|View Agenda for this meeting
REGULAR MEETING OF THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF
Mayor Landry called the meeting to order at 7:00 P.M.
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
ROLL CALL: Mayor Landry, *Mayor Pro Tem Capello-absent, Council Members Gatt, Margolis, Mutch, Nagy, *Paul-absent
*Mayor Pro Tem Capello arrived at 7:04 P.M.
*Member Paul arrived at 7:05 P.M.
ALSO PRESENT: Clay Pearson, City Manager
Pam Antil, Assistant City Manager
Tom Schultz, City Attorney
Chief Molloy, Novi Police Department
Kathy Smith-Roy, Finance Director
Rob Hayes, City Engineer
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
CM-06-12-308 Moved by Margolis, seconded by Nagy; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY:
To approve the agenda as presented.
PRESENTATIONS - None
1. SPECIAL/COMMITTEE - None
2. CITY MANAGER - None
Mr. Pearson said last Saturday the Novi Police Department, and several other departments, conducted an exercise at the Novi High School. It was done in full cooperation and in conjunction with the community schools. Mr. Pearson said he observed the exercise and thought the Council would be very proud and impressed with the level of professionalism of everyone involved, the degree of preparation and the partnership of the Novi School District and the City working toward the ultimate goal of the best quality public safety possible.
Chief Molloy said they were fortunate to partner with the Novi Community School District on this active shooter exercise. This was all made possible by the leadership of the Novi Community Schools and their partnership with Edutech, which was a financial company that was able to secure some federal grant funding through the Department of Education Safe School Initiative. He said on Saturday they utilized the resources of 22 plus police officers, 8 firefighters from Chief Smithís personnel, 30 plus students from the Drama Club, as well as 140 administrators, teachers and educators throughout the district.
Chief Molloy said they were able to witness first hand the response, the chaos and the confusion that could result as a result of an active shooter. He introduced Principal John Lawrence who had an instrumental role in this, as well as one of the Dean of Students, Carol Diglio. Chief Molloy said Ms. Diglio was the driving force behind this exercise.
Mr. Lawrence said they learned a lot on Saturday. He said unfortunately they talk about preparing for fire drills, fires, severe storms and unfortunately in our society today, this was one more drill they were faced with. He stated it was a drill they had to take very seriously and fortunately through their relationship with the Police and Fire Departments they were able to have this active shooter exercise. He said this helped them get a closer look at how their response would be in this event, even though every scenario canít be planned and prepared for. He said he was extremely impressed with the response they got from the Police and Fire Departments, watching them operate and now knowing that they were in very good hands should an unlikely event like this happen at Novi High School or anywhere else in the City. He said he could not be more complimentary of the extreme level of professionalism, care and concern that was shown and expressed his thanks for the partnership they had with the Novi Police and Fire Departments. He said he could not complement Ms. Diglio enough for all the work she did, as well as Victor Lauriaís planning for the exercise.
Ms. Diglio said it truly was a collaborative effort that had a huge impact on not only the staff and students, but the community. She said the turnout and the responses were well worth the effort. There was representation from every school in the district, administration, teachers, custodians, food staff, hall monitors, and administrators at the Board of Education. The entire Cabinet was there and there were four Board of Education members present. She said it was a good opportunity for them all to take part in a huge learning experience about school safety.
Ms. Diglio said Tuesday, December 5th there would be an Administrative Council meeting with the administrators throughout the district and they would debrief again as a group. Also, after school, they would meet with the 33 students who gave of their time and efforts to be a part of the simulation. She said not only did they participate Saturday, but were quick to meet with them when needed, performed in two rehearsals and were outstanding at their level of responsibility and dedication to the simulation. She said it was an eye opener for the students as well. She said Monday, December 11th all of the adults at the high school who participated in the simulation would be at a meeting to debrief as a school. They would then look forward to how they would take this to the Novi School District and continue preparing and heightening their awareness of school safety.
Mr. Lawrence commented that Lt. Victor Lauria was very instrumental in planning this event and was the driving workhorse behind all this. Unfortunately, Lt. Lauria was tied up on another incident and could not make this meeting. Mr. Lawrence said they appreciated Councilís support and that this was another level added to their emergency preparedness plan in Novi.
Mayor Landry commented that his son, Max, participated as a student held hostage and it was a very powerful exercise. He said his son could not stop talking about it and was very profoundly affected. Mayor Landry thought what had been done was awesome. He commented he had heard about it from other communities today and they were to be commended for taking this action.
Member Paul commented she appreciated the work they had done and that the safety of the students was number one in importance. She said she received a call from a neighbor of the event. Member Paul commented that she didnít know if Chief Molloy was aware that the police all met in the St. James parking lot. She said several of the residents had teenagers and when they woke up in the morning to 15 police cars behind their homes with rifles, they were a little concerned. She said information was put out on the web site and on cable about this event but a lot of people donít have cable. She said some of the neighbors were not aware that the police were going to meet there and were very frightened and concerned that something was really wrong. Member Paul noted they were happy to hear what was actually going on.
ATTORNEY - None
Larry Papp, 46000 White Pines Drive, said new construction in Oakland County had dropped and he was concerned about White Pines Drive. He said on White Pines Drive there were areas that didnít have any sidewalks and were not complete because the home sites were not complete. He commented two homes were up for auction now from John Richards or Autumn Park. One lot was in foreclosure with Oakland County and five lots had not been sold. Mr. Papp said it appeared that the builder would probably be moving on and not completing the five lots. He asked that the bond on John Richards be held until the sidewalks were completed, whether asphalt or whatever because the speed limit on White Pines Drive was 25 and there had been several problems because of the twisting and turning of the road. He noted they were also seeing some dumping in the area of Stone Road and asked Council to get the lots cleaned up or hold the bond money before Mr. Richards decided to leave Novi. Mr. Papp said on White Pines Drive there had been one roll over accident on Argyle and White Pines Drive, which was hard to do with an SUV at 25 mph. There were other traffic problems as well; a truck in the ditch, a street sign had been run over three times leaving debris from the undercarriage on the front lawn and three mailboxes had been taken down. He asked for a stop sign because it was a connection between Beck and Taft Roads. Mr. Papp said if there could be stop signs on Arden Glen Court and Denby Court, it would slow them down before reaching the twisting and turning of the treed area. Mr. Papp said he had made several calls to the City because of his concerns over the condition of White Pines Drive. It was less than nine years old and the expansion joints were getting nasty; they and were about nine inches wide and some were 4 to 5 inches deep. He had asked for cold patches to be put on it twice and was told it would be inspected; however, he had seen nothing in the last year. He was concerned that bike riders, kids on roller blades and joggers would get stuck in these and be hurt because some areas were 4 to 5 inches deep.
Mayor Landry addressed Mr. Pearson and said he believed they had discussed this subject before about whether the City could force a sidewalk by the developer where there was no house. He recalled the answer was no. Mr. Pearson said correct, unless there was a construction permit there was nothing to leverage and if that was what Council wanted, they would have to look at it City-wide. Mayor Landry asked that someone from Administration get back with Mr. Papp to discuss the sidewalk issue, the condition of the road and inform him of the procedures for requesting a stop sign or yield sign. Mr. Pearson said he would.
Monika Jackson, Orchard Ridge Subdivision, said Chief Molloy gave an excellent presentation on October 20th. She thanked Council for paying attention to their petition and for their consideration on building the gun range project on 11 Mile Road. She commented she was confused about the funding for the gun range as she had heard or read several different versions of where the money would come from and didnít want the taxpayers to pay for it. She also heard it would be paid for by the drug forfeiture money. However, Member Paul asked at the November 20th meeting who would pay for it and pointed to them and said "maybe the taxpayers". If that was so, she wanted to be exempt from it. She definitely thought Novi needed a very nice Police headquarters, boiler, new windows, extra rooms, etc., but was most concerned about where the money would come from. She commented it was mentioned at the November 20th meeting that about $3 million was owed on the expansion that was done a few years back and she would like to see that paid off before a gun range was built.
CONSENT AGENDA REMOVALS AND APPROVALS (See items A-E)
CM-06-12-309 Moved by Gatt, seconded by Capello; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY:
To approve the Consent Agenda as presented.
Roll call vote on CM-06-12-309 Yeas: Landry, Capello, Gatt, Margolis, Mutch, Nagy, Paul
A. Approve Minutes of:
B. Approval of the final balancing change order and final payment to Coop-Arz Excavating, LLC for the SAD 173 Ė Connemara/Galway Water Main Extension project in the amount of $9,232.64.
C. Approval of the final balancing change order and final payment to Restoration Dredging, Inc. for the Village Oaks Lake Dredging project in the amount of $88,568.34.
D. Confirmation of grant of Wetland Permit for Triangle Main Street, LLC. for Main Street Novi, SP 06-38. The subject property is located in Section 23, South of Grand River Avenue and east of Novi Road in the TC-1, Town Center District. The subject property is approximately 20 acres and the applicant is proposing a mixed-use development.
E. Approval of Claims and Accounts Ė Warrant No. 734
MATTERS FOR COUNCIL ACTION Ė Part I
1. Approval to adopt the Novi City Council Economic Development Goals and Objectives and Implementation Strategies for 2007.
Mr. Pearson said this document was the fruits of a great deal of effort from a lot of people over 2006. The idea began with the City Council to have policy setting and economic development goals that the Council could prioritize and adopt. He said from that came the staff work and then back to Council for their input. Then they went to the Economic Development Corporation and over the course of several meetings they had been reinvigorated with that group. He said they were an integral part of achieving the goals presented to Council. They also identified other partners they would like to engage through the joint mission of building the tax base within the City of Novi. Mr. Pearson said the time frame involved in some of the objectives, as a first effort for this kind of document, was 2007. He said they tried to make it as understandable as possible, identify some of the lead accountabilities and make it as open as possible regarding who could become engaged in this. Mr. Pearson commented that if Council adopted this tonight they would distribute it widely, come back to Council within the next month with a resource plan and then go after achieving these goals over the course of 2007.
Member Mutch said the goal was to "Retain and encourage growth and expansion of current Novi businesses by improving City processes and revising ordinances and regulations to assist business growth while maintaining quality of life for residents". He referred to page 7, fourth bullet point, that currently said "Systematically examine regulations and processes that are most commonly identified as problematic". He noted he was looking for language that said "and solutions to address those concerns". Member Mutch commented he wasnít sure if the feeling was that it was addressed through the Implementation Strategy Points, but he would like to see language like that. He thought it was not enough to just look at those; they needed to come up with solutions to address them.
Member Mutch said another point he raised at the last meeting they discussed this, was at the top of page 10, Implementation Strategy Point 3.2, OST District Improvements. He said at that time, he commented that he thought the language was a little restrictive. While OST was a focus for Council, in terms of economic development, there might be development in other districts. Districts such as Light Industrial or other office districts related to Providence that would benefit from infrastructure improvements. He wanted those potential developments to be within the scope of the work of the economic development coordinator. Member Mutch said those were the suggestions he had, otherwise he was pleased with what was put together. He said it focused on 2007, which would give them the opportunity to review it in a year or so to see what progress had been made. However, this was a good start.
Member Nagy appreciated the work of the EDC Committee and agreed with Member Mutch regarding page 10 to include other Office and Light Industrial. She thought it would be of benefit. She also agreed with his comment regarding page 7, because when talking about systematically examining regulations and processes that are most commonly identified as problematic, she thought they had done that with the Sikich Group by looking at the Building Department and how to make it more efficient, etc. She said Council had also been doing that and she didnít want to double the efforts but would like more solutions. She felt it was easier to criticize than to find solutions, so she would also like to have that be of concern too.
Member Nagy said the outline on page 4 was very good because it identified the funds in terms of high, medium and low cost and where in the budget the dollar amounts would be coming from.
Mr. Pearson thought it would be a part of the resource plan for staffing and a little bit into the budget allocations. He said there were existing resources and in his office budget, depending on the item, the Community Relations Manager had some resources. He said one of the objectives was added by the EDC, which talked about a long term funding resource plan themselves. He said it didnít just have to be the City that was doing these kinds of things. Mr. Pearson said there were other people who had a vested interest, namely real estate brokers and developers who had a common goal and would be obvious ones, if they could find a way to appropriately do that. He said there needed to be boundaries between different peopleís roles, but there was no reason they couldnít find opportunities for outside dollars. Mr. Pearson said there might be some resources from the County and/or the State.
Member Nagy asked if she was correct that it was Councilís intention to find and hire an economic development coordinator. Mr. Pearson said it would be one of their missions to sort that out over the next month. He said that had been a strong desire and that a position like that dedicated to a communityís economic development would be similar to Neighborhood Services, Community Relations, etc., and would be a natural function of the City. Mr. Pearson said if talking about tax base, they had a long term interest in that doing well. He said they would probably come back with a City staff person. Member Nagy said then the EDC would be dealing directly with the Cityís Economic Development Coordinator. Mr. Pearson responded yes, one likely role for any City staff position would be to provide staff resources to the Economic Development Coordinator.
CM-06-12-310 Moved by Capello, seconded Margolis; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY:
To adopt the Novi City Council Economic Development Goals and Objectives and Implementation Strategies for 2007.
Mayor Pro Tem Capello said the reason he had not included the two changes that were previously suggested was twofold. In regard to goal #2,"Retain and encourage growth and expansion", the two previous speakers talked about adding to bullet point #4 to take some action and revise the processes. However, in the goal itself, it specifically said "by improving City processes and revising the ordinance and regulations". He said the bullet point stated how they would go about revising the ordinance and regulations; therefore, he thought the comments made regarding bullet point #4 were already included in the goal itself.
Mayor Pro Tem Capello commented, regarding goal #3, "Attracting high quality new development to Novi with specific emphasis on OST development"; that it didnít make sense to add the Light Industrial. He said what they had done was to include Light Industrial to that goal and the emphasis they wanted to impose upon the EDC was the OST District. He said the OST District was the newest district and was the district being used to keep up with changes, high tech, and the industry and to keep new tenants and new developments coming into Novi. He said Light Industrial had been in Novi forever, it worked and worked fine and it was OST they needed to concentrate on because that was where they would get the new businesses coming to the City.
Member Margolis thanked staff and the EDC for their work and hoped it would really serve as a guide point going forward. She thought, in terms of expanding the OST District, there were other places in the goals where it talked about the need to look at high revenue districts. She thought they were covered there and that certainly any economic development coordinator, based on these goals, would make the kinds of decisions that needed to be made. Member Margolis said she absolutely supported the idea of having measurable benchmarks for an economic development position and was pleased staff brought up the idea of looking at SEV per capita as a measurable. She said what was measured was what you got. She thought if they set some very clear measurables for this position, based on what the staff wanted, they would get the kind of economic development they wanted to see. She would support that and thought having an economic development position made a great deal of sense. She said when they got the last financial report, if they looked at the staffing levels in various departments over the past ten years, they would see that the Community Relations Department had stayed pretty much exactly the same. As a community that had grown in population during that time, she thought they needed to add to that and really address the business community. She said she would look forward to working with staff and the EDC and fully supported the goals.
Member Gatt thanked the staff and EDC for all their hard work. He said he had been in favor and would continue to be in favor of hiring a full time Economic Development Coordinator. He thought it would help Novi to remain on its successful course, as Novi would be competing with a lot of cities to attract the businesses needed and would need someone dedicated full time to that position.
Member Paul commented she was thrilled to finally see some work from EDC. She said she had been on Council for 3 Ĺ years, and they were seeing some really nice work from this group. Member Paul said Mr. Churella had wanted to come to life for a long time.
Member Paul said in the November 16th minutes, one of the members talked about how they would get information from Planning, Parks & Recreation and all the departments on whatís happening so they could stay in tune with whatís being developed. She thought of the projects map, and wanted to make sure that whoever the staff member was that worked with this group would give them the projects map as a means of communication. Secondly, possibly minutes from Planning and Parks & Recreation, emails and paper trails that would go with that, or on a regular basis, have one of the Administrative people communicate with them about whatís happening around the City.
Member Paul noted that Farmington Hills had an EDC Director and they were coming to speak to the EDC. She asked if Council would be able to get minutes on what was discussed and what they were doing in other cities included in this, too. Mr. Pearson said anytime there are minutes from boards and commissions they try to get them to Council as soon as they are adopted. Member Paul stated she understood Mayor Pro Tem Capelloís comments about not including Light Industrial. However, to her both Light Industrial and OST coming to the City would be a good goal to add. She said OST was one of the main goals but Light Industrial was a similar tax base and didnít use tax resources as much as residential, so both were important to her. She said if it was going to make or break the vote it wasnít important, but thought it was instrumental that Council look at incorporating any new business that brought in high tax dollars. She thought that was the purpose of Light Industrial and OST.
Mayor Landry commented he was delighted with this plan and thought the Administration and the EDC had done a great job. He said in September the EDC representatives were present and Council and the EDC had talked about how in the past they had not been asked to do anything. He didnít think it was the result of any lack of effort on their part; they just had not been asked to participate on this level. He said Council challenged them and they responded. They had done some wonderful things in the Economic Development Corporation such as creating committees and staffing them with members of the EDC and they were doing some very exciting things. Mayor Landry said this was another example of when our residents are challenged, they come through. He was very pleased with this, pleased to support it, and very anxious to see what would come of it. He was confident that many good things would come of it and was not personally hung up on whether it was Light Industrial or OST. He was confident that anyone looking at economic development was not going to care whether it was OST or Light Industrial. He said they would work as hard as they could to bring into the City whatever businesses they could.
Member Mutch said one of the virtues of having a document thatís reexamined in one year was an opportunity to have input again in another year, so he would be voting in favor or this.
Member Paul understood that the EDC had been asked to step up and they certainly have. She said by no means was she saying they werenít doing anything. She said they just desired to participate more, finally thatís happened and she congratulated all of them.
Member Nagy thought that sometimes the audience misunderstood what Council was saying. She did think the EDC had stepped up to this challenge, and gave Mr. Churella a lot of credit because he had talked about doing things like this for years. She said she was very happy that he had that opportunity, and that he was devoting his time to Council. Member Nagy said she liked the report and thought the staff had done a good job.
Roll call vote on CM-06-12-310 Yeas: Capello, Gatt, Margolis, Mutch, Nagy, Paul, Landry
2. Approval of allocation of $1,244,350 in existing Federal Forfeiture Funds for construction of an Indoor Gun Range at the Field Services Complex ($725,300) and critical maintenance needs at Police Headquarters ($519,050).
Mr. Pearson said the Council commissioned a study and long range master plan for the City to look at some of its most important facilities and functions. Those facilities were Police, Public Safety and Public Works. He said the Public Works facility provided a number of basic services, everything from a recycling center to parks maintenance, but at its core it was Public Works. He said as the Council engaged the staff, there was some expertise from outside to provide a long range plan for those facilities. He said before Council tonight were the fruits and the recommendations to actually bring the plan to life. He said it was the Police Chief, department leadership and Administrationís strong recommendation that they proceed and begin these improvements. The first and most pressing priority was the indoor gun range. He said on November 20th they went through an intensive presentation and that report had been available on the internet for the public in its entirety. He said that was truly one of the most fundamental training experiences that the City could provide. Mr. Pearson stated the upgrades that suggested they have their own dedicated City of Novi facility would dramatically improve not only the quantity, but the quality of the training. Mr. Pearson said Council had seen what they had now and they were fortunate and blessed that they were able to use the Farmington facility all these years but it was limited in the range of possibilities they could provide. He said it was a stand up and shoot and when they wanted to change the range an officer had to go back and around and push the target to a different range. He said what was proposed was to give the Police Department what they needed in terms of a flexible, dynamic and dedicated facility for Novi Police officers to train with.
Mr. Pearson said Council had already dedicated $1 million toward this endeavor and what was recommended and requested was the funding to finish it. He said this was an estimate for budget purposes but an additional $725,300 would deliver this community an indoor training range within a year, plus or minus. As part of this plan they also identified some short range Police headquarters building maintenance needs and those have been detailed. Likewise, he said they could do those right away. Mr. Pearson said both of these recommendations are with existing Federal Drug Forfeiture
Funds, which are monies in the bank dedicated towards this type of purpose. He said it was not money that could be used for just anything, such as paying for existing officers, etc. He said this met the criteria and it was their recommendation that this was how they proceed with monies received to date.
Member Margolis stated she was unable to attend the presentation by Chief Molloy and public safety, but was able to watch the entire program on the internet and thanked Chief Molloy. She said she was very impressed and Novi was very fortunate to have a professional like Chief Molloy at the helm of the police force. Member Margolis said in the report Chief Molloy gave Council three basic recommendations and pieces of work that needed to be done for the Police Department. She said one was long range growth up to the year 2024. Also, the three categories Chief Molloy was calling critical improvements to the police station would cost $519,050. She asked if that was correct and Chief Molloy said it was. Member Margolis said building the gun range would be done with the million dollars that Council had already appropriated from drug forfeiture funds but the remaining amount needed would be $725,300 and Chief Molloy agreed. She said then there was a list of long term improvements to the Police headquarters that would be needed over the years until the year 2024, if build out was reached at that point and Chief Molloy agreed. Member Margolis asked, in his professional opinion, how he would prioritize those three items. Chief Molloy said the most critical training need now was firearms and he would suggest the recommendation for the construction of the indoor gun range at the Field Services Complex. Second would be to address the critical needs as identified and third would be to look at the long range plan on how to get there and how to take care of those. He said they estimated they would begin those improvements in four or five years, depending on the growth of the community. He said that was what they were looking at in the long range. She said those long range goals were, as the Police department grew, to meet the needs of the community, and a larger headquarters would be needed four to five years down the road and Chief Molloy agreed. She said drug forfeiture funds had to be spent within two years of when they were received and Chief Molloy said that was the recommended guideline of the Department of Justice. Member Margolis said they could not be used for anything but police and public safety, correct. Chief Molloy said it was very narrow in scope, yes. Member Margolis asked Chief Molloy to clarify once again how much it would cost to maintain the gun range, the difference between what was being paid now at current dollars to rent the facility in Farmington versus what it would cost to maintain a gun range.
Chief Molloy said they currently paid $1,800 per year to rent the City of Farmington range and they incur another expense of approximately $9,600 per year to do the outdoor shooting of their rifles at the outdoor Canton range. He said obviously they would eliminate the $1,800 and would also reduce the use of the Canton range by at least four days per year, which was a savings of roughly $1,600. He said when they looked at the construction of the indoor gun range, they realized what was critical was the filtration and the cleanliness of the range. Chief Molloy said the projections they were able to learn from the manufacturer and other police agencies that currently use the indoor gun range, the reclining gran-trap range, like they were suggesting, would cost roughly $1,500 every 18 months for the complete replacement of those filters. In addition, every 36 months they recommended a complete clean out of the range. He said they would come in and the backstop that stopped the bullets would be vacuumed out, the contaminants would be removed, it would be cleaned and they would take all the lead ammunition and reuse it. It would cost roughly $6,300. He said it would be $7,855 every 36 months for the cleanliness of the range.
Member Margolis asked what was left to pay down the bond fully on the current police station. Mr. Pearson asked Council to look at the exhibit on the last page of this item, which was prepared by the Finance Department. He said it outlined the building bonds and the debt service schedule until they were paid. He noted that because of when they could call certain bonds and because of interest earnings deposited, which was already $1.2 million for this function, the Finance Department had put it in a range that if they were to deposit between $1.375 and $1.425 million today, or as soon as possible, so it would start gaining interest on the Debt Service Bond it would take care of the future debt service needs, as well as outstanding bonds.
Member Margolis asked what the recommendation would be because there was only a $50,000 spread between those two numbers. She commented she knew the Administration didnít have an interest rate crystal ball to tell her exactly, but if this Council wanted to appropriate the money to completely pay off the police bond, what would the recommendation be. Mr. Pearson responded for Council to allocate the $1.4 million with past interest earnings today, the amount of time they would have to call any of the bonds and then let the Debt Service Fund take care of it. He said they could feel very comfortable that it would be appropriate. Member Margolis said $1,400,000 to do that and Mr. Pearson said yes. Member Margolis said that would put money away now to completely pay off the police bonds. Mr. Pearson said coupled with what Council reallocated and set aside for that. She asked if there were enough drug forfeiture funds to do the $1.4 million, the gun range, and the critical needs tonight. Mr. Pearson said Council could do all three of those functions with monies in the bank now and available for that purpose.
Member Margolis commented that she watched the study session with great interest because this had been on the Council table since she ran for office. She knew it was difficult for those of us who work in an office sitting at a desk to really understand that to our police officers a gun range was not a frivolous extra. She said it was the training required to do the job they were asked to do. She said they are asked to patrol our roads, get drunk drivers off the street, to help the schools stay safe, etc. However, on the most basic, most fundamental level, the City hired police officers to wear a gun, stand between us and the bad guys and to use that gun correctly 100% of the time. She said she worked with a lot of manufacturers and said they had probably heard of six sigma. She said that was the manufactureís defect rate and that manufacturers would have no clue how to get a 100% correct rate in what they were doing. She said to imagine that we, as a City Council, most of who work in nice safe offices and only have to worry about making mistakes, like sending email to the wrong person and being embarrassed, would deny our police the opportunity to have a training facility in Novi for that crucial skill was astounding. She said this would require no allocation of tax dollars and was money produced by the work of police officers and could only be used by law enforcement. Member Margolis said currently Novi Police officers use an out of date facility thatís not available often enough, at a rental cost to the City, and they have to leave Novi to use it. She noted this meant that in order to have the training they were required to have, the City would be left with several of its police officers several miles away, out of our jurisdiction. She said if not using the money for the gun range, what would they use it for. These dollars are heavily restricted in their use and Chief Molloy had told Council that this was their most crucial need. She said with the money available they could pay off the debt fully, pay for the firing range and take care of the departmentís current needs. Member Margolis said on every objective level this made sense for the City. She said, as many people know, she loved objective criteria, numbers and quantifiable data. She said when watching Chief Molloy present at the special study session, she saw a study and presentation that met those criteria. However, as she was watching the study session it also occurred to her there was something missing from the discussion; those of us who sit at a desk all day do not understand what itís like to be a police officer.
Member Margolis said she had been the wife of a police officer for four years and her daughterís father has been a police officer in another municipality for 25 years. She knew what it was like to see your husband go off to work and wonder if he would come home. She also knew what it was like to watch her daughter for 20 years, as the color faded out of her face every time there was a report that a police officer was down. She said until they had lived through that, as our officers and their families did everyday, perhaps they couldnít understand their crucial need for high quality, available firearms training. She said just ask any of the police officers and their families and she was sure they would be happy to tell them.
CM-06-12-311 Moved by Margolis, seconded by Capello; MOTION FAILED:
To approve allocation $1,244,350 of Federal Forfeiture Funds to construction of an indoor gun range at the Field Services Complex, $725,300, critical maintenance needs at police headquarters, $519,050, and escrow for future payoff of police bonds at police headquarters, $1.4 million.
Member Gatt stated it was very difficult to speak after such an eloquent speech. He said he was a police officer for a long time and he knew what that feeling was like. He said the range that the officers were forced to use was a joke and it was not good training. Member Gatt said one day, if this was not approved tonight, people who voted no would have to look in the mirror and ask themselves why. He said the money came from the Police Department, from their hard work and it was not tax payer dollars. It was money confiscated from some bad guys and had to be spent on police matters. He said Council would be going above and beyond because they would be paying off a debt so they wouldnít put debt on top of debt. Member Gatt said letís make no mistake about it, this would not be frivolous. This was a necessary item that had been on the table now for more than two years, and itís time to get it done. He thanked Chief Molloy for his hard work. Member Gatt said a couple of years ago during discussion about this, Member Nagy said, quoting from the minutes October 2005, "The police department knows better than the Council what they really need, and we have heard the Police Chief come up here tonight and say what the police department really needs."
Member Nagy apologized for not being present for the presentations by the Police Chief and Mr. McCusker and appreciated the work everyone did. She said the quote by Member Gatt was accurate and was made to Chief Shaeffer. Member Nagy thought one of the things that happened was that people present something and you agree with it and then you start looking at all the other numbers and needs the City had. She said the survey still hadnít been done for the Fire Department, the DPW, Police headquarters, money was owed for MERS and probably in 2008 the Headlee Amendment would take effect and there would be a reduction in State Revenue Sharing. Member Nagy believed, for her, it was not a decision about caring about, liking or not supporting the police. It was basically about economics and it would have made more sense to do Option 3, which would have been to do the complete renovations on the Police building because that was where the officers were 24-7. She said in reviewing the critical needs of $519,050 alone, there were a lot of needs. Member Nagy was concerned about taking care of the people that work here, and not just going off to an area that would have limited usage per week. She thought receiving the forfeiture funds was a great thing for the Police Department and understood it was federal money and not taxpayer money. However, by paying off that debt she thought the taxpayer would benefit and thought that with State Revenue Sharing and property values going down and homes that could not be sold, she assumed they were not going to receive as much tax revenue in the future as well. Member Nagy said she would prefer to see the critical renovations done and the $725,300 spent on the Police building. She knew they were talking long range of 4 to 5 years, but in four to five years the price of everything would go up. She said for her, it was about the fact that government was here to provide basic services for the residents. She thought with all the needs in the City, the money would be better spent where the police were 24-7, and that would be on the Police Department.
Mayor Pro Tem Capello asked Ms. Smith-Roy if the existing bonds were from the previous renovations of the Police Department and she responded they were. He asked when they could be paid off. Ms. Smith-Roy said the soonest they could be paid off was October 1, 2008. He asked if a partial payment could be made or would the entire bond have to be paid off. She responded they could pay off any amount of the bonds in increments of $5,000. Mayor Pro Tem Capello said that would just reduce the annual payment, correct. Ms. Smith-Roy replied they could designate which year they wanted to reduce.
Mayor Pro Tem Capello said, in regard to using the current forfeiture funds, the memos from Ms. Smith-Roy and Mr. Pearson identified what the money could be used for, such as law enforcement training, equipment, operations and facilities. He asked if it could be used to repair or improve the Fire Department. Chief Molloy said no. He asked if they could be used to improve the DPW building and Chief Molloy said no. He asked if it could be used to pay any obligations to MERS and Chief Molloy said no.
Member Mutch said he wanted to walk through the issue of paying off the police bonds because as he had studied the issue it took him some time to get to an understanding as he talked with other Council members and had input from the public. He thought there was some confusion regarding what the costs and benefits would be. He said, to be on the same page, the initial bond issued in 1999 was for $3.5 million and Ms. Smith-Roy agreed. He said his understanding was that more was collected than they needed. He said the improvements were about $2.5 million and Ms. Smith Roy said approximately, yes. Member Mutch said they took that money, put it into an account and had been using it to make payments on principle and interest that they would normally have to do as the bonds come due. Ms. Smith-Roy said he was correct. He said he knew that when the bonds were initially issued they also levied a millage to pay for those bonds. Member Mutch asked when they had stopped paying that millage. Ms. Smith-Roy thought the last time they were paid was in 2002, but it might have been 2001. He said, so at that point, they had been levying a millage that was probably in the neighborhood of a tenth of a mil more or less and the City stopped collecting that and used those proceeds ever since to pay for that. Ms. Smith-Roy said he was correct.
Member Mutch said one of the comments that had been made regarded the benefit of paying off the bond and he thought there was a benefit. However, there had been discussion about the fact that the General Fund would see a $300,000 benefit because they would no longer have to collect that 0.1 mils, thus allowing them to raise the General Fund millage without raising the overall tax rate. He said what became apparent to him was that happened in 2002. He said he looked up the numbers and in 2002 the General Fund millage was 4.4 mils and itís 4.8 mils today. Member Mutch said even though they saw that one-tenth of a mil come off the tax rolls, the City Council, in the intervening years, had continued to raise the General Fund millage above and beyond that one-tenth. He asked if that was accurate. Ms. Smith-Roy said he was correct and she believed there were reductions in other millages besides the debt millage. He said then the overall tax millage had remained the same, the 10.54 mils that they always talked about, but we have already seen the $300,000 a year benefit of paying off that millage. He wanted people to be clear on that because he thought some people thought that was coming down the road and when they started paying the bonds off in 2008 they would suddenly see $300,000 a year in additional revenue. He said the only way that could happen was if they increased the General Fund millage again. Member Mutch said one of the issues was if the bonds were not paid off, at what point the police bond millage would come back on the books. He asked when Ms. Smith-Roy expected they would have to start levying that millage again. Ms. Smith-Roy asked if based on the current balance, and Member Mutch said yes. Ms. Smith-Roy responded approximately 2010. Member Mutch said then if the entire amount was not paid off, they would have to start collecting that millage again. She responded that was correct. Member Mutch thought that was important for people to understand, because there was a cost to not paying off those bonds. If the entire amount wasnít paid, at some point that millage that had gone away, and that they took advantage of it going away, would come back to the taxpayers. He said that would be a tax increase. Member Mutch thought the opportunity costs were one of the key issues of the decisions being made tonight. He said paying off the bond was one opportunity cost, and the other opportunity cost came from their decision to invest the forfeiture fund dollars in the gun range. Member Mutch said at the last meeting and tonight, Chief Molloy indicated he was looking to do department improvements, expansion and renovations in the next five to seven years. Tonight, Council was targeting $500,000 in improvements, what they called the critical needs. He said that left another $4.4 million dollars in improvements still outstanding. As well as, each year those needs were not taken care of, the report estimated there would be a 5% inflation factor. So, if they were looking to finance those improvements in a five year period, they were probably looking at $4.5 million to $5 million in cost.
Member Mutch said one of the recommendations from the Administration was to fund that through the General Fund by taking money out of Fund Balance, or set aside money each year to pay for improvements. He said if they were looking at five or six years to do those improvements, they were now in the ballpark of $700,000 or $800,000 a year from the General Fund just for the proposed Police Department building improvements. In addition, in his projections for the building needs, Chief Molloy was asking for two officers each year going out a number of years to bring the department levels up to the levels he expected to need as the City builds out. He said just from the numbers last year, thatís another $150,000 per year for new officers and then that number would escalate as well. Member Mutch said now they were looking at close to $1 million a year, just for Police Department needs, out of the General Fund in addition to everything else. Member Mutch thought that was a huge cost to burden the taxpayers with when they had an opportunity, with the funds they had, to make a significant down payment to the police facility.
Member Mutch said if they vote for the gun range tonight, they would be guaranteeing they would vote for a tax increase for our taxpayers, guaranteed. He said it didnít seem feasible to set aside $700,000 or $800,000 a year, over a five year period, in addition to all the other costs that canít be covered by forfeiture funds that would be incorporated into the budget. He said the size of the tax increase might vary depending on what Council did tonight, but Council would be guaranteeing that. He advocated they not spend the money on the gun range, and instead use those funds to make a significant down payment on the improvements needed at the Police Department. Member Mutch said when he heard the presentation from the Chief and saw the list of needs, the Chief talked about many areas where spending dollars in the short term on building improvements would benefit the department.
Member Mutch said the Chief talked about improvements to dispatch. He said dispatchers were the people that most residents had their first encounter with at the Police Department when they called 911 for anything from a traffic accident to a medical emergency or house fire. He said the Chief also talked about the Firearms Training System (FATS) and having a dedicated room for that and a dedicated space for the emergency operations centers and secondary space for other uses that currently have to be shared. He talked about improvements to the locker rooms and equipment facilities among many other things and all those things would come by investing in the Police Department building and not in the gun range. He said, as Member Nagy noted, that was a benefit that would accrue to our police officers, police staff and civilians who utilize that department 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year. He asked if the current gun range at Farmington was acceptable because it had been acceptable for our training needs for many years. However, he thought it definitely was an issue that needed to be examined, but the opportunity costs of putting all that money into that one use, that by the Chiefís own accounting, would be used 10 to 15 hours per week, was just too high to then put aside the needs they had five to six years out that could be addressed today. Member Mutch said he wanted to be clear the uses that he proposed the money for were consistent with the forfeiture fund guidelines. He said, obviously, any building improvements at the Police Department would fit that criterion. He wanted to be clear that his support for those improvements over the gun range was in no way a slight to the department, the officers, or the staff of the Police Department. Member Mutch said his brother worked for the Carleton, Texas Police Department in lock up and encountered bad people everyday. Having a quality facility was important to his brother, and he put a plug in for the gun range today. He said his brother-in-law was a Detroit Police Officer and he went out everyday in a squad car and patrolled what are truly the mean streets of Detroit and put his life on the line. He said in no way would he ever make a decision he felt would place brothers or sisters in law enforcement in harmís way. He believed they had an opportunity tonight to make a significant improvement in the Police Department facility. He would want to pay off the debt first and then use the remaining forfeiture funds that they have allocated for the gun range and unallocated, at this time, in addition to other City dollars to be identified. He said additional Fund Balance was identified that came about following the audit. He wanted to put together a plan that would address the police building needs now, and not put those off for five years at a significant cost to taxpayers and not make the department wait that much longer for improvements he believed they needed today.
Member Paul referred to Ms. Jacksonís comment during Audience Participation, regarding when Member Paul was talking about the tax dollars being the taxpayerís burden. Member Paul said her statement was "the forfeiture funds would pay for the improvements of paying down the debt for the police station, but the maintenance of a firing range would be the taxpayerís burden for years to come." She said in 2005, the number Council was given was $50,000 and included many things. It included a trained police officer that would be there for the people using the firearms. Secondly, it was heating and cooling, baluster repairs, ammunition and the rubber wall that would collect the lead bullets as well as the exhaust fans, etc. She also wanted to clarify some other issues. First, the current bond couldnít be paid down until 2008. She asked Ms. Smith-Roy when Council would have to tap into the budget for the interest that would be owed on it. Ms. Smith-Roy replied currently, with the $1.2 million that was transferred, plus interest, they would be able to make the payments through at least 2010. Member Paul said when looking at the memo of November 22, 2006 that Ms. Smith-Roy gave Council there was a list of years and she looked at the total of the interest costs and after 2008 the total amount was $926,712.50. She asked if that was accurate. Ms. Smith-Roy said that would be the total interest paid from April 1, 2007 through the end of the bond period, yes. Member Paul said interest had been paid on this all along but this was what was remaining. Ms. Smith-Roy agreed. Member Paul said last year when Council put $1.2 million in, they basically split the interest owed on the debt in half. Initially, they were thinking it was $2.4 million; now that number had gone up and she asked Ms. Smith-Roy to explain why they need $1.375 to $1.425 million to pay down the debt. She asked why it was more than last time. Ms. Smith-Roy responded that it was slightly more as a result of the interest earnings that were anticipated. She said they calculated the original pay off including interest earnings if they had gotten the full amount at that time. However, the time passed and they would not gain that amount of interest earnings to help pay off the bonds. She said the money was not lost though as the interest earnings were in the forfeiture funds and could be used for those purposes. Member Paul said that was great. She commented the reason she supported some of the money paying down the debt, at that time and some of the money going to the firing range, was they wanted to pay the full debt down, but there wasnít enough support. Therefore, they wanted to put some to the firing range and some to paying down the taxpayerís debt and that was the best compromise they could come up with.
Member Paul said when she looked at the amount of money they needed to put into savings to pay down that debt they would be saving the taxpayers almost a million dollars in interest and that was significant. She commented that in 2005 she tried to include $50,000 for the cost of the window repairs and she asked what the cost of the windows was in this report. Chief Molloy said window replacements for the upper level were estimated at $83,200. Member Paul asked why in one year it went from $50,000 to $83,000, and Chief Molloy said he couldnít answer that as he was not an engineer. Member Paul said her concern was that Council always estimated what costs would be and a lot of times there were hidden costs, so even the $725,000 for the firing range was a concern as far as what the cost would really be. She said then Chief Molloy wanted $6 million for the current police headquarters for the future, and that was based on todayís dollars, and in one year it had gone up substantially from $50,000 to $83,000 for just one item. Member Paul couldnít imagine what that would do to the $6 million figure for the taxpayers. She would like to put as much money as possible away for whatever was to be done for the police headquarters for the long term.
Member Paul said she had emailed Mr. Pearson about the asbestos comment that Mr. Helwig had made and there was also a memo regarding asbestos. She asked him to clarify, because the windows and asbestos were mentioned in the same sentence by Mr. Helwig. Mr. Pearson said to the best of their knowledge, after a first hand review by Wold Architects, there was no asbestos. He said that would be consistent with the age of the building. Mr. Pearson said in the minutes she referred to, he saw no material as part of the motion sheet that referred to asbestos and was something that was added by the Council at the table. He said he didnít know where it came from and the only thing that referenced asbestos was a quote given by an environmental consultant and they provided removal of non-asbestos material. They also had some special provisions in case there was asbestos and that was only $11,000, which told him they really didnít think there was any there either. Chief Molloy spoke with them today and they had no first hand knowledge of anything and it was just for budget purposes. Mr. Pearson said to clarify for last year, the $50,000 for budget, while trying to allocate Drug Forfeiture Funds at the time, was without the benefit of an architectural review that Council had before them tonight. He said that was the point of hiring an architect and they spent the last four months analyzing current needs, critical needs and long term growth of the Police Department. He said it was not something that had to be done today. However, he found it interesting that they were talking about the Police Departmentís and the Chiefís recommendations in one breath and today, here and now, their recommendation and the most critical thing that the Council could do for them was to support the training facility and the indoor gun range as described. He said they had met the need to have it located within the City limits, it would provide increased quantity and quality of training at the Field Services Complex and would fit in with the eventual needs of the Public Works facility.
Member Paul said to clarify to the police officers present, in the last few budgets she had asked that Council support hiring new officers, and that had been a total of three. Also, she wanted to improve the current building with the change in the windows because they were leaking and that was heating and cooling as well as water damage. She commented that all of those things were very important to her to improve the quality of their work life. She said she could completely support the immediate needs for $519,000 and thought it made great sense. She said the money for the firing range she would like to see put down to whatever their future needs were in the building and to her that was not a firing range. Member Paul said the numbers they had were $1,800 for training and when she asked how many years they had been there, she was told they had been in that facility about 30 years. Then, she knew there was another close range in Farmington that was very nice. She said she visited and toured it and the FBI used that range too. She didnít know what their dollars were but was sure it was less than $2 million for a firing range. Member Paul said she could not support having the long term costs and overhead of a firing range and would not support it. She said she was not saying she didnít support their training. If they needed more training, she would completely support that and if they wanted to double the time they went to the indoor shooting range that was fine. However, for a cost of $1,800 for the indoor shooting range and almost $10,000 for the outdoor shooting range it didnít seem cost effective to take on this overhead.
Mayor Landry asked the indulgence of the audience because he wanted to address his colleagues at the Council table. Mayor Landry said he was asking and pleading with them to pass this motion as a matter of compromise. He asked Council to please compromise on this issue. He said the use of drug forfeiture money was limited to law enforcement and this was the number one priority of the Novi Police Department. He said they had given Council 13 priorities and the gun range was number one. He asked Council to please not look at this as Mayor Landryís priority or anyone elseís priority; it was the Police Departmentís priority. They obtained the money; we are not talking about tax dollars here. Mayor Landry stated they were talking about money they obtained; they risked their lives and obtained the money. He said there had been talk about the Police Department building and facilities. They work in it every single day and deal with the leaking windows, but their number one priority was to build the gun range. He said this was a perfect compromise. When this issue first came up before Council everybody had an opinion on what to do with the forfeiture dollars. He said that was natural, they all did, they were giddy at the time and were all thinking of what could be done with this. He said some people wanted to do bricks and mortar and some wanted to do other things, but no one would get every thing they wanted. He said thatís not compromise. Mayor Landry said please recall that there was a time when several members of Council said they would not vote for another nickel of forfeiture funds unless a gun range was built. He said that statement was made and after that those people compromised. After that happened they paid overtime for police officers, they paid additional police officers salaries for the first years as allowed, purchased vehicles and communication equipment and paid a contribution toward the City software. He said all of those compromises were made by people at this table who said they wouldnít spend another nickel until a gun range was built; they backed off. Mayor Landry asked Council to please compromise. He said this motion would build the range, pay off the debt and would take care of the critical needs all with forfeiture dollars. There had been talk of paying off the debt and this motion would do that. Thereís been talk of leaking windows and this motion would fix that. He said this motion fixed all of those with not one dime of taxpayer money, please compromise on this. He said everyone had expressed their opinion and if this motion didnít pass tonight there was no sense in talking about it at the Council table, itís done. He said it would become an election issue and asked why they would do that to this Council. Why make it an election issue when they could solve this now. Mayor Landry said they have plenty to disagree about without disagreeing about found money. He said ten years from now when we and others look back at what was done with the forfeiture dollars, if this motion passed, 30% of it would have been spent on bricks and mortar. He said that wasnít a bad ratio when really looking at it. Only 30% was spent on bricks and mortar. Mayor Landry said the bottom line was that everything that had been discussed tonight, the Police Department dealt with everyday and their number one priority was still the firing range. He said he would implore them as colleagues, as a matter of compromise, to pass this motion and move on and solve the problems of this City. Itís found money and itís what they want. Please compromise on this issue.
Mayor Pro Tem Capello said as he saw it, if the motion didnít pass tonight, hereís the situation regarding the gun range. He said out of the $1.7 million, over $300,000 would go to site improvements, which would directly benefit the DPW as part of the gun range improvement. He said they would lose that. He said there was $1 million left and it didnít mean they werenít going to build the gun range. He said they had already allocated $1 million, they have $1 million to spend, and they would get an inferior range. In his opinion, and he didnít like it, most likely the range would not be built at the DPW yard where there was the necessary $300,000 worth of improvement; it would be built next to the existing police station and next to Orchard Hills. He said that would be the only economical way they could do it. Mayor Pro Tem Capello said one of the benefits of moving the gun range to the DPW was that it benefited the neighbors and the DPW, but was a little more costly than building it here. He said they were going to build it and it was just a question of whether they built it here for $1 million or build it at the DPW site for $1.7 million.
Member Paul said the part that was most difficult for her was that after they had done the engineering and architectural studies, it was very hard to understand where $6 million in five years for the Police Department would come from looking at the General Fund and at State Shared Revenues being decreased over the years. She said there would be more decreases on the way. The State was in horrible economic times and that was not a news flash to anyone. She said to have a $50,000 a year increment for maintenance was too much for her to give to the taxpayers as a burden. She said she was sorry but she could not agree to it. She said when this study came out they didnít have the information of how they would spend the money and what they needed. They need $6 million more and she didnít want to go to the taxpayers for another bond. She didnít think it would pass for one because people were concerned. She said Ford Motor Company was laying off lots of people in the next few weeks and tons of her neighbors were moving out. She didnít want to see the economic time be even more pressed.
Member Nagy appreciated Mayor Landry imploring Council for a compromise. She thought that last year they all compromised on that motion, and as she stated earlier there were a lot of facts and figures they didnít have. She thought someone was trying to put words in her mouth by thinking that she was going to take forfeiture funds and put them in the Fire Department, DPW, MERS, etc.; her point was long range financial planning. Member Nagy said she and others got an email this weekend and phone calls from residents and she wanted to read a Novi residentís email. Member Nagy said the residents said "they were very concerned about committing long term tax dollars to any project such as the gun range, DPW, and fire house renovations. Michigan is in poor financial health and workers are leaving the State daily for opportunities elsewhere. With housing sales and prices in decline, property tax revenue to the City will drop. Now is the time to conserve, not look for ongoing spending projects. Please use our tax dollars wisely." Member Nagy said this email was the same message she got from people who called her on the telephone. She said there wasnít one resident that wanted anything that would increase their taxes and the idea that the economy would suddenly increase and there would be more building and housing was not very likely. She said there were 35,000 foreclosures in the tri-county area and there were 200 more every month in Oakland County. She said her lack of support for the gun range was one of economics. As Member Mutch so rightly pointed out, in order to build this facility and renovate the building, at some point, they would have to ask for money from the General Fund. Her point in talking about other departments was because it wasnít just the Police Department building that needed to be renovated; there were also the DPW and Fire Department buildings. She said she was on the CIP Committee and there were pages and pages of things departments needed that Council was only able to give bits and pieces of every year. She said Council tried to save money but costs go up, and things happen; no one planned for this economy. Member Nagy said she fully supported the Police Department, and thought Novi had wonderful police officers. Residents had told her of their good experiences with them; this wasnít about being for or against them. She noted she had also gotten calls from retired police officers and thought they were calling to lecture her on what to do about the gun range. One of them was recently retired from the City of Detroit and he said to ask how many times he had shot his gun. She said their bottom line was they lived here and were not looking for any down the road tax increases. She didnít see how they could fund all the things needed in the various departments, including the renovations to the police headquarters where they spend so much time. She felt that would be the most critical need without going into the General Fund, looking for a tax increase, or telling the taxpayers they would have to take a hike. She thought the police in Novi were wonderful, but they have the ability to use other gun ranges and Council needed to take care of not just the Police Department headquarters but also the taxpayers. She didnít want to look down the road in three years and find they needed to increase taxes and that for her was what it was about. It was about long term financial planning and thatís why she couldnít support this. She would have liked very much to compromise. However, when looking at the numbers she just couldnít tell people in these economic times that their taxes might be increased in a few years. She believed it was her obligation to look at the community at large. She wished she could have had a different opinion, but believed the Police Department renovations, paying off the bond and long term savings were a need. She felt a gun range was a want and was not necessarily a part of their every day lives in Novi. Member Nagy noted that, of all the people she talked with, not one person was for this kind of expenditure.
Member Gatt said listening to his colleagues he had finally figured it out. He said Novi was such a safe community, as Member Mutch said the "mean streets of Detroit", and the streets of Novi arenít mean at all. He said Member Nagy just said those guns officers carry really arenít a need. So, he told the officers when they go out at night not to take their guns, to leave them home because this was not a mean city, and officers really didnít have tough jobs at all. He said he didnít understand it before but he did now; itís not a need, itís just a want.
Member Mutch thought as residents watched this they were probably befuddled by some of the comments and a little bit entertained to some degree. He said as someone who wasnít sitting here a year ago, making choices about the forfeiture fund money, he had tried to come at this issue from a fresh perspective. He thought one of the advantages he had over other members who made that decision was that he wasnít tied into any one position. He tried to look at what made sense from the aspect of the Police Department, the facilities and needs the City had and what made sense long term to the taxpayers of this community. He said that was how he approached this issue time and again. In March 2006, he made the statement that he was willing to support and go forward with the study. He thought it would help identify needs to be addressed in the Police Department headquarters and more importantly give Council an idea of how much those needs would cost, and it did. He reminded the five members of Council who were there just over a year ago, that when the City Manager and the Acting Police Chief forwarded their recommendations for spending Federal Forfeiture Funds there were priorities set. There were priorities for police officers and two officers were funded. There were priorities for the lap top edge conversion, which was an information technology upgrade, an 800 MHz radio conversion, which was also an important upgrade and paying off the Police Department building debt bonds. He said the fire arms range was not a priority on that list. A year later there was additional information, but Council didnít know a year ago that to do the renovations and additions, the Chief and the department identified as necessary, would cost close to $5 million. He said it was dollars the City didnít currently have, if the money was spent on the gun range. He commented that the information and priorities changed and Council, as a whole, had to look at this again with a fresh perspective. He said he would go back to the numbers he looked at before. Where would they find $700,000 to $900,000 a year to set aside from the General Fund, in addition to day to day costs, to pay for a Police Department building improvement in five years, if the money was spent on the gun range? He asked how they would pay for all the other known needs, $15,000,000 for the library, $8 to $13 million in improvements to the DPW facility, unknown dollars for the Police Department and Parks and Recreation Department. Plus, all the needs there had been no dollars and cents associated with and they had not identified dollars and cents to spend. He said it was correct that forfeiture funds could not be spent on those items. However, if it was spent on the gun range and not put into the building, which had needs they knew the cost of and had the opportunity to address, that would be one more time they would have to go back to the taxpayers for a tax hike to pay for those improvements. Member Mutch said that was the guarantee they were getting tonight, if they used that money on the gun range, there was no way they could afford to do the department improvements without going back to the taxpayers for more money. He said that was just how it worked. Member Mutch said when this first came up, one of the statements he made was that he was looking for a long range plan on how to finance it. He noted they actually got that at the first meeting, and he had said OK, letís get some real numbers because they werenít reflecting the totals. He said not only did they not get more revised numbers, they were just taken away, so they didnít get a projection for those long term costs and that was the direction he would be looking to go. He said he didnít want to spend money on the gun range, paying down the debt and putting the remainder of the money towards the police building. He said he was more than willing to work through the Council and the budget process to find the remaining dollars needed to fund the identified improvements at the Police Department building. He said that would be consistent with the expenditure of the forfeiture funds, with the needs of the department, and the most beneficial and mindful use of the taxpayer dollars. He said he could not vote for a tax increase by voting for the gun range.
Mayor Landry said to say if the gun range was built it was a vote to increase taxes was ludicrous. Itís ludicrous! He said the Police Department did a study of their building and any department in this City, such as the Fire Department, would say they wanted to add to the building if a study was done. If it was the Parks and Recreation Department they would say they wanted to add to their facilities. If it was a DPW study they would say they wanted to add to their facility. He said of course the Police Department would like to add to their facility and asked if they were going to blame the gun range for that. Mayor Landry said to say to people if Council voted for this gun range, it meant they were going to increase their taxes was wrong. Itís not right. He said it was extremely frustrating to sit at the Council table and try, and believe, and go after reasons that are a moving target. He said when the gun range came up the reason it was opposed was the debt had to be paid down, so they scratched their heads and found a way to pay the debt. Now, the leaking windows had to be fixed, so they found a way to fix the windows and then itís oh no, now itís because something else had to be done to the police building. He said it was obvious they wouldnít get the votes, and people were not going to compromise, and itís extremely frustrating.
Roll call vote on CM-06-12-311 Yeas: Gatt, Margolis, Landry, Capello
Nays: Mutch, Nagy, Paul
Motion failed for lack of five votes
3. Approval to solicit for Requests for Proposals (RFP) for architectural design and engineering services, including on site storm drainage, for an Indoor Gun Range at the Department of Public Works Field Services Complex.
CM-06-12-312 Moved by Mutch, seconded by Landry; MOTION CARRIED:
To approve to solicit for Requests for Proposals (RFP) for architectural design and engineering services, including on site storm drainage, for an Indoor Gun Range at the Department of Public Works Field Services Complex.
Mayor Pro Tem Capello said the motion as made was for an indoor gun range at the Department of Public Works Field Services Complex. He said, as he previously stated, with the $1 million he didnít know if they would have the money to do the site work and build the facility at the DPW site. He stated he would vote for the motion, but they might have to look back to the existing Police Department at City Hall to save the money that wasnít allocated tonight.
Roll call vote on CM-06-12-312 Yeas: Margolis, Landry, Capello, Gatt
Nays: Mutch, Nagy, Paul
4. Approval of Zoning Ordinance Text Amendment 18.212 to amend Ordinance No. 97-18, as amended, the City of Novi Zoning Ordinance, various sections, to incorporate requirements of the Michigan Zoning Enabling Act, Act 110 of the Public Acts of 2006. First Reading
Mr. Pearson said this was a referral to the Planning Commission and back before Council after a public hearing and a positive recommendation to comply with State regulations.
CM-06-12-313 Moved by Mutch, seconded by Landry; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY:
To approve Zoning Ordinance Text Amendment 18.212 to amend Ordinance No. 97-18, as amended, the City of Novi Zoning Ordinance, various sections, to incorporate requirements of the Michigan Zoning Enabling Act, Act 110 of the Public Acts of 2006. First Reading
Roll call vote on CM-06-12-313 Yeas: Mutch, Nagy, Paul, Landry, Capello, Gatt,
5. Approval of Zoning Ordinance Text Amendment 18.210 to amend Ordinance No. 97-18, as amended, the City of Novi Zoning Ordinance, Section 3004, Temporary Use Permits, to amend the process for temporary uses to streamline the review and approval of these applications. First Reading
Mr. Pearson said this was also a part of several streamlining mechanisms that Member Margolis introduced which was referred to the Planning Commission and returned for First Reading.
Member Mutch commented on page 1, regarding tent sales, sidewalk sales and seasonal sales and recommended consolidating those before the second reading. He said for some reason the RC District was singled out. He said he had sent these to Mr. Schultz in an email so he might have addressed them, but he had not seen them if he did. Member Mutch said also, the definitions of developed and undeveloped land on page 4, below the reference to consulting engineer, he didnít know if it was clear enough to find who in the organization that should be. He asked that Mr. Schultz look at those items for the second reading.
CM-06-12-314 Moved by Margolis, seconded by Capello; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY:
To approve Zoning Ordinance Text Amendment 18.210 to amend Ordinance No. 97-18, as amended, the City of Novi Zoning Ordinance, Section 3004, Temporary Use Permits, to amend the process for temporary uses to streamline the review and approval of these applications. First Reading
Roll call vote on CM-06-12-314 Yeas: Nagy, Paul, Landry, Capello, Gatt, Margolis, Mutch
AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION Ė None
MATTERS FOR COUNCIL ACTION Ė Part II
6. Consideration of request from Brian Burke, doing business as The Grapevine, LLC, 43155 Main, Suite 202, for a new Class C Quota Liquor License.
Matt Quinn was present representing Brian Burke, owner of The Grapevine, LLC. Mr. Quinn said they were looking to receive from the City a Class C Quota Liquor License for the property located at 43155 Main Street, Suite 202. Mr. Quinn said this location was just south of the Mongolian Barbecue and that part of the Main Street and Market Street area was pretty much vacant now.
Mr. Quinn said Mr. Burke was willing to bring to the City a $350,000 to $400,000 project that would fit the uniqueness requirement under the Cityís ordinance, which was something that was not already in the City of Novi. Mr. Quinn said with Noviís 55,000 people, all of the business in Novi, all of the malls, and all of the sub malls, or anywhere in Novi, there was no premiere wine bar. He said it would be a place where one could go to have hors díoeuvre, drink some good wine, have a high quality cocktail and listen to some jazz or blues music over a piped in system. He said Mr. Burke was willing to put forward his investment and his time. Mr. Quinn said, as Council had seen through all the application information, Mr. Burke was hiring an individual with 15 years of experience in the liquor and alcohol restaurant business. Mr. Quinn said Mr. Burke had some experience, but his expertise was in sales. Mr. Quinn asked what should be done when you own a wine bar in a top flight place where you want people to come in; you sell the location and what would be provided to those customers. Mr. Burkeís end of it would be sales and Lorie Mikovich would be the manager of the bar.
Mr. Quinn said the Council had talked many times about what was unique. He said everybody had an idea of what was unique but if you think about it, uniqueness was something original. He said Novi did not have a wine bar. Mr. Quinn noted the wine bar would have approximately 75 seats inside and there would be two large walk in wine coolers. He explained that as the customers came in they would be able to have some hors díoeuvres prepared on site by a chef and if they wanted to, they would be able to go into one of the wine cellars and pick the bottle they would like. The customer would be able to ask questions about the brand, the area, what the particular bottle was like, purchase it and then it would be served to them. If the customer didnít finish the bottle of wine, now under Michigan Law, it could be re-corked and taken home. He said another option being offered was a customer could buy a case of wine, probably with a little discount, and the wine chosen could be left there.
When the customer returned, they could order from their own case, it would be uncorked and served to them. Again, this was something very unique and not already in the City of Novi.
Mr. Quinn said this would not appeal to the 21 year olds and would appeal to those with more mature tastes, and therefore, the need for police presence in a place like this would be extremely minimal. He
said some might ask why a Class C License and why they need the alcohol. He thought they would all agree that if someone went with their spouse to the wine bar some might want wine and some might not. So, there would be high-end liquors and liqueurs sold. Again, that just fits the overall marketing scheme for what was necessary to make a business like this successful, which was what they all wanted to happen. Mr. Quinn said they all want this business to be successful and one of the ways was for Council to grant the Class C License, as it would certainly help on the economics of this. Mr. Quinn said Mr. Burkeís tied up 15 years of lease time, five basic years and two five year options. He commented that Mr. Burke had arranged for the interior demolition to occur next week and was expecting that the business would be up and operating by May 1, 2007.
Mr. Quinn commented with the new business there, they expected new people would come to the downtown area that had not been there before. Therefore, there would be an overflow of new business locations, hopefully, to fill in the strip currently missing. He said the more mature individuals would be who youíd want to come to the downtown area especially at this time of night, which would be after work and after dinner, since no dinner would be sold at the Grapevine.
Mr. Quinn said there was no question that Mr. Burke fit the idea of uniqueness, and they would appreciate Councilís assistance in allowing him to get his business opened by May 1st; there would be a fine grand opening at that time.
Member Gatt commended Mr. Burke for hiring one of the finest lawyers in the State. He said the last time someone came before Council for Noviís last Class C Quota Liquor License one of the Council
members asked what was unique. Member Gatt said this is it. He thought it was a wonderful, unique idea and met all the requirements of the ordinance. Member Gatt said because of the uniqueness and meeting the ordinance requirements, the extensive background check done on Mr. Burke and because it would add great value to the Novi and Main Street area he was ready to make a motion.
CM-06-12-315 Moved by Gatt, seconded by Margolis; MOTION CARRIED:
To grant of request from Brian Burke, doing business as The Grapevine, LLC, 43155 Main, Suite 202, for a new Class C Quota Liquor License.
Mayor Pro Tem Capello thought the hiring of Lorie Mikovich was a smart idea and knew that a lot of people used to go into Steak on Main just because she was tending bar there. He said she was friendly and almost part of the community.
Mr. Burke said Ms. Mikovich lived in Howell and has had the opportunity to work in a variety of places but had chosen to continue to work in Novi. Mayor Pro Tem Capello said he thought she was a part of the Main Street community and was a good choice.
Member Paul said Mr. Burke was well known in the community, he was currently a Planning Commissioner, lived in Addington Park and many people knew him. She thought anything to do with Main Street was a good thing. However, she didnít know if just a wine bar would be that unusual because there were many places that sell wine. She said the bigger concern she had was that for a Class C Liquor License through the City cost $1,000 and for one that was on the market through the County or the State cost $75,000 as of last week. She said that was a lot of money and with that information she kept going back and forth. Member Paul said she was having a hard time because Mr.
Burke didnít have a lot of experience in this business and that concerned her. She respected that Mr. Burke hired someone with experience, but that person didnít run the business and that was a concern to her. She wished Mr. Burke a lot of luck, but said she would not support this for those reasons and she didnít want to feel that Council had any impropriety at the Council table. She was also concerned because Mr. Burke was on the Planning Commission.
Member Mutch asked what the proposed size of the restaurant was and Mr. Burke replied 2,500 sq. ft. Member Mutch said they were suggesting about 75 seats and Mr. Burke said they actually reduced one bar position last week with the architects, so it would now be 74. Member Mutch addressed Mr. Quinn and said in his letter to Council one of the items he talked about was the issue of the Class C Liquor License. He said, obviously, Mr. Quinn recognized that this was the last Class C the City had to give away and one of the things Mr. Quinn had noted was the challenge for a small establishment to go out into the market and acquire one. He asked Mr. Quinn to talk about that.
Mr. Quinn said the issue, of course, would be if a national chain had come in and asked for this license, they could more readily afford $60,000 to $80,000 or whatever the market would bear, purchase a license, and transfer it to Novi. He said he remembered when Maisanoís came to City Council and Council said hereís a small business, family owned and operated, they have a decent amount of capital resources, as does Mr. Burke, but they donít have unlimited resources. So, what was the City seeking to do with these Quota Licenses? He said at that time, it was always the opinion of the Council to help that small business person with a great idea, one that fit the uniqueness criteria and one that wanted to be located in an economically down turned area, like Main Street. Mr. Quinn said that was what he was addressing because that was what he was remembering about Maisanoís.
Member Mutch said the last applicant Mr. Quinn was before Council with was also seeking the last liquor license. He asked what happened to them and whether they were still pursuing a business in Novi. Mr. Quinn said no, they were not and were out of the picture completely. Member Mutch said the challenge for him was the fact that it was the last one and he had a little different perspective on the use of the licenses. He thought they were an economic development tool and as a Council they could target what area they wanted to see that happen in. Member Mutch said in this particular case he thought it was a good idea and definitely a good market for the clientele of the targeted age group they were marketing. However, he thought it was somewhat of a niche marketing. He said the number of people who drink fine wines on a regular basis were probably a bit smaller than the beer and liquor crowd. He said he saw these liquor licenses as opportunities to bring in businesses that would generate significant activity in the City. Member Mutch said, obviously, Mr. Burkeís establishment was smaller than most restaurants and bars that would be looking to come in. He thought there was a place for this and if they knew Novi would get additional liquor licenses from the State toward the quota number, it would be an easier decision to make. Member Mutch said he had to balance Mr. Burkeís desire to make this business a go with the fact that, depending on the outcome of the special census, this might be the last Class C license for a few months or a few years and that answer wasnít available yet. He asked, for his own information because this decision had to stand on its own merits, if there were other alternatives to the Class C License for Mr. Burke to pursue. Mr. Quinn said the only alternative would be a straight beer and wine license, but with this business plan it would not work. He said they would still need to have the alcohol component to this.
Member Margolis said Member Mutch referred to this as "niche marketing" and she thought that probably defined unique. She said it was very interesting when he was talking about bringing in big chains and whether that was what they wanted to do in Main Street. She said if they looked at a lot of downtowns like Birmingham, Northville, or Plymouth they were trying to keep the unique nature of their downtowns and not let them turn into all chain restaurants or businesses. Member Margolis said she liked the idea of a local business and often frequented Larsonís Jewelry in Main Street. She thought they were a wonderful part of this community and really contributed to it. She commented she was was looking for that type of thing and thought this brought a demographic to the evening there that wasnít currently in that area. She stated she would support this and wished him much luck.
Mayor Landry said in the past his vote had hinged on uniqueness and there was nothing like this in the City of Novi. He thought it was unique.
Roll call vote on CM-06-12-315 Yeas: Landry, Capello, Gatt, Margolis
Nays: Paul, Mutch, Nagy
7. Approval to award a contract for Design and Construction Engineering Services for Taft Road Reconstruction between Nine Mile Road and the south City limits to Anderson Eckstein & Westrick, Inc. for a not-to-exceed design fee of $39,200 and a construction engineering fee equal to a fixed 8.00% of construction cost (estimated to be $650,000) for a total of $91,200.
CM-06-12-316 Moved by Margolis, seconded by Nagy; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY:
To approve award a contract for Design and Construction Engineering Services for Taft Road Reconstruction between Nine Mile Road and the south City limits to Anderson Eckstein & Westrick, Inc. for a not-to-exceed design fee of $39,200 and a construction engineering fee equal to a fixed 8.00% of construction cost (estimated to be $650,000) for a total of $91,200.
Mayor Pro Tem Capello asked if they would go with storm sewer and gutter in the design of this. Mr. Pearson said they would look at some of the enclosures at certain locations. Mayor Pro Tem Capello said he would favor the storm sewer and curb like Nine Mile Road between Taft and Beck and on 11 Mile Road. He thought it made a nicer, cleaner, residential look.
Rob Hayes said they would have the consultant look at various design options, whether it involved ditch enclosures, or whether to leave the prevalent type of ditching that was there now. He said it would be an engineering decision based on the dollars that were available in the budget. Mayor Pro Tem Capello thought the decision had been made when he saw the estimated construction costs, because to enclose the sewers and put the curb in would be more expensive than open ditches. Mr. Hayes said they would not be able to do the continuous enclosure, but there might be some discreet locations where it might be appropriate.
Mayor Pro Tem Capello said two of the bidders did not submit proposals and asked if they were in a position to add additional engineering firms to the list so there was a broader group to draw from. Mr. Pearson said the two year list would expire this month and they had two projects out now with the previous list, which are the ring road preliminary and the 2007 neighborhood roads. He said another project was to get them a new list in its entirety to start that whole process over.
Member Mutch said one area the residents would identify as a potential problem location was where the creek ran under Taft Road. He asked if they would be looking at replacing that culvert or doing any additional work. Mr. Hayes said that was one of the problem areas they were aware of and they would have the engineers zero in on that as far as making necessary improvements. Member Mutch asked if there was an estimated timeline for the construction. Mr. Hayes responded they were looking to have a construction contractor on board by mid May and have the project substantially complete sometime in July of 2007. Member Mutch said, for the publicís information, Northville would be doing their section from approximately 8 Ĺ mile down to the intersection. He asked Mr. Hayes if the two projects would happen at the same time. Mr. Hayes said there would be some overlap, depending on when our project could be phased in. He thought they were looking at starting their project in June and we will be in close coordination with Northvilleís engineer, which was OHM, as well as with our engineer to make sure that the phasing was coordinated.
Member Mutch said sharing the information about the project with residents would be helpful, because they would be looking for a lot of alternative routes. Mr. Hayes agreed. Member Mutch commented that the bike path section near that culvert was in pretty bad shape and there was also some grade issues as itís a fairly steep drop. He said he knew residents who rode or walked through that area were well aware of the constraints. He said if they were looking at doing some additional work where the culvert was, he would see if they could fold that in. He thought that was probably the one area that needed the most work, because the rest of the sidewalk and bike path in that area was in fairly good condition, based on the last time he walked it.
Member Paul said regarding the curb and gutter, her understanding was that the rest of Taft was not going to have curb and gutter. She asked if it was more opened. Mr. Hayes said she was correct. She said if only about ĺ of a mile was being done by Novi would it make sense to put curb and gutter on that small portion since the entire road was newly constructed in a different way. Mr. Hayes said the dollars werenít in the budget to do it continuously for the full half mile. He said there might be some discreet locations where it would make sense, and they would evaluate that as part of the engineering effort. Member Paul said since Mr. Hayes made the comment that OHM was being used by Northville, it was a higher bid on the fixed percentage of construction as well as the total estimated fee, but it was lower in the not to exceed design fee. She asked if it would be beneficial to have the same engineering company to do both. Mr. Hayes said ideally it would. He said there would be some economies of scale; unfortunately the technical content of OHMís proposal was not rated as high as Anderson Ecksteinís. In fact, he thought they were also rated lower than Fishbeckís. He said they had hoped to see that they could be awarded a contract to see some of those economies of scale, but their proposal was lacking. He said they didnít see the staff they had hoped to see so there would be similar staff assigned to Northville as on Noviís project and that wasnít there. He said they had several concerns, plus their construction fee was quite a bit higher than the others.
Roll call vote on CM-06-12-316 Yeas: Landry, Capello, Gatt, Margolis, Mutch, Nagy, Paul
8. Approval of Zoning Ordinance Text Amendment 18.211 to amend Ordinance No. 97-18, as amended, the City of Novi Zoning Ordinance, to amend the process for outdoor eating areas to streamline the review and approval of applications. Second Reading
CM-06-11-317 Moved by Mutch, seconded by Nagy; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY:
To approve Zoning Ordinance Text Amendment 18.211 to amend Ordinance No. 97-18, as amended, the City of Novi Zoning Ordinance, to amend the process for outdoor eating areas to streamline the review and approval of applications. Second Reading
Roll call vote on CM-06-12-317 Yeas: Capello, Gatt, Margolis, Mutch, Nagy, Paul, Landry
9. Approval of Zoning Ordinance Text Amendment 18.209 to amend Ordinance No. 97-18, as amended, the City of Novi Zoning Ordinance, Section 2509, Landscape Standards, in order to require the placement of street trees in connection with single-family home sites not located within subdivisions or site condominiums. Second Reading
CM-06-12-318 Moved by Capello, seconded by Margolis; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY:
To approve Zoning Ordinance Text Amendment 18.209 to amend Ordinance No. 97-18, as amended, the City of Novi Zoning Ordinance, Section 2509, Landscape Standards, in order to require the placement of street trees in connection with single-family home sites not located within subdivisions or site condominiums. Second Reading
Mayor Pro Tem Capello said tonight was the first time that he realized that even though sidewalks were required to be put in subdivisions and the City accepted those sidewalks in the R.O.W., the City had never had any type of bonding requiring the sidewalks to go in. Also, there were no approval processes like there were for roads, sewers and other utilities. Mr. Pearson said they reviewed that as part of the plot plan. Mayor Pro Tem Capello said he was talking in a subdivision like the situation regarding White Pines Drive. It would seem that if the sidewalks were required as a part of the site plan approval, the sidewalks were in the Cityís dedicated R.O.W., and the City accepted the R.O.W., and then there was a hole in there where there was no requirement or bonding to put the sidewalks in. Mr. Pearson said until a lot was bought within the subdivision and a building permit was pulled. Mayor Pro Tem Capello said maybe they should look at the sidewalks going in as a part of the entire site plan approval with the street trees, streets, utilities and at least get a bond from the developers earlier on so that the City had some protection from what happened at White Pines. Mr. Pearson said it would be contrary to what they had tried to do in terms of making things rational. If the project went on for three or four years, to make a developer post a large sidewalk bond in addition to everything else for the entire site, similar to the street trees as Mayor Pro Tem Capello said, they were not required to post the street bond for the entire subdivision. Mr. Pearson said they could look at it and Mayor Pro Tem Capello said that was all he was asking, as he thought they did require a street tree bond for the entire subdivision.
Roll call vote on CM-06-12-318 Yeas: Gatt, Margolis, Mutch, Nagy, Paul, Landry, Capello
CONSENT AGENDA REMOVALS FOR COUNCIL ACTION - None
MAYOR AND COUNCIL ISSUES - None
AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION Ė None
There being no further business to come before Council, the meeting was adjourned at 9:14 P.M.
David Landry, Mayor Debra Blashfield, Deputy Clerk
___________________________________ Date approved: December 18, 2006
Transcribed by Charlene Mc Lean