View Agenda for this meeting

THURSDAY, MARCH 11, 2004 – 7:30PM

The meeting was called to order at 7:33 PM with Commissioner Paul presiding.

ROLL CALL: Commissioner Engebretson (Absent), Enright (Present)

Kopeika (Present), Paul (Present), Place (Present), Staab

(Present 7:49), Staudt (Present).

ALSO PRESENT: Randy Auler, Director

Jack Lewis, Deputy Director


Commissioner Paul asked if there were any additions to the agenda, one item was added by Commissioner Paul. He added, "Grant Application Strategies" under the discussion items. It was moved to approve the agenda with the additional item added.

(Enright, Staudt C-UN)


Commissioner Paul opened the public hearing and asked for public comment on the subject of the Land and Water Conservation Fund grant application for accessibility improvements and a bike trailhead at Community Sports Park.

Director Auler- This evening we are reviewing and holding a public hearing for a grant application to be submitted to the State of Michigan Department of Natural Resources for a federal and state grant, which is the Land and Water Conservation Fund Grant Program. The project we’ve identified is a trailhead project at the Community Sports Park, which would be located at the northern end of the park. It would provide a trailhead, a kiosk, as well as some A.D.A. improvements at the park, which are in line with the A.D.A. transition plan at that site. Also, around the soccer concession stand building at the park that we identified as part of the A.D.A. transition plan, then potentially extending a portion of the trail to connect with the Singh trail. The project total is around $80,000.00, it’s a 50-50 matching grant program, the City Council has authorized the submittal of the grant application for a total of $40,000.00 and we would request a grant award in the amount of $40,000.00. The grant application has to be submitted by April 1st and we’ll hold a public hearing this evening. City Council is also holding a public hearing on Monday, March 15th. Just to familiarize you with the project and the people at home, the Singh trail is being built as part of a development agreement with the Singh Development Company and recently with Terra Libra, the developers of The Preserve. Both developers have donated a significant amount of park land that will create a 253 acre park site, will also at the developers cost, construct a trail that will extend down from 10 Mile to 9 Mile and over to the corner of 9 Mile and Napier Road. The length of this trail is approximately a mile and a half and we are going through the permitting process right now with D.E.Q. The vision is that it will be an asphalt pathway with boardwalk where needed, to preserve the wetlands and have a minimum impact. This trail system will be utilized year round, extending steps along the existing sidewalk at Park Place and coming down adjacent to Napier Road down to the entryway - northern entryway of Community Sports Park. The section from Sports Park to the existing sidewalk at Park Place is a gap that we have included in the Capital Improvement Budget Request and that would also include a portion of that within the grant application. The trailhead location would be at this area (points to map) on the northern end of the park, just to orientate you - this ball field #8 (points to map) and the northern parking lot (points to map). The trail would connect into the existing trail system within the interior of the park, which would then take you on down to 8 Mile and provides access internally within the park system. The design for the trailhead, just want to emphasize that this is a conceptual design, would have first of all improvements for accessibility for physically challenged individuals in terms of providing paved parking spaces; we would have a total of five spaces, four would be physically challenge and one would be regular width, three would be van accessible. It would connect over to an area that would be featured as the kiosk in the center of the trailhead and would provide an overview of the trail system, the trail rules, and other information will be available and then landscaped around that area. Additionally, at the concession stand at the soccer field location (that was one of the areas that was identified in our A.D.A. transition plan that we did not comply with) that we would build or improve access there by providing additional paving around the building,so that physically challenged individuals can actually access the concession stand operation at the field. The red line on this map (points to map) represents the possibility of extending the pathway to this location (points to map) at the northern, or just north of, or to the northern edge of the park. There is the potential that we could extend it further north, with the exception of a small area where there is wetlands and boardwalk would potentially need to be installed. We don’t have enough funding from our city match to be able to do that, but our hope is that maybe some other grant programs such as I.S.T.E.A. Program or Southeastern Michigan Community Foundation might be able to help assist with the funding of that. That is a brief overview of the project and essentially this trailhead would improve the accessibility, assist with tying the system in to the Singh trail and the vision is that the trail system would go all the way from 10 Mile to 8 Mile and in the future connect to Maybury State Park. As you know, at 10 Mile Road at Wixom you can connect to the pathway system there and hopefully some day be able to get all the way to Grand River, where the new pathway system was installed.

Commissioner Paul – Any questions?

Commissioner Place – Not at this time, thank you.

Commissioner Kopieka – I have a couple. Director Auler ---

Commissioner Paul – Yes, we can do that, sure.

Commissioner Paul – Is there any individuals that choose to speak at this time?

Mr. Shaw?

Bob Shaw, 40612 Village Oaks - Very short and sweet. I like the idea, I like the plan, and I support the application for a grant with Land and Water Conservation Fund. Thank you.

Commissioner Paul – Thank you very much for coming down this evening.

Mike Stratton, 1735 Paramount - I am the president of the Novi Jaguars Soccer Association and we also support what they are trying to do with the trailways system.

Commissioner Paul – Thank you very much for coming down this evening. Anyone else?

Shannon Flynn, Michigan Mountain Bike Association - I apologize for stepping in late. We are also in support of the trailways and wanted to come and show a positive position on that. Thank you.

Commissioner Paul – Thank you very much for coming down this evening, we appreciate the time. O.K. seeing nobody else in the audience, we can close out the Public Hearing at this point in time. As far as questions, why don’t we table the questions relative to the grant for the park development, is that correct?

The next item on the agenda is Committee Reports.


1. Resource Development Committee

Commissioner Staudt – We filed our articles of incorporation, the incorporators have approved the bylaws, we filed also for our employer identification number, we’re becoming very close to being an entity at this point. So, pretty exciting stuff. I still am encouraging that the commissioners submit potential board members to our committee, so we can consider those – I expect the board appointment process (after we’ve concluded the parks and recreation appointments) to take probably another month or so. Always looking for more names.

Commissioner Paul – Thank you very much. Questions?

Commissioner Place – No, I thought this was pretty comprehensive. I can’t remember, I know it said how many we want on the board, where was it – between 5 and 9.

Commissioner Staudt – It is our intention to initially have a board that is comprised of 5 members, two parks commission representatives and three non- it gives us a much easier starting point. Then we can expand the board up to nine.

Commissioner Place – Up to nine. That was my only question, clarification. Thank you.

Commissioner Paul – Any other Questions? Thank you Commissioner Staudt. Strategic Planning Committee, Commissioner Kopeika, any updates?


2. Strategic Planning Committee

Commissioner Kopeika – I actually have nothing to report, since the last meeting. At some point, I think we should probably address the frequency of our report outs. I think, in some cases, particularly for the Strategic Planning, which has some longer-range commitments, reporting out monthly I think is too frequent. But maybe we can table that as an agenda item for next month to discuss how frequently all the committees would want to report out.

Commissioner Paul – Report out. All right and Park Development Committee, Commissioner Enright?

3. Park Development Committee

Commissioner Enright – In regards to Community Sports Park field #2, weather permitting we’re waiting for the ground to get harder, so that the workers can get out there. Priority will be the warning track and fence installation, and again we’re just waiting for the weather to turn over. And also in our last meeting we discussed possibility of planting grass along the fence line, it’s been determined that we do need a warning track to go all the way around – for safety issues. That is all I have to report at this time.

Commissioner Paul – O.K. any questions? Thank you. Reports – Deputy Director Lewis?


1. Deputy Director Report

Deputy Director Lewis – I just want to mention that the whole department has been gearing up for spring. Spring is typically our busiest time of year; we’re getting ready for the opening of soccer and softball and hiring all of our seasonal staff – employees. We’re getting ready to hit the road pretty soon here. The other thing I just wanted to mention that Kathy Crawford, next week will be her last week. She will be retiring next Friday, just wanted to mention what a great asset she has been to the Department for over the last 20 something years, not only to the Department but to the City. She is going to be missed for sure. That’s all I have.

Commissioner Paul – Any questions?

Commissioner Place – I have a quick one. How did Men’s Adult Softball go this week? Did we get a pretty good running start with our registration? I know it was this week that it started.

Deputy Director Lewis – Derek reported at a staff meeting he was down about 20 returning teams before new team registration began this week. He felt there was still a period, I’m not sure of the time frame, that more teams would come in and sign up.

Commissioner Paul – I was going to mention, as well, that it will be the City’s loss to have Kathy move on to other things. It sounds like she’s going to do a lot of other fun things and hopefully those will involve some volunteer work with the City, cause she’s done such a great job. I think she’s spent about 25 years working for the City, so it’s good to see her have an opportunity to do other things but we will sorely miss her.

Deputy Director Lewis – There’s a nice article today in the Novi News about her.

Commissioner Paul – There was, I would agree. One other thing that we might look at doing, I know we hired a new person to take over for the senior center, and maybe it would be an opportunity after say the first 60 or 90 days, to have them come in and share a little bit about, you know, how they feel things are going at the senior center and a little bit about her programs and what she’d like to do moving forward. Good evening.

Commissioner Staab – Hello.

Commissioner Staudt – Chairman, I do have a question for Deputy Director. In regards to softball, does Derek think that that is partly because of the increase in fees?

Deputy Director Lewis – He did not indicate that to me when we had a staff meeting the other day. He just mentioned we were short some teams from last year, he didn’t indicate any problems with the cost.

Commissioner Staudt – Should there be a significant reduction would there be a reevaluation of our pricing structure on the Adult Softball Leagues?

Director Auler – On the sign-ups I don’t believe we’re down 20 teams. We opened it up this week for the new teams coming in. I know on the first day there were 10-12 teams that signed up off the bat. I think that number has decreased. We may still be down some teams. In regards to the fee question, that is going to be something we’re going to have to sort through as administrators and Commission in developing a policy. I’ll talk more about that when we discuss the budget, the need to strive toward self-sufficiency and decreasing our reliance on the general fund, how we provide service but keeping in a reasonable price range – so we don’t price ourselves out of the market.

Commissioner Staudt – Thanks. One more question. The old fire station number 4, waiting for a decision from the city manager, I think I’ve seen that written for the last X number of months. Is this something that’s, what’s the decision? I mean, what are we waiting for. It’s on your docket Jack, so you get to talk.

Deputy Director Lewis – Mr. Auler can explain that better than I can.

Director Auler – We have prepared a draft of the report, with the budget discussions coming, and a lot of the work that’s being done on the budget right now. We have not had an opportunity to sit down with the manager’s office and discuss the status of the fire station and eventually bringing it to Council. It could be an item, I believe, that E.M.S. personnel are going to begin to look at also. Right now we are utilizing it as storage for emergency disaster supplies and as well as some additional equipment.

Commissioner Staudt – Are we on the record that we are looking to get that facility?

Director Auler – I’m sorry, I didn’t hear you.

Commissioner Staudt – Are we on the record that we are seeking to acquire that facility?

Director Auler – The manager’s office is aware of that and I believe that Council is and will be when we send the information in an off week packet.

Commissioner Paul – O.K. next on the agenda is the director’s report, Director Auler.

2. Director Report

Director Auler – Just a couple of items to update you on, first of all the budget. Budget hearings have been established:

April 3rd 9AM – 12 NOON

April 24th 9AM – 12 NOON

May 5th 7PM – 9PM (if needed)

It is my understanding that the budget has to be approved by the last Council meeting in May, if I remember that correctly. Meetings are open to the public and the Commission and citizens are welcome to attend. I’m not sure how it will work this year (the City Manager’s office leads that). In the past, the first Saturday’s been an overview of the budget and discussion, then getting into policy issues and sorting through the numbers. I know the budget should be tight. Again, our community is growing, the services are growing, and our revenue may not be growing at that rate. I don’t know the details, but I know when we submitted our budget as we discussed before, we submitted it within the guidelines we had. We are waiting now to forward it to Council. If you mark those on your calendar, that would be great. If any of you are free to attend, that would be appreciated. If you have any conflicts or you can make it, let me know please.

Under Wendy’s report, as relates to soccer, the state association for soccer is changing how the leagues, teams and field sizes are to be made up for travel soccer. The changes are actually a good thing, I’ve always said everything starts in California and works its’ way west, it usually gets here 7-10 years later. This particular item is they’re going to smaller size fields and smaller teams. The concept is by having less children on the field and having more teams, the children get more touches on the ball; therefore it is more fun. They’ve done that in California for 6-7 years now and it’s working its’ way here. The changes will begin in the fall season for travel, it will effect our W.S.S.L. program, Jaguar partnership program. We’ve been working with the soccer committee on how we carry that down to our house program and what changes we should or should not make. In your packet you had a chart, a layout of the park that looks like this (points to chart). One indicates fall 04 and one indicated spring 04. The spring of 04 shows how the fields are laid out now, in terms of soccer. On the fall charts it signifies the changes we will make to the fields to accommodate the number of small sized fields that we will need to house our youth soccer program and accommodate the travel program. So those will be the reconfigurations. Those will change as we go throughout the year as we rotate, well we won’t really be able to rotate the fields out of play, but we try to minimize the use. That’s, as you all know, becoming more difficult. Also I think, I believe in the packet, you had a sheet that was labeled "Item D" to give you an example of how many hours of usage that those fields are receiving. It’s pretty significant when you look at the total hours is around 2,000 hours of use, which is not a lot of time for the fields to rest, recuperate, top seed, and come back in good condition. So that’s beginning to show us a need of which we’re already aware, trying to find additional practice space and/or game fields. Then the one sheet, I’ll refer to the very first sheet, labeled A. If you compare sheet A with sheet B, those are essentially how we’re going to operate the program. Sheet B is all of the travel programs teams that will be affected, primarily going to be Jaguars, for us it’s the U10 and up. Sheet A indicates the sizes of the fields that we will be going to and the number of children on the teams. Bottom line of what it means is – we’re going to need more coaches volunteering, more referees, more soccer goals, more soccer balls and how we faze that in. We’re not following for our house program, the state guidelines in each category because we don’t have the space and don’t have the funding to be able do that. We are going to smaller sized teams that will enhance the play experience for the children. It is going to place a greater burden on coach recruitment, referee recruitment, equipment, and so forth. I wanted to at least get this to you, give you some time to look it over, and feel free to E-Mail me or call me with any questions you may have, and/ or Wendy. The last piece of this puzzle that we’re working on is how we begin to communicate this with the parents of the children that participate in the program. The committee and Wendy are developing a handout: a tri-fold flyer that will be given to parents when they register with the house program and W.S.S.L. program, that would communicate why these changes are happening and why it’s beneficial for the children. Also, communicate that we need additional coaches and that’s always a challenge. That is the challenge on the horizon for the fall. Take some time, read it over, and give me a call when you have the questions on it and we’ll work through it.

Last, Jack mentioned this and the Commissioners have, but I wanted to publicly thank Kathy for all she’s done for the Department, the community, and for myself. She’s a really wonderful person and has had a great impact on many, many people. To me, a true test of a person is "Did you make a difference in people’s lives?" I think when you look at everything Kathy’s done the answer to that is overwhelmingly yes. She’s made a difference in my life in the two years that I’ve known her and had the opportunity and honor to work with. She will be missed, but we wish her well in her future endeavors and she always has a family here.

With that I’ll answer any questions that you may have.

Commissioner Enright - Director, I have a quick one. On page D, in regard to soccer there’s an asterisk next to the WSSL U-10, U-12 and I didn’t see any other reference to it.

Director Auler – I will have to get back to you on that.

Commissioner Auler – Also, are the current U-11 teams going to be grandfathered in or will they too drop from currently playing 11V11 down to 8V8?

Director Auler – I’ll have to check on that also with Wendy.

Commissioner Staab – You make mention of the Emerald Ash Borer replacement tree planting grant. Our subdivision last week (Meadowbrook Glens) had a lot of trees taken out of it, a tremendous amount of trees, nice to see you get them out and so on and so forth. My only concern, from a liability stand point, being a risk manager, is a lot of those trees Randy and Jack are close to the street, when they felled them and so on. In fact, on a couple of corners they would be on the edge and when you cut the corner too much you could hit the stumps, well not the stumps but the actual fallen tree that were sitting there. So, anything you can do to reinforce that as they continue to cut these babies out, which we appreciate them doing in an expeditious manner, but to get them away from the actual street would be probably in the city’s best interest. Now, what’s the plan? They take the tree out, they cut the stump out and then eventually when we get these grants and so on we’ll start planting new ones, right?

Director Auler – Ideally, yes. I can’t tell you yes. We’ve been working on first a tree removal strategy and then a tree replacement strategy. Without getting and trying not to get real complicated, we have approximately 3,500 ash trees that we need to remove. By the end of 2004, we will have removed 1,380 of the 3,500. We, with in-house staff, can remove approximately 500 per year. So, if we are not able to acquire additional funds to utilize contractual services, it’s going to take us 3 or 4 years to get them all out. The trees that are being removed right now were able to be done, 530 trees that are being removed as part of the additional $90,000.00 that Council appropriated for the tree removal and stump removal. I’d like to also just make you aware that when our staff removed the trees we are not able to remove the stumps, because we do not have a stump grinder. So the stumps remain. We have citizens call that would to have those removed but we don’t have the equipment or the manpower to do that. Our first priority has been to get the trees down so they don’t fall on something. The stumps pose a different issue, but that’s where we are right now with that. On the replacement, we utilize our street tree replacement program has been about 75 trees a year. We fund that from the tree fund and the tree fund monies come when developers are developing their subdivisions or commercial properties. If they can’t comply with the tree ordinance all the way, then they have to allocate so much money that goes into the tree fund. That’s where our monies come from. To date we’ve done about 75 – 85 trees a year in planting, so you can see we’re not keeping up. We keep at that pace, we’re many, many years away. We have developed a draft a report that if you take in account the 75 trees as well as the trees from Catholic Central and how long that would take us. We think that’s in the neighborhood of around 2010 or beyond. If we were able to implement what we would call a "cooperative tree replacement program’ where we utilize the tree fund monies as we are now to replace trees but the property owner, when we’re replacing that tree pay 50% of the cost of the tree, we could double that to about 150 trees a year. With the 150 trees a year and the Catholic Central trees, when they begin to come available, that’s about 233 trees a year, will still take us to 2009 before we replace the ones that we’re cutting down in that 3,500. Then, the other trees we lose annually because of other factors. It’s a big issue; it’s not something that’s going to happen overnight. We’ve been aware of that through our discussions with establishing our priorities on the strategic plan. It’s one of the reasons we submitted for the grant application that came available. On that grant application, they fund up to $125.00 per tree, we have to some up with the rest of the money. So we requested a grant ward of $20,000.00 and we would put up $32,000.00 for that grant, if successful that would plant an additional 160 trees. Bottom line is we’re looking at a long-term plan issue, unless a lot of money becomes available, about 2009 before those trees will be replaced. Our major goal right now is to get them all removed. Again, if we don’t get additional monies to contract out work or hire additional staff, we’re looking at a 3-4 year period. If we’re able to get additional money, that time lessens. It is the number one priority of the forestry division of our department and we are spending a lot of time on that.

Commissioner Staab – Hopefully City Council will look favorably on our Capital Improvement Budget, where we have #3 as our stump grinder. If we get that approved, the only problem is one stump grinder with 3,000 trees, what is the longevity of the stump grinder?

Director Auler – Well the stump grinder, it’s my understanding will last about 10-12 years. Right now we believe we have, I don’t know the exact number but I think Steve indicated to me we have approximately 360 stumps already to be removed, that we are not able to remove.

Commissioner Paul – Other questions?

Commissioner Staudt – I have one question. Director Auler, I always read the individual department manager reports with great glee and all of them speak about this wonderful "activity based costing system". I think it’s about time we get a presentation on the significant progress that’s being made on this activity based costing system and what it really means to Parks and Rec. Because I understand activity based costing but I have no idea, there’s never any detail in the reporting as to what this really means that they’re making significant progress. I really think that at one of our next meetings it would be nice to take 10 or 15 minutes and really explain to us. It seems to be a significant part of your management philosophy at this point, it would be really interesting to know what exactly are these people reporting on, what does significant progress mean, and how does that help what we’re trying to achieve from a budgeting stand point, capital improvement, whatever.

Commissioner Paul – OK. I have one quick question and that’s related to the tree issue that Commissioner Staab brought out. If a resident had a couple of their trees cut down in the front of their yard, do they have the option of going in and replacing those on their own?

Director Auler – Certainly. What they need to do is contact Steve, because what we want make sure that the trees that are going in are, that we have diversified species, so we don’t have an issue such as what Commissioner Staab referred to where the whole subdivision, or the majority of the subdivision are planted in one species of tree. Contact Steve and get a planting list of trees.

Commissioner Paul – So if residents are interested, they’re more than welcome to do that. Sounds good. If I had that situation, then I would probably do the same. Yeah I am coming close as well. OK, thank you. Next item on the agenda is audience participation, if there are anyone in the audience that would like to. Sure come on in.


Louanne Kozma – Sorry I missed the early part of the meeting, I really meant to get here in order to comment on your application for the new trail project. I wanted to congratulate you for getting a grant proposal together. I haven’t taken a good look at it; I haven’t seen it yet, so I don’t know the details. I do hope it will be successful. I think that the plan might need to be amended. I think that Mr. Auler and I talked about this in different meetings before about having a difference of opinion as to how that was supposed to go. I would hope the plan would be amended, I don’t know if you need to file that at the same time as the application or in the actual application itself. You need to indicate that, in fact, the City of Novi does qualify for the program again. I hope that we do, based on the loss of park land from before and you know the new things that have happened since that time, that will have made our application stronger. So, I wish you luck, I hope it works out, and if there’s anything else that the Friends of the Novi Parks can do to help strengthen that application, we’d like to offer that. I think I’m sure that someone was here earlier, right, in case they didn’t say that. Where can I find a copy of it? Can you answer that? It’s where?

Director Auler – This evening we just have conceptual boards.

Louanne Kozma- No handouts though?

Director Auler – That’s correct.

Louanne Kozma – Will you have some later?

Director Auler – Yes we will, but not this evening. We will have them by time we get to the Council Meeting.

Louanne Kozma- Great. O,K., thanks, that was it.

Commissioner Paul – Thank you very much for coming out this evening. OK seeing no more audience participation the first item on the action item list is approval of the February 12th regular meeting minutes.


1. Approval of the February 12, 2004 regular meeting minutes. Approved as written. (Place C – UN)

2. Approval of the Parks, Recreation and Forestry Commission appointments to the Novi Parks Foundation Board of Directors.

Commissioner Paul – This is where we would be selecting two of the Commission members to participate on the Novi Park Foundation Board. With that I will entertain any discussion and/or motions.

Commissioner Enright – Seeing as we have two members here who were foundation or helped with the foundation corporation, David Staudt and Charles Staab, I would like to make a motion to appoint these two gentlemen on the Foundation board of directors. I think they’re familiar enough with the material, they know what’s going on, and I think they’d be wonderful people to have on board. (Enright, Kopeika C – UN)

Commissioner Staudt – On behalf of myself I would accept.

Commissioner Staab – I’ll accept.

Commissioner Paul – OK. Great. Congratulations. Next item is approval of the Capital Improvement Budget recommendation to the Novi City Council. There is two things I want to share with you in relation to this. The first one is that this would be a basically an amendment to the one that we had originally approved and recommended to City Council. Secondly, what we’re looking at is basically the addition of $240,000.00 for basically the completion of the trail way that we had talked about a little earlier this evening. I know Director Auler did a great job in working with Singh at Quail Hallow and their negotiations and bringing the first portion of this pathway to fruition. Again Director Auler, thank you very much for that. Is there any discussion to the priorities, related to this and the other items on our Capital Improvement?

Commissioner Staudt – I’d like Director Auler to go to the podium and explain this whole thing to us because I personally don’t understand it at all. Other than I do understand it conceptually, I’m not sure what’s going on here and I think this is appropriate to really see this.

Director Auler – I don’t understand what your question is.

Commissioner Staudt – Would you mind moving that sign out of there? Explain exactly, I don’t see any documentation in our package at all about this and I’m just wondering what we are really talking about here, what is the proposal for the change. It’s not in our notes and our minutes, we’ve talked about a little bit, but please expound. What are we doing? What are you asking of us? Where does it say $240,000 there?

Commissioner Enright – It says $240,000 is the number 1 priority.

Director Auler – That’s correct.

Commissioner Enright – Now, this Singh trail connection, this is two communities that are not yet developed. Correct?

Director Auler – That’s correct.

Commissioner Enright – And the majority of the area is passive park land and I’m curious as to why this has suddenly become a # 1 priority over A.D.A. and everything else we had. Considering that the connection trails from the other two developments won’t be up for a year. I just, if you can explain that.

Director Auler – I can answer all of those for you. The Singh trail is to be completed by October of 2005, by the development agreement with both developers. That will provide the trail; extend the trail, from Ten Mile Road at Wixom, down to Nine Mile Road to this location here (points to the map). The developer is also constructing this segment of the trail. This opportunity became available after we submitted the Capital Improvement Budget and the budget had to be submitted to City Council or to the City Manager’s office. We priced out the three gaps where the trail would not be. (Tape Turned – Break in Discussion)

City budget and goes under "sidewalk budget". In previous years, we have not dealt with the sidewalks, that has generally been the City Engineers office. O.K.? As the budget, and I tried to outline in the memo the first page if I can grab mine, the first page of this chart is what we approved back in October. When the budget is submitted, these priorities are then broken into categories, that’s the next part of the motion sheet that you have. Parks and Recreation A.D.A. Transition Plan, the tree removal, those were the top five priorities in that category and they follow exactly what we talked about as at the commission meeting. The second part, the second category is a category called "Other Projects". Those items follow again what we had identified in the capital budget process. The sidewalk, Singh trail connection was submitted under the sidewalk budget category and the city administration, city engineer and myself we rated that as the number 1 sidewalk connection priority, because this is the 04-05 capital budget. The Singh trail will be built in 05. In order for the citizens to be able to access all the way down to Sports Park, those gaps had to be connected. There is no opportunities for the developers at this time, to do that. So the time from the city budget standpoint and a capital standpoint was to submit that in this budget process. That number can be reduced if we are successful with grant funds, just as we discussed this evening. A portion of this, if awarded, could fund a portion of that trail, which will bring that number down. In terms of bringing it back this evening, because I want the Commission to be aware that it is in there. From an administrative side, from my perspective, it is the number one priority because it completes the project. It fills the gaps for citizens to utilize the trail. It does improve A.D.A. access for citizens to use that are physically challenged. It’s a project that can be used and will be used year round. So that is why we rated it as the #1 sidewalk and therefore wanted to bring it back to you and if you guys want to do that fine and but just wanted to make sure you’re aware of it.

Commissioner Paul – OK. Additional questions for Director Auler?

Commissioner Kopeika – Commissioner Staudt and Enright do you have any additional comments? I think I understand I had a similar opinion as my fellow Commissioners, when I read this packet on Sunday was the $240,000. It’s not so much the amount, although it is a large amount of money, considering that I think we are asking for more than we probably realistically are going to be able to get. To me the trail and the park land donation was kind of a windfall for the City and I recognize your attempt to try to finish as soon as possible. I look at the red line and the connectors, and it being a quarter of a million dollars, a lot of other things in here are less than a quarter of a million dollars that we also want to accomplish. I just, I think that I’d like to see it done. I don’t think it needs to be the number one priority because a lot of other things that the Commission actually suggested were higher priority. At the time we didn’t know about this, I agree, it still needs to be done. If something’s going to be cut because we’ve made this the top priority, what is it that we’re going to be willing to give up? This won’t be done until 2005, more or less, the Singh trail, isn’t that what you said?

Commissioner Paul – The whole project will be done in 2005.

Commissioner Kopeika – Nine Mile itself, I actually went out a couple of weeks ago to look at the Terra Libra land and the Preserve. Nine Mile itself is, I could barely make it down the road with my car between Napier and by Park Place, the road is pretty rough. I don’t know if you’ll get a lot of immediate usage out of the trail until that area really grows in homes begin to be built. Yes, there will be people that’ll use it and it’s a nice poster board you showed us here with the trail in the park. This commissioner feels that it is not a top priority for the City right now.

Commissioner Paul – Additional questions, comments, feedback? I guess before, I do have a couple of comments and my, as I mentioned earlier, I think the project over all is an excellent project. I think it’s a tremendous asset to the City and it’s a great opportunity to link down to Maybury State Park as well as up through the and into the Wixom area. My biggest concern is that we’ve had items 2-7 on our list for multiple years. If we were to accomplish those, then certainly I could see the Singh trail being put in there as #1. However, I don’t think it’s fair to have all those items waiting multiple years and then to have them sit by the way side for this. Especially, given as Commissioner Kopeika mentioned the time frame of October 2005 is quite a ways out. I would not be able to support this as #1, at this point, but I would certainly entertain it being on the list and being somewhere farther down the list, if somebody is willing to make a motion in that regard.

Commissioner Enright – Director, I’m still confused. It’s on the list as #1, but once you break it down into these different categories it’s #1 in the sidewalk.

Director Auler – That’s correct.

Commissioner Enright – But in the Parks and Rec area A.D.A. is still #1 and so on.

Director Auler – That’s correct.

Commissioner Paul – Explain that to me again.

Commissioner Enright – So we’ve got this list, but within the list, it’s broken down into three different sections. This just happens to be the #1 priority in the sidewalk and pathway section. In the Parks, Rec and Forestry section A.D.A. is still our #1, hazardous tree removal and Power Park, C.S.P.

Commissioner Paul – Oh, O.K.

Director Auler – As the budget is submitted forward to Council it goes, there are different categories and funds. There’s a Road Improvement, there’s Water and Sewer, I can’t recall all of them. There are three of them that relate to us, I can identify here Parks, Recreation and Forestry and as it’s listed in this memo is how we have submitted it to the City Manager’s office. Other projects, is following the priorities that we identified originally. That’s how they were rated in that category. In sidewalks and pathways, the pedestrian trail connections to the Singh trail are rated as the #1 priority within that category. That’s how we’ve presented it also to the Capital Improvement Committee, when they reviewed it, and as well as the Planning Commission when they reviewed it. So this is how it proceeds forward in the Capital Budget to the City Manager’s office.

Commissioner Kopeika – One last comment if I may. There was no, you may have already said it, but there was no previous plan by the City to do any type of sidewalk or walk way using other funds along Napier? Like in the next 2 years or so, there was never any plan that we would be substituting by putting our plan and wanting to pull it ahead? Do you understand what I’m asking?

Director Auler – Did the City plan on building a sidewalk in the next few years?

Commissioner Kopieka – Did the City plan on building a sidewalk in the next few years?

Director Auler – I do not know the answer to that, but I do not believe that was the plan. It is on the Master Plan for sidewalk connections. There is many areas within the community where there are gaps in the sidewalks. They’re developing; I know the Planning Office has been working on the developing a long-term plan for resolving those connections.

Commissioner Kopieka – I think it would be valuable to note if that it is in the plan, to like say by 2006 or something like that. In that case, we should wait.

Director Auler – If I may, just to talk about the usage. I believe that the trail will be heavily utilized, when you look at the activity that’s going on around there. You have both trailhead locations that will have been constructed across the road at Ten Mile and Wixom is the Island Lake development, a significant number of homes developed there. Within a half of a mile is the Deerfield Elementary and the Middle School location, as well as the usage that we have at Community Sports Park.

Commissioner Kopeika – I don’t disagree it’s a nice thing to have. You could start the Wixom trailhead, the Ten Mile walk down, and go back. I mean, you wouldn’t have to go the additional. It is usable without this piece, I guess is what I’m trying to say. Thanks.

Commissioner Paul – Director Staudt.

Commissioner Staudt – I have two comments. One is, I’ve got to be honest I’m not very comfortable with how this process came down. I don’t know if there is a better answer, but I feel very uncomfortable with this whole process. Second, I’m very uncomfortable committing and seeking dollars for something that, when we have something as fundamental as the software that runs our Department is so inadequate. To put a trail connection, I think to put this on the top of our priorities at this point, is really discounting the importance and the fundamental backwardness of some of the things that we currently don’t have. For example, the tree stump grinder and the rec software, those to me are things that if for if there were any chance whatsoever that we could get those things done here in the near future. The providing of services by the Parks and Rec would be increased so dramatically and we don’t have any idea this $240,000.00, whether there is funding available down the road for this. You’re in a grant process right now; there may be other grant monies. I just really would like to see some of these other priorities achieved far before we go down this Singh trail connection. That’s my personal feelings about this. I really like to have see our Commissioners more involved, whether it’s through a committee or you know through interaction with this. We kind of found out about it after the fact. I would rather that that doesn’t happen. I think we’ve got a committee structure here, where whether it’s strategic planning or one of the other committees, should be actively involved in the discussion of this and they are our representation of the community to the staff. So, I’m not totally discounting what you’re proposing, but I don’t really like the process and I think it’s not our #1 priority. One commissioner’s opinion.

Commissioner Paul – Commissioner Staab.

Commissioner Staab – Going forward I want to make sure I understand this. Our priorities on the front page were the ones we adopted in October. Correct?

Commissioner Paul – Correct.

Commissioner Staab – Priorities on the second page as relates to the sidewalks and pathways, puts this project, the Singh trail connection to Community Sports Park, as #1. Correct?

Commissioner Paul – Correct.

Commissioner Staab – Now, going forward to the City Council the one on the second page, is what you’re recommending to be our priorities. Correct?

Director Auler – Yes; however when Council gets it, it’s by the category.

Commissioner Staab – By category?

Director Auler – That’s correct.

Commissioner Staab – So, our overall priorities, is it going to be A.D.A. or is it going to be this Singh?

Commissioner Enright – Is there an order for which the categories are presented. You know, like could they possibly, I mean the first group get through and not have enough funds for other projects? Or have enough funds for sidewalks. Would that wipe out our A.D.A. and other items? I mean how is it presented, is the Parks, Rec and Forestry grouping presented prior to the sidewalk and pathways, of that $240,000.00?

Director Auler – Council gets all the information in one book, with all the categories in there and how they were rated by the Park Commission, the Planning Commission and the Capital Improvement Committee and then the administrative recommendation. So they have basically four bodies of information and how they were rated by each category. It ultimately comes down to how much money is available, all the money comes from the same pot, and I’m not sure how large that pot’s been. We know last year there wasn’t any capital money, the year before the total capital budget for the city was I think $240,000.00, or in that neighborhood and all that went to the Park Department. So all that money goes to fund all those different categories, with the exception of there may be some different funding mechanisms and I’m not sure of that for the water distribution systems. So you know if the Commission feels and I think that’s what I hear, that in the terms of grand scheme if you want to add the sidewalk connection on the chart at a different number, that’s fine.

Commissioner Staab – Just another question I have. This is for the 04-05 budget. Correct?

Director Auler – That’s correct.

Commissioner Staab – Will we be in a position, you said the developer is going to build his portion of it in 05. Correct?

Director Auler – That’s correct.

Commissioner Staab – Would it be prudent on our part to allocate part for the 04-05 budget and another half, let’s say, for the 05-06 budget? And split it up on that basis.

Director Auler – Well ultimately, if the gaps aren’t funded, if the funding’s not there and the gaps aren’t built, people are going to be able to go from Grand River, down to Ten Mile, get on this, go down to Nine Mile and then they’re going to be forced with OK do they go down the gravel road down to the Sports Park or do they stop there and turn around and go back up. It just won’t connect to Sports Park and the usage at the Sports Park and the visibility that park has.

Commissioner Staab – Singh has a bond out that guarantees that this will be done by?

Director Auler – They have a development agreement. They will, the golf course operation will remain open this year, but once the season ends I believe that Singh plans on beginning work on their project.

Commissioner Staab – Good enough, thank you.

Commissioner Paul – Any other discussion? OK, I guess you know my stance still stands as I would love to rearrange the table, based on a priority set that we feel comfortable with, or to push it out into 05. Basically, push it out twelve months. I’m open to any suggestions, thoughts, comment or a motion at this point.

Commissioner Kopieka – If I may comment, I would probably suggest I would defer twelve months; I would put it in the 05-06 plan.

Commissioner Staudt – The grant that you are applying for, are you saying that the $80,000.00 that we are going after, is part of that $240,000.00?

Director Auler – It could fund a portion of that $240,000.00, yes.

Commissioner Staudt – If we make that motion, does that then put us in a bad position in this public hearing where we don’t see that this as a priority to pursue this grant at this point? Which I think we all agree is a priority that we pursue that, so I’m a little concerned that putting it off would basically open up the door at the next public hearing to say "Why pursue the grant if we’re not going to do this for another year?".

Commissioner Enright – I would recommend that we just change the priority. I just don’t think it needs to be the #1 priority. I think it does need to be in here, it does need to be done. If we could get it done by 2005 that would be great. I just don’t think it’s the #1 priority, I would recommend putting it down by 8 or 9.

Commissioner Paul – Do we have a motion?

Commissioner Enright – I would like to make a motion. Does anyone else feel there’s a better?

Commissioner Staab – My preference would be to move it down below 5, ahead of Power Park ball field improvements. A.D.A. we got to get done, tree removal, we got to do it. Stump grinder we need that, to move that process along and like Commissioner Staudt and everybody else has talked about and you have too, we’re running a 1990’s software program right now. To make these people more efficient we need to get that.

Commissioner Paul – So it sounds like we’re willing to make a motion to adjust the priority and I guess with that comment in mind I guess my thoughts would be to have it between items # 7 and 8, for the very reason that I think there is an incredible amount of people that utilize Power Park and utilize Community Sports Park and that have been waiting for field improvements in both of those areas. As well as the staff that have been waiting improvements in those areas. The other thing is just like the Community Sports Park ball field improvements, I think that there are opportunities whether like Commissioner Staudt had mentioned, grant opportunities or other donation opportunities. Whether we can go back to Park Place or some of the other people, to look at ways to help us fund that the completion of this project. I would then put it in between 7 and 8.

Commissioner Staudt – Boy, I really think that puts out a bad message, going into this public hearing regarding this grant, I really do. If this is that low on our priority scale and the City Council is committed to the matching portion of this grant, that’s a more significant investment than items 4 and 5 on our existing priority list. You know, I know we don’t want to really talk about reprioritizing, I think we’re just being very politically correct at this point, saying the A.D.A. transition plan and the hazardous tree removal are truly priorities of Parks, Recreation and Forestry. I think that’s a really political statement, not political but they’re needs that are not going to be met. It’s a nice, politically correct thing to say that we’re going to ask for a $125,000.00 for A.D.A. and $200,000.00 for hazardous tree removal, but we have about as much chance of getting that money as I do having it dropped on my lap right now. If we’re going to sit here and prioritize based on reality, then I would much rather, I think we have a much better chance of getting the $80,000.00. That is in the priority #1 through the grant process, than we do in getting any other amount that’s on this list. For us to say that it is a 7, 8, or 9th level priority, I think completely confounds the message that we put out; that we support the grant. We’re basically saying that grant is 8th or 9th on our list. I’m not saying we need to have all $240,000.00 as a priority item, maybe that’s one of the issues is to break out this and but I think we’re putting out totally the wrong message to the next public hearing; that is not that important to us, therefore why should the city spend $40,000.00 of their money on matching the grant. I would be very concerned, I don’t particularly like it as our #1 priority. On the flip side, what are we most likely have the chance of getting and what message are we putting out regarding the grant unless we leave that very high on our list?

Commissioner Paul – Any other comments relative to the priority of the items?

Commissioner Enright – You don’t believe there would be any question that we’re making a connection to a trail through wetlands or passive park land that’s not even been developed? The pathway won’t be up for at least another year, I’m just questioning public view on making that #1 priority over A.D.A. which I would think we would hear more of a ruckus if we were dropping that lower. The hazardous tree removal, I mean that is just devastating this area.

Commissioner Staudt – My only question is, is it realistic that we’re going to be funded for these things? I mean, I totally agree that if we were bidding for funding that’s was existing, and bidding for funding that was there for us to acquire that we would be remiss in not attempting to fund those two first. I don’t believe that A.D.A. or hazardous tree removal has dropped in our priority scale at all, as a result of the opportunity we have for the Singh trail connection. However, there is very, very limited capital improvement funds and as a result of what’s out there we’re really kind of not just talking, about the capital improvement funds but we’re talking about the grant opportunities and the support of Council for those grant opportunities. If we drop this down, why would they want to support an $80,000.00 grant if we don’t feel like it’s a critical part of our Capital Improvement Budget?

Commissioner Paul – I have two comments relative to Commissioner Staudt’s feedback. One, is that the grant will be based on the plan, not necessarily what’s in the Capital Improvement Budget. But, the plan and the goal to have everything completed. It doesn’t necessarily have to state that it has to be in the budget today, funded for, and you know ready to be spent. So I think the grant will still have merits, as long as everybody understands that it is our intent and our plan to complete the project. I think that that is certainly our intent; to complete the project. However, I think that it would be not a good sign for the City Council and for other people that have been working closely with us, including staff on these other items for multiple years and to watch them go by the way side while something else slides in there. I just don’t think that it sends a good message to staff; I don’t think that it sends a good message to City Council and I don’t think it makes a difference relative to the grant. I think the grant is critical and important and I think that we share that it is our intent, our plan, and our interest to complete this, that’s great. Ideally, we should have had the money for these other items long ago and it would be nice to make sure we get them and get them done now. Director Auler?

Director Auler – If I may, it does make a difference for the grant application and public hearing comment. One of the things that the D.N.R. does is they come out, they look at our 5 year plan, they look at what’s going on in the area, and when they do their site visits they look at how does trail head and connection help alternative transportation and recreation use within the community. We score much higher in that category, which is one of the reasons why we did this as a grant application versus an L.W.C.F. grant application for ball field improvements. We had extensive conversations with D.N.R. and they felt that this project would rate very high and a ball field project would rate extremely low, as it falls in line with their grant funding priorities. So I just wanted to share that with the commission. If I could make a recommendation, I don’t think we’re pushing items or reprioritizing, I think we’ve all been in agreement from day one that A.D.A. and hazardous tree removal are our # 1 and # 2 priorities. In terms of being able to leverage, $40,000.00 that Council’s committed and allocated for possibly getting a grant that would come up to $80,000.00. I guess I would suggest, if you’re not comfortable with it as it is presented to move that behind hazardous tree removal. So it would be

A.D.A. transition plan, hazardous tree removal, and then the trail connection. I do think what, I’m not trying to weigh in on issues here, but Commissioner Staudt has brought up a very good point from the standpoint of public input and the public hearing process.

Commissioner Paul – Let me ask you one other question then, was there a limit in dollar amount of the grant application. In other words, why wouldn’t you apply for the entire $240,000.00 for the pathway, in addition to the kiosk and the header piece of it?

Director Auler – The total, to answer your question, the limit is $500,000.00 and you have to put up $500,000.00 from the City. As I met with city administration, we discussed what’s possible that we could potentially make available.

Commissioner Paul – Let me now, we’re applying for an $80,000.00 grant. Correct?

Director Auler – That’s correct.

Commissioner Paul – We would have to match that.

Director Auler – We’re applying for a $40,000.00 grant and matching that.

Commissioner Paul – If we were going to apply for $40,000.00 and we would have to match that $40,000.00, and in order to get that $40,000.00 we’re going to spend this $40,000.00 plus another $240,000.00. Why wouldn’t we ask for half of $320,000.00 and then get half of $320,000.00. Do you follow me?

Director Auler – Having the amount of match available in hand.

Commissioner Paul – Right, but we’re going to spend more money to get less. Do you follow me?




Commissioner Staudt – One way we could look at this very clearly, by Council approving the $40,000.00 should we get this grant, we just got $40,000.00 of capital improvement money that turned into $80,000.00.

Commissioner Paul – But if they were to approve this $240,000.00 to complete the pathway why wouldn’t you adjust your grant and ask for the $160,000.00 and match it with $160,000.00. Do you see what I’m saying? It makes all the, why, why would you ask?

Commissioner Staudt – Because a piece of something is better than a piece of nothing. We aren’t likely to get $160,000.00 from Council. We got committed $40,000.00 from already from Council. Their stepping up to a $160,000.00 commitment is unheard of.

Commissioner Paul – Then, then what we’re asking them to do, is we’re not asking them to come up with $240,00.00 we’re actually asking them to come up with $280,000.00. That’s the commitment we’re asking them for. Correct?

Director Auler – If that were to be appropriated, we would discuss with D.N.R. an amendment to the grant application so we could leverage those monies. Which relates to what you are suggesting.

Commissioner Paul – So, in the initial grant application we should ask for the ability to provide an addendum to the grant.

Director Auler – There is, my understanding is there is an opportunity to provide amendments to the grant, if it’s done before it gets too long in the process. We won’t know what’s available from Council until they have their budget discussions in April and May. Based on budget items, I don’t think it’s realistic to go to Council and request a commitment of $160,000.00. We did get a commitment for $40,000.00.

Commissioner Paul – What I would like is two things. One would be for the next meeting to understand, what is the ability to go back and get additional funds? The second one would be is in the future, that we would discuss this as a group or as a subcommittee, such that we have a strategy going forward, because I think we’re kind of piecemealing this thing together and it’s going to end up costing the City more money. Outside of that, I’m open to any recommendations relative to adjusting the priority.

Commissioner Staudt – I move that we adjust the Singh trail connection priority from # 1 to # 3 behind A.D.A. and hazardous tree removal.

Commissioner Enright – I second that motion.

Deputy Director Lewis – Calling the vote on the motion:

Commissioner Enright –Yes

Commissioner Kopeika – No

Commissioner Paul – No

Commissioner Place – Yes

Commissioner Staab – Yes

Commissioner Staudt – Yes

Commissioner Paul - The motion carries 4-2, which is good. All right the next item on the agenda is discussions related to the strategic planning sub-committee to review and make recommendations on recreation programs.


1. Strategic planning sub-committee to review and make recommendations on recreation programs.

Commissioner Paul – O.K. just to kick this item off, what we would be asking the Strategic Planning Sub-Committee to do is to provide the community input relative to the recreation programs so the staff and Director Auler and Deputy Director Lewis can have maybe a better understanding of the community’s interest and inputs relative to the recreation programs we offer today and that we might offer in the future. With that I am open for discussion.

Commissioner Staab – Don’t we do that with surveys and follow ups and so on and so forth presently, by getting their input, you know post and pre as to recommendations plans, through participants and surveys of the community?

Director Auler – We do obtain that information from the program evaluation forms. There is an opportunity for citizens to give that input as well as in our brochure; we have the feedback form for citizens to respond as well as in the city newsletter.

Commissioner Staudt – I would support creating such a part of the Strategic Planning Committee. I think that programs, and we would really have to define what programs mean, and the extent that the sub-committee would be involved in it. I think it’s very worthwhile for us to have a much higher level of scrutiny then we generally have during a commission meeting and a sub-committee could dig into much more of the detail, could look at more of the details, could participate in some of the planning process, not necessarily from the staff level but from an oversight level, so that they can come back and give us a different view of it. I would very much support that and I think that the strategic planning group is the appropriate committee to do it under because many of the things we’re talking about I think would be in consideration of adherence to our strategic plan and our long term goals. So I would support this.

Commissioner Paul – O.K. Any other questions. I

Commissioner Enright – I would like to echo everything you just said, I think it should fall under the Strategic Planning Sub-Committee. I have children out in these programs and I’m hearing a lot from these coaches. There was one issue about the basketball, a bunch of coaches from last year wished they were more involved in the process for making this year’s team, cause there are some very lopsided teams even though the children were all ranked prior years. The coaches thought they were going to be involved in making the teams for the following year, since they had first hand experience with these kids. That was not an issue and something like that would catch some of those issues.

Commissioner Staab – Who is on that Strategic Planning Committee, refresh my memory?

Commissioner Kopeika – I am.

Commissioner Paul – It is yourself.

Commissioner Kopeika – You are.

Commissioner Paul – And I think Commissioner, I will tell you in a second.

Commissioner Kopeika – Melissa.

Commissioner Paul –Is it Melissa? Yes, Melissa.

Commissioner Kopeika – I thought, I’m sorry can I comment? I think the idea has merit, particularly the Strategic Planning Committee because the long range things are pretty much now put on paper and we probably have the capacity to do some short range planning. I’ve always wondered the role of the commissioner in programming, because I don’t want to become any more unpopular than I might be, getting involved in choosing basketball. The methodology.

Commissioner Enright – You don’t need to micro-manage anything, just to have another set of eyes on things. We are the eyes and ears of our community, we are involved in a lot of things, and we do hear a lot of what’s going on. It’s just like I said, not to micro-manage anything, because I think everything’s going pretty well, they’ve got great people in place, wonderful programs. Just to have another view maybe another idea here and there, that would better lead the programs in the right direction.

Commissioner Place – I certainly agree with my fellow commissioners on a lot of their comments. I think, too, the Strategic Planning kind of absorbed the adult committee and the youth committees that we used to have. I think if we’re going to sit here and say you know what are some of the comments that we’re hearing out in the public, I think we need to maybe if we could even have some Parks and Rec staff there. If we’re going to talk about some of the youth programs you know have Wendy there, Derek you know I mean like what are you getting too from participants and so on and so forth, so that we’re not so much in a vacuum when we’re evaluating these things. So, I mean I think.

Commissioner Kopeika – I, oh I’m sorry. Go ahead.

Commissioner Place – No, please.

Commissioner Kopieka – I commented to Wendy and I mean just in my commissioner role I think it was last month they provided a packet on soccer evaluations. I read it and it said almost consistently, like the referees, pardon to anyone watching, were not effective. You know wouldn’t blow the whistle, talking to each other on their cell phones, a lot of poor comments. If we would take a certain, you know a couple of small thing, let’s say look at our referee programs. I know they’ve now gone to certification to NYSSA I think, we’re going to have them certified like the state is, and I think there’s opportunity to do that. There are in some of these situations, if you, we’ve made changes to programming, we’re going to recruit teams not by neighborhood anymore, we’re going to put them together – I think we did that a year and a half ago. I heard a lot about that, some good – some not so good. We can review policies and make some recommendations, I just don’t know if we can ever make the community as a whole happy with programming, because people are very interested and active in their children’s sports. The adult programs I don’t know, I haven’t been that close to it. I would say that if we do do this, I think we should look at specific things based on input we get, where there might be an improvement. Not just let’s look at all programming and what we can do to improve it, because it doesn’t need to be fixed, in many cases it’s working great – very well.

Commissioner Paul – I have two comments. One would be, the intent of reviewing the programs would not to be not to get into the day-to-day operations or into the specific rules and guidelines of a particular event or youth sport or anything like that. It really would be focused on different events or different programs or different activities that we feel, as members of the community and representatives of the community, are of value to this community and they may be things that we’re doing today and they may be things we’re not doing today. As well, there may be some things that we are doing today that maybe, aren’t our core or we don’t feel are our core, our community and the community people that we know and represent don’t feel that it is a core, and therefore we should share that with staff. To me that would be the primary focus of this and I think it would require presentations and discussions with some of the staff members related to the programs and how they feel as well about either the success or not success of it. And then secondly, I guess my thought was related to Commissioner Staab and Commissioner Enright. It seems to me Commissioner Enright has you know children in the community that participate in a lot of these activities and then as well Commissioner Staab has just now been asked to be a board member on the Novi Park Foundation would it be an opportunity to swap on the subcommittees, to allow that to happen and that might allow for us to have a good, effective team there. So those are kind of my thoughts and feelings and feedback.

Commissioner Staudt – One thing I would like to also talk about real quickly, is during the strategic planning process we made quite a number of commitments to consider programs, that I don’t know what the next steps are on those, I think it’s very critical that our strategic planning group take that part and extend it to looking at the commitments that we made during the strategic planning process. That’s one of the critical areas I’d be interested in seeing and that is the implementation of new programs that are part of our plan, but also the consideration of how do some of these, and I’m not talking about things like men’s softball and those types of things, I’m talking about environmental type programs and you know the opportunities with the trail blazers coming down the road, and a lot of different programs that we really haven’t hashed out all the details of. You know we talked to Councilman Singh at one point and look at the ethnic diversity of some of the programs we have here. Staff perhaps is doing that, but we don’t really get reporting back on that. Those are some of the fundamental things that I’d like to see a strategic planning group look into and report back to us and maybe pick out a area each quarter to concentrate on and come back and say "Hey, you know what we’ve looked over all the programs and you know what we have no programs that have anything to do with ethnic diversity and we need to work on that". Those are the kinds of things that I think strategic planning has a special focus on. I too would support having, I’m expecting Commissioner Staab to have quite a contribution on the foundation side of the board, and I don’t want to tax his already extremely busy schedule.

Commissioner Paul – O.K. if there’s no other discussion I think we can move on and we can take a look at something for the next meeting.

Commissioner Kopieka – I would put together action plan of what the objectives might be for this committee.

Commissioner Paul – O.K. that would be great.

Commissioner Staab – So we’re going to convene the committee between now and our next meeting?

Commissioner Paul – My thought would be is that Commissioner Kopieka would put together a proposal that we would have as an action item for the next meeting.

Commissioner Kopieka – I will try to provide E-Mail.

2. Grant Application Strategies

Commissioner Paul – We’ve already gone over this earlier in the evening. The discussion I want to initiate a little bit was taking a look at the various grant application opportunities that we have as an organization, and as staff, and McKenna Associates, taking a look at six to twelve months out. Whether they’re matching or non-matching, whether they strategically fit with our Recreation Master Plan or not, and how do we go about planning for them; much like we talked about earlier with regard to the bike path concept. I’ll open that up for discussion.

Commissioner Staudt – As chairman of the Resource Development Committee, I would very much volunteer my group to be much more involved in these grant creations. I really would like to know a lot more about what’s going on on these grants before we read it in the newspaper and before I see it third hand. I really think that it’s critical that the commissioners be involved very early on, in both the selection of the grants, which we are involved we’ve been notified about some of these. In the creation of the grants, I’d be happy to proofread, I mean that was one of the reasons that I joined the Commission was to pursue the grants and foundation and I’d be very pleased to read some of the things that you’re putting together, but I’d really like to see them before they happen. So, that’s my comment.

Commissioner Paul – Any other feedback, discussion? Commissioner Enright?

Commissioner Enright – Director Auler, there is this grant opportunities tracking sheet that was in our packet. Is this something you do, do you have support with this when you’re working on these, or would you welcome support or assistance?

Director Auler – Any help you guys want to give would be great. If you want to research grants, this is the list of grants that we’ve come up with to date. There’s also a status column that says which ones we’re applying for and which ones we’re not applying for. Apologize if you felt you were not aware of the grants. Again, the commission met, following that the Council hired the firm and all the grants were due. I had felt that you were aware of that. Apparently, you weren’t as aware as you’d like to be.

Commissioner Staudt – Have you ever, have we ever presented any of the grant applications at all to the Commission? I mean, we get a lot of contracts and things, I’m not sure what they look like at this point, the one you’re submitting.

Director Auler – All of the grants that we’ve submitted have all happened since the last meeting.

Commissioner Staudt – It’s not part of this packet, is it?
Director Auler – No, oh no. They’re ---

Commissioner Staudt – Voluminous.

Director Auler – But I’ll be glad to forward them to you.

Commissioner Staudt – Great, I’ll be glad to read them.

Commissioner Paul – Thank you, any other comments?

Commissioner Place – Under the Galyan’s Community Giving there’s no notation in the status, but I assume we haven’t applied for that.

Director Auler – That’s correct.

Commissioner Staab – Personally, I’d prefer to track the grants on your tracking sheet. I’ll manage it by exception, where I want to get involved. I don’t want to see the minutia of all these grant applications, because I trust that you and the people that are writing the grants will do an excellent job.

Commissioner Place – I do have another question. Director Auler, with the grant too we have to keep in mind that so many of the grants are matching grants. Is that true? I mean the majority.

Director Auler – Probably almost all of them.

Commissioner Place – So we would obviously have to do our homework, then go to Council. I mean what do you think our odds are down the road after you know the budget is approved, everything goes along, you know we can get an opportunity to get a grant, council could be our stumbling block if they don’t have the money to give us. Right?

Director Auler – That’s correct, most all of the grants are going to require a match. If the match is not available, we certainly can’t pursue the grant.

Commissioner Place – I guess that’s what I’m saying, it’s almost like a Catch 22. You know, we can do all this and then Council will say "It sounds wonderful, we’d like to do that, but we don’t have the money to give you".

Director Auler – Just to familiarize the Commission with the process that’s been established. There’s a grant review committee that consists of 8 or 9 staff members throughout the City, that meets, reviews all the grant opportunities, identifies if it’s a project that falls in line in terms of the City’s capital plan, or the park capital plan, or the road capital plan, what those needs may be, what the opportunity for acquiring the grant and getting the grant awarded is, what’s the opportunity for having the match available from the city budget. All that goes to Council, for Council to review, and authorize it to be written either in house or out sourced and authorizing the match at that time. That’s the process that we’re utilizing currently. There have been many grants we haven’t pursued, the amount of match that we discussed earlier, is the likelihood of having $250,000.00 as a match? Probably not, based on the last two years of funding.

Commissioner Paul – Any other comment?

Commissioner Enright – No, but I’d like to say. These are grants we haven’t applied for in recent years. Just the fact that we are applying for these grants, is just a great step in the right direction.

Commissioner Staudt – I have heard though, I don’t know if it was through listening to a Council meeting or reading in the newspaper that there are some Council members who would like the process to include the commission. The existing process using staff and then presenting it directly to Council does not incorporate the Commission element of it. That’s the part that I’m emphasizing. Whether it’s through a committee of the Commission or the Commission as a whole, somewhere I think we need to be involved in this process.

Director Auler – I would concur with that. Again, the only challenge we’ve had is from the time we met and the firm was hired and the grant applications had to be in, you know ---

Commissioner Staudt – I’m always available, you know.

Director Auler – What we can do is have a special meeting, but sometimes as you all know, that’s challenging getting a quorum together. Sometimes it’s been challenging getting the committees together. Certainly will do that in the future.

Commissioner Staudt – Great, thank you.

Commissioner Paul – I just had one comment in regards to the grants, I think we had talked about it earlier, I think that with the Commission involvement I think are opportunities to take a look at adjusting the grants to maximize the potential and for us to do the job that we were asked to by City Council, that is to make recommendations to them. Where we may not be able to get all the funds we would like all the time, it certainly is an opportunity to go after those and I think we missed one here, unfortunately, that I would have liked to of had a chance to go after, because I think it’s an excellent opportunity to complete the project and complete it minimizing city funds. With that in mind, the next item on the agenda is Commissioner Comments. Does anybody have any Commissioner comments?


Commissioner Place: Thank you, I guess I would just like to say that Kathy Crawford will be missed. Certainly she’s been around this community, born and raised here in Novi, so certainly she will continue to be a force and it has been a pleasure working with her.

Commissioner Staab: I would like to echo those comments too. I’ve known Kathy Crawford since I came to town, ever since I was a Jaycee and so on and so forth and she’s been a real asset to the community. I know she’s not going to be leaving town, she’ll be participating in her own senior programs but I wish her the best in retirement. Also, I had the opportunity to attend Tracie’s new program Sun, Sand and so on and that was a real good community activating program that I saw a lot of people out here. I didn’t get here till late in the day and so on but there was a lot of participants and so on. I also had the opportunity to go to the Choralaire Concert that was on Valentine’s Day or the day before, Friday the 13th to be perfectly honest, at the Meadowbrook Commons and that was well received and well done too. A lot of good activities in the Department.

Commissioner Staudt: I had an opportunity to see the play South Pacific and I thought it was excellent. Again, well done and I did here that Linda has a slight medical issue and I did get an email from her today and it sounds like she’s come through that issue well. Again, unbelievable professionalism and talent you know for a small community theatre and a heck of a job from both Linda and Carrie, with Dick participating in the play and having his wife in the hospital – now that’s show biz.

Commissioner Place: I’m going Saturday, so I’m looking forward to it.

Commissioner Paul: I only had a couple of comments. One is that my family had a chance to attend the Fun, Sun in the Sand and it was an excellent event, very well received I think by the community. Congratulations, I think that was the first year we had done that program so that was a great turn out from what I heard. Secondly, as I mentioned earlier Kathy will sorely be missed but it was great to have the opportunity for her to serve the City for so long. Thanks very much Kathy and good luck to you. With that in mind, seeing no other items, a motion for adjournment?


The meeting was adjourned at 9:15. (Staab, Enright C - UN)


Signed, David Paul, Chairperson


Signed, Charles Staab, Vice Chairperson