Gordon and Zwolak were late.
Tertzag asked to remove an MLCC ordinance. The agenda was approved as amended.
Zwolak expressed appreciation to those who attended the Veterans’ ceremonies yesterday. The number of WWII veterans in diminishing, and he was disappointed by people who didn’t attend.
Susan Dunn wondered if the mayor and council could do without the city manager and his assistant. They are a luxury in light of the other services that council is planning to cut, and instead of raising taxes, they should cut out the large expenses from the top. She appreciates the service of Angerer and Tertzag, and it isn’t personal, but she wants to see more police officers on the road. With the weather, there are more fireworks and more fires, and we need more police and fire personnel. She would hate to see the economic development department let go.
The consent agenda passed unanimously.
Fund warrant list: Tertzag said he was just handed a court ordered return of forfeitures that needed to be added to the fund warrants. Garbarino said it just came in today. Jankowski moved to add it to the fund warrants, and the amendment was approved.
Gordon said a payment to Courage Coffee for hosting of business classes was explained. Another charge was for a merchants meeting and should come from the DDA. Friedmann said the DDA paid for food, and the city paid for beverages. We started paying for the coffee for city wide events 4 years ago. They usually just reimburse the DDA directly instead of paying for the coffee. Gordon, Algazali and Zwolak voted against the fund warrants, but it passed when Majewski voted for it.
City Manager posting: Zwolak said they needed to post the position because Tertzag has said he is leaving in July. Zwolak said Tertzag could apply for it as part of the process. Once qualified people find out that we’ll be going through a restructuring and emergency manager situation, they may be interested in coming here. Tertzag has not been reviewed, and the state review team’s report to the governor says enough about his performance.
Hassan said it is a waste of time and money to repost the position now. Miah asked if Tertzag made a public statement to that effect. Zwolak explained that Tertzag said during a budget work session that he isn’t interested in staying here, and he wouldn’t have picked the team here.
Gordon asked who would carry out the process. Zwolak said the human resources department can screen applications. Gordon objected because the HR person can’t be allowed to screen her next boss. Zwolak said the state would only be here in 60 days, and we need a manager to take over when he leaves.
Gordon said the state made them look like fools in their report, and she won’t continue that. Tertzag deserves an evaluation and goals to be set. They have been lollygagging and were accomplishing nothing. She wanted to evaluate Terzag and set goals for him before posting the position. Most cities in emergency status have the EM hire their city manager, and this is a waste of time.
Algazali asked when the manager’s contract is up. Tertzag replied July 15th. Algazali said that a search is premature.
Jankowski asked Tertzag if he would be leaving on July 16. Tertzag said he sent an e-mail to the council after making statements at a work session, saying he wants to stay here.
Zwolak said he passed out an evaluation questionnaire and no one responded. Gordon said the last time, the council and mayor conducted the evaluation, spearheaded by Zwolak and Jankowski. The state is recommending their control continue beyond an emergency manager’s stay because of their chaotic behavior.
Majewski didn’t recall anything about the state being in and out in 60 days, and she would be surprised if that were true. The last 2 manager searches came up empty-handed because the council wasn’t satisfied with the people who applied, and a search now would be even smaller. Zwolak was the only one to vote for the resolution, and it failed.
K-9:Zwolak wanted to break the proposal into 2 resolutions, the sale and the purchase. There was no second.
Algazali asked how many dogs we have. Garbarino said we have one, and this is to establish a second team. It improves the city financially to do this. Dogs have short lifespans, and the city has them 5-7 years. The dog is in it’s final 3rd of it’s life, and therefor not worth training. For the additional K-9 , we are allowed to shift a person to be paid from the narcotics funding for a special assignment.
Gordon said they already approved the position, so they should just vote. Majewski allowed the discussion to continue.
Miah asked to see a contract referred to in the resolution. Tertzag said the language is in their tentative agreement, and there is no signed contract with the FOP, but they are abiding by the terms of the TA. Garbarino conceded that he should have referred to it as a TA. The council voted unanimously to change the verbiage.
Majewski asked about the sale for $1. Garbarino said that is standard practice when the handler retires. The resolution passed unanimously.
Macomb mutual aid: Garbarino said several cities belong to a consortium for special response. He wants to join to qualify for more grants. There is no Wayne County team at this time. We are closer to Southern Macomb than the downriver communities in Wayne County. We could potentially get more gear and resources. This is not a sure thing, as we have to have permission to join, but he was asking for council’s blessing so he can apply.
Gordon asked if there are financial implications. Garbarino said it allows us to ask for their help, and they can request ours, but if either side can’t supply help, it’s okay.
Gordon asked about SRT. Garbarino said it is voluntary and part-time, but we have a team, headed by Mileski, and several officers have been to the training. They have been shorthanded as of late. Gordon asked about future training. Garbarino said the resolution didn’t require training.
Tertzag said that realistically, there would be mutual aid if we had a major event, but this formalizes the agreement. Garbarino said we are more likely to receive help from the large departments involved. Training has been difficult with staffing levels. Macomb College hosted a training seminar here with multiple agencies.
Majewski asked if it counts toward state revenue sharing calculations. Garbarino and Tertzag thought it would. Zwolak asked what “certain specialized incidents” are. Garbarino replied that it would be for hostages, barricaded grandmas, and other things that the patrol staff can’t handle in the course of a shift. Zwolak said it requires liability insurance and asked if the controller signed off. Tertzag said we are insured, but we have a really high deductible.
Zwolak reprimanded Garbarino for calling officers “bodies” because it demeans them. Garbarino agreed he had a point. All voted in favor as amended.
TAN: Tertzag said he has been working daily with people from the state, going through cash flow projections. We will finish the budget year $2 million behind in MERS payments. The state has asked us to apply for a TAN. Huntington Bank turned us down last year, but officials from the state believe they have contacts who are open to loaning us money that would come through in mid-June, to be paid back with summer tax collections by October. We can only borrow 50% of collections, and it won’t be a problem to pay back, though we will be back in the same boat come October.
Algazali said this increases taxes. Tertzag explained that this is only borrowing for cash-flow purposes and has nothing to do with the tax rate. Algazali said it won’t solve our problems. Tertzag agreed. Johnson explained that we will make payroll the rest of the year, but we owe $2.2 million to MERS by June 30, or we will be in default. The state has instructed them to work on this TAN. The TAN would be sent directly to MERS, and the borrowing would cost $35,000, but this prevents MERS from suing us or kicking us out of MERS, No formal letter was sent by the state, but Johnson was told this by John Sexton from the treasurer’s office.
Miah said this has never been brought up before, and if MERS kicks us out or sues us, that’s okay with him. Johnson replied that the state didn’t tell him that in December, and they said they have the bank lined up at his last meeting.
Zwolak said they didn’t have a scheduled work session before the meeting, and they need to work on the budget, so he wants to postpone voting on the TAN until Thursday. He doesn’t believe the banks will fund us if we don’t have a budget for next year. Jankowski said they met with MERS. and the representative said the invested money is returning 11%. This $2.2 million is money that we didn’t invest. Investing to get the returns makes sense, and we’ve dug a hole by not putting money in. Gordon agreed we have missed out on returns, but when borrowing $1.8 million, the budget they’re working on has to reflect the repayment. Johnson said the cost is only $35,000, and the effect is to cash flow, not the budget. They collect $3.3 million in property taxes, and half of that will be used to pay the TAN. They will make payroll without it, but won’t be able to pay MERS. The deficit was financed by not paying MERS. They are planning to balance the budget without addressing the outstanding deficit, but they also have to eliminate the accumulated deficit.
Gordon asked what would happen if they don’t apply. Johnson explained that they are legally required to pay MERS, and being in default triggers emergency management. Gordon argued that the state should come here and do the hard work themselves.
Hassan said someone made a mistake and didn’t pay the pensions, they were just getting the TAN to avoid a lawsuit, and this will happen again and again. He can’t understand why the state is telling them to take a loan, and he won’t approve it, letting the governor call in a manager.
Jankowski said this borrowing is to pay outstanding bills, and this was caused by not planning ahead years ago. It isn’t the state’s fault, and we have to get a loan to satisfy our creditors. They were jeopardizing payments to 250 retirees who could have a judgment put on the tax rolls to be paid in 1 year instead of getting a loan to pay over 20 years. An EM could float bonds or get a TAN.
Miah said it isn’t paying the bills because they were still $400,000 short of paying MERS. Johnson said they could pay MERS in full with a $500,000 payment for delinquent taxes from the county. The actual property tax decrease was 2.5% instead of the 10.5% projected, which is another $300,000 toward plugging the budget hole.
Gordon said they know they have to pay their bills, but they’ll be short again in December. They were talking about increasing fees, and she thinks people would rather pay for this separately on their taxes rather than a lighting fee.
Jankowski asked about retiree costs and if they include MERS. Tertzag said the line item for retiree costs is retirees only, and current employees are accounted for by department. Johnson said the EM will make the cuts to make up the difference, and even with an EM, Allen Park is getting a TAN because they need time.
Miah asked if this could wait until Thursday. Johnson said there is a meeting with the bank on Friday. Tertzag said he would rather be told “no” than wait. Miah said he needed more information.
Majewski said they need to make the decision themselves, and handing it off to someone else is irresponsible. They have been in discussions with the state for years, but that doesn’t absolve them of their responsibility. This has to be paid with city revenue, and she would rather prove their merit by making the decision themselves.
Gordon changed her opinion to agree with Majewski and said she would let the EM worry about it in September. Zwolak’s motion to postpone failed.
Zwolak wanted to discuss what changes were being proposed to other budgets besides the general fund. Majewski objected. She and Zwolak argued. Majewski had him removed by the police chief, and threatened to remove members of the audience.
Hassan and Algazali voted against it, and the resolution passed.
Fireworks: Garbarino said the state amended the law on fireworks, causing an increase here. There is concern that it will be uncontrollable now, and they are trying to reign them in by amending the noise ordinance to include fireworks. The state will probably change things, and the council will probably want to amend it again next year.
Gordon thought they made changes last year. Chief Wilk didn’t think they could do anything about it last year.
Gordon asked if the police have a decibel meter. Garbarino said they found an old one. Gordon said the ordinance was changed without approval by council, and asked who would determine if something was loud. Garbarino said fireworks don’t have to be measured because even Snaps would be illegal between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m.. Gordon argued that they would lose in court because the council didn’t approve the change. Garbarino said they haven’t had problems because disturbing the peace is a violation. The amendment is for fireworks, and if they want a change other things, he will help. Chief Wilk said other communities have this change.
The first reading passed unanimously. (Hassan was out of the room.)
Mayor: Attended an award dinner in Dearborn, met with a researcher in Dearborn, was a judge for International Children’s Day, and Student Core Kickoff (GM internships). Student Core will work on Veterans Memorial Park and are reviewing the Master Plan to target efforts in the park. Also gave WDET and WXYZ interviews, attended Polish-American night at Comerica, and the Memorial Day event.
Jankowski asked what Stackpoole is working on for the Sense of Place Partnership. Majewski replied that it was a Cities of Promise meeting every month, but they haven’t been meeting. Stackpoole gave notice that she will not be able to attend Wayne Metro or SEMCOG housing meetings on behalf of the mayor, and Majewski doesn’t know what will happen.
CM: Tertzag said that after the “Make it Right” program in May, there will be stepped up enforcement. They are still working on gathering budget information. The GM foundation met with him and Angerer and have committed to spending $7500 to $10000 on projects in the park. The cement contractor doing sidewalks wanted to have a later finishing date, and they will be donating the cement pouring of the cricket pitch. GM is interested in investing in the Hamtramck Stadium grand stands.
The review team report said a DEP was not approved. We have a conditional approval as of an hour after the report was released. The state is skeptical of the city following through. Different groups from the state say different things, and their office lacks internal communication. Auditors from O’Keafe were still gathering information for the state. There is a work session on Thursday for the budget.
Joe Morecki asked how many police officers we have.
Garbarino said we are supposed to have 39, but actually have 32 after two recent retirements.
Morecki asked when we are going to get more officers. One of his neighbors called and there was no car available. The police used to respond in minutes, and now we are lucky to get a car. There are potholes on Evaline caused by DTE that could cause tire damage. The city isn’t safe anymore, and the cops aren’t safe with so few officers on the streets. Homeowners will have to take things into their own hands if police don’t respond.
Miah said we have enough cops, though we would like more. They might not have come because there was a transition. We will always be a tough city for criminals.
Morecki said the council is dumb and they don’t have his vote.
Andrea Karpinski said a tree was cut down next to her house for unknown reasons. The city said a resident complained about it, but that shouldn’t be a priority. A DPW person was called out on overtime to remove a dead possum, and employees called in have to paid for a minimum of 4 hours work. Council asked for ideas about the budget, and she sent some, though they haven’t been implemented.
Shaya said only one tree was cut on Gallagher, but it could have been cut by DTE. There was a crunched possum on Lumpkin, plus dead animals on Holbrook and Gallagher. He can’t do the job of DPW workers due to the union contract.
Karpinski replied that it wasn’t an emergency.
Susan Dunn said volunteers started a community garden on Hewitt. The council was robbing Peter to pay Paul with the budget, which is no way to live. Adding fees to keep services is scary for the taxpayers whose home values are still falling. They would get more done without bickering. People are making suggestions, but nothing happens, and that is discouraging. There are not enough police on the road. There are lawsuits caused by the city. A firefighter who was supposed to receive credit for his time in the military didn’t get it, and his case has been going on for 6 years, costing us attorney fees. Motorists are swerving around potholes full of water.
I said that the police staffing has been drastically reduced under the latest TA, and residents often are told that there are no cars available. A neighbor came home from vacation to find two men breaking into her house, and by the time the police got there, they were gone. This is an important issue and they shouldn’t blow it off.
Miah thanked us for bringing the issue. The chief told him the response time is 2 minutes, and we should let the police chief know if that isn’t the case.
Gordon asked how short the police department is. Garbarino replied that they are short 7 people. Tertzag said an EM will restructure things, and the department is top-heavy. We need more people on the street and less people in offices.
Gordon suggested that Tertzag restructure and eliminate special assignments. Tertzag said he and Garbarino would be working on it. People planning to leave are calling in sick, burning vacation and sick time. The drug forfeiture assignments help the department offset other costs, but we need more officers on the street.
Algazali asked if traffic officers respond to calls. Garbarino said they do, and that’s the only way we’re keeping officers on the road. The patrol division is lacking officers. It doesn’t do good to arrest people if there is no one on the second floor to process them. There are a couple of supervisors that have to push paper, but anybody we lose effects patrol, and being 7 down is crippling.
Algazalii asked if businesses on Campau have to apply for licenses. Kendzierski explained they have to get approvals from all departments, and she has to wait for approvals. Tertzag said they come to the clerk’s office, and the clerk e-mails all the other departments. Departments respond through the BSA software. Outstanding water bills, unfinished permits, and other things are checked first. If everything is done correctly, licenses are issued fast. The only thing that holds up approval is things that are not right.
Gordon said they legislate themselves to death and no one follows it. No one appears to know the rules in regards to having Zwolak removed. The council rules don’t say council members can be removed; it only says that they can be stopped from speaking on a topic. Having an employee get in his face isn’t right, and there are times when the mayor is out of order. The mayor should have used the rules as written.
Majewski said Zwolak wasn’t willing to forfeit his right to debate, and when he changed the subject, he was out of order. She said the rules allow for removal. Gordon wanted her to show where the rules that say that. Majewski said the conversation was over, and it is election season.
Gordon said the agenda was posted without posting of the budget session. There are checks and balances with several departments, and both the charter and the council rules call for agendas to be done by the city manager, together with the mayor. An ordinance was pulled because it was on the agenda without going through Tertzag.
Majewski said posting notices isn’t her job. Kendzierski said she prepared the agenda on Friday, and the work session slipped her mind. She posted it first thing this morning. She did not send the council agenda for approval because it was late and had to be posted. She requests to have the information by Thursday so it can be done on time. The offices have been torn apart with the move.
Gordon blamed Majewski for the agendas being late, and said Majewski oesn’t even know what is on agendas when they are sent.
Jankowski asked about unencryption of the police radios. Garbarino said he hasn’t done anything in awhile. They rebanded the radios, and if council wants it done, they can do it.