Barton Hills Village, Michigan

shim image News

January 11, 2010



January 11, 2010

The regular meeting of the Board of Trustees was called to order by President Boddie at 6:00 PM at the Village Hall.

Present: Trustees Al-Awar, Boddie, Borel, Butterwick, Langford, Lindstrom, MacKrell and Wilkes. Absent: Trustee Benson.

Others attending: Asst. Treasurer King, Supt. Esch, BHMC President Bultman, Washtenaw County Commissioner Mark Ouimet and Huron River Watershed Council representatives Laura Rubin and Margaret Smith.

PUBLIC COMMENT Washtenaw County Commissioner Mark Ouimet introduced himself, gave a brief update on county activities and offered his availability to be of service to the Barton Hills community. He commented on the County’s recent budget approval with the unanimous support of all 11 Commissioners on the first vote, crediting the Commission with closing a two-year, $30 million budget gap through cooperative negotiations. Mr. Ouimet spoke highly of the inclusive nature of the budget talks and the willingness of everyone involved to stay focused on issues until the goal was accomplished.           Mr. Al-Awar and Mr. Borel arrived

HURON RIVERWATERSHED COUNCIL (HRWC) Laura Rubin and Margaret Smith presented a proposal for a Community Swim in Barton Pond on Sunday, June 20, 2010 at 9 AM. Originally inspired by Liz Elling’s swim of the Huron River, HRWC has hosted swims at Baseline Lake with the support of the U of M Sailing club the past two years that have been very successful. HRWC has the support of Barton Boat Club (BBC) and Barton Hills Maintenance Corporation, and conducted a test swim last September to confirm the suitability of Barton Pond for the event. Details were listed in a written proposal, including registration, parking, safety and insurance. HRWC feels these events help people to interact with the natural resources of the watershed and appreciate the beauty of the river, while becoming aware of the challenges of watershed management and protection. Barton Boat Club supports the activity as an opportunity to attract new members and call attention to the vegetation problems as well as enjoy Barton Pond in a new way. Trustee questions for Ms. Rubin and Ms. Smith included:

Q. Why is the south side of the pond (Ann Arbor City Park) considered a less desirable starting point? A. There is only one dock on the south side, with a narrow strip of land that makes it difficult to accommodate the expected group of people (around 40 swimmers plus support boaters and spectators). In an emergency situation it is a longer trek from the pond back to the main road. Parking is out of sight on the other side of the railroad tracks, leaving participants with few options for personal belongings and requiring longer portages for support boaters. The hospitable atmosphere of Barton Boat Club provides a more attractive site, with multiple docks, bathroom and changing facilities in the clubhouse, parking and an inviting spot for light refreshments at the end of the swim.

Q. How long will the event last? A. Set up begins around 8:00 AM, with the swim beginning at 9 AM. Most swimmers will finish the 1.3 mile course in an hour, so with the social time everything should be concluded by 10 AM or so.

Q. Is the event definitely going to occur, as your statement indicates? A. Plans are being made but advertising hasn’t been released yet. Presentation to the BHV Board is thought to be the last step before announcing the event.

Q. Will the number of swimmers be limited? A. There were about 40 swimmers last year at Base Line Lake and we anticipate a similar response. Advance registration is required, so if it looks like the number is growing too large we could limit participation. Our concern would be more for the amount of available parking at Barton Boat Club. We are encouraging carpooling from the HRWC office on Main Street so all vehicles will be parked on BBC property without any encroachment on the shoulders of Barton Shore Drive.

Q. What is the extent of Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office participation? A. The County Sheriff will provide a motor boat and 2 jet-skis for safety. HRWC will also arrange for 6-12 volunteer paddlers in kayaks and similar craft to be stationed along the swim course, along with two lifeguards. Swimmers must be 16 years old or have an adult swimming with them, and are required to sign a waiver. Q. There may be difficulty getting the boats launched, as there was an incident in the past regarding the Sheriff’s Department. A. There are other means of access to the river; we’ll work that out.

Q. Who is indemnified on the insurance? A. There will be certificates of added insured for Barton Boat Club, Barton Hills Maintenance Corporation and Barton Hills Village if you desire. We can provide a copy of last year’s insurance and the waiver forms, and could make other reasonable accommodations as you require.

Q. Is there a potential conflict with those who frequently fish on Barton Pond in the early morning? A. We haven’t run into that, but we could put up signs/notices and go out the weekend before in an attempt to inform fishers. BBC members may also be acquainted with those who regularly fish on the pond.

Q. I’m all for supporting HRWC but I’m concerned about the liability. We should consult our attorney to be sure the insurance coverage is adequate (several Trustees voiced agreement).

Q. I’m concerned that this will be interpreted as more welcoming to other activities on Barton Pond via BHV than we intend. I don’t support this activity—it is a matter of the “camel’s nose in the tent”, so to speak.

Q. Will the event be proposed for Barton Pond again next year, or for another part of the watershed? A. We would like to return to Barton Pond, as it builds momentum for the event, but other areas have been suggested and we could alternate years.

Q. If the event is fully contained on BBC property and BHMC has approved, do we have any real say in the matter? A. (Mr. Boddie) We can limit the extent to which outside guests to the community are allowed to use our private roads.

Q. Have the neighbors along the river been consulted? This is pretty early on a Sunday morning for so much noise and activity. A. (Mr. Boddie) We can send a letter to gather their opinions. Motion Mr. Lindstrom moved that the Barton Hills Village Board of Trustees support the proposed swim to be held on June 20, 2010as presented by the Huron River Watershed Council. Mr. Wilkes seconded. Motion Mr. Borel moved that action on the motion be tabled to the February 8, 2010 Trustees meeting so the Barton Hills Village attorney can be consulted regarding insurance and other details of the event. Mr. Butterwick seconded; the motion carried. HRWC will send the insurance documents to BHV.

MINUTES Motion Mr. Wilkes moved that the minutes of the December 14, 2009 Trustees meeting be approved as printed. Mrs. Langford seconded; the motion carried.

FINANCE/FINANCE COMMITTEE The Cash Balances report was distributed with Mr. Boddie commenting that BHV is in good shape financially. A question was asked about the cleaning company for the Village Hall and whether they are insured/bonded. Mrs. Esch will find out. The Trustees were pleased with the cost and quality of service being provided. Motion Mr. Lindstrom moved that the Cash Disbursements for December 2009 be approved as printed (see Aux. Book XXVI D (8)). Mr. Butterwick seconded; the motion carried. The Finance Committee discussed investment options, with the goal of earning the highest possible returns while not being committed to longer terms so funds would be available if interest rates rise or unexpected expenses occur. Amounts should be kept within the $250,000 insurable limit. Options for refinancing of the loan will also be explored, since what was a competitive rate at the time the loan was initiated may not be the best choice in current economic times. It was suggested that a cash flow report would be helpful, indicating when revenues are received, when known expenses can be expected and when investment funds might be needed for special projects. Mr. Boddie noted that tax payments and antenna lease income tend to cover ordinary expenses, so investment funds are more likely to be needed for capital improvements.


Planning Commission President Boddie reappointed Commissioners John MacKrell and Andre Zoldan for three-year terms. Motion Mrs. MacKrell moved that the appointment of John MacKrell and Andre Zoldan to three-year terms on the Barton Hills Village Planning Commission be approved. Mrs. Langford seconded; the motion carried. In response to the comments of the Trustees at their December 14, 2009 meeting, the Planning Commission submitted a proposed abstract to be added to the Master Plan, and agreed to make corrections in the maps. Motion Mr. Lindstrom moved that the Barton Hills Village Master Plan be approved as submitted to the Board of Trustees by the Planning Commission, with the contingency that the Commission ratify the addition of the abstract and correction of the maps in the document. Mrs. MacKrell seconded; the motion carried. The Master Plan will be distributed to surrounding jurisdictions and put before the community at a public hearing, with possible amendments based on comments received before final approval.


Water Mr. Wilkes noted two sections of his written report:

1) Routine maintenance activities were listed. Again the insides of water pipes were found to be remarkably clean. Documentation does not show an increase in repairs in any particular areas of the system but it is reasonably anticipated that the various components will eventually suffer fatigue from normal aging and will need to be replaced.

2) Mr. Wilkes has studied the very detailed 35-page 2008 report of the Insurance Services Office (IS0) regarding evaluation of fire protection services. BHV received a rating of 5 (scale of 1-10) which falls in the top 25% of Michigan communities. The water supply system was highly rated, but the provision of fire services (equipment, number of fire fighters on duty, number of operators to receive/transfer calls, etc) was rated sufficiently lower, resulting in a divergence penalty. One item (lack of listing in the telephone book) will be corrected, and Mr. Boddie will investigate the difference the rating points make in homeowner’s insurance rates.

Mrs. MacKrell raised a question of security and recent incidents in surrounding neighborhoods. Mr. Esch responded that he receives 2-3 false alarms a month. He added that there was an isolated incident of theft in BHV, but no particular increase in break-ins or other problems.

Environmental (Butterwick) no report.

Long Range Planning (MacKrell) no report.

Maintenance Area/Buildings (Lindstrom) no report.

Personnel (Langford) no report.

Recreation (Benson) no report.

Roads (Al-Awar) no report.

Security (Butterwick) no report.

Zoning/ZO Revision (Perry) no report.


660 Barton Shore A letter was received by President Boddie from the residents at 660 Barton Shore Drive, indicating their receipt of Mr. Boddie’s letter and their satisfaction with the understanding that the landscape situation is settled.

Geothermal Permit Applications Letters were sent to the two applicants requesting additional information for their geothermal permit applications. Both responded as follows:

Barton Hills Country Club Reply from the contractor indicated that they would soon know whether the system would be run just using water, or if ethanol would be added. There was little concern for possible contamination if ethanol leaked out of the system, but testing is still required as stated in Ordinance 29 to provide on-going monitoring. A letter certifying test results is to be submitted to BHV, with a copy to the system owner.

VanSweringen/Muraszko Reply from the owner indicated the system contains 20% methanol. Concern was expressed at the toxicity of methanol and potential environmental damage if a leak occurred, especially since the system is so close to the river. It was noted that this application is not as detailed, with questioning of why methanol was chosen rather than ethanol. Mr. Boddie will write a letter to the owner, asking to meet with him to discuss this matter further.

Fire Truck Appraisal
The appraisal of the BHV fire truck has been received, stating an investment/replacement value of $41,000 for the vehicle. Efforts to sell the truck on eBay netted a top bid of $18,000. The top bidder is still interested and another person expressed interest after the eBay listing ended. It was suggested that these two be contacted with the appraisal information, and efforts be made to identify other collectors of vintage vehicles. It was also noted that this is not the best of economic times to be trying to sell, and that nothing is lost in waiting to see if the situation improves.


Joint BHV/BHMC Meeting The BHMC Board of Directors requests a joint meeting of their board with the BHV Board of Trustees to discuss matters of common interest. BHMC President Bultman added that there are a number of new Directors and the Board is committed to streamlining operations for the benefit of all. The Trustees were agreeable, with Mr. Boddie suggesting Monday, January 18, 2010 as a possible meeting date. The meeting, whenever it is scheduled, will be noticed as a public meeting (special meeting of the BHV Trustees), with a quorum of both boards present.

Mr. Lindstrom moved the meeting be adjourned to closed session to review a confidential memo from the village attorney (personnel) at 7:25 PM. Mr. Butterwick seconded. Roll call vote: Al-Awar—yes, Boddie—yes, Borel—yes, Butterwick—yes, Langford—yes, Lindstrom—yes, MacKrell—yes, Wilkes—yes. The motion carried.

Janice K. Esch, Deputy Clerk