MINUTES OF BOARD MEETING
TRUSTEES OF BARTON HILLS VILLAGE
October 13, 2008
The regular meeting of the Board of Trustees was called to order by President Laporte at 6:05 PM at the Village Hall.
ROLL CALL Present: Trustees Al-Awar, Boddie, Bogat, Butterwick, Laporte, MacKrell and Wilkes. Absent: Trustees Langford and Lindstrom.
Others attending: ZPA Perry, Asst. Treasurer Redies and Supt. Esch.
PUBLIC COMMENT None.
MINUTES Motion Mr. Boddie moved that the minutes of the September 8, 2008Trustees meeting be approved as printed. Mr. Wilkes seconded; the motion carried.
Mr. Boddie moved that the minutes of the October 1, 2008 Special Trustees meeting be approved as printed. Mr. Butterwick seconded; the motion carried.
FINANCE/FINANCE COMMITTEE The Cash Balances report was distributed. Motion Mr. Boddie moved that the Cash Disbursements for September 2008 be approved as printed (see Aux. Book XXI D(2)). Ms. Bogat seconded; the motion carried.
The Audit of the fiscal year ending March 31, 2008was distributed. Mr. Boddie explained that while the actual figures of the audit are just fine, new requirements of the Government Accounting Standards Board have made it necessary to change some BHV accounting procedures. He has met with the auditor, and with Mrs. Redies and Mrs. Esch. Two areas of procedure will change:
1) Mrs. Esch will write/sign checks and make bank deposits. Mrs. Redies will do the accounting and also sign checks (all checks will have two signatures). Since no one may sign a check made out to themselves or an entity controlled by them, Mr. Boddie will be a third signer. Mrs. MacKrell arrived
2) The financial statement for the audit will be prepared by the auditor under the supervision of Mr. Boddie, Mr. Lindstrom (the Finance Committee) and Mrs. Redies.
The notes required in the statement are especially complex; the auditor indicated that 71 of his 72 clients did not have a staff person who could complete this task as required.
Mr. Boddie stated that the loan for the VAC project had been closed on August 15, 2008, with the funds in the BHV account as of October 1, 2008. Given the current financial climate, this is a positive factor in the overall fiscal health of BHV. In addition, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation has raised the amount it will insure from $100,000 to $250,000 per client/account. Plans to further invest BHV funds to assure protection are no longer necessary.
Mr. Boddie further stated that employee health care coverage has been changed to a different group (policy coverage remains the same) at a cost savings to BHV of about $20,000/year. Savings of $10,000-15,000 are also expected on municipal insurance premiums by updating arrangements on current policies. This should offset the cost of the VAC loan (about $40,000/year). Mr. Boddie anticipates further tax revenue decline in the next few years, stating that BHV is prepared to weather some tight years through reserve funds. Mrs. MacKrell commented that BHV may not continue to receive Motor Vehicle Highway Funds directly; in the future they may be distributed through counties.
Motion Mr. Boddie moved that the Trustees authorize signature of the resolution proposed by the Michigan Employee Retirement System (MERS) for a 2% increase in benefits for retired persons covered by the plan (Walter Esch). Mr. Al-Awar seconded; the motion carried. This is the usual annual cost-of-living increase, and will raise BHV expense by about $2,400/year.
ZONING AND PLANNING ADMINISTRATOR Mr. Perry reported approval of renovations to the home at 242 Barton North Drive. Review is underway of a proposed driveway addition at 60 Underdown Road which would allow the owners to avoid backing directly onto the street.
PLANNING COMMISSION Mr. Boddie reported that a draft Master Plan has been written and is being reviewed by the Commission but again the monthly meeting was canceled due to lack of quorum. He recommended that the number of commissioners be increased to alleviate this problem that is somewhat unavoidable due to residents’ travel schedules. Participation by electronic means is not specifically prohibited by law but is not supported by general legal advice. Mr. Perry added that the new Planning Act became effective September 1, 2008and may require some adjustments regarding the Planning Commission. Necessary documents to allow for up to nine Commissioners and whatever other changes may be needed will be prepared by the Commission for the November 10, 2008 BHV Trustees meeting.
COMMITTEE ASSIGNMENTS Based on the response to Ms. Laporte’s inquiry, committee assignments will remain the same as last year, with reestablishment of the Security Committee (Mr. Butterwick-chair, and Mrs. MacKrell).
Long RangePlanning Public comment on the Hazard Mitigation Plan Review convened at 6:43 PM; there were no comments. The written annual review report was accepted as presented (the report was also distributed to the residents via the Barton Bulletin). Mr. Esch reported that the three emergency sirens in BHV cannot be repaired, but the supplier is having difficulty obtaining quotes for replacements due to limited sources and security regulations. Other possible sources will be investigated. The Environmental Committee has formed a residents advisory group to discuss the Deer Management program.
Recreation Appreciation was expressed to Ms. Bogat and Dave and Jan Esch for their help at the very enjoyable Fall Picnic. Cost for the event was $98.06 (entree and paper goods). Ms. Bogat was asked by a resident about the possibility of municipal playground equipment to increase the “kid-friendly” atmosphere of the community. Cost, safety concerns and liability were discussed. Ms. Bogat has advised the resident to submit a proposal to the Trustees.
The Michigan Cycling Club sent a letter asking to hold another bicycle event in early spring 2009 like the one held in BHV on March 30, 2008. Discussion included:
--The event held in 2008 was successful, with minimal disruption for residents. BHV should support this activity.
--The event itself is not objectionable, but it does draw unwanted attention to the community. Cycling and pedestrian activity has increased significantly this year.
--It is difficult for vehicles to safely pass cyclists and/or pedestrians, especially on curves and when the people are spread out across the road.
--The legal documentation was developed for this year’s race and wouldn’t have to be done again. The race would be relatively simple to administer without additional cost.
--Safety issues in general should be emphasized, with more notice in the Barton Bulletin about the rules of sharing the roads among vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians.
Motion Mr. Wilkes moved that the request from the Michigan Cycling Club to hold a cycling event in Barton Hills Villagein late spring 2009 be approved. Mr. Butterwick seconded; the motion carried with Trustees Bogat, Butterwick, Laporte, MacKrell and Wilkes voting yes, Trustees Al-Awar and Boddie voting no.
Roads/Vehicles Mr. Al-Awar reported that the speed tables had been painted and the road striping would be done soon. Bids are being sought for ice-melt on a trial basis to supplement the road salt. Mr. Al-Awar, Mr. Wilkes and Mr. Esch have all examined the situation at 180 Underdown Road and talked to the owner about water runoff. (Complaint presented at September 8, 2008Trustee meeting.) It was concluded that efforts have been made to respond to the complaint, and it would be best to wait and see if the owner is satisfied.
Village Administration Center Ms. Laporte felt the project was on track for mid to late November occupancy and hoped the Trustees could hold their December meeting in the new building. Landscaping plans were discussed:
--The final grading has been done and the committee can now evaluate the extent of plantings needed.
--The building is minimalist in design, and minimal landscaping is desired, especially considering the natural vegetation surrounding the building.
--Planting will not be done until spring, so the entire area will be seeded now to stabilize the earth and meet occupancy requirements.
--Ms. Laporte is meeting with BHMC Director Frances Quarton to revise the landscape plan which will then be reviewed by the Trustees and submitted to BHMC.
--Ms. Laporte will attend the November 5, 2008BHMC Board meeting to explain the thinking behind and progress made on the landscape plan.
Mr. Butterwick’s suggestion regarding continued efforts to spruce up the maintenance area in general will be explored by the Maintenance Area/Buildings Committee.
Regarding an open house or other official opening of the building, it was decided to wait until spring when the project is completely finished. The building will be used as soon as it’s ready and residents will be encouraged to come to conduct business, but the official celebration of completion will be held in spring when the weather is better and most residents are in town. Mr. Boddie left
Water Mr. Wilkes reported that BHV is included in the Environmental Protection Agency’s Phase II Stormwater permit requirements that govern water runoff into the Huron River. The program covers jurisdictions with a population of 1,000/square mile, which would seemingly eliminate BHV, but the system translates that to 2 people/acre and a small portion of the village fits that description. Mr. Wilkes has made significant effort to have the village exempted from these population requirements, and also on the basis that it does not own the storm drains (this request was denied based on the lease arrangement with BHMC that gives responsibility for maintenance to BHV). BHV may be required to do extensive testing of all outfalls into the Huron River, including analysis of debris on the roadways. It was noted that Ann Arbor Townshipwas exempted from the program due to road maintenance performed by Washtenaw Countyand private ownership of drains. Mr. Wilkes will follow up on two ideas suggested during discussion, namely to try and get exemption based on 1) our average population is well below 1,000/sq. mile, and 2) we do no maintenance in the creeks leading to the river.
BHMC Liaison No report.
Environmental No report.
Long RangePlanning No report.
Maintenance Area/Buildings No report.
Ordinance Revision No report.
Personnel No report.
Zoning/ZO Revision No report.
UNFINISHED BUSINESS Ms. Laporte summarized the efforts to date to provide for a village attorney, noting that several prospects had been considered but either weren’t interested or were not suitable. The agreement with Foster/Swift to handle three specific projects is still in dispute over cost. A relatively low rate of $185/hour was offered, but projects were then billed at what was considered excessive time, resulting in a bill of almost $20,000, of which BHV has offered to pay half. As an example, an agreement for the VAC was represented to be a routine task involving a standard contract, but the total cost was $6,000 including a second review of documents generated by the law firm to begin with. The situation is perplexing, as the firm has broad experience and much to offer, but the relationship has not turned out as expected. Mr. Perry noted from his own experience that municipal law is a difficult specialty and there are not many options. It was noted that things have been acceptable in the interim and an attorney need not be present at every meeting, but it is helpful to have an established relationship when a situation arises. The BHV Charter will be consulted to see what is actually required in terms of legal counsel. Efforts will continue to bring this issue to an acceptable conclusion.
NEW BUSINESS None
Mr. Al-Awar moved the meeting be adjourned at 7:47 PM. Ms. Bogat seconded; the motion carried.
Janice K. Esch, Deputy Clerk