MINUTES OF BOARD MEETING
TRUSTEES OF BARTON HILLS VILLAGE
March 10, 2008
The regular meeting of the Board of Trustees was called to order by President Pro Tem Boddie at 6:03 PM at the Village Hall.
ROLL CALL Present: Trustees Al-Awar, Boddie, Bogat, Butterwick, Langford, Lindstrom, MacKrell and Wilkes. Absent: Trustee Laporte.
Others attending: Atty. Reading, ZPA Perry, Asst. Treasurer Redies, Supt. Esch, BHMC President Bultman, Nick Boswell and Kyle Lake (U-M Cycling Club), and one resident.
PUBLIC BUDGET HEARING The Public Budget Hearing was convened at 6:03 PM for the purpose of hearing public comment on the proposed 2008-2009 budget (proposed millage rate 10 mils). BHMC President Bultman called attention to the letter dated 3/6/08 from BHMC to BHV requesting renegotiation of the road lease for calendar year 2008-2009. There being no further comments, the hearing was closed at 6:05 PM.
The Board of Trustees meeting was set aside at 6:05 PM for convening of the Board of Zoning Appeals meeting. The Trustees meeting was reconvened at 6:17 PM.
PUBLIC COMMENT None.
BICYCLE RACE Nick Boswell and Kyle Lake were present to answer questions concerning the University of Michigan Cycling Club race to be held in BHV on Sunday, March 30, 2008 from 1-3 PM. Mr. Boswell stated that the club proposes changing the format of the race from team time trials to individual time trials. Due to the challenging nature of the course and the unpredictable weather, the club feels having individual rather than team trials will increase the safety of the race and slow down the pace a bit; the Trustees agreed to this change. Riders will leave the starting line at 15-30 second intervals. BHV residents will receive detailed information about the race in the next Barton Bulletin. Other arrangements (presence of ambulance, insurance certificate, signs) are being taken care of per the signed agreement. Mr. Boswell asked if BHV had means to clean the dirt off the roads; otherwise club members would come the night before the race with brooms. Recreation Chair Bogat will be the BHV contact for the event.
MINUTES Motion Mr. Lindstrom moved that the minutes of the February 11, 2008 Trustees meeting be approved as printed. Mrs. Langford seconded; the motion carried.
FINANCE Mrs. Redies distributed the Cash Balances Comparison Report. In response to a question she noted that three properties have been turned over to Washtenaw County for collection of 2007 taxes (due August 31, 2007). Letters have been sent to four property owners regarding unpaid water bills (ten days to pay before water will be turned off). It was noted that sometimes bills get lost in the mail, but these particular owners have been sent three letters prior to this shut-off letter.
Questions regarding the proposed 2008-2009 budget included: (R=response by Mr. Boddie/Mrs. Redies)
--Is $10,000 enough for the Planning Commission (professional planning services)? R: It is on the low end of the estimated cost, but if all goes smoothly it will probably be enough. More funds can be allocated later if needed, which is better than adding extra money in the budget just in case.
--The proposed amount for Roads and Streets is less than last year—why is that? R: The $75,000 for paving requested by the Roads Committee is included. The rest of the amount is from other categories (i.e. salaries) that are divided among several accounts. The breakdown for Roads and Streets will be rechecked.
--The proposed amount for Police under Public Safety is also less than last year. Is the new police car included? R: The new car is accounted for, and the rest is similar to the Roads—expenses that are divided among several accounts. The breakdown for this item will also be rechecked.
--The proposed amount for Parks is higher—is that for garlic mustard control? R: No, the amount for the Deer Management program was moved from the President’s funds to Parks.
--Are the employee houses getting an upgrade with the increased amount (which would be OK)? R: Not specifically, although there has been no general maintenance done for the houses in the last two years. The increase reflects the rising cost of gas, electricity and other normal expenses.
--Is the BHMC request for more operating funds reflected in the budget? R: The amount of $7,500 above taxes has been paid for the last several years, plus a one-time payment of $3,500 for legal fees relating to the VAC/property transfer and an advance of funds for the current fiscal year to meet financial obligations. BHMC proposes to increase the amount from $7,500 to $12,000. Over the past seven years BHMC spending has averaged about $8,300. We need to see a breakdown of why $12,000 is being requested. BHMC needs enough funds to carry on their business, but not a lot extra.
Mr. Bultman stated that the costs for insurance ($2,500), Mrs. Redies’ services ($300), Mrs. Esch’s services ($3,500 based on 15 hours/month) and Mr. Lloyd’s services ($5,000 based on 6 meetings/year + 1-2 hours/month) add up to $11,300. BHMC would also like to have enough funds to keep their bank accounts at a reasonable level (i.e. $10,000 above expenses). BHMC funding was set at $2,000 above taxes in 1973, which is $9,000 in 2005 dollars adjusted for inflation. The corporation received attorney services pro bono from a resident until the conflict with BHCC in the early 1990’s, so it has paid for legal fees plus $2,500 for insurance for a number of years without an adjustment in funding. Revenue from the Barton Boat Club lease would ideally be used to build up the bank account.
Mr. Boddie advised that BHMC provide a breakdown of actual spending over the past years and anticipated expenses with rationale so the figures can be discussed and the matter resolved before the lease expires on May 22, 2008.
--The proposal for a radio-controlled system for the water tower/pump houses is not included in the budget, but should be considered. The water system should be consistently reliable and if the phone lines are failing we should upgrade the system. We should also have a generator that automatically kicks in when the power fails. These things cost money, but our water system is a very high priority. It was noted that funds are included in the budget for testing of Well #3, which will be done soon so it can be determined if just a new pump is needed or a new well and how much that will cost before the budget is finalized.
--A recent newspaper article noted that tax assessments in Ann Arbor Townshipare down about 12%, although our personal assessment went up. The proposed budget seems to reflect a fairly stable amount of revenue.
--If a new police vehicle is being considered, could it be something that is used for more than one purpose, such as a pickup truck, or something that gets better gas mileage? R: A truck is not as effective in appearance. The current vehicle is 12 years old and repair costs are starting to rise. Police cars are relatively cheap ($22,000) because they don’t have the luxury items a passenger car would have, but they do have special features for the job they’re designed to perform (seats, suspension, not overheating at long idles, prevent fires if hit at high speed, etc).
MOTION Mr. Lindstrom moved that the proposed 2008-2009 budget be approved including the 10 mil tax levy pending further discussion of line items for Roads, Police, BHMC and Water. Amended 4/14/08 Mrs. MacKrell seconded; the motion carried.
ZONING AND PLANNING ADMINISTRATOR No questions on written report.
PLANNING COMMISSION Mr. Boddie reported that the Planning Commission didn’t meet last week due to lack of quorum. Regarding participation via telecommunications, he added that there is a great deal of doubt about the legal status of such participation. Wireless service has not been installed yet, and the matter should be deferred to the next meeting when Ms. Laporte can be present to add to the discussion.
Roads/Vehicles In response to the suggestion that there may be ecologically friendly alternatives to road salt, Mr. Al-Awar has investigated a liquid made from sugar beets that is mixed with sand/salt/any granular material. The substance comes in 270 gallon containers, with a suggested mixture of 6 gallons per ton of sand. The cost would be around $50-55/ton of mixture, compared with road salt that was $37/ton but is currently closer to $80/ton. Additional labor is needed to mix the ingredients which can then be spread with BHV equipment. It was agreed that this should be tried next winter along with the normal salt supply, with a purchase of two containers of liquid for two truckloads of sand.
Village Administration Center Mr. Lindstrom stated that the bid process is in progress. Seven contractors were invited to bid; J.S. Vig declined to participate and O’Neal Construction began but decided to drop out. When Mr. Lindstrom contacted them, they replied that they didn’t think they could be competitive due to their focus on commercial construction and advised that BHV would be better served by a high quality residential contractor. The bids are due on Thursday, March 13, 2008 and will be opened by the VAC Committee that evening. A lot of interest was generated during the process as contractors consulted with subcontractors who in turn consulted with their contacts. Many calls have been received from others wishing to bid, but the committee determined not to change the process in the middle. If the outcome of the bidding is disappointing, the process could be repeated with a different list of contractors based on expressed interest rather than changing the design of the project. A special meeting of the Trustees will be set to discuss the bids, possibly on Thursday, April 3, 2008, with information distributed ahead of time so decisions can be made on options (flooring, roof, heat pump) and other aspects of the project. Mr. Boddie added that he met again with representatives of Key Bank, who have approved BHV for a 10 year term loan with monthly principal/interest payments. The fixed rate last week was 6.05%; it is expected the rate will decrease.
Water Mr. Wilkes referred to his written report No. 136 concerning the tower/pump control system. The current system works well as long as the supporting phone/electric lines are functioning, but the phone lines have failed 1-6 times a year and the electric more often. There is enough water in the tower to provide two days’ usage at a rate of about 500 gallons/home/day (in winter; less in summer) and the pumps are monitored by BHV staff when the system is inoperable. An initial estimate for a radio-controlled system has been given at $22,753. BHV currently pays about $3,000/year for phone lines, which would partially offset the cost. BHCC has similar radio controls for their irrigation system; Mr. Wilkes is waiting to hear from their provider. Referring to report No. 137 Mr. Wilkes noted:
--Negotiations continue with MDEQ regarding the Phase II Stormwater Permit.
--Water system leaks occurred about twice a year over the past fifteen years, with statistical probability indicating little cause for concern that the rate of leakage would significantly increase. The leaks are fairly evenly distributed throughout the system with no correlation to water main size.
--The 2007 Water Consumer Confidence Report has been distributed to the residents.
--Reports from the water hydrant testing have not been received from Ann Arbor Township. (It was suggested that this be pursued more aggressively.)
-- As previously discussed, well #3 will be examined to determine why output is not up to expectations.
--Back-up well #2 has recently developed a rattle; this will be kept under observation.
Mr. Wilkes was commended for his detailed, easy-to-understand reports.
BHMC Liaison No report.
Environmental No report.
Finance 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.
Power Outages Ms. Laporte has sent letters regarding the power outages and is coordinating a group of interested residents to discuss matters further with DTE Energy.
Project Review Process Discussion of the Project Review Process was untabled to consider Mrs. Esch’s memo suggesting wording for a Barton Bulletin article. Comments included:
--The language of the SESC Ordinance is unclear and BHV support will only lead to more confusion. We should encourage Ann Arbor Townshipto revise the ordinance.
--Most of the difficult language is word for word repetition of what is required by state statute so there are few if any choices.
--Is this ordinance imposed on BHV? Mr. Reading noted that the statue is ambiguous but BHV can certainly adopt their own ordinance.
--County enforcement of state statute was little to none, so this at least provides a means of addressing obviously problematic situations.
--Hopefully the Planning Commission will address this subject when they are reviewing BHV ordinances.
--Perhaps the sentence about gardening activities being exempt should be deleted.
--The ordinance exempts some activities only if they do not cause erosion. The idea is to get people to ask about their projects.
--This is not a legal document but it does draw attention to the issue. We should put it in the Bulletin and move on.
Motion Mr. Lindstrom moved that the paragraph concerning the Soil Erosion and Sedimentation Control Ordinance proposed by Mrs. Esch be printed in the Barton Bulletin. Mrs. MacKrell seconded; the motion carried with Mr. Al-Awar and Ms. Bogat voting no.
Deer Management Program Concern was expressed regarding details of the program. Since there were differing opinions among the Trustees, it was suggested that more time be given to thought and further discussion. Motion Mr. Butterwick moved that the deer management program be suspended effective immediately, with reconsideration at the next Trustees meeting. Ms. Bogat seconded; the motion carried with Mr. Lindstrom voting no. Mr. Esch will notify the hunters.
AT&T Proposals There was no interest in pursuing the proposal from Black Dot Wireless or other companies offering to renegotiate telecommunications leases.
Mrs. MacKrell moved that the meeting be adjourned at 7:56 PM. Mr. Butterwick seconded; the motion carried.
Janice K. Esch, Deputy Clerk