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REGULAR MEETING OF THE NOVI CITY COUNCIL
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 2005 AT 7:00 PM
COUNCIL CHAMBERS Ė NOVI CIVIC CENTER Ė 45175 W. TEN MILE ROAD
Mayor Csordas called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m.
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
ROLL CALL: Mayor Csordas, Mayor Pro Tem Landry (Absent), Council Members Capello (Absent), Gatt, Lorenzo, Nagy and Paul (Absent)
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
CM-05-01-015 Moved by Nagy, seconded by Lorenzo; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve the agenda.
Voice Vote on CM-05-01-050 CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY
Jim Korte, Shawood Lake, stated that he delivered some paperwork to the City Clerk earlier; he would be in court tomorrow over an alteration on one of his properties, and he had tried to deal with ordinance review to say that it was issued to him; the letters came in error; he was ticketed. He was not arguing and that he would be in court tomorrow.
Mr. Korte stated that he had delivered the paperwork, because he met with the new Building official who didnít know if he needed permits; he didnít know what permits he needed. He didnít know if he could build over an existing foundation, so he, Mr. Korte, went in to say what was going on and showed him 21 properties, as he drove in and out his street, that were in violation of City code.
Mr. Korte said that many of those had been written letters to Cindy Uglow, and she refused to do anything. He talked with Maureen Underhill, and she chose what she chose to do. At this point in time, the Building Department said it couldnít do a thing about anything else, so with the Building Department not being able to do about anything else that was illegal and ordinance review not being able to do anything about even when he wrote letters, he had delivered them to the City Clerk.
Mr. Korte would be in court and would be providing the same paperwork to the judge; it was totally discriminatory for the City to even presume he was illegal when he could prove there were 22 on his street. Somebodyís got to do something, because he was not putting up with it any longer. As many of you knew and, of course most of you werenít here and that was acceptable, Mayor Clark said, "behave yourself and weíll clean up our act".
Mr. Korte stated that he had behaved himself; the City hadnít cleaned up its act. The old Korte was back, and that was a shame. And now that he was no longer doing 24 hour care, he had the time to follow up; wasnít that a shame. He said at this point, the City Clerk had the 22 violations and we go from there.
Jamie Thomas stated that she had a house at 1105 South Lake Drive and had been in front of Council several times. First of all, she wanted to address the fact that the City had put some sort of drainage in front of her house that was supposed to alleviate the problem of the flooding in front of her house. She had pictures from today; it was not doing the job at all.
Ms. Thomas stated she had been fighting this since 1990, and finally Mr. Klaver turned it into Midwest Claims, she believed that was the Cityís insurance company. She received a letter from them stating that they denied the claim and cited some cases from governmental immunity; she had them there, she had read them and it wasnít true. She stated in regard to the property damage that she had had, it was her understanding that many checks were written to the people on South Lake Drive, and she wanted to know why hers was the only one that had to go through the insurance company, and then she was still going through a lot of problems; it was just getting worse.
Ms. Thomas stated that she had loss of income because she couldnít rent the house; she just put tons and tons of gravel down in her driveway. When they put those two pipes, one had holes in it for drainage and one was supposedly so that she could connect her sump pump to it, but there was absolutely no engineering that she could even find where the pipes were, where to connect it to, if she wanted to.
Ms. Thomas stated that water was still in front of her house; today she took pictures again, and right where they dug to put the pipes in, there was a big puddle there that was going to end up back under her house again. Again, all of her duct work underneath her house was all rusted out; there was probably black mold growing in there, which was a big health concern, as she was sure that Council knew.
She said there were several other problems; Council had tons and tons of information she had sent; she decided not to copy all of it for Council today because it had all the information. She wanted to have this addressed. She stated that she lived in Dallas, so it was hard for her to come to Council meetings all the time, so she would refer it to her attorney, Honigman, Miller, Schwartz and Kohn in downtown Detroit.
Ms. Thomas stated that she didnít want it to get this far; she wanted just to make some kind of an agreement with the City because the reason why she was having those problems was because the City made the road eight inches higher. She stated that the water went under her house; other people had been compensated and she had been given the runaround since 1990. She thought it was unacceptable; she would like to hear from somebody before she spent the money on an attorney that she hoped to recover from the City of Novi, which would be more expense that was really not needed if the City would contact her and talk about it.
Ms. Thomas stated that she didnít get any answers from Benny McCusker anymore; they refused her calls and refused to return her calls. She was ignored by Craig Klaver. Also, she signed an easement for the City to put those pipes underneath her house, but she had a letter which she sent to Mr. Klaver that she was signing it with reservations because she wanted the claims to be taken care of. She said she recently got a letter back saying since it was not notarized, it wasnít any good. She said as far as she was concerned, the City could take those pipes out of her yard because they were not doing a damn bit of good.
Mayor Csordas stated that Sandra Campione wished to be considered for the Economic Development Committee but was not here this evening. He stated that Council also received notice that Robert Fisher, who wanted to be considered for Economic Development, Zoning Board of Appeals, and Election Committee wouldnít be here this evening.
The first interviewee, Robert Cutler, who was reapplying for the Library Board spoke first. He thanked Council for putting him on the Library Board for one year; he had really enjoyed it. During that time, he became Vice President of the Board and Chairman of Facilities Committee, which was looking into designing or renovating a new Library. He stated that he would like to go for a three-year term so he could concentrate with the Facilities Committee and the rest of the Board in trying to design a new Library or renovate an expanded Library.
Mr. Cutler, as he had indicated last year, stated that he had 24 years experience in the hospital field as a management engineer, where he worked with architects and engineers when they expanded or renovated facilities. He wanted to use that experience to work with the architects with the new Library. He stated as Facilities Chairman, he was the primary contact with the architect the Library used.
Mr. Cutler stated that he also indicated last year that he spent 6 and one-half years working part-time in the Library after he retired, so he was well aware of all the problems, the space problems, and the staff at the Library. He said with the smallest library in this area for Noviís population; Novi had .5 square feet per person versus at least a foot for every other library. He said that people who go to the Library say itís just packed now and there was no place left to do anything; that was why he felt he would like to spend the next three years concentrating on getting a new facility for Novi and helping with raising the funds for a new Library. Mr. Cutler stated that since he was retired, he was basically available full-time.
Member Nagy stated that she knew the Library received $1-million and it was supposed to match funds; she asked, should the funds be matched, if the Board anticipated putting a bond on the ballot.
Mr. Cutler answered that the Board was anticipating tentatively going for this yearís November election; if it couldnít get everything together, including some preliminary designs, it would go for 2006. He stated that the preference was to try for this year because the Library was just getting squeezed. Also, construction costs were going up 10-15 percent, so if you were talking about a $20-million bond, it would be another $1-million and one-half if the Board waited another year.
Member Nagy thanked Mr. Cutler for his service to the community.
Member Lorenzo stated that she was glad he enjoyed his first year on the Board. She stated that she would follow up on the previous speakerís questions to some degree. She wanted to know what fundraising activities he and the Board had been involved with thus far and did he think the Library would actually make its deadline.
Mr. Cutler stated that the Library had a fundraising company it had hired; they should be starting to do some preliminary work fairly soon, which would be looking up to see who the big donators would be. He said they were still also pushing the $1-million, which would be part of that campaign, separate from any bond issue. He said by having the $1-million, it had helped defray the costs of having the architect do some preliminary designs; both the current property and the other property the Board was interested in.
Mr. Cutler stated that the Board was trying to arrange an agreement with the School Board to possibly exchange the Library property for property at Eleven Mile and Beck to start with a whole new building. He said that would actually be better. If they went with a renovation, it was a mess; he had been through that with hospitals. He stated right where the Library was, it was a problem getting out of the Library, making left-hand turns; he said the Library had been pretty lucky that there had been no accidents to date.
Mr. Cutler stated the Board hadnít heard anything from the School Board officially yet; he said the Board had been told that possibly there might be a decision by the end of March. He stated that once it heard back, the Board hoped to start doing some preliminary design work for either of the options.
Member Gatt asked what had been Mr. Cutlerís biggest disappointment and his biggest positive surprise in his first year.
Mr. Cutler answered that for positive, the Board had the Task Force and the Facilities Committee get people from various sectors; there were parents there and other people, which made it good, so that when the Board came out with the final report, they were involved and approved it. As far as disappointment went, he stated that in his years as a project engineer, he was used to moving faster; that kind of frustrated him.
Mayor Csordas asked Mr. Cutler which he preferred, an exchange of the property with the School system on Eleven Mile and Beck or rebuilding.
Mr. Cutler felt the exchange of the property would be the best way to go; he said the Library could keep the current facility going for the three years during the construction and then move over to a brand-new facility. He said when you go into a new facility, you could get all the new types of layouts that the Library would really want. He stated that the architect the Board was talking with had the best team of people working from the construction company that did the Novi High School, and the Library facility design, both internal and external, were among the best in the country.
Mayor Csordas thanked Mr. Cutler for dedicating his time to the Library Board.
The next interviewee was Celia Todd; she was applying for the Beautification Commission.
Ms. Todd stated that she lived in Village Oaks Subdivision; she was involved with the Village Oaks Association and with a couple of things here with the City. She stated that to tell the truth, she didnít know if she would have thought to apply for the position had she not gotten a nudge from Member Paul. She stated that she attended two meetings, and it was an awesome group of people. She felt that she was in a learning state with them.
Ms. Todd stated that the things that they wanted to do for the City this year were awesome; every time she learned something from the Comfort Committee that she was on or the Home Owners Association that she was on, she ran back to Village Oaks and blabbed; she was very anxious to share and see if more people couldnít be stirred up to come.
Member Lorenzo asked Ms. Todd what the Committee was entertaining for this year and what she hoped to contribute to that.
Ms. Todd didnít know what she could contribute except to support and help with things that they had planned. One of the things was the plantings; there were suggestions that some of the businesses could compete with each other to beautify their exteriors.
Member Gatt asked Ms. Todd if she was involved in the Village Oaks beautification; he knew that its entranceway was always so beautiful.
Ms. Todd answered not directly; she stated they finally got their signs and this last year finally go the landscaping done by one of the Village Oaks residents.
Member Gatt asked if she was involved in that process at all or in the committees in that sub.
Ms. Todd answered that indirectly she was.
Member Nagy stated that she didnít have any questions; she had the pleasure of attending the Candidates Night at Village Oaks that she organized. After being involved with that she saw how much talent she had with regard to organization and getting people involved. She thought that if she were on the Beautification Committee, she would apply those talents as well. She had her support.
Mayor Csordas asked Ms. Todd what would be her top priority if she were appointed to the Beautification Committee.
Ms. Todd answered probably if they divided up and worked with the beautification along the road, the mile, and the river Ė the roads, Grand River and the mile roads. She thought maybe they could get them to compete with one another and have people help them with ideas; she thought she would like to be part of that.
John Sheffer was next, interviewing for the Construction Board of Appeals. He stated that he had served seven years already on the Board. If there were any questions, he would answer them.
Member Gatt asked what was the biggest problem facing the Construction Board of Appeals in Novi right now.
Mr. Sheffer answered that he didnít really know; there werenít too many problems. He said the only thing was that the contractors didnít read the Code.
Member Nagy stated that she wasnít real familiar with the Construction Board of Appeals; she had read some of the Minutes. She really like his answer about how the contractors didnít read the Code. She asked if there was a case that came before the Board that he thought was more challenging.
Mr. Sheffer answered that the only ones he thought were challenging were the water table. He stated that there was a gas station last year; the water table was high. He stated that it was off Clark Street; there was a house on Nine Mile that had been on fire, and they wanted approval and were below the water table, too.
Member Lorenzo stated that she was familiar with this candidate; he had been generous of his time and talent for the last seven years.
Mayor Csordas asked why Mr. Sheffer wanted to reapply for the Board.
Mr. Sheffer answered that he might as well keep on with it; heíd been there for seven years, and he might as well stay.
Mayor Csordas stated that Linda Krieger was next; she was applying for either Planning Commission or Library Board.
Ms. Krieger stated that she lived on Byrne Drive with Novi property taxes; she went to Northville High School and Madonna University. She received her Bachelorís in Nursing in 1990 and her Masters in the Science Administration in 1997. She stated that she was currently working in intensive care at Providence Hospital in Southfield. She stated that Providence was planning on building a 200-bed hospital in Novi in the near future; she wouldnít mind living and working in Novi.
Ms. Krieger stated that she was currently on the Watershed and Storm Water Management Committee and the Woodland Review Board. She stated that after Dave Maurice left Novi, the Committee was basically nonexistent; this year it did quarterly meetings, let the public know, and whoever showed up would be fine. She said they couldnít do any kind of voting as a quorum.
Mayor Csordas asked which committee that was.
Ms. Krieger stated the Storm Water; regarding the Rouge River and the State telling cities to help take care of the Rouge so when it entered its final stage into the Detroit River, it was a clean as possible, which Novi complied with. She stated that on the Woodland Review Board; there were three appointed to assist the Planning Commission; however, the first meeting would hopefully be March 1st. She stated the two other committees would not be a problem if she were to be on any other committee.
Ms. Krieger stated that her primary interest would be the Planning Commission; for Library Board, her comment would be regarding the Walker gift. She said it was such a wonderful gift that someone would donate $1-million to a library and make a challenge gift that if another $1-million was raised, an additional $1-million would be donated, to make a total of $3-million. She wasnít sure how successful the fundraising had been; she hadnít seen a publication as to the amount that had been donated thus far.
Ms. Krieger stated that regarding Planning, she had been going to the Council meeting to get an idea of what it was like to go to the meetings. The Planning would be working within the budget, continue to help with build out and to continue to work with the residents and with the developers and investing in Novi.
Member Nagy asked if there was an opening on the Planning Commission right now.
Mayor Csordas stated that a person had to resign due to health problems.
Member Nagy stated that Ms. Kriegerís preference would be the Planning Commission; she noted that Ms. Krieger had always attended Council meetings so she was picking up the jargon. She asked with regard to the planning aspect of the City, was there anything that she saw that she would like to improve upon.
Ms. Krieger stated that the Master Plan and the developers and the City working together, so that it accomplished where Novi wanted to be.
Member Lorenzo asked if Ms. Krieger had been watching or going to Planning Commission meetings.
Ms. Krieger answered that she attended last weekís meeting; she stated the issue at the time was in regard to ordinances and zoning and how they worked together.
Member Lorenzo asked what Ms. Krieger would hope to contribute by being a member.
Ms. Krieger answered to the furthering of the mission of the Master Plan.
Member Gatt stated that she was at every Council meeting and usually stayed to the end; he had no doubt that she was one of the most dedicated citizens in the City. He supported her endeavor and didnít have any questions.
Mayor Csordas stated that she had said that she would live within the budget of the Planning Commission; he asked which budget she was referring to.
Ms. Krieger stated that at the meeting last week, they were discussing that they had a budget and were working on the budget plans that Ms. McBeth had worked out. She did not see the budget, but they had a certain amount of budget that they were going to give to Mr. Helwig.
Mayor Csordas thanked Ms. Krieger. Mark Adler was next, interviewing for the Public Access Promotion Committee; Council was running ahead of schedule and Mr. Adler was not yet present, so Council would move on to Ms. Mutch who was applying for the Library Board.
Ms. Mutch stated that everyone knew her; she stated that she didnít know what to tell Council that it didnít already know, so she would answer any questions.
Member Lorenzo asked if Ms. Mutch thought the Library Board, in terms of the emphasis that they had placed on designing a new Library versus the fundraising that needed to go into the match, was a wise idea for this year, given the clock was ticking toward December 31st, and what would her contribution be to that; what did she think the Library Board should be doing.
Ms. Mutch stated that she would be very frank; she had interviewed for the position each time there had been a vacancy since the time that she was on the short term and had not been appointed for any of the vacancies. She stated that if the pattern held, it was more an opportunity to address those issues with Council; on the other hand if by some fluke she was appointed, she would have to work with those people and didnít want to offend anyone.
Ms. Mutch thought, as Ms. Krieger stated a moment ago, the Walker gift was an incredibly generous gift to the City and to the entire community. She couldnít tell Council what effort had been made by the Board; she had asked repeatedly because initially she knew there would be some planning required. She stated that at almost March, the amount raised was pathetically small for the amount of time that had passed. She had been told that people would not donate money unless there was a drawing, something visual; she understood that. She said to think back to Mr. Walker; he wasnít the only person in the community who cared about the future of the Library. She said there were other people who wanted to step up but they wanted to know if the City was serious about it; they wanted to know that it would go to something that in the end they could support and they also wanted to be asked.
She stated that the Friends of the Library stepped up right away; she was proud to be a member of that group. She said they stepped up, set a goal; it was ambitious for the size of the group, and they were on their way. She stated that the Friends couldnít be expected to fund a new Library; the Walker gift couldnít possibly fund a new Library, either. The clock was ticking.
Member Gatt stated that he had known Ms. Mutch for years; she had his support on the Board and every board she had ever applied for. He hoped that she was successful here because what she just said echoed his feelings. He was concerned with a generous gift that looked like it might go by the wayside because he hadnít been asked for money; he didnít see any effort made. He said if she was successful, he hoped she would bring her passion to the Board and not be afraid to offend anybody because the better good for all was worth more than a few peopleís feelings.
Member Nagy stated that last time when there was a Library bond one of the things that people did say was that they didnít have a visual as to what it was going for. She remembered the amount at that time was $20-million; she said that some of her points were well taken. She stated that she was a member of the Friends of the Library; she asked if anyone talked about how much it would cost; during the time that she was on the Board, was there an estimate of how much a new Library would cost.
Ms. Mutch answered that there was an amount for the entire proposed building, because that was how you arrived at the ballot amount. She answered that if Member Nagy was talking about was it ever broken down to where residents could be asked, as they did in Northville, did they want to pay for the conference room, for example. She answered that it was nowhere near that yet. She stated that they were hoping to have a drawing from the architect based on what they had determined the needs were for various service functions and based on location; of course, they had to work with two different locations. Those drawings would not be available until the end of June.
Ms. Mutch stated that the amount of money that the Library Board had committed to spend for the services of a professional fundraiser, in her opinion based on her experience with other organizations and larger groups, was not really out of line for what they proposed to do; however, the challenge here for the Library Board was that they were now in the public eye with that and were going to have to raise enough money to not only pay for the fundraisers, an amount equal to that just to break even, and then go beyond that. At the same time, if it was on the ballot this year, they had to mount a fundraising campaign separate from that which would fund a political campaign, a ballot issue campaign. She had some concerns about people raising money for both at the same time, not just because she thought there was anything wrong with it; she just thought people would be confused. She said people would be donating to one thing, thinking they were donating to something else.
Member Nagy asked Ms. Mutch if she knew what the fundraiser amount was that was designated for the people that would do the fundraising.
Ms. Mutch answered that to be fair to the Library Board, they approved an amount not to exceed; they sent out RFPís and they came back. The amount was going to be for three months of professional services, $50,000; for six months of professional services, $100,000. She stated that it was her understanding that it had been negotiated and that the figure was most likely somewhere in between; three months would not be enough time to do what they needed to and six months would be too long, given the calendar.
Ms. Mutch stated that she didnít think it would be impossible to do; she thought it would be one heck of a job. She stated that the challenge, besides having those two things going on, was that the Board had to be able to get out there and tell people why a library was important to the community. She stated that she was worried that if it went to 2006, it might not happen at all. She really thought it needed to happen this year, and the people who wanted to see it happen had to step up now and make it happen.
Mayor Csordas stated that clearly the reason that millage didnít pass last time, and he couldnít believe that somebody wouldnít understand it, was because it was brought as an ad infinitum tax increase.
Ms. Mutch stated that the Library Board and the Library Director, nobody on that Board had any experience with that sort of an issue, from the Library perspective, so they came to the City and discussed it with the Building Authority people, the Cityís bond attorneys, and with the Finance Director. They ended up doing what City staff advised them to do.
Mayor Csordas stated that he appreciated her commitment to the City; he didnít have any questions.
Mayor Csordas stated that Mark Adler was the final interviewee; he was applying for Public Access Promotion Committee.
Mr. Adler stated that he had been there several times as a volunteer for the position; he stated that Council knew his qualifications. He stated that he had a Bachelorís of Art in Telecommunications and had over 25 years in the television industry in various aspects from community access television, to commercial, to corporate, to feature film production; he had a variety of experience in those arenas.
Mr. Adler stated that his experience with community access started when he was in college; actually before then, when cable was coming in to the cities, he worked with the Mayor of Oak Park in deciding on some franchise opportunities in his city. He worked on franchise agreements and learned a lot at that point in his career. He went on to be a community access production manager in East Detroit, what now was East Pointe, for several years; he then went into commercial production.
Mr. Adler stated that since he had been out of the actual access arena, he had been involved in some capacity on the Cable Access Committee for over 12 years, and outside of the Cable Access Committee he had also lobbied for various things to make access work better, to have people join it. He had started groups that brought people into the organization; he had been involved in the training of volunteers.
Mr. Adler stated that he could bring a lot to the table. He wanted to set aside personalities; he was a team player and had strength and passion to work with other like-minded individuals on the Committee.
Member Gatt asked Mr. Adler what he hoped to accomplish.
Mr. Adler stated that he would like to see more training workshops in a wider variety of areas; he would like to see people brought in from various aspects of the industry, for example, sound, to teach people how to do sound.
Member Gatt asked what VAI Digital was.
Mr. Adler answered that it was his company; he did video assists.
Member Nagy stated that he wanted to do more training and asked whom he would want to train.
Mr. Adler answered he would like to train the access volunteers, community members.
Member Nagy asked train them to do what.
Mr. Adler answered to make television production. He had been told that the Studio A at SWOCC was mysterious and difficult for people to use. His experience was to set up a process for the volunteers.
Member Lorenzo stated that she had gone through the program; she asked about a challenge and how he would work towards meeting that challenge.
Mr. Adler stated that the main challenge was a money issue; he was concerned that public access was not fostered as much or inspired. He stated that community access was something that had been made up; public access was where a producer would go in and make a show. He stated that community access was a situation where the cable company was producing the show and. He stated that the challenge was that a public access person received basic knowledge, then goes into community access and feel more comfortable, after that you could make your own show. He said that man-hours were spent training those people and then the people went away; time had been wasted. His plan was to make them comfortable.
Mayor Csordas asked what, if any, budgetary discretion that Committee should have.
Mr. Adler answered that the by-laws indicated that they had none; in the past, the Cable Access Committee did. He thought there should be someone there to decide about lighting packages and cameras to be purchased.
Mayor Csordas stated that recommendations were probably a very good idea; he thanked Mr. Adler for coming out tonight.
AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION Ė None
There being no further business to come before Council, Mayor Csordas adjourned the meeting at 7:57 p.m.
Lou Csordas, Mayor Maryanne Cornelius, City Clerk
Transcribed by Sue Troutman
Date approved: February 28, 2005