View Agenda for this meeting

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 14, 2006 – 7:30 PM


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

ROLL CALL: Dooley (Present), Goyal (Present), Policicchio (Present), Radcliffe (Present), Schwarzlose (Present), Staab (Present), Wagner (Present), Wingfield (Present), Zyczynski (Present).


Director Auler asked to move item 9 A to item 6 A because it is the same topic. It was moved by Commissioner Schwarzlose and, seconded by Commissioner Zyczynski to approve the agenda as amended.

Voice Vote Unanimous



It was moved by Commissioner Zyczynski and seconded by Commissioner Staab to approve the Minutes of November 9, 2006 as written.


A. Novi Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department Strategic Plan – Randy Auler, Director Parks, Recreation and Forestry

Director Auler stated that the purpose of the Strategic Plan is a business plan that defines the current condition of the organization, defines what the preferred future is and how we will operate to get to that preferred future and provide better services for the community.

This is not to be confused with the Community Recreation Plan which is used to identify Capital Improvement Projects, land preservation and acquisition opportunities to meet the Community Recreation needs. This Plan goes on file with the State to enable us to be eligible for State and Federal Grant funds.

The process for this plan includes:

  • An analysis of regional trends
  • Gathering citizen input from comment cards and comments made to Commissioners and staff from those who participate in our programs
  • Looking at critical issues facing the department
  • Identifying the opportunities that are available to help us serve the community better in the future.

From this information a Vision Statement was crafted. A Vision Statement is the ideal of where we are striving to be in the future. It should be a challenge to obtain but it should also be an obtainable goal.

The Vision Statement is to provide " Excellent Park, Recreation and Forestry Services."

The Mission Statement is really the business we are in. We are in the business of "Enriching Lives…Building Community." Everything we do touches lives from the very young to the elderly. We enhance peoples’ opportunities to come together and build community.

The department achieves our mission by:

  • Strengthening community image and sense of place
  • Supporting economic development
  • Strengthening safety and security
  • Promoting health and wellness
  • Fostering human development
  • Increasing cultural unity
  • Protecting environmental resources
  • Facilitating community problem solving
  • Core Values for the department are:
  • Teamwork
  • Integrity
  • Excellence
  • Results-oriented
  • Creative thinking
  • Collaboration
  • Courage
  • Professionalism

Current Situation

Changing Economy
This is happening globally and locally and this has an affect in our area.

Economic development.
Novi is has a good location, quality school system, service and results oriented government and a good parks system. The park system has a positive effect on the local economy because large and small businesses locate to communities with good recreation programs and park systems.

Growing Ethnic Diversity

Our community is very diverse and we embrace and celebrate this. A good example of this is the Kokeshi Doll Exhibit. We were the only community in the state of Michigan selected to host that exhibit. We had an excellent partnership with the Japanese and the Japanese-American community in helping us to put on events and programs that brought recognition to our community.

The growing ethnic diversity will have an impact on our services in the future. We may require different types of facilities or programs. We may look at celebrating additional holidays, different type of recreational facilities like possibly a cricket field, or program opportunities like a Sunday afternoon Soccer League for the adult community.

The Age Wave

According to A.A.R.P. they gain a member every eight seconds and is projected to so for the next fourteen years. That will impact communities and service delivery. Locally it is projected that our senior and "Boomer" population will increase 269% over the next fourteen years. Fox Run is an example of some of the housing and building for that which is being done in our community.

There is an opportunity and a challenge there for expanding our program to meet the needs of our ever expanding "Boomer" and senior population. There is also a need to look at facility space and what those challenges are going to be and how we partner to deliver a better service. It is also an opportunity for economic development and economic impact. The "Boomer" population today is wealthier and healthier than generations in the past. The "Boomer" population wants to give back to the community by volunteering and being involved.


Public Awareness and Advocacy

Current Practices

  • Comprehensive customer service plan is not in place
  • Promotional and communication efforts limited
  • Promote features instead of benefits
  • Lack of strategic marketing initiatives

Future Vision

  • Comprehensive strategic marketing plan
  • Responsive to and anticipate market conditions
  • Promote benefits (outcomes) rather than features
  • Proactive customer service policies
  • Build a community support and advocacy base

Community Benefit

  • Increased education of park and recreation services as a valuable community asset
  • Greater understanding of services provided
  • Build a support base
  • Builds life-long relationship with community

Revenue and Resource Development

Current Practices

  • Traditional approach and use of fiscal and physical resources
  • Limited dedicated funding streams
  • Partnerships not always equitable
  • Lack of cost recovery targets

Future Vision

  • Expand utilization of new revenue sources
  • Dedicated funding streams for preventive (lifecycle) maintenance and capital improvements
  • Activity Based Costing (ABC) applied to park maintenance standards
  • Increase revenue generation and balance to program service value
  • Maximize and formalize partnership relationships

Community Benefits

  • Consistent and stable funding will ensure the department’s ability to sustain facilities and programs desired by the public
  • Market-driven and priced to match values and benefits
  • Better community understanding between fees for service and value and benefits received
  • Partnerships will expand the provision of needed services


Current Practice

  • Preventive Maintenance management practices not formalized
  • Facility usage not managed to capacity standards
  • Community accessed school facilities not presently funded to support maintenance activities
  • Minimal technology support for maintenance operations

Future Vision

  • Preventative maintenance plan established and funded
  • Maintenance standards developed that support level of use
  • Schedule outdoor facility usage to levels that do not degrade facility
  • Proportionally fund maintenance for school facilities
  • Efficient use of technology for park management

Community Benefits

  • Manage park assets to their highest productivity
  • Improve sustainability and longevity of park assets
  • Consistent outdoor facility maintenance
  • Creates a decision-making tool to balance service level with cost


Current Practice

  • Programming is limited by facilities and organizational structure
  • Inconsistent application of activity lifecycle and trend management
  • Age segment/interest based
  • Cost recovery based on historical performance

Future Vision

  • Programming based on outcome benefits
  • Key future focus areas: performance arts, youth sports development, senior services, adult sports and tournaments, teens, pre-school, and family programs

Community Benefits

  • Services provided are geared to demographic appeal
  • Reduce cost per experience
  • State-of-the-art facilities
  • Design for revenue generation


We receive a subsidy from the general fund and need to evaluate how to reduce that subsidy and become financially self-sufficient. We need to determine if that possible with our current funding sources and what other opportunities may be available.

Capital Improvements/Maintenance
Generally, in order to maintain facilities, 3% each year needs to be reinvested each year. If this is not done, eventually you will be faced with large repairs.

Lack of Partnerships
The partnerships need to be effective to be true partnerships.

Organization Structure and Entrepreneurship
We need to change the culture of our organization to become entrepreneurial. We need to be more creative in our approach to providing and funding services.


There are nine broad strategic priorities with broad performance measures. The staff will utilize this information and prepare and operation business plan for each of their divisions and then establish specific goals and specific measures that will help achieve the desired outcome of our nine priorities. There are ninety objectives to accomplish in the next three years. If we can accomplish those objectives, this organization will be positioned better to serve the community in the future. This was done three years ago and we combined the process with the Recreation Plan. Some of the outcomes of that process are that 3,000 ash trees were removed and replaced with only $90,000 of tax money. 1.2 million dollars in additional non-tax revenue generated through the department and organization for program services, parks and facilities. While our challenge is big, if we come together as a team within the organization, which we have, with good champions of the Commission, with community buy-in this all can be done.

Strengthening our Fiscal Management

Our performance measure is simple. It is to become self-sufficient.

Caring for our facilities, parks, park amenities, forests and trails

Our performance measure is, we are good stewards of properties and keep them safe, attractive and well-maintained. We have made tremendous progress in that area over the last five years.

Planning our facilities, parks, park cemeteries, forests and trails

There are two cemeteries that the department manages and is responsible for.

The performance measure is that our parks and park system meet our community’s current and future leisure needs through comprehensive planning.

The strategic plan is only the first step to many of the plans we will be implementing and undertaking over the next few years.

Exceeding Customer Expectations

The performance measure is that our service quality exceeds customer expectations.

We know that is high and probably sometimes not achievable. We want to strive for excellence.

Provide outstanding recreation programs and events

The performance measure is that our programs are recognized for excellence because they are innovative and exceed customer expectations.

We want to be the best in Novi, the region, the state and nationally.

Environmentally friendly

The performance measure is to become recognized as a leader in the provision of environmentally friendly parks, natural areas, trails, and recreation facilities.

Upgrade our Technology

The performance measure is that technology enhances customer access to information and improves staff productivity.

Connecting with Community Residents through Marketing and Communications

The performance measure is that our citizens are well-informed of department services, understand the benefits of our services and value us as an essential service.

We are an essential service because we impact every individual within the community. We impact the community as a whole and we impact the environment and do this through economic development as well.

Developing Our Team

The performance measure is that services are provided by a well-trained team of professionals as a result of our investment in, and support of, professional development.

The next step is to submit this information, this document, to City Council. We anticipate doing that next week in an off-week packet. We will have the information available for the public to review on the City’s website and some other locations. We will solicit feedback from the community and from City Council members and then go through the approval process. Director Auler suggested that there be a joint meeting with the City Council and the Park Commission. Traditionally a joint meeting is held annually. We were unable to do that last year but previously they have been held in January or February. Director Auler then asked if there were any questions.

Commissioner Policicchio stated that many Novi residents view Parks and Recreation as something fun to do but do not realize the correlation

it has to property values which is an interest shared by almost everyone in the city. He feels that the reaction of many people is that they do not want any trails next to their back yard but when you hear how they increase property values from 12% to 20% it becomes relevant to everyone because people live in Novi for the quality of life and the quality of the schools. He asked how this information is going to be communicated to the public and if there will be a publicity campaign to educate the public.

Director Auler replied that the department is putting together a strategy of how we are going to convey the outcomes of the services that our department provides, whether you are a user or a non-user of the system. Some tools we might be able to use are speaker’s bureau consisting of staff and commission members where we go on a speaker’s tour and speak to the service organizations, the Chamber of Commerce, Homeowner’s Associations. We are changing our Recreation Guide in terms of how we position that within the marketplace. Traditionally, we have focused on the features of providing basketball, parks, facilities, etc.

We will change that in the next six months to here is information to help support how you benefit as a user and a non-user. We have discussed TV shows, putting information on the internet and having discussion at every Commission meeting so that as Commissions you have information so when you are out talking with citizens that you have facts which you can share. Yes, we are putting together a plan.

Commissioner Dooley stated that in the presentation Director Auler mentioned 90 objectives and wondered if there was any way to bring it down to three or four key statements that can be stated over and over again. He feels that if everyone was on the same page with four or five key statements to take out to the community and for the community to have audience participation with us.

Director Auler stated that those key statements will be discussed in depth at the next Commission meeting. There is a handout that is a beginning draft for the Commission to review following the New Year. He would like some discussion on those position statements. It has been broken down in to four areas with supporting research for those areas in how we impact the community. If the Commission agrees with the statements or if we need to revise them they will carry the message to the community with our focus.

Commissioner Dooley stated that we need to be very concrete with our vision.

Commissioner Schwarz lose stated that having worked on the Strategic Planning group and being involved with this plan for quite a while he does not have a question but wanted to point out that there is a reason that Director Auler handed out the "Champion" article. We start with this plan and if we move it to City Council and get it approved that is just the first step. The champions of this document and what we do and how we do it and the benefit that we bring to the community starts right here with each of us. There is a lot of information in this document that many people in the City take for granted. When you see it in print it is a wake up call to the real impact that Parks and Recreation brings to the Community.

Commissioner Wagner stated that he thought it was an excellent presentation.

Commissioner Goyal stated that the information should be presented in a manner were the public would want to read it.

Commissioner Radcliffe stated that she learned a lot from reading the Strategic Plan and she feels that the Community would benefit by reading it themselves to know what is going on and what Parks and Recreation really is doing.

Commissioner Zyczynki stated that they owe a "thank you" to Commissioner Schwarzlose and to Director Auler for all of the work because it was obviously a huge undertaking. It is necessary and well thought out and she is appreciative of their efforts. She stated that many Subdivisions have newsletters. As a community member she may not get the Novi News and she may not log on to the City’s website very often but she always reads her community newsletter. That might be a good way to begin getting information out to the members of our community.

Commissioner Staab stated that the Homeowner’s Associations usually have meetings in the fall and in the spring and also there is a meeting coming up within the City. This is a lot of good information and coming from a sales background, but for him to sell it, he needs sales points and sound bites. There are many good sales points and sound bites in the document. It could be tailored into benefit statements and put on laminated cards to pass out at community events.

Commissioner Wingfield stated that he agrees that it is an excellent document. There is a lot of information but he agrees that there need to be three to five key points because the average person is not going to sit and read the document. He would like to see it brought forward condensed into something the community can relate to by March or April.

He then asked how much the Headly is in dollars to the department.

Director Auler stated that we are not losing revenue yet with it. Our millage rate rolls back for the Parks Millage rate. Because the community continues to grow and the assessed valuation continues to grow that is offsetting a loss. When the community reaches build out that is when we will see a reduction of revenue from the taxes. We are maintaining about the same level from the Park millage rate

Commissioner Wingfield thanked Director Auler for the presentation



Commissioner Staab stated that in the Oakland Press this morning, a month after the event, there was information regarding their annual meeting. Dan Tyrell was awarded the Hugh and Kathy Crawford Award for outstanding service and leadership in support of the Novi Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department. Dan well deserved this award. He was a long time Commissioner and it still active in the City working as a senior van driver. It was an excellent first choice. Also at that event the Novi Jaguars Soccer Association presented $1,300 to the designated fund in the Foundation for soccer. This contribution represents $25 per family from 400 plus families.

Also at this event the new board of directors was elected for the Foundation for the coming year. David Staudt is Chairperson, Linda Blair is Vice-Chairperson and Kathy Cosentino is Secretary-Treasurer. It was held at George’s Senate Restaurant in Northville and was well attended.

Commissioner Staab then turned the floor over to Commissioner Dooley who is also head of the Foundation’s Naming Rights Committee

Commissioner Dooley stated that there is a local business that has been speaking with the Naming Rights Committee. He is not at liberty to say anything yet. They are meeting next Thursday.

Commissioner Staab stated that there is a lot of activity for the Naming Rights.


Commissioner Dooley stated that there was a meeting with Director Auler, Commissioner Zyczynski, Commissioner Policicchio and himself about ten days ago. It was a good strategy session went well and lasted about 90 minutes. Some key partnerships were identified. Open communication must take place between the Commission, the Partnership Committee, and local businesses in Novi. This is a key strategic goal for 2007.


Director Auler stated that he provided the Commission members with a report that highlights how the department strengthens the community image, promotes health and wellness and promotes economic development.


Discussion of 2007 – 2013 Capital Improvement Plan

Director Auler stated that the staff puts together a Capital Improvement Plan which they are still in the process of doing. It is a six year document. He will be bringing a list of recommended projects for prioritization and recommendation at the January meeting. The information we submit to the finance department following the Commission’s recommendations as we go through the budget process. The budget process starts in January and culminates in May. The Commission provides the recommendation on capital improvement projects. The Capital Improvement Committee weighs in on a recommendation on those projects. The Capital Improvement Committee consists of two City Council members and two Planning Commission members. The Planning Commission weighs in with a recommendation to our Capital Improvement Committee. And then the City administration weighs in with a recommendation to our Capital Improvement Committee. It culminates during the budget discussions of City Council. City Council approves projects for funding or deferring projects for the future.

In the packet is a list of projects that we are evaluating and seeking some input tonight in terms of priorities. Preliminarily, our number one priority is Phase 2 of the Power Park project. In Power Park, phase one is under construction right now to be completed this spring. Phase two is taking out the current lighting system, upgrading and installing a new lighting system and upgrading the power supply. That will have an impact on the complex by reducing operating cost because they are more energy efficient. It will be a positive asset for the neighboring homes of Power Park because the lights of today do not have the "spill-over" affect of lighting the whole area that they did 23 years ago. If you want to see and example, the new Catholic Central High School football field uses these lights. The participants of the program at night will be able to see the ball much better which will be much safer. The new lighting will help for additional tournaments, possibly state and national tournaments. Investment of the project Phase one is already going to yield a result. Next year we are hosting a state tournament. It is a co-ed Class C tournament which will bring from across the state to Novi for a three or four day period. If we do the tournament well and our facility continues to improve it has additional economic impact on the community.

One of the other projects is upgrading soccer fields.

Commissioner Wingfield asked if this is the preliminary report that would be submitted.

Director Auler stated that each year a spreadsheet document is submitted that identifies all of our projects with the cost and the priorities for those projects. And this is done for each year for six year out. That is what will be brought to you in January. What the Commission has tonight is a list of projects that are in our current plan or are new projects that we would propose go in to the plan. He just wants discussion from the Commission if there are any project priorities that you have or have heard of from the community. In January you will receive a list of staff recommendations with the supporting documentation.

Commissioner Wingfield stated that he thinks the priorities as presented are right on target. He then asked if the Ice Arena Park Master Plan is the area behind and around the Ice Arena for possible development.

Director Auler confirmed that is correct.

Commissioner Wingfield then asked if the development would be some kind of fields or tennis courts.

Director Auler explained that the master plan process would involve the community and commission. After looking at the current and future needs for the system, the goal would be to put together a conceptual master plan for that property. He explained that the plan would also break out costs and what the funding sources would be.

Commissioner Wagner clarified that the funding and partnership items would be for the planning phase and not for the building phase.

Director Auler explained that the process is that an architectural firm that specializes in parks and recreation services would be hired, have a steering committee, and come up with community needs and see how it would impact the design of the property. He explained that one part of the equation is allocating dollars and buying land and another part is identifying opportunities to partner with people that have land and work out partnership agreements. Director Auler pointed out that there are advantages to developers and private citizens to donate land. There are tax benefits and park property adjacent to developments help market homes. He said that he wants to keep staff and the commission thinking outside of the box; thinking outside of the mindset that if park land is needed then we must go out and pay for it. He commented that our job is to get as much for the least amount of funds as possible.

Commissioner Staab asked what the number two in parenthesis meant on the report under the heading "Community Sports Park Playstructure Replacement".

Director Auler explained that there are two playgrounds slated for replacement work.

Commissioner Staab noted that after the construction of the Tim Pope Memorial Playstructure the community organization that funded the project left $10,000 - $12,000 for maintenance. He also noted that there have been a few community work sessions there over the years.

Commissioner Comments:

Commissioner Schwarzlose – commented that the he thought that staff did a great job on the Strategic Master Plan and congratulated the staff on the recent successful events both the Kokeshi Doll Exhibit and Ringing In The Holidays.

Commissioner Dooley – wished everyone happy holidays.

Commissioner Zyczynski – advised that the greenway and pathway plan was taken to City Council the previous month and was well received. She also said that she attended a performance of "You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown" and commended the theatre department.

Commissioner Policicchio – commented that before he joined the Commission he had a whole preconception of what Parks and Recreation did. He commented that the community needs a proactive education, rather than waiting for budget cuts and reacting.

Commissioner Staab – passed out a report on the activities of the Novi Choralaires and "save the date magnets" for the May concert.

Commissioner Wagner – advised that he is working to get the ball rolling for advertisement at the high school for recreational sports, signup starts January 4th for basketball.

Commissioner Wingfield – commented that the Strategic Plan was excellent and that the Commission has a lot of work ahead of them. He also pointed out that Parks and Recreation is in the beholder’s eye, it is different things to different people. It is the Commission’s job to point out to the citizens what the benefits are to everyone.

Director Auler announced that in response to negative comments regarding the user fees for internet registration, beginning January 1st the Department will implement a flat fee of $3.00 per transaction.


The meeting was adjourned by Chairperson Winfield at 8:44 PM.


_____________________________________ Signed, Harold L. Wingfield, Chairperson



Signed, Reagan Schwarzlose, Vice Chairperson