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PARKS, RECREATION AND FORESTRY
The meeting was called to order at 7:30 PM with Commissioner Enright presiding.
ROLL CALL: Commissioner Burke (Present), Enright (Present)
Schwarzlose (Present), Staab (Present), Staudt (Present), Wingfield (Present), Zyczynski (Present).
ALSO PRESENT : Rob Petty, Information Technology Manager
Wendy DuVall-Angelocci, Recreation Coordinator
APPROVAL OF AGENDA:
Moved by Commissioner Burke, seconded by Commissioner Staab to approve the agenda as written.
Voice Vote CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY
AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION: None.
Demonstration of software program for online program registration, facility reservations and sports league scheduling – Rob Petty, Information Technology Manager, Randy Auler, Director, Parks Recreation and Forestry.
Director Auler introduced Rob Petty and stated that he and Mr. Petty and their staffs have been reviewing needs within the Parks Recreation and Forestry department and then reviewed potential software solutions. A specific program has been chosen.
Mr. Petty stated that a needs assessment was first done from staff with feedback from residents and through Director Auler, from the Commission.
This provided four objectives that we needed from a software package.
The number one objective was online registration. Next, was an enhanced registration program especially in the areas of recording, to track data over a period of time. The third was to automate the league scheduling and the ability to modify what is automatically generated. Currently scheduling is done by spreadsheet and pencil. The last item is to automate the facility reservation module. Currently it is a book, which is handed around and checked for reservations.
The vendor we currently use is RecWare which is also the name of the current software. RecWare has gone on to become Active. Com. Their new product is called Safari. That looked like a natural change for us at the time the process was started. The "Cadillac" of software products called Class was purchased by Active. Com. during this review. Director Auler was familiar with this product so it was immediately reviewed and it was found that our current vendor offered a migration plan to that new product.
Communities who use Class, Safari, RecWare as well as other products were contacted and Class was the one most often mentioned. A man from Battle Creek was very pleased with the Class product.
Demonstrations were done by vendors in house. Some modules were demoed by staff as it related to their job function to get their feedback.
An upgrade versus a migration was looked at. The cost savings on upgrading was considerable compared to a new product and the data conversion.
The online registration presented some additional costs with different methods of approaching it. One is to host that website and bring it in house. The other approach is to give it all to a vendor and let them do the whole thing. When he and Director Auler first talked about it they had decided on a "hybrid" approach. We wanted to have the data base in house with all of the information but without the hosting responsibility.
The Active. Com offers not only the hosted but also a hybrid solution that we were looking for. They would handle the credit card and the website and we would have a link off of the City of Novi website. That helped to determine the Class software solution.
Mr. Petty presented some screen shots of the Ann Arbor Class program. He explained how the program for the online registration would work and that we could customize the program.
Mr. Petty stated that this item is scheduled for the October 10th City Council agenda. We still have to go through the contracting phase. During this timeframe the Parks, Recreation and Forestry department is going to be working on the marketing plan for the roll out of this both internally and online. He stated that there are a number of hours available on site for staff training as well as data migration and implementation.
It is planned that the product will be rolled out internally with no impact to the citizens who would walk up and register as usual. Once staff is familiar and the marketing program is out and the residents are aware of the online portion then that process will be rolled out with a tentative "go live" date in January.
Commissioner Burke asked that for the online registration a resident would click on an icon on the City of Novi website and they would then be directed to another website.
Mr. Petty confirmed this.
Commissioner Burke then asked if there would be a person on staff who would be in charge of this specific function or is this a "hands off" approach for us.
Mr. Petty stated that we will maintain software itself, the walk up registration and the data base all reside in this building and is maintained by him and his staff. They are also available to assist the resident but also the Novi Parks, Recreation and Forestry staff, which they currently do.
Commissioner Burke asked if this comes within the scope of the budget which was set aside for this software package or does it exceed or meet the budget.
Mr. Petty replied that it meets the budget.
Commissioner Staudt asked if a group or team wanted to sign up would they have to come in.
Mr. Petty stated that a team manager could use his credit card online or they could come in. We will be able to decide what is online for registration.
Commissioner Wingfield asked if someone could go online to reserve a pavilion at one of the parks.
Director Auler stated that we are looking a phased approach coming in. For facility reservations a person could go online in January to immediately see what is available. We will not begin the online registration for facilities at that time because we want to phase it in over time and may start it six months to a year down the line. It is a real time registration. It will take the registration immediately. Some things that need to be considered as to whether they are brought out immediately or phased in are things like day camp and basketball registration which are currently done by lottery. Within a year everything should be up and running.
Commissioner Wingfield stated that he is active in the Novi Youth Baseball League and there were issues using fields and facilities. Is this something through Derek he could have his fields available so that the person in charge of Novi Youth Baseball could have access to the site so they could coordinate and solve some of the problems or is that too complex?
Director Auler stated that may be something down the road because that may be an additional fee and technology issues that maybe involved. For the information of those involved in Novi Youth Baseball, we sit down in December and January and give the field schedule to Novi Youth Baseball. All of their coaches or managers go through their scheduler who is on their Board and they schedule their own fields, games and practices through that. They also issue their own permits. They give us the master schedule and we line and drag the fields. So we are not really involved in the scheduling other than giving them the master schedule.
Commissioner Staab thanked Mr. Petty for his presentation. He asked if any residents have viewed the recommended program we are presenting to City Council and is there any feedback.
Director Auler stated that there has not been a presentation for the community. One of the things we need to do is schedule some more seminars with the company in California to do a webcast and demonstration with additional staff and if the Commission would like to participate in that you are welcome to come in and we can look at how we can involve residents in that way.
Commissioner Staab said that he would appreciate in knowing when that would be scheduled to see if he could make it. He then asked if we were looking at electronic funds transfers in lieu of credit cards as another opportunity to save the 2 to 3% charge.
Director Auler stated that is something he would have to talk to the finance director on.
Commissioner Staudt asked why we are not hosting the website ourselves.
Mr. Petty replied that the cost involved is one of the main reasons. We do not have the in house expertise to host it and keep it up.
Commissioner Staudt asked if there is an annual maintenance fee for this program and what it would be.
Mr. Petty replied that there is an annual maintenance fee for the entire program, including software, website, etc. The fee is 25% of the cost of the soft ware.
Commissioner Staudt asked if this also includes any licensing fee.
Mr. Petty then stated that the annual fee is 25% of the licensing. Out of the $35,000 a good portion of that is the implementation.
Commissioner Staudt then asked Director Auler how much the annual maintenance for this program would be.
Director Auler stated that he did not recall but had the figure in his office.
Mr. Petty stated that the cost would be $5,600 a year.
Commissioner Staudt stated that he sees the website is using Verisign for credit card processing. He asked if they were retaining credit card information.
Mr. Petty stated that is correct. He stated that we did not want to get in to that liability. All the necessary encryption is there. They are SSL encrypted. The connection between our facility and theirs is a VPN connection over our existing T1. That allows for the instantaneous registration. They purge their credit cards every 30 days. They purge the payments every 6 months.
Commissioner Staudt asked if after 30 days you would have to enter your credit card again.
Mr. Petty confirmed this. These are safety precautions.
Commissioner Staudt asked how this was going to integrate with accounting.
Mr. Petty stated that we haven’t chosen that integrated financial solution yet. We asked what was being done currently by those who were using the program. We found that everyone had an integration to their package and some were better than others. They will build that flat file for export into the financial system. This is sequel based and is a priority for our financial system will be sequel because our permitting system is sequel.
Commissioner Staudt asked if it is Mircrosoft Sequal.
Mr. Petty confirmed this.
Commissioner Staudt stated that he saw on the bottom of the paper that for questions to call the Help Desk. He asked who would man the Help Desk?
Mr. Petty stated that is at Active. Com with respect to website issues.
They handle those at their facility.
Commissioner Staudt saw where a roster will be provided at the time of registration. Is there a capability to upload a roster in a word file so someone wouldn’t have to come here or have it mailed.
Mr. Petty stated that they touched on that briefly in one of the demos. You can control who gets that by sign on and is an option to us.
Commissioner Staudt asked if there any plan to have kiosks because some people may not have internet connections since we are not going on our system but out on the internet.
Mr. Petty stated that is correct with respect to a citizen doing it manually. The registration that takes place at the Parks and Recreation counter by staff is actually going in to our Sequel database here. He and Director Auler have talked about placing a PC on the counter.
Commissioner Staudt asked if a server is an option or is that our choice.
Is hosting it ourselves and option? Do they sell it both ways? And is the cost more expensive?
Mr. Petty stated that they sell it both ways but he did not price it out the other way. We have all the data in house, the expertise on Sequel to handle it in house. We were at our budget and did not pursue that.
Commissioner Staudt asked if by being at our budget we did not want to buy a dedicated server for this program or where is the budgetary constraint.
Mr. Petty stated that what was done was to build capacity into the existing servers in the server room. When the permitting system was brought up to date a processor license was purchased for the Microsoft Sequel server. We were able to eliminate some of the costs that could be put in to the Class program without incurring those additional costs.
Commissioner Staudt asked Mr. Petty if he had his choice would he rather host the website here.
Mr. Petty stated that as a tech person he would. But considering both the technical and the financial he cannot justify the cost.
Commissioner Staudt asked what the additional cost would be. Is it an additional cost of acquiring additional Sequel databases or servers or another T1 line?
Mr. Petty stated that it would just be the hosting site or the things we would put on the other side of our firewall.
Commissioner Staudt asked if there have been any speed issues or in peak times will it bog down.
Mr. Petty stated that this has not been the case with Battle Creek according to an in depth conversation with them. We even asked what happens if the website goes down. They provide a flash screen to notify people that they need to directly notify the Parks and Recreation department. There are some back ups in place.
Commissioner Staudt asked what kind of redundancies they have.
Mr. Petty stated that they have some disaster recovery scenarios in place.
Commissioner Staudt asked if they have server farms or are they running it out of their facility.
Mr. Petty answered that they have two facilities; one is in British Columbia in Canada and the other in California.
Commissioner Staudt asked if he had been out to see either one.
Mr. Petty stated that he had not.
Mr. Staudt asked how do you check that it is not four servers in a closet with a T1.
Mr. Petty replied that the only way to check is by word of mouth or to spend the time talking to other people who have Class in place at different stages.
Director Auler added that he had talked to Naperville Park District, Elk Grove Park District, Fox Valley Park District which are all affluent suburbs of Chicago and have quality park systems. Two of these three have won the National Gold Medal Award. All three of these use Class and all three have huge numbers of program registrations.
Commissioner Staudt asked if they are all using Class locally on their servers or are they using a host based service. He stated, as an IT professional, he would not want this large of an application hosted remotely.
Mr. Petty stated that they claim that they can handle 1,200 registrations per hour and that they are continuously improving on that.
Commissioner Schwarzlose asked if the maintenance fee includes any updates to that program.
Mr. Petty confirmed this.
Commissioner Schwarzlose asked if when a family registers on line and they are given a bar code and a family code that is not purged.
Mr. Petty replied that is not purged. There is a method by which we can deactivate that.
Commissioner Schwarzlose then asked as part of the contract are we looking for specific service standards if there is down time.
Mr. Petty replied that we have just received their contracts and are in the process of looking them over. That would be something he would not recommend if they did not have that.
Commissioner Zyczynski stated that she feels it is really wise to phase the program in as we are planning to do, having been involved with the implementation of things in other places.
Commissioner Enright asked how we are planning to market this program.
Director Auler stated that once it is determined that we will purchase this software, the staff will begin preparing a marketing plan. Many of the cities contacted have sent information on how they have gone about communicating the capabilities of the program and when it will begin.
Overview of youth and young adult sports programs – Wendy DuVall-Angelocci, Recreation Coordinator
Ms. DuVall-Angelocci thanked the Commission for their support of the new Computer software.
Ms. DuVall-Angelocci wanted to first address activity based costing. Some of the things she has done over the past year and a half is to get adult referees for all sports and will need more for soccer. For basketball and volleyball there is an adult who, for a small fee, schedules adult referees for games. This person also makes sure that the referee’s certification is current. We have been able to purchase new soccer goals and nets. Most all of the old soccer goals and nets have been moved to practice fields and have taken down the older unsafe and unsightly goals.
Equipment for baseball and softball is very old and is unsafe and we are trying to replace it as we go along. These two sports really need new equipment.
A head supervisor has been hired. He fills in for her and does a lot of the scheduling. He hires and schedules supervisors. He helps coaches on the field. His name is Mike Hendricks and he has done a wonderful job.
Equipment loss prevention for basketball and volleyball has been lessened by purchasing cages to hold the equipment which is taken to the facilities. When coaches arrive the equipment is there. The coaches like this because they do not have to carry anything except what they personally need for the games. We will be doing this for baseball by purchasing large boxes and the field supervisors will maintain the equipment and make sure it all gets returned. She will not have to purchase as much equipment so she can purchase better equipment if the teams can share it. It will cut down the amount of equipment by about 50%. We have gone to the reversible shirts. We did it last year for basketball and are doing it for soccer this fall. The coaches like it and she is thinking about not having numbers on the shirts for in house so if a child is added at the last minute we don’t have to worry about a numbered shirt in the right size.
Ms. DuVall-Angelocci stated that she has two goals. Half of one has been accomplished. She completed the National Alliance for Youth Sports Certification in June. She hopes to complete National Certification through MRPA by the end of December.
Our young adult and high school sports will have Girl’s 7th and 8th grade travel volley ball for the first time. They will play teams from Brighton, Huron Valley, Howell and South Lyon. They are almost the same teams that the girls travel basketball plays. It will be a shorter season because of when girls volleyball happens in the Middle School. Volleyball is really growing and it gives the girls another opportunity to play. It does not interfere with the house so the would be able to play both.
The boy’s High School basketball is something new that is coming out and her goal is to get four teams in each division so they have some competition. They may play once or twice a week for approximately four weeks depending on gym space.
Girl’s High School Volleyball and Softball are also on the agenda and we hope to get the four teams with those as well.
Mr. DuVall-Angelocci stated that her other goal was training. There were two player clinics provided by the Novi Jaguars. It was an increase of almost one and a half for the second clinic. This is something that is going to be popular. She and Paul Tinnion are still working on that and maybe doing it a different time of the season, possibly in the summer.
The first clinic for girls softball was done by Kathleen Narducci who is the freshman coach at the High School and Chris Lawler who is one of our coaches but also played division one at Eastern. They did some pitching and some hitting and hopefully will be doing more of that if they agree to it.
Soccer Coaches clinics were conducted by Paul Tinnion of the Jaguars. There were 22 of the coaches who showed up for that. She and Paul Tinnion are working on having a possible clinic every Friday and the coaches will let them know which Fridays they can attend. It will be like a drop in. Each work they will work on a different drill or fundamental. She is also encouraging the coaches to do the state certification. It is a $50.00 fee which they would have to pay for themselves and is a week or weekend time commitment.
All of the soccer referees are now certified. They are certified through the state. She does host it so that her referees can come to it.
The player clinic for volleyball is a future program she would like to do. She plans to get in touch with the volleyball coaches at the High School.
The basketball and volleyball mentor program is for referees. We have adults come in to referee and we have kids come in to referee and they referee with the adult mentor.
Another future goal is to get a pitching machine for the girls softball and coach pitch could also use it. What we would like to do because of the lack of baseball field we can’t have two or three games a week and have practices at the same time. We would like to have a couple of fields available on a Saturday morning so that any coach and any player could come and practice from 9a.m to 11a.m. We would have the pitching machine out at one field and fielding and pitching on the other. The coaches she has talked to like the idea.
Commissioner Staudt stated that he had heard a lot about the poor equipment for softball.
Ms. DuVall-Angelocci stated that is what she was talking about earlier in purchasing the boxes for the shared equipment so that she can purchase better equipment because she would have to purchase less. She has also raised the fees a little to help with the cost. She does agree that all of the equipment for softball does need to be replaced.
Director Auler added that it was only a couple of years ago when masks were put on all of the helmets and we got all new catcher’s equipment and all new ball and a lot of that equipment has not been returned. That is another reason to go to the box system.
Commissioner Staudt asked if a deposit should be considered for the equipment and if it was not returned they would pay for it.
Director Auler replied that it would have to be a significant deposit. We found that the box system worked well this past season.
Commissioner Staab asked what equipment is needed.
Ms. DuVall-Angelocci stated that what is mostly needed are bats. For
T-ball, because the children are so small she needs to get smaller helmets, chest protectors and shin guards for them.
Commissioner Staab asked what the cost would be to get the equipment.
Ms. DuVall-Angelocci stated that she is talking to someone from BSN now. She would guess around $2,000 now.
Commissioner Staab stated that if she would get some documentation and a presentation he would present it to the Novi Parks Foundation Board.
Director Auler added that many communities are asking participants to provide their own bat and the program provides the safety equipment. Our bats are the most outdated equipment we have. They are from the 1980s. We have not updated them because we need decide if the participant should provide their own bat. If we invest in and provide bats, as expensive as many of them are, there is the challenge of us getting them back.
Commissioner Wingfield noted that, as a coach, the equipment on site is fantastic. He suggested getting a few more basketballs at games for warm-ups. As for numbers on shirts, for 1st through 4th graders he uses the numbers to tell the children in basketball who they are guarding. He feels this is critical at that age. He then asked if 5th and 6th grade volleyball was going to be combined or separated. He suggested that someone like Mr. Peter Lau come in and give the coaches a clinic before the season starts.
Ms. DuVall-Angelloci replied that it depends on the enrollment numbers.
Commissioner Wingfield asked if Extreme Volleyball, Mr. Lao’s team, is sanctioned by Parks and Recreation.
Ms. DuVall-Angelloci replied that it is independent of Parks and Recreation.
Commissioner Burke asked for a more detailed explanation of the equipment boxes.
Ms. DuVall-Angelocci explained that the ones on the baseball field are large steel boxes that lock. The cages in the gyms are open cages that we put into a room and lock.
Commissioner Burke asked if the large boxes on the field that lock could be stolen.
Director Auler stated that anything could be stolen but someone would have to go to a lot of effort for a minimum reward.
Commissioner Burke stated that on Tuesday he was given a brief lesson on how expensive a softball bat is. He had no idea that they could be around $300 or more. He asked about the battery operated pitching machine and if they still made electric ones. He also asked what the battery life is on the pitching machine.
Ms. DuVall-Angelocci replied that sometimes there are tournaments at Power Park and that is the only facility with electricity. Battery operated could be taken to any field. She just received the specifics on the machine so she is not sure. She needs a machine that can pitch both baseballs and softballs. She thinks the battery would last a couple of hours. The supervisors would take it down and put it back in storage each time.
Ms. DuVall-Angelocci added that she is going to be working on coaching manuals. She will have a basic manual with instructions on basic duties and then add drills. Michigan State Institute for Youth Sports has a lot of information online. This will be especially helpful for novice coaches.
Commissioner Enright stated that she thinks that the pitching machine is a great idea. She asked if Wendy had ever thought of a batting cage at one of the fields.
Director Auler suggested the possibility of partnering with the High School for a batting cage.
Commissioner Enright thanked Ms. Duvall-Angelocci for her presentation and she feels the programs are going in great directions and the young adult program sounds good and much needed.
COMMISSION COMMITTEE REPORT:
A. Resource Development Committee – Commissioner Staudt
1. Naming Rights Program Update
Commissioner Staudt asked Director Auler for an update
Director Auler stated that the grant was submitted which slowed the naming rights down for a while and then he took a week vacation. In general we have agreed on many principles and thoughts and are down to one or two items that need to be resolved. We will then get the information out to the Foundation for their review, consideration and input and then to the City Council for their input. We possibly will need a policy discussion with City Council if the one or two items cannot be resolved prior to that. The goal is to have something on the agenda for September 26th but it could be in October or November.
After the approval of City Council and the Foundation, the next step will be for the Foundation to prepare a marketing plan and identifying contacts and then begin the actual promotion of the program.
Commissioner Staab stated that the Resource Development Committee met in August and installed five new members to the Foundation. There are now eleven members. One of the focal points of the meeting was to develop a plan on disbursement of funds. He has been working with our insurance people to secure all of the necessary coverage. We do have a liability policy in place. It was in place the day before the golf outing. We have a bond proposal out for employee fidelity bond that should be finalized in the next week and also our director and officer’s liability program. We are looking to hold a press event with the Novi Jaguars.
Commissioner Staudt noted the date for this would be September 22nd.
This year during the Jaguar’s registration they went through the process of having each family make a donation to Novi Parks Foundation in the amount of $25. They got a 100% participation and to date we have received over $11,000 that is being earmarked for soccer field and soccer facility improvements. There are still a few more teams who need to turn their money in. On September 22nd it will be a recognition event at 6p.m. It is a great beginning of a partnership.
Commissioner Staudt thanked the Jaguar’s board.
At the golf outing they raised more than $20,000 so the Foundation at this time is doing well and looking forward to more opportunities to develop partnerships with organizations like the Jaguars.
Commissioner Enright asked if the Foundation plans on recognizing each group or organization that makes a donation.
Commissioner Staudt replied "Absolutely!" We encourage other groups to participate. This is the prototype of how to fund improvements on facilities where you are playing.
Commissioner Burke asked if we got any figures from the Fifties Festival.
Commissioner Staudt replied that we have not. He asked Director Auler if he could look in to that.
C. Park Development Committee – Commissioner Wingfield
1. Singh Trail Construction
The project has been started and trails are being cleared. The project should be completed this fall with the construction of boardwalks as well as asphalt paving.
2. Community Sports Park Irrigation
The money allocated, $32,000, will be used to complete the irrigation of four baseball fields at Community Sport Park. That will make all nine soccer fields and eight baseball fields complete with irrigation.
Recreation Services – Wendy DuVall-Angelocci
Adult Fall Softball and Volleyball is going on now. One of the new programs Derek will be doing this fall is Flag Football. He will do a 7 v 7 format and it will be held at Lakeshore Park. Mad Science Camp will be coming up as well as some tournaments and the Punt, Pass and Kick competition.
"Kids on Broadway " was performed and was very successful. The Senior Show "Kicks on Route 66" is going on now. She was able to see part of it and it was very good. Auditions are coming up for "Anne of Green Gables", "The One Act Festival" and "A Christmas Carol".
Tracie is working on the International Festival, Fall for Novi, and the Halloween event. The Recreation Guide will go out on September 12th to residents.
Through August 26th they had 819 passengers and collected $1,378 in fares for Senior Transportation. There are many seniors involved in the "Kicks on Route 66" production. They have sent in a proposal for the SBC to fund English as a second language text books for the Asian Pacific group. Their annual volunteer recognition was held on August 27th.
They had over 95 volunteers and invited guests that came for a brunch which was cooked and served by Jan McAlpine and her family.
Commissioner Wingfield asked if the brochure would have normally come our around the second week in August.
Director Auler stated that the brochure usually comes out around Labor Day. It is running late because the International Festival was rained out and has been rescheduled. In an effort to promote that more it was placed on the cover of the brochure so some of the brochure had to be redesigned.
Commissioner Wingfield noted that many parents were asking about volleyball and basketball.
Ms. DuVall-Angelocci stated that we are sending out a flier about the volleyball and basketball registration in the soccer information. And the information is on the website and it is also on the hotline.
Park & Forestry Operations Division – Jack Lewis, Deputy Director
1. Park Rules Enforcement
The park maintenance staff has been extremely busy the past couple of week. Matt has lost most of his college student staff so the regular staff have to prepare the softball fields on a daily basis as well as soccer fields, the football field for the Novi Bobcats along with mowing the grass and routine maintenance in the parks.
The forestry crew continues to remove the hazardous trees and stumps.
The procedure that we follow when someone breaks one of the rules or is doing something they shouldn’t be doing in the park, a park staff person, whether it is a park attendant, a lifeguard, a park maintenance person or a supervisor, would approach that individual or group and inform them of the park rules and tell them politely that they are doing something they should not be doing. Hopefully they will cooperate. If they do not cooperate then we would make a call to the police and the police would follow up on it.
C. ADMINISTRATION DIVISION – RANDY AULER, DIRECTOR, PARKS, RECREATION AND FORESTRY
Director Auler stated that the street tree replacement program was approved by City Council and was out to bid. We received the bids and will be making a recommendation on the bid award to City Council at the September 12th City Council meeting. It was in the newspaper today that we will begin planting in September and have the fall planting complete by November. We will be planting 800 trees in that time period. In the spring the number will be doubled to 1,600. This is four times the number that we have usually been able to plant. Next fall the Catholic Central trees planting process will begin. 233 trees a year planted in partnership with the students over a nine year period.
We also have on the September 12th City Council agenda the bid award for the chipper. The bids were very favorable. We received a $10,000 trade in value on our existing chipper. We have used that chipper on a consistent basis for the past 12 years. The life span for these is generally 12 to 13 years.
Annually in October, the Commission by the charter conducts a selection of officers and reorganization of committees. That is something you need to consider and discuss at the next meeting and vote for chair and vice chair and whatever committees we may have.
Theater Financial Report
At the last commission meeting a commissioner requested a summary of the financial report. It was just recently completed.
What you have this evening is the last 10 years of revenue and expenditure for the theater program. The program over the 10 years has covered it’s costs and actually has a small balance. Generally, the revenue comes from participation fees that the performers pay, ticket sales, sponsorships and donations from The Friends of the Novi Theatres. We are going to be in a transition period because Linda Wickert will be leaving the theater program and Sheri Sansom will be taking over the program. We have not determined how we are going to structure this with Sheri. Linda will be working through October and on November 1st Sheri will assume full leadership of the program.
Commissioner Wingfield asked what the true story is on the street tree plantings.
Director Auler stated that City Council appropriated money for the fall. On the September 12th City Council agenda will be consideration and approval of the bid award. Then we will contract with the contractor and begin to plant. We will go back to City Council in the spring to appropriate the funds, begin the bid process and have that ready to go when the weather breaks.
Commissioner Enright stated that at the last meeting there was an incomplete list of all the neighborhoods who would get street trees and asked if the list was now complete.
Director Auler replied that some of the neighborhoods that had been mentioned at the last meeting do not have street trees so they are not on the list. Steve Printz has review that and is moving forward.
Commissioner Burke stated that in a memo it states that the financial report on the theater will be in the packet and asked if that is what was handed out today.
Director Auler confirmed this.
Commissioner Burke then asked if there was going to be a more comprehensive report. He then stated that what he was expecting was a statement at the end of each production of what was brought in and what was spent. He then asked if Director Auler had the ability to do that?
Director Auler stated that we could do that by hand but with the current software package we do not have the ability to do that. He stated that he will research it.
Commissioner Burke stated that he didn’t think it would be that difficult of an issue just to see how each of the productions do and if there are some over time that don’t make money or lose money that may be one we should not do.
Director Auler stated that he would see what could be put together and get it to him before the next meeting.
Commissioner Staudt asked what caused the $18,000 or less year-to-date loss in 2004/2005.
Director Auler replied that part of that is that Sheri has been working on staff over the last year as an intern and training. That is about $11,000 to $12,000 of that. And generally the Friends of the Novi Theatres contribute up to $5,000 and he does not believe that their contribution has come in yet.
Commissioner Schwarzlose asked if the chipper that was chosen was bid out on the same requirement as far as the warranty.
Director Auler stated that he did not know the specific answer in terms of the warranty time. We prepare a set of specifications and that goes out to bid and the bids are based on those specifications. They have to meet them at a minimum and they can exceed them. He believes all of the companies provided their chipper for use by our staff as a demo. The staff had the opportunity to use each of the products and learn how they work out in the field. This is the product that the staff recommended and that came in at the low bid.
Commissioner Staudt stated that he saw in Derek Smith’s report that they want to start Adult Softball earlier in April. He stated that the season ended this year in the first week of July and that he would rather be playing three weeks into July than three weeks earlier in April. No one wants to start when it is cold and raining and then not play in the middle of the summer.
Commissioner Wingfield stated that his Tuesday night league did not end until the last week in August. Commissioner Staudt’s Monday night league ended six weeks before. They started the fall league two weeks before he ended the summer league. Next year with Spring Break being the second week in April, it won’t work. Several years ago they tried to start early and you have to wait until the local Spring Break is over before you start softball.
Commissioner Enright stated that Spring Break will be April 14 through April 21st.
MATTERS FOR COMMISSION ACTION/DISCUSSION:
APPROVAL OF AUGUST 18, 2005 REGULAR MEETING MINUTES
A motion was made to approve the August 18, 2005 regular meeting minutes by Commissioner Staudt and seconded by Commissioner Burke.
Voice Vote CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY
APPROVAL OF RECOMMENDATION TO CITY COUNCIL TO PURCHASE THE SOFTWARE PROGRAM FOR ONLINE REGISTRATION, FOR REGISTRATION, SPORTS LEAGUE SCHEDULING, ETC.
A motion was made to approve a recommendation to City Council to purchase the software program for online registration, for registration, sports league scheduling, etc. by Commissioner Burke it was seconded by Commissioner Wingfield.
Commissioner Enright opened the floor for discussion.
Commissioner Staudt stated that he will not support this if we are not hosting. He would like us to control the website. He feels that if we need to we should go to City Council for more funds then he hopes they read the minutes and do some research. He does not support doing a remote hosting application. He stated that has been doing web hosting for 15 years and he feels this is a bad way to go.
Commissioner Burke asked if we had to ask for more money, how much more money would that be.
Commissioner Staudt stated that if he was setting up this application in his company he would have the application server which is a sequel server which you could expect to spend at least $10,000 on. You would have a web server, which is another box because you do not want to be running it directly. With the amount of traffic this might have you might need to have another dedicated T1. He does not know what the bandwidth is here. It may cost from $10,000 to $20,000 more but he feels that for us to do it the right way is for us to host it ourselves. His concern is if the box is local and running on the network and our web services, or T1, went down the employees still work. They still take calls and process things. If the web connection goes down, everyone is "dead in the water".
Mr. Petty stated that there may be some confusion. If the T1 goes down and if Active.com goes down, Parks and Recreation still functions. The only thing that goes down is the ability for a resident to register at their house. If the website went down a resident is able to walk up to the counter and the staff can enter the registration just like we do today.
Commissioner Staudt asked if the only part we are not hosting is the web portion.
Mr. Petty confirmed this.
Commissioner Staudt stated that this isn’t a huge additional investment to host the web portion. The biggest part of it is probably the server. He would have a separate web server and another dedicated T1 if the volume was there. He then asked if this is purely a financial decision. He stated that Mr. Petty’s explanation made him feel better. He then stated that we are hosting the actual application and it is only web services portion we don’t host.
Mr. Petty confirmed this.
Commissioner Staudt asked if we are hosting our own Sequel server and they are then using our database how does this work.
Mr. Petty stated that through the VPN connection they are accessing our database on a real time basis. He then invited Commissioner Staudt to take a look at some other community’s websites like Battle Creek’s. He stated that the process is instantaneous. Mr. Petty asked Director Auler if he knew what the volume was that switched from walk up registration to online registration. He stated that he knew it is an increasing percentage for Battle Creek.
Director Auler state that their busiest time for registrations is at 1 a.m.
They do 60 to 65 percent of their registrations online on the first day.
Commissioner Staudt stated that as an advisor to City Council he would like to know, exactly, what the difference is in the price between us handling it 100% versus using them as a web server.
Commissioner Enright asked if the maintenance fees would be affected if we hosted our own website.
Mr. Petty stated that it is safe to assume that the maintenance fees would be affected, but to what degree we would have to find out from them.
Commissioner Burke asked Mr. Petty if he could make an educated guess about the sum that Commissioner Staudt is looking for.
Mr. Petty stated that he would not disagree with the numbers he mentioned and thinks it would be around the $20,000 range. The additional servers, the additional Sequel licensing, would make the $20,000 a conservative estimate.
Commissioner Staudt asked how much of that figure is hardware.
Mr. Petty stated that he would have to go back and look. He stated he did not want to give him a wrong figure.
Commissioner Burke asked if we have it all in house would we need any other personnel involved. Would it be a full time job someone?
Mr. Petty stated that there would be additional staff requirements. It may not require a full time person.
Commissioner Burke stated that we would spend more money to get the necessary equipment and then also need to spend more money in personnel.
Mr. Petty add there would also be more of a cost for maintenance. He added that all of this was the logic behind his and Director Auler’s hybrid discussion.
Commissioner Staab asked what our budget is for this.
Mr. Petty replied $35,000.
Commissioner Staab asked if that was the cost as presented.
Mr. Petty confirmed this.
Commissioner Staab asked if the allocation from City Council for this was $35,000.
Director Auler confirmed this.
Commissioner Burke asked if we appropriate the maintenance fees every year.
Director Auler replied that it is in the operating budget.
Commissioner Staudt asked if he could make a friendly amendment that the City Council be provided with the information necessary to look at the option of us hosting our own web services with a full financial disclosure of what those additional costs would be. At that point he would be able to support it.
Commissioner Burke asked if Mr. Petty would be able to get that information to City Council by September 12th.
Mr. Petty replied that he could.
Commissioner Staudt asked if this is Sequel based, are we using an existing Sequel server to run this application.
Mr. Petty confirmed this. He stated that for the past several years, he and Director Auler have had issues with the existing software and the limitations that it currently has. As we have moved forward in other departments and replaced devices we have kept the capacity in place for this solution.
Commissioner Staudt asked what other applications is this Sequel server going to be running.
Mr. Petty replied that it is currently running our permitting application.
Commissioner Staudt asked if that was a relatively low usage.
Mr. Petty replied there are about 34 at peak which is about
4:00 p.m. when the inspectors are coming back.
Commissioner Staudt asked if this application does not beg for it’s own server.
Mr. Petty replied no, because he has seen it work at other facilities.
Commissioner Staudt asked if he would agree that we would need to purchase an additional web server for security reasons.
Mr. Petty agreed.
Commissioner Staudt asked if the credit card numbers are being retained by the company or are they being retained by Verisign.
Mr. Petty stated that currently they are being retained by Verisign.
Commissioner Staudt asked if that means we would never have on our server credit card numbers. It would be a process free unique link to the Verisign site and they are not being held on our server or the server that you are proposing to use in California.
Mr. Petty stated that they would not be stored. They would pass through our site.
Commissioner Staudt asked if this means that Verisign holds the credit card numbers and they purge them after 30 days and no credit cards are being held on any of our database.
Mr. Petty replied that is correct and additionally all of the names, addresses, e-mail addresses are only retained here on our data base.
Commissioner Burke asked as follow up to confirm that looked at Battle Creek and three communities in Illinois which are Chicago suburbs all of which have larger programs than we do. He asked what kind of problems they were having with this application.
Mr. Petty replied that the man in Battle Creek whom Director Auler spoke with directly liked it so well you might have thought he was a salesman for the product. And in their case Active.com was hosting their solution.
Director Auler stated that he did not know who was hosting the website for the communities in Illinois but he will call them tomorrow and ask that specific question. All three of the communities are extremely pleased with the product. The lady from Elk Grove Park District, which is a very large park district, could have been a salesperson also. She indicated that they had no problems and would never change from that product.
Mr. Petty added that these were people that we called. They were not names handed to us by the salesperson.
Commissioner Staudt asked if this is a browser based application or appliant.
Mr. Petty stated that the in house portion is appliant and the home version is browser based.
Commissioner Staudt asked if there is an administrative module which is available through the browser where, for example, Randy could log on remotely on vacation and see everything that is going on.
Mr. Petty replied that there is and during the webex that is one of the items that we brought up. The example we used was the gentleman who runs the softball program would be able to go home at night after the league was finished and sign in and be able to enter all of the scores, in theory.
Commissioner Staudt stated that there is a sim cline(????). What is the purpose of having a thin cline if they have a browser based administrative module?
Mr. Petty stated that he is not sure but that he can check on that.
Commissioner Staudt asked how many user licenses do we get with this.
Mr. Petty stated that their licensing is unique to the process that user performs. For instance, we buy a registration license for the front desk and maybe two or three of the individuals there. We jobbed that out based on the department so we could find the most efficient way of arriving at that number. We might have 6 registration licenses and on the facility side we might have 3. It is different than he is used to but it is a strategy that we tried to maximize given their solution.
Commissioner Staudt asked if we have any excess capacity built in to this or are we buy just what we need.
Mr. Petty replied by capacity on the server side we have capacity because it is under utilized now. From a licensing standpoint, it is as easy as picking up the phone and getting that new key.
Commissioner Staudt asked how much for a new key.
Mr. Petty stated that it is the cost of that particular type of license whether it is a reporting license or facility reservation license.
Commissioner Staudt asked if licenses are concurrent users.
Mr. Petty stated that they do not offer concurrent users. The permitting system has 34 concurrent users so we have people coming in and out and have to make sure that they sign out so the next person in line can get a license.
Commissioner Staudt asked if 6 people were logged on to the system in the Parks and Recreation department does that mean that the 7th can’t log on.
Mr. Petty replied that if there are 6 registration licenses in the department those are assigned to 6 PCs within the department.
Commissioner Staudt noted then that is why they have the sim cline, for licensing purposes. He also asked if we are completely sure that we are covering ourselves on the licenses.
Mr. Petty replied that yes, we are. What he needs to take in to consideration is that what we are seeing in the other departments is that people are moving to the online registrations. We did not want to have a registration license on every PC in the department only to have it sit there because individuals are using the online portion to register.
Commissioner Staudt asked if scheduling falls under an administrative module and what if you have 4 or 5 people working on scheduling at the same time.
Mr. Petty replied that at the present time there are only two people in the department who do scheduling. Both of those people will get a license under this proposal. This was part of what was discussed with staff and their needs.
Commissioner Enright stated that there is a motion on the floor for the approval to recommend to City Council the purchase of the software program for online registration, for registration, sports league scheduling, etc. providing City Council is provided with the information for hosting our own web services.
Individual Voice Vote CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY
AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT (ADA) IMPROVEMENTS - JACK LEWIS, DEPUTY DIRECTOR
Deputy Director Lewis stated that in September of 2002 we had an access recreation group come out and do an inspection of our parks and facilities. Since that time the park maintenance staff and contractors have been working on improving access. To date 85% of the work has been completed. We have $60,000 through the Capital Improvement Program and will be doing work at the Civic Center, Meadowbrook Commons, Community Sports Park, Lakeshore Park, Wildlife Woods Park, Power Park and Old Township Hall. He and Matt Wiktorowski have discussed the areas of improvement. Some of the improvements will be done in house and some will be contracted. We are projecting by July 1st of 2006 to have all of the access areas completed.
SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM UPDATE – JACK LEWIS, DEPUTY DIRECTOR
Deputy Director Lewis stated that a scholarship was implemented this year and the Park Foundation provided $1,000. Presently we have two children on scholarship who are registered and on soccer teams. He has contacted the families to see if there was a need for any equipment. At this time they indicated that they did not need any. We will add that to the scholarship form. We have also contacted Novi Youth Assistance and the Novi Schools to make them aware so they can direct anyone to us who may be in need.
Commissioner Staudt stated that he would like to see this program better marketed. He feels that if only a few children use it, then it should be expanded to families and seniors.
Director Auler stated that we need to keep in mind that a brochure has not come out since the program started and that it is in the next brochure. He feels that since school is just not starting that it will take 3 to 6 months for the school counselors and Novi Youth Assistance to continue identifying potential youth that may wish to participate.
Commissioner Staab stated that there is a section in the Recreation Guide going out on September 12th. We can evaluate after that.
Director Auler stated that from working with this type of program in the past, it will catch on but it will be through the school counselors and Novi Youth Assistance. It is difficult for people to ask help.
Commissioner Burke wanted to thank Rachel Zagaroli and her staff for hosting the volunteer breakfast.
Commissioner Wingfield thanked Recreation Coordinator Wendy DuVall-Angelocci for her presentation
Commissioner Staab also thanked Ms. DuVall-Angelocci.
Commissioner Zyczynski also thanked Ms. DuVall-Angelocci and Mr. Petty for being there and appreciated hearing about the areas they worked in.
Commissioner Schwarzlose also thanked Ms. DuVall-Angelocci. He wanted to mention that Linda Wickert will be leaving the theatre program and he wanted to thank her and her family for their long commitment to the program.
Commissioner Staudt stated that it is the second or third year he has attended the volunteer breakfast. Many of the volunteers participated at the Foundation Golf Outing and did a great job.
Commissioner Enright thanked Ms. DuVall-Angelocci and Mr. Petty for all of the information. She stated that she learned a lot and that Commissioner Staudt asked a lot of great questions. Next month the Commission meeting will be on October 13th and we will be doing the annual organization. Think about the existing committees and whether we still need them or should reorganize them.
The meeting was adjourned at 9:15p.m.
Signed, Marie Enright, Chairperson
Signed, David Staudt, Vice Chairperson