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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.
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
ROLL CALL Mayor Clark, Mayor Pro Tem Bononi, Council Members Capello – absent/excused, Csordas, Landry, Lorenzo, Sanghvi
ALSO PRESENT: Rick Helwig – City Manager
Craig Klaver – Chief Operating Officer
Gerald Fisher – City Attorney
Thomas Schultz – City Attorney
Nancy McClain – City Engineer
Dave Evancoe – Planning Director
Benny McCusker – Director of Public Works
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
Mayor Clark asked to have added to Presentations Item #2, "Rotary International Polio Eradication Week."
Member Csordas noted that Mayor and Council Issues Item #3 should have read "CSX Railroad crossings on Nine Mile between Novi Road and Meadowbrook Road…"
Member Sanghvi noted that his name was not listed on the agenda for the night’s meeting.
CM-03-06-181 Moved by Sanghvi, seconded by Bononi; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve the agenda as amended
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-06-181 Yeas: Clark, Bononi, Capello, Csordas, Landry, Lorenzo, Sanghvi
1. Appreciation Plaque – Alan Rothenberg, Historical Commission
Mayor Clark presented Mr. Rothenberg with a plaque for appreciation of his service to the City of Novi’s Historical Commission.
2. Rotary International Polio Eradication Week – June 16-22, 2003
Mayor Clark presented Mr. Joe Carrier with a proclamation recognizing Rotary International’s efforts to eradicate Polio worldwide, and recognized Polio Eradication Week.
* Member Capello arrived at 7:44 p.m.
Mr. Carrier noted that the Novi chapter of Rotary International is "bringing a large act to town." Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Jazz Center Orchestra will perform two shows at Novi High School on Wednesday, June 18 at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. All proceeds from the show are going towards efforts to eradicate Polio. The theme of the program is "Taking a Swing at Polio."
PUBLIC HEARINGS - None
Member Landry said that as the Council liaison to the Music and Motorfest Committee, he was happy to report that things were progressing very well. They are looking forward to a wonderful Music and Motorfest from July 24-July 27. Gary Puckett will be performing live, on stage. This year’s edition will be slightly different from last year’s, as virtually all of this year’s celebration will be conducted on Main Street. There will be a family stage, a main entertainment stage, and an entire family area with plenty of kids’ activities, a lot of them free. The highlight of the celebration, the auto show parade, will be the evening of the 27th.
2. CITY MANAGER
Mr. Helwig said he had two items to share with Council. He noted that Council had received a memorandum from Planning Director Dave Evancoe regarding proposed possible dates for a joint meeting with the Planning Commission, August 4, 6, and 13th. Stated in the memo, as well as a recent meeting that both Mr. Evancoe and Mr. Helwig had with the officers of the Planning Commission, is a preference for Monday evening, August 4th, of the three proposed dates. He asked Council to decide within the near future how it would like Mr. Helwig or Mr. Evancoe to respond. Member Landry said that he would not be available to attend on the August 4th date. Mayor Clark discussed the issue with Council, and asked Mr. Helwig to let member of Planning Commission know that the City Council could meet Wednesday, August 6th at 7:00 p.m.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked if Council would have agenda items for that meeting in advance. Mr. Helwig noted that this was a struggle last November, as many members of Council might recall. He said that in the memorandum, the Planning Commissioners had represented that they would have agenda items, and would appreciate knowing any agenda items that Council members would like listed. Mr. Helwig suggested that in the following 2-3 weeks, Council’s agenda suggestions for that meeting could be submitted to either Mr. Evancoe or himself, who would share them with the officers of the Planning Commission and get a draft agenda to Council well in advance of the meeting. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked for a deadline, and Mr. Helwig said the deadline for submitting suggestions would be July 1st, in order to allow enough time to Planning Commissioners. Mayor Clark suggested ending that meeting at 10 p.m.
Mr. Helwig said his second item was that administration had received notification that day from Senator Cassis’ office of another opportunity to state the community’s case for the importance and commitment of the City underlining the Beck Road/I-96 interchange. This opportunity is billed as the Michigan Department of Transportation Open House to Discuss the Draft 5-Year Road/Bridge Plan. This meeting will be held at the Oakland Transportation Service Center, which is north of the County complex on Dixie Highway. The address is 2300 Dixie Highway, Suite 300, in Waterford, Conference Room A. He also had received a copy of the draft 5-year plan, and regarding the I-96/Beck Road interchange it says much of the background information, then states that "construction will be deferred to a future 5-year plan." Mr. Helwig said it is very discouraging when the City has proceeded so far with the project. He noted that the Novi rest stop is closed as part of the Expo Center’s expansion plans, in cooperation with the Department of Transportation. City voters approved a road bond in November of 2000, which had $6,000,000 dedicated as the local share towards the interchange project. Based upon the then-upcoming March sale date by the state of the contract for this project, the City issued the debt last fall. The City is currently servicing that debt. He noted that he had included photocopies of an Oakland Press article highlighting the road improvement situation in Council’s packets. Mr. Helwig said he had spoken with State Representative DeRoche about the subject, and said that on the past Thursday, the State House of Representatives took the same action that the State Senate had taken previously, seeking to reinstate all 34 deferred projects. On Friday, the Governor’s office had announced that the Governor’s plan is to veto that legislation. City officials were urged to appear at the hearing on Wednesday from 11:30 to 1:30 by Senator Cassis.
3. DEPARTMENTAL - None
Mr. Schultz said that Mr. Fisher had asked him to note briefly that the attorneys had received a draft of the proposed Singh development just west of Meadowbrook Road between 12 and 13 Mile Roads. That agreement draft would be brought forth to Council through administration at the next meeting, or the second meeting in July.
Mayor Clark wished to add an invitation to the audience and to Council that the City would be holding Veterans’ Recognition Day in the Novi Civic Center auditorium, and those veterans of the Cold War who may have served between 1945 and the present time, as well as those who may be actively serving. He said that a number of people have indicated that they plan on attending the event, including many family and friends of sons and daughters that may be currently serving overseas. This is a worthwhile, patriotic activity, and he encouraged those with children to bring them on Sunday. The City’s Veterans’ Recognition Day events will start at 1 p.m. on Sunday, June 22 in the Novi Civic Center auditorium.
Wayne Hogan, 20923 Woodland Glen Dr., wished to speak regarding the upcoming cab renewal licenses for ABC Cab, which was on the agenda for 3 license renewals. Coming up on the 7th of July is the subsidized cab program for seniors and the disabled with Community Cab. Mr. Hogan said that he has had extremely poor relations with that company, which he said has discriminated in the past. He said that ABC Cab has taken care of the Farmington Hills program, and he said the company ran the program well when he lived in that city. Since the City will be licensing 3 cabs for ABC Cab, he did not see the purpose in doing business with another company, especially a company that does business the way Community Cab does. He said that Community Cab drivers are rarely working, and when the are working it is only for a few hours a day. Mr. Hogan said that ABC Cab is a proven company with over 20 cars to take care of Farmington Hills, north Livonia, and the Novi area.
Brian Kosaian, 1523 West Lake Dr., wished to address Council regarding SAD’s 168 and 169. After speaking to Council for the past four years about SAD’s, he said it brought a great deal of pleasure to stand before Council and say "thank you." He thanked the people involved with the project for their prompt, courteous, and attentive ways of finding solutions to problems. He thanked the City for the $60,000 for swirl chambers at the previous Council meeting. He thanked the City for allowing the SAD residents to use less-expensive asphalt curbs instead of concrete. Most importantly, he thanked the City for recognizing that the SAD’s cottage-like neighborhood is unique, and cannot be governed by current ordinances. He noted that later in the evening, Council would be making a decision regarding whether to allow the SAD residents to retain West Lake Drive as a two-way street. He said he had had an opportunity to review both letters from Mr. Fisher and from the Traffic Consultant. He is pleased with their findings, and said he was confident that Council would follow their recommendations to leave West Lake Drive as a two-way street, as it is today. He said that the ballot tabulation that Council requested from the June 2 meeting should demonstrate the strong support for this recommended decision. He asked that Council approve resolution 3 for both SAD’s at the meeting that evening. The preliminary timeline that was produced by the City allowed for a three month period between resolution numbers 3 and 4 for final design. He asked that the City push the engineering firm for the project to complete the project much sooner, in order to take advantage of today’s low construction costs. Mr. Kosaian thanked Council.
Mike Sulla, 1259 West Lake Dr., said he has a concern with the safety issue of people sliding through the intersection, as he lost 3 mailboxes and 2 basketball poles there when it was a dirt road. Parcel paving in the area has caused increased rainfall runoff into the lake. The runoff will continue to increase until there might be a health problem with the lake. He said that he and several other neighbors voted against the SAD’s because they won’t benefit from the substantial costs of the project. In prior meetings, a gentleman in lot 15 of the SAD was allowed to be removed from inclusion within that SAD, and he and some neighbors would like to also be removed, so that only the portion of the road from North Haven south to Ludlow is paved.
Paul Weindorf, 1641 West Lake Dr., said he has not seen the Traffic Engineer report, but said that drivers only slow down on West Lake Drive because of the gravel on that road. He is concerned with the excessive speeding occurring on Ludlow right now will continue to the paved road, causing safety problems.
CONSENT AGENDA (Approval/Removals)
Member Lorenzo requested to remove Items I and M from the Consent Agenda.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi also noted that she wished to pull Item M.
CM-03-06-182 Moved by Landry, seconded by Csordas; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve Items A through H, and Items J through L, of the Consent Agenda
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-06-182 Yeas: Clark, Bononi, Capello, Csordas, Landry, Lorenzo, Sanghvi
CONSENT AGENDA (Background information for Consent Agenda items is available for review at the City Clerk’s Office)
A. Approval of Minutes of June 2, 2003, Regular meeting
B. Approval of Revised Special Assessment District 162 – Pioneer Meadows Sanitary Sewer Extension Revised Resolution Number 6, directing the Clerk to give notice of Public Hearing Number 3, to be held July 7, 2003, on the Assessment Roll.
C. Approval of Revised Special Assessment District 163 – Pioneer Meadow Subdivision Water Main Extension Revised Resolution Number 6, directing the Clerk to give notice of Public Hearing Number 3, to be held July 7, 2003, on the Assessment Roll.
D. Approval of renewal of Taxi Cab Company license with three (3) cabs for ABC Cab Company, 12853 Levan, Livonia, MI 48150.
E. Authorize the Police Department to apply for and accept, if applicable, Target Corporation Law Enforcement Grant.
F. Approval of Ordinance No. 03-28.48, to amend Subsections 34-429, 34-419 and 34-435 of the Novi Code of Ordinances, to revise the requirements for Sanitary Sewer Connection Charges (Amendments to Special Assessment Districts 83, 94 and 97). 2nd Reading
G. Approval of Ordinance No. 03-37.30 to amend Subsections 34-99(a) and 34-111 of the Novi Code of Ordinances, to revise the requirements for Water Main Connection Charges (Amendments to Special Assessment Districts 93 and 98). 2nd Reading
H Approval of Resolution of Authorization for Electronic Transactions.
J. Approval to award bid for demolition of two residential structures at 46481 & 46489 Grand River to W.L. Myers Construction, the low qualified bidder, in the amount of $26,435.
K. Approval to award bid for miscellaneous concrete repairs to Centro Construction, Inc., the low bidder, based on unit pricing.
L. Approval of Resolution to authorize the final Budget Amendment # 2003-7.
MATTERS FOR COUNCIL ACTION – PART I
1. Approval of request from West Lake Drive residents for a variance to maintain two-way traffic in conjunction with Special Assessment District 169-West Lake Drive Road Paving.
CM-03-06-183 Moved by Csordas, seconded by Sanghvi: CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve request from West Lake Drive residents for a variance to maintain two-way traffic in conjunction with Special Assessment District 169-West Lake Drive Road Paving.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked Mr. Schultz about Mr. Fisher’s letter, dated June 4th. The first paragraph of that letter refers to the fact that the residential area served by this portion of West Lake Drive has been improved for many years. She asked to whom Mr. Fisher was referring with regard to the improvements being done. Mr. Schultz said that he believed Mr. Fisher was referring to the existing roadway. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked if Mr. Fisher referred to the road being done by the City. Mr. Shultz answered that he didn’t feel Mr. Fisher’s letter made that distinction. He felt that Mr. Fisher’s opinion was that there is a good argument for highway by user. Mr. Fisher is comfortable with improving existing areas being used for roadways.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said that at the end of Mr. Fisher’s letter, a passage states that retaining the two-way traffic operation "should not create new liability to this City." She asked Mr. Schultz if this was correct. Mr. Schultz answered that this is a question that can only be answered if somebody asserts liability and the court makes a finding. What he believed Mr. Fisher was asked to do was provide an opinion regarding improvement of the roadway, and answer whether the City has a problem under the general rules of government immunity which exempt the City from liability as long as the road is safely designed. He said that the answer the City can provide is that they have to ask somebody with knowledge in the area whether the road was safely designed or not. If so, the City should be exempt from liability under the immunity statute. Council referred that question to Mr. Arroyo, the Traffic Consultant, who gave the opinion that the road was a reasonably safe design. With that overarching explanation, Mr. Fisher’s point is that he does not see an issue of liability outside of the Immunity Act, but one can never be entirely certain until a court delivers a judgment on a claim. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said she understood this, but was looking for a more affirmative language phrase. Mr. Schultz said that he felt Mr. Fisher was very comfortable with Mr. Arroyo’s letter. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said that she was as well.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked if the City has requested property owners to grant additional easement right of ways. Mr. Schultz said that he would need to refer the issue to the City Engineer. Ms. McClain said that the City has not made the request to property owners at this point. Because the garages and driveways are fairly close to the road, acting on the request would require additional Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) variances. If a variance is not granted, the City will have to go that route if Council wishes to do a two-way roadway, or the City will have to maintain a one-way road. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked Mr. Schultz if it is possible that the City can request that a property owner hold the City harmless in the event that their structures or any of their properties are damaged by maintaining a narrower roadway than is the City standard. Mr. Schultz responded that it may be difficult to require this if the City is not securing additional right of ways or easements from those property owners, but the City could certainly approach the property owners and explore the issue. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked Mr. Schultz to do so, considering the proximity of the improvements to the roadway to be improved.
Mayor Clark said that in light of Mr. Arroyo’s analysis, he has no problem with Mr. Fisher’s comments that allowing the road to continue as a two-way street should not create new liability. He said that we live in a litigious society and cannot stop anyone from suing anyone. If there is an accident on the roadway, regardless if the road is approved and meets all the city and state standards in the world, there are some people who will blame the accident on the condition of the road. As far as asking a homeowner in advance to hold the City harmless for something that may happen on his property because of an errant driver, Mayor Clark said he wouldn’t expect property owners to grant such releases. Mayor Clark said that in most cases, damage caused by errant drivers will be covered by the driver’s insurance policy anyways. The majority of residents of the SAD have waited a very long time for this improvement, and he does not want to cause any further delays with the project. He said he whole-heartedly supports the project, and would like to see it moved forward as expeditiously as possible.
Member Csordas said that he made the motion for a number of reasons. The highway by user provision has been clarified by the City Attorneys. He recently drove to the area, and said the area is a bumpy dustbowl. The traffic volume is low at the site, since it is a very limited access area. He believes that with the paved road, the area will be less dangerous. He is very comfortable with the City Attorney’s comments that the City will not create any more liability for itself by granting the waiver to allow narrower pavement. This is a very unique area for the City, and there is no room to conform to standard road improvements down there. He agreed that the project is long overdue, and is glad to see the City moving forward on the issue.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-06-183 Yeas: Bononi, Capello, Csordas, Landry, Lorenzo, Sanghvi, Clark
2. Approval of Resolution Number 3 - Special Assessment District 168 – West Lake Drive
Water Main Extension.
CM-03-06-184 Moved by Bononi, seconded by Lorenzo; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve Resolution Number 3 - Special Assessment District 168 – West Lake Drive Water Main Extension
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-06-184 Yeas: Capello, Csordas, Landry, Lorenzo, Sanghvi, Clark, Bononi
3. Approval of Resolution Number 3 - Special Assessment District 169 – West Lake Drive
CM-03-06-185 Moved by Landry, seconded by Sanghvi; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve Resolution Number 3 - Special Assessment District 169 – West Lake Drive Road Paving.
Member Lorenzo said that on Items 2 and 3, Council has discussed combining these through the City Attorney’s recommendation. She asked administration why the items have continued to be presented to Council separately. Mayor Clark said that the combining of the issues had been discussed for the purpose of public hearings, but these would still have to be voted on separately. Mr. Helwig asked Member Lorenzo if she was discussing combining two steps, numbers 3 and 4, which Member Lorenzo said was correct, per the attorney’s recommendations. Mr. Helwig said that the final meeting would be held on the item on Wednesday to discuss recommendations and options which would be coming forward at the next Council meeting for the revision of the SAD process. It was administration’s intent to get Council’s final direction on how it would like the SAD process to be amended, and everything would proceed according to this. Member Lorenzo said she was disappointed that there was so much "red tape" involved in the process and that the administrative review is not in sync with what is coming forward, but she looks forward to seeing that soon.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-06-185 Yeas: Csordas, Landry, Lorenzo, Sanghvi, Clark, Bononi, Capello
4. Approval to award the contract for the I-96 (west of Novi Road) Sanitary Sewer
replacement and Pumping Station Project to Sunset Excavating, Inc., the low bidder, in the amount of $290,227.50.
CM-03-06-186 Moved by Csordas, seconded by Capello; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To award award the contract for the I-96 (west of Novi Road) Sanitary Sewer replacement and Pumping Station Project to Sunset Excavating, Inc., the low bidder, in the amount of $290,227.50
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-06-186 Yeas: Landry, Lorenzo, Sanghvi, Clark, Bononi, Capello, Csordas
Award of Professional Services Study to Birchler-Arroyo for a not-to-exceed amount of $19,000 for Thoroughfare Plan Update to the Master Plan (also an element of the Growth Management Plan).
CM-03-06-187 Moved by Sanghvi, seconded by Lorenzo; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To award Professional Services Study to Birchler-Arroyo for a not-to-exceed amount of $19,000 for Thoroughfare Plan Update to the Master Plan (also an element of the Growth Management Plan).
Member Landry asked administration if all three bidders bid the exact dollar amount, meaning that this was not a low bidder situation. Mr. Helwig answered that he knew that the two that were so closely ranked bid a difference of $1. Each proposed the amount that had been set aside for the first four studies. Member Landry asked if this proposal was based on the consensus of the committee as to who they believe is best suited, given the history and understanding of the community, to do this particular job. Mr. Helwig said that, given the committee’s analysis, this is where the committee landed. There is unique knowledge still pertaining to thoroughfares that a firm might not have if it had not worked in the community in the past. Since the amounts were the same and were so closely related, the history was the "tipping ingredient" for the recommendation before Council.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked if there would be sufficient funds remaining from the $42,000 originally set aside for the master plan following the use of $19,000 of these for the funding of this traffic study, to fund the remaining studies of the master plan. Mr. Helwig said that the City is on budget and has every reason to believe that it will not exceed budget. The remainder will be made up with in-house resources.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said she had concerns with the rating points that are substantially different between the group that was recommended by staff to win this bid, as opposed to the next nearest bidder. She also has concerns about the familiarity with the community being important, as she feels this is correct but not exclusive to being able to get the job done right. Her largest concern is looking at the qualifications of the persons at the next-rated firm, and the number of persons that they have at their disposal with regard to the specific engineering qualifications. Mr. Helwig said that as he had said previously, Parsons is an outstanding firm. This was brought to Council on a close call by staff who participated. This is by no means "scientific." Mr. Evancoe said that the ratings that were provided to Council were done prior to the interviews that were conducted with the two firms, and that was based solely on the written proposals that were submitted. Once the interviews were conducted, administration was able to get a better handle on what the respective firms were able to offer to the City. It became the clear consensus at that point that Birchler-Arroyo would be the preferred firm. The reasoning was not so much that Birchler-Arroyo had the local experience, but the lack of local experience by the other firm was troubling. This became apparent during interviews with that firm, as they did not seem to understand many local issues and problems that need to be addressed. Parsons is a well known, nationally-acclaimed firm, and this decision is not specifically about the firm. For the local situation, administration found it obvious that Birchler-Arroyo had a better understanding of what the City was looking for. Also, the Parsons firm repeatedly referred to their regional approach, the tran-plan model that the firm utilizes from SEMCOG. Mr. Evancoe said he has experience with regional planning and is aware of the tran-plan model, which is a good program to use for regional transportation planning, but does not have great local use when determining intersection and roadway use decisions at a local level. Administration felt there was too much emphasis on the regional approach, and not enough understanding and intent to apply this at a local scale.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said she understood and appreciated the explanation, but she was concerned with the manner in which the scope of services was described, and whether or not the City is really going to focus on local concerns and quality of life issues with regard to existing short term and long term traffic projections. The scope of services is very broad and in both cases takes on a regional approach. She said she would hope that from the standpoint of the meetings that are proposed to be held for presentation purposes, that unless Council decides to not approach or disapprove the master plan, one of those sessions be made to Council and the Planning Commission together. Mr. Evancoe said that this would not be a problem and could be done.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-06-187 Yeas: Lorenzo, Sanghvi, Clark, Bononi, Capello, Csordas, Landry
AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION - None
MATTERS FOR COUNCIL ACTION – PART II
Appointments to Commissions.
Mayor Clark noted that Council was to vote on appointments to the Planning Commission, and the Parks, Recreation, and Forestry Commission. He asked Council to mark ballots for the Parks, Recreation, and Forestry Commission with both the person that they were voting for, as well as the term for the appointment, and to submit these to the City Clerk for tabulation.
Following the submission of all ballots, Mayor Clark said that with reference to the Planning Commission and the Library, one of the duties and responsibilities of the Mayor is to bring a name forward, then to have that name voted on by Council. He noted that there were 3 appointments to make for the Planning Commission.
CM-03-06-188 Moved by Bononi, seconded by Lorenzo; MOTION CARRIED: To approve the Mayor’s nomination of Antonia Nagy for the Planning Commission
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-06-188 Yeas: Sanghvi, Clark, Bononi, Csordas, Landry, Lorenzo
CM-03-06-189 Moved by Bononi, seconded by Capello; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve the Mayor’s nomination of Lynn Paul for the Planning Commission
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-06-189 Yeas: Clark, Bononi, Capello, Csordas, Landry, Lorenzo, Sanghvi
CM-03-06-190 Moved by Landry, seconded by Capello; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve the Mayor’s nomination of Lynn Kocan for the Planning Commission
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-06-190 Yeas: Bononi, Capello, Csordas, Landry, Lorenzo, Sanghvi, Clark
Appointments to the Walled Lake Ad Hoc Committee.
Mayor Clark noted that four citizens had stepped forward to request appointment to the Committee: Chris House, Lori Marshick, Paul Olsen, and Asa Smith. Mayor Clark noted that Dr. Sanghvi had indicated a willingness to serve, and Director of Public Works Benny McCusker had volunteered to serve as staff liaison. The Committee would be an ad hoc committee to work with a similar committee formed by the community of Walled Lake to deal with joint issues concerning Walled Lake, and the committee will sunset in 6 months.
Member Landry said he thought the Committee was an excellent idea. If he understood the information correctly, Walled Lake chose to have 3 members on their committee, with 2 citizens and 1 representative from the City of Walled Lake. He asked Council if it had any desire to equally limit the size of the Novi’s committee, or if Council should appoint all four members, as well as Member Sanghvi acting as the fifth member. Member Sanghvi said that he believed "the more, the merrier" applies to these situations.
CM-03-06-191 Moved by Landry, seconded by Capello; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To appoint all four candidates to Novi’s Walled Lake Ad Hoc Committee
Mr. Helwig said that the minutes that were attached from Walled Lake stated that that city had appointed four residents and a city council member to their committee as well, and he asked if this was still correct. Member Sanghvi and Member Landry pointed out that five candidates were originally considered for that city’s committee, but only three were eventually chosen. Member Landry said that he did not feel that Novi was limited to appointing only three persons to the City’s committee. Mayor Clark noted that Walled Lake also has its Director of Public Works serving as a staff liaison to that community’s committee.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-06-191 Yeas: Capello, Csordas, Landry, Lorenzo, Sanghvi, Clark, Bononi
Approval of Storm Drainage Facility Maintenance Agreement with Ridgeview Centre, LLC , southeast corner of Thirteen Mile Road and Cabot Drive, for the perpetual maintenance of storm drainage facilities located on their development.
CM-03-06-192 Moved by Bononi, seconded by Lorenzo; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve Storm Drainage Facility Maintenance Agreement with Ridgeview Centre, LLC , southeast corner of Thirteen Mile Road and Cabot Drive, for the perpetual maintenance of storm drainage facilities located on their development
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-06-192 Yeas: Csordas, Landry, Lorenzo, Sanghvi, Clark, Bononi, Capello
Consideration of request from Henderson Glass located at 24300 Novi Road, to be granted a waiver from the new Storm Water Ordinance requirements.
Member Landry asked Ms. McClain what the difference is to Henderson Glass to be required to abide by the new Storm Water Ordinance requirements. Ms. McClain said part of the difference is that the company would be required to meet the ordinance requirements for the entire site, for a 100-year storm, which the company previously did not have to do. The company was previously able to discharge into two different regional basins because the site splits over two drainage districts. The company would not have had to put in sedimentation basins under the old requirements. Henderson Glass is still intending on installing a sedimentation basin, but would like to use a structure instead of a basin, and the company does not want to detain on-site for the 100-year storm. Member Landry said that the company currently does not retain on-site, which Ms. McClain said was correct. Member Landry asked if the company currently has a sedimentation basin, which Ms. McClain said they do not. Member Landry asked if the company is planning to install one. Ms. McClain responded that they are planning to put in a sedimentation structure, both in the front and the back of the site, which drains in two different directions.
Member Landry said he understood that the company wished to build a warehouse on the site, which Ms. McClain said was correct. Member Landry asked if it would be acceptable for the company to continue to allow storm water runoff to sheet flow off the premises. Ms. McClain said this was correct, because the company would be making no changes to the property. Member Landry said that in light of the fact that Henderson Glass was planning to install sedimentation structures, he would approve of the matter.
CM-03-06-193 Moved by Landry, seconded by Csordas; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve request from Henderson Glass located at 24300 Novi Road, to be granted a waiver from the new Storm Water Ordinance requirements, conditioned on the following: that the calculations and any and all information that City Engineer McClain needs be presented to her for her approval at her satisfaction; that any and all fees that are owed will be the responsibility of the applicant; that the provision of the structures and the maintenance of the same will be the responsibilities of the applicant
Member Csordas said he whole-heartedly agreed with the motion. He said it might be a moot point, but asked Council what opportunity there would be for the company to approach the City with legal action should Council not approve the motion, as the company already met the City’s requirements under one set of rules, went through the whole process, and now must face a new set of rules "at the end of the game." Mr. Schultz said it was his understanding that the company did not "get the shovel in the ground" before the ordinance changed, so administration’s position would be that the company is not "grandfathered", and the ordinance as amended would apply. There is a variance procedure in the storm water ordinance that he does not believe the company fits into. Thus, company’s relief is through Council, or else the ordinance will apply. Member Csordas said that the common sense approach to this item would be what Member Landry moved, rather than risk any sort of litigation or waste of time. Member Csordas reiterated that he supported the motion.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said she was not concerned with pending legal action with an item like this, and does not like to infer that Council should always be looking at impending legal action for as plain a situation as this one. She said it needs to be made clear that the company allowed its permit to expire. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked Ms. McClain to describe what she, or the applicant, meant by "sedimentation structure." Ms. McClain said there are several different types of sedimentation structures, including swirl concentrators, which have been discussed in relation to South Lake and West Lake Drives. Some sedimentation structures take into account a filter system, and some simply use baffles. Depending on what is trying to be cleaned from the water, different structures can be used. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked if the particular set of structures for the Henderson Glass property would also have gas and oil separation features. Ms. McClain said that the structures would need those features. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said this was the answer she was looking for, as the construction would add an additional 7,000 square feet of impervious surface on the site, much of it for parking. She asked Ms. McClain if there would be capacity problems in the structures because of overland flow. Ms. McClain responded that there would not, and said that the company is still in the approval process for that structure, pending that variance. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked if the applicant had ever paid fees for their use of the regional detention system. Ms. McClain said she did not believe so, but could check. The Mayor Pro Tem asked if the company would be paying for use of the regional detention basins in the future. Ms. McClain said that if the company had not paid for the regional system usage, they would be paying those fees before receiving approval to build. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked if the structures would be maintained by the applicant, or if they would be maintained by the City. Ms. McClain answered that the structures are the applicant’s system, on the applicant’s property. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi thanked Ms. McClain.
Member Capello asked Ms. McClain to explain when a property can and cannot tie into the regional detention system under the new ordinance. Ms. McClain said that if a basin exists, the property lies in the service area for that basin, and charges were set up to allow that basin to be tapped into, the property can tie in by paying the fees, or it can provide the 100-year on-site storage. She said that some property owners have opted not to use the regional detention basin system, deciding it was preferable for them to incorporate the 100-year on-site storage, while some others have decided to pay for use of the regional system. In this case, the property owners wish to use the regional basin system.
Member Capello asked that if the applicant wants to use the regional basin detention system and is allowed to, why the issue was being discussed by Council. Ms. McClain answered that half of the site’s storm water runoff flows into a wetland along Ten Mile Road, which does not have storm fees but is instead existing flow. Under the Storm Water Ordinance, the company would have to take that flow and detain it 100% on-site, not allowing the water to runoff as it currently exists. Member Capello asked if the entity that designed the piece of property designed it so only half of the property properly drained. Ms. McClain said the drainage was based on "the lay of the land." Member Capello thanked Ms. McClain.
Member Lorenzo noted that one of the regional detention basins is a wetland. She asked who designated the site as a regional basin. Ms. McClain answered that the site is designated as a regional basin in the City’s storm water master plan. Member Lorenzo asked how long the site has been designated as such, which Ms. McClain said was since 1985. Member Lorenzo asked if any Best Management Practices are proposed or currently exist in the proposal. Ms. McClain said the company currently does not have any Best Management Practices, as the water sheet flows into a ditch. Member Lorenzo asked for a description of the ditch. Ms. McClain said the ditch does have some vegetation, as it is the ditch along Novi Road. The ditch stretches about 885 feet until it reaches the wetland. The company will be adding Best Management Practices by adding a sedimentation, oil and gas separator, but still out letting into that ditch. Member Lorenzo asked Ms. McClain to identify the second regional basin. Ms. McClain said the second regional basin is the low-lying area to the east of the railroad tracks, north of Ten Mile Road. That continues to flow down to the Rouge River and through Meadowbrook Lake. The property will now also have an oil-gas separation, sedimentation chamber. Currently, overland flow makes its way to a catch basin. Since the site is not paved, there is not a large volume of flow at this point. Member Lorenzo asked if that water would be traveling through the sedimentation chamber. Ms. McClain said the water would flow through the sedimentation chamber, and then would outlet into a culvert system which is approximately 1900 feet long. There is a small portion of ditch in the culvert system before it reaches the area of the railroad tracks where it meets with the Rouge and continues downstream.
Member Lorenzo asked if she was correct that Ms. McClain said she was not finished with the analyses of downstream capacity. Ms. McClain said that the capacity on the wetland on the west side of Novi Road will continue taking the same water that it has been, so there will be no change to that wetland’s capacity. This project was originally reviewed by JCK, and administration has gone over their calculations which show that there is capacity on the east side for the amount of storm water that will be coming down through there. Member Lorenzo thanked Ms. McClain.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked for a friendly amendment to the motion that the waiver be granted from the new Storm Water Ordinance requirements conditioned on the following: that the calculations and any and all information that City Engineer McClain needs be presented to her for her approval at her satisfaction; that any and all fees that are owed will be the responsibility of the applicant; that the provision of the structures and the maintenance of the same will be the responsibilities of the applicant. Member Landry said he would agree to this friendly amendment, as did also Member Csordas.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked who the developer at Brookhaven is. Ms. McClain said that Mike Fellows is the developer. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said that observing the original sedimentation control structures, "Somebody is doing a good job."
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-06-193 Yeas: Landry, Lorenzo, Sanghvi, Clark, Bononi, Capello, Csordas
Consideration of filling the weigh master position with a sworn Police Officer.
CM-03-06-194 Moved by Landry, seconded by Csordas; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To fill the weigh master position with a sworn Police Officer
Member Lorenzo asked if a new police officer would be hired for the position, as opposed to a weigh master. Mr. Helwig said that the proposal would be to fill the vacant position because Mr. Swope had resigned. Member Lorenzo said she understood, but wanted to know if the City would be hiring somebody new, or taking somebody on patrol to fill the position. Mr. Helwig said the recommendation is to hire a new person to fill this position, already authorized in the table of organization. Member Lorenzo thanked Mr. Helwig.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-06-194 Yeas: Lorenzo, Sanghvi, Clark, Bononi, Capello, Csordas, Landry
Consideration of proposal received from URS Michigan relative to the investigation of the Westmont Village roads (Phase I not to exceed $15,000).
CM-03-06-195 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Sanghvi; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve proposal received from URS Michigan relative to the investigation of the Westmont Village roads (Phase I not to exceed $15,000).
Member Landry asked Mr. Helwig if the proposal is for Phase I, which Mr. Helwig said was correct. Member Landry asked if administration had a budget for this, or if there was an anticipation of what the entire project would cost. He said there is not a designated, approved budget for this item. This is a City Council goal with immediacy to it, and he said the City Attorney’s office could speak about any additional costs beyond this. Member Landry said he understood this, and recalled discussing this as a priority item at those special sessions. Mr. Schultz said that he had not had a great chance to review the item, but noted that there was a comment that administration is waiting for the proposed budget for Phase II just for the engineering review. He noted that that proposed budget was just under $22,000.
Member Capello said that looking at what is being done under Phase I for $15,000, then looking at Phase II, he did not see the sense in spending the money for the Phase I investigation simply to have records and drawings reviewed. He said he would like to see the firm proceed directly with the Phase II portion as well, in order to find out what the problem is, and get the road problems fixed. He asked Mr. Helwig how much the Phase II proposal was for. Mr. Helwig said that what Mr. Schultz had just mentioned was $22,000. He said he needed to defer to the City Attorney’s office because the proposal is being done with the notion of legal defensibility for whatever action Council determines. Mr. Helwig said he did not want to speak for how they were going about this to ensure proper documentation and defense for whatever position City Council takes in the end toward resolving this issue. Mr. Helwig said that as he indicated earlier, the final cost is in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Member Capello said he understood this, but said the paperwork can be reviewed later, unless Mr. Schultz says it cannot. He would like to spend the money now to fix the roads, because that is what is needed. Member Capello asked if anything would be lost by skipping the Phase I before looking at what the road problems are and fixing them. Mr. Schultz answered that as with any case, there are timing issues. He said that if the City initiates some kind of an action for recovery of these funds, more time lost would not be in the City’s best interest. The idea of having an independent review, even though it may seem redundant, is to have an independent trail to follow as part of the City’s litigation. From administration’s position, the sooner this is done, the better. His office did push to have the issue addressed as to Phase II, how the problem will be fixed. This has now been received, and is on track as well. Member Capello said he understood this, but it seemed that the Phase II would really tell what the problem is, and would point the direction where the City should be looking to point the finger. He would like to first take a physical look at the road, learn what the problem is with that road, and then conduct the Phase I paperwork process.
Member Landry said he could appreciate Member Capello’s viewpoint from an action standpoint. His understanding, though, is that the City is trying to immediately find out who’s fault the problem is, because depending on this, the City may not have to spend the money on Phase II, by approaching the party at fault to cover the costs of that phase. There is a very short timeline, as the report is due by July 9. He did not see any significant delay, and would rather spend the money for Phase I, and perhaps end spending less money on the latter phases. Member Landry said he would support the motion.
Mayor Clark said that while he appreciated the concerns of Member Capello, he agreed with Member Landry that the City wants to be sure who may be responsible, as it could save the City money for Phase II. Phase I may show that the City is at fault, and will be fixing the road anyways. He said that the City might as well know this up front, and supported the motion.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-06-195 Yeas: Sanghvi, Clark, Bononi, Capello, Csordas, Landry, Lorenzo
Approval of woodlands permit and land improvement permit for Sandstone property.
CM-03-06-196 Moved by Lorenzo; MOTION FAILED FOR LACK OF A SECOND: To approve woodlands permit and land improvement permit for Sandstone property, subject to the conditions of the consultants and staff, and subject to the payment of the soil erosion and sedimentation permit fee.
CM-03-06-197 Moved by Landry, seconded by Csordas; MOTION CARRIED: To approve woodlands permit and land improvement permit for Sandstone property, subject to all conditions set forth by the consultants.
Member Lorenzo said that according to Mr. Fisher, the fee was in question. She read Mr. Fisher’s comments from a letter: "Specifically, in the application for a Soil Erosion and Sedimentation Control permit, Sandstone specified that the fees required in conjunction with the application were waived under the Agreement with the City. A review of the Agreement reflects that the question of a fee waiver for this type of permit is not clear, and requires interpretation." She said that on the second page of the letter, she noted that Mr. Fisher indicated in references that "Under the Agreement and Consent Judgment, with regard to developing the ‘Property’ (including all land on and north 12 Mile Road conveyed to Sandstone as part of the settlement) and the remaining parts of the PUD at 13 Mile Road and Novi Road, the following rules apply: A: All building permit fees in amounts generally applicable must be paid. B: All utility fees must be paid (although there is a certain reimbursement provision for sewer and water tap fees for the remaining PUD property). C: No fees are to be paid or collected with regard to site plan, plat, condo or like review with regard to improvements."
Member Lorenzo said that the way she interpreted Mr. Fisher’s remarks, Item C refers to reviews. She said that if there is a review from Mr. Croy regarding the soil erosion and sedimentation control master plan, the City would not be paid for the review. However, in terms of the permit, the permit is not a review – it is a permit fee. She noted that Item A states that all permits shall be paid. She said she did not see anything to discuss. Mr. Schultz said that Mr. Fisher indicated that Sandstone read the term "building fee" very narrowly, not to include soil erosion, but literally to relate to actual improvements as opposed to the masquerading being discussed. Member Lorenzo asked where a soil erosion and sedimentation permit fell under. Mr. Schultz said that Mr. Fisher’s point was that Council needed to make an interpretation where it believes the fees and reviews fall, and Sandstone’s position is that it falls in between the written words. He said that Council needed to determine the answer to that question at the evening’s meeting.
Member Capello said he did not know if he understood the motion properly. He asked if Council is required to grant the waiver within the motion, and if so, asked if the motion granted a waiver of the fee. Member Landry said he anticipated waiving the fee, which the motion included.
Mayor Clark said that the City is reaching the end of this nightmare, and he cannot see the City getting into another legal dispute with Sandstone over the $14,700 fee when it just went through the ordeal of a $70 million lawsuit. Even if it did, the City would end up paying more than $14,700 by the end of the litigation, regardless of the result. He compared the situation to a dog chasing its tail, and said it was time to put the issue to bed. The great majority of community residents have said to put an end to the issue, and make sure that it does not happen again. He said that when the issue is finished, whether Sandstone or somebody else develops the property, there will be more than $1,000,000 in tax revenue coming back to the City. He advised ending the issue so that no more time is spent deliberating with Sandstone, and said he would support the motion.
Member Capello said that he felt that the soil erosion permit fee falls under the building permit fee, but said he also agrees with the Mayor that for $14,000, the City should rid itself of the Sandstone issue.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said she did not know anyone "who could spend more than 15 minutes in city government and not know that a soil erosion permit fee falls under a building permit fee." She said she had concerns about rationalizing that ends justify the means, because they don’t. This comes at a string of such circumstances, which does not mean that the people representing the City’s interests are not doing the best that they can. She said that $14,000 of the taxpayers’ money is not an ok thing, and does not justify what is being asked. She said she would not support the motion.
Mayor Clark said that he has been in government for more than 15 minutes, and must be old-fashioned. He said "dirt is dirt, and a building is a building."
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-06-197 Yeas: Clark, Capello, Csordas, Landry, Sanghvi
Nays: Bononi, Lorenzo
Approval of proposal from the Michigan Municipal League Liability and Property Pool for property and liability insurance, with an annual premium of $664,397.00.
Member Landry noted that he does legal work for Midwest Claims Service, which is the claims arm of one of the bid proposals, and he asked to be recused as to avoid the appearance of impropriety.
CM-03-06-198 Moved by Sanghvi, seconded by Lorenzo; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To recuse Member Landry of Council participation regarding item 13.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-06-198 Yeas: Clark, Bononi, Capello, Csordas, Lorenzo, Sanghvi
Bob Bucko of the Municipal Insurance Alliance, noted that the Alliance has been asked for the past two years to provide an insurance proposal for the City. This year, the Alliance met all the requirements of the City, including a last-minute addition of the Ice Arena. In addition to the proposal, it was expressed to the Alliance that zoning issues are a particular concern of the City Council. The Municipal Insurance Alliance is one of the few insurance programs that extend the coverage for temporary takings within the zoning coverage. The Alliance’s annual premium to the City of Novi is $487, 399. This is roughly a savings of $214, 742 over the City’s current coverage. The program provides a $10,000,000 limit of coverage, which the City currently has at this time. The Alliance also provided a similar proposal last year which would have saved the City another $140,000. This proposal was presented to Council the day before the insurance was due, and was not passed. This year the savings from the proposal are $214,742.
Mayor Clark said it was his understanding that the Alliance’s proposal included coverage of the Ice Arena at no additional charge to the City, which Mr. Bucko said was correct. Mayor asked if the coverage includes sewer claims, which Mr. Bucko also said was correct. The Mayor asked if the policy would provide for a limit of $20,000 on each claim. Mr. Bucko said the policy would cover $20,000 for each occurrence, with a $50,000 total policy aggregate. What is most important is that the Alliance provides the defense costs, because the new legislation is written so that the plaintiff must prove that the City was negligent. With the policy, the Alliance would defend the City in this regard. Mayor Clark noted that Mr. Bucko said the Alliance would provide coverage for temporary takings. Mr. Bucko said this was correct.
Member Csordas commented that there was no information included in his Council packet regarding this item. Member Csordas asked Mr. Klaver how many other bids were submitted for the insurance proposal. Mr. Klaver answered that only two bids were submitted. Administration was dealing with a third broker who was not able to respond. Member Csordas said he understood that the third broker was not able to respond by the time frame allowed, but said that broker had called and implied that there could be a $100,000 savings possible. Member Csordas noted that Mr. Bucko had mentioned several other items. He asked Mr. Bucko if the Ice Arena coverage is not included in the current policy held by the City, which Mr. Bucko said was correct. Mr. Bucko said the total outlay for the year was $702,141, and the Municipal Insurance Alliance’s outlay would only be $487,399. Member Csordas asked if this would provide more coverage than the current policy, and Mr. Bucko said the Alliance’s policy would provide more coverage because it also covers sewer and zoning. Member Csordas asked Mr. Bucko if he was providing a factual statement that Municipal Insurance Alliance was proposing to provide more coverage for a lesser premium. Mr. Bucko responded that he believed this was correct. Member Csordas asked what type of entity or agency the Alliance was. Mr. Bucko said that the Alliance is the program for marketing purposes, underwritten by the Arch Insurance Company, an A rated insurance company. The company has two programs within the State of Michigan, one being the Michigan Township Participating Plan for small to medium sized public entities, and the other being the Alliance for larger public entities. In Michigan alone, the company provides risk management services to roughly 1500 public entities. Member Csordas asked which rating firms Mr. Bucko referred to when he said that Arch Insurance is an A rated company. Mr. Bucko said the rating was from AM Best, an independent firm that rates insurance companies. Member Csordas asked if there were other firms that rated the company. Mr. Bucko said that Standard & Poor also rated the company with an A. Member Csordas asked for three other communities that are represented by Arch Insurance. Mr. Bucko said that Gross Pointe Woods, Gross Pointe Park, and the Cities of Flat Rock and Sterling Heights are all represented by the company.
Member Csordas said he did not completely understand the process involved, but did not want to be rigid with timelines. He said that the City "is not up against the gun" with its insurance policy, because the City can request a continuation of coverage for a month of so, which would cost just another month’s premium until the City is ready to comfortably settle on a policy. He said that he is not comfortable accepting the policy at this point, as he would like to see the other bids as well. He noted that a $214,000 savings is significant to the City for anything that it does. He moved that Council postpone this item and instead instruct administration to apply for a one-month continuation of the City’s current P & C coverage in order to further review all submitted bids, in order to compare line items, coverage, and premiums. With the 30 day continuation of coverage, the other two proposals would have to come back to Council, probably at the next meeting.
Mayor Clark said he understood Member Csordas’ request for a one-month continuation of the current coverage, but said his only concern would be that the City could find itself in a position that the proposed policy would not still be available after that one month period. He said he would support Member Csordas’ motion if the proposed meeting would take place in one week as a special meeting to discuss only the one item of this insurance policy coverage. Mayor Clark said Council should be willing to meet in one week regarding this issue, especially if it could save the City a quarter of a million dollars. Member Csordas said he would definitely be willing to meet in order to save the City this money. He said he would make a motion in alliance with the Mayor’s comments. He noted that the Michigan Pool did not submit the proposal until the City had "whipped them to death" on the issue. Mayor Clark said he understood, which is why he said that the City may request another month’s extension, but the Pool may not provide the proposal in another month.
CM-03-06-199 Moved by Csordas, seconded by Capello; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To postpone Item #13 for discussion at a special meeting on June 24, 2003, to consider the three insurance provider coverage quotes.
Member Csordas said he is only concerned with schedules of benefits, and premiums. He does not believe that Council needs to rush to judgment, especially when the City has the opportunity to save hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Member Capello said he would be arriving in Detroit late in the evening on the 23rd and would not be available to meet on that evening. Member Capello noted that Council needed to ensure that 5 people could meet on the proposed date, as neither Member Landry nor he could meet at that time.
Mayor Clark asked if there was consensus among Council to meet at the proposed date. Member Lorenzo responded that she was not yet ready to support the motion. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said that wished to ask some questions before supporting the motion.
Member Csordas noted that Member Capello could be in attendance the night after the proposed date, and asked if this would fall beyond the deadline. Mayor Clark said the deadline for the policy was the 30th, and asked Mr. Bucko if this was correct, which Mr. Bucko said was true. Member Csordas asked if meeting on the 24th would be alright for the other members. Member Sanghvi said he would be in favor of tabling the item, and noted that he also had not received the packet information regarding that item. He said he would like to know more about the issue before voting on it.
Member Lorenzo said that while the savings from the proposed policy were significant, she had concerns regarding discrepancies in what administration had informed Council about the proposals. She said that the money for the premium is obviously important and substantial, but the firm that handles the City’s insurance also needs to be reliable and timely, or else procedural consequences could result. She noted that Mr. Klaver had indicated that he let insurance companies know that the deadline for submitting proposals was June 9, but Mr. Bucko was told by Mr. Klaver on June 3rd that the deadline was in one week, and submitted his proposal on June 10th at 3 p.m. She said her concern is where the discrepancy lies.
Member Lorenzo asked Mr. Klaver how each of the insurance firms was contacted. Mr. Klaver responded that the brokers were contacted via phone call. Member Lorenzo said this was "error in judgment number one," as something should always be delivered in writing. She asked Mr. Klaver if he had a response to Mr. Bucko’s claim. Mr. Klaver asked to make two points of clarification. His first point was that Michael Updyke of Secrest, Wardle issued a report, and was present at the meeting to answer any specific coverage questions. Mr. Klaver apologized that some people did not receive the packet material regarding this item. His second point was that administration compared numbers between the proposal it received from the Alliance and the proposal it received from the Pool. This year’s proposal from the Pool includes coverage for the Ice Arena. Last year, the City received a specialty quote which turned out to be lower. This was the difference between the numbers of the $146,000 that administration had calculated, and the $214,000 that Mr. Bucko was discussing. He said that administration’s difference was explained by the method of calculating the savings: Mr. Bucko’s savings were calculated by comparing his company’s current year proposal against the City’s present coverage plan, whereas administration calculated the savings by comparing the League’s proposal against the Alliance’s proposal. He said that additionally, there was a separate claims agreement that should have been in the packet that has a claims fee of $10,000, which administration also factored in. Between the Ice Arena and the claims fees for processing up to 15 claims, administration believes the difference is $146,998. Mr. Klaver said that administration had originally tried to get this in much earlier, and the firms were not able to deliver it. Beginning last year when it was such a disastrous process, administration immediately began discussions on the issue and tried to get the schedule moved up so that this item could have been discussed at an even earlier meeting. Part of the problem has been scrambling to provide information to Council. Mr. Klaver said that administration’s recommendation is not a reflection upon Mr. Bucko’s firm, or the underwriters, but is based on familiarity. Administration feels that after 8 years with the League, it knows the company’s program, personnel, and service. He had spoken with one of the cities that Mr. Bucko had mentioned that his company represents, Sterling Heights, and as that city has been represented by the company only since last September, the gentleman Mr. Klaver spoke with said that he had not had enough time with the program to develop a true recommendation for it. Mr. Klaver said this was administration’s dilemma, a lack of enough information to feel comfortable. He noted that this is a very important issue, and he is very aware in the differences in the amounts of money for the policies.
Member Lorenzo said she appreciated the explanation, but said the question still remained of whether Mr. Klaver spoke with Mr. Bucko on June 3rd and provided him with one week to submit the bid. Mr. Klaver said that June 3rd may have been the date of the phone call. He said he explained to all of the three contacts about the City’s process of setting the agenda on the Monday, a week ahead of Council meetings. He even mentioned that they meet Tuesday mornings to review the agendas with the leadership group, and said that proposals needed to be submitted by Monday. Member Lorenzo asked Mr. Klaver if he provided one week for the proposals, or if he set the deadline as Monday. Mr. Klaver said he specifically said the 9th. Administration was on the same schedule that it was trying to hit two weeks earlier for the prior meeting. He suggested that there might have been a misunderstanding, but said he did not want to put words in anyone’s mouth. Member Lorenzo said the question was important because of the issue of timeliness was important, as deadlines are important. She said that this is one of only two concerns about this firm.
Member Lorenzo said her second concern is the addition of the Ice Arena to the policy "after the fact." She asked Mr. Bucko if he could explain. Mr. Bucko responded that his company was given information that the Michigan Municipal League was currently providing. The company was told to bid on that information, plus the new fire hall, the police training facility, and a few structures at the new parks. He said that the company complied with all requirements and instructions received. When the company submitted the proposal, Kathy Smith-Roy also asked if the Alliance could also extend coverage to the Ice Arena. Within 72 hours, including the weekend, the Alliance came up with a proposal for the arena, and this was included in the proposal. The Arena was never asked to be put into the company’s original proposal.
Member Lorenzo said she was not as concerned about history or comfort, but rather about coverage, premium, timeliness, and reliability. She said she would be willing to accept Mr. Bucko’s firm’s bid and try out the company for a year, provided that it provides identifiable coverage, additional takings coverage, a lower premium, and an explanation that justifies the appearance of a time lag. She said the City seems to select property liability insurance as an annual ritual, and will obviously do it again next year. Member Lorenzo said she had an issue with attending a meeting the following week about an issue that she had the answers provided to her that evening.
Mayor Clark noted that some of Member Lorenzo’s colleagues did not receive the information regarding the issue. Member Lorenzo said that those colleagues should attend the second meeting. Mayor Clark said that this was fine, but Council needed 5 votes, and needed a commitment. He said it should be important enough to any member of Council that represents the citizens of the City to devote an extra hour of time in order to save $250,000. He said it is unfortunate that some members did not receive the proper information, but also noted that "everyone is human, we all make mistakes, and things like this happen." He said the issue is that Council has to be comfortable. Mayor Clark said that during the extra week, Mr. Bucko could provide a list of other municipalities represented by the firm, and Mr. Klaver could make whatever phone calls and inquiries needed to express a level of comfort or discomfort to Council. Mr. Klaver can then also tell Council what he has learned from his contacts with those other municipalities. Mayor Clark noted that he has tried "more than a few cases" during his 35 years of practicing law, and knows the insurance industry as well. He said that AM Best and Standard & Poor do not hand out A ratings because they have nothing better to do, which he understands. He noted that all of Council needs to feel comfortable with the decision, and will need five votes. He said he does not want to act in haste, but wants to save the City $214,000 or whatever amount is possible on the coverage.
Mr. Klaver introduced Ms. Judy Thompson Torosin of the Michigan Municipal League to answer questions that Council may have of that entity. Mayor Clark said that the second meeting would also provide an opportunity to companies to speak to Council, so that everyone can have the same information and "be on the same page together." Mayor Clark asked Ms. Torosin if she would be able to attend a Council meeting on June 24th. Ms. Torosin replied that she would be able to attend.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi wished to raise the issue of the argumentative tone that "seem(ed) to have ensued with regard to the differences of opinion." She said that no one at the Council table deserved to be talked down to sbecause there was disagreement on a point. She said that she saw two issues at hand: the first was a time problem that needed to be dealt with, which was fine; the second was a lack of preparation, and a lack of response for whatever reason. She said that someone else’s failure to respond timely was not Council’s emergency. With regard to the second item, she said devotion of Council is not a litmus test regarding what it is interested in doing, or how many dollars it is interested in saving. She said that Member Csordas’ proposal that Council see the other issues before making a decision is a good one, but does not excuse the fact that this is the second year running that the City finds itself in the same position. She said she would not say that entertaining insurance entities who are just chomping at the bit to represent the City or other cities, when she knows that some whole townships in the State are no longer covered by liability insurance because of all the other issues in the field. She suggested that Council agree to disagree without heavy-handed tactics. Mayor Clark said he had not seen any heavy-handed tactics, but was just trying to build consensus to have a special meeting, to make sure that Council had five people at that meeting.
Member Csordas noted that Council had been discussing 2 entities coming back for the second meeting, when in fact there were actually 3 entities, though the 3rd entity did not get their bid in on time. As a courtesy, he said all 3 should be allowed to come back before Council, but should not be excused the next time for missing a deadline. Mayor Clark asked the representative from the Michigan Municipal League to come forward and identify herself again for the record. Ms. Judy Thompson Torosin identified herself as the City’s account executive from the Michigan Municipal League Liability and Property Pool. Mayor Clark asked Ms. Thompson Torosin if she could attend a special Council meeting on June 24th at 7:00 p.m., which she said she could.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-06-199 Yeas: Bononi, Capello, Csordas, Lorenzo, Sanghvi, Clark
Mayor Clark asked Mr. Klaver to inform the third entity that submitted a bid that they had "one last bite at the apple," and also asked Mr. Klaver to perform whatever inquiries he might need, and distribute whatever materials are needed. Mayor Clark apologized to Mr. Bucko and Ms. Thompson Torosin for the delay of the issue.
CONSENT AGENDA REMOVALS FOR COUNCIL ACTION (Consent Agenda items, which have been removed for discussion and/or action)
I. Acceptance of Harbor Cove Condominiums Water Main Easement
Member Lorenzo asked if the pipe had already been laid in the ground regarding the Acceptance of Harbor Cove Condominiums Water Main Easement. She asked what the procedure was regarding the installation of pipe and the approval of the easement. She said she was primarily curious how the matter was being funded. Mr. McCusker answered that the pipes were installed 17 years ago under a State permit in anticipation that the site would be connected to the City’s water system when available. There are no expenditures on the City’s part. Member Lorenzo asked if the complex would be connecting and pay the applicable fees, which Mr. McCusker said was correct.
CM-03-06-200 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Csordas; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To accept Harbor Cove Condominiums Water Main Easement, subject to legal review
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said she was going to pull the same item, but for a different reason. She asked Mr. Schultz if there was a legal response regarding legal sufficiency. Mr. Schultz asked if the Mayor Pro Tem was asking if the City Attorney’s office had reviewed the easement, and he said he did not believe that had been done. Member Pro Tem Bononi asked for a friendly amendment that the motion be subject to legal review, which Members Lorenzo and Csordas agreed to.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-06-200 Yeas: Capello, Csordas, Landry, Lorenzo, Sanghvi, Clark, Bononi
M. Approval of claims and accounts Warrant No. 651
Member Lorenzo said she pulled Item M for two reasons. M.J. McGinnis and Associates check number 28880, and Kenneth Weikal number 29029. She had checked with Ms. Smith-Roy, and there were a number of different items being billed to the general fund that were revised preliminary plans and such. She asked Counsel whether or not the footnote in the schedule of fees allows the City to recoup those fees. Mr. Schultz said he had not reviewed the question, but the ordinance and the work that was done will need reviewing. Member Lorenzo said she would approve the warrant, minus the two checks in question, numbers 29029 and 28880. If the City cannot recoup those fees, she hopes that there would immediately be a resolution before Council allowing it to do so.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi asked for the identification of two checks. The first was number 28816, for Game Time Park Development for $53,847.53. Ms. Smith-Roy answered that this check was for playground equipment that was previously approved, and includes the discounted price. The Mayor Pro Tem’s second question was about check number 28855, Labelle Commercial, to relocate 3 light poles on Twelve Mile Road. She asked if this item was not included in an SAD. Ms. Smith-Roy said this was part of the GAP project. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi inquired what check number 28980, Schonsheck Inc., refund over payment of engineering and wetlands fee, was for. Ms. Smith-Roy answered that the original fees were calculated incorrectly, and the check was for a refund of the difference.
CM-03-06-201 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Csordas; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve of claims and accounts Warrant No. 651, with the exception of two checks, numbers 28880 and 29029, which shall be brought before Council at the next regular meeting.
Member Capello asked for clarification that Ms. Smith-Roy would take care of any deletions, which she said she would.
Roll Call Vote on Cm-03-06-201 Yeas: Csordas, Landry, Lorenzo, Sanghvi, Clark, Bononi, Capello
MAYOR AND COUNCIL ISSUES
1. Town Center Signage – Mayor Pro Tem Bononi
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said she placed the item under Mayor and Council Issues after speaking with Mr. Helwig and Mr. Pearson about this issue. She is concerned with the number of vacancies in Novi Town Center and similar projects that are not easily visible from main arteries. Another such circumstance is Main Street. She said she sought Council support to create an amendment to the City’s sign ordinance that would allow for marquee-type signage of limited size to be placed in prominent points in access to Town Center so that people can know what shops and services are offered there. As a resident, she finds that she will go to Town Center from time to time and find herself wondering when a store located there. In circumstances such as Town Center, where there are not only sign regulations of the City’s Building Department, but also Town Center requirements as well. She said she would like to refer the issue to the Ordinance Review Committee to give it a start, and see what could be done to cooperate and partner with the Building Department. Town Center looked to have such signing proposed, and took the matter to the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) because what they were proposing did not meet current requirements. She said the signage could lend itself to Main Street as well.
CM-03-06-202 Moved by Bononi, seconded by Lorenzo; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To refer the issue of signage at Town Center to the Ordinance Review Committee for examination and return the issue to Council within 60 days
Member Sanghvi said that the issue is a great idea and one that should have been referred to the Ordinance Review Committee long ago. The ZBA is also hamstrung by some regulations, and it is time to clear everything up. He suggested that if necessary, there should be special districts for signage, rather than just promoting downtown or the Town Center.
Member Capello said he was fully supportive of examining the Sign Ordinance, but said he would rather see the issue come back to Council.
Mayor Clark said that he also sits on the Ordinance Review Committee, and suggested that the maker and the seconder of the motion accept an amendment to indicate that whatever Ordinance Review might recommend, that the Committee’s work be done and returned to Council within 60 days. Mayor Pro Tem Bononi and Member Lorenzo both agreed. Mayor Clark noted that the issue would return long before the Holiday season, so that action can be taken early enough in the year to be taken advantage of. Member Capello asked for clarification that regardless of whether Ordinance Review takes action on the item, it returns to Council within 60 days, which Mayor Clark said was correct. Member Capello said this would satisfy his concerns.
Roll Call Vote on CM-03-06-202 Yeas: Landry, Lorenzo, Sanghvi, Clark, Bononi, Capello, Csordas
2. Novi High School waiver of woodland permit and other fees with regard to City-owned property by City Manager’s Office – Member Lorenzo
Member Lorenzo recalled that in December, Council and the School District entered into an agreement to lease 15 acres of City-owned property at Taft Road, south of Ten Mile Road. In April, she had requested information about how that was proceeding through administrative review, and Council had received information. Since that time, Council had not received any additional information, and she recently requested an update as to how things were progressing. When she reviewed the information, she was flabbergasted and disappointed to see that the woodland permit that was attached to the information had several waivers in it, particularly the waivers of financial guarantees. She is concerned that the integrity and the consistency of the process are being compromised, and is also concerned with the administrative review and implementation of Council actions.
Member Lorenzo said that on page 3 of the agreement, section 2A states "Attached to this agreement is the conceptual plan dated December 9, 2002, which is deemed by the parties to be the basis for a combined preliminary and final site plan under the City’s zoning ordinance. Following approval of an execution of this agreement by the City and the District (which was in December), the District shall prepare and submit to the City a final plan which conforms with the conceptual plan for administrative review in the manner customary of a final site plan review under the zoning ordinance. She asked for a definition of "in the manner customary." Mr. Fisher said the question that Member Lorenzo raised called for an interpretation of the intent of the agreement. This agreement contemplates a joint venture between the School District and the City for facilities that would be shared by the two entities. Because this is a joint venture, what is required is an interpretation of the contract to determine, within the context, what "customary" means, what the intent of compliance with the ordinance is, and what site plan review issues there are. There is a general rule of contract interpretation that you must ascertain, primarily within the four corners of the document, the intent of the parties. The intent of the parties is critical in interpreting what the meaning of the contract as a whole contemplates. With the joint venture and shared improvements, etcetera, there is a need to determine what is expected and customary in this situation. Customary site plan review in this situation would be all those things that the Planning Commission reviews the plan for. Member Lorenzo thanked Mr. Fisher.
Member Lorenzo said that page 5, under C5, discusses that "All applicable City ordinances shall be met, including without limitation, wetlands, woodlands, lighting, and storm water, except as expressly provided otherwise in this agreement." She asked if the waiver of financial guarantees for tree replacement were expressly provided in the agreement. Mr. Fisher answered no. Member Lorenzo asked if the woodlands ordinance requires financial guarantees, which Mr. Fisher said was true. Member Lorenzo asked how the issue followed the process and met the ordinance requirements. Mr. Fisher said that he would like to provide a background, and said this is not a customary situation in the sense that this is a public entity, a school district, that is working with the City in a joint venture. He noted that administration was involved more closely than anyone in the negotiation of the agreement.
Member Lorenzo said she wanted to know where there was room for interpretation in the agreement. She said that if Council had wanted something other than "customary", it wouldn’t have included the word. If Council thought the School District should be treated differently than any other applicant, it should have been expressly provided in the agreement, just as is being done for Sandstone. The ordinance itself requires, and does not provide, for any waiver. She compared the issue to another Catholic Central situation. She asked how a situation can be waived when there is no possible waiver. If this was possible, Catholic Central could have called administration on the phone and requested that the fees be waived, and the City would not have needed to endure the laborious process of a few months ago to amend an ordinance. In that instance, the City’s answer to the school’s attorneys was that there was no waiver procedure in the ordinance, and therefore could not be waived. Member Lorenzo said she did not understand how the agreement got to this point.
Mr. Fisher first wished to compare the Catholic Central situation to this agreement. He said that Catholic Central is a private non-profit entity, and therein lies a very significant issue that is in the Michigan Supreme Court right now, that relates to the extent to which public school districts must comply with various ordinances. He said the issue of whether or not a public entity must conform to a woodlands permit is part of site plan review, and processing is a gray area. Nonetheless, there is a very great distinction of how the City would treat a public school district in a woodlands situation, as opposed to Catholic Central. Aside from this agreement, there is a question of whether the school district would have to go through the process at all, let alone pay the fees.
Mayor Clark asked Mr. Fisher if it was correct that the agreement is a joint venture. Mr. Fisher answered that it is "something like a joint venture", and though may not specifically be a joint venture, is in the nature of a joint venture. Mayor Clark asked if the agreement is a lease that involves 14.7 acres of City land, which Mr. Fisher said was correct. Mayor Clark asked Mr. Helwig if it was known how many trees were contemplated by the School District to be removed. Mr. Helwig said there were 15 trees that qualified to be removed under the agreement, and the replacement ratio was 18, which has not been waived. Mayor Clark said that with the so-called joint venture, the School District would remove 15 trees but provide 18 trees back, and residents would be able to use the property when not in use by the school. He said that when the issue first came up, the City was trying to get the School District to purchase the land if they desired it, not lease it, and noted that the free services provided to the community at their facility would have cost over $200,000 if the City had to pay for those. He said he understood Member Lorenzo’s concerns about the process of the agreement, but said that at a point the rule of common sense has to apply, and one has to look at not putting form over substance.
Member Lorenzo said she respectfully disagreed with the Mayor, and had consistency issues about how to explain that the City did not follow due process to a resident, businessperson, or developer. She asked how it was alright for the School District to be granted a waiver that was not contemplated in the agreement or the ordinance. Mayor Clark asked Member Lorenzo if she would be satisfied if the School Board sent a letter, signed by Dr. Lippe, saying that they guaranteed they would provide 18 trees. Member Lorenzo said she would be satisfied if the School District paid the money required under the ordinance. She said she was just asking the District to meet the ordinance requirements. She also asked that in a situation where an exemption from a variance or exemption is requested, that the matter be referred to Council, and not administration. In her opinion, administration went further than their duties required.
Member Landry said he respected Member Lorenzo’s opinion, her ability to express her opinion, and her ability to speak her mind on any particular issue. He said that terms like integrity, duty, and responsibility are big words to use. As a matter of law, any contract admits of interpretation. The number one rule is to determine the intent of the parties. Since he was one of the parties to the contract, he could state his intentions, which were that the School District is different, and is "worlds apart" from a private developer. According to Michigan law the District is different, as it is also according to common sense, for one basic reason: the School District gets its money from taxpayers. He said that it did not make sense to have the School District, which gets its money from the taxpayers, pay the City, which also gets its money from the taxpayers. Financial guarantees serve the purpose of ensuring that work is not left undone. The School District is not going anywhere, and the City does not need a financial guarantee from it. He said that administration conducted itself exactly as it should have. Member Landry said that in his opinion, the City administration did its duty, and acted with integrity by not requiring the School District to conduct a meaningless task of putting form over substance. He said that in his opinion, the City administration did exactly what he would have expected it to do.
Member Csordas said he agreed with Member Landry’s comments because in the memo from Mr. Schultz dated April 7, it was stated that the School District is not applicable to State law, and the School Superintendent has full authority over the site, and does not have to comply with City ordinances anyways. He said Member Landry was absolutely correct that the School District was not going to leave, and can’t imagine that there cannot be trust between the two entities. Regarding concerns for lawsuits, it is Council’s responsibility to be concerned about risk management, but the thought of a lawsuit never occurred to him. Member Csordas said he truly disagreed with the comment that administration may have compromised the integrity of the process, as the decision was a common sense one for administration to make. He said he hailed the City Manager for making the decision, and agreed with the City Attorney’s opinion. If the City cannot trust and work with the Novi School District, he did not know who it could work with.
Member Capello said that Member Lorenzo had an opportunity to state her opinion and concerns, and suggested moving on to Mayor and Council Issues item number 3.
Mayor Pro Tem Bononi said that communications were again a problem, concerning a lack of information sharing. She said that if an agreement was not working, it behooves all parties to bring forward the parts of the agreement that are not working. She said the matter could have been handled in a 10 minute time period where it belonged. When people do not receive information, they approach a subject from every different angle, which is what happened in this instance.
3. CSX Railroad crossings on Nine Mile between Novi Road and Meadowbrook Road and on Novi Road south of Grand River. – Member Csordas
Member Csordas said this was to bring to administration’s attention that the railroad crossings are becoming rapidly degraded. He called the railroad tracks across Nine Mile Road "a bone jarring experience", and said the tracks across Novi Road were also bad. He said he did not know what authority Council had to contact CSX Railroad and inform them of the situation, but could not picture the City being responsible for the costs of improving those sites. Mr. Helwig thanked Member Csordas for mentioning the items. In the past, when the Twelve Mile and West Road railroad crossing was degrading, Mr. McCusker’s crews did the repairs because of the response time from CSX on repairing crossings that do not have faulty tracks. Mr. Helwig said he would discuss the issue further with Mr. McCusker. Member Csordas thanked Mr. Helwig.
Member Sanghvi said that he had had his hand raised to participate in the previous Item, number 2, and wished to go on the record. He believed that the spirit of the agreement is more important than the letter of the agreement. Dr. Sanghvi said that Member Lorenzo was absolutely correct in her opinion if following the letter of the agreement. However, he said, the Novi Schools have helped to make Novi a very desirable community in which to live, and the spirit of the agreement takes precedence. He said he admired administration’s action to approve the agreement, because the City needs to consider the spirit of the community at all times. He thanked Mr. Helwig for his actions.
City Clerk Maryanne Cornelius read the results of the Parks, Recreation, and Forestry Commission election. For the unexpired term ending June 30, 2004, Council selected Sue Engebretson. Charles Staub and David Staadt were both elected to terms ending June 30, 2006.
Wayne Hogan, 20923 Woodland Glen Dr., noted that Community Cab’s subsidized contract had been expired since May, and ABC Cab has agreed to the funds set forth by the City for operation. He said the items he wished to speak about of Community Cab were unacceptable. He described an experience of hearing a gentleman yelling on the phone; an experience of a cab driver leaving him at Providence Hospital with his property still in the car, including needed medical items, though the driver did return one hour later. Mr. Hogan said that when he has called Community Cab, the gentleman has, more times than not, referred him to ABC Cab, because Community Cab did not have a car in the area. Mr. Hogan said that he has often been given waiting times of several hours, if at all, by Community Cab. He said the gentleman at Community Cab has referred to persons with disabilities as "you damned handicappers," and has stated that he did not want wheelchairs in his cars. Mr. Hogan noted that this was the same gentleman who was contracted with by the City to provide taxi cab service to persons with disabilities. Mr. Hogan said that the gentleman has told passengers with disabilities that he was the only person who would give them a ride. He said Kathy Crawford could provide further information about complaints and concerns regarding the past service with Community Cab. Mr. Hogan said that Community Cab did not deserve to contract with the City to provide service to the elderly and persons with disabilities.
There being no further business to come before the Council, the meeting was adjourned at 10:40 p.m
Richard J. Clark, Mayor Maryanne Cornelius, City Clerk
Transcribed by: Steve King
Date approved: July 7, 2003