|View Agenda for this meeting
MEETING OF THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF NOVI
Mayor Landry called the meeting to order at 7:00 P.M.
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
ROLL CALL: Mayor Landry, Mayor Pro Tem Gatt, Council Members Burke, Crawford, Margolis-absent/excused, Mutch, Staudt
ALSO PRESENT: Clay Pearson, City Manager
Tom Schultz, City Attorney
Randy Auler, Director of Parks, Recreation and Forestry
David Molloy, Police Chief
Kathy Smith-Roy, Director of Finance
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
CM-09-02-018 Moved by Burke, seconded by Crawford; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY:
To approve the agenda as presented.
1. Presentation of Signature Park (Beck Road and Eleven Mile Road property provided in cooperative agreement with Novi Community School District)
Mr. Pearson said a lot of work had been done and would be presented this evening to Council. He said they had listened to input from Council and the public and had done their best to give Council the information to make their decisions.
Chief Molloy said on behalf of the entire work group and Venture team he thanked Council for the opportunity to bring this exciting new concept to them for consideration and direction. He commented that just over a year ago Council approved a strategic goal of acquiring property and developing a Signature Park. He said the park would include a community recreation center, a multi use theatre, performing arts facility, senior activity space, community center and active recreation in natural feature areas. Chief Molloy said what was before Council was a culmination of an effort which had involved a collaborative approach by staff, Council and the Novi Community School District. The City Administration had assembled a dedicated, multi disciplinary team of individuals who, working in concert with the advisory group and some of the finest consultants, would provide them with a conceptual design of Noviís Signature Park. He said they believed they had prepared the project with the number one goal being first and foremost, what was best for the Novi community. Chief Molloy introduced the Venture team who were Mr. Auler, Parks Director, David Beschke, Landscape Architect, Nancy Cowan, Superintendent of Recreation, Bev Valente, Treasurer, Sheryl Walsh, Director of
Communications, Marina Neumaier, Assistant Finance Director and Clay Pearson, City Manager. Chief Molloy also recognized Ben Croy and Stacey Hunter who could not attend this evening. He also recognized the Advisory Group who had been instrumental in creating the vision of the Signature ParK, Council Members Crawford, Staudt, Linda Blair, Parks Foundation Chairperson, Reagan Schwarzlose, Parks, Recreation and Forestry Chairperson.
Chief Molloy said quality parks and recreation helped to define our community; they put us on the map because it was where our children played soccer, where neighbors and family gather for picnics and reunion, and was where we take our youngsters to enjoy a new playscape. He said statistically it was well known that parks drive residents to buy homes in Novi and businesses locate here so their employees could relax and enjoy the amenities Novi had to offer. He said the economic impact of parks on a community was simple, itís all there. He noted the recently released National Citizenís Survey affirmed what they already knew; 80% of all respondents rated Noviís recreational opportunities as excellent or good, which was above the national comparison. Chief Molloy said 75% of the respondents rated Noviís recreational programs and classes as excellent or good, which was also above the national comparison. Finally, 75% of survey respondents rated Noviís recreation centers or facilities as excellent or good. Chief Molloy said what was good about this number was that it was not only above the national comparison, it was above the comparison with comparable communities with similar population to Novi. He said the numbers represent statistics to be proud of and the numbers spoke for themselves. Chief Molloy said Noviís parks and recreation programs continue to excel, not only by our standards, but when rated by our customers and when compared with other communities. Chief Molloy thought with the addition of a Signature Park, they would be even better. He said what could only be described as an historic partnership; our Mayor with the support of City Council was able to successfully negotiate a land swap with the Novi Community School District Board of Education to the tune of $8 million. He said politics were set aside for the good of all Novi community members. He commented that, in reality, the land swap saved Novi voters a third or more of the total cost of a Signature Park. He said with the land deal completed for free, no one could argue fiscal responsibility and if Council or Novi voters decide against this initiative the property reverts back to its original owner, no questions asked.
Chief Molloy said community input had been a major part of the initiative; since spring of 2008 and the first part of visioning session community members from all walks of life, including youth, provided feedback and participated in this endeavor. He said, in the end, one of the top priorities they were looking for was a Signature Park with a recreation center. In addition, public comment had been solicited during recent Parks, Recreation and Forestry meetings, seeking input, advice and the needs from all community members. The development of a Signature Park not only aligned with Councilís goals it also aligned with the 2007 to 2010 Strategic Plan for the Novi Parks, Recreation and Forestry. He noted this initiative was consistent with several of the strategic priorities identified in that plan. He said it was a Council goal, was in the strategic plan and community members told them it was one of their top priorities, the time is now.
Chief Molloy said, before us tonight, was an amazing opportunity and one they must capitalize since they might never see it again in our community. He said a famous woman once said that "luck is preparation meeting opportunity". He submitted to Council that they found luck in a historic land deal with the Board of Education and the preparation they had undertaken would lead to a remarkable Signature Park opportunity for all of Novi.
Mr. Auler said he was excited to present a project of this significance for the community. He said when he began serving Novi eight years ago, his team was charged with improving the quality of life for the citizens of Novi through the Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department. He said during this time, with the support of Council, Administration and team mates, the team had significantly improved the quality of park maintenance and programs within the system, and had created effective partnerships that had enhanced service and decreased costs within the system. Examples of that would include partnership with the Michigan Mountain Bike Association and through that partnership they manage ten miles of trails and they maintain the system and they manage almost 1,000 a week throughout the year. Mr. Auler said they had invested capital within our system, reinvested that capital, which had led to significant improvements in park maintenance and operations. He said most importantly, 77% of Novi residents had visited a park or facility within the last 12 months, as indicated in the National Citizenís Survey. Mr. Auler said through those partnerships, capital investment and team effort they had really enhanced the economic benefit for the citizens of Novi. Examples of this would be their partnership with the Novi Jaguars where approximately 500 teams come annually to Novi to play in a soccer tournament for the weekend. Mr. Auler said all the hotels and restaurants were full during that weekend. He said they hosted their first lacrosse tournament this past year and the first tournament had in excess of 90 teams out at the ITC Community Sports Park. He said the investment made over the past several years at the Power Park Softball Complex was paying off. He said they would be hosting a national tournament in 2010 and they received notification they would be hosting a state tournament, once again, in 2009, which would bring 70 to 80 teams to Novi and once again filling the hotels, shopping and spending money in and showcasing our community.
Mr. Auler said tonight they were presenting a once in a lifetime opportunity. It was an opportunity to continue improving the quality of life for the residents in Novi and that would be accomplished through the creation of a Signature Park. He said the concept would provide a 30,000 foot overview perspective of the park, a multi generational recreation center with program opportunities. He said the park would further strengthen the sense of community by providing indoor and outdoor recreation opportunities for people for all ages. He thanked the Venture team and advisory group for all of their effort and thanked the consultants for their dedication in bringing the project before Council this evening.
Kristie Summer, Beckett & Raeder Consultants was present to provide an overview of the park. Ms. Summer explained that whenever they do a site design for a park, the first thing they do was look at the site and let the site tell them through inventory and analysis what made the most sense on the parcel. She said they were very excited to find that the parcel lent itself very well to a Signature Park. It was beautiful property, centrally located and had a lot of various natural features as well as visibility. She commented they noted the property was divided into two different areas, a north zone and a south zone, and were very distinctive areas and were access between private properties on either side. Ms. Summer said the north area of the site had frontage on Eleven Mile and Beck Road, which gave the north side quite a bit of visibility. She said they also noted the existing farmstead was still intact, which was evidence of Noviís agricultural history. She said the south zone had no frontage on either road and was surrounded by natural open space and wooded area on either side and felt much more intimate. It also had the natural features of open wetland, wooded wetland and upland. She felt the more active features of the site lent themselves more to the north portion of the site while celebrating the natural elements of Novi lent themselves to the southern portion.
Ms. Summer said they located the building to the north end of the site, which would allow great visibility and access from Beck Road and Eleven Mile. She said they positioned the main entrance off of Eleven Mile in the initial development thinking it would not create traffic impact on Beck Road. However, they positioned a feature or secondary entrance off of Beck Road that would facilitate ingress and egress for any major events occurring on the property. They also felt the feature of the pond in the existing condition could benefit from an expansion and showed the pond expanded to be on either side of the entry road. She said that could start to establish a feature and some of the character for the development of Signature Park. Ms. Summer said there could be a boulevard entrance, signs and maybe water features in that area. She commented they identified another program element of a fishing pier that could be on the pond and it would be on access with the building. She said 450 parking spaces were positioned in front of the building that could be phased in over time and had identified senior and barrier free parking immediately adjacent to the building in order to facilitate that access. Ms. Summer said service was at the rear and a plaza area immediately adjacent to the building that could encompass a Jumping Jack Spray Fountain that would be interactive. There could be benches surrounding that for seniors and parents and in the winter it could be flooded and frozen for ice skating. She said flags could also surround it to celebrate the international diversity of Novi.
Ms. Summer said continuing along the main entry road there would be flexible fields. There was space for football, cricket and two soccer fields but they envisioned that to be used for many things such as a farmerís market, festivals, and events and was an adequate size to house many uses. They also identified a couple of nodes that could be other active recreational elements such as a themed playground or sculpture garden. She said continuing near the entrance there could be some overhead treatment that identified the transition to the more natural area of the site and they had located parking for about 50 additional cars as well as a turn-a-round zone. At the terminus of the roadway and parking there would be some vertical architectural features that they were referring to as the Alley of Flags, which would, again, be a celebration of Noviís international culture. Along that access, there would be a walkway that would take people into the open wetland area. There would be a viewing platform in the wetland as well as a marsh viewing shelter that could be a picnic shelter on access with that. Ms. Summer said beside that area, there would be a dog park in the upland prairie area of about 4 acres.
Ms. Summer said in the other direction towards the wooded wetland, they had a treetop walk where there was boardwalk basically up in the limbs of trees. She said it was a passive activity but could be a more active activity because they had tree houses along that walk as well as an adventure playground that connected the upper level to ground level through slides and climbers. She said basically this was a master plan, a concept that was intended to change over time as trends in recreation or user needs were identified.
Bert Koseck, Neumann-Smith Architects, conceptual plan showed an overview of the multi generational recreation center. Mr. Koseck said it would be 67,000 sq. ft. all on one floor. There would be a primary entrance for the public into a lobby and lounge type space. They would be greeted at a welcome center, which would be a circular form and a control point for the building. He said from there they would have access into an open space that could be a program space in itself, and within that would be a food court, food concession and drink area with a service kitchen beyond. There would be a small office/administrative component close to the control desk, and a pro shop. He said the lobby would extend to the right into a corridor, which was a multi purpose type space and there were two rooms that could be divided into smaller rooms or be made into one large room. He said there was space allocated for a theatre with a stage of about 2,300 sq. ft. and was raised with a fly loft and was a conventional, traditional type theatre stage. Mr. Koseck said behind the theatre would be the back of the house areas, dressing rooms, stage building and storage as well as access from the service in the back. He said viewing for the theatre would be from the multi purpose room type space and there would be a curtain that opened that would allow 200 people to view into the theatre. He noted another wall could be opened to seat an additional 220 people in the theatre.
Mr. Koseck said in the lobby to the left would be the recreational component of the building and there were four large, high school size, gymnasium courts with either hardwood floors or multi purpose type sports floors. Therefore, all kinds of activities could occur within that space. He said they could be divided by curtains to function as four separate rooms. He said it was looped by a 3 lane track and six times around would be a mile. Mr. Koseck said there was also more recreation activity type space with some of it being open, which was more flexible for equipment and some of it was in a room that might be used for aerobics, dance, or other types of things. He commented that it was designed so that it could grow without modifying things within the building and the way things were arranged. It had been done in such a way to be very multi purpose flexible type space.
Mr. Koseck said they had a rendering that would give a scale of the building. He said one story in height but some of the features were higher because the theatre required additional height in the gymnasium that was beyond the entrance to the buildings expressed in the form of a tower. This would be a drop off area with parking close to the building.
Leon Younger, Pros Consulting, said they had done a number of these feasibility studies and mainly for projects that involved recreation and multi generational facilities. He said the goal of setting up a feasibility study really looked at the concepts that the community brought forward that was needed to make their community more livable. He said it really looked at how the building and the park operated collectively together and it was built out of a set of assumptions from the concepts that were created how the building would operate, be managed and how it could be financed to meet a certain outcome or goal. Mr. Younger said a feasibility study looked at the concepts and how the building would work and operate together. It also looked at how it might be financed and the alternatives that played out to it in terms of its capacity of use, how it was financed and the ways it could operate in the most efficient manner.
Mr. Younger said in the late 1990ís to 2000 the moved to regional and multi generational centers, which were larger spaces that tried to address a wider age segment appeal of users. He said there was usually strong spaces inside that worked collectively together and created more of a destination place. Mr. Younger said it was driven, typically, by making sure that all people in the community could use it and it was multi functional and the space was interchangeable, which was what they focused on in this study. He said in terms of the cost, multi generational centers ranged between 40% and 60% self supporting and in this case it was about 50% based on the programs, uses and the multi functional use of the building. He said being 66,000 sq. ft. it created a signature space inside a Signature Park, which created the destination element both inside and outside. He commented when looking at something like this you looked at the benefits it provided to the community. First, it connected people, which was the job of a Signature Park and its outcome was to bring a sense of place to a community. Likewise, the recreation multi generational center did the same thing. Secondly, the park would be here in perpetuity; once land was in a public state typically stayed as a public asset in perpetuity. Mr. Younger said the building itself would probably last 50 years or longer but it would be here for a lot of generations to enjoy and use but it had to be multi functional in space so that it could change as the recreation programs and services change with it. He thought it was a good value based on how the building would be financed to the tax payers in Novi. Mr. Younger said this was a positive project and thought communities like Novi who had gone through this process and had built a facility like this had exceeded not only their residentís expectations but also it brought a stronger sense of place. He said in doing this project he could see the value of the building and what it would do for your community. He said he knew this was a policy issue that was in front of the Council tonight, whether to move forward, but it was really about a policy of what the next phase of recreation looked like in the City of Novi in relationship to what residents were willing to invest in in the future. Mr. Younger said their feasibility study looked at it from that angle. He said he and Mr. Cobb would answer questions on specific numbers outlined in the feasibility section when Council was ready to address that.
Mr. Auler said Ms. Smith-Roy would discuss funding options.
Ms. Smith-Roy said they had looked at several different options of financing the project. She said one of the options was a voted millage for General Obligation Bonds. She noted the proceeds from that millage would go directly to pay off the bonds and it would not cover or be allowed to be used for operations. The next item they looked at was a limited voted operating millage of a half mil with a limitation and sun setting at 25 years. She said this would require a Charter amendment millage. Ms. Smith-Roy advised the next option would be a Charter amendment millage to create a permanent millage that would be identified to be used for park development and operations. In addition to that a variation to that would be to add on to the existing millage, which would also be a Charter amendment. She said the last option they looked at was some combination thereof, either a Headley override of the current half mil, which had been reduced to .38 mils plus a debt millage or one of the Charter amendment operating millages plus the debt millage.
Ms. Smith-Roy commented there were a couple of points to correct on the information Council received in their packets. She said the item about the limited millage was not identified as a Charter amendment, which it was. Also, the draft resolution in Council packets would look slightly different as it would be a Charter amendment resolution. She said for the most part the language would remain the same. Ms. Smith-Roy noted there was sufficient time, if Council so chose, on the February 17th agenda to adopt a resolution and if it was a Charter amendment, to get the approval of the State Attorney General and then proceed to Oakland County by February 24th for the May election. Ms. Smith-Roy noted, to put it into perspective, the cost to an average household with a taxable value of about $150,000 would be $75.00 a year for a half mil. She said if there were questions later the Bond Counsel was available.
Mr. Auler said to close the presentation, he wanted to share the mission of the Parks and Recreation Department was to "enrich lives and strengthen community". He said they believed that a Signature Park would continue to do that. Mr. Auler said now was the time to further enhance the quality of our life for our community for many years to come and they were requesting from Council this evening as it related to the components of the park, funding methods and support to submit a ballot initiative.
Mayor Pro Tem Gatt noted that while the economic conditions were difficult, but this was an opportunity that he thought if they passed it by, they would be doing the citizens a misdeed. He said the Council would not decide whether to raise taxes or a millage of .5 mils to build this park and maintain it. He said Council was just going to decide whether to go to the voters and let them make that decision. Mayor Pro Tem Gatt said this acreage, from the schools, was a very good deal and he was in favor of moving forward cautiously.
Member Burke asked about who maintained the fields and was that a separate crew from here or was it part of the staff taking care of the rest of the grounds. Mr. Auler responded the park operations field services staff maintained the multi purpose field area. Member Burke asked how much extra it would cost to take care of those fields. Mr. Auler explained their budget was not broken down by park in terms of maintenance costs, but to put it in perspective itís 10 acres, ITC Sports Park was 73 acres and the additional maintenance would be the mowing and striping. He said they didnít think it would be that significant. Member Burke said then the City would take care of mowing and striping and Mr. Auler agreed. Member Burke asked if the 4 acre dog park would need to be maintained. Mr. Auler stated there would be maintenance of that and the dog park was proposed for the future time and at that time the City would incorporate maintenance within that component. He said with dog parks fees could be charged to recoup the cost for activities associated with that. Mr. Burke said relative with use of the fields, it was mentioned that perhaps on the weekends there could be a farmerís market out there. He said given the need for fields that the community had, what was the likelihood of any of those fields being available during the seasons when a farmers market could happen. Mr. Auler stated the space was designed to be multi-use and in terms of scheduling they could coordinate for events. He said one of the major components of that area was to not only accommodate sports events but also to accommodate festivals and community events and bring people together. He said a farmerís market would fall into that category. Member Burke said hypothetically thatís where the 50ís Festival would be placed. Mr. Auler said yes, if they were interested in locating in that area. Member Burke said he supported this and the most contentious thing they would discuss would be the financing.
Member Crawford quoted from an article in the Detroit Free Press on the editorial page relating to the arts some times taking a back seat to the nuts and bolts of operating a City. She believed it was so true and what they were talking about with this particular park was much more than games and fields. She said there was transportation services, other resources and information, education on all levels for people of all ages. She said what had been lacking in Novi and because Noviís been a growing community, a lot of what had to be done was infrastructure, public safety and roads, the nuts and bolts of a community. She believed Parks and Recreation had taken a back seat to many of those essential services that had been a higher priority in a growing community. She thought that now was the time and this moment provided opportunities. She understood that people were nervous about what was going on and the financial uncertainties were real. She said where people were now she had been and many times over, but with that came many opportunities and if there ever was a time to provide services, resources and programs at a place where families could come and make use of the property and resources, this was it. She noted that surveys reveal that one of the highest priorities in this community was green space, cultural arts, bike and walking paths, etc. and she thought this was a valuable piece of property. Member Crawford thought they had been very respectful and conservative. She felt this would be functional and multi use and there would not be unused spaces. She said she was also intrigued by the fact that 45% of our residents are now age 45 and up. She said there was a growing population of mature adults who were looking for programs and recreational opportunities with their families and there was not always a place for them to go and to recreate. She said this property would provide all those kinds of programs.
Member Mutch said he was under the impression that everything that was presented on the plan was going to be covered under the $15 million and thatís not the case. He said from looking at the information the major components that would be funded were the building, active recreation fields, area near the building for the spray park, and some of the parking and landscaping. He asked if there were any other major components that would be funded in the first $15 million. Mr. Auler said that captured most of it. Member Mutch asked, in terms infrastructure, parking lots and roads and utilities, was it safe to assume the portions to be completed in the first phase were the parking and drives around the building. Then in a future phase would be the road and parking area coming to the back forty. Mr. Auler said yes. Member Mutch said in terms of any improvements to the back portion of the property, they would be done in a future phase. Mr. Auler said correct. Member Mutch said in looking at the numbers provided to Council, it looked like there was probably another $6 million in improvements if everything that was presented was not being funded in the first phase would be done in the future. Mr. Auler said it was in the ballpark. Member Mutch commented that one of the amenities was the outdoor natural features, wetlands and woodlands, walking trails and he understood the goal of the group had to make some choices and cut elements out. He thought it was unfortunate the outdoor use of that property didnít get included and neither did the ITC Trail. He thought that was an amenity residents had expressed support for. Member Mutch asked for more detail on the health and wellness facility and asked where it would be and how it would be used. Mr. Younger thought the health and wellness was the whole facility. He said there was one component that was 6,000 sq. ft. that was relatively open and had a multi sports type floor, which allowed them to do lots of things in that space. He said it could accommodate equipment, and could be used for stretching and a number of different things. Member Mutch said when he talked about equipment would that be exercise bikes, rowing, weights. Mr. Younger said it could have some of that but they had not gotten that detailed in this study. He noted one of the things about recreation was that it was trend driven so what worked yesterday might not be what was in today. However, it was flexible and large enough to accommodate equipment and other things as well.
Member Mutch said one of the elements discussed in the report was the Annual Renewal/Replacement Fund and the general concept was to set aside money each year for future capital improvements, repairs and upgrades to the facility. He asked what exactly was envisioned for the use of those funds and how was the $75,000 a year derived.
Damon Cobb, Pros Consulting, said what they do with their Renewal Replacement Fund was look at a percentage of their capital costs and set those funds aside to be rolled over into a dedicated account, something they would want policy driven by the Council to enable them to keep the money in the account and not pillaged at sometime through a budgeting process. He said it would be used for maintenance and unexpected costs and was something that they wouldnít have to go back to Council for on a regular basis. Mr. Cobb said if things were to go missing and if they had to do some type of replacement, new maintenance, new construction typically had maintenance within the first 3 to 5 years, which was not scheduled. He said in order to be as fiscally responsible as possible they built that into their costs, so they would have funds to go back for within those future days. Mr. Cobb said one of the things they were looking at, with the operational plan, was the feasibility study was that 30,000 ft. level. It was where they took a concept and vet it against some assumptions to see if this was possible and did they have the potential to pull this off. He commented with the Renewal/Replacement Fund they had $75,000 for this particular project and they would like to see anywhere from 8% to 10% of the capital investment. He noted that in these particular stages of the feasibility, they didnít see that as a functional number, so they cut it back to a $75,000 amount. He said if they would notice in the report, one of the things they did notice and noted was that from operating year one through five right now, they were looking at other ways to fund that Renewal/Replacement Fund. He said it was deemed, at the moment, to be a burden on the operations plan but that would need to be vetted out through the business planning process whenever final design, final costs and final programs were put to the task of business planning and true operations. Member Mutch said the direction Mr. Cobb got was that he didnít need to incorporate this at this time and it would be addressed further down the road. Mr. Cobb said the direction was, at this time and with this particular process with the vetting process of the feasibility, this would be something they would want to keep on the back burner. They would definitely want to mention it and keep it in mind for when they went into the business planning process. He said the City would want to eventually start funding this and they had some instances where they wouldnít fund it in the first five to seven years. But as a build up for renewal and replacement, the idea was to assist in alleviating some of the capital costs they might incur after year thirty to forty. Mr. Cobb said with this particular type of fund, they would have it in place at that time. So, depending on the process the Council decided to take, they could start funding it from day one or fund it sometime between seven and ten years. He said they recommended that a Renewal/Replacement Fund be in place by year ten. Member Mutch said they had experience with that in Novi with the ice arena where they have had some significant capital costs come up early in the building process that they didnít anticipate. Member Mutch said there could probably never be enough money set aside for a major kind of thing but he could see the benefit of looking down the road ten or fifteen years out when from use of the facility things started to wear out. Mr. Cobb said exactly, and a bit of this came from their involvement with the public utility sector. He said it was a common practice in public utilities and they brought it to the recreation side to alleviate some of the stress and strain on future operational budgets. Member Mutch asked if they were involved in staffing and budget. Mr. Cobb said yes. Member Mutch said the section of the report that involved staffing they recommended a full time person that would be doing a supervisory/customer service/ building supervisor type of position. He asked what they had in mind with that position. Mr. Cobb said they took the existing full time staff, programmers and recreation programmers and shifted their functionality over to the proposed facility. He said they were in the feasibility stages and this would start taking more shape as they went forward with the business planning aspect. He said what they had in mind was as the facility started to take form during the day the programmers would be very busy, and hopefully they would be programming and activating these spots because for a true facility of this feat to be a success, they had to be sure they were activating all the areas. He said what they had in mind was as this started coming up and getting some flow and traffic through the gates was that eventually they would recommend bringing a full time building supervisor on staff in order to take care of the mundane tasks. These would be the things that always end up coming up that were not planned for. For example, someone came up and wanted to use this or maybe they needed a refund and the deposit didnít come, that the day to day programmers would not have time to get to when the facility reached full operations.
Mr. Younger commented that when there was a building like this there were two functions. He said there was a facility management function and a program function and they had to be able to do both simultaneously. He thought what Mr. Cobb was saying was that this process recognized that needed to occur to make this work because if itís just all programmers no one was managing the building, then that was a mess. If they were only managing the building not programming, then they would not meet their outcome, so it had to be both. Member Mutch said he had asked about hours of use and they were projecting 90 to 105 hours a week. Mr. Auler said that was accurate. He asked if having a single person would be sufficient, in addition to the staff discussed from the City, to provide the coverage to the facility that would be open to this volume of traffic. Mr. Cobb said with the staffing assumptions made within the feasibility study, they did have some part time persons in positions of customer relations to handle those other times. He said with facilities of this nature, 90 to 105 hours were normally what they would be looking at and there could be special occasions that pushed those hours a little higher. He said they would then augment that full time position with your shoulder times with their part time staff. He said every center was unique in and unto itself. Some centers would be really heavy A.M. utilization and some would have really heavy evening utilization and some would have a little nature. He said what the City would end up doing was figuring out what was their biggest need for this position and then augmenting with the part time staff on the other down time or shoulder times of the operation. Member Mutch said one of the concerns he had about the financial projections was providing adequate staffing for the facility over the long term and what the cost of that would be. He said one of the most expensive costs the City had was staff and a facility that was successful was going to require full staffing and what he read so far, it relied a lot on existing staff spending more time at the facility. However, a facility that was being heavily used had to have someone available there that was responsible for the facility, problems, questions and to set up for events. He said the staffing was tight and he would need a little more comfort with that.
Member Mutch said, in terms of looking at the financial projections over a five year period. Some of the things that jumped out at him was the staffing costs, which were a major part of a facility cost but he questioned whether they were fully capturing that. He said he was concerned with the amount of money being raised by the millage and whether beyond the numbers presented to Council that would provide enough funding to insure that the center could continue to run in the way they would want to and fully cover the costs they had. He said the question he had to City Administration was looking beyond the fifth year of the numbers that had been provided, if looking at the operating expenses from year one to year five they went up from $649,000 to $774,000. He said the net revenues drops from $495,000 down to $12,000 in year five; so the decrease in revenues was occurring at the same time there was an increase in expenses. He said if they got to year six and the expenses were exceeding the revenues and the millage rate was maxed out at 0.5 mils, do they go back to the General Fund to supplement those costs and would they have the ability to do that. He said they could always cut operations or hours but if they wanted to continue to maintain the same level of service, where would they go for those dollars.
Ms. Smith-Roy said in looking at those out years itís really difficult to predict on a concept plan beyond three to five years. She said if they looked at the Parks programs currently, they were already making improvements to be more cost effective and have less of a subsidy. She said, from our perspective in looking at the Parks programs they would be looking at Parks and Recreation in total. So, if there were savings being seen in the programs overall like they had the last several years, those funds that normally would have been transferred from the General Fund could be one source. She said also, they would have to look again at the programs being presented at that facility, not unlike what they did at ice arena. She said they look at the ice arena to see what the rates were that they needed to charge, what the market would allow them to charge and then balance the expenditures accordingly. Ms. Smith-Roy said they had been quite conservative in the numbers they used in terms of taxable value. She said they showed the declines over the next several years and only showed a 2% inflation or increase in taxable values. She said that didnít encompass any potential growth that the community might experience in taxable value. She said they were also conservative on the debt issuance and used the 6% interest rate. She said if in fact, they were to receive a lower interest rate, the payments would be lower and there would be more room available within that millage. Member Mutch said related to that, how were the operating expenditures put together. He said one of the things that was done in the five year plan provided put together the first years debt service payment with first year operations but based on the timeline provided in terms of a year of construction before the building opened, realistically they would have to issue some or most of the debt a year before they opened the doors and started taking in revenues. He said if he was looking at this the first year would be the first debt payment, second year would be the second, essentially shifting those debt payments one year beyond. Ms. Smith-Roy said that would actually be to the advantage because if the full half mil was assessed, those funds could be set aside and then possibly used towards the end of the project to do some of the enhancements later in the areas that were not considered in the first phase. Member Mutch said then what she was contemplating was the first year the debt amount owed would be $900,000. He said she was projecting they would collect $1.7 million, If the full 0.5 mils was levied, so that $800,000 would be set aside and then used each year to cover those operating costs. Ms. Smith-Roy said not just the operating, a small amount would be set aside to try and make the debt payment as level as possible. However, it was not always practical to do that, so they would want to allow and plan their cash flow accordingly. Member Mutch noted that right now they levied about .38 mils dedicated to Parks and Recreation. He said from the General Fund they were probably transferring, each year, about another 0.3 mils. He said in 2003 they had transferred $450,000 to Parks and Recreation and in the past audited year it was $1.3 million. He thought they needed to recognize that they were making a significant contribution to Parks and Recreation services both through the dedicated millage and through the transfers. Member Mutch said on top of that, they would add another half a mil. He said that was a significant amount not only by itself, but in terms of what they put towards Parks and Recreation services, because at that point they were collecting more, millage-wise, than they were for the Library, roads or for the other dedicated millages. He thought they had to be mindful and thought they had been financing Parks and Recreation significantly through the General Fund transfers. He said his concern was down the road as the expenditures exceed revenues, what would be the impact on the General Fund, because they would fully utilize the 0.5 mils, they were already using the dedicated 0.38 mills, plus an additional transfer from the General Fund. Another question he had was if they pass the millage would there be any opportunity or expectation that they would be able to reduce the transfer from the General Fund to Parks and Recreation, in the short term or long term, or would they need it to fund everything else they do. Mr. Pearson said page 43, which gave them the format of what was used in the budget process, there would be an opportunity to look at that transfer but he wouldnít guarantee that until they knew more. He thought there were several important factors working into it in why they collectively had a comfort level for the short term and year six and beyond. He thought they had given a sound rationale for the five years of the pro forma, and also built in several safeguards for this project. Member Mutch stated he was also concerned about the renewal amount because it was not included. He said from experience with the ice arena would lead him to favor including that amount. He said the other issue was insuring there was adequate staffing. Mr. Pearson thought they had a track record and had shown that even though they were providing increased services and serving a greater population, he said every time a position becomes open, they would look towards putting those where they were best used. He said they had done that and would continue to do that. He said they were confident they could take this on with the people they had now and when the facility was open they were confident about that as well. He said they didnít want anything less than top flight customer service experience, maintenance and programming and they were ready to meet all those obligations. Mr. Pearson said in terms of the Replacement Fund, it was a sound practice and they would do that. However, it was really a non-issue in this because they would have to take the entire pro forma and in years one and two theyíre showing pluses of $400,000 and that wasnít counting if they were to levy some of that before starting the project. He said that could easily take care of the numbers tossed about for the first several years of the Replacement Fund. He said there would be some replacement costs anticipated but with a new facility they would not expect it to be something major. Member Mutch said he would like to see the numbers the way Mr. Pearson described them. He said he was looking for a Fund Balance amount or something akin to that if they were capturing that money and not using it elsewhere. He asked what that would look like in years three, four and five. Member Mutch said It would help their case better than looking at the numbers presented, recognizing that that amount was there but then also quantifying that. He asked how they would project funding the remaining $6 million in improvements. Mr. Pearson responded that they were under no obligation to do those at any point in the timeframe. He said say the program proceeded as described in the concept, and Council decided that if they were comfortable with a $15 million budget, the operational cost, etc., and so those werenít included; that to him would be an option that would be available for a future addition. If the taxable value jumped up, theyíd take that and at least they had a plan that they could add onto under this scenario. He said if they were to get lower interest rates, all those options were on the table and he said that was how to look at it down the road. Member Mutch said the feedback received from residents very much emphasized the ability to have that natural outdoor experience. He said if they looked at the total dollars in comparison to some of the other elements in the plan, they were fairly low cost. He thought it would be helpful for Administration to put together something that said what phase 2 was that would address the use of that area. He said they were really leaving that back 40 acres undeveloped in the sense that it wouldnít be assessable to residents, and not really meeting the need residents had expressed a desire for. He said some things like the tree house walk sounded great but when they cost almost $2 million maybe those were down the road or a naming rights project. Whereas, some of the other things could be done for a lot less and meet a need of the community that would not otherwise be met with this proposal. Mr. Pearson thought one of the things in what to lay out in the initial phases versus some of the other later improvements, it was what would be new and unique in terms of their Parks and Recreation offerings. He said there were other park offerings for Lake Shore Park in terms of the nature preserves and walks, and they definitely saw the need and wanted to do it, but it was something that didnít rise in terms of what they had initially, which our facilities, whatís been talked about and trying to get it on the board. He said he didnít disagree about the need for that, it was just one of the factors he used when looking at this.
Member Staudt said a couple months ago Council put together an advisory committee, which consisted of Member Crawford and himself, and several other distinguished residents. He said they went into that process thinking they had $20 million to spend. He said through some good presentations by consultants they quickly realized that they could spend $20 million but they couldnít sustain it. He said as they looked more closely at the project, they realized that instead of going up they needed to go down. He said the end result was something the committee and consultants could be very proud of. Member Staudt said it provided an excellent facility that was needed in the community and it was done in an extremely fiscally prudent way and was analyzed from every angle and made significant changes to the plan. He said those changes were always with price and cost in mind. He said what they were at now was a $15 million proposal. He agreed they needed to make a more significant investment in the pathways and trails. They suggested they should eliminate the purchase of the property that was adjacent to the ITC corridor. He said the land was a million and a half dollars and the improvements on it were a million dollars. He said that was money that there was absolutely no return on. He said they eliminated that because at this time it just wasnít the right thing to do for this proposal. He said Council could come back and say they did need to make that significant investment. He said that was a policy decision that they needed to make collectively. Member Staudt said at some point in the conversation he asked the consultant what if they spent another $1 million on the facility and made it much more environmentally friendly and consider some different alternatives. He said, as a community, had stressed bringing in businesses that were alternative energy businesses that were doing wind turbines and building solar panels and doing consulting. He said nothing seemed more realistic, in this time, than to make an investment in a facility that took into consideration those characteristics. He strongly urged Council to look at some of the alternative energy products and talk to some consultants. He said there was a very good consultant in Novi who could assist the City and at least evaluating whether this facility would be the right type of project for the this kind of investment. Member Staudt said this investment in a theatre that could seat up to 400 people, was a significant improvement from what the City currently had, but this was a conscious decision on Councilís part to really start embracing some of the things that our quality of life, i.e. the arts, theatre. This was a significant investment in the arts and was a long term investment. He said they had information that in the past year they lost $20,000 on the theatre program. He said now they were investing billions of dollars in a building, they were going to step up the programs, step up the availability of that facility for other things, dance, concerts, etc. He thought they were very prudent in putting together a multi purpose room that didnít have fixed seating, which limited the use of the room for other activities. He said they also put the second tier in, which really expanded the room to allow them to do things that maybe they could get more than two or three hundred people in for a concert, etc. Member Staudt thought what they had done in planning the theatre and the multi purpose element of it, was really a very conscious effort by Council to say they were committing for the long haul to the theatre and the arts, and thatís the way it was going to be. He said if they look at the diagram they would see some open space and there were some very conscious decisions being made. He said he didnít speak on behalf of anyone to say it would be a dream of his to see that they partner again with the school district and perhaps consider a building like a community education center that was part of the City campus. He said there was a lot of land in that area and they might not buy it now, but might buy it at some future point, but this was something for us to grow on. He said this first phase took advantage of a wonderful relationship with the school district that afforded us land that they were making payments on and would be for a long time to come. He said they were making an investment in this community that went well beyond an exchange of property. He commented he saw this as a great opportunity to really do some things that they might not even be thinking about now. Member Staudt said he would like to be sure that they look into, from an operations standpoint, business had a way of expanding and contracting with the market place. He said they were not looking to hire full time staff. He said this would be a great opportunity for seniors or anyone to volunteer to work in the facility, whether part time or seasonal employees. He said this wasnít about hiring full time people to fill roles that donít exist. Member Staudt said this was about having a facility that would live, change and evolve and regarding personnel he was sure that future Councils would be very fiscally prudent in making sure that those decisions were made in a way that didnít make it something they would lose money on as a result of human resources. He said he was a little befuddled by the cost of utilities in the projections and thought as they went along and looked at it deeper they would get some clearer numbers. He said utilities were a very large part of the operations and far more than any labor costs or other cost they had. He thought they should look at all the option to heat and cool the facility. He thought when they get to the point of building the facility they want to be sure that they did absolutely the most possible to take advantage of the current technologies. He said there was a tremendous number of grants and credits that could help pay for some of these things and might help pay for parts of the facility. He said contracting of services could be critical and thought they should strongly look at contracting out elements of this, people that do it for a living and could market to a wide variety using economies of scale and be sure that they were doing the very best to fill the facility at its optimal operating level. He said this project couldnít have come at a better time and was well thought out, economical and was the right project for Novi at the right time.
Mayor Landry complimented the Administration and the entire team on putting this together. He said what they were talking about was "a" beginning but it was not the beginning. He said a lot of people had worked on this for a long time and this was not just a Parks and Recreation vision. He said he was very proud of how the project had come forward. He said it had often said that they should be looking at what Novi should look like ten years from now and how do they get there. He said they should be expending their energies in planning. Mayor Landry said ten years ago they were talking about things like the Rock Financial Showplace, should they change the zoning ordinance to try and attract a hospital, create OST, develop the northern areas of the City to an industrial park and should they try to get the funds to build a new library and should they decrease density in Novi. He said if looking at any advisory group or study they would say Parks and Recreation was what made successful cities and we have the examples of the tournaments that come to town, stay at hotels and eat at our restaurants in addition to the recreational opportunities for our own residents. Mayor Landry thought what they were talking about was exactly planning what Novi would look like ten years from now; it was not just a Parks and Recreation project. He said within 30 minutes of Novi there are over 2 million people looking for places to hold tournaments. He said they had to analyze what Novi was now, what were they and where were they going. This presentation did just that, it begins by looking at the demographics; we are about 55,000 people. He said within a 30 minute drive of Novi there are 2.1 million people looking for places to hold tournaments and to seek artistic opportunities. The population had grown 16% over the last eight years. The highest percentile of the population was between 35 and 54, what were those people looking at. The largest growth sector was 55 and over; what were they seeking and what did they want. He said they were told it was recreational activities and if looking at the studies the activities to focus on were activities that were capable of being participated in by young and old, social interaction, activities that could be done in a year round facility and could be enjoyed regardless of skill. Also, activities that had minimal economic barriers to them, that appeal because of the social aspect people could do together, and activities that everyone could enjoy as a family. These activities should be available in close proximity to their home, completed by people who have a limited time with low barriers to entry. He said this was a reasoned approach to what Novi would look like ten years from now where they should be expending their efforts in building a community with those kinds of opportunities. Mayor Landry said this park does that, it was a smart design, had spaces for expansion, and all the amenities. He said they would not be able to do everything with $15 million but what he liked about this was it took into account all the opportunities that were already in existence, the Novi Parks Foundation. He said he envisioned a cricket pitch, which he didnít think anyone had in this area. He thought that would be awesome and with the Indian population in the City he thought it would be a huge draw and could see it being sponsored by Novi Energy or Lotus Bank. He thought they would do it if it was a quality location that could accommodate large groups and that activity. He said that was an opportunity already in place, the Novi Parks Foundation, to go out and seek those funds to build the additional phases. Mayor Landry said he was proud of how the finances had been presented. He said when they asked the experts what it would cost and what they should build; they were told this would cost $30 million. He said before the $30 million they had lopped off $8 million with the land swap with the school district; so right there they were fiscally sound because they didnít have to purchase the land. They decided that would be too much and got it down to $15 million and did it with a phasing program and it took a lot to get it down to $15 million. He said this proposal did not include the Kaluzny property, which was $1.5 million and he believed it could be tackled in the future. He said he was in favor of the $15 million proposal without the Kaluzny property. Mayor Landry said one thing he was personally convinced of was which one of the financial options to take. He stated he didnít think and would not support just a general millage to build it because it would operate in the red. He said $15 million wouldnít do it. He said they couldnít just ask the voters to give them $15 million to let them build it and that was it. He said they needed money for operating funds and he would not be part of building something they couldnít afford to operate. Mayor Landry said for this project to be successful, they needed a millage; it just would not work any other way. He said he was in favor of the .5 millage. He said if they went with the half mill, what they were talking about was $25 for every $100,000 of market value of property, not taxable value. So a $300,000 home market value would cost the resident $75 a year. If they were living in a $500,000 home it would cost the resident $125 a year. He said a $400,000 home market value would cost the resident $100 a year. Mayor Landry thought that was pretty cheap for indoor/outdoor for this facility that could accommodate and the community could build on. He thought this was well thought out and his personal preference would be to go with the 25 year millage. He thought that $25 for every $100,000 market value was a deal.
Mayor Pro Tem Gatt agreed with Member Staudt regarding building "green" and building energy efficient. He thought it was important to be open with the public and tell them what it would cost to build and operate. He said there was talk about staffing and in the report tonight there was a recommendation of adding one full time staff member to help run the facility. He said he talked with Administration and he believed it was their plan to operate the facility with as many part time staff member, which added no legacy costs. He believed they could hire two part time staff to run an 8 or 12 hour day facility much less costly than one staff member, and he thought that was the direction they were going towards. He said this was not just in Parks and Recreation but throughout the whole City. He said as attrition happened and there were openings in other parts of the City, he was sure the Administration would use the allocated manpower in the best interest of the citizens and staff. Mayor Pro Tem Gatt disagree with the statement that "luck equals opportunity meeting preparation". He said he didnít believe in luck. He believed success equals opportunity meeting preparation with lots of work. He said that was what he saw going on now, in the past and what he saw going toward the future.
Member Crawford agreed with pretty much everything that everyone had said. She thought that this would have to be a millage, (referred to as Option 2) and thought that was a reasonable amount of money. She believed that they would be providing things that didnít currently exist. She said there was a great deal of discussion about competing with the private sector and none of them wanted to compete with what already existed in the City, especially with the private sector. She said businesses were very important to this community, small and large, and they wanted to be careful about not competing and providing things that Novi had needed for years. She said all of those things would eventually be on this piece of property. She said they had wonderful supporting data and had gotten great statistics and data that supported the need for all of the programs mentioned and all the components of the property. Member Crawford said it would be the go to place for people of all ages, regardless of their age, mobility, ethnicity or whatever. Member Crawford said she was very much in support of the project and was willing to do what she could to make sure it happened.
Member Burke thought that when everyone in the City saw that this was much more than just ball fields and that it was something for everyone and sooner or later everyone in the City would probably be there. Then it would be much easier to sell that way, whether it was $100 a year or $125 a year on a half million dollar home. Member Burke asked if the Pro Shop and Food service area would be contracted out. If so, what kind of revenues would be projected from there, and was that part of the line showing additional, non programming revenues of $19,000 a year. Mr. Auler responded the $19,000 a year was sponsorship, advertising, and additional revenue from the multi purpose generational recreation center. He said it was conceptual at this point but contracting out and having a third party agreement would be something they would look at very strongly in terms of the pro shop and the concession. He said it was something that would have to be evaluated as they moved forward.
Member Mutch said part of the agreement with the school district was reserving a portion of the property in case the school district decided they needed to build another school or facility. He believed that was the active athletic fields, Mr. Auler agreed. Member Mutch asked if the group had discussion about the festival or event space, if the school district ever decided to come back and say they wanted to utilize that property, how they could recreate that festival space. Mr. Auler said they had that discussion and some of those opportunities were if the multi generational recreation center didnít expand, there was an area to the south of the building that that could be used for the festival space. He said regarding the school space, it was unlikely the schools would build a school that would take the facility itself, hard structure, and take ten acres. He said there would be some available space there as well as using space in the back 40 area, the dog park area and some of that component. He said they did have some lengthy discussion about that. He said that would be their plan B for the festival space. Member Mutch asked how much programming would be moved from Meadowbrook Commons. Mr. Auler responded they would still utilize Meadowbrook Commons and provide all of the programming that they did there. He said it would enhance and expand the amount of programming at the multi purpose center. He commented one of the challenges they faced now was that the facility at Meadowbrook Commons only sat 128 people and there were many times they had to turn individuals away. He said they envisioned having larger events and activities at the multi purpose center as well as some of the smaller programs but still providing services at Meadowbrook Commons for the residents because it was so important for their quality of life. Member Mutch said likewise the Civic Center space currently took on a lot of the uses that they were talking about such as the theatre program, senior programs as well as other cultural and arts programs. He said if they were shifting a lot of that or all of that over to the new facility, did they have discussions on how that would impact staffing and usage of the City Hall. Mr. Auler said shifting the theatre program to the new facility would enable them to provide more opportunities for citizens to utilize the Civic Center space. He said they received many requests for meeting reservations, birthday parties, wedding receptions, etc. and there were many times they were at capacity. He said when they have the theatre program they had to utilize so much of the space to accommodate them for practice. He said, regarding the building use, they were looking at the staffing component as well and had begun to make realignments in terms of providing outstanding service but doing it in the most cost effective way possible. Member Mutch said while they were shifting a lot of programs to that facility, they still needed to provide a high level of service to the residents here. He said whatever way Mr. Auler accomplished that they still needed to have that in place. He said from a financial viewpoint they still had to bear that cost as well, except now they would be doing it in two locations. Member Mutch said what would really decide this issue was when each person in this community looked at this proposal and decided, based on their personal situation, was this the kind of obligation they wanted to take on. He said he knew people who were struggling in the City and were unemployed and had been for some time, others wondering whether they would have a job in a month. So, whatever amount Council put out there a year, as valuable as this proposal would sound to residents, right now they might think it was simply something they couldnít take on. He said in better times they probably wouldnít have a problem supporting this. Member Mutch said when they talk about the value of this it should be presented as something that met a long term need. He said residents needed to know that they really would benefit from making this investment in the community for the long term. Member Mutch thought a limited millage was preferred over a permanent millage. He agreed with Mayor Landry that they couldnít put a proposal out there that didnít fully reflect the cost so that voters knew the full cost of what they were taking on. He said he didnít think something that was just a bond proposal that didnít meet the operating costs would be prudent. He thought the one that made the most sense was the one that other Council members were discussing.
Member Staudt echoed what Member Mutch had to say about the residents having to make a decision. He noted his preference would be a millage limited to 25 years. He said the fact that they had been extremely fiscally responsible in planning this project reflected where they would go in the future. He said he was very comfortable that they were not going to create something they couldnít pay for.
Mayor Landry agreed with Member Mutchís comments about the number of people who were cash strapped right now. He said that was what makes it so important that they thought this out so long. He said he viewed this as a need rather than a want. He said they had done everything they could to get it down to the cheapest way they could possibly do it and still come up with a product that was worthy of Novi and would meet the needs of the residents. He said he had not heard anyone speak against presenting this to the public. So, he felt comfortable saying to Mr. Pearson, he thought the direction that he had was yes, Council would like to see a proposal to place a question on the ballot. He said the timing requirement was the 17th and from what he was hearing the majority of Council was looking toward the 25 year millage. He said the direction was to present Council with a resolution for the 25 year limited millage.
Mr. Pearson said he and Ms. Antil were just at a Michigan Managers Association meeting and he thanked again for making them proud through all this process and dialogue. He said the high level of conversation that every member provided was very gratifying. He thanked the staff and everyone who did the work. He thought it had paid off with the confidence shown tonight.
Laura Lorenzo noted while serving on Council in the late 1990ís, a majority of her colleagues proposed the ice arena, golf course and an aquatic facility. She said, as she recalled, the ice arena during the feasibility study was supposed to present the City with a couple of hundred thousand dollars a year. She commented that a couple of years ago the Council forgave the debt to the General Fund, which was still substantial. Ms. Lorenzo said she could not support this proposal because these proposals do not pay for themselves and required more and more taxpayer dollars and subsidies as time went on. As an example, In Canton Township it seemed that their performing arts center, senior services and sports center were all subsidized by taxpayer dollars. She said their performing arts center was subsidized by over $400,000, estimated, for 2009. Ms. Lorenzo said to their credit, in the report the City consultants had offered many cautionary financial red flags. They told Council of the volatility of the current economic climate and unknown cyclical fluctuations, which could lead to under performing programs and ultimately the projected project performance for meeting outcome expectations. They also said that outcome expectations, immediate and feasibility determinants to recover 60% of total cost, including capital, were rarely attainable for this type of a facility. Ms. Lorenzo said they also noted that market penetration and product development, the ability to capture the user with a new service in an existing market could be inhibited, if the dire economic conditions persist. Ms. Lorenzo thought this report projected this project as unsound, unrealistic and possibly doomed for failure from the start. She felt this was the absolute worst time to ask taxpayers for any more tax dollars, particularly for a project that might be financially doomed from the start. She believed that the tax payers in Novi needed fiscal discipline, stability and to maintain the basic City services and the quality that they had come to expect from Novi, and keep taxes low. She said this was not the time to enhance but the time to try, in this economy and recession, to remain stable. She said the President spoke this evening and this was a recession not seen since the depression and at this time, stability was needed. Ms. Lorenzo commented she knew Council had the best of intentions, but she asked that they carefully consider what they were putting before the public. She said she could not support this project.
Paul Policicchio commented he had moved to Novi 32 years ago, and while the City had grown with restaurants and shopping, he had seen the City infrastructures grow that served the community and the residents. If one were to graph the progress the City had made over the years and the development of public facilities and public entities, he thought they would see a slow steady graph of continual improvements and additions to the City except for the last couple of years where it seemed to be taking off. Mr. Policicchio said taking off in the sense of a new Library coming up, the Fuerst Park, which was one of the few parks that was truly a community park and not built around ball parks and those types of programs. Mr. Policicchio thought now was the time for the City to take a hard look at taking its quality of life to the next level. He said they wanted something that symbolized the quality of this community and served as an icon for what Novi was and that would be a quality community to not only shop in but to live in. He thought that was what this community project really amounted to. He said it was a gem that in good economic times would be a no brainer because itís in the perfect location; it combined a natural environment with brick and mortar, provided both indoor and outdoor activities and was something for everyone. He said he listened to the previous speaker and that was the first thing Council would hear because people were going to ask why now in these economic times. He believed that if they looked at it this way, the opportunities that were presented now might not reappear. He thought if they issued a bond now, they would get the best rates because people were looking to park their money in good investment vehicles and they would get the best bids on building and constructing because there were a lot of construction companies that needed the business. He said from a homeownerís point of view, he believed that whether short term or long term it would be a positive impact on the property values. He said he strongly supported the program.
There being no further business to come before Council the meeting was adjourned at 9:10 P.M.
________________________________ Date approved: February 17, 2009
Transcribed by Charlene Mc Lean