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SPECIAL MEETING OF THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY
Mayor Csordas called the meeting to order at 9:00 A.M. for the purpose of discussing the Novi City budget.
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
ROLL CALL: Mayor Csordas, Mayor Pro Tem Landry, Council Members *Capello,
Gatt, Lorenzo, Nagy and *Paul
ALSO PRESENT: Craig Klaver, Chief Operating Officer
Kathy Smith-Roy, Director of Finance
Jeff Johnson, Assistant Fire Chief
Rob Hayes, City Engineer
Benny McCusker, Director of Department of Public Works
Randy Auler, Director of Parks, Recreation and Forestry
Cindy Uglow, Neighborhood Services
* Member Capello arrived at 9:05 a.m. and Member Paul arrived at 9:03 a.m.
Kathy Crawford, 46275 Eleven Mile Road, noted she no longer works for the City of Novi as the Senior Coordinator. However, she has worked in the field of aging for over 30 years and has lived in Novi for 63 years. Most of her life she has worked as an advocate for seniors and it is her mission. The senior population in Novi is enormous and rapidly escalating. Mrs. Crawford said they are in need of transportation and social services such as referrals for assistance and resources that are local. Most people in Novi are not aware that we have a senior center or transportation services and special events for seniors. Thereís no sign on Meadowbrook Road that indicates that this is the City of Noviís Senior Center. All other City departments have signs that clearly identify them. You would have to turn into Meadowbrook Commons, get out of your car and go to the front of the building and look up in order to see the senior center sign. She asked Council to please remember as they discuss budgeting, staffing and COLA for retirees that many older people have been paying for soccer fields and parks. Many of the population that pays for these items canít use them. Our current 11,000 plus, age 51 and older registered voters, could not even go to an event at the senior center because it only accommodates a maximum of 128 people and 200 seniors live at Meadowbrook Commons. Many of the seniors that want to go to an event at Meadowbrook Commons canít attend because of the capacity limits. Our most valuable human resource in this community is the people 55 and over. They are working in our libraries, police station, theaters, hospital and in ways you are not even aware of and they volunteer their time. Mrs. Crawford noted she appreciated Councilís kind attention and wished them luck with their budget.
Justin Fischer spoke about conferences and seminars and agreed that city staff is overworked. He thought Don Saven and his group deserve any training and
seminars offered because residents expect and get a lot from them. He felt Zoning Board of Appeals training is necessary because once an item goes to them the next appeal goes to circuit court. An integral part of the defense is the discussion and motions made at the Zoning Board of Appeals table; training could aid in this defense. Mr. Fischer said he has been on the board since January of 2004 and has had no formal training. Other cities fund Michigan Society of Planning training, in house training and/or Oakland County training for the board members. It is also easier to be on their boards because they have an eight case limit and their build out structure is different. He proposed that since fees are charged for variance requests that even a $10 increase would cover the training for board members. He would appreciate any training that could be offered.
Edward Ranucci, 23235 Ennishore Dr., Meadowbrook Lake Subdivision, was concerned about Meadowbrook Road being closed due to the bridge repair. This has caused a problem for Meadowbrook Lake Subdivision that has many mature trees and no sidewalks. There are small children and older adults using the streets to get from one place to another or to walk. The road is curvy and mature trees make blind driveways everywhere. Now that the road has been closed, people are using their subdivision as a cut through from Meadowbrook to Nine Mile. The volume and speed of traffic has gone up tremendously and they fear someone might be hit by a car. He asked Council to consider a temporary ordinance to make it illegal to cut through their subdivision.
Mike Frasier, President of the Novi Youth Baseball League noted that he represented about 700 member families. As a client for the city and the Parks and Recreation Department they realized that as they grow they need to do things differently and have tried to put a more professional management organization in place. They have worked to increase their working relationship with Parks and Recreation and their members have become more involved by helping out with Community Sports Park. There are about 70 family members who are going to be at Power Park and at the end of April they have another event planned for Community Sports Park. They donated $10,000 of the sponsor money they raised over the last couple of years. They would like to see it utilized to benefit their member families in the use of baseball and hoped these matching funds would be considered to complete the project at Community Sports Park.
PURPOSE OF SPECIAL MEETING Ė 2005-2006 CITY OF NOVI BUDGET
Mayor Csordas asked Mrs. Smith-Roy and Mr. Klaver to re-cap last weekís meeting.
Mr. Klaver noted that City Councilís commitment to enhance the cityís reliability in the instance of an emergency was a success. On April 15th power was lost due to a construction project on 9 Mile Road and the generators restored the power within 10 seconds. Many signals were out and the police officers were at the signals. He thanked Council for those resources.
Mr. Klaver noted there seemed to be an emerging consensus on some of these issues and a legal opinion was requested in response to discussion of going into closed session regarding forfeiture funds. In lieu of that the Chief provided Council with a brief update. Mr. Klaver said they tried to remind Council of their continued recommendation that Council wait on the forfeiture funds and not budget them. This will avoid the supplanting of funds. If you were to budget a police officer, for example, that position could not use forfeiture money because we would be supplanting something already approved. He felt the money would come forward in a
timely fashion and if that did not happen Council could go back and revisit the budget. He felt if Council chose to pursue the grant opportunity that has come up there was sufficient money for a 10% match out of contingencies. Mr. Klaver asked if there was additional information he could supply them. Mayor Csordas thought they would not need additional information.
Mayor Csordas noted there was a consultant review meeting and he asked Mr. Heffernan to come within a month or so to talk to City Council about unfunded retirements and how it would impact the city. Mayor Csordas said he would put this on an agenda in the next 2-3 meetings.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry stated he is satisfied with the budget and is ready to vote yes right now. However, he would pass the floor as there are Council members who had items they wanted to raise.
Member Lorenzo appreciated the opportunity to reflect on the thoughts and concerns mentioned last week. There were three items that everyone seemed to agree with regarding the additions to the budget. These items were: the $68,000 additional fire department capital improvements, the $70,000 to add the fire protection officer and $37,000 for the senior van.
Member Lorenzo appreciated Mrs. Crawfordís appearance regarding the senior van and she felt that the Council has the obligation to balance the needs of all in the community. She stated that $175,000 was needed to accomplish this. We are also going for the grant, which is a wonderful opportunity, but didnít want to lose the fire protection officer if the grant was not received. Therefore, she is including the whole $70,000. She thought it was very important that when Council wants to achieve extras in the budget they also find the money by reducing other expenditures. As already shown, $62,000 could be deferred from the Power Park irrigation and that would leave $113,000 to fund the three priorities. $50,000 went back to the general fund for the Vactor Pad because money was found for the Vactor Pad from the Water, Sewer and Drain Fund and that leaves $63,000 necessary for funding. We have available the $15,703 unused portion of the Lakeshore Park fence and with that reduction it would leave them with $47,297. Member Lorenzo was proposing that the $35,000 Parks and Recreation software package be deferred and that the irrigation be done for a couple of reasons. First, we have the very generous donation from the Youth Baseball Organization and using that money toward the project is good faith from the Council to the organization. It would show that when an organization steps up in this way Council is going to respond. It would not be in good faith to accept their money and not commit to complete the project.
Member Lorenzo understood that the software package would be beneficial to the community but thought it would be more beneficial to the parents than to the youths themselves. The irrigation will be more important to the youth and she proposed if we receive the grant money for the fire fighter, we could pay for the software out of that money. That would leave us $12,297 short. Therefore, she proposed to take $6,000 from the Planning Commission education and briefing budget, which was $8,000 last year and was not spent. It would still leave them with $2,000. This would still leave Council with $6,297 short and she proposed the ADA be reduced from $60,000 to $53,703. The ADA should be reduced with the understanding that if the fire grant is received the money would go back to paying the full $60,000 worth of improvements. If what is proposed is accepted, Council will have the $175,000 they need.
Member Lorenzo said she would compromise and support the 50ís festival contribution, conferences and workshops, the twelve months of the City Managerís salary and the senior van.
CM-05-04-118 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Paul; CARRIED
UNANIMOUSLY: To defer $62,000 from the Power Park irrigation and use the donation from the Youth Baseball Organization, use Water, Sewer and Drain Funds for the Vactor Pad and return the $50,000 budgeted back to the general fund. For the fire protection officer instead of putting $70,000 aside put $35,000 aside for a January 1, 2006 hire of a fire protection officer and then take the remaining $35,000 and apply it to the Parks and Recreation software package. If the $70,000 is not used $35,000 plus $6,200 would be used for Parks and Recreation software and the rest of the ADA. To reduce the Planning Commission education and briefing budget from $8,000 to $2,000. Also, reduce ADA improvements at Lakeshore Park from $60,000 to $53,703 with the understanding that if the fire grant is received the money would go back to paying the full $60,000 in improvements. To include in the budget the 50ís Festival contribution, conferences and workshops, the twelve months of the City Managerís salary and the senior van. Also, allocate funds for capital improvements and hold the funds for six months after approval of the budget before spending.
Member Capello noted they were budgeting money for confined space rescue, Knox Box and Fire EMS training materials. He asked Jeff Johnson to explain confined space rescue training and whether the $4,000 cost was training for one individual or for a group. Assistant Fire Chief Johnson said they would bring in a state certified instructor from Lansing and train in groups for all of the employees. Member Capello asked about the $4,500 fire and EMS training materials. Assistant Chief Johnson advised it was for continued education for all the firefighters.
Member Capello said in various parts of the budget we are paying approximately $113,000 towards needed capital improvements to Fire Station 1. However, developers are particularly looking at that location as Main Street develops. Instead of spending that $113,000 now, he preferred to wait 6 or 7 months to see if the developers have plans to purchase that property from the city and move the fire station. We could allocate it but agree not to spend it for six months until we are sure the fire station is going to be kept.
Member Capello amended the motion to allocate funds for capital improvements but to not spend it for 6 Months after the approval of the budget.
Member Lorenzo accepted the amendment.
Member Paul wanted the motion to be 6 months after the approval of the budget not 6 or 7 months and once Council has a conclusion of what a consensus is going to be perhaps that time frame could be shortened.
Maker of the motion approved six months after the approval of the motion instead of 6 or 7. Member Capello agreed as did the maker of the motion.
Member Capello thought the Fire Station 1 location might be an ideal location for a senior center. He wanted to make sure when spending the money that it would be spent for how the building would be used in the future.
Member Capello asked if it was Councilís decision on how the forfeiture money would be spent when it comes. Mr. Klaver said it is the Councilís decision. Mayor Csordas said the Chief would make recommendations and Council would consider them.
Member Capello asked if Member Lorenzoís motion meant spring cleaning for Power Park would be budgeted. Member Lorenzo said it would be in the budget and the software package would be deferred and if the fire grant is received and the $70,000 isnít spent that money could be spent for the software package and the rest of the ADA. Member Capello asked where the firefighter personnel money was going if the grant goes back to the general fund? Member Lorenzo said, with this motion, the $35,000 would go to the software, $6,297 would go to ADA and the rest would go to the fund balance. Member Capello questioned the increase in the building inspection fees. He said it looked like she was going to look at hiring inspectors on a part time independent contractor basis as opposed to hiring additional personnel. Mrs. Smith- Roy said he was correct and they had not discussed it extensively with them because the item would come up on the April 18th agenda. If there are not sufficient funds to fund a full time person, they would like to approach Mr. Saven about filling it on a contractual basis. Since build out is sooner than we thought, it may not be feasible to remove those positions through attrition, so it may not be in the best interests to hire someone full time. Member Capello said the increase in building permit fees is not included in the revenue in this budget and Mrs. Smith-Roy said it was not. Member Capello suggested that perhaps the increase in those fees could be used to hire contract inspectors. Mrs. Smith Roy agreed.
Member Nagy stated that in looking at areas for ADA improvements at Lakeshore Park, she thought the accessible parking lot and some of the items for $17,000 were completed. Mr. Auler informed her that the accessible parking lot is in the rear of the park, adjacent to the smaller shelter and the area to access the trail system is still a dirt parking lot with no compliant access to the shelter or the playground. The front portion of the park is complete.
Member Nagy said throughout the budget, there is an item titled uncollectible taxes and asked what it was? Mrs. Smith-Roy advised her that the only taxes not reimbursed by the county through our contract with them are personal property taxes. So each year the uncollected personal property taxes are put in a receivable account and they are held open for four years. If they are not collected, they are written off to the related property tax item.
Member Nagy said regarding Community Relations there are videos made for Channel 13 and asked if there were other services and charges for that. Mrs. Smith-Roy said the other services and charges are included in their Community Relations budget. Member Nagy said she downloaded several pages of farmerís markets and since the Fuerst Farms operating costs are $9,500 she thought it may be appropriate to give the Historical Commission the task of researching farmerís markets. It would be nice to generate income so the Fuerst Farm would be self sufficient. Mayor Csordas directed Mr. Klaver to follow through and Member Nagy would provide all the information she had.
Member Nagy noted she would support the motion and was particularly in favor of the safety, health and welfare of our residents. We must fund everything we can for the fire department in this budget cycle. She felt Council was obligated to finish Community Sports Park. Members of Novi Youth Baseball are a very active group and have done a lot, not just raising the funds, but also fees paid to play baseball and cleanup of parks. The software funds are a good idea and she reminded Council they now have naming rights and that would be an additional option plus the grant for a firefighter. She felt Member Lorenzo had done a very good job. She was willing to make those compromises regarding the senior van and she wants the 50ís Festival to continue because it attracts people from outside the community and everyone involved does a great job.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry said he was looking at the summary of CIP requests and noted Item 27 was irrigation of remaining ball fields at Community Sports Park for $32,000 and Member Lorenzo included that as a $32,000 item. What happened to the $10,000 from the Novi Youth Baseball? Mr. Auler answered that Novi Youth Baseball has committed the money but the funds have not been received yet. They are waiting to see what the money was appropriated for then they would make the contribution. Mayor Pro Tem Landry asked if the $32,000 was the total cost to irrigate the fields. Mr. Auler said yes. Mayor Pro Tem Landry said if they put in $10,000 it will only be $22,000 and Mr. Auler said thatís correct.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry agreed with finding the money for all of these additional items. He agreed with the additional fire capital funds, the fire protection officer and senior van. He would agree to defer to the Power Park irrigation, the Vactor Pad, unused Lakeshore fence and would agree to decrease ADA because they are putting money towards ADA.
However, he had a problem with not including the software. He indicated earlier that he could support this budget including the irrigation but he could not support not including the Parks and Recreation software over the irrigation completion. Also, he is not thrilled with decreasing the Planning Commissionís education funds.
As a matter of priority he felt the Parks and Recreation software benefits the entire community and goes across all items of recreation. He thought it was a pretty simple call because it would improve everyoneís use of the facilities and that made sense. If $22,000 could be found somewhere else, he would support it. He would not support it without the software. Itís a matter of priorities and if there are alternative dollars or contingency he would rather see it go to Community Sports Park irrigation.
Member Paul noted she was appreciative of all the comments and accommodations on both sides. When she looked at the summary of emerging consensus items, there were two items she thought missing. Member Landry suggested that the irrigation and fire department personnel are in the budget and they are not. Mayor Pro Tem Landry noted he would support the budget in its current form in the white budget book, which has Community Sports Park irrigation. Member Paul thought the fire department and public safety were very important. The senior van is necessary because 7,500 people already have used the van within six months. The fire departmentís safety issues respond to the entire city and public safety is her number one priority. She was not thrilled with waiting to do Fire Station 1 but in the spirit of compromise, she would agree to defer the cost of Fire Station 1 for six months. Member Paul noted that in looking at Parks and Recreation as a whole $40,000 was spent on irrigation and we thought that would be the infrastructure and one field but we did three fields and the entire infrastructure. Our commitment was to put the infrastructure in place and complete this project. We have a volunteer organization that pays a fee to use these fields. Member Paul stated she would not support the software package over the irrigation. If the grant comes in, we could use those funds for software. Member Paul asked for more information on the grant for the firefighter.
Mayor Csordas asked if the grant for the firefighter is received, can it be transferred in the budget as has been requested.
Mrs. Smith-Roy advised that it could not in that fashion. The Community Sports Park is already included and that is why it doesnít show on the emerging issues sheet. Regarding the firefighter, her recommendation was to leave the money in the account and come back to it if the grant wasnít received. She said their proposal would be to apply for the grant and if they didnít hear anything by October 1st they would bring it back to Council to be added January 1st. Grant money canít be taken for fire and used for software.
Member Lorenzo said her intention was if hiring a firefighter we need $70,000 if the grant is not received. She would rather put that into contingency and hold it for the firefighter. If the grant is received we can put it in contingency/firefighter, software or ADA. if we donít use the $70,000 for the fire protection officer the first $35,000 plus $6,200 would be for the software and the rest for ADA . She would leave it to Mrs. Smith-Roy to put it in whatever funds were needed to accomplish that goal. Mrs. Smith-Roy said it would be put in contingency knowing that is the intention of the Council.
Mr. Klaver said it shouldnít be labeled because then youíre in the same situation even if that is clearly Councilís intent.
Mrs. Smith-Roy said the numbers in the budget are estimates. They do have the numbers coming up for the final tax dollars that will be presented in the resolutions. The millages are going to change slightly for all the funds. She believed that $25,000 to $50,000 could be found through the estimates and other revenues. She said if
Council could come to consensus within those numbers; they could come back to Council with a balanced budget with a millage resolution.
Member Capello thought the question had been answered. If $70,000 is for a full year and we arenít hiring immediately the other $22,000 should be within that $70,000 and could be used to hire the fire fighter until January and that would provide the money.
Assistant Chief Johnson said normally the federal grants are distributed before the end of December and we should know by then. They havenít given a deadline on when they would disburse the funds but the grant period to get an application in is from May 31 to June 28.
Member Paul stated she would like the fire personnel in and would like to look to the finance department as to what fund it would go to with the intention that it would go to software. She asked who did the analysis on the Lakeshore Park roof and why did it need a complete roof instead of a repair. Member Paul said the roof would be $10,000 and asked how old the structure is.
Mr. Auler said the roof and the structure were built 22 years ago and it is the original roof. Parks maintenance staff, building inspectors and engineering staff all reviewed it and provided the input.
Member Paul said even though the zero turn radius mower was not in the budget she wanted to know the speed of it and what it would do for our manpower.
Mr. Auler advised that it was a 6 to 8 foot mower for landscaping areas and facilities. It basically turns on a dime and would be utilized in the parks. Ultimately they would like a self contained 16 ft batwing mower which can cut three times the amount of grass that is cut now. It is about $50,000 and was requested for the budget but didnít make the cut. Member Paul asked if he would like to see that in the future and Mr. Auler said he would.
Member Paul noted the two vehicles being replaced are the worst active vehicles she had ever seen and there are many more that are bad. She asked how many vehicles in the fleet were over 10 years old. Mr. Auler said they have a 1987 and a 1989 vehicle.
Member Paul asked if there were any other departments with vehicles from the 1980ís? She was told the fire department and DPW have vehicles that are from the 1980ís. She said she would support the senior van because it is needed. She said employees are being put into vehicles that are 15-20 years old and she thought they owed it to employees to provide safe vehicles. Member Paul said she has a problem putting that money in software when an employee is being put into a 1980ís vehicle. She would like to be able to do that and would like to put it into a contingency plan.
She would support the senior van but she has trouble with putting an employee that we pay and insure into a vehicle when the floor is falling apart. She informed Council that Mr. Burke was present and the vehicles he was offering were ĺ ton pickup trucks. Council could have saved $14,000 on two vehicles through Mr. Burke and put it toward software. However, Council told Mr. Burke no because it wasnít the process. The Novi Youth Baseball League had seventy people present last year. How much would that save our department?
Mr. Auler responded they have a lot of volunteer work days with all of our organizations such as Rotary Club, Lions Club, Jaguar and this year there are thirteen days scheduled. We use the number of hours times $7.
Member Paul said the Novi Youth Baseball League donated $10,000 plus their volunteers. We should do this in the fall because we would get a better bid. So not only did it not interfere with field usage it saved us money and instead of one field three were done. She would like to save that money and if it isnít spent it would come back to the general fund and to Council to decide how it would be spent. If we have extra money, use it for a vehicle or software.
Member Paul asked if when sign permit fees are put into the budget does it generate money? Ms. Smith-Roy replied it did generate revenue.
Member Paul asked about the sign permit process because she was looking at different fees for different cities. Ms. Uglow said the applicant comes to Neighborhood Services and picks up their permit and the application and they do their design and submit their plans. It is returned to Neighborhood Services and given to Code Enforcement Officer Alan Amolsch who goes out to the site and reviews the plan. He then either approves or disapproves the permit.
Member Paul noted the fee is $15.00 and hasnít been raised since 1974. She said she looked at Rochester Hills and they have a $50.00 non-refundable review fee and Troyís review fees are $100.00. She asked if they could combine these two processes, make it non-refundable and follow Troyís process of increment fees. Troyís wall signs are $75.00 and the ground signs are $100.00 to $175.00. Ms. Uglow noted the fees have been $15.00 for 30 years and about 150 signs a year are reviewed.
Member Paul stated she wanted to see a $50.00 non-refundable review fee attached because if they have to go out and examine these areas she wanted our fees recovered. Then she would like to look at it from Troyís perspective of an incremental scale depending on the size of the sign. This would have to be worked into our fee structure in the ordinance.
Member Paul stated she would support the budget and the motion that was made because public safety is very important. She commented on Beck Road saying there were four scenarios given to Council and she thought the second scenario would be best for Beck Road. The second option was widening Beck Road to three lanes between Eight Mile and Nine Mile. This alternative would improve the mil overlay options and would cost $785,000. She agreed with Member Capello that it would not be a good idea to spend $500,000 and then go back and put the third lane in for another $285,000. She would like to see this done immediately.
Regarding the pension plan process, she suggested using the $268,000 marked for the Rainy Day fund to buy down the unfunded retirement. She asked if Council were waiting for feedback from Plante Moran and then use that 1% or are they looking for this in May? Mayor Csordas said he agreed with Member Lorenzoís motion and this statement that after the audit is final any of those funds up to 1% would be contributed to buy down unfunded close to retirement benefits. He said even if Council contributed the full $500,000 it would only take our percentage from 15% to 18%, thatís how bad the health benefit side is.
Member Lorenzo noted she really appreciated the memo and with Mayor Csordasí expertise in the insurance world, it was very helpful. She hoped that future Councils would buy down that cost also.
Member Gatt stated he would support the budget motion and the amendment. Like Mayor Pro Tem Landry he wanted to see the software and felt it would work out. He thanked everyone for the support of the senior van. The city has never bought a
senior van because Providence Hospital has donated the last four vehicles. Usage of the van has increased but we havenít advertised the program because it is filled to capacity. His only concern with the budget was the part time person for Parks and Recreation to manage the senior fleet, maintenance and everything that goes with that position. It should be looked at in the future if not addressed today. The senior center looms in the future because if every member of Meadowbrook Commons wanted to take advantage of senior center programming, they couldnít because it is not big enough. We are all in support of public safety and the police, fire and DPW are the main focus.
Member Capello said the motion for the fire fighter needs to be amended. He asked when the budget would allocate the $70,000. Mrs. Smith-Roy stated their recommendation would be to put the $70,000 in the contingency. Member Capello asked when the firefighter would be hired. Mrs. Smith-Roy said the budget did not include hiring a firefighter until next year. Member Capello wanted an idea of when the hiring would take place.
Member Lorenzo said since Council wonít know about the grant it would be advisable to hire this person as of January 1, 2006, which then provides Council $35,000 for the software.
Member Capello said as far as Beck Road in this budget all we are doing is approving the $500,000. We are not approving the lanes for Beck Road because that should be up for future study. We are purchasing a lot of new vehicles and Member Capello asked if there was a line item in the budget. Mrs. Smith-Roy said there are individual line items in each budget that were held the same or increased depending on the department. He thought providing new vehicles should make maintenance go down. Mrs. Smith-Roy said not from what they budgeted because they took that into consideration.
Member Capello said software is back in and the Community Sports Park is irrigated.
Roll call vote on CM-05-04-118 Yeas: Csordas, Landry, Capello, Gatt,
Lorenzo, Nagy, Paul
Member Lorenzo next wanted to address the issue of the proposed amendment to the cityís financial policy an addendum to the budget adoption policy. Member Lorenzo proposed a fiscal pledge to the taxpayers and read it into the record.
CM-05-04-119 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Paul: CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To accept the proposed amendment to the cityís financial policy and addendum to the budget adoption resolution entitled "A Fiscal Pledge to the Taxpayers" as follows:
PROPOSED AMENDMENT TO THE CITYíS FINANCIAL POLICY
AND ADDENDUM TO THE BUDGET ADOPTION RESOLUTION
"A FISCAL PLEDGE TO THE TAXPAYERS"
THE ADMINISTRATION AND CITY Council SHALL STRIVE TO NOT EXCEED THE APPROVED BUDGET EXPENDITURES FOR THE FISCAL YEAR, AND TO LIMIT FUND BALANCE EXPENDITURES (NOT INCLUDING APPROVED CONTINGENCY ITEMS) TO THE FOLLOWING:
EMERGENCIES Ė INCLUDING ESSENTIAL CAPITAL PURCHASE
UNCONTROLLABLE BUDGET SHORT FALLS
UNION CONTRACT OBLIGATIONS
UNFUNDED RETIREEE HEALTH CARE ACCRUED LIABILITY
FOLLOWING THE AUDIT FOR EACH FISCAL YEAR, ANY UNOBLIGATED FUND BALANCE AMOUNT ABOVE 14% SHALL BE APPLIED TOWARDS THE HEADLEE MILLAGE ROLLBACK, AND/OR ENHANCEMENT OF THE ANNUAL NEIGHBORHOOD ROAD PROGRAM, AND/OR UNFUNDED RETIREE HEALTH CARE ACCRUED LIABILITY FOR THE NEXT FISCAL YEAR.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry said this is an amendment that Council will strive to do. There is no requirement that we do anything, correct? Member Lorenzo said he was correct. It is a stated goal.
Roll call vote on CM-05-04-119 Yeas: Landry, Capello, Gatt, Lorenzo,
Nagy, Paul Csordas Nays: None
Member Lorenzo said Mrs. Smith-Roy suggested that Council never wants to get the fund balance below the 14% if they can help it. However, this year there is an added 1% of $268,000 for a total of 15%. The question before Council today is whether Council wants to take the $268,000 and as part of the budget approval, apply it toward the unfunded retiree health care accrued liability. She said she would support that and Mayor Csordas said he would too but it would be in addition to whatever is already budgeted.
CM-05-04-120 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Nagy; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To take the additional 1% or $268,000 in fund balance and apply it towards the unfunded retiree health care accrued liability for this fiscal year.
Member Paul thanked Mayor Csordas for bringing this forward to Councilís attention because it will be his swan song to our Council as is Member Lorenzoís pledge. You both have contributed a lot. However, how can we continue to buy this down and bring the numbers down in the future? Our fund balance is going to get tighter each year and the retiree health care fund continues to go up with more employees using it and these benefits.
Mayor Csordas said his guess would be a reduced surplus, which would be the will of future Councils to set that money aside. He didnít know if Mrs. Smith-Roy could answer specifically since we might have the impact of the kicking in of Headlee. We will also continue to have growth, which will continue to mask that concern but that growth will taper off too.
Mrs. Smith-Roy agreed and pointed out that Council did indirectly approve our policy of adding 20% to the percentage that we are contributing in the payroll process to the fund and that will also help reduce the liability.
Member Paul commented that she wasnít in favor of increasing the COLA for the Novi retirees because they havenít contributed more than 1% into that and have received 71% in increases.
CM-05-04-121 Moved by Paul, seconded by Nagy; WITHDRAWN:
That Council will decide today about the retiree increase and if it is not going to be decided today that Council move forward and not address it again.
Member Gatt said he didnít know how this motion could be approved as there will be a different Council in the fall. He didnít want to tie the hands of a new Council.
Member Capello said it is not on the agenda for discussion. If this is not going to be budgeted thatís fine but he would not say Council would never budget money or give the retirees an increase. A future Council will decide that.
Member Nagy said she agreed with the motion because if it is not in the budget she didnít want to see it coming back in the fall. She appreciated that the Mayor brought up the unfunded retirement issue with a suggestion on how to address it. If this isnít addressed now we might need to go to the taxpayers in the future. This was a very bold and fiscally responsible move on his part and it changed her perspective on things.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry agreed with Members Gatt and Capello regarding the motion. Member Gatt raised COLA and there wasnít consensus of Council. This Council should not control what future Councils do and he wouldnít support the motion for that reason.
Member Lorenzo questioned whether the motion was in order because there was a motion on the table regarding the $268,000.
Member Lorenzo supported the spirit in which Member Paul raised the issue but she didnít think this Council could bind future Councils because they will have the ability to change whatever this Council has chosen to do. Obviously, with the fiscal pledge just approved, it would be a little more difficult because a standard and a legacy has been set for future Councils. She would not support the motion because it doesnít really do anything and it isnít in the current budget.
Mayor Csordas asked that discussion be suspended on the COLA issue so the previous motion could be taken care of. Council can return to the discussion if necessary.
Roll call vote on CM-05-04-120 Yeas: Capello, Gatt, Lorenzo, Nagy,
Paul, Csordas, Landry
Mayor Csordas asked if Council wanted to continue the previous discussion.
Mr. Klaver noted what Council was doing was approving the changes made to the proposed budget as submitted. It would then be brought back and there would be a public hearing and adoption in May.
Member Paul said several people at the Council table said if there is going to be an increase we are going to pay for it now. It was a comment by Mayor Pro Tem Landry with Mayor Csordasí support. Her statement was not to discredit the retirees but the idea was not to give the COLA at this time. Itís not in this budget and she thought it should be.
Mayor Csordas said this budget is silent on that issue but it may or may not come up during the next fiscal year. He thought it was a future unavoidable battle.
Member Paul noted Council has have been generous to the retirees and she would not be supporting it in the future. She withdrew the motion.
Member Gatt wanted to comment about the retirees. He didnít know where the figures for the 72% increase came from but he has been retired for three years and has received a 2% and 2.5% raise. He doesnít know anyone alive today who enjoys a 72% raise in their retirement. Lee BeGole is the oldest retiree and retired in 1991 and if he received a 2% raise every year since it wouldnít come close to 72%. He wanted the public to understand that the retirees are not enjoying a 72% increase in retirement.
Mayor Csordas said the correct statement is there have been 72% or 78% approvals of increase in benefits since this has been in place.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry clarified because of Member Paulís remarks that he said the only way he would support a COLA increase for retirees is if the Council decided to fund it. What he meant was that whenever a City Council is presented with the question of increasing COLA for retirees he wouldnít support it unless the Council was prepared to fund it and not to foist that obligation on future Councils.
Member Nagy thought the reason this was even brought up was because when the retirees came to Council last year, most of Council agreed that the appropriate time for that discussion was during the budget session.
Member Lorenzo thought a decision should be made on Beck Road and felt the rehab project is necessary this year. The road is in terrible shape. The question becomes do we go further. The administration and engineers have given Council options and cost estimates. It would cost about $785,000 for the engineering and construction of three lanes and that is $285,000 over what the rehab cost is of $500,000. She believed it would be penny wise and pound foolish to spend the money for the rehab and not construct the third lane at this time only to go back later and construct a third land and have to rip up everything the $500,000 was spent on.
CM-05-04-122 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Paul; CARRIED
UNANIMOUSLY: That within city limits between Eight and Nine Mile Roads, in addition to the rehabilitation, add the turn lane and take $50,000 from Project 38 which is the sidewalk on the south side of 11 Mile Road and apply it towards the third lane for Beck Road. Then take out of the $341,445 major street fund fund balance the balance of that money which would be $235,000. This will include curb and gutters.
Mayor Csordas noted that city limits do not extend to Eight Mile on Beck Road.
Member Lorenzo stated her motion was Beck Road within city limits.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry asked if that meant the sidewalks on Eleven Mile would not be done? Member Lorenzo said it was not all the sidewalks on Eleven Mile and was not the project for the schools. Project 38 consists of sidewalk segments to be constructed on the south side of Eleven Mile between Taft and Beck. It would include approximately 750 foot sidewalk segments west of Abbey Drive.
Member Capello called a point of order as this was not on the agenda and is not to be decided today. All Council is deciding is how much money will be allocated. There isnít enough information to determine what needs to be done with Beck Road. He thought three lanes was a waste of money because there isnít a left turn problem. The problem is getting out into traffic. He thought four lanes would move traffic through a little faster and have enough of a median for trees for traffic calming. Member Capello said he isnít prepared to make these decisions today and said to leave the $500,000 in there and give Council time to study it because the master plan calls for it to be a major thoroughfare between M-14 and I-96.
Mayor Csordas said Member Capello made a good point but he wanted to move forward with approving the budget.
Member Lorenzo thought it was part of the budget because the administration is proposing the rehabilitation project as part of the budget. She said if they are going to allocate the extra $285,000 that would be needed for the third lane it should be part of this budget. She wants to avoid going back and spending more money out of fund balances because it isnít addressed now. The $500,000 is addressed through the administration and they need an answer as to whatís going to be done with it. Will the project be left in or out or should it be modified. Member Lorenzo suggested modifying it now because they know approximately how much it will take but the real question is do they support the rehabilitation this year.
Mayor Csordas thought Council could vote on the motion and let it rise or fall on its own merit to be included in the revised budget.
Member Lorenzoís concern with four lanes is the acquisition of 57 feet of additional R.O.W. they would be obligated to negotiate for with property owners and it doesnít even address the disruption of the character of the neighborhoods. She was willing to commit to a three lane road but would not support four lanes. This would get the people out of the through lane and into the left lane and would improve traffic.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry said we are talking about Beck Road from the city limits to Nine Mile Road. How long a stretch is that? Mr. McCusker stated most of the area below Bellagio is in Northville Township and belongs to Northville and Wayne County at Eight Mile. He said there is probably 1,600 feet maybe more. Mayor Pro Tem Landry asked if Bellagio started at the city limits and Mr. McCusker said it starts just below it. Mayor Pro Tem Landry asked if Council were to decide to go to four or five
Lanes would that be done in the middle between two mile roads or would it begin at a mile road. Mr. McCusker advised that the problem with the intersection is the elevation difference between Northville and Novi, which is almost 25 feet at Eight Mile and Beck. They would probably begin a transition through the intersection a regular two turning lanes, a pass through lane and then a enter turn lane which is a standard five lane configuration. They usually go from two to three to five.
Mayor Pro Tem Landry noted if the project were to be done and widened to four or five first, we would need concurrence with Northville and their dollars and Wayne County. If we agreed to have three lanes now in our portion, would that be part of the transition. Mr. McCusker said that would be part of a future transition. Mayor Pro Tem Landry noted if Council agreed to go to three lanes it might not have to be ripped up even if we decide to go to four or five lanes in the future. Mr. McCusker agreed that it would not have to be ripped up because it would be the center portion of whatever was being built. The largest cost would be acquiring the extra property for something above three lanes. Mayor Pro Tem Landry supports the motion.
Member Nagy agreed with Member Lorenzo because it is in the budget and it is very important. There are a lot of reasons she would not want to see five lanes. One is changing the character of the neighborhood and she felt making it a pass through is not a good idea either. The acquisition of R.O.W. would be a small fortune. She would support the motion and thought they should get started. However, she couldnít conceive of how they could have more than three lanes because Nine Mile and north to Ten Mile is all residential too. She is very willing to have the boulevard and the expansion up by Providence Hospital.
Member Paul noted she understood they would have to allocate $500,000 for Beck. What are we going to do with this money? Are we going to put in three lanes or just the two lanes and a repair? It sounds like the Council is mainly in concurrence that a middle turn lane would be put in for safety purposes and for ease of traffic flow. She questioned the timing of this project because she felt they could not do this project and close one more avenue. We are going to have a months worth of Novi Road and I-96 being partially closed, and Beck isnít open. Now you are saying that we have M-5 to our north quarter which is going to be difficult to get to because of our Ten Mile/Novi Road construction that will not be done for two more months. Now you are talking about closing the M-14 quarter. Where do you want everyone to go? She wanted to discuss the timing of this and where the finances would come from. There will be $50,000 from the sidewalk portion and she understood the rationale that there were only three properties there but she is very much in favor of where all the residents live that go to Parkview. The residents of Waldenwoods, Lochmoor and Abbey Hills are the three we would be putting the sidewalks in for so they could come to the school property. We are doing a portion that the schools are contributing to but it is not completing where the actual kids come from so they will be back in the road. We have $341,445 in major street funds thatís left over and she asked if that was something that could be put towards this $500,000 that is already allocated? Can we take the $285,000 for the engineering and construction of this widening to three lanes out of the $341,445. Mrs. Smith-Roy said the proposal would leave approximately $50,000. Member Paul asked if she would be willing to keeping the $50,000 from the sidewalk portion and take the $341,445 from the major street fund that is presently there.
Member Lorenzo agreed. Member Paul said if we could do that and still continue to keep the safety of those residents going to that school present she would like to do that. Member Lorenzo said it was not a problem. Member Paul said she would keep
harping on the timing of this. This summer is going to be a nightmare. The residents are already upset about Meadowbrook Bridge and that is just one little component. She noted that the Meadowbrook Lake residents have had the Police in their subdivision taking note of the speeds and stop signs being slipped through. She had e-mails from residents in that area and she forwarded them to Mr. Helwig and he said the city cannot close a public road. Mayor Csordas said that is correct. Unfortunately, they were talking about a temporary suspension of that but we maintain the roads, we pave them and we have the police in that area. They are also cutting through Village Oaks and Cranbrooke. She suggested detour signs should be put up. Police are there and have done a very good job. Timing of this project along with 9 Mile must be planned well.
Member Capello appreciated the residential look of Beck Road and with Member Lorenzo coming up with more money and he wanted to keep it looking residential. He thought one of the smartest things they did when they paved Nine Mile was to put a curb because it is a much cleaner look. He assumed this $785,000 has gravel shoulders and open ditches. If it is going to be done it has to be done right. He would agree to allocate the money but he is hoping that when the design comes back that they consider curbs as it looks more residential and is much cleaner. He was sure more money would have to be allocated.
Rob Hayes noted his department included a thoroughfare staging plan for their budget and it was shown as a summer design and fall construction which would mean from about September through November.
Member Lorenzo discussed this with Mr. Hayes and he stated the $785,000 might not be needed, depending on asphalt costs; it might come in under that. She would be happy to include curb and gutter and agreed it would be a much cleaner project.
Mr. Hayes said their estimates are based on the prices their consultants are telling them and those prices will peak this summer and we donít know where the prices will land. Hopefully below the $785,000 but we wonít know until we get the design done and send it out. She asked if she needed to include the engineering for curb and gutter in the motion. Mr. Klaver thought their direction was clear.
Member Paul thought Member Capelloís comments were very well taken. He is trying not to have it look like a boulevard. If you look to our southern neighbors Northville has a median with trees and grass with nice amenities to make it look not so unattractive. She agreed with the curb and gutters but wanted to see a plan 1 and plan 2 and look to see if there was enough R.O.W. to put some median in the middle with trees. Perhaps the trees could be done with the money in the tree fund. Member Paul said she would support it those amenities can be putt in with the financial constraints that we may have but timing for prices will also need to be considered.
Mayor Csordas commented that last Saturday he attended a function with residents from Bellagio who stated they didnít want four or five lanes. Looking from Eight Mile south he didnít think Northville or Wayne County would widen that from two lanes to anything else because it has curbs. It is a great idea to make it from city limits to Nine Mile with curb and gutter. The residents are very concerned about it being too wide.
Member Nagy seconded the amendment.
ROLL CALL VOTE ON CM-05-04-122 Yeas: Gatt, Lorenzo, Nagy, Paul,
Csordas, Landry, Capello
Member Lorenzo began discussion on the building department fee increases saying that if they didnít get to this today she would like to see Mr. Savenís information come forward to the Council at the next meeting. She was informed that Mr. Savenís information is on the next agenda. Member Lorenzo asked if the money, accumulatively over the past couple of years, could be returned once the fees are increased. Mrs. Smith-Roy said the amount that was surplus or shortfall is recorded in fund balance each year and is continuous. So whatever funds this year, if there is a surplus, first goes to offset that and then the set aside amount is left in the fund balance and is targeted per the public act that requires us to do so.
Member Lorenzo said when Council clarified the full time position a month ago, even though we say that department funds itself we had to amend the general fund budget by $25,000 to subsidize it for that position. Plus there were other shortfalls that the fund balance had to subsidize and she asked if the increased fees would reimburse the general fund. Mrs. Smith-Roy said it is reimbursed indirectly. The fees collected will be set aside to go against those costs that the building department incurs on an on-going basis.
Member Nagy said Member Capello brought up the fact of how the entranceways to the city looked. She was pleased to see that Mr. Shipman had prepared a design and asked if this was in the budget for this year. Mr. Klaver said the DPW will do most of the work and we have the funds and the materials to do the renovations. We are looking at this to be a continual project. The south side will also be renovated and the design plans would be sent to Council next week. Most of this will be done this year out of the existing budget. Trees would be taken out of the tree fund. Member Nagy looked forward to this and asked how long the design had been in place. Mr. Klaver said last fall Mr. Shipman prepared various designs to see what could be done in-house. They decided to fix immediate safety issues so a lot of patching was done which got us through the winter and itís serviceable, but not aesthetically good so now we want to redo it. She thanked Mr. Shipman for his design.
Member Paul said the deterioration of the concrete in the north plaza would be renovated this spring and asked if it would be done in time for the Memorial Day parade and Mr. Klaver said it would. She asked how they got the money for the concrete and landscaping. Mr. Klaver said there was a lot of top soil and seed matting left over from other projects and that is the vast majority of it and the rest of it is the labor to remove the broken concrete and it will be done with in house labor.
Member Paul advised Council that the Beautification Commission attended a seminar arranged by Ms. Uglow. They are trying to bring awareness of rain gardens to developers and there are some very attractive plans that help with run off and with purification of our waterway system. She asked if there was any way that the Beautification Commission could put one in a very visible place so that people could see what it would look like and how it could enhance different projects. Mr. Klaver said yes. This slows down the run off eliminating the dredging and stream bank stabilization and is very inexpensive. If the developers understood how it worked it could be used where there are space problems such as at Farmer Jacks where they canít do any existing retention basin. Maybe this could be used in some of the ZBA variances where the size is not large enough.
Member Paul commented on the 11 Mile sidewalk projects and that the school will put them in front through Parkview and the city will close the existing three gaps and it will be done in accordance with Arcadia Dr. being replaced. Is there any way to contact the school to get a better price for both of us to do this project as one? Mr. Klaver said no, they already talked about that. She asked if they could look at other schools such as the Northvilleís Thornton Creek School, which is in city limits and services Royal Crown children and Walled Lakeís Hickory Woods School. Mr. Klaver said they would look into it and report back to Council. She appreciated Mayor Csordasí leadership through this budget process as it has been very well done and very well orchestrated.
Member Capello noted he had the same concerns that Member Nagy did. He is hoping that all the concrete is coming out and he is sure there are some issues with the base of the concrete and that is why it has been heaving. He didnít see any money allocated but would like to see some type of a formed concrete like brick pavers or stones and would like to see a real plan come back to Council. He thought Mrs. Smith-Roy was going to provide Council with a list of the major bonds that are out there for replacement trees and approach each of those developers and offer them a reduction in the amount of trees to replace if they give cash now so we can use it. Eleven Mile Road is still missing the gap between the Kings house and the school property and that is city property. Regarding the building department, Member Capello was glad Council was doing this because there are municipalities on the other side of the State that were getting attacked from some of the builder associations because they are not able to justify their fee schedule with their expenditures. He asked that when this comes to Council with the fees that they give Council assurance that the fees would cover our continuing cost and the part time independent contractors that will be hired.
Mayor Csordas said there is no meeting scheduled for next Saturday but a public hearing was needed and could be held at a future Council meeting. There was also consensus of Council to cancel the April 30th meeting and to adopt the budget on May 9th. Mr. Klaver said they will have the public hearing on the revised budget as Council has amended it for adoption on May 9th also.
Mayor Csordas noted he greatly appreciated the Councilís cooperation and all of city staff for the hard work done in the original proposal and the summary follow up for the meetings.
Mr. Klaver noted they had looked at the possibility of having an award for part of the Meadowbrook Bridge on as a special item at the budget meeting on April 30th. He said Mr. Helwig had spent a lot of time trying to coordinate other possible alternatives because we have a very tight, ambitious schedule. He asked Mr. Hayes what the other alternatives were regarding when they could ask Councilís authorization.
Mr. Hayes said engineering proposals for the bridge would be received on April 22nd and their plan was to get Council concurrence on April 30th. However, now May 9th would be the next opportunity. Mr. Klaver asked if, to avoid losing ten days, Council would consider a very short one item meeting on April 30th.
Mayor Csordas asked who wanted to have the meeting. Members Lorenzo and Landry preferred May 9th. Member Nagy would be available on either date but really didnít want to delay the project ten days. Member Paul asked if they could meet during the week in the evening for an hour as she didnít want to delay the project either.
Sheryl Walsh said Mr. Helwig mentioned there was no meeting scheduled for Monday, May 2nd because of the school election on May 3rd and he would offer that as and option for a short meeting so Council could award the contract.
There was consensus of Council to meet on May 2, 2005 at 7:00 P.M. to award the bid for the Meadowbrook Bridge.
Linas Orentas, Meadowbrook Lake, said since we cannot close public roads can there be a temporary ordinance adopted allowing signage such as local traffic only or not a thoroughfare. When a police car is stationed at either entrance of Meadowbrook Lake Subdivision people see it and do a U-turn very quickly. It may not be the law yet, but asked if this could be some kind of local ordinance while the bridge project is going on. Yesterday he watched traffic on Ennishore and there were 15 to 20 cars per minute passing through from 8 A.M. to 5 P.M. He noted that in the summer of 2003 MDOT or some other government organization monitored the traffic on the south end of Ennishore north of Nine Mile and wondered if that could be done
again to judge the traffic flow through the neighborhood. It would be a good idea to judge between a normal traffic period and this elevated period. He is a heavy truck
engineer and has seen Class 6 and 7 trucks going through. Chattman is already starting to break up west of Meadowbrook and itís already accelerated in the two weeks since the bridge went down. He suggested the city collect the data to avoid having to budget for new roads. It is a matter of load and frequency on these asphalt roads and it breaks down much quicker
Mayor Csordas assured Mr. Orentas that Mr. Klaver was taking notes and he could contact the city department heads starting with Mr. Klaver for direction on a temporary ordinance.
Mr. Orentas said his other issue was the budget. He said Council could pay the bridge reconstruction off by stationing one police officer at either end of their subdivision and it would pay for itself in revenue. Thereíve been many speeders in
the neighborhood and the traffic flow has increased. He said they have no sidewalks but there is a lot of pedestrian traffic during the peak high traffic hours when people are cutting through the neighborhood to go home. He stated they are speeding through at 40+ and temporary stop signs arenít doing much. We have a problem and he hoped Council could do something on a temporary basis until the bridge project is
completed. Mr. Orentas said everyone has talked about public safety and this is about the safety of children and asked what can be done about it.
There being no further business to come before Council the meeting was adjourned at 11:23 A.M.
Lou Csordas, Mayor Maryanne Cornelius, City Clerk
Transcribed by Charlene Mc Lean
Date Approved: May 9, 2005