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August 19, 2002

CITY OF PLYMOUTH

CITY COMMISSION MEETING

MONDAY, AUGUST 19, 2002

 

A regular meeting of the Plymouth City Commission was held at 7:00 p.m. on Monday, August 19, 2002 at Kiwanis Park, Auburn & Junction Streets, Plymouth, Michigan, 48170.

 

PRESENT:  Mayor Bill Graham, Mayor Pro-tem Colleen Pobur; Commissioners Michele

Potter, Stella Greene, Phil Pursell, Dan Dwyer, Ron Loiselle

 

ABSENT:    None

 

Also present were City Manager Paul Sincock, City Attorney Robert Marzano, as well as various Department Heads.

 

 

CALL TO ORDER

 

Pledge of Allegiance led by Mayor Graham.

 

 

CITIZEN COMMENTS

 

Mark Oppat, 253 Blanche, spoke about the liquor license being proposed for Lower Town Grill and expressed concerns with the type of license being issued to them.  He stated that he would like to see enforcement being done on the building conditions of property owned by Mr. Guenther, and would like to see more activity in that particular area of Old Village.   He also spoke about his concern with the encroachment on the aprons of driveways and made suggestions how they could be improved with change of the ordinance.

 

Mayor Graham stated he wanted to make it very clear that concerning the Lower Town Grill, that there are ordinances in place that preclude any topless activities and asked Mr. Guenther’s attorney to make sure that they are very clear in the paperwork for this license.

 

Mark Oppat, 253 Blanche, inquired about Bathey getting away with not paying taxes and his concern that the city would allow a taxpayer to continue in this path.  He stated that if the city does end up getting this money he would like to have a portion allocated to Old Village for trees and other projects.

 

Darlene Dryer, 470 Forest, stated she was the Executive Director of the Plymouth Symphony and wanted to inform the Commissioners about a proposed concern and need for commemorating the 911 tragedy.  She indicated it was for the communities to come together to celebrate this event in harmony.

 

APPROVAL OF THE AGENDA

 

Comm. Greene asked to have an item added to the agenda under #7d for the Plymouth Symphony.  Comm. Potter asked to have an item added under #7e for the Fall Festival Beer Tent.

 

Motion was made by Comm. Pobur and seconded by Comm. Dwyer for approval of the agenda for Monday, August 19, 2002.

 

 

ENACTMENT OF THE CONSENT AGENDA

 

Comm. Pursell and Comm. Greene asked to remove items #4e and 4c and add to the regular agenda.  Comm. Loiselle requested to remove the July bills until the next meeting.

 

4a.  Approval of August 5, 2002 City Commission Meeting Minutes –

 

Motion was made by Comm. Loiselle and seconded by Comm. Pobur for approval of the meeting minutes for August 5, 2002, as amended.  Carried unanimously.

 

 

4b.  Approval of July Bills – removed until next regular meeting by Comm. Loiselle

 

4c.  Authorization to Hire (DMS Clerical) - removed and placed on agenda by Comm. Greene

 

4d.  Annual MERS Meeting Delegates –

 

RES. #2002-130

 

WHEREAS, ACT 427, P.A. 1984, the Municipal Employees’ Retirement Act, stipulates that participating municipalities appoint an officer delegate and alternate and certify the results of an election for employee delegate and alternate to the annual meeting of the Municipal Employees’ Retirement System; and

 

WHEREAS, the employees have elected by secret ballot Christopher Smith as employee delegate and Donna Wilbanks as employee alternate.

 

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the City Commission of the City of Plymouth does hereby appoint Carol Stone as officer delegate and Mark Christiansen as officer alternate and certifies that the employees have elected by secret ballot Christopher Smith as employee delegate and as employee alternate.

 

Motion was made by Comm. Loiselle and seconded by Comm. Pobur for approval of the resolution.  Carried unanimously.

 

4e.  Computer Equipment Bids – removed by Comm. Pursell and added to regular agenda

 

 

 

COMMISSION COMMENTS

 

Comm. Potter thanked Discount Tire and Firestone Tire for their $500 donation to the Youth Soccer Program for Parks and Recreation.  She spoke about an editorial she read in the Detroit News on the override veto and how municipalities need to be very careful on their budgets and the how important that they need to be aware of taxpayers dollars.

 

Mayor Pro-tem Pobur spoke about the rally in Lansing last week and thanked the individuals that attended from the City of Plymouth Administration.  She stated she respected all the statements made by the Commissioners at the last meeting about revenue sharing.  She stated she agrees with Comm. Potter that they need to be prudent with spending and how great it was to see that there were only two nay votes in Lansing for the override vote.  She welcomed Bob Anderson, the new DDA Director, and stated that the City of Plymouth is very grateful to have him aboard.

 

Comm. Greene also spoke about the rally and how impressed she was with the power in numbers and that we do have the capacity to make a difference with our voices with the constituents.  She stated that there were over 4,000 people present that made a very strong statement to the Governor and the Legislators in Lansing.  She stated that the City of Plymouth needs to be creative with what we do financially to remain fiscally responsible in these times of budgetary issues.  She welcomed Bob Anderson and indicated that he has hit the ground running and has seen him all over town getting involved and learning about the community in all aspects.

 

Comm. Dwyer commended Mayor Pro-tem Pobur and the other individuals that attended the rally in Lansing representing the community in the override vote.  He spoke about the great experience he had with having his daughter in a t-ball program with Parks and Recreation and what a wonderful program it is for the children.  He thanked Parks and Recreation for how well they do with putting these events together.

 

Comm. Pursell spoke about the recent event for “Plymouth After Dark” and how he got to wear a tuxedo and the large amounts of people in attendance.  He stated he felt everyone had a great time and the businesses stayed open late and feels more and more people are coming into town after dark.

 

Mayor Graham spoke about the event Comm. Pursell attended and that he and his wife had the pleasure of attended as well.  He stated he saw so many people at this event and had the pleasure of having Fran Toney taking his picture with one of the look alikes that were brought in.

 

 

OLD BUSINESS

 

6a.  City Hall Master Plan –

 

Comm. Greene spoke about the items on the agenda for expenditures and concerns with threat of recent revenue sharing issue from the Governor.  She stated she is proposing they look at any major expenditures being prioritized and discretionary.  She stated she would like the Commissioners to schedule a special meeting to discuss current budgetary issues and so that if there is another treat of holding back revenue sharing they will be prepared and know exactly where they stand financially.

 

Mayor Pro-tem Pobur stated that the City Hall Master plan was discussed in their goals collaboratively together and she is not interested in them operating under a constant threat by the Governor of cutting dollars.  She stated the City of Plymouth is in good position and items were considered in budget session and she is not inclined to put anything on hold.  She stated the City Commission is responsible to establish goals and prioritize and she is not will to respectfully move anything to a special meeting or place them on hold.

 

Comm. Potter stated she agrees with Comm. Greene and knows where Mayor Pro-tem Pobur is coming from and doesn’t see some of the items as absolute needs at this present time.

 

Comm. Pursell agrees with Comm. Greene and is concerned if revenue cuts take place down the line.  He doesn’t want to have to cut services or lay off employees if that happens.

 

Comm. Loiselle spoke about bond proceeds for this project already in a city account.

 

Mayor Pro-tem Pobur stated it is hard to imagine how the next governor will balance the budget and this whole revenue sharing issue is political.  It is the Commissions job as elected officials to keep the budget balanced and she is opposed to shelving all the items because of statewide financial issues and threats.  She stated these are budgeted items for expenditures and they should not be nervous and move ahead on their priorities.

 

Comm. Loiselle stated he is approaching this whole issue from an accountant’s background and feels very strongly if they could issue bonds at a lower interest rate because of a good rating, they should really have this master plan in place.

 

Mayor Graham spoke about the additional fees for construction with item #6a and that both the companies they narrowed down to were equally good companies.  He spoke about City Hall building construction and how necessary this project is.  He likes Comm. Greene’s approach to set up a special meeting to discuss capital expenditures with the economic climate the way it is.  He asked Mark Christiansen to provide a synopsis as to where the fund balance stands and feels there is a need to take a great deal of care with all expenditures and determine what is appropriate.

 

Matt Cardwell, 1069 N. Mill, agreed with the three Commissioners to do checks at various points and was part of the goal setting sessions as a citizen.  He stated it makes him feel better that the city would consider taking a look at the budget at various points.

 

Mark Oppat, stated he agrees with Matt Cardwell and feels if you look at City Hall from the outside and don’t go inside you don’t think it is necessary for any improvements.  He stated none of the improvements projected impact city services and they need to prioritize expenditures.

 

 

RES. 2002-131

 

WHEREAS, the City Commission has established the goal of making improvements to the City Hall Building; and

 

WHEREAS, the City Administration did seek proposals for professional services to develop a Master Plan for rehabilitation of the City Hall building; and

 

WHEREAS, after a review of all of the proposals the City Administration is recommending the proposal from Redstone/Wade-Trim in the amount of $29,000.00

 

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT the City Commission of the City of Plymouth does hereby accept the proposal from Redstone/Wade-Trim for the development of a City Hall Master Plan in the amount of $29,000.00.  Funding for this project is authorized from Bond Proceeds set aside for this purpose.

 

Motion was made by Comm. Pobur and seconded by Comm. Dwyer for approval of the resolution.  Carried unanimously.

 

 

6b.  Telephone Systems for DMS & Recreation –  (tabled until next meeting)

 

Comm. Greene requested going back to study session with this item and others and respects the comments made.  She stated since the numbers have been requested from the Finance Director she would feel more comfortable having a special meeting and taking this off the agenda.

 

Mayor Pro-tem Pobur stated she doesn’t feel anything would change in having a study session because the monies were budgeted for this expenditure during budget sessions and everyone agreed upon them.

 

Comm. Greene spoke about capital outlays and she is real nervous until the numbers are run and asking for a confidence level with a special meeting and not digging a hole for themselves by making these expenditures.

 

Comm. Potter stated since there is a serious deficit in the state and not sure how it is going to be shared they need to be very careful with the budget at this point forward.

 

Mayor Pro-tem Pobur stated that there was a resounding support from the legislatures for the override vote and they should have confidence to go ahead with business and be comfortable.  She doesn’t know what they would accomplish deferring for two weeks.

 

Comm. Loiselle stated that three issues are close to $80,000 and would like the numbers run by the Finance Director to see exactly where they are.  He feels comfortable waiting to see if they are under or over budget.

 

Comm. Pursell stated he agrees with Comm. Loiselle and when they come back in January with new legislators and results of the ballot proposals they have no idea what they will do.  He stated he is scared of losing jobs and city services if they make the wrong choices and maybe they should consider a hold on any further expenditures until after the November election results.

 

Mayor Graham stated he is coming from being a banker and is conservative and still would like to see what the current budget looks like and have Mark Christiansen provide an enhanced picture.  He stated once the Commission is satisfied then they will proceed with purchases.

 

Mayor Pro-tem Pobur stated it sounds like the Commission wants to defer all non-essential purchases until January.  She feels they have a solid plan and has no problem with these budgeted purchases.  She feels it is not fair to the administration to continue to go out for bids and project purchases if they are questioning the stability of the budget.

 

Comm. Dwyer stated he has no objection to tabling for two weeks but is reluctant to putting a hold on expenditures until January.  He stated he feels a good way to govern is to know what in the checkbook

 

Comm. Pursell requested to table item #6b & 6c because they are expenditures and they need to take a look at the financial report from the Finance Director

 

Motion was made by Comm. Loiselle and seconded by Comm. Greene to table agenda item #6b & 6c until the next regular meeting.  Motion carried with a no vote from Mayor Pro-tem Pobur.

 

6c.  Sprinkler Systems for Kellogg Park -  (tabled until next meeting)

 

 

6d.  Security Systems for DMS –

 

City Manager Sincock expressed the importance of approving this expenditure and not tabling it because of the need for increased security at the Municipal Services Department property.  He explained that there are a large group of people who have access to the DMS facility, as well as Huron Valley Ambulance housing their Eastern Operations Headquarters at that building.

 

RES. #2002-132

 

WHEREAS, there is a need to maintain the security of City facilities and inventory; and

 

WHEREAS, the City Administration has accepted bids for a security system for the Department of Municipal Services facility; and

 

NOW THERE BE IT RESOLVED THAT the City Commission of the City of Plymouth does hereby authorize a contract for the installation of a new security system for the Department of Municipal Services in the amount of $53,767.00.  Funding for this purchase is authorized from the General Fund, Water/Sewer Fund, Major & Local Streets Funds, Solid Waste & Recycling Fund and from private sources.

 

Motion was made by Mayor Pro-tem Pobur and seconded by Comm. Dwyer for approval of the resolution.  Carried unanimously.

 

Mike Holmes, 240 N. Harvey St., commented on sincerity with the Commission for being fiscally responsible.  He stated the majority of the Commissioners are concerned with the activities of the legislators and the impact it could have and it could be months before the magnitude of the impact hits the municipal governments.  He stated he fails to see how gathering information on fiscal year numbers could aide the Commissioners considering expenditures already budgeted.  He feels that if they are worried about the revenue sharing and the override vote and what impact the three-ballot proposal will have in November, they should table all expenditures until January when the new governor is seated and new legislators are in place.

 

Bob Mundt, 1347 W. Ann Arbor Trail, stated that listening to the Commissioners arguments for tabling made him puzzled and he agrees with Mr. Holmes that maybe they should wait until January to see about state funding issues.  This is only if they are truly concerned with revenue sharing issues and soundness of budgetary issues for the City of Plymouth.

NEW BUSINESS

 

7a.  Outdoor Service Area for Lower Town Grille –

 

City Manager Sincock explained that the owner of Lower Town Grill, Kim Guenther, had requested an outdoor seating area on the Starkweather side of his building.  He stated the request is made in accordance with the City’s Sidewalk Café Policy and that his attorney was present to speak to the issue and answer questions.

 

Mr. Guenther’s Attorney, Mark Knoth, explained that their request meets the requirements of the outdoor policy.  He presented a drawing of the proposed outdoor seating and explained that he and Mr. Guenther spoke about the suggestions from the OVDA board due to the restaurant being in close proximity of residential housing units.  He stated they are willing to curtail the outdoor seating to lunch and dinner hours since there is such a short time in the season for outdoor dining.  He stated this could be the trial period and that Mr. Guenther is a good business person and intends to run a clean establishment and expand his business.

 

Mayor Graham suggested that they limit their hours for the outdoor seating from 11:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m., Monday thru Saturday with no outdoor music.

 

Susan Clark, 305 Farmer, stated Old Village is mixed with residential and businesses and spoke about the past problems with noise issues.  She stated that other businesses on Starkweather have outdoor seating and don’t have liquor licenses and hope that the city keeps a close eye on this area around Lower Town.

 

Mark Oppat, Blanche Street, suggested the door be locked to that area at 9:00 p.m. sharp for any noise issues.

 

Mayor Graham stated he has concerns with the close proximity of the residential homes and would give support to testing this operation for this season and he is aware that they would have to renew this with the LCC next year.

 

RES. #2002-133

 

WHEREAS, the City has received a request from the owners of the Lower Town Grille who does business on Liberty Street for a Temporary Authorization for an outside service location; and

 

WHEREAS, the request is in accordance with the City’s Outdoor Café Policy and the request would allow the establishment to serve customers at a street side location.

 

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT the City Commission does hereby grant a temporary authorization for the period of August 20, 2002 to September 2, 2002, in accordance with the City’s Outdoor Café Policy for an Outdoor Service Location for Lower Town Grille.  The City Administration is further directed to complete the necessary documents indicating approval of the request for the Liquor Control Commission.

 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT hours of operation for the Side Walk Café be limited to 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. and NO outdoor music is allowed.

 

Motion was made by Comm. Pursell and seconded by Comm. Loiselle for approval of the resolution, as amended.  Carried unanimously.

 

 

7b.  Health Insurance Bids –

 

City Manager Sincock spoke about bid proposals received for health insurance coverage and recommended the Commission authorize continuation through Cambridge and Canada Life.

 

Comm. Loiselle questioned the cost of non participating employees and feels that there needs to be a serious review of this item because of the cost to the city.  He spoke about the existing policy on insuring retirees and insurance pay offs for not accepting insurance and having a spouse pick up the employee at their place of employment.  He would like to see some sort of new policy so the city does not get locked into costly situations, with regards to insuring employees and retirees.

 

RES. #2002-134

 

WHEREAS, the City of Plymouth has a number of contractual obligations to supply health insurance coverage’s; and

 

WHEREAS, the City Administration did develop requests for proposals and received several proposals from vendors; and

 

WHEREAS, each proposal was reviewed by the City Administration.  The Administration is recommending that the City accept the proposal from Cambridge & Canada Life for a self-insured plan.

 

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT the City Commission of the City of Plymouth does hereby authorize the City Administration to enter into a contract for health insurance benefits with Cambridge & Canada Life in accordance with their proposal to the City for the 2002-2003 Plan year.

 

Motion was made by Mayor Pro-tem Pobur and seconded by Comm. Potter for approval of the resolution.  Carried unanimously.

 

7c.  Authorization to Hire a New Position –

 

 

Motion was made by Comm. Loiselle and seconded by Comm. Dwyer for discussion purposes.

 

City Manager Sincock explained that in reviewing staffing issues they found that too often they are short staffed at various times of the years in various Departments.  He spoke about the problem with coverage for sick time and vacation time and cost of temporary staff.  He stated that the Administration reviewed options to provide clerical coverage in all department and developed a concept of a Customer Service Liaison by combining two part time positions, along with costs related to hiring agency temporary staff and delivering better service.

 

Comm. Pursell questioned the additional costs for a new employee and City Manager Sincock indicated there would be costs for insurances.

 

Comm. Loiselle and Comm. Greene both indicated that due to the discussions about concern with purchases and the status of the budget and possible future revenue sharing issues, they thought it best to table this agenda item until the first meeting in September.

 

Motion was made by Comm. Loiselle and seconded by Comm. Pursell to table the proposed new position for hire until the first meeting in September.  Motion carried with a no vote from Comm. Dwyer and Mayor Pro-tem Pobur.

 

7d.  Special Event for “Remembrance of 911” for the Plymouth Symphony –

 

Comm. Greene stated she wanted to propose that the City Commissioners allocate $1,000 from their budget for a special event for 911 Remembrance Celebration to be put on by the Plymouth Symphony for the communities in the Township of Canton.

 

Jim Rawlinson, 543 Leicester, stated he is on the board for the Plymouth Symphony and would love to have this even in the city but there is no facility large enough so they chose Canton Township.  He indicated that this event being held is contingent on whether the City of Plymouth approves it and then the other two communities will join in as well.  He stated that the event is not part of the Symphony’s scheduled event.

 

Mayor Pro-tem Pobur stated she supports the concept of having the municipalities acknowledge this tragic event, but feels it is hypocritical to approve this and vote down expenditures.

 

Comm. Greene stated she has no intention of denying expenditures but needs more information in front of her and this event expenditure is time sensitive.

 

Comm. Loiselle stated he doesn’t want to be anti-911 event supporter, but funds should go to support non profit.

 

Comm. Potter stated it is an honorable event but they need to look at the other items they tabled for expenditures.

 

Mayor Graham stated when he was approached it did not matter to him it was being held in Canton Township, it mattered that they acknowledge this tragic event and be a part of it as a community.

 

Comm. Loiselle indicated that the other Commissioners indicated to him that they would be willing to donate the $1,000 out of their own pockets to make sure the event took place and not expend the monies from their

 

Mayor Graham stated there was no reason to act on the resolution because the Commissioners had resolved the issue of the monies being requested by pooling their own personal money together for the event.  He commended everyone who donated to these worthy event.

 

Jim Rawlinson and Darlene Dryer from the Symphony thanked the Commissioners for their generosity.

 

7e.  Fall Festival Beer Tent –

 

Comm. Dwyer expressed his concern with having beer involved with the festival and felt it was a family activity and that having a beer tent was not a necessity.

 

RES. #2002-135

 

WHEREAS, the City Commission has previously approved the Plymouth Community Fall Festival for their 2002 event with one beverage tent (located in the Saxtons Parking Lot); and

 

WHEREAS, it may be necessary for the event to move the beverage tent across the street to what is commonly known as the Wilcox Property.

 

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT the City Commission authorizes the Fall Festival to have one beverage tent in accordance with the previously approved Resolution, however they will be allowed to have their beverage tent at either the Saxtons or Wilcox Property.

 

Motion was made by Mayor Pro-tem Pobur and seconded by Comm. Pursell for approval of the resolution.  Motion carried with a no vote from Comm. Dwyer.

 

7f.  Computer Bids –

 

City Manager Sincock spoke about recommending approval of purchase of various computer equipment as evaluated by Tom Alexandris, Information Systems Manager.  Mr. Alexandris has requested funds be allocated for the purchase of workstations that will replace old ones throughout various departments in the City.

 

Comm. Pursell indicated in light of the discussions on other items on the agenda for expenditures he feels it appropriate to table the item until the next regular meeting.

 

Motion was made by Comm. Loiselle and seconded by Comm. Pursell for tabling this item until the next regular meeting.  Motion carried with a no vote from Mayor Pro-tem Pobur.

 

7g.  DMS Clerical –

 

City Manager Sincock explained that this clerical position at DMS is not a new position and is only authorizing replacement of the person that is transferring over to City Hall in the Finance Department.

 

RES. #2002-136

 

WHEREAS, the City Commission did adopt a “hiring ordinance” which requires the City Administration to seek prior specific and express approval prior to any full time hiring; and

 

WHEREAS, there is a vacancy in a full time position at the Department of Municipal Services and the City Administration is requesting prior specific and express approval to hire a full time replacement for the clerical opening at the Department of Municipal Services.

 

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT the City Commission of the City of Plymouth does hereby grant prior, specific approval to hire a full time clerical position at the Department of Municipal Services.  This approval is to replace a currently vacant position that was created by the transfer of an employee to another previously authorized position.

 

Motion was made by Comm. Greene and seconded by Comm. Pursell for approval of the resolution.  Carried unanimously.

 

REPORTS AND CORRESPONDENCE

 

8a.  Committee Reports -  None

 

8b.  Department Reports –

 

Reports submitted by the Building Department for a problem home occupation and complaints by neighbors.  Jim Penn indicated that he has resolved the issue and met with the person the neighbors are complaining about and he was very cooperative.

 

Fire Department submitted their report concerning a recap of runs for the month of July.

 

8c.  Appointments –

 

Mayor Pro-tem Pobur announced the proposed appointments for the charter review committee as follows:

 

                        Bob Johns

                        Fred Libbing

                        Mike Holmes

                        Don Morgan

                        Gerry Sabatini

                        Steve Renaldi

                        Sean FitzGerald

                       

 

Motion was made by Comm. Pursell and seconded by Comm. Dwyer for approval of the appointments made to the charter review committee.  Carried unanimously.

 

 

ADJOURNMENT

 

Motion was made by Mayor Pro-tem Pobur and seconded by Comm. Potter for adjournment of the meeting at 9:27 p.m.  Carried unanimously.