Barton Hills Village, Michigan

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December 12, 2005

December 12, 2005

The regular meeting of the Board of Trustees was called to order by President Laporte at 6:03 PM at the Village Hall.

ROLL CALL     Present:  Trustees Al-Awar, Boddie, Bogat, Laporte, Lindstrom, MacKrell and Perry;  Atty. Reading, Asst. Treas. Redies and Supt. Esch;  BHMC President Bultman, DTE Energy representative Paul Ganz, residents Tom Nicely, Elizabeth Ong, Jean Paul, Jack van der Velde and Marilyn van der Velde.  Absent:  Trustees Butterwick and Wilkes.

PUBLIC COMMENT     (Q.=question/comment, A.=answer)     
--US-23 Resolution:  
Q.  What are we supporting?  A.  The proposed resolution would support reconsideration by the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) of a study that was begun to determine what options are available to address the traffic congestion on US-23 from the M-14 junction north to Brighton.  The study was set aside due to financial constraints;  MDOT is beginning to consider such projects again.
Q.  If US-23 is widened, where would the southern end begin--at the M-14 interchange or farther south?  A.  We don't know.  The study looks at many options, and is not complete yet.
Q.  How would this impact the M-14/Barton Drive interchange?  A.  That is also not known at this time.  Options that have been mentioned include improved entrance ramps at North Territorial Road and Six Mile Road, and high occupancy lanes, which are environmentally friendly.
Q.  What impact might this have on Whitmore Lake Road?  Currently many people exit at North Territorial Road and head south on Whitmore Lake Road to avoid the traffic back-ups on US-23.  This causes traffic problems on Whitmore Lake Road near BHV.  A.  Any development along Whitmore Lake Road would certainly have an impact.  Widening US-23 isn't necessarily the best option, as it tends to lead to urban sprawl, which is contrary to the planning goals of Ann Arbor City and Ann Arbor Township that focus on green space preservation.
Q.  It seems like not supporting the US-23 study might force Ann Arbor City to deal more directly with the need for affordable housing in the city rather than making it easier for people to live outside the city.  I'm not in favor of widening US-23--it would only lead to more sprawl.
Q.  I agree--widening may result in taking of land and more development.  
There being no further public comment on this or any other topic, the Public Comment period was closed at 6:15 PM.

POWER LINES    Mr. Paul Ganz, representing DTE Energy, addressed the question of burying the power lines in BHV.  He stated that the power industry, governed by the Public Services Commission, bases its operations on the cost of providing power through overhead lines.  Communities that more recently have required underground lines have financed the cost through the developers working on new sites.  Rates are the same throughout the area, even though specific communities have varying needs.  Based on past experience of burying power lines, Mr. Ganz gave a "back of the envelope estimate" of $1 million/mile to put major lines underground.  This does not include the cost to individual homeowners to run service lines from the main line to the house.

Mr. Ganz further stated that if there are power quality issues at specific locations, DTE Energy would be glad to address those situations.  If trees need to be trimmed in places where they are a danger to power lines, that can also be done.  He noted that putting lines underground does not provide foolproof protection from power outages and that the lifespan of underground cable is not as long as overhead lines.  Material costs have risen due to the impact of the hurricanes in the southern states;  also labor is not readily available.  Mr. Ganz stated that if there were power outages more frequently than two or three times a year, the company could work on those locations, and continue their regular tree trimming.  He agreed that underground lines are more visually attractive but stated they are very expensive.

Q.  Could DTE Energy provide a specific estimate for burying lines in BHV?  A.  An engineering firm would have to be engaged to do a complete study for a more accurate estimate.  
Q.  Could the project be done in phases, with a short-term mixture of overhead and underground lines, to allow for financing of such a large project?  A.  It is not desirable to have the mixture of lines, but the work could be phased.
Q.  Does all the work have to be done by DTE?  A.  Other contractors could do some of the work, such as the trenching, as long as it meets DTE specifications.  It would be preferable to have DTE oversee the project so vendors are held accountable and the work would be done correctly.
Q.  Could telephone and cable companies share the costs and bury their lines also?  A.  Yes, although such companies pay a very minor fee now so they may not be interested in sharing costs.  Room must be left in the trenches for expansion and protection from the elements.
Q.  What about burying lines when poles need replacing?  A.  Pole replacement doesn't happen very often.

The discussion moved to focus on trimming of trees that endanger power lines.  Mr. Ganz stated that problems should be reported to him and he would see that the work is done.  Mr. Esch stated there were 38 trees currently identified as interfering with the lines in BHV.  He added that residents have told him they called DTE and were told the trees wouldn't be trimmed until the lines were damaged.  Trees along Barton Shore Drive near Underdown Road were marked after damaged lines caused a fire in the tree, but were never trimmed.  Mr. Ganz left his contact information:  direct phone line 734-332-3180 or email [email protected]

Motion    Mrs. MacKrell moved that the minutes of the November 14, 2005 Trustee meeting be approved as printed.  Mr. Perry seconded;  the motion carried.

Motion     Mrs. MacKrell moved that the appointment of Randolph Perry as Zoning and Planning Administrator be approved.  Mr. Lindstrom seconded;  the motion carried.

Ms. Laporte commented on the four opinion letters from Atty. Reading distributed to the Trustees:
1)  At the request of Trustee Wilkes, Ms. Laporte solicited an opinion on the question of removal of the Zoning and Planning Administrator (ZPA) without stating a cause.  Mr. Reading's letter indicates that no cause need be stated for such removal.  Having received this opinion, Ms. Laporte assumed her action of removing Mr. Al-Awar as ZPA was proper and proceeded to appoint Mr. Perry to the position.  
2)  Since Mr. Perry currently serves on the Ann Arbor Township Planning Commission, Ms. Laporte solicited Atty. Reading's opinion on possible incompatibility of the two offices.  Atty. Reading responded by letter that it would only be an issue if there was a matter involving both jurisdictions, in which case Mr. Perry would have to choose which office he would represent and recuse himself from the other.
3)  A third opinion letter was solicited regarding the incompatibility of the same person holding the position of BHV President and ZPA, and the legitimacy of Ms. Laporte's signature on the Probst/Klein plans.  Atty. Reading suggested that Mr. Perry should also sign the plans to remove any doubt about the question of zoning authority in the Probst/Klein situation.  However, the Trustees agreed that this might call into question all previous plans signed by the ZPA since Mrs. Esch stated her research of past minutes showed no indication that the ZPA appointment had ever been properly confirmed by Trustee motion.  It was agreed that the actions taken concerning the Probst/Klein plans were done in good faith, that the project was considered to be in compliance with the BHV Zoning Ordinance and that no further action was needed.  
4)  The fourth opinion letter concerned the function of the Zoning Committee.  Atty. Reading's letter states that such a committee may be established as an advisory group to provide feedback to the ZPA, but that it has no authority to act in place of the ZPA.  Ms. Laporte added that it was apparent the Zoning Ordinance was in need of revision and hoped the Zoning Committee would take on review of the ordinance and proposal of changes.  It was asked if rules could be developed that would address these issues without the lengthy process of amending the Zoning Ordinance;  Atty. Reading replied that the Zoning Board of Appeals can establish rules of procedure, but anything else has to be specifically stated in the Zoning Ordinance.

It was noted that the opinion letters were marked as subject to attorney/client privilege.  Such documents can be distributed only to the Trustees and the contents may not be divulged to anyone other than Trustees.  Ms. Laporte suggested documents that all Trustees should have available to them, such as the Zoning Ordinance and the BHV Charter.  Mrs. Esch will see that paper copies are distributed, and that the information is posted on the BHV website soon.

Motion     Mr. Perry moved that the list of Board of Trustee meeting dates for 2006 distributed with the agenda be approved with the following changes:
--the date of the November meeting set as November 13, 2006
--the date of the December meeting set as December 11, 2006
--the date of the May meeting set as Tuesday, May 16, 2006.
Mr. Boddie seconded;  the motion carried.

FINANCE     Mrs. Redies read the cash balances as of December 12, 2005:

Cash Balances
    General Fund
        Checking Account              $  23,864
        Savings                              821,139
Total General Fund                     $ 845,003
    Public Improvement Reserve Fund
        Savings                            $113,457
    Motor Vehicle Highway Fund
        Savings                            $100,783
        Bank One Govt. Trust Account   $ 707,566
        Bank of Ann Arbor                       119,962
        Ann Arbor Commerce Bank CD       107,907
        United Bank & Trust Washtenaw     99,944
Total Savings                                $1,035,379                                                                                                                                          

FINANCE      Mr. Boddie reported concerning a letter received from Washtenaw County regarding the Wireless Washtenaw project.  The County is requesting permission to install antennas on the BHV maintenance building and water tower.  However, BHV has lease agreements with cellular providers for antennas already on the water tower.  There would be no fee paid to BHV by Washtenaw County to install the wireless antennas;  rather some free service would be provided to all BHV residents.  County representatives offered to provide a presentation to BHV on the Wireless Washtenaw project.  Mr. Perry added that he has been attending the Wireless Washtenaw meetings on behalf of BHV as requested by former President Wilkes.  In order for the group to provide Requests for Proposals to providers, all participants need to be signed up by December 31, 2005.  This deadline does not allow much time for a formal presentation.  Mr. Perry added that there shouldn't be interference between the cellular and wireless frequencies, and that existing leases are taken into account.  However, the wireless agreement would be exclusive and BHV could not contract with other broadband providers.  The Wireless Washtenaw agreement extends for five years and would have an option to extend for another five years.  (Amended 1/16/06)  It was noted that if changes were made to the maintenance building, BHV would be required to give Wireless Washtenaw six months' notice, and the wireless group would pay to change the equipment installed on the building.  Concern was expressed for depriving people outside of BHV of the free service if BHV chose not to participate, but it was speculated that the equipment sites were in about a two-mile radius, and that coverage could be provided.  It was also speculated that the level of free service provided would be very low, and few BHV residents would be interested in a product that did not meet their needs, choosing to stay with their current provider rather than purchasing an upgrade from a new provider.  Mr. Perry added that the position of Wireless Washtenaw is not to negotiate individual contracts, but to have the same agreement with all participants.  Atty. Reading stated that his law partner, Mr. Lillich, was studying this issue for other municipal clients, and could provide further information.

Motion     Mr. Lindstrom moved to table the request from Wireless Washtenaw until the January 2006 Trustee meeting, and to obtain additional information on the issue from Atty. Reading.  Mrs. MacKrell seconded;  the motion carried.

LONG RANGE PLANNING      Mrs. MacKrell asked if anyone was interested in attending meetings of the Ann Arbor City Council and Ann Arbor City Planning Commission to speak in favor of keeping the Barton Drive/M-14 interchange open.  Mr. Lindstrom offered to help.   

PERSONNEL     Ms. Laporte had no report.

RECREATION     Ms. Bogat had no report.

ROADS     Mr. Al-Awar stated that road striping had been completed, although the lines were light in some spots due to the damp weather during application.  The price for repairing the drain near the Boddie home on Underdown Road was negotiated for about $1,000 less than expected.  Work there will begin as soon as weather permits.

Mr. Lindstrom received a call from a resident commending the maintenance staff on the excellent job of snow removal during the last storm.  Mr. Al-Awar noted that the spreader was used on most roads, but salt was also spread by hand in some areas, and that both methods would be used throughout the season.  Mr. Esch added that the moisture content, temperature and other factors determine which methods will be most effective.   When asked if there are any other options besides the salt being used, Mr. Al-Awar and Mr. Esch agreed that this is the least expensive and most effective product available.  Road salt costs about $30/ton delivered in 50 ton loads, with three loads used per season.

SECURITY /ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT      Mr. Butterwick was absent due to illness.
Mr. Esch reported 5 false alarms in the past month.
VEHICLES/EQUIPMENT     Mr. Al-Awar stated that the new garbage box for the truck should be delivered by the end of the month.

WATER     Mr. Wilkes was absent.  There were no questions on his written report distributed with the agenda.  Mr. Esch noted that the new well is producing water but there are no firm reports on the amount of the flow yet.

ZONING     Mr. Perry had no report.

BHMC LIAISON     Ms. Laporte had no report, since the BHMC Board of Directors meeting is scheduled for next week.

UNFINISHED BUSINESS     Mr. Esch has obtained a quote of $2,535 for the removal of 20 trees by Maulbetsch Tree Service.  He estimated there are 38 additional trees that are close to the wires and should be trimmed by DTE Energy, and about 40 trees that are dead but that do not pose a hazard and will be removed when time permits.

Motion     Mr. Boddie moved that Maulbetsch Tree Service be contracted to remove trees according to the quote received by Mr. Esch.  Mr. Al-Awar seconded;  the motion carried.

BUILDINGS     Mr. Lindstrom presented a written report from the Village Administration Center Committee, highlighting the four sections of the report:  background, assumptions, alternatives, and next steps.
Background:  history of the project, committee members and goals
Assumptions:  requirements for Administrative Center;  potential needs of maintenance area buildings
Alternatives:  three possible scenarios being considered
   1)  replace block maintenance building with one-story, slightly larger building on the same site
   2)  construct a new one-story building north of the block maintenance building
   3)  construct a new one-story building between the salt shed and the employee house
The committee considered adding a second story to the block building but was advised by construction professionals that the cost would be prohibitive.  The committee report also included a diagram of the various sites and a chart comparing the three options.

Comments on the report included:
--The committee is considering a system-built rather than architecturally created structure, similar to the employee house but designed for commercial use.  Mr. Lindstrom and Mr. Al-Awar visited a model from the company being considered and were impressed with the quality of construction and attractive appearance of the building.  The committee will also investigate stick-built construction, and the services of an architect will be used to ensure compliance with legal requirements and quality of design.
--Impact on the function of the maintenance department will be considered, especially in relation to option 1.
--Feedback from BHMC and the BHV staff will be obtained.
--Is the size sufficient for records storage?  Yes.  It has been determined that there are not enough long-term storage records to justify the cost of an off-site storage company.  
Active files will be in the offices, with inactive records in a secure storage room.
--Will there be a basement?  No.  
--Will the block building be refaced?  Possibly, using a facing that abuts the building but is actually a separate construction.
--What is the advantage of replacing the block building?  Appearance, plus improved use through restructuring the maintenance area to fit their needs (will talk with Mr. Esch about this) while making best use of the site most visible from Barton Shore Drive.
--Is parking addressed in all the options?  Parking is obviously a significant part of the project.  Option 3 provides the most space, but parking will be planned in every option.
--How should these ideas be presented to the residents?  Should one or two options be recommended?  This needs to be discussed further.

There seemed to be agreement among the Trustees that Option1 was least favored but it was decided not to eliminate any option.  The VAC Committee will obtain feedback from BHMC and the BHV staff, and investigate costs for the three options, returning to the Trustees for more input before sending out the next newsletter to the residents.

NEW BUSINESS     Atty. Reading explained that Michigan legislation requires adoption of a policy before December 31, 2005 to protect the privacy of social security information.  A draft policy was distributed with the agenda.

Motion    Mr. Perry moved that the resolution regarding Social Security Number Privacy be adopted as presented.  Mr. Lindstrom seconded.  The motion carried.
                                                                  Mr. Lindstrom left

A letter was distributed from Atty. Reading notifying BHV of an increase in fees for services.  Hourly rates will rise from $110/hour (established in 2002) to $120/hour.  Retainer for regular Trustee meetings will rise from $200/month to $250/month.  Increases are effective January 1, 2006.  It was agreed that these increases were modest and reasonable.

Motion     Mr. Al-Awar moved that the increase in legal service fees proposed by Reading, Etter and Lillich be approved as stated in their letter of November 8, 2005.  Mrs. MacKrell seconded;  the motion carried.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 8:10 PM.

Jan Esch, Assistant Clerk