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SPECIAL MEETING OF THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF NOVI
SATURDAY, APRIL 9 2005 AT 9:00 A.M.
COUNCIL CHAMBERS-NOVI CIVIC CENTER-45175 W. TEN MILE ROAD

Mayor Csordas called the meeting to order at 9:00 A.M.

PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE

ROLL CALL: Mayor Csordas, Mayor Pro Tem Landry, Council Members Capello, Gatt, Lorenzo, Nagy and Paul - Member Lorenzo arrived at 9:08 A.M.

PURPOSE OF SPECIAL MEETING Ė 2005-2006 CITY OF NOVI BUDGET

AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION

Andrew Mutch, 24740 Taft, stated he was concerned about bike paths having gaps that force bike riders to drive into the street or trespass on private property. Year after year, the gaps remain. Therefore, he put together 6 projects and copied them to City Council. He thought if the city could do them this year it would make a huge difference in the bike path and sidewalk system. The first project is at the southeast corner of 10 Mile and Beck and involves one property and is the only gap on two miles of continuous path. The second project involves four parcels on either side of Thornton Creek Elementary School and has two gaps in a continuous mile of sidewalk. These two projects would complete the entire four mile continuous loop along Taft Road, Ten Mile, Beck and Nine Mile. Project three is on the north side of Ten Mile west of city hall and the only gap in a mile long stretch of path and involves three parcels. Project four is on 11 Mile and part of it has been proposed to be funded. $50,000 is budgeted to fill the gap from Abbey Woods to Beck Road. There are some additional single parcels along 11 Mile Road that need to be addressed and the school district is going to address their property over to Taft Road. If those eleven parcels were completed it would complete a mile long stretch of bike path. If projects three and four were completed there would be over three miles of continuous path. Project five is on Meadowbrook Road between 8 and 9 Mile Roads. There are four or five parcels to be completed and when done would create almost four miles of continuous path. Project six is on the south side of 14 Mile, the Andrus and Maples property and if completed it would complete the entire loop of bike paths around the city. Cost is a big factor in getting these sidewalks done. The city budgeted $50,000 for the 11 Mile project. Mr. Mutch thought all these projects would be smaller in size then the 11 Mile project and could be done for less.

Ron Nabozny, North Hills Estates Association, thanked Council for their efforts last year with their problem of excessive feeding of raccoons. This year Center Street was proposed to be repaved and now that part of the budget isnít going to be addressed. The street is 30 years old and is a major access point for many neighborhoods and has a lot of heavy traffic. This year the proposal is to use asphalt instead of concrete and he felt it might not be an appropriate proposal for repairing Center Street. He was not for or against the proposal because he felt he didnít have enough information gathered. Clay Pearson has assisted him in looking up records regarding what has been done in other neighborhoods. Mr. Nabozny said Center Street was not just a neighborhood street but a major access and the end of Sheldon Road. He noted many other citizens use Center Street and it badly needs to be repaired. He is concerned with the City using asphalt and how it will affect motorcycle riders and wondered if this was an appropriate solution or would it create other problems. He thought it would have to be resurfaced in 5 years and it would be costly. He encouraged Council to look into the best efforts for re-paving Center Street.

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Overview: City Manager and Finance Director Highlights:

City Manager Helwig explained the property tax millage rate of 10.5416 has been the same for the last five years. These are very uncertain times for the State of Michigan. But this is nothing new within the Great Lakes States. Mr. Helwig noted that this would be the last budget he would propose for the Novi community. There were two other times the economy was in this condition and that was in the early 1980ís and 1990ís. But this city has skills and resources that will carry us through. Novi is blessed and continues to be blessed and he indicated that the property tax millage rate will remain the same as the last five years. Numerous communities are exploring city income taxes, moving forward with Headlee override votes and we have some of that capacity in reserve that has not been tapped yet. The Council policy is to have 8-12 % of the annual general fund expenditure allotted for a rainy day reserve fund for emergency use. This year, he is recommending increasing this yearís goal of 14% by 1% to a total of 15% of annual General Fund expenditures. All indications publicly are that the state has not started work on the upcoming fiscal year deficit that begins October 1. Once again communities are at risk with State Shared Revenue being one of the areas, universities, education, Medicaid that are on the table whenever the State is trying to balance its needs and that is our second largest general fund revenue source. City Council has a goal as to how to develop a strategy to deal with further reductions of State Shared Revenue. No new positions are proposed and the retirement of the Chief Operating Officer and consolidation of that position will bring approximately $150,000 back to the community starting July 1.

Earlier this year City Council adopted several goals of upgrading city technology because we are operating with systems from the past and the plan is to commit $445,000 of general fund dollars of which $410,000 is for our financial management system upgrade. While we are doing that, it is a goal to add the software for online registration in Parks, Recreation and Forestry so that within a year, they can abolish a position.

The next goal would be to upgrade the city fleet of vehicles and Mr. Helwig stated the building department has not replaced a single vehicle. The plan is to replace 4 vehicles in the building department. The DPW needs to replace 2 vehicles and for two years he has been trying to get to the point where he could recommend a replacement street sweeper as the first one has deteriorated and is being worked on it seems like daily. One day the plan is to add a second street sweeper to assist with areas such as Grand River that necessitates a street sweeper to keep the clutter out of the drains. It has always been listed far down on the list and a second one is not being proposed at this time. The patch mobile is also being recommended because the city has so many concrete streets and there will never be enough funds to replace them. The patch mobile will give us the ability for our personnel to seal it. On Westmont, there havenít been any problems with the snow plowing blades on the asphalt. Neighborhood Services are also included in the plan to have one vehicle replaced and two replacement vehicles in Parks and Recreation and Forestry.

 

 

 

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The drug asset forfeiture funds are to be coming to the city in the future and Chief Shaeffer has prepared the document for Council as a wish list. Once we receive some funds, he is prepared to present the first cluster of equipment and personnel priority grouping. He said they will meet and discuss decisions about personnel, marked cruiser, lasers, dispatch councils and high priority requests. The likelihood of release of those funds is very strong. He proposed to defer action until actual funds are received. Their recommendation is to hold off until the September, October period for ordering police vehicles. If they havenít heard anything regarding the funds they might have to come back and talk about something out of rainy day funds or other approaches.

Capital Improvements Program list includes neighborhood road repaving and is in the fifth year of the five year road bond. We have $1,580,000 allocated for neighborhood repaving and an additional $760,000 for concrete street reconstruction of the remainder of Arcadia, Venetian Court and Center Street. In the Thursday packet was the updated PASER. Over the winter, some streets have gone from a 6 to a 3 and thatís what has happened to Center Street. We also donít know about the base work on Center Street but felt there would be a longer lasting product with asphalt and that Center Street was a prime candidate as is Nine Mile between Novi and Meadowbrook for conversion to asphalt. Concrete should not be spauled as it is throughout the community.

The Novi Road link of Ten Mile to Grand River including the overpass over CSX railroad tracks will begin in 2007 instead of 2006. The Road Commission for Oakland County will focus on property acquisition. This is the link between the soon to be completed intersection of Ten Mile and Novi Road and what is almost completed at Grand River with the overpass over the CXS railroad tracks. Mr. Helwig said it is mentioned here because in the Capital Improvement plan they are placing in that account from the road bond what they think will be the remaining city funds that will be needed there. Beck Road rehabilitation of Nine Mile to the City limits is the next highest priority for $500,000, no widening but to reconstruct and rehabilitate from 9 Mile south to the City. The temporary fix would be too costly. The last CIP project is Taft Road from Nine Mile to the city limits and they felt that this $500,000 needed to be dedicated to the Meadowbrook Road Bridge and along with the $100,000 that had already been included in the CIP for decking work that would be needed. Itís our plan to move back the completion of the Nine Mile Road project from Novi Road to Meadowbrook, still this year but move it later in the summer or early fall and it should be done easily before winter and get the bridge done before that.

Sidewalks Ė Mr. Mutch mentioned an important priority and they have listened to Council throughout the year and they have a partnership with the school board in the Eleven Mile corridor. He said they felt this was the highest danger corridor. They would be able to get it completed all the way from Taft to Wixom Road and connect with the middle school site.

Other items Ė There are no general fund positions recommended for the Fire Department. There was a major decision to implement full time supervision and place that accountability with three shifts and three captains. It was implemented in February this year and we are still absorbing that change for the operation of our department. He felt that there are other needs in the Fire Department. There will be vehicle exhaust

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system upgrade for all stations except the new Station 4. There are concrete replacements for Station 1, HVAC and roofing.

The DPW Vactor Pad Clean Out Station Ė that has been a concern for the past five years. This is an environmental basic and it has been authorized to bring a sanitary sewer line to be placed at the same time that the water line bringing portable water to the DPW facility is put in place. Along with the sanitary line, now is the time to do this Vactor Pad Clean Out Station which is a best practice and an environmental basic.

Parks, Recreation and Forestry Ė There will be ADA improvements, ball field irrigation at Community Sports Park and Power Park.

The key results targeted are for public safety. The objectives for the coming year for public safety and roads include a very large program to be undertaken this year. City Services include continuing the mosquito control program and Lannys district sanitary relief sewer will have the design and engineering contract to Council on the April 18th agenda. Parks, Recreation and Forestry - Singh Trail will be completed this year under their agreement with the city, Emerald Ash borer Ėremoving dead trees. Fiscal management Ė maintain current millage rate, review health care options and pension systems, complete labor negotiations. Environment Ė Completion of the Village Oaks Lake and Meadowbrook Lake dredging and Storm Water Management Master Plan. Growth management and development Ė Council clarified they do not want any more multiple family.

Kathy Smith-Roy, Finance Director spoke about General Fund revenues. The primary source of revenue is from property tax and the second is transfers and reimbursements but the largest chunk of that is the transfer of tax money from the Police and Fire Fund. Our second highest source other then taxes is our state shared revenue.

Expenditures are mainly for public safety, DPW, and Engineering, building, planning and Neighborhood Services follows and then other support services throughout the city.

Taxable values Ė this is where Novi has been able to sustain its services without any reduction in staffing. Our taxable value increase for this year was 5.7 % which is a very healthy increase and helps sustain the services that we provide. The Millage rate is calculated by obtaining the taxable values from assessor, then calculate required millage for out debt service funds which have been voted by the people, calculate the Headlee reduction factor and apply it to all special millages then compute the general fund millage up to the 10.54 mills that has been our target for the last several years.. The fifth step comes the first week in May and before the budget is adopted the millage is adjusted accordingly after the county has reviewed our Headlee reduction factor to make sure it has been calculated properly.

In relation to the fiscal analysis that was generated last fall, it appears that we will have some additional time before considering any additional operating millage as a result of our Headlee reduction factor being considerably higher then we thought it was going to be.

 

 

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General Fund expenditures Ė 1% of our expenditures is $268,000 and the estimated capacity in the General Fund remaining under Headlee is .294 mills or $900,000. The total rainy day contingency fund including the Judgment Trust Fund is $4.5 million. One mill of tax is $3,060,000.

Mayor Csordas asked if there was any potential reduction in millage because of the Headlee Amendment this year: Ms. Smith-Roy stated the preliminary numbers are probably on the low side and itís possible we will have no reduction this year.

Member Lorenzo noted in the fiscal impact projections, we didnít meet the general fund revenue projections by $730,000. Ms. Smith-Roy said she was correct. Member Lorenzo said the millage limitations from Headlee were lower than expected. Member Lorenzo said because other funds actually had more millage, we applied that first and then what was left over was applied to the general fund. She asked Ms. Smith-Roy to compare what was in the fiscal analysis and the budget. Ms. Smith-Roy didnít have those with her at the moment and would get this information for Council.

Member Lorenzo said other observation regarding fiscal spending it appears, in the Rainy Day Fund, that the expenditures estimated until the end of this fiscal year versus the revenue exceeds it by approximately $1.3 million dollars. Monday night Council discussed $437,982 of that is the pumper truck for the Fire Department and that was why she was concerned about it showing up in this. Even if deducted from the $1.3 million we still have $860,524 of expenditures exceeding revenue. Ms. Smith-Roy said she was correct. Member Lorenzo said she has a serious concern with regard to this type of spending policy. She believed a much more defined and disciplined spending policy was needed as we go towards the next decade of limitations and uncertainty. Itís not a good practice to spend more than you take in. The state is at that point and has been doing that and she felt that Council was getting to comfortable doing that in the City of Novi. This is the juncture, right here and now, where we have to discipline ourselves even more. No doubt, some of those monies that were spent were spent on positive things for the City of Novi. She proposed that as we approve the budget resolution and financial policy that parameters be added to the spending policies related to fund balance and especially fund balance additional to the minimums that we project in there. This should be the fiscal pledge to the taxpayers. She saw this as a legacy of this City Council to do this. Two council members will not be here next year and the City Manager said he would be retiring from the City of Novi and will not be here next budget and this is the perfect time to make a fiscal pledge to the taxpayers regarding this next decade of uncertainty. Member Lorenzo felt that how fund balance is spent should be defined better in the policy in the white budget book, so that administration and Council isnít tempted to spend more than we take in.

Member Lorenzo wanted to state in this financial policy and also as part of the budget approval resolution that any fund balance in excess of the 14% minimum at the end of the fiscal year shall be either applied toward the Headlee limitation reduction or towards to enhancing the neighborhood road program. This year weíve added at least $268,000 above the 14% to give us 15%. Suppose at the end of 2005-06 there is still $268,000 in

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the Rainy Day Fund above the 14%. If there was a Headlee reduction of ľ of a mill or approximately $750,000 that $268,000 would be applied toward that $750,000 and the taxpayer would not have to eat the rest of that cost and would see somewhat of a reduction of their millage rate. If there is no Headlee limitation applying this year then that $268,000 would go on top of whatever we have planned to spend for the neighborhood road program. If applying it this year by virtue of this policy there would be $268,000 more next year to spend towards the neighborhood road program.

Mayor Csordas noted he would like their ideas or items of concern on the budget with no discussion on the first round. Then everyone will know the general overview of Council. Mayor Csordas noted the budget document was great.

Mayor Pro Tem Landry commented that the administration put a lot of time into the budget and it was put together very well and the City manager and staff is to be commended. Regarding public safety he agreed with upgrading fire stations 1, 2 and 3 and providing a safe environment for our fire personnel. He didnít see a lot for the Police Department. Our long term staffing plan calls for 4 police officers and there isnít any in this budget. He did see something about forfeiture funds but didnít know a lot about them. The City as a whole is not at liberty because there is a continuing law enforcement investigation going on and the public needs to know that because of the investigation we are not at liberty to be publishing some of these facts and figures. Council cannot give information out piecemeal because of their concern for Novi officers and officers around the United States. He would like to have an executive session with the Chief present to get a little more information on the forfeiture funds because this currently canít be addressed for safety reasons. He would certainly like to add police officers but has heard that forfeiture funds canít be used to add personnel for greater than one year and he would like to know more about that. Regarding vehicles he said he did not see any detective vehicles here. Regarding the roads, he felt that Mr. Mutch raised a good point. He thanked the school district for helping with the completion of the 11 Mile sidewalk. He agreed that that Arcadia, Venetian and Center streets need to be done. Center Street for sure needed to be done as it is more than just a neighborhood street. As he looked at city services he felt we were heavy on fleet replacement vehicles but have been light in the past such as the Vactor Pad, patch mobile, etc. He was not in favor of cutting conferences and workshops and felt that they are necessary. He didnít know how any organization could expect their people to get better at what they do without educating them. It is also a way to motivate them and get new ideas.

Mayor Pro Landry asked what the hand drafted numbers in the blue book were. Mr. Helwig said they had pretty much held the line this current year as the coming fiscal year. The departments were asked to keep the costs the same as last year when they submitted their plans. They had done some scratching on that and that and thatís what the hand written numbers are. These plans need to be flexible plans. We have homeland security issues that come up in the current year and with the Council focus on pension and healthcare reductions and many other situations coming up during the year. He wants to propose living within the same dollar amount but giving the directors some flexibility. They are not held to that plan. We need to have a more progressive system where we can adapt to the needs that come up. Mr. Helwig noted that the

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amount of money compared to his first year here is down in the $50,000 plus compared to $120,000 plus excluding police training and so forth. It has been reduced by more

than half. Itís not helping to go without training long term. There are other ways to acquire the knowledge as suggested. They realize this is a cost containment issue.

Mayor Pro Tem Landry said at one point in the past Council announced they were limiting conferences and workshops to those necessary to maintain certification. He asked if there was more than that in this budget. Mayor Csordas reminded Council that discussion would take place later. Parks Recreation and Forestry he was in support of ADA improvement but felt they were heavy on irrigation. He noted the $32,000 for Community Sports Park and Power Park would complete the job but thought the parks foundation should do things like this. If we are going to look at cutting the budget this is one area he would cut. He would support it because it would complete the job.

He was absolutely in favor of software for online registration. If it abolishes one position, that is also good. He questioned why there was nothing about senior transportation. Regarding Fiscal Management and IT software he noted they have talked about that every year and this must absolutely be done this year. A hotbed topic will be retirees and whether there will be a COLA adjustment. On this subject he shared the Mayorís theory about any increase and not saddling future Councils with financial burdens. If we are going to tackle that we have to find the money to pay for that now. We are not in crisis mode or in financial trouble as this isnít anything new. We have to be wise and have to invest. He noted the City of Novi has money but do we want to spend it or do we want to save for the future. He wanted to be honest with everybody. If we have the money but donít want to spend it because we want to invest then letís say that.

Member Lorenzo complimented Mr. Helwig and staff on a very sound budget proposal. She objected to the inclusion of the goals in the white book because they werenít approved with 5 votes of Council and felt it inappropriate to include them. Regarding the fiscal analysis we know itís only a matter of time that this city will feel the affects of Headlee and Proposal A and state shared revenues. Today there is money in this budget but in a couple of years Council will have to go back to the taxpayer and ask if they wish to continue at the level of today of 10.5416 mills. That is what the Fiscal Analysis is based on and it says with 10.5416 mills we would not be able to add staff unless thereís attrition, capital would be very limited, vehicle purchases would be limited and we need to keep that in mind. Today, we do have money, but the time is coming that we will have to go back to the taxpayers. What we do in terms of good faith to the taxpayer is going to be extremely important. When tax millage rates start decreasing it will be a huge challenge to convince the taxpayer to increase their millage rate back up to 10.5416. She thought taxpayers would appreciate their taxes are finally being reduced.

Regarding budget assumptions this year she felt the fiscal analysis didnít consider any decrease in state shared revenues for the 05-06 budget year and neither did this budget. If we have a 5% decrease in state shared revenues for 05-06 the way this is proposed we will have to dip into the Rainy Day funds of a fund balance of approximately $196,299. She was not sure it was wise to spend that money now and

 

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not keep it aside in contingency for the possible decrease of state shared revenues in this upcoming fiscal year. Police vehicles are not in the budget that by contract we have

to purchase each year. She was concerned because if the forfeiture funds donít come in time they would have to use monies out of the fund balance. She thought it would be wise to put that money in contingency. She could not support a COLA for retirees which are another item not included in the budget and would probably be several hundred thousand dollars. She agreed with Mayor Pro Tem Landry that the decision had to be made today regarding 2005 and 2006. There are no union obligations to do so and the City of Novi has been generous in the past but the present has financial limitations and uncertainties. Itís not fiscally prudent to give it to the retirees. The Federal government gives cost of living adjustments to retirees and thatís the appropriate entity to do that.

She already has focused on the spending policy that needs more discipline with regard to the fund balance and the fiscal pledge to the taxpayers. She also had concerned about the amount proposed for annual raises and salary adjustments. That needs to be discussed and Council needs to come to an agreeable level.

The City Manager will be departing before another budget and she wants a firm date from him today. He said it would be February 2006 during his evaluation this year and if that is the case she would propose to put only 9 months salary into the City manager line item with the rest going into contingency since we donít know who the next City Manager will be or whether he/she would have the level of experience, educational background or be as seasoned as Mr. Helwig was. Member Lorenzo said she has been very vocal as to whether three administrators were needed in this city. Mr. Klaver has decided to retire this year and the recommendation from the City Manager is to eliminate that position and she appreciates that. The Fiscal analysis doesnít look at any additional staff and she looks at the elimination of the COO position as an opportunity this year to add or look at the maximum of personnel for the city. She would like to add at least one police officer this year. She didnít see how two could be added even if the forfeiture funds came through because we have enough money given the $149,781 savings from the COO position but we do not have $212,000 going forward into the future. Her concern was even if the first years salary was paid by forfeiture funds Council would have to come up with the money next year or the year after. In order to do that fund balance or capital would have to be used. She would like to find the funds to add one police officer and one fire protection officer. She had looked at areas she thought could be reduced particularly going on to capital improvements she would be more in favor of less capital improvements in the Parks and Recreation area and possibly finding the money for the fire protection officer.

Member Lorenzo would also like to see some of the Parks and Recreation money go to additional fire department service improvement requests. She had $68,000 of additional requests which would be the black top seal at Stations 2 and 3, Opticom system, fire pagers, fire and EMS training materials, defined space rescue training and a Knox box system. She said she was a big proponent last year to add to Parks and Recreation. However, this year is different because we are taking a proactive approach with the naming rights policy to try to raise additional non-tax funds to fund capital improvements for Parks and Recreation. Member Lorenzo said public safety must come first. She couldnít remember when they spent more on capital and some of it is because the COO position elimination was applied to capital and also the police

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vehicles. She noted they had not looked at decreases in state shared revenues this year so we have all this money in capital that we are spending and it is sort of this last hurrah.

Member Lorenzo thought if the administration thought the purchase of software for Parks and Recreation was such a good idea why wasnít the Parks and Recreation position that was recently open because of a retired employee made into a part time position. She saw a golden opportunity if the position couldnít be completely eliminated to put in a part time position and purchase the software. She was concerned the City Manager didnít come forward with that as consideration for City Council. Now we are saying lets spend $35,000 with the hopes that maybe a position could be eliminated next year. Her first thought was that this might be a better item for the naming rights policy to be a first priority. Once we approve the naming rights and start additional revenues for the sale of naming rights the first $35,000 should go for the software. Other than that, she has a real concern about doing this now. She might be convinced to do this is if there was a commitment to remove a position from Parks and Recreation. She would like to see the numbers if a position were eliminated and would like more information on the software and what it will do for the city.

Conferences and workshops Ė Member Lorenzo noted she would have to be convinced of this because amendments came to Council throughout the year. She disagreed with the previous speaker because a lot of information is on the web and knowledge could be gained communicating with other communities by e-mail. She would like more information on what has been implemented from those conference and workshops employees and administration have attended.

Member Lorenzo asked if the Vactor Pad could be paid from water and sewer funds since it is for the sewer. If so, that would give us $50,000 toward the fire protection officer. She will have difficulty agreeing to pay $11,000 toward the 50ís festival this year. It is a private entity and they raise their own funds. She had articles from the newspaper that Waterford Township canceled their summer fest because of budgetary uncertainties. In Ferndale they are thinking about scaling back the amount of money they give toward the Dream Cruise. A lot of communities are doing this and recognizing that private entities are going to have to come up with funds on their own to support these festivals.

Member Nagy thanked the administration for a very informative and comprehensive budget and acknowledged their hard work. She believed they shouldnít look at the budget as doom and gloom but must be realistic. It doesnít appear the state will recover soon. She would like to project 2-4 years down the road.

She felt that utilizing the $268,000 for road funds as suggested by Member Lorenzo was a good idea. Her greatest concern is public safety and it has been sorely lacking in regard to funds. She toured the fire stations and felt the stations and the department as a whole was in dire need of improvements. There has been a lack of planning that as the city grew that department would be increased accordingly. The buildings are not adequate for the size of our city and she would like to have a five year plan for improvements. She appreciates that the administration has put in added items in this budget for the fire stations but she felt there were other improvements that could be

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provided in addition to the budget and the money could be found. She felt the Opticom system was important and already in place. Pagers are also exceedingly important as well as the Knox box locking system and confined space training. The fire fighters are rescuers in confined spaces and they need this training. She wanted to add these

items. She said adding another fire fighter is very important as in the past 11 years the number of fire calls went up 93% and thatís important to the safety and welfare of the residents and businesses. She would like to implement that.

She would like to finish the irrigation at Community Sports Park but wait on Power Park. She felt Member Lorenzo had a good idea in regard to the Software for Parks and Recreation that the naming rights could provide revenue. Regarding the DPW and the Vactor Pad she felt the funds could come from the water and sewer funds. She would like to add one firefighter and one policeman.

Member Nagy said it is important to review the health care costs. She would like to see how they could find the best plan because the cost is going up. With regard to the retirees, she recalled the Mayor having a good point that since its inception they have had an increase of 72%. Since there is no contract obligating the City to COLA she would not support an increase. She is also concerned about forfeiture funds and detective vehicles but her biggest concern is for the safety of our residents. She noted that the IT software is absolutely necessary. Regarding conferences and workshops only the critical or essential needs should be met.

Member Nagy was very concerned that our expenditures exceeded our revenue but we could not help that. Her second biggest concern is the roads. Itís important to look at asphalt with curb and gutters for long term planning. Any extra that we have she wanted to see put into neighborhood roads. She doesnít want the residents to be ignored. She agrees with ADA improvements and finishing Community Sports Park. She liked the recommendation of Member Lorenzo. She liked the idea of taking the $268,000 and placing that in neighborhood roads or reducing the $700,000 we are lacking with Headlee.

Member Paul appreciated everyoneís comments. As promised to the taxpayers when elected she would look at three subjects. The first subject was public safety, second roads, infrastructure and timing of roads and third Parks and Recreation. She was disappointed in how the goal sessions went because public safety and roads was not the number one priority so she did not support those goals. The contingency plan is an excellent one and thought that that putting away money we may be lacking was a good savings plan. Since there are a lot of unknowns with state shared revenue she would support putting money aside in a contingency fund for that. The contingency plan for the police vehicles is a must and she wanted to put money aside to do that. She wanted to know how many vehicles for police we should have for each budget cycle. To move three months salary out of the City Managerís position because he is leaving in February is a good plan because we donít know what experienced personnel will come forward. With the money saved by the elimination of COO position she would like to see a fire protection and a police officer put in place plus two sergeants who would be on 12 hour shifts. Last year she supported a police officer and Council added full time fire protection positions to cover the department through the evening hours and that should be continued. She also toured the fire department and was stunned at how

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many needs are in the department. There are three facilities that cannot handle female employees and we have six female firefighters. We have a big problem and we canít fix it at this time and might have to go to the taxpayers. With that awareness she wanted to pick at the things Council can control. The blacktop seal for Stations 2 and 3 is

imperative. Station 1ís driveway is in deplorable condition, the catch basin has fallen, and sidewalks are not wide enough for wheelchairs with the hole that is missing on the corner. There are cracks and divots being repaired but they donít sustain our winter weather. The weight of the fire trucks has deteriorated that driveway. She would like clarification on how these things will be accomplished. In her nursing experience she felt that when in a confined space training is essential and the employees of this fire department need to have the training to rescue people from fires. The Opticom system is the traffic lightís sensor that would enable fire trucks to speed through the light during an emergency and it is imperative that this project be finished. Member Paul said she needs clarification on the fire pagers and the Knox box training.

Regarding the 50ís festival it is a private entity and a private foundation. We didnít give money to the Parks foundation and she would not give $11,000 to the 50ís festival.

Roads are a commitment she made to Center, Arcadia and Venetia Court. To put money into contingency funds for roads is a must. Regarding the DPW, the Vactor Pad is also a must and public safety issue. She also wondered if water and sewer funds could be used for that and asked for clarification of that. As for forfeiture funds this contingency plan for the vehicles and money she already stated that it be put aside.

Member Paul stated retirees built this city and she appreciated their contributions. When they were employees they put some monies into a program for their pension, which was less than 1%. She said they have had a 72% increase over time and she will not support an increase at this time.

Parks and Recreation ĖMember Paul would like to complete the Community Sports Park irrigation in the fall and would like to do the ADA improvements. However, she questioned $60,000 and thought she would like to see the cost of some of these items. She wanted to hear more about the software because it went from $25,000 to $35,000 and thought there was something about connecting to all parks. She asked why we had a retiree in the front desk area of Parks and Recreation and that is the area that may be replaced if we had the software. If that happened, why didnít we look at the idea of a part time person. She wanted rationale for what Council would like to do with that position. She wanted Council to look at that as a whole in the future because in two years we might have to layoff employees or go to the taxpayers for a millage to sustain where we are at. She doesnít want to automatically replace a person and then have to lay off a police officer or fire fighter. She felt a golden opportunity was missed and she would like to discuss this further.

Member Gatt thanked the administration for a wonderful budget presentation and noted the worker bees did all the work and presented the information to the City manager. The only real reason government exists is for public safety and in our government public safety is police, fire and DPW. He was disappointed in the budget when it came to police and fire. He didnít know how much money was in the forfeiture fund but knew it was an ongoing investigation. He supports the call for an executive session on the

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forfeiture funds. He stated he would not support personnel costs coming from the forfeiture funds for the police because one year later we are in a dilemma as to how we are going to pay for the personnel. Those funds should be used to build monuments like buildings and to something that is more permanent. He would also consider vehicle

purchases. He would support the improvements to the fire department and felt they needed to be taken care of now. He was disappointed at the number two goal in the short term cluster, to improve the senior citizen transportation and to add a coordinator, was not addressed. He thought the coordinator should be a full time position. Senior citizens are just as important as the youth and money and time has been devoted to the youth by improving the parks and the recreation. The senior citizens have a great need for a coordinator and for better transportation. Our transportation is provided by Providence Hospital and that well could dry up some day and he didnít see why the city couldnít contribute a little more.

Member Gatt agreed with Mayor Csordas that health care and other employee benefits have to be addressed. Last year he asked the administration several times to provide figures comparing a defined benefit pension program versus the defined contribution program. He thought it was time to look at pension, health care, vacation, sick time and all the benefits our employees enjoy. He wanted to make it perfectly clear that he would be looking at future employees because current employees have been hired with the promise of certain benefits such as the MERS pension, vacation, sick and all the other stuff that they have been given. However, itís time that the administration starts looking toward the future and stop providing these benefits for new employees. Member Gatt understood that this is a union shop and that they deal with union employees but there are also non-union employees. The time to start is July1 this year for non-union employees and come up with a benefit program that is more modest and speaks to financial responsibility. It is time for us to make a fiscal pledge. The biggest cost in the budget is employees. Itís time to stop and move forward with a change to these costs. Promises made and promises kept or a fiscal pledge with regard to COLA for retirees. He was there with Mr. Klaver negotiating when promises were made to employees in the past that said you take this package weíre going to give you and donít worry about a COLA because looking back over the last 20 years the City Council has provided their retirees with a 2% cost of living adjustment and 2% now in relation to our budget today is 1%. He didnít think it was asking too much of any city government to pledge 1% to the people who built the city. Promises made and promises kept. Fiscal pledge - we the city made a pledge to the employees of the past that you take this package, you do your job and the City Council will take care of you. He realized that some look at him but he is the anomaly. He retired and got a full time job while most employees live on their pension and to not give them a modest cost of living adjustment is hurting them.

Member Paul called a point of order and asked Mayor Csordas if a retiree could discuss this at the Council table when they would be receiving the benefits? Mayor Csordas said it is a moral and a legal issue and the attorneyís were not present so he was going to let Member Gatt make that decision.

Member Gatt said he has made the decision and he believed that he could discuss it. He said when he was elected, everyone knew he was a previous employee, and a retiree and that he would benefit. He didnít understand why Council is ready to make

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promises to our taxpayers, and most of the retirees are taxpayers, but are not ready to fulfill promises made to prior employees.

Member Gatt felt that the $11,000 for the 50ís festival was peanuts compared to what it brought into the city and the good will it brings to the city. To compare it to a park foundation is comparing apples and oranges. The parks get a lot of money from the city now. He said he was here when it started as a very small community event. The festival has grown and brought in people to the City of Novi. If the city was smart 10, 12 or 15 years ago that Dream Cruise on Woodward wouldnít be where it is today because we started that cruise. We limited ourselves with small time thinking to not want to support a community event like that. Novi should have a 50ís Festival week where businesses are allowed to put signs out and ordinances are abated for the week. It is a fun time for the city just like it is for the Woodward Dream Cruise. A lot of money comes into the city with a lot of good PR.

Member Capello stated the format was very easy to follow. He disagreed with Member Lorenzo. Before he opened these books he pulled the policy resolution for short term and long term goals. Coming from administration his first thought was how goals can be accomplished without the budgeting for them and soon realized that it was done for us. He said Member Paul was at the goal setting session but didnít vote for the goals but the first goal was to continue with the neighborhood road improvement program without obtaining another road bond and he thought she was in favor of that. He didnít see how she was totally against the goals. Also under the long term goals the second goal is to implement an annual plan to add fire and police personnel and most of Council concurred with that and he also wanted to add another police officer and fire personnel.

He was disappointed that there was nothing budgeted for senior transportation and a coordinator. Also, there was nothing budgeted for the eighth short term goal to maintain and repair city hall streetscapes and entranceways. However, on the eleventh short term goal money was allocated to water the ballparks. He was embarrassed when developers come into the city and see the entranceway coming into the city and there is no landscaping. If you look at what our city is like and at what the developers are doing, our City needs to re-do the entranceway at the very least. He thought all of the concrete in front should be torn up and redone with some stamped concrete and make the entrance to the city presentable.

The building department is over-worked and they need more than just vehicles; they need staff. They are the most over-worked in the city. There were a couple line items for another inspector and a plumbing inspector but they never made it to the budget. Mr. Saven needs help and Member Capello said he is in favor of giving him what ever additional employees he thinks he needs. He suggested looking at the addition cost and looking at the fees we are charging for these inspectors and increase our fees to pay for this. One way or another we need to get Mr. Saven some relief.

Member Capello noted one goal was to update the fleet vehicles and asked if there was any overlap. Parks and Recreation is going to get pickup trucks and snow plows and the DPWís needs are different in summer and winter and he thought there should be some overlapping of vehicles. The building department is looking at the Jeep Liberty

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but maybe a pickup truck could be bought for the same cost and be utilized for other purposes. If overlapping of vehicles is possible everybody would be satisfied at less cost.

Member Capello had already said he was in favor of the police officer and additional fire department personnel. But he didnít like that we are using the drug forfeiture money and not budgeting for things that we have to budget for. He would like to have an executive session during the first half hour of the next budget meeting to tell us what is going on with the forfeiture funds. He doesnít want to rely on those funds to pay for any items that need to be budgeted.

He is 100% in favor of funding COLA for the retirees. This city has made a moral commitment to them and it has been kept over the past years by giving them their increase. We have to do it. To sit here now and say we have money but donít want to give it to them because we are not obligated in writing is extremely unfair. He would be in favor of the 2% and taking money and investing it so that we have the continual funds to pay it rather then having to budget it every year. Do it this year with the 2% and that amount will be reduced as attrition happens.

Member Capello felt that to only budget for 9 months when we know we will hire another City Manager is absurd. He thought Mr. Helwig is worth more than what he is being paid as it is. He would not want to end up budgeting nine months for Mr. Helwig and then coming in with a lower salary for the next City Manager. We need someone of the same quality person as Mr. Helwig and if we reduce the salary we are not going to get that person. We need to attract them with money and benefits and it is absurd not to budget for that.

He agrees that the $35,000 software is needed for Parks and Recreation but asked if it could be included with the finance department, police department etc. as one package now as opposed to eight or nine months from now.

Regarding conferences and workshops he said he understood there was a lot of information on the internet but it is different from going to a conference or seminar. He wanted to see more money allocated for these but would like direction on types that would be approved. We need to figure out other ways to increase revenues without increasing the millage and there might be a conference somewhere to provide that information. The City Assessor Glenn Lemmon attends conferences and seminars for his licensing. He is the President of the Association this year and you are not going to get to that status by communicating on the internet. Mr. Lemmon can communicate with Council and bring back valuable information for the betterment of our city.

The 50ís festival is a non-profit organization only for purposes so they have an entity to enter into contracts with. They are funded by income from the show including some advertising. It is a city function. It started with and outgrew the Chamber of Commerce. It is run by David Landry, Lori Kapelczak and Tom Marcus. It is run by our local citizens and really is a city event. Not to give $11,000 to make this event greater is beyond him. He didnít understand how anyone would think money was being given to a private entity. He agreed with Member Gatt that it should be a week long event. Fountain Walk is a great venue and they will be doing more things during the day to attract more

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families. When not raising money for a concert the stage is used by the kids for dancing and for their bands. This is a community event and when it was at the Expo Center they had two different bands. They had the kidís activities on one side and the adults on the other side. To say it is not a community event is absurd.

Member Capello noted he was in favor of the roads. Itís a great idea to replace the concrete roads with asphalt and thought it was a great idea for Center Street. Member Capello suggested using the broken concrete as a base for the new asphalt. He asked that Council determine a time table for improving Beck Road from 8 Mile to 9 Mile. Also to determine when the entire road should be done and whether it is worth spending $500,000 now or in the future to expand the entire road from 8 Mile to Grand River.

Member Capello thought it would be awesome for the kids to be able to ride their bikes to Parkview Middle School. We have to keep in mind that Bill Bowman and Singh Development are talking about developing two stretches east of the Kingís home and across the street and he would not want to put the sidewalk in this year only to find out that Singh had to put it in next year. He asked for a time frame of when the developers would be ready and when they would have to put the sidewalk in. Worse case scenario lets put it one side of the road and let them pick up the other side. On the east side of Beck the development is completed so we wonít have the same issue there as we do on the west side.

Mayor Csordas stated the budget was in such a great form that he would accept a motion to support it in its current state. That is not going to happen tonight but it is very good and addresses all the things Council requested.

State shared revenue he believed was going to definitely be reduced. The fiscal analysis is a very important document and we need to watch that. Novi is still strong and continues to grow. We are a very fortunate city because we do have a surplus and we do have growth. We donít want to mask spending related to rising costs, negotiated collective bargaining agreements and COLA expenses by saying that money is always going to be there because it is not going to be. We need to know that curve is going to fluctuate and what we canít do is commit today to future financial disasters. We shouldnít commit money for future programs that canít be covered.

He noted it was very prudent the way the forfeiture funds were presented with memos from Chief Shaeffer. He appreciated the section in the budget that addresses all of the needs. He thought they had a one time unique opportunity in this budget session to take advantage of this crazy, wild opportunity of funds. He has seen some sign off documents regarding some of that money coming and he saw the approval that 34% of the IT system is there. He believed it would be coming in the next fiscal year and he liked that.

Mayor Csordas said regarding personnel and other issues one of the goals is the unfunded post retirement obligations. Currently we have a $25,000,000 deficit so we have $25,000,000 worth of unfunded post retirement obligations. Older cities and companies are being crushed by these negotiated future expenses. He works on the healthcare plans for a number of other cities and they are all in dire, dire need. This Council does not want to take our city in the direction of just about every other city. We

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have such a unique opportunity of seeing the world collapsing around us and we continue to be successful and grow. We can actually have an impact and save benefits for the current and future employees of this city and not impose onerous future taxes.

Mayor Csordas absolutely supports the public safety and fire department upgrades. He said he supports everything in the budget and supports nothing over and above the budget. He agrees with no new police officers or fire fighters and thought there was time to look at that. It is a unique opportunity to bring on the police staff for one year with drug forfeiture funds. Of course it has totally flip flopped from his original position when this deal, figuratively speaking, went down and we had this summary of how these funds could be used. It was recommended that it not be used to fund one officer because the position would only be funded for one year but now you have other years to be concerned about. The beauty here is we want to add these people and we have the opportunity to take these forfeiture funds to do that contrary to what the original recommendation was and do exactly what we wanted to do anyway which was to add police. He supported no new people in the budget.

He appreciated the support on Conferences and workshops. There is nothing like going to a conference or workshop and socializing with associates in your industry. He doesnít know if anything has been implemented from that but suspects some things have been implemented. There is a lot of value to attending these workshops, seminars and annual conferences to find out what associates in other cities are dealing with. It would be nice to see our city employees inter-mingling with other cities employees who are facing reductions in force, cuts in benefits, increase in taxes, etc. and for them to come back with information about how they are dealing with the same things we are.

Senior transportation is a goal but he supported the budget in its current state. He would need to be convinced that additional spending was needed.

Mayor Csordas said COLA expenses are a very emotional issue and there is no question that there was a verbal promise. It is not negotiated but if this group wants to fund cost of living he would never support it out of future expenses. If Council wants to do that it would have to be taken out of the budget now. He would not support financing future benefits or wages. He thought financing future benefits was exactly how companies and cities get in trouble. He noted that GM, Ford and Chrysler are dealing with 40 years of bad faith negotiations on health benefits that they are now saying are crushing their companies. They negotiated those benefits and now want to dump it on the American taxpayers and future Councils of this city.

Police vehicles are not in the budget but he thought it would be a good move because of this one time opportunity. He agreed with previous speakers referring to an executive session. He spoke with Mr. Helwig about that and there are some complications but if we can do that and not jeopardize the Chief and police departmentís good work we should do that. However, he didnít want to do anything that would jeopardize those funds and wanted a legal opinion about discussing this in executive session and direction from the Chief on that.

Mayor Csordas thanked Craig Klaver for his many years of great work for the city. However, regarding the elimination of COO position, he didnít know if he wanted to turn

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that money around to additional staff because it would give us an opportunity to go forward.

There has also been a lot of discussion on the $11,000 for the 50ís Festival as it brings a lot of taxes and increased spending in local businesses to the city. He would support the $11,000 for the festival as it is a very positive and good thing for the city.

Mayor Csordas agreed with Member Nagyís comment not to focus on doom and gloom for the city as the city could not be in a better position. This is a surplus budget and we are obligated to maintain that surplus for the residence of the city and future Councils.

This budget includes upgrades to fire department facilities and he thought it was prudent and supports that.

Mayor Csordas said regarding health care costs there are many other options the City of Novi could do. We are bound by negotiated agreements and noted the trend in health care is health savings accounts and high deductible health plans. This is very good for businesses and cities to consider but our hands are tied on that. Drug spend is the largest increasing expense in health care benefits in our country today and it is only going to get worse. There was a revision in the co-payments for the administrative staff and that helped a lot and will help to preserve their benefits. He doesnít support the COLA adjustment for retirees.

In this report of general fund expenditures the biggest line item is staffing. We are spending appropriately on public safety an amount that exceeds any other department and the cityís commitment is undisputable. Labor and benefits are the two biggest line items in any budget but this city has made a significant commitment to outstanding public safety and our police and fire departments are second to none. We donít want to over staff and cripple ourselves. One of the goals was to maintain minimum staffing levels. Letís set a maximum number of staff and donít go over that so that when we build out in 2010 or 2015 and the curve goes down it canít be denied that we need to make prudent decisions right now that will eliminate the need for reductions in force.

He supports more training for public safety, police and fire. He has experience with fighting fires in confined spaces while in the Navy. He supports the training, particularly for fire department. They need every advantage they can get.

He was very impressed by the comments of Council and it was great to get everything on the table. The proposed software package for $35,000 for Parks and Recreation and tying it into retiree attrition it would be good to bring a vacant position to City Council to explain whether it needed to be replaced. If we can reduce further personnel additions with technology that is a very good thing. The company he works for does this and not to cut personnel but to reduce the need for future personnel. We need to be committed to the employees of the city and by watching future hiring we can enhance that commitment by not causing future stress by reductions in staff.

Mayor Csordas agreed with Member Capello to look at the goals that we should place goal #2 as #2 and not number 8. He also agreed that converting the city to asphalt roads made sense. He noted it was a great idea that Member Capello had regarding Beck Road and Council should take a look at the cost of doing the entire road by

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widening it to 5 lanes. It was very gratifying to know how like minded the associates are. He thanked everyone.

Member Capello thought that since information was needed to come back to Council he wondered how much more discussion would be beneficial today. Member Paul noted she needed to ask questions of Council and staff in order to clarify items and not wait until the next week. Mayor Csordas agreed and there was consensus of Council to come back at 12:30 p.m. and adjourn by 2 p.m. and no more than 1 motion per person. Council recessed at 11:42 p.m.

Mayor Csordas called the meeting back to order at 12:30 p.m.

Member Capello noted that as far as the senior coordinator, Mr. Klaver had informed him that there are already two part time people that make up one full time person for that position so the coordinator position did not need to be funded. So the only remaining issue would be to provide for the addition of one eight passenger senior van with a lift. He would like to add another van and asked for the cost. Ms. Smith-Roy said she would get back to him. He thought the seniors were entitled to a COLA but knew there wouldnít be support for it so he wouldnít push the issue in the budget. It could be addressed independently by coming before the Council as they did last year. He asked Mr. Helwig for a list to identify the vehicles needed, for what departments and their costs. Mr. Helwig said it was uppermost in their thoughts as to how they could get the most out of the vehicles and help out particularly with winter maintenance. They will document that information for Council. He thought the City Managerís salary should remain in the budget for the entire year because it would be spent on Mr. Helwig and the new City Manager. Regarding conferences and workshops he thought a certain amount of money could be budgeted with the caveat that before anyone non-licensed went it had to provide council with who wants to go, what they will obtain and if it wonít benefit the city then donít spend the money.

He felt there was misinformation concerning the 50ís Festival. $11,000 is not actually an $11,000 check the city writes. Itís just the way they budget the overtime for police officers, DPW workers. Mr. Klaver said itís all in-kind for supplies, running water lines and that type of thing. Member Capello said it should be a non-issue as it doesnít need to be budgeted. Roads and sidewalks canít be addressed now because information is needed for Beck Road, sidewalks on 11 Mile Road and how quickly other developments are going to come in. Mr. Helwig noted there are a number of reasons that come together for a recommendation to come from him to Council. On Beck Road there is the practical need from Nine Mile south, it is grossly deteriorating. A lot of money will have to be spent as an interim fix so hence the proposal to rehabilitate or reconstruct, which is also in there to force the issue because it didnít make the cut in the goals. He said they need a policy decision from Council as to whether portions of that road should be widened. Member Capello thought Beck Road would eventually have to be widened five lanes and he hoped it would be as nice as Wayne County has done having a median. It needs to be widened because we canít get out on Beck Road now. If we start from 8 to 9 Mile Roads and widen that area first he would rather take the $500,000 and put it toward the cost of doing the whole road reconstruction. He asked for an estimated cost to do that at the next budget hearing if there was consensus of council.

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Member Gatt noted that regarding the senior coordinator, with 2 part time equal to the full time, he would still like to speak to Kathy Crawford before the next budget meeting. Mr. Klaver told him that no senior goes without transportation so if that is the case he would drop the request for coordinator. He would still like the vehicle for senior transportation as Providence Hospital would not always be our savior in that regard.

Regarding Police and Fire Department he was informed by the Deputy Fire Chief about a progressive matching grant that just became available for firefighters. He thought council might want to look into that. He would not be in favor of using forfeiture funds for hiring police personnel. He felt it should come out of the general fund and would like to see one police officer and one firefighter hired this year. Member Gatt said the benefit issue has to be addressed and it has to start with a non-union staff and then it has to grow. Management has to direct Ms. Gronlund-Fox to make that a priority issue when negotiation begins with the Teamsters and Dispatch.

Member Gatt agreed with Member Capello that the City Managerís salary needs to be in place to attract a candidate with Mr. Helwigís credentials. Having been an employee of this city he wanted council to know that conferences and workshops do work. As a DARE officer he was sent to the national DARE conference many times and came back with a host of teaching ideas and methodology that were implemented and made the DARE program in the city grow. The contacts made while traveling are valuable and he thought it should be allocated and up to the City Manager to decide who should go where and whether it would be worthwhile. We donít write a check to the 50ís Festival and the $11,000 is for salaries and a few other incidental staff costs. He is in favor of the roads recommendations as something has to be done. COLA for retirees he sees as unsupported and therefore will not discuss further.

Member Paul couldnít support the five lane widening for Beck Road. She could envision a middle turn lane all the way down Beck Road but we are talking about land acquisition. Right now we are talking about a $500,000 repair job on Nine Mile to the city limits which is approximately 8 12 miles. So we are talking about a ĺ of a mile road costing a half a million dollars. If adding land acquisition and a boulevard we are going to be adding a lot more cost and we have no idea of land acquisition until we get into it. If looking at a long term plan of three lanes she could support that. She also noted that getting that close to some of the homes on Beck Road would cause a stir amongst those residents.

Transportation vehicle for seniors she could not support because of vehicle requests from other departments. She would like to take the 10 and 15 year old vehicles and replace those first. She would like to use the vehicle that Providence Hospital is so generously offering. The fire department grant would be wonderful and she would like to hear more about that and what it is for. There is a large amount of forfeiture funds and she would support having an executive session. She supports Mayor Csordas in waiting for the addition of a police officer when we have the forfeiture funds and just having the one year relief from the forfeiture funds out of our general budget and then support the general fund money for that officer in the future. She also supported the training for the Fire Department. She wouldnít support adding someone to the building

 

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department because Council just added a part time position in the last 3-4 months. DPW and Parks and Recreation did a great job enhancing the front entrance to city hall when they closed off the front entrance. She would like to have our staff landscaper come up with a plan to enhance this area. We have some tree fund money and some of it could be put into the landscaping and enhance the area. The DPW and Parks and Recreation departments could complete the work on their off times.

She understood that the 50ís Festival is foundation and they bring people into the city but they are using our services. She still has a problem giving $11,000 worth of in-kind services to this private entity and would not support this item. Regarding sidewalks she would like to know a little more about the schools contribution and the interest of the schools in sharing sidewalk plans. Mr. Helwig noted on page 38 in the white budget book under roads, it shows proceeding from Taft Road west, the school will construct that gap just west of Taft Road proceeding west on 11 Mile. Itís proposed to have the city would construct on the south side, to finish the gap and then only on one side of the road connecting with what already exits down by the middle school on the north side of the road that extensive link from Beck Road over to where it is already developed. Thatís what the $325,000 would buy us and the schools are cooperating on this.

Member Paul noted the fields were by the middle school on the north side of the road and if there is going to be development on that side she thought they could wait on this section. On the south side between Wixom and Beck there is a large development that is school property and that is on the south side. She suggested looking at other areas around the schools to enhance. She suggested looking at Northville schools in our community to do the same thing. She also asked about Parkview Elementary and west of there before Walden Woods. She would like to finish that section by Parkview Elementary and leave off the corridor between Wixom and Beck Road. Mr. Helwig said that was their intention and the other section was $275,000 and perhaps we can bring back some alternatives for council consideration. She would like to see the schoolís commitment for the sidewalk at Parkview Elementary.

Member Capello stated the walk stops near Wildwoods and picks up again at the school. Mr. Helwig said it would go all the way. Member Paul asked if it was appropriate to have the vactor pad paid for out of water and sewer funds? Mrs. Smith-Roy stated it could be done with a 50-50 program between the drain fund and water and sewer fund. Member Paul noted that would be $50,000 back into the general fund and that could go to areas she thought were important for the fire department which totaled about $68,000. So $50,000 would be made up for the vactor pad and it would go to the blacktop sealing for Stations 2 and 3, finish the Opticom system for safety purposes fire pagers, confined space entry training and the Knox box system. These items came to $68,000. Almost that entire amount is covered with the 50ís Festival money and the money from the vactor pad. Member Paul asked about the grant money. Chief Lenaghan noted it would be possible to defer 10% of one position for the first year but would save the city over four years almost 70% of the cost of the employee. Member Paul asked about the Opticom and which intersections needed it. Chief Lenaghan noted this program has been on going over the past two years and we are looking for two more intersections. Itís a signal that is a strobe that operated on top of the fire trucks and it changes the signal so that emergency vehicles can go through them. Two intersections are being asked for this year. New intersections already have this system as new signals are installed by the County. Chief Lenaghan said the Knox Box is put on

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a business and it would contain the MSDS, hazardous chemical sheets, and the key to the building, to enable the department get unto the building and to know what they will encounter in the fire. The key to the Knox Box is kept on the truck. It is a limited entry system. Member Paulís main concerns would be the Opticom System, fire pagers and confined space training. If anyone else wanted to talk about Knox Box she would like to hear more comments about that. She looked forward to the closing of the sidewalk gaps and looks forward to a joint venture from the school right in from of Parkview. She knew that right on the front of the building it is void as well as just about 100 yards to the west of it from Parkviewís corner over. It is a new school and she didnít understand why they didnít put the sidewalk in when they built the school.

Member Nagy stated she made a commitment during her campaign for safety, health and welfare for our city, residents, taxpayers and business people. Therefore, she will be in full support of everything for the fire department including an additional fire fighter with the pending grant. She also would support the Opticom system, pagers, Knox box and the training. She thought all were crucial. She would be in favor of the neighborhood road programs and not only the ones mentioned but would like to find more money for that program. She had a conversation with Mr. Helwig during the recess and she is not in favor of widening Beck Road to more than two lanes with a left hand turn lane. One of the reasons is that a portion of Beck Road is totally residential and if you lived there and we acquired land, we would be in peopleís side yards or front yards or their beautiful subdivision entrance. She didnít want to give more access to these homes with the increase of crime. Member Nagy asked Mr. Helwig to comment. Mr. Helwig said this is a very important policy question for the community. Do you want to widen Beck Road and if so why? There has been the debate in the community about Ten Mile and he knew some still wanted to widen Ten Mile. He said to have widened Ten Mile to the extent of a Grand River Avenue would have been disastrous for this community. It would have been a funnel that would have facilitated over and above what traffic is now using Ten Mile to go through our community. Council has made a policy decision to put that traffic on Grand River Avenue. The next highest priority is to widen Grand River Avenue, for unfunded projects, east of Novi Road to Haggerty. It would behoove the community to think in much the same manner about Beck Road. He also noted that with the development along Beck Road, north of 8 Mile is really CEO housing, namely Bellagio. He asked council to think about when everything is built out to the nth degree around Novi what will sustain us. It will be our housing choices and CEOís want to be close to where their business is and as long as we have that type of housing it will mean good things for our tax base. Just because Beck Road has been widened or is approaching our community is not a valid reason to widen it through here. All we are doing is facilitating that flood through our community. You have made that decision that the Beck Road interchange and the Wixom Road interchange, someday, to put traffic on Grand River Avenue. If you wish to have a funnel through the community, Novi Road is the obvious funnel. It isnít five lanes and 275 is to the east and youíve got a lot more to the west. Novi Road is also on the Road Commissionís list beyond Grand River Avenue south of Ten Mile to Eight Mile. Have that be the funnel through the community. People have to jog on Grand River and on Eight Mile to get through our community. Make them work a little bit harder rather than just being a pass through. There are a lot of reasons why his recommendations come in here and it is to foster this discussion. This is very important long term decision. If you decide to go for it,

 

 

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make it first class and do whatever needs to be done. He thought it would need to be a real healthy debate and would drastically impact south of the hospital the charm and functioning and long term success of this community. Member Nagy agreed it would change the character of the city. She believed that major roads bring in additional crime and she doesnít want to see that happen.

Member Nagy said she is willing to work with administration with regard to conferences and workshops and she felt they didnít overly budget on that. DPW and Parks and Recreation with regard to enhancing city hall she thought the staff landscaper could come up with some kind of design. However, she didnít want to make that a high priority because at this time the DPW and Parks and Recreation have their own work already cut out for them. Regarding the senior van she was concerned about adding another at this time because our departments need vehicles and we are behind on purchasing new vehicles for all of our departments. The dialogue for this topic should be with the present director. She would be willing to add another police officer. She usually goes through the budget in order to add something and she would like to finish Community Sports Park and naming rights should generate income to add the software.

Member Nagy noted that when she was at the Fire Station #1 Saturday, and the catch basin is ready to fall in and the handicap area needs to be fixed and some of the conditions that people work in are dangerous. In Station #1 the exhaust fumes go into the office because the inside door violates our ordinances. The full time and paid on call firefighters have done a lot of improvements but they can only do so much. If you see the walls and the dirt and the exhaust fumes on their equipment it is pathetic and they deserve a lot more and we need to make sure that they are safe.

The 50ís festival basically benefits the businesses within the city. She said she is willing to negotiate regarding this item. When she attended the event at Fountain Walk she couldnít believe the number of people there and felt that Fountain Walk was the perfect place for it. She thought it was the most successful event she had seen since being in the city. An entire week would be too much but possibly Thursday through Sunday would be enough as a whole week would take away too much of our staff. She would like to see any extra money go into our Neighborhood Road program. We are going to see whether it is prudent to make a repair or a replacement of the Meadowbrook Bridge and thought it would be more fiscally prudent to replace the bridge because a quick repair may only last three or four years and at that time the cost of everything would have gone up.

Regarding the health care benefits she wanted to be very prudent and would like council to look at that and thought the Mayor made some good suggestions. She could not support the COLA benefits for 49 people because it doesnít outweigh the need of the 50,000 plus people who live here and their needs override the needs of a few. If someone wants to add something, they should go through the budget and find it.

Member Lorenzo pointed out the difference between the millage rate from the fiscal analysis to the proposed in the general fund. The fiscal analysis had estimated that the general fund millage would be 4.7665 versus what is being proposed at 4.6976.

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She wanted to confirm with the City Manager whether his intentions are still to retire from the City of Novi in February of 2006. Mr. Helwig said yes.

Member Lorenzo felt very strongly about funding a fire protection officer and an additional police officer police officer with forfeiture funds for the first yearís salary and budgeting for that salary in the future. She felt strongly about the $68,000 additional fire capital items as previously stated toward the budget resolution. She would not be supportive of five lanes on Beck Road that the City Manager spoke of. It would be a drastic change to the character of residential neighborhoods and that should not be at their expense to make it easier for pass through to traffic to come to Novi. She wanted to see something on their upcoming direction to City Council from the administration so it could be settled once and for all. She would like to see the status of right of way in that area and what property we own and how much would be needed for three or four lanes. She would support a center turn lane.

She would like to see future health care and pension costs reduced and deductibles increased and would like direction given to the administration now so they can start working toward that. Also, direct Mr. Helwig to look into future pensions and at funding the unfunded portions of our pensions. She would like to see this move forward quickly. A lot of this change is going to require union negotiations but begin the process now as Member Gatt has suggested. Regarding conferences and workshops she would like to see examples of how we have implemented what has been learned and it would be something she might want to give on. Member Lorenzo felt it was very prudent to only put nine months into the city managerís salary as we have no idea who the next person would be and if that person would be as experienced and it should not be assumed the salary would be the same. She determined some numbers and we have $50,000 now since knowing that the Vactor will be paid out of water and sewer funds. If we take the $62,000 for irrigation from Power Park and $35,000 for the software from Parks and Recreation that is $97,000. $97,000 and $50,000 is $147,000. If we take $68,000 for the addition fire department improvements and $55,000 for an additional fire protection officer we are still left with $24,000. She would then be willing to look at funding the senior van and asked that information be provided and the cost of the van. The software for Parks and Recreation could be from the first revenue from the naming rights or possibly with additional attrition in Parks and Recreation.

In terms of staff, in the fiscal analysis, with 10.5416 mills we cannot afford to add any people unless itís through attrition. We have $149,781after July 1st of this year and this year that money has already been spent on capital. Next year it will go toward the police officer and the fire protection officer. That is the way she is looking at absorbing that one position. It is not an additional position. This position, the $149,781 was included in the fiscal analysis. So it is a wash but we are still at the same staffing levels. Unless we start digging into capital we would not be able to fund additional positions. She couldnít support two police officers. She felt very strongly about the fiscal pledge to the taxpayers and having more discipline in terms of not spending after the budget from the fund balance is approved, unless it is an emergency and any additional above the 14% minimum would go to Headlee limitations or neighborhood road expansion.

 

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Mayor Pro Tem Landry noted he is very encouraged by the areas of compromise on the issues and some issues that have been raised and dropped.

He wanted people to understand that the city does not write a check for the 50ís Festival. He was curious as to why this is a line item in the budget because it is police protection, public safety protection and some in-kind support from the DPW. It would be like saying if the Pope comes here, we wouldnít take care of it. The 50ís festival has nothing to do with the Chamber of Commerce. The purpose of the festival is not to benefit businesses but is a cultural event. It begins on Wednesday and runs through Saturday. He would not be in support of not funding the police, fire, emergency protection and DPW support. In fact in the last couple of years we have not even used the funds that were budgeted for it. Mr. Klaver said that was correct.

Mayor Pro Tem Landry commented that the goal session whether it was voted up or down by way of resolution to him is irrelevant. The process compiled all of our priorities, it weighed them, prioritized them and the results are what they are. The resolution wasnít whether any of us supported or didnít support the goals the resolution was is this in fact what happened. It is what happened. These goals are a compilation of the majority of the Council and while he didnít agree with all the goals, he agreed with the process and what happened.

He would not support only nine months salary for the City Manager. We will have a City manager for an entire year and if the city doesnít pay someone the same salary, then there would be excess for the general fund. It would not be prudent to not budget for an expense that we know we are going to have. He was curious with Member Lorenzoís suggestion about dedicating unused general fund balance in the future years and would like to hear more about that. His thought was that he would not be in favor of tying the hands of future councils. He said perhaps he didnít understand whether she was talking about just this year and whatever is left over in the general fund be dedicated for roads or whether she was talking about a policy to be applied forever in the future. He agrees to set an amount for departments for conferences and workshops and let each department decide how to spend it. He also agrees to additions to the police and fire department and would support a police officer for the first year using the forfeiture funds. Benefits need to be addressed for future employees and suggested going to the defined contribution instead of defined benefit and letís draw a line and start figuring out what it is going to cost so we can start dealing with some of the unfunded future obligations.

Regarding the senior van Mayor Pro Tem Landry will support it if the money is there. Member Paul said she would prefer to replace the older vehicles rather than add a new one and that is a prudent way to look at it. However, he would offer as an additional suggestion that if there is a need that has increased or arisen for senior transportation, t is a new need that we have to address. He is satisfied with the information on a coordinator but if there is money for a van he would support that. He totally supports the software and would not like to see that come out. Member Lorenzo came up with $147,000 and if you replace the $35,000 software with the $32,000 Community Sports Park your only lacking $3,000. He would rather do away with the irrigation and leave in the software. He would rather see the naming rights and/or the foundation deal with the

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irrigation instead of the software because he thought the software addresses the needs of more of the community than just the baseball diamonds. The discussion on Beck Road was a good one. Member Capello should be commended for starting the discussion. It was a very good point that if we are really going to commit to widening the entire Beck Road we shouldnít waste money on the two lane road. However, it appears after hearing Mr. Helwig that we donít want to do that.

Member Lorenzo said Mayor Pro Tem Landry asked her about her pledge to the taxpayers. Basically this Council would adopt it as part of this budget and part of the financial policy for one year. The next Council can change it. We know we will have to go back to the taxpayers eventually and she felt there should be a good faith bond with the taxpayers in order to ask them to keep their taxes at what it is now. People will be thrilled that their taxes are being lowered by virtue of Headlee. We need to convince them that we will live within our means and will not go back to fund balance and use that money as discretional extra spending. We are only going to spend those funds for emergencies or for cash flow issues. If we have money left over the 14% minimum it would be applied to Headlee or bring it back to the neighborhood road program. Do not take the taxpayers for granted. This can be a legacy of the City Manager and City Council this year.

Mayor Csordas noted there is a way to address the unfunded post retirement benefits and that is by taking a portion of the money available today and buying that down. He asked Mrs. Smith-Roy to find out what the advantage would be to setting aside $500,000 to buy down future unfunded benefits out of the $4.5 million surplus that we dedicated to 15% reserve. He would like something before the next meeting from Mrs. Smith-Roy as to the advantage to the taxpayers by setting this example for future Councils to avoid future catastrophes as far as benefits go. If it makes sense after analysis it would be this councilís opportunity to take that first step for future councils. Based on discussion today, he thought if they were to use the drug money to fund the first year of a police officer and a grant to fund the fire fighter, he would be willing to change his position on that. He thought funding an impact study on the impact of widening Beck Road to four or five lanes. It was noted a study was already done by Rod Arroyo and they could look at it. Many of the mentioned fire facility improvements are already included in the budget. He agrees with all of them to install the exhaust, etc. Regarding benefit renegotiations, he noted they had to keep in mind that the administrative staff has already agreed to revise their benefits, which was good for them to extend their current benefit level and it helped reduce the cost to the city. We need to be equally fair to the bargaining units and adjust those benefits as appropriate. He thought moving to a defined contribution plan for the future employees is the way to go. Mayor Csordas felt that the partial funding of the City Manager position was just an accounting function. He didnít see that it would harm us to fund fully for that position for the first year because the next Council will have to do the search and the negotiation for the compensation package. Mayor Csordas appreciated the manner in which the meeting was conducted. He also appreciated that common goals were held by many people.

AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION Ė None

 

 

 

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ADJOURNMENT

There being no further business to come before Council, Mayor Csordas adjourned the meeting at 1:42 p.m.

 

 

 

 

 

 

____________________________ _____________________________

Lou Csordas, Mayor Maryanne Cornelius, City Clerk

 

 

 

 

____________________________

Transcribed by Charlene McLean

 

Date approved: April 18, 2005