MINUTES OF BOARD MEETING
TRUSTEES OF BARTON HILLS VILLAGE
February 11, 2008
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, Butterwick, Langford, Laporte, Lindstrom and Wilkes. Absent: Trustee MacKrell.
Others attending: Atty. Reading, Asst. Treasurer Redies and Supt. Esch.
PUBLIC COMMENT None.
MINUTES Motion Mr. Boddie moved that the minutes of the January 14, 2008Trustees meeting be approved as printed. Mrs. Langford seconded; the motion carried.
Motion Mr. Wilkes moved that the minutes of the January 28, 2008 Special Trustees meeting be approved; Mrs. Langford seconded. One correction was proposed: Page 4, “Floor Covering: An allowance of $35/square foot yard is included...” (Motion to amend the motion: Lindstrom/ Butterwick/P). The motion as amended carried.
RESOLUTION Ms. Laporte read the following resolution:
BE IT RESOLVED that since Gary Dresselhouse has served as Building
Inspector for Barton Hills Village by agreement with Ann Arbor Township
for nineteen years; and, whereas he has faithfully offered outstanding
service for the good of Barton Hills Village during that time, the members
of the Board of Trustees wish to thank Mr. Dresselhouse for this dedication
and loyalty to the Trustees, residents and staff of Barton Hills Village, express
congratulations and extend their best wishes to him in his retirement.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this resolution be recorded in the
minutes of the Barton Hills Village Board of Trustees.
Motion Mr. Lindstrom moved that the resolution honoring Gary Dresselhouse be approved. Mr. Butterwick seconded; the motion carried. Ms. Laporte added that she has met the new Ann Arbor Township Building Inspector, John Hamlin, and thinks he will be excellent to work with. She went on to explain that Township Assessor Emily Pizzo contacted her about a problem with the BHV/BHMC land transfer and the incomplete recording of the Ward parcel transfer in 1995. Ms. Laporte provided the necessary paperwork (deed/survey) and fee (BHV check for $75) and both transfers have been successfully completed.
FINANCE Mrs. Redies distributed the Cash Balances Comparison Report and answered questions about BHV investment accounts (rates/dates of renewal). Mr. Boddie added that he has talked to representatives of Bank of Ann Arbor and Key Bank, both of which would be interested in arranging the financing for the VAC project. He tended to favor Key Bank for its willingness to offer preferential rates and quick approval, noting that they have experience in municipal financing regulations. While the interest rate on a proposed 10-year, fixed-rate installment loan could not be determined until actual figures are available, Key Bank offered a rate ½ point lower than Bank of Ann Arbor on the day of the discussions. Concern was expressed that BHV funds be invested in accounts that are fully insured, and that loans be made with local banks that keep their accounts rather than selling them to other financial institutions. The thinking at this time is to use $200,000 in BHV funds and borrow the rest ($200,000-300,000), which will cost about $40,000/year in principal and interest. Taxes will not be raised or residents assessed for the VAC project, and the village will pay itself back as well as the bank loan. There has been a surplus in the general fund of about $100,000 per year for the past several years. Mr. Boddie expressed confidence that current accessible funds ($400,000-550,000) provide a sufficient cushion against unexpected emergencies and that the financing plan for the VAC is conservative and appropriate.
ZONING AND PLANNING ADMINISTRATOR No report.
PLANNING COMMISSION Mr. Boddie reported that the Planning Commission has met twice, and has elected officers (Laura Weingartner, Chair; Ruthann Nichols, Vice Chair; John MacKrell, Secretary). At the second meeting they interviewed representatives from two professional planning companies, with a third company to be interviewed at the next meeting. The Commission estimates the cost of hiring a planner to aid in completing the Master Plan at $10,000-30,000. Ms. Laporte noted that BHV is required by the state to have a Master Plan and that it will be very helpful to have a plan that is adhered to in case of legal challenge. When asked if a community vote was necessary to adopt the plan, Mr. Boddie responded that a Public Hearing will be held but not a vote; the Board of Trustees will formally adopt the plan. He added that the two planning companies interviewed both have experience with communities similar to BHV (high-end residential, little commercial area, waterfront). Hiring a professional planner will enable the Commission to complete its work, as it would be difficult for them to develop a plan without knowledgeable assistance. It is expected that this will be a relatively simple job for the planners, whose hourly rates of $120-130 were deemed reasonable.
The Commissioners hope to clarify if members can participate via speakerphone or computer laptop. Cell phones and a free conferencing service have been used at the first two meetings although members not physically present were not included in the quorum or votes. The Commissioners hope to find meaningful accommodation for those who cannot be in attendance due to travel commitments and suggest a wireless connection for the meeting room (estimated cost less than $100). Motion Mr. Boddie moved that the current Village Hall be equipped with wireless service. Mr. Lindstrom seconded; the motion carried.
Village Administration Center Mr. Lindstrom referred to his written report, noting that the BHMC review went well with a good turnout on a snowy night. Some of the BHMC Directors were uncomfortable with the lack of a landscaping plan while others were very supportive regardless. The project was approved with two contingencies: that within 30 days of the award of the building contract BHV will return to BHMC with 1) a landscaping plan and 2) an external building materials plan. Questions from the Trustees included:
--Is it standard practice for BHMC to require a landscaping plan? Yes. They are charged with evaluating how projects fit in the neighborhood and landscaping is important.
--Will they tell us exactly what to plant? Probably not. Just like with the building, they will offer suggestions and feedback. We showed the color renditions as representative of our sense of minimal landscaping—something around the building and something to screen the parking area/tin shed. We don’t plan to spend a lot of money, since the site already has significant vegetation.
--So more approval is needed yet? Yes, we will probably contact a landscape professional at a nursery (rather than a landscape architect) to help develop a specific plan, once we know what the budget will be.
--Can construction begin before the contingencies are met? Yes, we asked about that specifically. There are questions about plantings, exterior lighting, walkways, exterior signage—those will all be addressed in the landscape plan. But construction can begin during the time we are obtaining the necessary approval.
--How long will the construction take? We don’t know, but this is a small, simple building that ideally could be done in three months. It will depend on the contractor. A time estimate is asked for in the bids.
Mr. Lindstrom explained the process as put forth in the Invitation to Bid. Architect Ed Wier will be the person to answer contractor questions and supply information to bidders. The bids will be opened on March 13, 2008. Motion Mr. Lindstrom moved that funds up to $2,000 be approved for architect Ed Wier to coordinate the bid process at his rate of $75/hour. Mr. Boddie seconded; the motion carried. Mr. Lindstrom added that the VAC Committee has learned there is a state requirement that a professional must sign off on completion before the bills are paid, so there will be an additional expense for that (most probably done by Ed Wier and Ken West). It was agreed this is a safeguard for the taxpayers, helping to ensure they receive what they are paying for.
Finance Mr. Boddie advised that budget requests for the coming fiscal year are due now. The proposed budget will be presented at the March 10, 2008 Trustee meeting.
Water Mr. Wilkes referred to his written report which details water system leaks from 1993-2007. There has been an average of two leaks per year at a cost of about $2,000 to repair. Mr. Wilkes will provide further analysis and information in his next report. Regarding the Phase II Stormwater Permit, BHV has received a bill for $500 for renewal of the permit, which expires April 1, 2008. Mr. Wilkes has made great effort to contact the appropriate officials and explain the position that BHV should not be required to obtain a permit since it does not own a stormwater system, but has had little response. It was agreed that the bill not be paid but included in a letter explaining again why BHV should be exempt from the permit, which should warrant a response from someone.
Mr. Wilkes is also investigating technology options for the water pump/tower system. He has received information from David Esch who talked with a representative of the company that services the instruments at the pumps/tower. There is a radio system with a battery back up available that would not be reliant on telephone lines. Mr. Wilkes will do more checking and report back. Mr. Wilkes received another call from a company interested in telecommunications equipment on the water tower. It was agreed that the Board would consider written proposals if they were advantageous to the village.
Roads/Vehicles Mr. Al-Awar reported that the Maintenance Department is having trouble obtaining road salt. The current contract requires placing an order in August, based on previous years’ usage. Since this has been a more demanding winter, the supply is running low and the company will not provide any more salt if it wasn’t ordered. This is a widespread concern; Mr. Esch added that many people he called have the same problem and someone had called him hoping to purchase salt from BHV. Mr. Wilkes referred to a current newspaper article on salt shortages in Wisconsinwhere prices have risen 70%. Suggestions included trying to arrange a second contract with another company for salt next year and purchasing sand/chloride in the meantime. It was noted that the spreader uses more salt, but that spreading by hand poses a safety risk.
BHMC Liaison No report.
Environmental No report.
Long RangePlanning No report.
Maintenance Area/Buildings No report.
Ordinance Revision No report.
Personnel No report.
Recreation No report.
Security No report.
Zoning/ZO Revision No report.
UNFINISHED BUSINESS Power Outages Ms. Laporte reported on a meeting she attended with DTE Energy representatives hosted by Ann Arbor Township. While the discussion was very helpful in understanding how the power system is constructed and where BHV power comes from, Ms. Laporte expressed concerns regarding the actions proposed by DTE. Upgrading of existing equipment and installation of new equipment seems to be developed without benefit of communication within the various departments of DTE; the representative presenting proposed plans had very little knowledge of the types of problems BHV has been experiencing. There was also concern for the way the company (and other utilities) installs equipment on property without notice to the governmental entities or the property owners involved. A property owner in Ann Arbor Townshipprotested such installation without an easement and DTE was required to remove it. Ms. Laporte noted at the meeting that DTE does not have a current franchise in BHV. Ann Arbor Township Supervisor Michael Moran called the meeting in hopes that a permit process can be established governing all utilities so property owners will be aware of proposed projects that will impact them. In regard to recent power fluctuations in BHV, DTE representatives stated their goal as providing 114-120 volts of consistent supply. The Trustees reaffirmed their proposal to write letters to the top management of DTE Energy and to the Public Service Commission, describing our situation and our expectation that DTE Energy fulfill its responsibilities to provide reliable power. Ms. Laporte will write the letters before the March 10, 2008 Trustees meeting.
The discussion turned to the related matter of generators, which many residents in BHV have or are considering, and the need for a permit to install them. Ann Arbor Building Inspector Hamlin recently issued a stop work order for an installation in BHV until proper review and permits were obtained. Concern was expressed that this was overregulation and that existing generators probably didn’t have permits. In response it was pointed out that if the unit is not properly installed there is real danger of electrocution for utility workers. Noise to neighbors, environmental issues during installation and related rules governing structures are also valid concerns. Mrs. Esch noted that ZPA Perry is aware of this issue and supports further discussion.
Project Review Process It was agreed to untable the discussion of the Project Review Process to consider Mrs. Esch’s memo suggesting wording for a Barton Bulletin article. Mrs. Esch noted that BHV has an obligation to inform the residents about the applicability of the Ann Arbor Township Soil Erosion and Sedimentation Control Ordinance. However, it was felt that the proposed article was still confusing and implies more restrictions than the ordinance actually requires. Concern for prevention of soil erosion, particularly as it may effect natural water resources is obviously the intent of the SESC Ordinance, but residents should not be overregulated in common yard/garden activities. Motion Mr. Lindstrom moved that the Project Review Process discussion be retabled to the March 10, 2008 Trustee meeting, and that the text of the Ann Arbor Township Soil Erosion and Sedimentation Control Ordinance be redistributed to the Trustees for closer study. Mr. Boddie seconded; the motion carried.
NEW BUSINESS Public Comment Memo Discussion focused on Mrs. Esch’s memo about asking a speaker to state their name/address during the Public Comment portion of meetings and if that information should be included in the minutes, which are publicly posted. Sympathy for the speaker’s right to remain anonymous was expressed, as well as concern that issues be openly addressed with knowledge of who is involved. It was acknowledged that personal information is readily available, especially on the Internet, and that people may be at risk because of this ease of access. Mr. Reading noted that the Open Meetings Act allows for the establishment of rules of procedure and that such rules can include the requirement that persons addressing the Board must identify themselves. The question was called (Wilkes/Lindstrom/P). Motion Mr. Boddie moved that speakers during Public Comment periods at Barton Hills Villagemeetings not be required to state their name. Mr. Butterwick seconded. The motion carried with Trustees Boddie, Butterwick, Langford, Lindstrom and Wilkes voting yes; Trustees Al-Awar, Bogat and Laporte voting no. Motion Mr. Lindstrom moved that minutes of Barton Hills Villagemeetings not identify the names of speakers during Public Comment periods. Mr. Boddie seconded; the motion carried.
Public Restrooms Mr. Lindstrom relayed concerns expressed at the February 6, 2008BHMC Board of Directors meeting regarding the physical condition of the restrooms in the former pool area. In particular, the roof is in poor shape and the intent of the Boards is to have the facility in usable condition. It was agreed that this should fall under the regular maintenance budget under Mr. Esch’s supervision.
Mr. Lindstrom moved that the meeting be adjourned at 8:05 PM. Mr. Al-Awar seconded; the motion carried.
Janice K. Esch, Deputy Clerk