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PARKS, RECREATION AND FORESTRY
The meeting was called to order at 7:30 PM with Commissioner Staab presiding.
ROLL CALL: Commissioner Burke (Present), Enright (Present)
Kopeika (Absent), Schwarzlose (Present), Staab (Present), Staudt (Present), Wingfield (Present).
ALSO PRESENT: Randy Auler, Director
Jack Lewis, Deputy Director
APPROVAL OF AGENDA:
Commissioner Staab asked if there were any additions or deletions to the agenda. The agenda was approved as presented.
I. Novi Parks Foundation Report
Commissioner Staudt reportedthat the Foundation has received the 501(c) 3 status from the IRS and will shortly begin operations. Mr. Staab has been elected President and Chairman of the Foundation and Lou Martin has been elected Vice Chairman and Commissioner Staudt will be Treasurer and Secretary. An initial meeting with the Resource and Development Committee and Director Auler was held and the development of a fund raising plan is in the first stage. Also currently waiting for the solicitation license.
Commissioner Staudt asked for any questions.
Commissioner Staab stated that he has been approached by a couple of organizations regarding fund raising. Once we get the solicitation license finalized will they be able to donate funds to the foundation and us distribute the amount?
Commissioner Staudt – Yes, as long as the purpose matches the reason that the foundation was set up which is to better Parks, Recreation and Forestry programs, park land acquisition, to make available to needy families and children the programs of Novi Parks and Recreation. We will accept restricted funds for specific programs and when those funds are turned over to the Foundation.
1. Resource Development Committee
Commissioner Staudt stated that they have been charged with the initial investigation of the naming rights and are going to fill out our committee structure tonight. They are expecting Director Auler to provide us with some recommendations.
Commissioner Staab - Included in our report is our updates on our Community Recreation plan correct?
Commissioner Staudt – I think we have an adhoc committee for the strategic plan.
2. Park Development Committee
Commissioner Enright stated that at Community Sports Park, fields #1, 3 and 5 have been irrigated, the work is done and completed. Field #2 will be ready in the spring. Around the soccer concession stand (part of our A.D.A.) the accessible route was completed this week. At Lakeshore Park the beach pathway is going out to bid this winter and will be installed and ready for next season. Also, the Novi Youth Baseball league in conjunction with the City had a work day at CSP and had 60 volunteers. We are hoping to continue this again in the spring and fall.
Commissioner Staudt asked for any questions
Commissioner Staab stated that he applauds Novi Youth Baseball for working in September which shows a good coalition between the Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department and the Baseball league.
1. Deputy Director Report
Deputy Director Lewis stated tomorrow night we will be hosting our annual Halloween Enchanted Evening from 6 – 9 P.M. at the Civic Center. It will include a dinner, magic show, and also a haunted hallway.
Commissioner Staab asked for any questions.
Commissioner Staudt stated the concession operations at Powers Park this year were exceptional. Are there any options that include them running this on a direct basis? They did a nice job, fresh food, just a great job this summer.
2. Director Report
Director Auler stated that the State Facilitated Emerald Ash Borer Tree Removal Contract that was announced by Governor Granholm is essentially a state bid where communities can participate in hopes of getting better prices for tree removal. The biggest challenge will be logistics, and we are waiting to hear if that is an opportunity for us to participate or not and will bring a recommendation back once we have that finalized.
Commissioner Staab asked for any questions.
AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION: None
1. Approval of the September 9, 2004 regular meeting minutes.
A motion was made to approve the minutes as written.
2. Election of officers, Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson
A motion was made to nominate Comissioner Enright as Chairperson for the 2004/05 year.
(Staudt, Wingfield C-UN)
A motion was made to nominate Commissioner Staudt as Vice-Chairperson for the 2004/05 year.
(Wingfield, Enright C-UN)
Director Auler gave a brief description of the Resource Development Committee. It was formed to help staff with the creation of alternative funding sources and/or other opportunities that may be out there such as sponsorship program, department fund raising program. Volunteer coordination and bringing partnerships together.
The Park Development Committee is a committee that would help oversee development projects within the park, such as Community Sports Park ball field #2 project, the recent irrigation project, and entryway to Lakeshore Park. As well as helping with partnerships and bringing those to the table from a park improvement standpoint.
The Resource Development Committee will entertain volunteers for serving on this Committee for the 2004/05 term. Commissioner Enright suggested that she stands off the Resource Development Committee and the Park Development Committee and have the six remaining Commissioners fill the positions. Commissioner Enright also suggested an Executive Committee could be formed which would take the chairpersons of each of the two groups. Commissioner Staab suggested that the Executive Committee be expanded to include the Chairperson of the Park Foundation. That would be a public meeting. My concern is that the Foundation is such a big part I think it will get to the point that it will stand alone from the Resource Development Committee. It is a concern that it will cause a quorum situation.
Commissioner Wingfield asked if that would that be a third Committee?
Commissioner Staudt stated it is a Committee under the Resource and Development Committee.
Commissioner Enright asked if we couldn’t keep it within that Committee and meet with Commissioner Staudt or Commissioner Staab. I think that once we get into a quorum we will open things up. Commissioner Staab stated he sensed the Commission would prefer that.
Commissioner Wingfield stated that he would like to volunteer for the Park Development Committee.
The Resource and Development Committee - Commissioners Staab, Staudt and Burke, with Commissioner Staudt acting as Chairperson
Park Development Committee – Commissioners Kopeika, Wingfield, and Schwarzlose, with Commissioner Wingfield acting as Chairperson.
Commissioner Staab was thanked for his tenure as Chairperson.
1. Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) improvements: Deputy Director Lewis
Total dollar amount needed to complete remaining barriers is $177,650.00
Commissioner Wingfield asked where the money came from for these improvements up to this time.
Deputy Director Lewis stated that the money has come out of the Capital Improvement Budget and Operating Funds.
Commissioner Staudt asked how much will be from Capital Improvement and how much will be from Operating Funds of the $177,650. There seems to be more maintenance items. If you needed a number that to get this project done – what do you feel that number would be?
Deputy Director Lewis - Some of the barriers that we wanted to try and complete in this years Operating Budget are listed that I feel we can finish in this years Operating Budget amounts to about $1,000. When you add accessible picnic tables and other items that may look like a small amount, I felt we would not be able to correct those barriers with the Operating Budget funds. That money would be considered Capital money. That is the process that Director Auler and I went through when were preparing this.
Director Auler stated that a lot of the items are items that could be budgeted through the Operating Budget and would not qualify for Capital. The way the Capital Budget is done, capital outlay for the City is $5,000 or more. I would estimate $80,000 - $100,000 of this $177,650 would fall into the capital outlay.
Commissioner Staudt stated that you don’t need additional funds from the Operating Budget, what is needed is $80,000.
Director Auler stated that if we don’t get additional funding through the Operating Budget, it will deter some of these items for a couple of years, because our Operating Budget each year is based on a 2% growth rate. This year we are able to absorb some of these items within our Operating Budget but we couldn’t do all of the items out of next years Operating budget unless we received additional funding.
Commissioner Staudt stated in the presentation to Council, a combination of capital improvement money in the $80,000 range and another $100,000 that might be spread over a year or two but would be operating funds. They would need to be specifically earmarked for these projects because we are only going to get a small percentage increase, which wouldn’t cover all of the work that needs to be done.
Director Auler agreed, stated anything above that 2% goes onto a service improvement form. It lists items that Council/Commission considers in terms of recommendations to Council for the budget, as well as the administration. Commissioner Staudt asked if we were able to get the additional $80,000 for the Capital Improvement items could we complete those next year?
Director Auler stated I believe that we could, some of the items could be contracted out.
Commissioner Staudt asked if the visual emergency alarms are specifically an A.D.A. issue or are there other safety issues related to those?
Director Auler stated that the Fire Marshall has inspected our building regularly and is not aware that it is an item from that perspective. I do know that it’s an item to comply with A.D.A.
Commissioner Burke do you have any questions – none.
Commissioner Enright stated on the summary page that item #5 should be 291 out of 316. Also is there a deadline that we must have all of these projects complete?
Deputy Director Lewis stated that on the original report it allowed up to 2008 for the items to be completed.
Commissioner Schwarzlose any questions – none.
Commissioner Wingfield – none.
Commissioner Staab asked out of the $100,000 we are looking at, is there any grant money or donations we are looking at to compliment this number?
Deputy Director Lewis stated that we are always looking to see what grants are available.
Commissioner Staab asked if there was anything available at this point in time?
Deputy Director Lewis stated not that he is aware of.
Commissioner Staab stated as of May 2005, we’ll have 77 items remaining.
Commissioner Burke stated that if the ice arena is self-sustaining and have $2,800 worth of improvement to meet A.D.A. for the ice arena, couldn’t they take care of that.
Director Auler stated that is our plan in terms of the budget process as to include that as well as some of the improvement at Meadowbrook Commons. They are under our auspices but they are separate enterprise funds both of which are self-supporting.
Commissioner Staudt – I’ve added up the items over $5,000, I came up with $92,000. Could you quantify those numbers for us? $92,000 sounds like a reasonable amount of money to take care of something that has been hanging around for years.
2. Overview of department budget submittal process – Director Auler
I’ve included in your packet a budget overview section of the current years budget that outlines the City Council policy as it relates to the guiding of the Operating Budget, contingency funds etc. Also it is last years calendar in terms of the budget preparation, our role in the past, in terms of the Commission’s role has been for staff to present to the Commission our capital improvement budget and asked for the Commission to provide input on that and eventually reach a recommendation which is forwarded to City Council. The Operating Budget has been an administrative staff function to fall within the guidelines, which last year is 2.3% to prepare and submit that information. One of the key components as it relates to the Capital Improvement budget is the Commission is one of the first entities that looks at park capital improvement budget and through our discussions at this meeting. A recommendation goes to City Council and the Capital Improvement Committee and then to the Planning Commission and then to Administration. The Capital Improvement Committee consists of four members, two Planning Commission members and two City Council members, which by law is established. Their function is to look at what all the projects are for not only in our department but City wide and potential funding sources. They prioritize and rank and forward on to City Council and the Planning Commission. The Planning Commission is the body that approves the Capital Improvement budget recommendation that is forwarded to City Council. By the time it gets to City Council there is a recommendation from the Park Commission as it relates to our specific projects, a recommendation for all of the City wide projects from the Capital Improvement Committee and then a recommendation from the Planning Commission for all the projects for the City as well as the Administration’s recommendation for Capital Improvement projects. Council considers it during the budget sessions. In the past they have had four or five budget sessions to focus on policy and planning issues and then get into the Operating Budget and Capital Improvement budget. This is just a brief overview of how the Capital Budget comes together, in terms of the Operating Budget, staff prepares that within the guidelines that were given. Anything that is requested above those guidelines, such as the need for improved supplies for maintenance to improve the park landscaping or playground surfacing etc., is completed on a service improvement form. That outlines the program, what the funds will be utilized for and those are considered by Council as a separate item during the budget process so it can be added into the Operating Budget or not be added into the Operating Budget. The dates have not been set this year, Council will be setting a goal setting session for Council goals maybe December or January. Once the date is set, that is when the budget process kicks in. We utilize the Community Recreation Plan, Council Goals and also the City Master Plan to help prepare our budget. In terms of trying to get ahead of the curve, this is where the Park Development Committee would come into play to help prioritize and discuss our capital improvement requests and needs before it comes to the Commission for a discussion and try to work through the prioritization and then eventually move on to Council. The Commission as a whole or individual is welcome to participate in the budget process. You can attend the Capital Improvement Committee meeting, it is an opportunity for further input regarding the projects. Secondly, you can participate during the open budget process on the budget sessions. In the past they are on a Saturday or two and then one or two evenings. In terms of preparing our budget, staff will begin the budget process in the next two the three weeks and begin to have the Committee meetings with the Commission to start working through some of the projects, our needs, etc. The other opportunity for the Commission to be involved is by listening to the citizens regarding areas for improvement and share those with staff and also with Council members. Director Auler asked for questions.
Commissioner Wingfield asked of the $280,000 for the Community Recreation Plan this year,will get some money in that comparable?
Director Auler responded that he didn’t know how much money is available, if there is any, we had a year where we didn’t have any capital funding. We had a year with significant capital funding, then this year $88,000. So it is money that is allocated after the basic services are provided through the operating budget that Council can consider for projects. They have to weigh out the needs and the biggest impact that they can have in terms of serving the community. One of the key components as we work through the capital budget process is identifying our projects and prioritizing them and added a dollar value to them. How it is presented to City Council then follows our recreation plan, which is the capital improvement budget within our recreation plan. I would recommend updating our five-year capital plan and we would submit that to the state as an amendment to our plan, and would define those projects in detail.
Commissioner Wingfield replied that answered his question. So the budget I was reading was from two years ago, and this year we got $88,000. So we would determine the project and priorities we want, put a dollar amount on them, and submit them in a priority ranking and they would basically tell us how much money we would have and we would come back and redo that?
Director Auler stated that in the past, once we have submitted that, Council is the body that makes the decision to appropriate the funds. Last year we did have the opportunity to re-prioritize the $88,000.
Commissioner Staudt stated that the fund balance is as of 6-30-04 was projected to be $3,875,262, and remembered some conversation that came in $700,000 better.
Director Auler stated he couldn’t affirm that but believes the fund balance came in better than we thought. He will check with Kathy when the projections become available.
Commissioner Staudt stated he thought we had the actual fund balance for 6-30-04 and thought those dollars are there now as we address some of these issues. He wanted to know what portion of the mill is currently not being used?
Director Auler stated that all of the park millage is being used.
Commissioner Staudt asked what about general fund?
Director Auler replied he would have to check with Kathy.
Commissioner Staudt stated that the mills actually dropped but our taxes per thousand increased.
Director Auler – The park millage rate each year rolls back due to the Headlee Amendment. Our millage is actually a half a mill. In 2003 it was .3886 now it is .3857. The reason that the revenue side of it has been going up is because of the growth in the community. At some point, when we reach build-out there could be some issues. Our consultants are working on a fiscal analysis on how much funding will it take to operate the City at build-out. So that Council can begin preparing for that now. It believe it should be done possibly by the end of the year.
3. Director Auler gave a power point presentation on the Community Recreation Plan 2003-2008, a one-year progress report and review of action strategies.
Commissioner Enright stated for about $90,000 the ash trees and stump removal issue could be accomplished. She asked could we go to Council and completely take this off our list?
Commissioner Schwarzlose asked if we knew when the State funding will be available?
Director Auler stated the funding will be a bid process to get a qualified list of contractors that would remove the trees. We possibly could use the contractor we used last year who removed about 600 trees, he has expressed an interest.
Commissioner Enright asked if weather will come into play?
Director Auler stated the stumps could be done year-round until we get too much snow or ice.
Commissioner Burke asked if the diseased and non-diseased trees alike were included in the inventory?
Director Auler stated we inventoried all of the ash trees on street right-of-ways and also the parks.
Commissioner Burke asked if the area between the subdivisions is a City easement and would also become part of the inventory and was that included?
Director Auler replied I do not know.
Commissioner Burke stated that there has to be hundreds of ash trees that are left, is there any program to save these trees?
Director Auler stated that the areas that have been successful with the injections are areas outside of the core area. We are inside the core area. Some property owners have tried the injections and we are still seeing a decline in those trees. Steve indicated that injections would not be of benefit to us.
Commissioner Wingfield asked if have received the $20,000 reimbursement grant yet.
Director Auler stated that in the spring, we will get bids for 160 trees which will be inspected by the State after planting, once approved we will receive the $20,000.
Commissioner Staab asked for additional comments.
Commissioner Staudt felt he was hesitant to change proprieties concerning the action strategies.
Director Auler questioned whether the A.D.A. items and the emerald ash borer problem were still the number one and two issues.
Commissioner Staab felt that the A.D.A. items were not the number one priority.
Commissioner Staudt had a different recollection.
Director Auler stated that the strategies are not changing but wanted to know if they are a different priority.
Commissioner Staudt wanted clarification on the emerald ash borer list.
Commissioner Enright stated she thought the 50/50 cooperative program should go to City Council. Also if the City had some funds available we could complete the emerald ash borer items.
Commissioner Staudt asked if some of the priorities have changed on the Action Plan.
Director Auler stated that they are paraphrased differently.
Commissioner Wingfield asked if we could re-prioritize the items.
Commissioner Staudt felt that paraphrasing the action strategies was not beneficial.
Director Auler offered to go over the wording.
Commissioner Staab felt a starting point should be clarified.
Commissioner Burke stated that the action strategy for next year should be the goal.
Commissioner Enright restated that by eliminating the emerald ash borer problems with money from Council an entire item could be erased from the list.
Commissioner Schwarzlose stated that eliminating the emerald ash borer problem would not lessen the A.D.A. priority.
Commissioner Wingfield stated he was in agreement with Commissioner Enright.
Director Auler stated the strategies were based on community input, part of the five year plan, to improve service to the community. From a staff perspective we are working on each one daily. This helps set the stage for our discussion with Council. In terms of progress it shows our focus whether it be ash trees, or A.D.A. It helps guide the staff in terms of daily operation and budget.
Commissioner Enright wanted an update on the 50/50 tree replacement program.
Director Auler stated the overview was included in the packets. The Commission can review it one more time and take it to Council.
Commissioner Wingfield asked if the Committee should meet and come back later or discuss it now.
Commissioner Staab stated he wanted to re-prioritize the items.
Commissioner Enright agreed.
Commissioner Staudt felt the Capital Improvement Budget is driven by the Action Strategies. He felt the most important strategy was achieving higher funding levels and using the strategies as a department guide.
Commissioner Wingfield stated the nine items are tools.
Director Auler stated the strategies do not change, and need to be completed. The number one challenge is the funding and helps set the stage for discussion with Council and with the budget process. They are not the priorities that Council looks at in determining the funding for the budget. That would be the capital improvement recommendation comes in. These are the guiding principles that assist us in setting priorities for the capital budget.
Commissioner Staudt asked if re-prioritizing the nine strategies would assist us in the future in developing our capital improvements. He felt the numbers were not relevant and the cost estimate could be cleared up. He did not want to re-prioritize based on budget.
Commissioner Staab felt he was trying to set the strategies by year that is in agreement with the capital improvement plan.
Commissioner Staudt stated he thought we should go back a re-visit the capital improvement items. Some of the items in the action strategies have been moved around.
Director Auler stated that after Council allocated $88,000 we did re-prioritize the items.
Commissioner Staudt felt that it was an unusual circumstance to use the money as they saw fit. If we are going to go back and re-prioritize then we need to go back to the existing capital improvement plan for 2004/05 and re-access.
Commissioner Staab asked for a motion to move this back to Committee and the Committee comes up with recommendations for the November meeting.
Motion was seconded C-5 – 1, motion passed.
Commissioner Wingfield asked about the youth volleyball/basketball program.
Director Auler stated that everyone that was entered in the lottery was placed on a team.
Commissioner Schwarzlose – no comments.
Commissioner Enright expressed congratulations to those involved with the 501( C )3 status.
Commissioner Burke thanked all those involved with Fall for Novi. Also regarding the F750 truck, he wanted to know if that was available for changing light bulbs at the park?
Deputy Director Lewis responded saying we cannot use it to change the light bulbs it is too short.
Commissioner Staudt – no comments.
Commissioner Staab stated he attended the first picnic with the Historical Society and Fall for Novi, both excellent functions. Also wanted to congratulate Commissioner Staudt, Burke and Schwarzlose for the joining him at the appreciation breakfast at Meadowbrook Commons.
A motion was made a seconded to adjourn.
The meeting adjourned at 9:28 p.m.
Signed, Charles Staab, Chairperson
Signed, Marie Enright, Vice Chairperson