to clean up. He suggested that it would be a good business decision to conclude the situation. Mr. Fisher said that agreeing to the Memorandum as it is written would reduce a number of risks relating to grading on the property, grading of the historic orchard areas, and arbitration.
Member Capello said he agrees with some of the comments made by Member Lorenzo, and he feels that the City is being somewhat taken advantage of by the agreement. He also feels that Mr. Helwig and Mr. Fisher have done the absolute best that they could by negotiating this deal. He said he would not pick over small items of the agreement and let his emotions get in the way of decision making. He will vote in favor of the agreement, in order to close the issue and "just get rid of it."
Member Pro Tem Bononi asked Mr. Helwig if he would be contacting Novi’s representatives in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate in order to move the HUD decision along. Mr. Helwig said he absolutely would, and has asked Mayor Clark to join him at next Thursday’s meeting with Oakland County. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi suggested keeping a "secret draft" in the event that it is needed to ask for the assistance of Novi’s able representatives. She shares frustration that meeting with Sandstone attorneys is becoming a recreational activity for them. She believes that Novi has always bargained in good faith, and suggested to Mr. Fisher that if Sandstone issues any more "chain-pulling proposals" at a later time, that those proposals be brought back to Council immediately, where they will be dealt with much more emphatically.
Roll Call on CM-03-05-153 Yeas: Clark, Bononi, Capello, Csordas, Landry, Sanghvi
6. Approval of 2-year Professional Services Agreement with Vilican-Leman & Associates, Inc., for consulting woodland services.
CM-03-05-154 Moved by Bononi, seconded by Lorenzo; MOTION CARRIED; To approve 2-year Professional Services Agreement with Vilican-Leman & Associated, Inc., for consulting woodland services.
Member Capello said he has concerns with regards to fees. He asked if it was fair to assume that site plan reviews are regulated woodlands only. Mr. Pearson answered yes. Member Capello said that under preliminary site plan, fees are $800 for 2 acres or less, then $100 per additional acre over 2 acres, which he is ok with. However, at the final site plan stage, the company is charging $500 for 2 acres or less plus $50 per additional acre over 2 acres, even though there is generally very little change between the City’s preliminary and final site plans. He thinks these review fees from preliminary to final are excessive and should be reduced. All the company is examining are some minor modifications to take the City from preliminary to final site plans. Everything is almost completed by the final site plan stage because of the strictness of the City’s ordinances. Under the subdivision review, he has the same problem. He approves of the fees for the preliminary subdivision review, but not with the final subdivision engineering review, which will cost $400 for the first 2 acres, and $100 an acre beyond that. Mr. Pearson said he had not heard the concern over the final plan reviews at the last Council meeting, and noted that these are the same fee structures that had been charged previously. He also said that while a great deal of work does go into a preliminary site plan, there is a leap from the preliminary to final site plans, especially by engineering and woodlands, and would not want to dismiss the amount of work that goes into the final site plan. Member Capello said that he has been arguing for years that the fees for woodland reviews are too high, and that Mr. Pearson is just reiterating want he is saying. He agrees with Mr. Pearson that there may be a number of engineering changes from preliminary to final site plans, but not in the woodlands areas. The City’s ordinances push developers and applicants to stay out of woodlands. Mr. Pearson said a great deal of detail goes into plot plans and individual lot reviews. Vilican-Leman has proposed to confirm that they would not charge for these individual lots, at least initially. Whatever Vilican-Leman must do at the plot plan level will not be charged for again at the final plan level. Member Capello said that, from what he remembers from the Planning Commission, the City is requiring every footprint to be shown in every woodlands area. There may be some minor differences where the footprint of a house may need adjusting to put in a driveway, but the final review should usually be already completed. He said that charging a large sum of money is unnecessary for "reviewing a couple of trees." He would like to see these prices reduced.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked Mr. Pearson to comment on how the existing fee structure has at times resulted in out-of-pocket expenses for the City, particularly for working out problematical woodlands situations, and has had administration participate in many of these discussions and run up the bill. Mr. Pearson said that, particularly with closing out some older projects, there have been instances where the City was being assessed an hourly charge. It is administration’s objective to avoid these kinds of additional charges to the City. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said there could also be a great variation between preliminary and final plans, when reviewing whether re-plantings meet the city ordinance requirements. Mr. Pearson agreed.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-05-154 Yeas: Clark, Bononi, Csordas, Landry, Lorenzo, Sanghvi
7. Approval to award bid for pavement striping to R & S Contracting, the low bidder, in the amount of $283,803.40.
CM-03-05-155 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Landry; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY; To approve awarding of bid for pavement striping to R & S Contracting, the low bidder, in the amount of $283,803.40.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-05-155 Yeas: Bononi, Capello, Csordas, Landry, Lorenzo, Sanghvi, Clark
8. Award of Professional Services Contract for 2003 Neighborhood Road Repaving Design Services and Construction Engineering to the low qualified respondent, Ayres, Lewis, Norris & May, Inc., in the amount of $182,177.11.
CM-03-05-156 Moved by Lorenzo, supported by Bononi; MOTION CARRIED: To award Professional Services Contract for 2003 Neighborhood Road Repaving Design Services and Construction Engineering to the low qualified respondent, Ayres, Lewis, Norris & May, Inc., in the amount of $182,177.11.
Member Capello said that this is a misnomer because Ayres, Lewis was not the low qualified bidder, but rather JCK and Associates was the low bidder by a substantial amount of money. JCK was lower than Ayres, Lewis in design facets by about 250%, which would save taxpayers a great sum of money. It is his understanding that JCK was able to be lower in the design stage because they already had a portion of this done, due to the water and sewer study conducted. He doesn’t know why staff has recommended spending 250% more on design to have at least a portion of the work re-done by Ayers, Lewis. The City has a process where it first qualifies bidders, then checks qualified bidders’ bids. If staff is going to recommend giving a contract to a company other than the lowest bidder, then it needs to justify why the lowest bidder should not get the work. The entire cost differential between JCK and Ayers, Lewis is 14%. The entire cost difference between the design components is 250%. The staff did not even make a distinction between the design and construction engineering aspects of these proposals. He cannot support spending additional money for no reason, and believes the contract should go to the lowest bidder. He believes the City needs to "revamp" the way it awards contracts. The prequalification before bids are opened is very subjective, and may not be avoidable. In the second stage though, staff needs to identify bids from qualified bidders, and outline where the particular bid is within the proposal, which he doesn’t believe is done until after bids are opened. He would like to see that information included with bid summaries. After the analysis is completed to compare the bids, then perhaps bids should be opened. He cannot support spending more money for the same services, when the City doesn’t need to.
Member Csordas supported Member Capello’s comments. While the qualification ratings are very close in variation, there is a considerable difference between the bid amounts. Clearly, JCK is the lowest bidder, and in his mind as a non-expert is the most qualified, because of the history and knowledge from projects in the City. If JCK had a head-start as far as working with the City, this is a strong competitive advantage. For this reason, he cannot support the motion. He would support the significant savings that would result from choosing the low bidder.
Mr. Helwig said he didn’t know when staff should interject in the discussion, but he has spent considerable time discussing the ratings and recommendations with staff including Nancy McClain. He said that given the amount of history, it is important to stay focused on this specific proposal. Based upon last year’s work program, JCK did an excellent job in fulfilling the contract for neighborhood streets. This year’s work program is 50% greater, and whether or not a company has been involved with Pioneer Meadows, they must design those linear feet of road. To add only 16 additional hours of work over last year’s program is very disconcerting to administration. He believes that with Ayers, Lewis including $8,000 for additional corings, the price difference is actually $17,000, and based on the small number of hours’ increase over last year, the City is setting up for a more expensive cost in going with JCK than with Ayers, Lewis.
Mr. Helwig noted that everyone is approaching the issue with the best intentions for the City of Novi. He said the process has become far more objective than the process of just three years ago. It is prevalent in this part of the Great Lakes where a City signs up a consultant engineer and all the engineering work for that city goes to that consultant engineer. He believes this is the most subjective system possible, in eliminating competition and guaranteeing contractual work. The City’s bidding climate is far healthier. The selected bid is the best overall cost performance.
Ms. McClain said part of the review of the bids cannot be done until the fee is opened. The qualifications-based review was done, and overall the #1 rated firm was Giffels Webster, which did have the highest amount opened. Ayers, Lewis rated #2 overall, and had two of the 1st place ratings out of the four people who rated it. JCK did have a 1st place ranking out of the four as well. When administration looked at qualifications, the proposal made, and the discussion made within the qualifications, there were statements made regarding surveys and testing to be done. When the fee proposals were opened and compared, the levels of design effort were much different. The hours for Ayers, Lewis were 638; the hours for JCK were 324; the hours for Giffels Webster were 857; NCI thought it would need 1700 hours to do this project. These are just the design numbers, not the construction numbers. When the data from last year were considered, she cannot see that this project would take the same amount of time as last year. Whether or not a company has done work on Pioneer Meadows, it still has to create plans, hold meetings, construct it, look at soil borings, address drainage concerns, and other items. Ayers, Lewis is taking survey in the field into account, which is not seen with the JCK proposal. If Ayers, Lewis feels that some soil borings are needed in the field, they have already included this item into the budget, whereas additional soil borings would be an additional cost to the City beyond the proposed bid cost. She feels that a certain engineering time effort is necessary with the project to avoid another Village Oaks experience, where something was missed in soil borings.
Member Sanghvi wanted to look at a comment, "The design team for JCK is currently working on several projects for the City, all of which have time sensitive issues." He asked if Ms. McClain thought the other companies didn’t work anywhere else. Ms. McClain responded that she definitely did not think this, but that she knows that Ayers, Lewis has people that they can put on the project. All engineering firms are "hungry" right now and are looking for work. Pulling people away from one project to work on another can cause delays. Ayers, Lewis has made the presentation to the City that they will dedicate a team to this project.
Member Sanghvi asked Ms. McClain if JCK works elsewhere besides the City. Ms. McClain answered that she knows JCK works for other entities than the City of Novi, but she does not know any details about this other work. Member Sanghvi said his point is that a company doesn’t have to stop its other work to finish a job. He has a hard time believing in totally subjective inferences, especially when the City is giving out an extra $25,000 to another company to do the same job. He would also rather a local business get the first opportunity at doing work for Novi. He said he cannot support the contract.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said what she is looking for is a quality product, efficient delivery, professional communication, and no more nightmares like Village Oaks, which featured $1,000,000 in cost overruns. To presume that the City must look for the best service within a small geographic area limits the City to very few choices, doesn’t expand horizons, and certainly does not foster the spirit of competition that Council is interested in looking to. Council has experience with low-balled prices, followed by continued cost overruns. This is not how a quality product is delivered. From the standpoint of more than one consulting engineer who brings forward the actual cost of doing the job, and specifies the number of hours that it takes to do the right job, means a lot with regard to the commitment that that group has made. From the standpoint of looking at a 2003 roadway rehabilitation program, not only the quality of engineering and the quality of the completion of the project, but also the satisfaction of residents, how the communications will be handled, and making sure the job is done on time. When determining how the best product and service will be delivered, then vendors who can supply those goods and services must be considered. This is a big job that needs to be done right and on time.
Member Landry said that in any proposal, it is optimal to spend the least amount of dollars. Council has to look at the substance of the proposals and make some substantive decisions, unless it just goes with the lowest bid. It is important to look behind the numbers. He is not prepared to say that a firm should not be looked at, but he is prepared to look behind the numbers at the administration’s analysis. He asked Ms. McClain if a large part of her recommendation is that last year, 14,000 linear feet of road took 308 design hours to complete. JCK’s proposal indicates that they believe they can achieve the design aspect of 21,000 linear feet of road for only 16 more hours. Ms. McClain agreed that she was concerned about this. Member Landry said he was looking at the Ayers, Lewis bid, which is the only one provided to Council, and he counted 683 hours that they were proposing to spend on the design aspect. Ms. McClain agreed. Member Landry asked if this was only an estimate. Ms. McClain answered that this was the estimate by Ayers, Lewis; however, the fee proposal is set to the dollar amount. If Ayers, Lewis goes over, they do not charge the City more, unless it is an out-of-scope cost that was not covered. If the company is under cost, they profit more. Member Landry asked to look at the JCK proposal. He asked if JCK is incorrect, and takes 683 hours instead of the estimated 324, does the City pay more. Ms. McClain answered that it depends on whether JCK asks for out-of-scope work. If work is determined to be out-of-scope because it is not shown on the City’s Request for Proposal (RFP), or if it is determined that soil borings are needed, she cannot know if the company would expend the same amount of effort for no payment of these services.
Member Landry asked if the City has the ability to look at the two competing proposals and determine if more design hours would result from out-of-scope work. Ms. McClain said she did not believe that more hours would result from out-of-scope work, but it was a possibility that as much work would not be put into the design. Member Landry asked Ms. McClain if she thought one company could perform a better quality job than the other. Ms. McClain answered that considering this project and the fee proposals, she felt that Ayers, Lewis could provide a better quality job on this project. Member Landry asked if with respect to the Ayers, Lewis bid, there is a chance that the City will not have to spend. Member Landry noted that there is a $25,000 difference between the bids of JCK and that of Ayers, Lewis. $25,000 is nearly enough money to pay for the chip sealing of Austin Drive. He asked if there is a chance that the City would not have to pay that difference because of soil borings or cores or something. Ms. McClain answered that Ayers, Lewis has budgeted $8,000 for borings, and this money would be refunded to the City should borings not be necessary. Member Landry asked if there is a possibility then that Ayers, Lewis’ $182,000 bid could be $8,000 less. Ms. McClain agreed. Member Landry thanked Ms. McClain.
Mayor Clark said he would support the comments made by Member Landry and Mayor Pro Tem Bononi. With reference to Member Landry’s comments, no one has said that JCK would not be considered for future bids. This is not a vote of no-confidence in JCK. If that were the case, when the engineering firm for the City of Novi changed, the City would not have left a number of outstanding projects with them. The fact that those projects were left with JCK shows that the City has a large amount of confidence in the job that they are doing. JCK has a lot on its plate to finish. The company received a contract last year for neighborhood repaving. This year, it is proposed on the recommendation of the City’s engineer that the contract should be awarded to Ayers, Lewis. He feels comfortable with this recommendation. The City may have other projects coming online that JCK bids on, and there is no doubt looking at responses and qualifications that they could get the work. What Council is discussing here is one specific contract for neighborhood roads and rehabilitation for this year only. Taking all of this into consideration, he supports the contract and believes the City should move forward. The residents of the City have waited a long time for road improvements.
Member Sanghvi said he is very annoyed with the technique of calling the question right now. He doesn’t believe that this technique is desirable in a free society. He also said that the idea that taking longer to do a job means the job will be done better is nonsense.
Member Capello asked Ms. McClain what the City’s estimate for the design was. Ms. McClain did not recall the exact amount. Member Capello asked how many hours were estimated for the design. Ms. McClain answered that the estimate for the design is determined on a percentage basis. Design costs are estimated as a percentage of the construction costs. Member Capello asked if it is known if any of the bid estimates are actually accurate. Ms. McClain answered that this is not the typical way that costs are estimated when determining preliminary estimates. Member Capello asked if it then is hard to say whether someone was putting in too little or too much time. Ms. McClain said that from experience working with similar projects, the amount of time needed is generally based upon the cost estimate for that project. When she determines a cost estimate, she examines a project from the view of a private firm. She then examines what percentage comes off of the project, where design and construction costs fall, and then determine number of hours to construct and complete the project. Member Capello asked if determining a percentage, then dividing by a hourly rate to determine hours is really an accurate way to determine the number of required hours. Ms. McClain answered that different firms have different methods of deciding labor estimates. Looking at previous years, specifically the 2001 program, this is a low number for this amount of road distance.
Member Capello asked how many lineal feet of road can be designed in an hour. Ms. McClain said it depends on what the road is like. Member Capello asked how many feet for neighborhood roads. Ms. McClain asked if drainage would have to be designed for the site, how the road would be surfaced, if specific portions or the entire road would be replaced, and other aspects can take more hours. She can probably take more hours to properly design a project and save construction costs as a result, which evens out costs. Member Capello said it seems that an average of the lineal feet that can be designed per hour cannot be determined because it depends on the project at hand. Ms. McClain agreed with this statement. Member Capello asked that if Pioneer Meadows is removed from the equation, the difference between last year’s 14,000 lineal feet and this year’s without Pioneer Meadows, is about 3,000 feet of road. Ms. McClain said she believed this was correct, but could not confirm. Member Capello said that at that point, they will be designing 3,000 lineal feet of road in about 16 hours. He asked if this was an unreasonable amount of time to spend on 3,000 lineal feet of road. Ms. McClain said it could be, because an additional item to consider in the estimate is the survey, which she did not see listed under JCK’s estimate. Last year’s JCK proposal included hours for survey. The other companies’ proposals contained hours for survey. She said survey hours are a two-man team and require a lot of money. Member Capello asked if this takes a different group of individuals other than engineers who will design the road. Ms. McClain agreed, but said that the survey is a vital part of the design. Member Capello asked if these hours were included in the shortfall of engineering hours that she felt were needed to properly design the road. Ms. McClain responded that these survey hours were not included in the number of design hours for the road, and she did not feel that the firm devoted enough design hours towards the project. She noted that JCK charged 40 hours for word processing with last year’s road project, but only had figured 20 hours for word processing in this year’s proposal. Member Capello asked if there is a way that JCK could "skimp" on word processing. Ms. McClain answered that she did not know the exact reason behind the disparity. She noted that she was not trying to "attack" JCK, and Member Capello understood. He asked if there was a line item for surveying in the other bids which included a dollar amount for that time. Ms. McClain answered that the other bids did include these fees.
Member Capello asked if JCK would still be required to complete survey work at their cost, even if they simply forgot to include the total in their bid proposal. Ms. McClain answered that this was correct. Member Capello asked who was on JCK’s design team for this project. Ms. McClain answered that the team consisted of four JCK employees. Member Capello asked if the city was required to take a number of soil borings and submit them to the engineer. Ms. McClain said that they have been performed, and were available for review at the pre-bid, and are still available for further review. Member Capello asked how many soil borings were taken. Ms. McClain answered that approximately 100 borings were taken. Member Capello asked if Ayers, Lewis indicated why it allocated an extra $8,000 for soil borings. Ms. McClain answered in case the company needed to take borings at areas that did not previously have borings taken. Member Capello asked if this was prudent to do, which Ms. McClain said it was. He asked if she expected JCK to come back to the City and ask for additional money for soil borings if they were needed, which Ms. McClain said was correct. He asked if the fairest thing to do would be to add $8,000 to JCK’s bid, and remove $8,000 from Ayers, Lewis, which Ms. McClain said was plausible. Member Capello said that the bids were still $20,000 apart just in design, so the additional funding for soil borings was not a huge issue. Ms. McClain said the proposals were $20,000 different in design, but Ayers, Lewis was also $10,000 lower in construction costs. Member Capello said he believed that overall, JCK could be hired for $33,000 cheaper than Ayers, Lewis to do only the design portion of the project. He thanked Ms. McClain for her help.
Member Csordas also thanked Ms. McClain for her explanation. He said that he is changing his vote because of the explanation. He read a memo from Ms. McClain but missed much of the substance behind the document. He said that the next time a similar project was proposed, he would ask Ms. McClain to come before Council again and explain the situation, as her explanation was quite helpful to him.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-05-156 Yeas: Csordas, Landry, Lorenzo, Clark, Bononi
Nays: Sanghvi, Capello
9. Approval of Ordinance 03-103.9 amending Section 12-48 "Lawn Installation Following Certificate of Occupancy" to add verbiage that it shall be unlawful to change approved grade. 2nd Reading
CM-03-05-157 Moved by Lorenzo, supported by Bononi; MOTION CARRIED: To approve Ordinance 03-103.9 amending Section 12-48 "Lawn Installation Following Certificate of Occupancy" to add verbiage that it shall be unlawful to change approved grade.
Member Capello said the last page of subsection C of the ordinance read "shall be unlawful to construct landscaping which changes the drainage pattern of any property." He didn’t feel this was reasonable, because if a resident alters their own property so that only their own drainage but none of their neighbors’ was affected, it would not be allowed without a permit. He suggested that the line should instead read "It is unlawful to construct landscaping which changes the drainage pattern of water running off of the property line of any property."
Ms. Uglow said the ordinance actually accomplishes what Member Capello suggested. The City would require a minor land improvement permit for excessive change of grade. The way berms and retaining walls are being constructed, grades abutting properties are in some cases being altered. The wordage is explained "which changes the drainage of any property, or is not in compliance with the approved grading plan." She said that developers would be made aware that altering the drainage patterns from the approved grade would require a minor land improvement permit.
Member said that Ms. Uglow was discussing a different subsection than his concern. He has problems with the language "any change in the drainage pattern". He said he supported removing this item, and changing the phrasing to "construct landscaping which is not in compliance with the approved grading plan". He said that the ordinance essentially says that a tree cannot be planted which might alter drainage around the base of that tree. Ms. Uglow said that if someone puts up a miniature retaining wall which alters drainage and curvature from the approved site plan, the City should require the property owner to obtain a minor land improvement permit. Member Capello said he disagreed with this.
Mayor Clark said it has always been his understanding that any property owner could not create a situation that will allow degradation of a neighbor’s property. He asked Mr. Fisher if this was correct, which Mr. Fisher said it is, by common rule law. Mr. Fisher suggested that the language be changed to state "It shall be unlawful to construct landscaping which substantially changes the drainage pattern within any property, alters the drainage out-letting onto other property, or which is not in compliance with the approved grading plan." Member Capello said he could strongly support this language.
Member Landry asked Ms. Uglow asked if her hypothetical requirement to require a permit for constructing the miniature retaining wall would be covered by the portion of the suggested language, "or which is not in compliance with the approved grading plan." Ms. Uglow said that it probably would. Ms. Uglow said that the City has some substantial drainage problems abutting property owners. Once landscaping is installed, and the City finds a drainage problem affecting an abutting neighbor, it is difficult to tell a property owner to remove $50,000 of landscaping to return to the approved grade. The City does not want residents to occur additional expense, and by educating citizens to the fact that they need to abide by their approved grade, will help neighborhoods. She wants to be fair to both new and established residents.
Mr. Helwig said the entire intent for the origination of this ordinance was to preserve the grade of principle and adjoining properties. By only focusing on the property of a new development, the City is not accomplishing everything that was intended under the original ordinance.
Mayor Clark agreed with Mr. Helwig, and said he could support the language in the form that it was presented in. In the last several years, the City has gone out of its way to deal with certain residential problems, and he doesn’t see the proposed ordinance change as creating any additional problems for homeowners. In fact, by emphasizing the importance of maintaining a grade, and providing this to developers and homeowners, it provides them with a vehicle to contract with landscapers. A number of city residents have had drainage problems from new landscaping, and have needed to pay additional money to have the water removed, and he is one of them. He believes the ordinance is a great idea, and supports it 100%.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said that an approved grading plan is an approved grading plan, and grades can be quantified mathematically. She asked Ms. Uglow to provide a copy of procedure by which these grades are established, which she provided at the last discussion of this issue. As far as she is concerned, the language says exactly what it needs to say. The language as proposed goes right to the point, and resolves a number of drainage problems that the City has.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-05-157 Yeas: Clark, Bononi, Csordas, Landry, Lorenzo, Sanghvi
MAYOR AND COUNCIL ISSUES
Member Capello noted that the Novi Ice Arena is increasing its hourly rates, and it is time to explore residential use of the facility versus non-residential use. At the moment, residents and non-residents pay the same rates. Within the next month, he would like to see a presentation on how residents could receive some compensation or preferential treatment for use of the facility.
Member Capello said he had asked for a "No Left Turn" sign coming out of the western entrance of the library, to avoid a conflict with people turning left out of Glenda’s. Ms. McClain said the request has been forwarded to Birchler-Arroyo, and she has also spoken with Benny McCusker. A study was done a year ago by Birchler-Arroyo, but the City has asked the company to review the study for changes that have since occurred. At that time, however, the company’s study did not recommend installing a "No Left Turn" sign at the site. Member Capello said he is only looking at a temporary sign, to use until traffic is lessened on Ten Mile Road. He is also only particularly concerned with traffic during the time that children are released from school in the afternoon.
Member Capello said he has asked for several explanations of how the City charges for water and sewer. He would like to know how residents were charged both before and after the increase in Detroit, how someone on a well with city sewer is charged, and other circumstances. Mr. Helwig said that the water and sewer rate item was not a separate item in addition to the budget approval tonight. This will be returning as an action item, likely at the next meeting in June, and a policy discussion can be held then on the issue. Member Capello asked if the increased rates would be discussed then. Mr. Helwig said that this must be approved as part of Council’s budget decisions. Member Capello asked for a recommendation on the type of ordinance to accommodate moving homes that are very near Beck Road back off of that road, possibly by allowing internal lot reduction widths to accommodate. Mr. Evancoe said that Member Capello has been waiting for a long time for a response on this issue. He said a letter was sent to the Mayor and Council by the Planning Commission’s Implementation Committee on April 16. In this letter, the Committee highlighted various ordinances that they are currently working on, in response to Council’s recent action at a budget session. Within that list, the Committee highlighted the two items that Member Capello had requested. One was the similar/dissimilar ordinance addressing the backside of houses. This issue has already been discussed by the Implementation Committee at their last meeting, and his interpretation of the minutes is that the Committee appears ready to send this issue to the Planning Commission. The other issue, regarding beautification of major thoroughfares and intersections, is listed as #3 on their list. He would anticipate that this issue will be addressed soon.
CM-03-05-158 Moved by Capello, supported by Landry; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY; To require that the two items requesting Planning Commission Review by Member Capello return to the Council agenda in August.
Member Capello said if the Planning Commission wanted to present a recommendation, they should be allowed, but Council has been waiting for action for 1 ½ years on the issues.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-05-158 Yeas: Landry, Sanghvi, Clark, Bononi, Capello, Csordas
AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION - None
ADJOURNMENT at 12:03 a.m.
Richard J. Clark, Mayor Maryanne Cornelius, City Clerk
Transcribed by: Steve King