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Novi City Council approves four big items at Monday's meeting
May 24, 2016 UPDATED 5/25 WITH PUBLIC COMMENT CONTENT

NOVI, MI - Novi City Council heard from 13 residents Monday evening, primarily regarding tax abatements and trash hauling. They then tackled a lengthy agenda.

Tax abatements were approved for Stoneridge and the Showplace.

Stoneridge is an autoparts business, and plans to move their headquarters from Ohio to Novi - a $5 million investment. That is expected to bring 50 high-paying ($130,000 avg. salary) jobs to town. Their $14,442 abatement over three years amounts to $96 per new employee per year. 

The Showplace abatement is for a planned $10 million expansion, which is also expected to bring 50 new jobs. They will get a 50% tax break for 12 years, and the city will get an extra $65,000 per year in tax revenue. It's estimated that the Showplace has brought the city $3 million in additional revenue over the past eight years.

Council approved a 5-year deal with Waste Management effective July 1 to consolidate single-family residence trash hauling at a price of $159 / year. Waste Management will provide 96-gallon trash cans and recycle bins. Condos will be dealt with individually to ensure their needs are met. Businesses and apartments are on their own.

Finally, a budget amendment was approved. The General Fund changes reflect projected increased revenue from several sources totaling $356,000, and increase expenses project at $340,000 - primarily moving tree maintenance into the General Fund budget and increased costs to repave city parking lots. $3.3 million was approved for necessary sewer work in the 9 Mile and Beck Roads area.

In other business before council on Monday:


APPROVAL OF AGENDA: Approved as presented.

PUBLIC HEARING:

1. Establishment of an Industrial Development District for Stoneridge located on Mackenzie Drive and approval of Industrial Facilities Exemption Certificate

John Kuenzel, 23819 Heartwood, thought the agenda was unclear. He said the company is renting a facility in Novi and asking for a 3 year tax abatement in the amount of $14,442.42. They claim they are bringing 50 new jobs at average salary of $130,000. He wondered what was going on. He felt the people deserved more time to review this item which was giving away their tax money to a company that appears to be wealthy enough to afford those taxes. He said what Council was looking to do may be legal, but it wasn’t honest and fair.

2. Approval of Industrial Facilities Exemption Certificate in an existing Industrial Development District for BoCo Enterprises Inc. located at 41600 Grand River Avenue.

John Kuenzel, 23819 Heartwood, challenged citizens to read the public notice and understand that it meant BoCo Enterprises, Inc. submitted a request for such an exemption certificate and what it means. He said it meant the owner of Suburban Collection Showplace wanted to avoid paying $780,000 in taxes, which are much needed by the taxing jurisdictions over the next 12 years. He noted that Mayor Gatt referred to the Suburban Collection Showplace recently as probably the most profitable privately owned convention center in the country. He said the owner and developer is a friend of the Mayor. The document supporting his request is a marvel of obfuscation with old data projections from 1999 and 2008. It claims the new addition will bring more jobs to the city and money. The owner doesn’t want to pay his fair share of our taxes. Since BoCo is doing so well, the company doesn’t need or deserve corporate welfare. What Council is proposing may be legal, but it isn’t completely honest or fair. Rushing this action in five days from legal notice to voting on the issue doesn’t give the citizens of Novi any time to realize what the City if doing.

Collen Crossey, 22279 Brockshire St. said the City of Novi posted the agenda for today’s meeting four days ago and that it does not provide much notice to the citizens to voice their objections to the tax abatements that the City plans to give Suburban Collection Showplace and Stoneridge Developers. She felt the meetings should be advertised to the general public better. She noted that tax abatements allow certain companies to forego paying taxes and that was wrong. These abatements cut the budget for all city services which means that residents have to pay more taxes for these services. Suburban Collection and Stoneridge also receive these services for far less money. The people who support tax abatements will tell you they are necessary in order to draw and retain businesses to Novi and she said that was nonsense. Taxes are not the main reason companies move their business to a location. She said she is tired of hearing this excuse. If these companies cannot conduct their business without a tax abatement then they need to tweak their business plan. Stoneridge is seeking three-year abatement on an existing building which they will put $1.5 million of improvements into. The abatement agreement states that they will create 50 new jobs in Novi, and there are no requirements that Stoneridge will maintain those jobs during the term of the agreement. This agreement runs from 2018 to 2020. Suburban Collection Showplace is asking for 12 year abatement of 50% for each year. They plan to add an addition to their building that is valued at $10 million. They also claim they will create 50 new jobs. Many Novi businesses create new jobs without tax abatements. Suburban Collection Showplace has made wild claims about their economic impact. The City Administration said the top nine events in 2015 generated $70 million in activity, yet there has been zero new development that can be attributed to the Suburban Collection Showplace. No more corporate welfare. The tax abatement is a free market policy; in fact it is not a fair market policy. She feels their competitors would agree. The government budget reflects its values, if a government values the local tax paying businesses and families then it will pass a responsible balanced budget and ends tax abatements.

Jasper Catanzaro, 43468 McLean Ct. said he is against most of these tax abatements for two reasons; Novi cannot handle the traffic now, and he felt this would add more traffic; also he mentioned he did not think the businesses add any money to the City. He said you would think Suburban Collection Showplace would help the local businesses, yet across the street from Suburban Collection Showplace there is a restaurant called Gatsby’s. He said you should ask them if Suburban has helped their business. He mentioned Suburban has its own restaurant, hotel and bar and that the people who come to the events park their cars at Gatsby’s and carpool over to the Suburban Collection Showplace to save money on parking at the events. He said as far as he was concerned, Suburban hadn’t done anything for the City of Novi. Mr. Catanzaro said he would like to see Suburban Collection Showplace give the residents of Novi free parking and free admission to any of their events. He stated other than that he was against the abatement.

PRESENTATIONS:

1. Vibe on Main – Grapes, Grooves & Great Food August 12 & 13 – 2 Stones Events

Cal and Whitney Stone, from 2 Stones Events said they have been involved with Novi for a very long time. Cal had been an editor in the area and Whitney was previously involved with the Novi Chamber of Commerce. Whitney mentioned that 2 Stones Events has been around since 2009. The City of Novi has been important to them for a very long time. Whitney noted this new event, Vibe on Main will be similar to the 50’s Festival that hopefully will be a two day event, or possibly just a one day festival geared towards music, wine, food and Novi Businesses. They said they are hoping to have a lot of Novi Restaurants involved and possibly some of the breweries in the area. She said Council was given a packet with information and a site plan and offered to answer any questions they might have.

CITY MANAGER/STAFF REPORT: None

ATTORNEY REPORT: None

AUDIENCE COMMENTS:

John Kuenzel, 23819 Heartwood, had concerns about the tax abatement publications and whether enough time was provided between the notice and the actual hearing.

Michael Salemi, 21129 Chase Dr., spoke against tax abatements. He felt they were unfair to the community.

Lynn Kocan, 23088 Ennishore, said she is the president of the Meadowbrook Lake Subdivision and they were negatively affected when Advanced bought out Hornback. She looked into other companies’ pricing and was not able to find better rates. Currently they pay almost $250 per year for refuse services. She thanked the City for taking this on and was hopeful that the new service would be consistent and the pricing controlled.

Marcia Goffney, 21958 York Mills Circle, said she was from Barclay Estates. She was concerned about residents being able to use plastic bags instead of carts at the curb. She would prefer everyone have to use the carts provided.

Jasper Catanzaro, 43468 McLean Court, said he was in a subdivision that contracted with Duncan for $141 per year.

Carol Klausing, 30704 Ardmore Court, said she thought it was great for the City to move to a single hauler. Her subdivision uses Advanced and although they had issues in the beginning, they have worked out most of the problems. She would like to see the new hauler provide containers for both trash and recycling.

Bob Copes, 40571 Ladene, thanked Council for pursuing this issue. He said it would save him money. Concerning the tax abatement, he discussed a company relocating to South Lyon specifically because of the incentives that were offered. He also thanked Council for supporting the Lakes Area Police Academy; it was a fantastic program.

Andrew Sarpolis, 31036 Beachwalk, wanted to commend Council for moving forward with the single hauler. He was opposed to tax abatements. He felt they could be helpful, but thought the City has granted too many of them and it was penalizing the economy as a whole.

Walt Sobczak, 24248 Hampton Hill, asked why City Council was asking for a millage when they just lowered taxes. He also questioned why they would grant tax abatements.

Ann Gayton, 40700 Mill Road Court West, said the 96 gallon container was too large, and would like the option of having a smaller one.

Annamonika Jackson, 23425 High Meadow, saw that the fees for garbage collection would begin at $159, but was concerned how much they would increase over the length of the 5 year contract.

Gail Gerhardt, 30774 Ardmore Court, said she lived in a small condo association with 52 units. The cost quoted for the new services included yard waste, which they don’t utilize. She questioned what the options were for them.

Sandeep Vadera, 44938 Paine Drive, requested that the new hauler be required to close the lids on the carts once they have picked up the trash and recycling. His current hauler leaves the lids open and it allows water and other things to collect in the cart.

CONSENT AGENDA: All approved as presented.

A. Approve Minutes of: 1. May 9, 2016 – Regular meeting

B. Approval to award a five-year lease for multi-function copy equipment to Applied Imaging through the Michigan Intergovernmental Trade Network (MITN) in the amount of $31,440.00 annually. Subject to final review and approval of form of agreement by City Manager’s office and the City Attorney.

C. Approval to purchase an unmarked vehicle from Signature Ford, Owosso, MI for the Novi Police Department in the amount of $26,664 through the Macomb County cooperative purchasing bid.

D. Approval of the final payment to Fiore Enterprises, LLC for the 2015 Neighborhood Road Program-Contract 1 (White Pines Drive) project in the amount of $42,210.88, plus interest earned on retainage.

E. Approval of a request from Mirage Development for a variance from: 1) Section 11-256(b) of the Design and Construction Standards, which requires a pathway along the frontage of the development, and alternatively to allow the applicant to dedicate an internal pathway for public use; and, 2) Section 11-68 (a)(1) of the Design and Construction Standards, which requires water main to be extended along the road frontage abutting the proposed development, and alternatively to allow the water main through the site to serve the function with proposed water main on Nine Mile to serve the adjacent parcels, for the Montebello project (parcel 22-27-452-001) located on the north side of Nine Mile Road between Taft and Novi Roads.

F. Approval of Traffic Control Orders 16-21 through 16-25 for the existing and proposed No Parking Signs at the intersection of Arcadia and Cordoba.

G. Approval of a Hold Harmless Agreement with Meadowbrook Townhomes Condominium Association to authorize the release of performance guarantees deposited by the original developer to the Association to fund incomplete site work, including roads.

H. Acceptance of a Conservation Easement from Mirabella Estates Condominium Association for wetland conservation areas offered as a part of the Mirabella Estates development, located on the west side of Meadowbrook Road north of Eight Mile Road in Section 35 of the City.

I. Approval to award the Novi Video Room Electrical and Mechanical to Great Lakes Power and Lighting INC, the City contracted Electrical contractor, in the amount of $15,445.89 and R.W. Mead & Sons Inc., the City contracted Mechanical contractor, in the amount of $23,860 and amend the budget.

J. Approval to award a contract in the amount of $48,821 to Actron Integrated Security Systems, Inc. to provide, upgrade, install and service a security camera system for multiple City of Novi facilities.

K. Approval of Claims and Accounts – Warrant No. 964

MATTERS FOR COUNCIL ACTION

1. Approval of Resolution to establish an Industrial Development District and Approving Application for an Industrial Facilities Exemption Certificate for Stoneridge an approximately 38,000 square foot facility to be located on Mackenzie Drive and related Agreement concerning Industrial Facilities Tax Abatement. APPROVED

2. Approval of Resolution Approving Application of BoCo Enterprises Inc (Suburban Collection Showplace), for an Industrial Facilities Exemption Certificate for an approximately 176,000 square foot expansion of the existing convention center and showplace at 41600 Grand River Avenue and related Agreement concerning Industrial Facilities Tax Abatement, to be located in an existing Industrial Facilities District created in 2001. APPROVED

3. Approval of the contract for Collection of Solid Waste, Recycling & Yard Waste and Other Services to Waste Management Inc. for a period of five (5) years beginning July 1, 2016 and expiring on June 30, 2021 with a three (3) year extension option, with Homeowners provided a 64-gallon recycling cart and 96-gallon trash cart. First year cost would be $159.00. Subject to final review and approval of form of agreement by City Manager's office and the City Attorney. APPROVED

4. Consideration of a request from Neptune Center for a variance from Section 11-239(b) of the Design and Construction Standards of the City Code, which requires parking areas and maneuvering lanes to be hard-surfaced and curbed, to allow the applicant to construct a parking area that has no curb on parcel number 22-15-451-009. APPROVED

5. Consideration of the request of The Ivanhoe Companies for Beacon Hill, JSP 15-08, with Zoning Map Amendment 18.710, to rezone property in Section 12, located on the northeast corner of Twelve Mile Road and Meadowbrook Road from RA (Residential Acreage) to R-4 (One-Family Residential) and B-3 (General Business), with a Planned Rezoning Overlay (PRO), and to approve corresponding Concept Plan. The subject property is approximately 21.13 acres. The applicant is proposing a 42-unit single-family residential development with frontage on and access to Meadowbrook Road, up to 22,000 square feet of commercial space with frontage and two access drives on Twelve Mile Road, and an open space/park area at the corner of the intersection. APPROVED

6. Approval for Material Recovery Facility Services Agreement between the City of Novi and the Resource Recovery and Recycling Authority of Southwest Oakland County (RRRASOC), for the delivery of all recyclable materials collected by the City to RRRASOC's facility of which the City will receive a portion of the revenue based upon its contribution in exchange for a small membership fee. APPROVED

7. Approval of resolution to authorize Budget Amendment #2016-3. APPROVED

AUDIENCE COMMENTS: None

COMMITTEE REPORTS: None

MAYOR & COUNCIL ISSUES: None