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REGULAR MEETING OF THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF NOVI
Mayor Landry called the meeting to order at 7:00 P.M.
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
ROLL CALL: Mayor Landry, Mayor Pro Tem Capello, Council Members Gatt, Margolis, Mutch, Nagy, Paul
ALSO PRESENT: Clay Pearson, City Manager
Pamela Antil, Assistant City Manager
Tom Schultz, City Attorney
Jack Lewis, Deputy Director of Parks, Recreation and Forestry
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
Member Mutch added Napier Road Paving as Item #3, under Mayor and Council Issues.
Member Paul added Soccer Fields at Community Sports Park as Item 4, under Mayor and Council Issues.
CM-06-10-259 Moved by Gatt, seconded by Margolis; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY:
To approve the agenda as amended.
1. Youth Council Update Ė Sheryl Walsh
Ms. Walsh was present at the request of Member Gatt who had asked that the Youth Council update Council a few times a year on what they were working on. Ms. Walsh introduced the new Chairman of the Youth Council, Scott Czekaj, Vice Chairman Christopher Jodoin, and also present was Kaitlyn Gardner.
Mr. Czekaj briefed Council on the progress of the Youth Council this year, and what their plans were for the near future. He said they participated in Fall for Novi, and coordinated old fashion games for about 300 kids that attended. They also had a booth and answered questions from community members about the Youth Council. On November 6th they plan to have the second annual "Addicted to Movies Not Drugs" program, and would work with the Police Department, Community School District and the Emagine Theatre. He said it would be a 10 hour lock in with about 500 kids, movies would be shown, and there would be a session educating the kids about the dangers of drugs. The $5.00 entrance fee would go to charity. He said they would also ring in the holidays with an electronic light float, and planned on partnering with the seniors in the community this year. They were planning an inter-generational event, more like a seniors from the High School to the seniorís prom. He felt this would help them get to know the older residents, and find out what they could learn from them.
He thanked Council for amending the resolution because it had set the foundation for the Novi Youth Council.
Mayor Pro Tem Capello asked if there was anything Council could do to help them get anything accomplished. Ms. Walsh said these kids were outstanding and they come ready and fully prepared with great ideas. She said they were approached by a senior community in Novi who knew the Youth Council was involved with the younger generation in the Memorial Day Parade last year, and some of the events they were hosting. They wanted to know if they would be interested in learning about the seniors in the community. She said the word was getting out about the Youth Council, and every single opportunity they had to partner in ventures like this, they were all for it. She appreciated Councilís support, but had not needed to come forward. She asked that Council notify her if there was anything they would like them to specifically work on, and she was certain they would harness every opportunity to help in any endeavor Council might need.
Member Paul said she appreciated all the work they had done. She mentioned last year they had an event where they put stickers on alcohol, and she thought he, as a role model of good behavior in not drinking, had brought a lot of awareness to the community. She said this was important and asked him to share this with the community.
Mr. Czekaj explained that last spring they put thousands of stickers on alcoholic beverages that said something like"if you are selling alcohol to a minor itís illegal, and thereís a severe penalty". He said they went around to just about all the suppliers of alcoholic beverages in the community. It was good to see the stickers at the parties, on the alcohol that was out for the adults. He noted that they planned on doing the same thing this year as well.
Ms. Walsh said this program would be done prior to prom and the graduation season.
Member Paul asked if the label said "parents who host lose the most". She said they partnered with that campaign, and it ran simultaneously. She wasnít sure if the stickers actually said that, and thought it was more along the lines of what Mr. Czekaj said. Mr. Czekaj said it would be a $5,000 fine or 90 days in jail if caught purchasing alcohol for minors.
Mayor Landry thanked them and asked that they express the gratitude of Council for their willingness to participate in City activities they were asked to do.
2. Recognition of Government Finance Officers Association Distinguished Budget Award Ė Finance Department
Mr. Pearson said they received notification that the budget document Council worked so hard on, and had set very high standards for, had been recognized by the Government Finance Officers Association, GFOA, for excellence and outstanding performance in several areas. He said there were about 1,800 municipalities across Michigan, and only 18 had received this award. He felt Council should feel very good about the work they had done, and the time they dedicated to the budget. He asked Ms. Smith-Roy to say a few words.
Ms. Smith-Roy echoed Mr. Pearson. She said there were a lot of staff members and committees that worked together to prepare the document, and she thanked everyone for their time.
Mayor Landry said it appeared that 1% of all municipalities were given this award, and Mr. Pearson agreed. Mayor Landry said this was amazing and congratulated Ms. Smith-Royís staff, and everyoneís staff should be commended for putting this document together; it put Novi in a wonderful light.
1. SPECIAL/COMMITTEE - None
2. CITY MANAGER Ė Employee Health Care 2007 Ė Clay Pearson
Mr. Pearson said they were looking ahead to the 2007 year for the employee benefits package, and meeting several of the contractual obligations. He said this year with the employee health component, Council recommended soliciting competitive proposals from a number of vendors. He said this was done with the assistance of benefits consultant J.S. Clark, who was present to answer Councilís questions. He said the results of those proposals had been prepared for Council and were as understandable and clear as possible. He said it was complicated because of the different options available, as there were 12 or 13 choices that were brought up. Several of the proposals didnít meet the needs for contractual obligations short term, and also opened the City up to some risk for increased cost beyond just the one immediate year. Mr. Pearson said in an effort to get this information to Council as early as possible, it was several months out until this would become effective, to allow time for questions, discussion, or if something had been missed and adjustments were needed. He said there was time before open enrollment, and he had sent a letter out to the employees with their paychecks last week, so they would also be kept in the loop.
Mr. Pearson said one of the significant things they recommended was to decrease the number of HMO providers. He said previously the City had a choice of three, it was purely voluntary, and was a win win for the employees and for the City. However, they were suggesting that it now be reduced to one HMO provider, and that would be HAP, the lowest cost provider. He said HAP currently provided health insurance for the largest number of employees, it was a good system, and many employees were already in it, so for many it wouldnít be a huge change. It would also improve some of the administrative costs the City had. He noted life insurance was one of the elements of the benefits package the City offered, and he had tried to keep an eye on all these things. Mr. Pearson said Council had been very vigilant about cost containment while maintaining a competitive package. He commented the bottom line was, in an era of double digit increases for a lot of companies and communities, the recommendation was an actual decrease for 2007 from the 2006 rates. He said one of the options they were looking at would be a decrease from the 2006 rates.
Member Nagy appreciated all the work and effort that had gone into this, and especially the fact that there were so many bids on the proposal. She was concerned that the plan suggested by the City, Blue Care Network, didnít have a deductible.
Ms. Gronlund-Fox responded that Blue Care Network was what the City currently had, and was one of the plans they were recommending no longer be offered.
Member Nagy asked what the deductible was for the plan Administration was recommending. Ms. Gronlund-Fox said there were no deductibles with the HMO plans. However, with the current Blue Cross/Blue Shield plan, depending on the bargaining group, the deductibles were anywhere from $50 per individual to $100 per family. She said as part of the cost containment efforts, as of January 1st that would increase for Administrative employees to $150 per single person and $300 per family.
Member Nagy said then they would have to spend $300, out of pocket, before the insurance would pay. Ms. Gronlund-Fox said yes, for the current Blue Cross/Blue Shield plan.
Member Nagy said her concern was even though $139,000 would be saved with this plan, employees received annual raises, and even if they had to contribute 5% itís almost a wash. She was concerned because over the last several months the newspapers always referred to the problems municipalities would have with health care. She thought if she compared these plans with the private sector the deductibles would be much, much higher. She said the operation of the City was through taxpayer funds, and wondered if they had looked at higher deductibles and co-pays, and if that would reduce the cost of the insurance. She said insurance premiums seemed to be increasing, and she thought they were not in line with the private sector. She asked what the criterion was that companies bid on. She said most of the people she knew in the private sector were paying between $1,500, to $2,100, and more.
Ms. Gronlund-Fox said they were asked for many different options. She said as far as keeping in line with the private sector, Member Nagy was correct. The private sector did have different deductibles, wages, and were very different across the board. As far as the public sector, Novi was in line with other public sector employers, as the survey showed. She said on page 2, there were several different options with high deductible plans, and they didnít propose any of those plans because they were looking at what could be implemented now, as opposed to having to negotiate. Member Nagy asked when negotiations come up. Ms. Gronlund-Fox said she was presently negotiating with police command and fire, and some of these higher deductible plans were on the table with both groups. Member Nagy said her concern was looking in the future, she was not trying to take anything away, she understood about the survey, but thought at some point government would have to catch up with the health care costs of the private sector. She said at the rate generous raises were given, and if increased from 3% and 5%, the savings becomes a wash. She said $139,000 would not cover the administrative raises that would be given during budget time. She didnít see a big cost savings down the line, and would like to see more savings that wasnít just immediate but long term. Ms. Gronlund-Fox assured Member Nagy they were looking into the future, and what could be done to save the City more money. Member Nagy asked if they were looking to keep this plan for a year. Ms. Gronlund-Fox responded they would keep it until they could negotiate different plans that would save the City more money. She said they all had to be negotiated because they were different benefits and out of pocket expenses for the employees, thus they had to be negotiated.
Mr. Pearson said the far left column, PPO-MM4, was the base program that was in the contracts now. He said they could substitute with supplements that were equivalent, but thatís what the benchmark was. Then thereís the HMO column and that was where the win win was for the City and the employees that voluntarily moved over to that.
He said the far left column was what had to be competed against, and had to be a component of whatever the City offered to meet their contractual obligations.
Member Nagy said she looked into the future and future costs, and at things she read. She thought the City unions, like all the other unions, would probably have to reconsider their health care in the future. She said a co-payment of $2.00 or $10.00 for prescriptions didnít seem like part of the real world. She said she was not putting the onus on Ms. Gronlund-Fox that this was up to her, but thought they needed to make the union employees understand things were going to change. This would save the City money, and was a good plan for them right now. She could not imagine implementing a plan like this 2 or 3 years from now. She thanked them for the work they did on this.
Member Paul echoed the concerns of Member Nagy. She said her family plan deductible was a $1,000 per person that she had to pay out before the insurance would kick in. She said this plan was far less for a whole family. Also, the monthly amount was so much less than the private sector that the comparison was staggering. She understood that the wages might not be comparable, but when she looked at the economic times a lot of the salaries no longer reflect as big of a difference as they once did between the public and private sectors. She said many people in the private sector had not had a raise in 3 to 5 years, etc. She said Novi had been giving raises between 2% and 3.5%, and some had gotten more than that. Member Paul said what Member Nagy said was that as salaries were increased and adjusted accordingly, a lot of the money being saved right now would be washed out in the next budget season. She said this was a good first attempt, but felt they were still way below where they ought to be. Member Paul said if there was some way to give a pay incentive to each bargaining unit for employees to switch over to an HMO, which would save more money in the long term, she would like to visit that option. Member Paul asked why so many health insurance companies declined to provide proposals. Ms. Gronlund-Fox said it was because they didnít have our claims experience. She said the only claims experience that the City could give was from those people who were insured through Blue Cross/Blue Shield. She said any employees insured through an HMO, which was approximately 60%, those HMOís do not have to provide claims experience. She said a lot of these companies were very leery to bid when they didnít have all the information. Member Paul asked if there was a way to have a more competitive bid with the employees on an HMO. She wanted a really good group of bids for comparison, have that information, look at the best company and move to that company. She didnít feel two or three to look at was a competitive bid. Ms. Gronlund-Fox agreed it was a problem with HMOís, and everyone had the same problem. Member Paul asked if there was a way to FOIA information in that regard, Ms. Gronlund-Fox said there was not, and they would not release that information. She said there were letters in Council packets from M-Care and HAP, and she received one from BCN after the packet went out, that they would not release that information. They canít be sued or taken to court either, and that was part of the problem of having an HMO and not having all the experience, like Blue Cross.
Ms. Smith-Roy said if Council looked at the entities that declined to quote they are primarily for profit entities; they would not be willing to quote a price that they would not be able to make a profit on. She said that was why they wanted the experience data because they wanted to make a profit. Ms. Gronlund-Fox said Blue Cross was not for profit.
Member Paul said "not for profit" but that was not an accurate statement. Ms. Smith-Roy said no, but the other ones are for profit and that was an accurate statement. She said if they could not make a profit with Novi, they would not be interested in a long term relationship. Ms. Gronlund-Fox said a lot of it was retirees. She said there were a lot of companies that didnít want to get into the business of insuring retirees. Member Paul said then there was nothing different that could be done because all these companies declined. She asked if there was a general statement they could give Council about how they could cover an HMO and that Council could look at competitively. Ms. Gronlund-Fox said no, and felt because of our situation and having so many of our employees covered under an HMO, they really had a great deal of options before them. She said even though the private companies declined, they still had a good variety of options. She said some couldnít be done until they were negotiated, but they were fortunate to have so many options.
Mr. Pearson said on the cover memo he had sent the Council, he should have qualified there were two PPO providers that had submitted proposals. He said they were qualified in terms of their rates, but hedged quite a bit until they had information for the points being discussed. He said one of the proposals was significantly higher as a base than what we are dealing with now, but the other would require, as a different kind of plan, health questionnaires that could not be submitted.
Mr. Pearson thought this was all towards the good, in terms of having more information and options, and this was the 2007 program that they needed to get into and start implementing. However, it also gave Council some base information options for negotiations, and to share with the labor groups, because they were trying to create win win scenarios and incentives, and this gave actual numbers they could work from and share.
Member Paul said it was disappointing that Council couldnít get a fairer comparison, and she would keep watching for what they would bring forward.
Member Margolis said there was no one in any corporate, municipal, private or public sector that was having an easy time with health care, and there was no one answer. She thought that was the struggle that happened when talking about these things. She thought this was a good shot at it, and something they should continue to work on. Member Margolis said one of the considerations or assumptions in the model of the cost savings was that everyone who was now in an HMO, which was about 60%, and was a significantly lower cost alternative. However, the assumption in that rate savings was that all of those people would convert to HAP. She said right now some of them have BCN and some have M-Care. Member Margolis had asked Ms. Smith-Roy if 25% of those people didnít convert but went to Blue Cross PPO, what kind of fiscal impact that would have.
Ms. Smith-Roy responded using an average for the three rates they had for family, single and two person. She said comparing the two plans, Blue Cross PPO and the HAP, even if 100% of the BCN and M-Care went to Blue Cross there would still be a savings of 2.76% She said if only 25%, which might not be that high because thereís incentive, in the fact that employees deductions are based on a percentage of the premiums, it would result in annual savings, instead of 4.7% it would be 4.2%. Member Margolis said then it would be within range, and wouldnít erase the cost savings. Ms.
Smith-Roy said no, and it was partly because if they look at the PPO plan, because we are an experience rated provider, we had a savings last year in the Blue Cross plan itself, there would have been a reduction. She said it just wouldnít be as large if everyone didnít go to the HMO.
Member Margolis thought, for future direction, when looking at the cost savings to a family on an HMO, in this case HAP, versus Blue Cross/Blue Shield they would probably save about $400 a month. She said the more they could do to give incentives, even those 40% people, to move to an HMO would be a win- win. She thought as they increased the percentage of employee contribution that would encourage it. She said she wanted to talk with Ms. Smith-Roy about what the fiscal impact would be of actually covering a little more of the HMOís as incentives to move there. She said the employee would save some money, and the City would end up saving a lot of money. She commented Council kept talking about cutting but there were also ways to offer incentives so they save money. Member Margolis said also, in terms of future direction, she would like to see Council look more at the Community Blue, she thought there were other plans there that might be more comparable. She thought the benefits for Community Blue were better, in some areas, that they were contractually obligated, and requested they look at that. Member Margolis said while she agreed, she didnít think they had the richest benefits of municipalities. She said when she looked at the Wentworth Study, Novi was on kind of the high median end of benefits. She said she understood that for employees this was a very tough thing and it was a tough thing for her. She thought they needed to attract quality employees, and thought they had to continually look at that, and thought municipalities would have to continually start cutting back. Member Margolis said she would agree with some of those comments, and now in negotiations, they had to take a look at those types of cost containments. She encouraged Council to continue doing the kind of studies to determine where they were on that scale, because they needed to know that. She thought this was a decent start but would like to continue to push and try to continue the cost savings.
Mayor Landry thought the City Council had two obligations when it came to health care. He said first they had an obligation to the employees to provide meaningful health care coverage. Second, they had an obligation to the taxpayers to provide that health care coverage at the lowest possible cost. He said currently the health care coverage offered by the City was two types, a PPO and currently a choice between three HMOís. He said Council requested the Administration to go to market, and come back to Council with possible changes. He said on the HMO side of things, the Administration had come back to them and recommended going from three choices down to one, HAP. Mayor Landry said M-Care would no longer be provided. Ms. Gronlund-Fox said they were being bought by Blue Cross/Blue Shield. He said it was the Administrationís suggestion that they discontinue the Blue Care Network, go to HAP with a $10.00 office visit co-pay and a $25.00 emergency room co-pay.
Mayor Landry said if they solicited HMO bids from companies that the City did not currently purchase HMO insurance from, and they all declined because the City could not offer them rating experiences, and no company or HMO would ever offer a bid unless the rating experiences were provided, and we would never be able to provide rating experiences, how would they ever change from HAP.
Ms. Gronlund-Fox said as far as this time when they went out to bid, since we already had so many lives that were insured in all three of those plans, it was much easier for them to come back and give us quotes and renewals if we stayed with them as of January 1st , this was what the new price would be. She said they already had a picture of what that experience was and knew about it.
Paul Kahler, Benefits Consultant with the J.S. Clark Agency, was present and said the question was if we canít obtain claims experience from one, two or three HMOís, how would we ever go to market and get competitive bids. He said there was one way, but it might not be pleasant for everyone. Mr. Kahler said they had to consolidate their risk pool; by consolidating the risk pool that meant they would terminate all the HMOís. He said terminate all the HMOís, consolidate at the moment to Blue Cross because it was in force and there was claim experience on part of the group that was inside Blue Cross. Mayor Landry said that was the PPO and Mr. Kahler agreed. Mr. Kahler said there was a little less than 100 employees in there, both active and retirees, there were approximately 180 active employees in the HMO. He said terminate the HMO, consolidate and bring everybody under a Blue Cross program whether itís two PPOís, three PPOís, you consolidate the risk pool so that in 12 to 24 months there would be a true picture of premium versus claims on the entire work population of 280 people. Mr. Kahler said now, with that information, they could enter the market place and get proposals from everybody. Some might be declined because they arenít competitive, and others might be very competitive, but you donít know. He said there was only one way to find out and that was to consolidate the risk pool.
Mayor Landry said in the future, letís say we follow the Administrationís advice and go down to HAP as our only HMO provider. If we ever wanted to change from HAP weíd have to discontinue HAP and consolidate all employees under one PPO. He asked if it would have to be Blue Cross or could it be Aetna, etc. Mr. Kahler said the only way to get to Aetna or someone else was to consolidate the risk pool with Blue Cross. Mayor Landry said wouldnít US Health and Life issue us a policy of insurance, and therefore create risk experience that could be taken to market. Mr. Kahler said he acquired a bid from US Health and Life, and it was only for the current Blue Cross/Blue Shield employees. Mayor Landry said the underlying principal was the only way to get a bid was to create an experience. He said it didnít have to be with Blue Cross and that any private PPO would create experience and Mr. Kahler agreed. Mr. Kahler said the only way to get there was to get a private carrier like Aetna, US Health, etc. to insure us at a reasonable price that could be tolerated to understand our experiences. Mayor Landry said if Council ever wanted to make the move so they would never obtain another HMO bid, ever, he said they had to take the risk, consolidate, and go with a single insurance.
Mr. Kahler said he was sorry to say there werenít too many left in town. He said there was HAP, Blue Care Network, M-Care was still in existence but would be bought by
Blue Cross, Care Choices, which was St. Joe Mercy based out of Ann Arbor, Health Plus out of Flint, but that wouldnít help the demographics of this organization, and that was it. He said the only other HMO left was Care Choices but it was not one of the choices today. Mayor Landry asked about Blue Care Network. Mr. Kahler stated he went to Blue Care Network and asked them to give quotes on all of the HMO current lives, and that he wanted the most competitive ones, and HAP won. HAP out performed Blue Care Network in terms of a total take over bid, HAP was more competitive than Blue Care Network when asked to bid on the entire group.
Ms. Gronlund-Fox said as far as not ever having an HMO bid on us they could, and they did. Now, if they go to HAP and Blue Cross only, and drop M-Care, and decide they want to look again at BCN, because they have held our contract for employees in the past, they would give us a bid. Mr. Kahler said absolutely. Mayor Landry asked how much it would cost for the HAP HMO that was recommended as opposed to Blue Care Network HMO providing the same coverage; those were the two numbers he was looking for. Mr. Kahler said HAP, M-Care, Blue Care Network, and Blue Cross, is that correct. Mayor Landry said no, he was just looking at the HMO component now. Mayor Landry said Mr. Kahler asked both HAP and Blue Care Network to give quotes on all the HMO policies, Mr. Kahler said he was correct. Mayor Landry asked what the two numbers were.
Mr. Kahler said to go to Option 4, in their packet, which was HAP and was being recommended, and Option 9, which was Blue Care Network. Mayor Landry said it looked like HAP was about $195,000. Mayor Landry said now we are stuck with HAP, other than perhaps Blue Care Network, who would give us a bid, but no one else would for the next 20 years unless Council completely scrapped it, and went to a PPO for a couple of years to gain claims experience. Mr. Kahler said when looking at the HMOís in force next year, they could enter the market as long as Care Choices was still in existence. He said they could get an HMO bid on HMO lives and could always get HMO carriers to compete against the current HMO insured lives. However, the problem was in getting the private marketplace to give us bids on the entire work force, because of the lack of claims experience on the entire work force.
Mayor Landry said he understood him to say, just talking about HMO, that other HMO providers declined to bid on our HMO portion because they donít have claims experience. Mr. Kahler said no, the private marketplace declined to quote on our group because of lack of HMO claims experience. Mayor Landry said he understood that, and asked how many HMO bids were received. Mr. Kahler responded there were four markets, and Novi was with three of them. He said thereís Blue Care Network, which gave a quote, HAP, M-Care and Care Choices. Mayor Landry asked why Care Choices declined. Mr. Kahler replied that his first impression was they were not price competitive. He said it was typical when a declination was received they were not competitive price wise or didnít have sufficient information to make a bid. Mayor Landry said then Novi received HMO bids from all potential HMO providers. Mr. Kahler said in our geographical area, yes. Mayor Landry asked if the majority of the savings, by going to HAP, was the $10 office visit, and $25 emergency room co-pays. Mr. Kahler said yes, the difference between the $139,736 in Option 4, and the $66,701in Option 3 was the office visit, emergency room co-pays.
Mayor Landry said, regarding the PPO side, his understanding was that Administration recommended Council stay with Blue Cross/Blue Shield because we are contractually bound to do so. Ms. Gronlund-Fox said at this point yes, it was something that could be done January 1st that they wouldnít have to negotiate and would see a savings to the City. Mayor Landry asked if Council could do this January 1st . She responded they could with the option recommended this evening. Mayor Landry said his understanding of the report was that the Administration was recommending they stay with Blue Cross/Blue Shield because of contractual obligations or equivalent. She said that was correct or equivalent. Mayor Landry said there were five contracts in the Administrative group, Clerks and Dispatchers, POAM, COAM, Firefighters and Teamsters. She said
there was also Paid on Call Firefighters. Mayor Landry said the Clerks and Dispatchers and the POAM were contracts already locked in, and she agreed. He said the COAM, Firefighters, Teamsters, and Paid on Call were in negotiations. She agreed. Mayor Landry said then they were not locked in on any of those contracts to Blue Cross/Blue Shield. Ms. Gronlund-Fox said it was up for negotiation. Mayor Landry said then they were not locked in, and as a Council they could decide they were not going to provide Blue Cross/Blue Shield, correct. She said yes.
Mayor Landry said the contract language said "Blue Cross/Blue Shield MVF-1", he asked what that was. Ms. Gronlund-Fox said it was a rider. Mr. Kahler said it was kind of a dinosaur acronym in the Blue Cross terminology, which meant Michigan Variable Fee, which was a term for how they cover hospitalization and surgery at100%. Mayor Landry said this City of Novi Plans at a Glance chart, Exhibit A-1, first column, where it said "PPO-MM4" was that the schedule of benefits for MVF-1. Ms. Gronlund-Fox said yes. Mayor Landry asked if they had a quote on the PPO side from anybody on how much it would cost for them to provide that same coverage. Mr. Kahler said no, because to do that exact duplication was not impossible, and there could be some comparable bids if they provided quotes for them. However, again why quotes were not received was because of claims experience to provide them to get comparable quotes. Mayor Landry asked if with PPO, Novi had claims experience for Blue Cross PPO, correct. Mr. Kahler said yes. Mayor Landry said then claims experience was not a problem for PPO bids. Mr. Kahler said US Health and Life gave a bid. However, in the underwriting world of health insurance, Humana, a tremendous carrier, national company and very well respected, they wouldnít bid just on the PPO side, they wanted the whole thing. It was the same with Aetna, and as a result, declination. Mayor Landry asked why they wouldnít give a bid on everything. Mr. Kahler said because there was no claims experience on the HMO side. Mayor Landry said so we could never get a bid from them. Mr. Kahler said not unless they consolidate the risk pool. Mayor Landry asked if US Health and Life was willing to bid just on our PPO population. Mr. Kahler said yes, and he acquired that. Mayor Landry asked if they gave a bid on what it would cost to provide comparable coverage to MVF-1. Mr. Kahler said yes, Option 11. Mayor Landry asked how much it was. Mr. Kahler said there was a range because there were several options from US Health. He said the comparable to MVF-1 would be 0.3, so call it a wash, almost even money. Mayor Landry said the City would save $10,156, and Mr. Kahler said maybe. Mayor Landry said that was because they all had to fill out health questionnaires, and they are an absolute underwriter provider so they have to absolutely underwrite the actual lives. He said they canít give a straight quote until they actually get all the questionnaires. Mr. Kahler said yes.
Mayor Landry said then one option they have now was to change from Blue Cross/Blue Shield to US Health and Life, if they wanted to go through that. He said they might encounter a problem with the two contracts they have but the other 3 or 4 contracts could be negotiated. He said, or the Administration recommended they stay with the Blue Cross because there were no contractual or potential problems, and go from three down to HAP with the $10/$25 co-pays.
Mayor Landry said he thought this underscored the importance of contract negotiation. He said they were looking at 3 or 4 contracts now. Again, he said they had an obligation to provide meaningful health insurance but also an obligation to provide it at the lowest price to the taxpayer. He thought Council had to look at it, and he was not looking at drastically changing anyoneís coverage. However, if there was an opportunity for this City to buy comparable coverage at a cheaper rate, they owed it to the taxpayers to do it. He said since they were negotiating 3 or 4 contracts now was the time to do it.
Mayor Landry said he appreciated the information, and asked Mr. Pearson if this would be back before Council as an action item in a couple weeks.
Mr. Pearson said it wouldnít require an action item, but if there was any additional information to share with Council, before they began to implement it, they would be happy to do that. Mayor Landry asked when Administration planned to implement this. Mr. Pearson said open enrollment was in November, and they would like to give employees as much time as possible. If there were questions, he thought the October 23rd meeting would be helpful, and they could still do something if Council felt strongly about another option.
Mayor Landry suggested it be a Consent Agenda item on the 23rd unless Council wanted to give a different direction. He said this was a discussion item and not an action item tonight, but Council just heard that Administration would implement this unless Council asked for something different.
Member Nagy asked Mr. Kahler if he could have asked for increased deductibles and co-pays, and then give the rate. Mr. Kahler said they did, and they were in the chart. He said on the Blue Cross side, Options 5 through 8 were all Community Blue programs. He said Community Blue was a new Blue Cross/Blue Shield program that had been developed over the last 8 or 9 years. Essentially, Options 5 through 8, had substantial savings, but they were a deviation of the MVF-1 contract that was currently in place. Member Nagy said after listening to the conversation between him and Mayor Landry, she almost thought that municipalities were going to be stuck.
Member Paul said she was not prepared to accept this proposal. She felt there needed to be another discussion, and perhaps an action item at the next meeting or an executive session. She said this was probably the biggest issue they would face in the next ten years in regard to cost savings. She was looking for 12 to15 different carriers, bottom dollar, different options, and consolidating 5 plans to 2. She felt she wasnít prepared with the information they had, and if they could discuss all the options in executive session, it might be a good idea.
Mayor Landry said, other than contract negotiations, his understanding was this could not be discussed in executive session. It had to be discussed in public. Mr. Schultz said as a general proposition thatís true. He could give a particular legal opinion on specifics, but thought the question Member Paul was raising was broader than that.
Mayor Landry suggested that it come back as an action item on the 23rd, and if there was additional information Administration wanted to provide, they could discuss it. He said it took him a long time to go through all of this, and all the costs and everything was provided in the report. He thought the choice that ultimately had to be made was what they wanted to do with the PPO side. He said they were contractually bound, allegedly, on two contracts to provide Blue Cross/Blue Shield.
Member Paul said she understood, and wanted to make a meaningful change for the taxpayers as well as the employees. She said it was very important, and she wanted every single employee to have good health care coverage. However, she wanted the provider to be the most reasonable to our taxpayers. She said that was her bottom line, providing health care coverage at a low cost. She said which company they went with would depend on their quality and their pricing. She said how they went about that was an important discussion. She had been looking for a lot more options with a lot more very discreet information. They canít even give all of that because we are tied in with 60% of our coverage not being available because thereís no claims experience with those companies.
Member Gatt asked if he was correct that they would only be looking at Blue Cross and US Health and Life. Mayor Landry said for the PPO side, and those were the only two bids received. He said the Administration would tell Council that the US Health and Life PPO bid was not a hard bid because they are actual underwriters and would have to look at the health history of each potential employee to see who had diabetes, who had this drug requirement, so they could truly underwrite. He said they truly did need to do that. Member Gatt asked how they got the number that US Health and Life provided to Council.
Mr. Kahler responded that US Health, Humana or the other private insurance carriers were provided with basic information, gender, age, family status, etc. He said essentially, and every carrier was different, they had "manual rates", and they kicked out rates based on the demographics of the group. For example, the industry youíre in, because they equate numbers to your industries, the rates for municipalities are different than a law firm, medical practice, etc. He said that was where those numbers came from. Once employees completed health questionnaires and they were submitted to the underwriters, the various carriers look at the risk, and every possible situation because they are private insurance companies and in business to make money. They look at the risk and the premium that the original quote illustrated, and then make an evaluation of whether the premium asked for initially was enough to cover the risk they were about to buy. He said at that point, they make a determination that they could live with the original rates or come back to Mr. Kahler to communicate to the client they want an additional 3%, or whatever.
Member Gatt asked if it would be fair to say that this private company was in business to make money, most likely provided a quote that was more beneficial to them being in the game than it might turn out to be after they get the questionnaires. Mr. Kahler said that was fair to say. However, another way to answer that would be that at least 80% of the time they come back with a rewrite. It could be a small or large rewrite, and the City wouldnít know unless they went through the effort. Member Gatt asked for his best guess if the City went to US Health and Life and gave them all the questionnaires, and they analyzed all the employees that would take this PPO, would their rate be higher or lower than the one quoted tonight. Mr. Kahler said it would probably be adjusted slightly, but he didnít know what everyoneís health situation was. Member Gatt said now their quote was only three tenths of one percent less than Blue Crossí quote, and that would not go up.
Member Mutch echoed the comment of Member Margolis regarding looking forward with the units that were either in contract negotiations or looking to negotiate health care benefits. He said the Community Blue plans, Options 5 through 8, they not only potentially have significant cost benefits to the City but potentially have benefits to the employees in terms of how those plans are laid out. They have a focus on preventative care tending to cover those costs to make sure people donít get sick in the first place, and to try to alleviate some of the long term costs. He said it was the plan he had, and it was not only a cheaper plan for a municipality but he thought having compared the benefits in quite a bit of detail, that overall for the majority of our employees, itís a better plan. He encouraged Council to look at those as alternatives, not only for the cost savings but as additional benefits to the employees in how those plans work. He said that did not preclude looking at whatever other providers were out there, but he thought if they did nothing else, at the minimum they should be looking at the Community Blue plans because they are long term better for the City and the employees.
Mayor Landry asked if the Community Blue plans were PPO plans, and Mr. Kahler said they were. Mayor Landry asked if he was correct that they could choose to, at this point in time, enroll in the Administrationís recommendation which was Blue Cross/Blue Shield MVF-1, and HAP as recommended. Then if they were to negotiate these other contracts and that language did not require them to provide MVF, they could kick into Community Blue at anytime in the future and Blue Cross would be happy to switch from the MVF-1 to the Community Blue plan, so we would have that flexibility. Mr. Kahler said yes.
Ms. Gronlund-Fox commented the Community Blue Plans were on the table right now with command, fire and Teamsters. She said they hadnít worked out what plan they were looking at but they were looking at the option of a Community Blue plan.
Member Margolis said her concern about waiting two more weeks was that she was not sure what it would accomplish for us, and yet it would throw our employees in this limbo land of not knowing what their health care coverage was. She said thatís a scary place to be and felt they had all been there. She thought Council was between a rock and a hard place. She had done some research herself on the experience rating with health maintenance organizations and was told by larger organizations than ours that that was absolutely true. She said she was not where she wanted to be but thought this was the choice they had to take now, and felt they had done a decent job of going through that.
She said if they were going to do this in two weeks why not just do it now so that people understand what they were facing.
Member Nagy thought it didnít matter because they were covered between now and whenever. She thought it was very important for anyone watching this meeting, as well as for the people who work for the City, to know Novi had a lot of fine employees and Council was proud of them. However, they also recognized their obligation to the taxpayer. She said one of the difficulties in municipalities insuring their employees was a company could pass on the cost of health care in their product. Whereas, the City didnít pass on the extra cost, so it was important to reduce the cost as much as possible, and provide good health care, because it would come out of the taxpayer pocket. She said that was very important because they were looking at several things coming up where the City or some department within the City would again be going to the taxpayer saying "weíd like to do this or that and weíd like you to pay for it" ,such as a millage or bond. She thought, since they were in negotiations, she would appreciate it if they would tell the people they are negotiating with where the Council was coming from, and that this was not an outright attack on their health insurance. However, she felt it was down the line fiscal responsibility on their part.
Mayor Landry said this was a self executing matter, and asked if that was the Councilís wish, and seeing no change, Council would move to the next issue.
3. DEPARTMENTAL Ė Street Tree Inventory Management Plan Ė Steve Printz
Mr. Pearson said Council received the Street Tree Inventory Management Plan a couple of weeks ago. It was a very good first report, would be a good overview, and would be helpful for Mr. Printz and his colleagues to manage the urban forest.
Mr. Printz said Davey Tree recently completed the Street Tree Inventory Management program. The project was partially funded by a $20,000 DNR grant they had received. He was present to share with Council some of the results and recommendations of that study.
Mr. Printz said it was important to conduct this study because trees were a part of the infrastructure, and tree inventories were meant to improve urban forestry programs and set clear goals for the future. As public safety and municipal liability, trees, while beautiful, had potential risks associated with them. He said stocking levels essentially dictated how stocked the urban forest was in terms of trees and planting sites, and then a healthy street tree population improved the environment in terms of climate control, water conservation, wildlife habitat, and air quality.
Mr. Printz said the objectives were to prioritize maintenance, identify trends and planting sites, recommend types of trees, and let them know where they are, at this point in time, in terms of the urban forest. He said it was to ultimately create a management plan, which was a summary and analysis of the data that was collected during the tree inventory. He said the information would be used for maintenance, future maintenance, and management. He said the items recorded were location, type of tree size, condition, maintenance need and priority, any unusual observations, damage to sidewalks, the growing space and type, clearance needs and potential planting sites. He said in the report there was detailed information collected for each individual tree. He noted as far as the results, they had nearly 18,000 trees inventoried and about 2,000 potential planting sites, and it was important to know while this was taking place they were also going through the largest planting as well. He said regarding the age of the tree population, most of them were in the small size class from one inch to seven inches in diameter, health was mainly between the good (43%) and fair condition (50%) rating. Mr. Printz said the value of the trees was nearly $10 million, and in diversity there were over 104 different species. He said about 31% of the trees were maples, 8% Linden, 7% Honey Locust and 6% Oak.
Mr. Printz said priority maintenance work were trees that required pruning or removal. He said the recommended work was to complete the priority one removals, priority two removals, and then the priority one and two pruning within the first year. He said regarding safety related maintenance needs, most of the trees in the chart were depicted as priority 3 removal, and were mostly small trees that would be removed after priority 1 and 2 had been established in terms of removal. The remaining trees would fall into some sort of routine pruning or training pruning program. He said these were all maintenance issues for existing tree work. Once all this was taken care of, it didnít mean there wouldnít be any more maintenance issues, it would just mean at this point in time, this was what there was.
Mr. Printz said other maintenance work identified was the routine pruning program, which was to improve the health and appearance of the trees, and training program to reduce potential future problems by taking care of the trees when they are small. Also, recommended was clearance pruning such as sidewalks, site obstruction from signs, and road clearance issues. He said other maintenance issues were stump removal, improper mulching, soil compaction, removal of hardware. Mr. Printz said another issue they were facing was that there were a number of trees that had been over mulched. Other recommendations were to encourage diversity, enhance relationships with the public through education, develop a street tree ordinance to protect street trees, inventory parks and major road trees, as well as address the over mulching and watering of the trees they had planted.
He said Davey commented that he had performed over 200 inventories throughout the United States. He said there were comments regarding Noviís urban forest. Some of the comments were that Novi had a very effective, progressive, and urban forestry program. He said they specifically pointed out the planting program in terms of the number of trees planted, and requiring two year warranty from developers. He said they had indicated that Novi had made sound management decisions compared to other communities throughout the United States.
Mr. Printz said, in summary, the trees are all in good to fair condition, but it was also important to reduce potential safety issues. He said they were currently developing an annual pruning program to reduce future work and cost, and then continue with increased species diversity. He offered to answer any questions Council had.
Member Nagy commented it was important to have a street tree program. She thought people needed to understand that not only do the trees provide help in cleaning the air, but also increased property values too. She asked if the 153 rated dead were a particular species. Mr. Printz said most of them were small newly planted or transplanted trees, and the first years were critical. He said there were also some older mature trees that were starting to decline and die. Member Nagy asked if he had a certain amount of certified staff to help with the pruning. Mr. Printz said there were two full time forestry technicians, and they were certified arborists as well as certified pesticide applicators. They would be in charge in the pruning and removal of trees. She asked if he had to subcontract large jobs. Mr. Printz said Novi was a young urban forest with almost 80% of the trees being small. He said it could be done on the ground, and it was fairly easy and inexpensive to prune the trees, and they were equipped to do the job. Member Nagy thought this was very important and appreciated the work it took to do this. She asked if they inventoried the tree population in terms of species as well, and he said yes. Mr. Printz said it was a very comprehensive and complete inventory of the tree population.
Member Mutch wanted to echo the compliments, first in getting the grant to help pay for this, and then for implementing it. He said it was amazing that there were some 18,000 trees that someone went out and counted, measured, and inventoried. He said it was a tremendous amount of information that his staff alone couldnít do, and he thought it was an excellent use of that resource. He said this was specifically limited to trees in the R.O.W. in our subdivisions, and none of our major roads. Mr. Printz said one of the complications with the major roads was that there were a lot of naturalized locations, no addresses, and it was difficult. He said they had a GPS unit and he had done several inventories himself, and planned on inventorying those trees as well as city trees beginning this year. Member Mutch said Mr. Printz noted major tree plantings and new trees, and asked if those would be added into the inventory as they are planted, so this would be a constantly updated process. Mr. Printz said yes. Member Mutch said regarding the costs that are outlined for the activities that are planned, for example in 2006 the total activities would cost about $247,000, did that number reflect someone contracted to do all this work. Mr. Printz said essentially their budget was in terms of having a contractor perform these tasks. He said they were fortunate enough to have in house staff to do all of this. Member Mutch said actual costs that Council might see coming out of the Tree Fund or other funds would be the tree planting at $41,000 to plant 100 trees. Mr. Printz agreed. Member Mutch asked if he had sat down with Ms. Smith-Roy to project a budget going forward in terms of the impact on the Tree Fund. He said he had expressed his concern several times because as development slowed in Novi the amount of money coming into the Tree Fund would decrease proportionally. He asked if in the long term, they would be able to fund not only tree planting but some of the other costs covered out of the Tree Fund, such as equipment costs, and other areas where they had wanted to spend that money. Mr. Printz said they were certainly aware of that and would be working on it. At this point in time, they didnít have anything set in place but were working on it because they realized at some point it would run out.
Mr. Printz said the Catholic Central plantings would help because they would be done over a period of years. In terms of funding equipment and such that would be something they would have to watch closely. Member Mutch thought this provided a framework to make those decisions because now we could have some actual dollars and activities associated with what it would take, not only to add new trees to our inventory but to maintain what we have. He would look forward to suggestions on how they could ensure that resource would be available for the long term.
Member Paul commented she appreciated all their work also. She said when she looked at the Ash trees that were in the R.O.W. of county roads, it really bothered her to see one across from City Hall, and it was dead. She asked what the plan was to have those trees removed. Mr. Printz said they had been in contact with the county and had sent several correspondences to them regarding that. Obviously, those trees were still there, so one option would be to contract the removals out or continue to have correspondence with them. He said he had taken pictures of the trees so they could see them, and he was talking to people at the county hoping to resolve this issue.
Member Paul asked Mr. Pearson if he would contact Oakland County Commissioner Hugh Crawford, and ask him to help get some of the dead trees off the countyís major thoroughfares.
Mr. Pearson said he would work with Mr. Printz, and would pass on a list of the dead trees. He said the Road Commission was responsible to maintain their R.O.W. Member Paul said that would be great. She said Mr. Crawford had been a help in front of a Ten Mile subdivision, and he was very helpful in getting some clearing down in front of Hampton Ct.
She asked if other municipalities had the same Street Tree Ordinance. Mr. Printz said yes. She asked if he could bring some of the ordinances other communities had, and give them to Ordinance Review or Council so they could look at them. He said he could, and she asked how long it would take to get back with Council. Mr. Printz said he already had samples, so he could do it in a week or two or in an off week packet. Member Paul said she would love to see what he had so Council could adapt best policies under his recommendations, and get that under way. She asked if he had a plan for the park inventory as well. Mr. Printz said absolutely, that was part of the major roads to start inventorying the parks. He said it would be an ongoing project and would take at least 2 to 3 years to complete. He planned on using the GPS units that the City had to inventory those trees, and said he had done several of them, was very familiar with it, and knew he could implement it into his tree inventory software. He said he and possibly his staff would do it. Member Paul said now that he had the inventory, did he feel it would save staff time. Mr. Printz said absolutely, this would help him concentrate where every thing was, and would help him concentrate his work forces, and the things that really need his attention. He said with all this information he could direct his crews and give them work assignments in terms of trees that needed to be removed, pruned, etc., and take care of all our immediate risks. He said it would help him to establish and identify priorities for work.
Mr. Pearson said last week a public information meeting was held on the Beck Road study; it was part of their early effort in scoping out the alternatives for improvements to Beck Road, and looking at it in different segments. He said at the public information meeting there was a brief staff presentation, and 47 residents attended, and they shared the comment cards. He said they would schedule another session as well taking some of their input, and keep flushing out ideas, and they would announce the next session date probably the first week in November.
Mr. Lewis said the Ringing in the Holidays Event would be on Thursday, November 30th from 6 PM to 9 PM at Main and Market Streets. He said they would continue to have the annual electric light parade, food vendors in tents along Main and Market Streets, and, as always, would welcome Santa Claus. He invited everyone to participate, and stated they would be receiving an invitation in the mail.
Mayor Landry said Mr. Lewis had personally been in contact with Santa Claus, and he would make an appearance this year. Mr. Lewis said yes, and that was definitely guaranteed.
Mayor Pro Tem Capello thought that date was the night of the first annual Providence Grand Christmas Charity Event, at Rock Financial, and they planned to have the City participate. Mr. Pearson said he had not heard that, and this event had been on the calendar since last December. Mayor Pro Tem Capello asked if there was any way to move this to December 2nd. He said the Festival of Trees was not coming to Novi as they were going back down to Detroit, and they are filling that gap at Rock Financial with a national holiday show. He said they were opening it up just to Providence Hospital to have a private showing that evening with cocktails from 7 PM until 10 PM.
Mayor Landry asked when the Cityís program was, and Mr. Lewis said from 6 PM until 9 PM.
Mayor Pro Tem Capello said if it was possible to look at December 2nd, he suggested they call Mr. Casalou of Providence Hospital, and talk to them about it.
Mayor Landry asked Mr. Pearson to look into that and report back to Council.
Mr. Pearson said there would be a swearing in ceremony for Fire Chief Frank Smith, a week from tonight in the Civic Center Council Chambers at 6 PM with a brief reception in that atrium to meet Chief Smith. He said there was a Council interview meeting at 7 PM, so he tried to make it as easy on Council as possible.
Mr. Pearson said he would like to ask Fire Marshal Evans to talk about the open house at Fire Station 1 this Saturday.
Fire Marshal Evans said this week marks Fire Prevention Week, and they would be having an open house at Fire Station #1, because Station 4 would be occupied by a training class that day. It would be held at Fire Station 1 on Saturday, October 14th from 10 AM until 2 PM. He said they would have safety tips and literature available for the public regarding home cooking fire safety, smoke detectors, exit drills in the home, and fire extinguisher use. They would also have a fire safety house on site, an equipment display, demonstrations, the ladder truck, a rescue boat, and the confined space trailer and equipment would be there. He said there would be a tour of the fire station, and he believed that Chief Smith would be present as well. He invited the community, and said they had passed out flyers to all the schools, and hoped a lot of children would also attend.
Member Nagy asked Fire Marshal Evans to tell everyone where Station #1 was. He said it was on Grand River Avenue, about a half mile east of Novi Road.
4. ATTORNEY - None
Tim Gilberg, 47599 Aberdeen Dr., President of Cheltenham Estates Homeowners Association, was present and the purpose of his comments was the Beck Road Scoping Study. He wanted to bring to Councilís attention the outcome of a meeting, last Tuesday, regarding Beck Road. The presentation was both informative and eye opening. He said the fact the Administration chose to hold the public input session at this time was an excellent idea, and almost 50 people were in attendance. He was surprised to learn that the direction given to the study team was limited to the resolution of traffic volume for today and tomorrow. He said it didnít appear that there was any thought to objectives to be accomplished rather than just traffic management and road repair.
Mr. Gilberg was present to ask Council to revise their direction to include studying the reduction of both traffic count and speed before the study team went any further. At one time Ten Mile Road had 24,000 cars per day, and now according to traffic counts there are 14,000. He asked what they had learned from the Ten Mile Road experience that could help achieve a reduced count on Beck Road. Mr. Gilberg said they wanted to be involved in the study process before the funding was spent. They were also asking Council to add the possibility to reduce traffic and speed by plan, as opposed to just accepting the increase in traffic volume. He was also asking that a citizen be put on the study team, and to revise the direction of the study team to include a review of the opportunity to discourage traffic and reduce current speeds. Mr. Gilberg offered to volunteer to assist the team in this effort.
Mayor Landry said Mr. Pearson would contact him.
George Marvaso, 40010 Crosswind, was present to speak about the economy. Mr. Marvaso was asking that the decision makers of Michigan be aware, pull together, and get the synergy back. He said his corporation brought a project to the City for review and possible rezoning of a piece of land. This was an entertainment mall, a $50 million project; it would employ 400 people and would bring back $55 million to the community in State, County, local taxes, and jobs. He said they met with Ms. McBeth and Mr. Schmitt of the Planning Department, and were received very hospitably and positively. They looked at the program, and set up a small meeting with four of the planners, which included Mr. Cassis. He said Mr. Cassis and Senator Cassis had seen this program before they came here, and had been very encouraging and helpful. He said Mr. Pearson, on another visit, was very hospitable but he was concerned about the zoning and the businesses that were surrounding that particular site. He believed in loyalty to the business community. He said in his business they had probably had 100 political fund raisers, including, U.S. Representative McCotter. He said they had all been so loyal and had brought them business. However, loyalty to the business community was good, but loyalty to the entire community and State right now was really what the agenda was. He said Governor Granholm, when Attorney General, saw the program and thought it was a great project and needed in Michigan, but her neighbors asked her not to do it. Itís great to love your neighbors and the business community, but our State needed leaders to step forward. He said they had the other team on the other side of the table in Lansing, they looked at the program, and were all for it.
Jeff Kane, 21882 Dunnabeck Ct., was present to address the Beck Road Scoping Study. He stated he was very impressed with the informational session held last week, that the City Administration opened it up to the community to start the exchange of information and input. He said he and his neighbors were very concerned with the expansion of Beck Road, and welcomed the opportunity to discuss this topic. There were concerns that came up at that meeting he wanted to share. He said many comments were made, and there was a general feeling that not all the possibilities for Beck Road were thoroughly investigated. He said when the presenters were asked why other possibilities for the road were not being pursued, it was said that the team was following specific direction from the Council to investigate handling higher traffic volumes, thereby implying they had excluded any other possibilities. He was also concerned that the presentation was very general in nature. It seemed likely that he was giving his stock presentation that he gave to municipalities, as opposed to presenting something that was specific to Beck Road. The presenter admitted that some of the plans were not applicable to Beck Road due to the lack of R.O.W., and to complicate matters he could give them information as to where these potential trouble spots were on Beck. At the end of the presentation they asked what the next steps for the team would be for the study, and their reply was that the team would develop a number of recommendations, and pass them on to the Council. Mr. Kane was unable to determine when or if specific data would be acquired prior to the recommendations to Council. He said the citizens were asked to fill out a multiple form, with no other box, which showed options for Beck. He didnít feel capable of answering the questionnaire without first having access to specific data. He asked Council to appoint a citizen to the team to aid communication between citizens and the team, allow feedback to be made prior to the proposals being developed, and that Council direct the team to look at all possibilities to improve the road and not limit the scope in any way, and especially not to increase the road capacity.
Tom Clark was present and was the salesman who submitted the tandem dump truck bid for Motor City Trucks that was opened September 20th . He said to recap the bid from Tri-County International was read as $162,441, while his bid was $147,495 and $14,946 less. He said according to tonightís agenda the bid was awarded to the higher bidder. Mr. Clark was present to ask why. He said he visited the DPW last Friday and was told they were trying to standardize. He said with this purchase the International would be the lone wolf in the fleet. He said the new Root plow equipment was not interchangeable with the old system. However, the Sterling he proposed would be standardized with the previous Sterling that he had delivered to Novi. He said the Sterling met all of the chassis specification and did it for $14,956 less. He said while the Sterling was only 10.7 miles from Novi, the International dealership was 30.6 miles away. He said there were specification differences. He said his bid included a 36 ton hoist instead of a 50 ton hoist. He said state law only permitted a combined weight of 50 thousand pounds for the truck with this equipment, and the pay load when using the Cityís configuration. He said his hoist could be called "overkill" after allowing plenty of margin for safety and long service life, and he asked if the 50 ton was intended to be exclusionary.
Mr. Clark said he had been doing this since 1948, had written specifications for U of M, which operated more than 5,000 vehicles. He had sold highway maintenance trucks from Menominee County on the Wisconsin border to Hillsdale County on the Ohio/Indiana state lines. The Oakland County Road Commissionís Sterling and Ford trucks represent bids that he had won. Mr. Clark said preparing a competitive bid required 30-35 hours. He said the fact was they had won the bid fair and square, and he wanted to know why the City of Novi was needlessly spending almost $15,000 extra for assets that would not deliver any perceivable benefits.
Linda Krieger, 44920 Byrne Dr., stated she would like to know why Deputy Chief Jeff Johnson was not becoming Chief of the Novi Fire Department.
Brian Mayer, 24306 Simmons, was also present at the Beck Road project meeting last week. He said there was a very vocal group that was opposed to any improvement to Beck Road, and he was present to give another voice on the matter. He said he had driven Beck Road for years because he worked in Ann Arbor, and in the beginning Beck wasnít blacktopped to M-14, and he had to find other routes. He said when he moved to Simmons Orchards it was the first subdivision west of Taft Road. He said he had seen the growth in that area and west of him. Now he made a left turn at 10 Mile, and thereís a lot of traffic coming from South Lyon, and the majority are turning left on Beck Road. He said he would like to see Beck improved within the City borders. He commented that Wayne County made a lot of improvements at the intersection between 5 and 6 Mile Roads, and to M-14. They made a nice boulevard between 5 and 6 Mile Roads, and he knew Novi didnít have that kind of room, but that was the kind of improvement he was looking for. He said the previous speaker spoke about 10 Mile Rd. and how the traffic volumes went down, and that was because Grand River was improved. Mr. Mayer said in the meeting they were told that Wayne County had plans to widen Beck Road between 6 and 8 Mile Roads. He also said between Grand River and 11 Mile it was going to 5 lanes. He said there was going to be a bottleneck between 8 and 11 Mile Roads. He said there were huge backups along these roads during rush hour. He asked Council to try and reduce volume on Beck. He said Beck Road was the only shot from M-14 to I-96 with interchanges at each end. He suggested improving Beck Road, and then they wouldnít have to worry about traffic volumes increasing on Wixom and the other roads.
Member Nagy thanked Carol Crawford who made flyers and dropped them off to a lot of people who wouldnít have been there. She said she did believe in having a citizenís task force with regard to Beck Road.
Member Gatt agreed with Member Nagy.
CONSENT AGENDA (Approval/Removals)
Member Paul removed B & D off the Consent Agenda.
CM-06-10-260 Moved by Margolis, seconded by Nagy; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY:
To approve the Consent Agenda with the exception of Item B and D.
Roll call vote on CM-06-10-260 Yeas: Landry, Capello, Gatt, Margolis, Mutch,
A. Approve Minutes of:
C. Approval to set a Public Hearing on October 23, 2006 for the 2007 Community Development Block Grant Program.
E. Acceptance of Oak Pointe Church water main and sanitary sewer as public utilities, and approval of the Oak Pointe Church site storm drainage facility maintenance agreement. The site is located at 52000 Ten Mile Road and is Parcel ID No. 50-22-19-400-007.
F. Approval of License Agreement with Camden Court Homeowners Association for the installation of a subdivision entrance sign within the right-of-way of Fitzgerald Boulevard, west of Novi Road.
G. Approval of License Agreement with James and Linda Johnson for the installation of stamped concrete adjacent to each side of the drive approach for 22437 Ennishore.
H. Approval to award snow removal contract to Absolute Outdoor Services, the low bidder, for service at Meadowbrook Commons, as recommended by Keystone Management Company in the amount of $19,450.00.
I. Approval to award the Sign Lift Truck Bid to Jack Demmer Ford in the amount of $75,348.70.
J. Approval of Claims and Accounts Ė Warrant No. 730
MATTERS FOR COUNCIL ACTION Ė Part I
1. Discussion of City Council economic development goals recommendation/objectives.
Mr. Pearson said they had tried to put some meat on the recommendations that came from Council, and then added to the EDC, and was asking for direction from Council.
Member Margolis thought they had done a great job, but she commented on prioritizing and making sure they were doing the most important things first. She said there were some things she would like to see recommendations on how they would prioritize them.
Member Margolis said, regarding Implementation Strategy #1.2, she assumed the benchmarking and the measures were the measures that Sikich suggested in their report. The other item she commented on was the idea of an Economic Development Coordinator. She said it came up during budget discussions, and she had said they should wait until the new City Manager put together his/her own staff. She said she would support this, and felt it was vitally important. She said they had just heard about economics, and bringing economic development to this community. She suggested they look at this position in a different way. One of the things she thought was difficult in municipalities and non-profit was setting performance standards. She thought this position could be structured in a way that could require it to pay for itself. She said there should be some standards by which they could measure that this position was doing the work to bring in the kind of economic development that would expand the tax base, and pay for the position. She said that was what she would be looking for in a proposal to add this kind of position to the staff. She said if someone was good at this position, it wouldnít be a difficult thing to do to pay their wage.
Member Margolis said the other piece was the ideal of systematically examining regulations and processes to find what was problematic. She said that whole section on #2 about retaining and encouraging growth, the main thing she wanted to see there was how they formalize that feedback group. Member Margolis said she didnít suggest a database to collect information and sit on it. She suggested it as a way to collect information, and feed it back to the Council for action on what ordinances were causing problems, and what processes were causing issues. She thought they had it in the document but she wanted it made very clear what would be accomplished on these goals.
Member Margolis loved the idea of a survey after someone got a C of O on how that process went, and thought it was important that it be anonymous. Member Margolis said she would really like Council to see the survey results on a quarterly basis, because she felt it was important that Council heard from people. She said overall, as had been her experience, they come back to Council with a great implementation plan. She said if the things she commented on were included, she would be very happy to see this go forth.
Member Paul said, on page 7, Implementation Strategy 2.2, the Economic Development Coordinator had been discussed as being a contract employee with financial incentive to bring in business and obtain a percentage of what they brought in. She said #6, under Background, when talking about restructuring the EDC, Council received information from the EDC about someone from their committee going out into the business community. She thought there was concern about who that would be, and how they would represent the City, because there really
wasnít an employee in that position. She wanted to hear factual information of how they would restructure before she would adopt this policy. She would feel uncomfortable if there were just one or two members periodically going out representing the City Council or Administration without an Administrative employee present. She thought there were some good ideas that this EDC could implement, and would like to see some of those but was uncomfortable because they were vague.
Member Paul asked Mr. Schultz if there was money in the EDC, and Mr. Schultz believed there was some balance there. She asked if State law permitted money to be in the budget for this committee. Mr. Schultz asked if she meant for use for this particular committee. Member Paul said yes. He said they had done a lengthy opinion on exactly what it was used for by the committee, and he would be happy to send that out again, or refresh it. She asked him to refresh it, and he said he would.
Member Mutch said language on page 5, talked about the Economic Development Coordinator, and the description for that position was to focus solely on economic growth, business retention, expansion and attraction. However, he thought that should be their primary focus but he also saw opportunity for that person to have some cross departmental activities where they could support other departments in their efforts to support those activities.
He wanted the language adjusted to reflect that that person did play a role on the team versus being somebody in their own little turf/territory, which was not generally encouraged here.
Member Mutch said on page 9, Implementation Strategy 3.2 talking about the OST District improvements. He said it spoke specifically to investing in infrastructure improvements in the OST Districts, which he agreed with, but he would like to see that language be a little broader. He said Providence Hospital was a perfect example that fell outside the OST District. He said there might be projects with Providence Hospital or on the periphery that would not fall within the strict language that was presented here. He said he would like Council to be able to look at infrastructure improvements, where they are needed, to support economic development in this community. He said it would just be an adjustment in language to make it a little broader, and if the Administration was comfortable with those changes, implement them into the final draft. He asked Mr. Pearson if he had any concerns about either of those two. Mr. Pearson said not at all because they were both helpful.
Member Nagy thought it was a good idea to try to implement some sort of strategy. She was not comfortable with the EDC taking on too much of a role. She felt it should come from the City, and thought they had discussed some of the restrictions Council wanted to see on the EDC of Novi. She thought that some of the areas they were looking into like corridor studies, identified business corridors that could be beautiful, and improved by public and private improvements. She said there were a lot of corridor studies already, such as the study on Grand River, and she thought they should look to see what studies had been done already instead of wasting money. She thought this was a good idea in the grand scheme of things.
Member Gatt concurred with most everything said tonight. He thought the EDC was made of some volatile volunteers, and he didnít think Council should give them too much power to go out and speak to the City. He said thatís why he concurred with Strategy 1.3, obtaining a full time Economic Development Coordinator under the direction of our City Management. He thought
It was imperative that they do that as soon as possible.
Mayor Pro Tem Capello said he wasnít sure, but he was sold on having the actual Economic Development Coordinator like they had in the past. He said when he talked about a development coordinator, he was looking at an individual that would work between the Planning Department and the Building Department. He said Council was trying to focus on solving that road block. He thought the brokerage and development community themselves would act as the Cityís economic development coordinator, and bring projects to Novi once they got past the idea that Novi was difficult to do business with. He would like to see what the private community would bring to Novi before hiring someone.
Mayor Landry thought this was an excellent report. He said it was the first time he had ever seen a comprehensive look at economic development in an attempt to coordinate all the different groups that are or wish to be involved. He said the one thing they unanimously agreed on was maximizing the tax base for the City, and thatís economic development. Mayor Landry said this was the first time he had ever seen anyone sit down and pull all this together. He said he was one of the people who wanted to see the role of the EDC increased, Mayor Landry said what he liked about this document was that it merely mentioned potential tasks that they could be involved in. Those tasks could be formalizing business retention visits, existing Novi business survey, establish business attraction, brand identity, corridor studies, greater Detroit University connections, Novi Trade Show involvement, and EDC membership. Mayor Landry said he didnít interpret this document as the Administration suggesting that they just go out and Council released them to do this. He said he was interpreting this document that they are somehow included in those tasks, and he would be in favor of that. He said he also saw that this document invited the EDC to get back to City Council, hopefully by December, on what they saw their role to be. He would certainly task them with that, and would look forward to seeing the EDC reaction to this document. He thought they should come back with the Administrationís suggestion, and what they thought they could do. He said he would look forward to that, and he would specifically ask them to do that.
Mayor Landry thought an Economic Development Coordinator was a great idea, and if we have all these resources, the Chamber of Commerce, in house Administration, Planning Department, and the EDC, there would need to be a focal point, someone who coordinated all of this, and someone through which all this information would go. He said someone who was in charge of the advertising material, how it was distributed, who organized the trade shows, and things like that. He would look forward to the Administrationís creative suggestion on how to do that. One option would be to hire someone, and if Council did that, there would be no legacy costs involved because they would be a new employee. He said he also heard today that Council could get creative and somehow make this a contingent, and some type of job that paid for itself, and he was very intrigued with that. He said he was in favor of some individual person who was tasked with economic development. He said it would be ideal if they could do other things too, but he did like the idea of "the buck stops here" sort of thing, someone in charge of all of that. He said the way he was interpreting this was that the Administration would follow up with some specific recommendation on the Economic Development Coordinator, and we are asking the EDC to come forward. He assumed this document would be distributed to both Chambers of Commerce for their input. He asked what the next step would be.
Mr. Pearson said it could go any number of ways. He said they had planned after getting the document out to convene the EDC specifically. He said it would go out to the Chambers, and seek their feedback on it. This draft had been circulated with Oakland County and MEDC for their input, and they helped with some suggestions. Mr. Pearson said, really the coordinator would be a matter of how soon some of these things got done, whether they got done, and how. He said if they could do all these things without that position, it would get done more slowly and a little more disjointed. He said descriptions exist in surrounding communities of what their job descriptions were. He said they could talk about some of the options and how to structure that, he said there are some very specific things discussed about to make that an attraction specialist versus some of the other things. He thought this would be one way to do it if Council wanted to make it very specific, incentive based. He said there were other things that would not get done because there was no credit for that kind of scenario for retention visits and the surveys for just checking the pulse, good will building and that kind of thing. Mr. Pearson said if Council was comfortable with Administration scanning back out with that, and coming back to Council in a 45 day time frame, he felt they could meet that.
Mr. Landry said he would be in favor of having Mr. Pearson come back to Council with several suggestions on potential roles for economic development coordinator, and potential ways to fund that. He asked Mr. Pearson if he had enough direction to come back with a couple of alternatives. Mr. Pearson said he had a sense of what was expected.
Member Nagy said she didnít disagree with that, but since Mr. Pearson was the City Manager she would like to know what he wanted. She said that was important to her because she thought he would have a lot of input as to what he was looking at, what he thought the future held, how this would fit into the organization, and whether or not he wanted it.
Member Paul commented that Mr. Pearson had done this job previously as the Assistant City Manager. She asked if it was possible for Ms. Antil and Sheryl Walsh to incorporate some of the tasks. She asked for his thought on this as one of the options.
2. Approval of Woodland Ordinance Amendment No. 06-125.20 to amend Chapter 37 Woodlands to require tree inventories on woodlands plans to be verified by a Registered Landscape Architect, Certified Arborist, or Registered Forester. Second Reading
CM-06-10-261 Moved by Paul, seconded by Mutch; MOTION CARRIED:
To approve Woodland Ordinance Amendment No. 06-125.20 to amend Chapter 37 Woodlands to require tree inventories on woodlands plans to be verified by a Registered Landscape Architect, Certified Arborist, or Registered Forester.
Mayor Pro Tem Capello said he still had a problem with this. He noted he read Mr. Schultzís letter and it didnít appear to be anything in the law opposed his suggestion at the previous meeting. He thought this ordinance out of all the ordinances they had to deal with was probably a prime ordinance to try to implement his suggestion. He said tree inventory was not rocket science, and he knew there were a couple of paragraphs relating to litigation and losing government immunity. However, he didnít see how anyone would get sued for sticking a tag on a tree with its species. He wanted to send this back to Ordinance Review. He said some of the suggestions in his letter made him think of other ideas as opposed to the developer actually coming in and paying them.
It might just be a fee they pay like any other application fee for review, and that fee goes out there and we do the tree inventory. Mayor Pro Tem Capello said he would still like to make it optional that they could go through the old process and hire someone, submit it and pay a review fee for us to go out there and check it again. Or, it they want to they could just pay us, just like the tree replacement policy was done, and we take the money and do what needed to be done with it. He said they pay the City, we go out there and do the inventory, and it becomes part of their application. He said once they pay the City and the inventory was done, they couldnít object to it. He felt this was a good time to try to solve the problem of getting bogged down with reviews. He said instead of fixing half of it and fixing the other half later, he would rather do it all at the same time. He wanted it to go back to Ordinance Review and it should be out of there in 60 days.
Roll call vote on CM-06-10-261 Yeas: Margolis, Mutch, Nagy, Paul,
Nays: Capello, Gatt, Landry
3. Approval to purchase six (6) Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor vehicles for the Police Department Uniform Patrol Division from Signature Ford through the Macomb County cooperative bid purchase program, at $20,529 per vehicle, for a total cost of $123,174.
CM-06-10-262 Moved by Nagy, seconded by Margolis; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY:
To approve the purchase six (6) Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor vehicles for the Police Department Uniform Patrol Division from Signature Ford through the Macomb County cooperative bid purchase program, at $20,529 per vehicle, for a total cost of $123,174.
Member Paul asked if there were only six vehicles or more when they looked at this as a budget item. Mr. Pearson said these were the marked squads, and maybe she was thinking of some of the Administration vehicles. She asked for clarification of the total they were going to approve this budget cycle.
Chief Molloy said they looked at purchasing 8 vehicle, 6 marked vehicles and two unmarked. He said they just took delivery on the two unmarked earlier this week.
Roll call vote on CM-06-10-262 Yeas: Gatt, Margolis, Mutch, Nagy, Paul, Landry,
4. Acceptance of North Haven Woods Subdivision water main and sanitary sewer as public utilities; acceptance of street improvements on previously-accepted streets (North Haven Drive, Ludlow Drive and Faywood Drive); and, adoption of Act 51 New Street Resolution accepting Lagoon Drive and Bancroft Drive as public streets, adding 1,671 linear feet or 0.32 miles of roadway to the Cityís street system.
CM-06-10-263 Moved by Capello, seconded by Margolis; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY:
To accept North Haven Woods Subdivision water main and sanitary sewer as public utilities; acceptance of street improvements on previously-accepted streets (North Haven Drive, Ludlow Drive and Faywood Drive); and, adoption of Act 51 New Street Resolution accepting Lagoon Drive and Bancroft Drive as public streets, adding 1,671 linear feet or 0.32 miles of roadway to the Cityís street system.
Roll call vote on CM-06-10-263 Yeas: Margolis, Mutch, Nagy, Paul, Landry,
5. Approval to award the Tandem Dump Truck with underbody scraper and front plow bid to Tri-County International in the amount of $162,441.
Mr. Pearson said the bidding process for this vehicle would be explained and the specifications outlined. He said Council had a copy of the specifications that were provided to the public, and also follow up information. Mr. Pearson said their recommendation was for Tri-County International.
Mr. McCusker said he had a group of mechanics that worked with his operators to put together specifications. He said they had tightened the specís up, over the years, because when itís bought the City owned it for a lot of years. He said some of their fleet was 20 years old, and they probably couldnít tell them apart from the newer vehicles because of the aggressive maintenance they do. He said one of their standards had been the Root system. The truck they are asking for this evening had the Root system on it, and thatís the underbody scraper and plowing system and the hydraulics for it. He said there have been other Sterling vehicles in the fleet, and this was not the lone wolf. He said they had Oshkosh, which they bought two years ago, and it was a top of the line vehicle, as is this vehicle. He said this vehicle would service Novi for the next 15 to 20 years.
Member Nagy asked about the 36 ton hoist, and asked what he was talking about. Mr. McCusker said the mechanics oversized the main hydraulics on it because the trucks run in the air a lot, and when they are in the air a lot they havenít had any problems with them. He said they probably specified that for a number of years with our tandems because they had good luck with them, and hadnít had any breakdowns. She asked if the City was violating any laws. Mr. McCusker said no, they never overload the trucks. He said with Tony Swope being the Weight Master for the county and Officer Harper here, they knew what the laws were.
CM-06-10-264 Moved by Nagy, seconded by Capello; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY:
To approve the award the Tandem Dump Truck with underbody scraper and front plow bid to Tri-County International in the amount of $162,441.
Mayor Landry said, so the record was clear, the bid specification was for a Root Manufacturer underbody scraper and front plow. Motor City did not quote a Root underbody scraper or front plow. The specifications were for a hoist frame 6 inch by 3 inch by 3/8ths inch. He said Motor City quoted a different spec hoist frame. The bid specification was for cylinders 8 1/2 inches, Motor City quoted an 8 inch cylinder, the rods were specified at 2 ĺ inches, Motor City gave a specification of 2 Ĺ inches. Therefore, the Motor City bid was not the specifications that were requested to be bid. Mayor Landry said he would support the motion.
Roll call vote on CM-06-10-264 Yeas: Mutch, Nagy, Paul, Landry, Capello, Gatt,
6. Approval of Ordinance amendments to streamline resident and business applications:
a. Consideration of Ordinance No. 06-157.03, amending the City Code, Chapter 31, Streets, Sidewalks and Other Places, to allow certain improvements within such property subject to the applicant signing a license agreement. First Reading
b. Consideration of Ordinance No. 06-120.09, amending the City Code, Chapter 20, Massage, to amend the process for the review and approval of Massage Business licenses and permits to provide administrative review and approval of these applications. First Reading
c. Consideration of Ordinance No. 06-42.2, amending the City Code, Chapter 24, Outdoor Gatherings, to amend the process for the review and approval of Outdoor Gathering permits to provide administrative review and approval of these applications. First Reading
Mayor Landry said he was in favor of all three of these, and thought that some of these had been suggested by City Council. He noted Member Mutch had suggested some of these, because he felt they would streamline the process while not compromising the review of any of these particular permits.
CM-06-10-265 Moved by Nagy, seconded by Margolis; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY:
To approve of Ordinance amendments to streamline resident and business applications:
a. Consideration of Ordinance No. 06-157.03, amending the City Code, Chapter 31, Streets, Sidewalks and Other Places, to allow certain improvements within such property subject to the applicant signing a license agreement. First Reading
b. Consideration of Ordinance No. 06-120.09, amending the City Code, Chapter 20, Massage, to amend the process for the review and approval of Massage Business licenses and permits to provide administrative review and approval of these applications. First Reading
c. Consideration of Ordinance No. 06-42.2, amending the City Code, Chapter 24, Outdoor Gatherings, to amend the process for the review and approval of Outdoor Gathering permits to provide administrative review and approval of these applications. First Reading
Roll call vote on CM-06-10-265 Yeas: Nagy, Paul, Landry, Capello, Gatt, Margolis,
7. Approval of Ordinance Amendments:
a. Consideration of Ordinance No. 06-82.06, amending the City Code, Chapter 29, Soil, Article II, Sedimentation Control, to comply with recent amendments to state law regarding right-of-way entry and inspection, residential properties, and maintenance requirements. First Reading
b. Consideration of Ordinance No. 06-104.06, amending the City Code, Chapter 21, Nuisances, with regard to weed control. First Reading
CM-06-10-266 Moved by Nagy, seconded by Gatt; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY:
To approve Ordinance Amendments:
a. Consideration of Ordinance No. 06-82.06, amending the City Code, Chapter 29, Soil, Article II, Sedimentation Control, to comply with recent amendments to state law regarding right-of-way entry and inspection, residential properties, and maintenance requirements. First Reading
b. Consideration of Ordinance No. 06-104.06, amending the City Code, Chapter 21, Nuisances, with regard to weed control. First Reading
Member Mutch asked Mr. Schultz to clarify the change in the weed ordinance relating to implementation and enforcement.
Mr. Schultz said there were two things, and he would discuss the second one first. He said this dealt with page 2, Section 21-19-(a) where the City wanted to cite a parcel of property for an overgrowth of grass and weeds but the parcel happened to be greater than 3 acres in size, occupied by a structure but was not split. He said it removed that limitation to make sure the City picked up parcels like that.
Mr. Schultz said the first change related to the Cityís right to go on property without a specific court order as part of a weed cutting program. As the ordinance was set up now, and the State Statute followed, that the City had that authority with regard to noxious weeds.
He said noxious weeds didnít necessarily, as the ordinance was written before this change, include tall grasses, and weeds higher than 8 inches. So this was an attempt to bring the City within the State Statute, so that the City could get on as part of the weed cutting program, some of these parcels of property that didnít have poison ivy or something like that, but would benefit from the weed cutting program.
Member Nagy said if living in a subdivision, there was always one house that had grass really high with weeds everywhere, and it was not maintained. She said someone had asked her to clarify if it applied to this situation as well. Mr. Schultz said it already did as part of the weed cutting program.
Roll call vote on CM-06-10-266 Yeas: Paul, Landry, Capello, Gatt, Margolis,
AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION - None
MATTERS FOR COUNCIL ACTION Ė Part II
CONSENT AGENDA REMOVALS FOR COUNCIL ACTION: Consent Agenda items which have been removed for discussion and/or action.
B. Approval of the final balancing change order and final payment to C & E Construction Co., Inc. for the installation of a grinder pump and associated forcemain at 25804 Beck Road (Building Department Satellite Office located at former Fire Station No. 4) in the amount of $19,453.00. Ė Member Paul
Member Paul noted that Item B was referring to a final payment to a grinder pump at the Building Department satellite office, and she was not in favor of putting any money into the satellite office. She said she didnít want to vote yes on that item as the satellite office would be temporary.
CM-06-10-267 Moved by Capello, seconded by Gatt; MOTION CARRIED:
To approve the final balancing change order and final payment to C & E Construction Co., Inc. for the installation of a grinder pump and associated forcemain at 25804 Beck Road (Building Department Satellite Office located at former Fire Station No. 4) in the amount of $19,453.00.
Roll call vote on CM-06-10-267 Yeas: Landry, Capello, Gatt, Margolis, Mutch,
D. Resolution for the Approval of the Deficit Elimination Plan for the Ice Arena for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2006 as required by the Michigan Department of Treasury (last time resolution will be required). Member Paul
Member Paul said this resolution for the approval of the Deficit Elimination Plan for the Ice Arena was something that was discussed earlier. She said she was not comfortable with this, and had discussed it during budget sessions.
She thought this was a large amount of money, and the tax payers were promised they would slowly be able to pay this off, and instead Council was going to pay a lump sum, and eliminate the debt for the ice arena. Member Paul stated she was not in favor of that, and didnít want to support it.
Member Mutch said when this was discussed at budget time, part of the determination of the transfer amount was based on the existing deficit in the Ice Arena Fund, and projected revenues. He said based on the information provided this evening, the ice arena actually took in additional revenue beyond what was projected. He asked if that was correct. Ms. Smith-Roy said yes. Member Mutch said then his question was both in terms of the Deficit Elimination Plan and the budget that was approved, and he asked why they were continuing to budget $694,000 versus a lesser amount. He said if that was what was required for accounting, why werenít they requesting to transfer some of the money back out of the ice arena and into the General Fund. Ms. Smith-Roy said the reason was the financial report that Council received was through June 30th. She said their cycle, as an enterprise business, begins in September. She said a debt payment was due now, and it was on the last warrant, so she believed that transfer amount was still what was required so they didnít have to come back to borrow money from the General Fund again.
Member Mutch said now that the transfer had been completed, from an accounting viewpoint, into the Enterprise Fund, he asked if they determined at the end of the Cityís budget year and the ice arenaís budget year, that more had been taken in than projected, was there anything that would preclude the transfer of money out of the Ice Arena Fund and back to the General Fund. Ms. Smith-Roy said no. However, she would caution Council about doing that as they seem to be on a four year cycle. She said when in the Olympic year, they do very well on the revenue side and have a high net income as a result of that, and each of the years after that it tends to decline even to the point that there was a deficit the year before the Olympics. She said it was a cycle of the industry, and she would be hesitant to recommend a transfer back. Ms. Smith-Roy said further down the road when the debt was paid off on that facility, she thought that would be the opportunity. She said they had also talked, during the budget process, that they wanted to plan to make sure that facility would remain self sustaining in terms of purchasing its equipment, and keeping up with the building maintenance. She thought those would be important considerations, and she would be hesitant to recommend, even if there was cash left over, transferring it back at this time. Member Mutch agreed they had that discussion, and that was a part of the consideration of doing the transfer amount or not requiring them to transfer the money back to the General Fund was recognizing that they would have future costs. He said, on the other hand, his assumption at the time was that amount would put them on a level playing field or far enough ahead that they could move forward with confidence that Ms. Smith-Roy wouldnít come back to Council in 2 or 3 years and say they ran a deficit again and needed another transfer. Ms. Smith-Roy agreed. Member Mutch said, in a sense, Council was giving them additional money into that Enterprise Fund, so his hope was they would not be back in 2 or 3 years doing one of these again. However, they needed to recognize thatís occurring, and as Ms. Smith-Roy said, at whatever point it was paid off one of the things discussed was that the ice arena did have the potential to generate additional revenue for the General Fund. He wanted Council to be aware of that. He said he saw that as a separate issue from the Deficit Elimination Plan, which we have to approve, so he would vote in support of the proposal.
CM-06-10-268 Moved by Capello, seconded by Mutch; MOTION CARRIED:
To approve resolution for the approval of the Deficit Elimination Plan for the Ice Arena for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2006 as required by the Michigan Department of Treasury (last time resolution will be required).
Roll call vote on CM-06-10-268 Yeas: Capello, Gatt, Margolis, Mutch, Nagy,
MAYOR AND COUNCIL ISSUES
1. Intergovernmental cooperative space use of Novi Public Library and Senior Services Ė Member Margolis
Member Margolis said Council had a memo about the idea of sharing space between the City and the Library. She commented that when the plan for the 60,000 sq. ft. for the Library was proposed, one of the things she noticed was the cooperation between the needs of the Library for program space, and the need of Councilís goal, about a stand alone senior center. She said as they began looking at the Library plan it became very clear that a lot of the needs for a senior center were part of that plan. She said the needs for the senior center would be for flexible programming space and office space. She commented this became a point of discussion at a meeting between the City staff, Library staff, Library Board, and they came back to Council as an idea for collaboration. She put this on the agenda to look at as a Council and to give direction to the staff to pursue this. She thought this was a great idea because she believed very strongly as a resident, before she was on Council, that one of the things that happened was the different entities who get tax payer money tend to build in isolation. So, there was duplication of spaces when looking at what the schools, City and Library built. She said looking at this in more detail with more seriousness would give them a chance to look at how they could have cost savings in building, operating, and staffing costs, around using a shared space. She said co-locating staff for those two entities to really help them work together in order to provide services for the exact same citizens, having access to the library by senior members of the community, and having access to seniors in intergenerational things. She thought it was something they needed to look at as they looked for ways to provide services for less money. Member Margolis said one of the things that became clear was that Council would need to look at this in a very holistic way. They would need to know what space needs the City would have for senior services, what the City was using now, how those could be used differently, and what space the library would need for the services they wanted to provide. Also, another item was how they could cooperate because some of the peak times for the library and senior services might be very different. She was not necessarily proposing that they add space but that they work cooperatively on the space. She said they would also need information on how to go about structuring agreements for space sharing, cost sharing of construction costs, and sharing of operating costs in the future to see if this was even a viable opportunity for the community. She asked for Councilís input on this. She said Plante Moran did a space and financial study for the library, which Council received copies of. It was an excellent study of the space that they have now, and she asked staff to talk with Plante Moran to see how much a study to look at all these issues from a financial and space perspective would cost.
Mr. Pearson said they called Plante Moran, and they have a unit that dealt with facilities and construction management, and the individual who led it lived in Novi. He said without the benefit of a full scope to give Council numbers they could rely on, and the time required to talk with the senior and library staffs about cross programming, he thought about $20,000 would get something done if they were to get a proposal to bring back to Council. Mr. Pearson said that, at the high end, would give Council something they could evaluate, and get some real facts to explore this kind of cooperation for another municipal facility.
Member Margolis commented she would be looking at a lot lower end on that study. She said she was surprised at that high amount, and the fact was Plante Moran had already done some of this work. She thought that by doing a competitive bid they could get that down further, and that it should not exceed $15,000. She said although it was spending money, the reality was if they could move forward with something like this it could be a huge cost savings to provide services. She felt they owed it to the community to look at this kind of initiative.
Member Gatt said he would be in favor of a study that would acquire more facts. However, there were two facts that were very plain to everyone in the community, a new library was needed, and our senior citizens desperately needed more space, and were a fast growing demographic. He said what better opportunity than to partner with two entities, two needy groups. He would support the idea, and looked forward to receiving more facts as soon as possible.
Mayor Pro Tem Capello said two years ago he had thought that would be a good partnership, but back then he thought they would be able to raise the funds through private sources, to build at least the senior center portion of this. He thought the senior center portion was pretty simple; they were looking at a kitchen, an open activities room and maybe three or four offices. He said at that time, he thought it would be an addition to the library, and they could coordinate the use of that room, and break it up for different programs. He said he could not comprehend spending $15,000 just to see how the library and senior uses would be compatible. He said Council knew what the library uses were, and it didnít seem that difficult to go the Rachel Zagaroli and ask what kind of senior programs she wanted and what was the best time of day to run those programs. Then see how that fit in with the library uses. He thought it could be done in house with staff. He thought it was needed but didnít think they needed to spend $15,000 for someone to tell them when the seniors wanted to use this particular room. He said another concern was if it was going to go to the voters whether or not bonds were issued for the library, he didnít know how that would work in with the bond issue where the City would own a portion of the building, or even have to construct a portion of the building and pay the construction costs. He said that might be something they want to approach immediately to see if they could cooperate with a bond issue and the City would own a portion of the facility, and possibly not the real estate underneath it. Otherwise, he thought it was a good idea, and felt it was a good to move forward, however before spending a lot of money there were issues to be addressed first.
Member Mutch said back when the Library Board approached Council with their proposal, there was quite a bit of discussion about the library and the City working cooperatively. He agreed with Member Margolisí comments that within public entities there was a lot of duplication of facilities. He said there were two or three organizations spending dollars to do the same work in different facilities, and so anytime the City and the Library could work together it was a good thing. He felt they had the cart before the horse here. He said the analogy was he offered to let his neighbor borrow his lawnmower, and discovered that he was using his barbeque. He felt that was how they were approaching this, because they were talking about taking over space within the library footprint or adding on to the library, and he had nothing from the library that said it was what they wanted to do. He said he had worked on the plans that laid out the building design and footprint, needs, and space for that facility, and 60,000 sq. ft. would serve a compromise. He said it was a recognition that, more than likely, voters werenít going to approve the larger facility that the ultimate build out really justified, and so that was scaled back. He noted that 60,000 sq. ft., if looking at the needs of the library and if they read Plante Moranís comments the reality was there was not a lot of room to give there. Member Mutch said anything that talked about dedicating space with the current library footprint meant taking away from something the library already did.
Member Mutch said he was having a hard time understanding the scope of the proposal because the goal Council discussed was a stand alone senior center. He said that didnít sound like it was going to happen, but a stand alone senior center, he assumed, was not going to be a 1,000 or 2,000 sq. ft. building. He thought it would be a substantial facility, and now it sounds like now they just need a couple of offices, and a couple of program rooms, and they could just share that with the library. He said he didnít have the information to give him a handle of what the real needs were in terms of senior services. He knew what they had at the Meadowbrook Road facility, he knew there was space used at the Civic Center, but he felt they were jumping ahead in terms of saying that we need these spaces because people told them they did. He said he didnít know if they did or not, and he didnít know the scope of the space that they needed. He said he wasnít sure how they got to senior services, specifically. He knew it was the topic of conversation between the Administration and the Library Board and Library staff but there was a lot of needs within City government, a lot of activities that take place in the Civic Center, which might be more appropriately located elsewhere. He said he didnít know how they got specifically focused on senior services. For example, Member Mutch said Youth Assistance was located in the Civic Center and perhaps it was a use that could be located outside the Civic Center. Member Mutch said, from the Libraryís perspective, maybe they werenít looking to give space to the City. He said the Friends of the Library didnít have a space in the current facility, and any new libraries had dedicated friends rooms where they sell used books, etc. to help raise money for the Library. Member Mutch said from the Libraryís perspective he thought the first priority would be finding room for their Friends group who right now are raising tens of thousands of dollars each year for the Library.
Member Mutch said another concern he had was the discussion of staff and services. He said now staff was at Meadowbrook Commons and facilities there, and staff, not specifically dedicated to senior services but providing some of those services were here, and now we are talking about a third facility. He said he didnít know if staff at Meadowbrook Commons would move to the Library. He thought the goal was to end duplication, and yet weíre talking about having three different sites, and that didnít make sense to him. He said in terms of proceeding, he was in total agreement with Mayor Pro Tem Capello; a $15,000 study for a space on the scale that had been discussed just didnít make sense. However, more importantly for him from a process viewpoint, he thought they needed to talk to the Library, and ask the Library Board if they were interested in sharing some of their space, and if they were, great. He said then letís talk about what the scope of that space would be, and how it would function, but right now he thought they were laying claim to their area, and they havenít given them the OK to do that. He said he couldnít support it but would be open to tabling it and giving the Library Board an opportunity to respond, and give Council direction on whether they are interested in pursuing that or not. He said maybe in the interim, the Administration could pull together information that gave Council a little more background on what our current facility usage was and what our facility needs would be. He thought that could be done in house without spending a lot of money, and if the Library Board did want to proceed, the Council would have a basis for moving forward. He said right now he didnít feel like he had that.
Member Nagy said she was in agreement with the previous speaker. She said she found it interesting that when the Library Board was before Council, they didnít give any indication that they wanted to attach a senior center to the Library and the Library bond. Member Nagy said she watched the last Library Board meeting and didnít recall the board as a whole talking about or approving this. She was concerned and agreed she didnít want to spend $15,000 for a study. She said there was a lot of things that could be put in a Library, and maybe groups like Friends of Novi Library, who actually do fundraise, should continually have a space. She said she didnít know how they got to the senior part either. She said Council had received a memo regarding this issue, and she talked with the seniors, and a good number of them didnít seem to see a need. She said they didnít want to go any further than they already were.
Member Nagy said some people who live in that area or in Meadowbrook Commons are not mobile. She said those that didnít live in Meadowbrook Commons but participated in activities didnít see a need either. She said they didnít want anything expanded further away from where they live. She felt this was putting the cart before the horse, and thought Mayor Pro Tem Capello raised a good point regarding the bond issue, and the portion the City would own. She said this wasnít a wise thing to do right now, and thought if the Board wanted to make a recommendation to the City, it was her understanding that they use the Walker funds for their daily operations, and she thought if anyone did a study, it should be the Library Board, and it should come out of their budget. Member Nagy said she saw the Library as a separate entity, and she just wasnít sure why Council would do this, as there hasnít been any great demand by seniors. She said she knew they talked about Council goals for the future, and a stand alone senior center, but that was not for a room, it was for another facility like Meadowbrook Commons. She said she would like to hear from the Library Board members and staff to find out what they thought.
Member Paul agreed with a lot of the previous comments, and was not interested in spending the $15,000 on a study. She said one thing they should always be looking at was what they could do with our school system. She said Kathy Crawford came forward with a discussion topic of when she was in Washington DC, and stated that a lot of the communities were looking at the school districts and schools for rooms they could utilize for the senior population because of decreased numbers. She said with the senior population, there had been different things done in the community with the school district where they bridge the years where they have the senior population with the school children. She said if they needed to look at more facility space for the senior population, she wanted to hear what the senior director had to say as well as the needs for their programming. She said with that, if space needed to be rented, she suggested looking at the schools. Member Paul said Novi had $500,000 less than what the school district anticipated because the head count was down, and with the economic times that would not change anytime soon. She stated she would rather rent space than have overhead if there really was a need, and she would like the needs dictated by the senior director; also obtain the needs of the Library Board and staff and what their thoughts were. She said on the south east corner of Taft and 11 Mile thereís a Baptist Church that was a school but was no longer used for a school anymore. She said many of the areas use that gym as well as the classrooms for different needs. They also have a small cafeteria there, she thought if there was a need, they could look at that space.
Mayor Landry agreed with the previous sentiments that the Library should be asked what they thought of this, and get their viewpoint. He said he also agreed they should ask the current senior director what she and her staff thought of this idea. Mayor Landry said he didnít think there was any question that the senior center was bursting at the seams, and turning people away from activities because they donít have the space. He said seniors are responding to advertised activities and canít get in the door. He thought there was clearly a need for additional senior space. He said if he was the Library, he would be all over this idea. The Library had to pass a bond, the last time it was up, it didnít pass. If they could bundle this with seniors it would greatly increase their chances of passing a bond. Mayor Landry said he would envision this as the Library would own this, and the City would enter into a long term lease with them and pay them to lease the space, or work it out somehow. He said he didnít envision the City bonding any part of this. He thought the future of building these kinds of places was not isolated places but cooperation, and thatís the future with dwindling State dollars the future was government cooperation. He said if we canít cooperate with each other, we have a problem, and he would certainly think the City could cooperate with the Library. He said they would work it out so the Library had maximum use of the facility, and if thereís excess use, the City could work something out for the senior center. Mayor Landry commented he would be very interested in the Libraryís response to this, and would look forward to it. He suggested that they be all over this idea, and agreed they should have their input as to what they thought about this.
Mayor Landry said it didnít look like there would be enough votes for a $15,000 study. He said lets assume the seniors come back and say they would love to coordinate with the Library, and the Library said the same, do we have to get an architect to look at this.
Mr. Pearson said because we are government, everyone talked about how great it was and about how more of this or more of that should be done. However, if we canít cooperate with the agency across the parking lot from us that we nominally share responsibilities with as a City, we have some real problems. He said they had talked about senior services and things like that for the six years he had been with Novi, so that was not a new idea. He thought what had been lacking was facts and information. He thought they needed to get some numbers about what the senior facility needed. He was surprised that they only had 3,000 sq. ft. at Meadowbrook Commons. So, if that was doubled they were not talking about huge numbers. He said they first had to see if they could co-op, and thought it was more complicated than saying there was time available here or there. He thought they needed to sit down and analyze that, and he would be hard pressed to tell the senior center director she was tasked with doing that. He thought they should talk to Plante Moran first because they know this building plan that had been talked about. He said they were spending a good amount of money to preplan our public works facilities, police firing range, and he thought something like this was in the same category. He said no matter what was done, it seemed like it was money to the good to see what you want to have or what was needed for the senior facilities, whether just opportunity or anything else, at least theyíd have that. He said there was a note from the Library that they wanted to meet with Council at the end of November or early December about a bond issue for next November. So, it seemed that Council would want to come to that discussion with some facts for this small segment, and as the Mayor said, itís a lease sort of arrangement, and if we canít cooperate on that we have some real problems. He thought this was an opportunity to do a lot of the things that people talked about, and help Council get some facts to do that. He said if they werenít going to have any money for outside expertise, then they would do what they could but it would not be of the grade that Council really needed.
He said this was a real estate consulting group, and if we had some help from them, he thought Council would be a lot happier with what they received back.
Member Margolis said the comment that the Library may or may not be interested in, this actually came out of a memo that came to them from our staff that said they had a meeting requested by the Library Board and staff to talk about cooperative and collaborative work. One of the items on the memo that came to Council was the idea of senior services and Library services. She said some of the information was that more progressive municipalities were looking to bundle those kinds of services. She was surprised that Council seemed to think there was no direction from the Library on that because it was very clear from that memo. She said she found it interesting because all of the questions we are being asked as people were commenting were the things that she was suggesting they need somebody to study. She said they could sit there for years and ask these questions, but without this information nothing would every happen. She said if Council doesnít make it happen soon, the Library would move ahead, and Council wouldnít even have a chance to find out if this was a possibility. She said, this was clear in the memo, that she was not suggesting that the City take over space from the Library, but that they look at the plan to see if we could add a little space to it and have cooperative space that they could both use. She said unfortunately, what she heard going on here was why they had duplication of services, because they were all so afraid to look at something in a new way, to talk to each other, and figure out a way to make this happen. This is an ideal opportunity for them to stop over building and provide some services. She said her question was she didnít know if we lease space, if we help with operating, and we arenít going to know that until we get some experts to give them an idea of how those kinds of arrangements could be structured. She would give it her best shot that they look again cooperatively and imaginatively, and try to provide services to this community at very little additional cost.
Mayor Pro Tem Capello said he was also under the impression that the Library Board was willing to have some type of a joint venture with the seniors. He understood that it would be an addition onto the building so there would not be any coordination of the services. He said that was why he thought it wouldnít be too difficult to have Ms. Zagaroli just tell them what they need, because it wouldnít take anything away from the Library. He said it would provide additional space that the Library could use for some of their programming. He said his comments to Mr. Pearson were to give him some ideas to discuss, because he thought, hopefully, they would pass a resolution for him to go to the Library Board and talk to them.
CM-06-10-269 Moved by Capello, seconded by Margolis; MOTION CARRIED:
To direct the Administration, along with two Council Members, to discuss with the Library Board the possibility of a joint venture with the City in regard to a senior citizens facility, and to report to Council immediately after the next Library Board meeting.
Mayor Landry felt they had to move quickly on this, and asked Member Margolis if it was possible. Member Margolis thought they met the third Wednesday of the month so itís possible.
Member Paul commented she would like Administration to give Council a report in 30 to 45 days clearly describing what activities are offered for the senior population, how many attend, and how many are turned away. She said if there was a record of that in the past, she would like factual information of that. She said sometimes she had gone to Bingo and there are 20 people and then the next time thereís 100 people. She also wanted to know if they needed to offer more activities at different times to possibly make up for the lack of space so that they have duplicate events at different times or dates so more people could attend. She said she would like information from Rachel Zagaroli, and really have concrete ideas of what those are.
Member Nagy said what Member Paul said was true, sometimes there are 20 people and sometimes there are more. She asked for a study regarding how many non-residents were attending functions, and how many residents are attending. She thought that was important. She said she didnít want to push this on the Library Board because some of the members of the Library Board came up with an idea. She said she wanted to hear from the Board, and thought they needed to take the ball and run with it. If they want to put a bond issue on and tie it in with interdepartmental cooperation, then they need to come forward and take this on.
Member Nagy said she didnít see them really tackling this issue very much when she watched their meetings. She felt if there was any study it should come out of the Library budget. She also thought they should ask the seniors, because there are a lot of seniors who are not for this, because they would not be for paying for a Library bond because theyíre looking at their fixed income. She said there are a lot of issues here, and to jump to the conclusion without any surveys, that the City could do that were not costly, was putting the cart before the horse.
Member Mutch said he wanted to clarify that all of the Council got a copy of the memo that followed the meeting between City staff and the Library. He said his understanding was that the senior services concept was brought forward by City staff. He said he didnít have the understanding that it was approved by the Library Board. He said it might have been discussed at the meeting and some interest expressed, but without some direction from the Library Board, Council should be careful before reading too much into that.
Mr. Pearson said two Library Board members and staff met, and the Library Board members said they had heard that the City was interested in cooperating on that space, and if the City wanted to do something, they had to tell them soon because they were going forward with the building program and needed to know. Member Mutch said so that came from City Administration. Mr. Pearson said they wanted Administration to convey back to Council that if they wanted to do something to let them know soon so they could lock in their program, and do their design.
Member Mutch said his next question went directly to the motion in terms of what they would ask the Library Board to consider in concept. He said Mr. Pearson indicated that currently at Meadowbrook Commons there was about 3,000 sq. ft., and that potentially they would be looking at doubling that amount of space at the Library. Mr. Pearson said even if they doubled that it would only add another 3,000 sq. ft. He said he didnít know what the number was because no one had put a plan together saying the City of Novi build out needed a senior component thatís 3,000, 6,000 or whatever. He said he had no idea because no one had said that. He was just offering a frame of reference of where they were at now. Member Mutch said in terms of the Library Board, it would be reasonable for them to understand that the City would be talking about something more than what was discussed in the memo when talking about utilizing a program room of about 1,000 sq. ft. He said Council was talking about a larger space than that. Mr. Pearson said he couldnít speak to that.
Member Mutch asked Mr. Pearson, in terms of how he envisioned this working, because there are currently facilities at Meadowbrook Commons, if the Council signed off on the idea of placing senior center facilities at the Library, would he envision staff moving to that location. Mr. Pearson said yes, that would make sense because if the majority of the programming component was there, it would seem like youíd want that. He said having been over to the space and seen how they have cubicles upon cubicles for the drivers that are in and out, obviously it had room to grow. He would also want to leave some staff to take advantage of the facility that was at Meadowbrook Commons. Member Mutch said, to be clear, the Library Board expectation would be that the City services predominately at Meadowbrook Commons would be moving to the Library along with staff, and along with the programs that currently take place at Meadowbrook Commons. Mr. Pearson said he was not an architect, engineer or senior programmer but that was how he would envision it. Member Mutch said right now all they were doing was conveying to them the concepts they were talking about. He addressed the motion maker and said there was some discussion that this would be an addition, and not a reuse of the Library, the 60,000 sq, ft. they were talking about recognizing there was some potential to share some facilities. He said predominately they were talking about an addition onto the Library.
Mayor Pro Tem Capello said his motion was very simple. It was to have the Administration talk to the Library Board, and all of its detail would be comments from Council members that Mr. Pearson could take with him when he went to the meeting. He said his motion was not as detailed as the questions Member Mutch was asking Mr. Pearson now. He said just go talk to them. Member Mutch said his comment on that part of the motion was that the Library plan was very specific on how theyíre utilizing that 60,000 sq. ft., and as he noted before they have very tight restraints on how they allocate that 60,000 sq. ft. to accomplish what they needed as a Library. He thought if he was asking them to give up square footage in their building, it was a different question than if he was talking about an addition. He didnít think an addition would be easy either, but thought the Library would be foolish to give up, at a minimum, 10% of their square footage on a building that had been scaled back significantly from the base proposal. He said he would not support the motion, and thought the Library Board could indicate to Council whether they are interested in pursuing this concept or not. He thought it was premature.
Mayor Landry thought the motion was a result of a lot of comments made around the table tonight, and the motion was simply, letís approach the Library and see if they are in favor of the Council pursuing the idea of a joint use of space at their location. If the Libraryís response was they were in favor of it but they didnít want to give up any of their existing space, thatís fine. If their response was yes, but the City would have to build more space, thatís fine. He said if they said they think they have some space they could share, he did not in any way, shape, or form expect the Library to pay for this. If this was an idea of the City sharing some space at the Library, and there was any study done, he would not expect the Library to pay for that. Mayor Landry said he would not want the Library to think they were to get back to Council with a yes, they were willing to give the City 10,000 sq. ft. He thought Member Margolisí point was these were all questions that needed to be answered. He said no one had asked the Library Board, and the motion was letís approach the Library Board and see if they are willing to talk about this with Council. Mayor Landry said if there are any dollars to be spent on studies, it should be City dollars not Library dollars.
Mr. Pearson said Council had a meeting on Monday for interviews. He said he would like the opportunity to draft a resolution with parameters that Council could see and adopt, and that
way whoever went to the Library Board meeting had a sense of what the parameters were. He said also, protocol wise, since it was an appointed citizen board, he thought it would be appropriate for two members of Council to go with him to talk to that board. He didnít think it was fair for him to try to interpolate what seven members said to another appointed body.
Mayor Landry asked if the motion maker would accept a friendly amendment to the effect that a resolution be drafted and presented Council at the October 16th Council meeting that would include some specific language, and two Council members to accompany the City Manager.
Mayor Pro Tem Capello said he liked the part that two Council members accompany him, but he could see the resolution that he drafts just was created tonight. He thought that Mr. Pearson would bring two Council members with him and wing it.
Mayor Landry asked if the seconder, Member Margolis, would accept the amendment.
Roll call vote on CM-06-10-269 Yeas: Gatt, Margolis, Paul, Landry, Capello
Nays: Mutch, Nagy
2. Suggestion for undertaking a small area plan for OST area south side of Twelve Mile Road and Cabaret Drive to West Park Drive Ė Member Mutch
Member Mutch said in light of the recent amendments Council made to the OST Ordinance to allow the 115 ft. tall buildings, a builder that was present that night said thanks now he could look at 115 ft. tall buildings. Member Mutch said one of the concerns he had with this area was in terms of infrastructure; we didnít have the infrastructure in place to handle the build out of that corridor between Cabaret Drive and the Beck Road Interchange. He said not only in terms of having the infrastructure the development that would occur in the short term, but also the financing in place that would allow them to pay for the improvements needed in the long term. He said in the memo he provided to Council, he outlined some of the goals he saw as being relevant for a study of this area. The outline included addressing roads and traffic, coordination among developments so that there werenít two developments coming in next door and both wanting to put a driveway in where they could share a driveway. Also, community character as this would be a major entrance to the City from the Beck Road Interchange and they would want to address that, water and sewer utilities in light of the OST amendments, and storm water management. He said right now there was no storm water management in this area, and one of the things he had talked about was while we have moved away from a regional approach in the City, he thought if they could look at this area as a whole, then a regional approach might be the way to go. Member Mutch said the big problem issues, for those not familiar with the area, was that 12 Mile Road for most of the stretch for the corridor was only 2 lanes wide. He said a bridge had been proposed over the CSX Railroad, and no funding or plans were in place for that. He noted Taft Road extended south from 12 Mile, and was a chip sealed road and would likely be in the way of future development, and that needed to be addressed. He said there were woodlands and wetlands, and the Middle Rouge River. He said ITC owns a significant amount of property in this area, and Council needed to work with them and the development community to address the development of their properties, and there might be opportunities to work with them and coordinate development as well. He also mentioned the Gateway. Member Mutch said what he suggested as a concept was what they had talked about as a small area plan or an area plan that would look at the area between Cabaret Drive and Beck Road, 12 Mile and I-96, with the intent not to re-master plan the area because it was planned for OST. He said instead to look at some of these areas of concern and provide Council with the framework that would then allow Council to say how would they fund 12 Mile Road improvements, how would they coordinate development, and how would they address the utility issues. He ran this idea by the City Administration and the Planning Director Barbara McBeth, and conceptually she seemed supportive of the idea, but she indicated she didnít feel she had the staff in place to do this. He said if they wanted to move forward a study for this area they would be looking at a contract study, which would probably be $20,000 or more. He said he was putting this forward for Council consideration, and it would allow them to get a handle on this area before getting too far down the development path.
Member Nagy thought this area did need to be studied because it was crucial and an entrance into the City. She said it was along the freeway and was not an easy area to develop necessarily. She thought that part of good planning was planning for infrastructure, and there wasnít much out there in the way of utilities. She said she would be willing to look at funding a study for storm water management because this area was going to come up, and what would we do. She thought in the long run a study would benefit the taxpayers.
Member Margolis said she didnít disagree on the concept, but her question was why this space. She would be more comfortable with looking at this whole concept at budget time, in goal setting, as part of a larger plan. She didnít see devoting this amount of time and money to looking at this particular space when she thought this would be an issue in other places in the City, and might be even more of a priority in other places. She suggested they defer this type of study until they could look more holistically at the City in general, and look at what they needed to look at to plan, and consider this as part of a larger issue at budget time and goal setting.
Mayor Landry said he concurred with Member Margolis.
3. Napier Road Paving Ė Member Mutch
Member Mutch said Council received a copy of a memo from Rob Hayes regarding proposal estimates for costs involved with paving Napier Road, He said discuss sharing the costs with the City, Lyon Township, RCOC, and some area developers. He thought some numbers thrown around included $650,000 for the Cityís share of the cost. He believed he brought this forward initially, and his thought was that the cost we might have spent on chip sealing it, which might have been in the low $100,000 to $150,000 might be reasonable for a Cityís share. However, asking the City to contribute over a half million dollars for a road that gets very little use in comparison with other roads and road needs, he didnít have any interest in the City contemplating spending that kind of money on Napier Road. He said there was a suggestion that there might be other developers in Novi who would be willing to cost share on this, and he would be open to that. He said the initial indication from the City Manager was that there werenít other developers, but he would at least be willing to give direction to Administration to inquire to see if there are any developers willing to kick in the Cityís share, but with the understanding that the City was not going to spend anywhere what was being talked about. He said if Council supported that, it would give Administration some clear direction on where they wanted to go.
Member Paul said Council had a large responsibility of taking care of the roads for our taxpayers, and this was a traveled road but not near as much as other roads. She thought the final cost analysis she saw in the memo was $750,000, and there was by no means that much of a need on that road. She said her understanding in the past five years was that chip seal was instituted and we keep going around the area looking at the neighborhood roads and major thoroughfares, and it had paid for itself. She said the reason was that it took a lot of time and labor to smooth out the dirt roads and you have to periodically go back with cinders, soil, machinery, and staff to re-flatten and re-grade those roads. She said when they did chip seal, a patch might be needed every year, but the major portion of the road would be under control, and they wouldnít have to go back in for a lot of repair. She said with that being said, the cost savings to the departments maintaining the roads paid for themselves. She asked Mr. Pearson if that was correct.
Mr. Pearson said it was true and he thought they had covered the entire City for our roads. He said Napier was the Road Commissionís road and they were anti chip seal. He said they brought that up with them, and unless something changes with their policy, that would not be an option for application on Napier. Member Paul said it was interesting since they have no money to contribute to this cost that they can dictate what the City would spend. She said she was in agreement with Member Mutch, and would take a hard line to their attitude that the City canít do chip seal on their road. She said they wanted the City to spend a lot of money in conjunction to do something that they could not participate in. She said she could not support that in any way.
Mayor Pro Tem Capello thought it was time to appreciate Bob Harrisí paving of Napier from Eight Mile to Nine Mile at no cost to the City. He didnít think they should even waste time having Administration see if there are any developers out there. He said when theyíre ready, they would come to the City.
Member Nagy stated she agreed with Mayor Pro Tem Capello
4. Soccer Fields at Community Sports Park Ė Member Paul
Member Paul said she looked at the Soccer Fields October, 2006 Condition Update. She said there were ten soccer fields at Community Sports Park. The accommodation they expect to use in this memo was between 35 and 40 events per season. She said they have 126 per season, which was more than three times the recommended amount. She said they had a lot of rain this season, and therefore, they had to close the facility down because of the actual grass, the absorption wasnít there, and the turf was in bad shape. She asked what the long term plan was to address this situation, and where did these people go in the mean time.
Mr. Lewis said they did have a lengthy meeting with staff, and were working with the Novi School system, and are trying to contact the Catholic Central to see what facilities they might have, and are looking at extending the season. He said they would probably play some last games on Saturdays, and were playing 6 or 7 games in a row on a Saturday. He said they could move some of those during the week. He said they did hit some good weather this weekend, and did play some games out there tonight for the first time in a couple of weeks. Mr. Lewis said this was a problem that they had to address because of the amount of teams they have. He said unfortunately they only have a certain amount of fields, and they are in the process of looking at all options. He commented that at the end of the season they would re-evaluate whether they might be able to sod some of the areas, and hopefully have good weather next spring. Member Paul said she was concerned that they have rolling meadows instead of a flat turf. She said when they looked at fields like Canton had, they are flat so they could move their lines so there werenít any ruts and grooves. She asked if more french drains could be done to help eliminate some of the water conditions. She asked if he could go back to Parks and Recreation and give Council a long term recommendation. She said then when they meet and have the goal setting session, they could discuss possibly correcting the elevation that was there. Mr. Lewis said they would look at all the options. She asked if he could get back to Council by January when they discuss their goal setting sessions. Mr. Lewis said he would.
Vicki McLean, said she had lived in Novi for 19 years, and was a senior citizen. She said she was passionate about the need for a new Library, and was on the Friends of Novi Library Board. She was speaking only as a concerned and interested individual. She said she was also on the Walker Fund Raising Committee for matching funds. She said the need was there for a new Library, and many of the Council members when they were candidates indicated to her personally that they would support a Library. She said the Board and staff were looking to build a new Library, and not to provide space for senior citizens. She said that they very seldom use the room to capacity at the senior center, and plans have already been drawn out for the Library. She commented they worked hard on this and had an excellent plan. She also said Plante Moran indicated that was the extent and parking could only accommodate that size building. She felt if they asked the Library, it would delay their plan for two years. Ms. McLean said the Friends of the Library would work to support it but there was no room for anything other than what was planned.
There being no further business to come before Council, the meeting was adjourned at
David Landry, Mayor Maryanne Cornelius, City Clerk
_______________________________ Date approved: October 23, 2006
Transcribed by Charlene Mc Lean