Jankowski was absent. Zwolak asked to remove number 8 because the resolution was passed previously. Tertzag misunderstood Zwolak’s intent when he sent a copy of the resolution requiring recording of the council meetings.
Gordon wished Joanne Meyers condolences on the loss of her husband. Zwolak said he was a leader in the KofC, was in Alhambra, and a member of retiree groups. Zwolak thanked Kendzierski for doing an exception job on the election with a small staff. We reached a record in absentee ballots this year. Algazali wished everyone a a Happy Thanksgiving and welcomed people in the gallery in Arabic. Miah congratulated the Detroit Cheetahs cricket club for winning their league title. Zwolak said the library recognition dinner would be on Thursday at PNA at 6:30.
Garbarino introduced three chaplains, Reverends Buttry, Swint and Bogdan. They are looking to expand the program. The chaplains were sworn in last week. We have 5 new reserves, and also a K9 dog unit, UDAA.
Charlene Mitchell of Corinthian Baptist sent a letter in writing. They are celebrating their 95th year. They asked to rename a section of Caniff after Reverend Jordan. She will come back with more congregants to follow up.
Zwolak asked if it would be an honorary name change. Mitchell confirmed that was the idea.
Ahmed Jordan(?) said the neighbors want Green Power Technology added to the next council agenda so they can talk about it. The company would be located at the former Missant. They are concerned about benefits and harm and want more information about what the company is. The company has been dealing with the city a long time. They want to know what type of trash will be processed. They are concerned about traffic safety and the health of children, property values, and smell.
Majewski said there is a process the company has to follow, and it would not be proper to put it on the agenda. She asked Friedmann to give a quick overview of the project. There will be plenty of opportunity for public comment.
Ahmed wanted to know what council can do for them, not the company. He still wanted to have it put on the agenda for public discussion. He attended a zoning board meeting, and hundreds of people attended, but that was only about zoning. He wanted to know if council wants a company here recycling trash.
Majewski said they need the company to be represented, too, so they can answer questions.
Algazali repeated that there is a process and it isn’t on the agenda. He said they have no clue what’s going on and need to see what is happening.
Gordon said it is a zoning issue, but council can’t override what zoning decides. Hassan said there are things council can do.
Ahmed said there are community members who worked at Missant and it is a brownfield. The zoning ordinance lists waste processing an an unallowable use in the industrial area.
Friedmann said this is the beginning of a long process. The zoning meeting was only about parking. The building will be 250,000 ft on 20 acres. Less parking is good for the city and stormwater system. The decision of locating comes before the council for site plan review and the hosting agreement. It will cover hours of operation, truck routes, and benefit to the city in tonnage fees. Twice as many people were sent notices for the zoning meeting as required to bring the community into the process. Parking will be cnosidered by the zoning board again in December. One of the things that will happen before then is a formal memo will be sent to the zoning board by the city attorney explaining the use. The ordinance is vague in some ways, and this is the type of thing that would be allowed in an industrial zone. The city doesn’t have chemical engineers on staff, so the state and county will be part of the process. The Wayne County Solid Waste Plan will involve the public and look at the host agreement. That is normally where the community would find out about the development. The host agreement will be before city council in early December, and then the formal review by the county will start. They know it is a sensitive issue, and there were problems with a waste incinerator in the neighborhood before. It will be a recycling center that takes all the valuable items out of solid waste from Hamtramck and other cities they contract with. The doors will never be open, and dumping will never happen outside. It will be regulated by the state, city, and county. Organic materials will be steamed to break them down. There will be no emissions from the building. It will not smell in the neighborhood. The owner of the company has a FAQ on the internet. They are working on a brochure that will be translated into 3 languages. The firm wants to involve the community and will be looking for up to 150 employees, as many from Hamtramck as possible. They will pay about $1.2 million dollars to the city in the first year.
Majewski confirmed with Friedmann that the ZBA meeting will only be about parking. The ZBA has no power to vote down the project.
Algazali said they have to send notices and wanted to know if there would be dead bodies or animals taken in there. Friedmann repeated that they will handle municipal solid waste.
Hassan said that council can vote down the plan and stop it. If they do research and find that it is bad for the residents and the environment, they will not approve it.
Bashid Obed(?) said that he talked to Friedmann a month ago. He said he would take their phone numbers and give them to the owner, but no one called. They are concerned and want to know what the advantages are. If they are not given information from the beginning, they think something is being hidden. The company will be doing processing. If it is recycling it is okay, but processing should not be allowed.
Majewski gave him the card of the business owner.
Miah suggested a town hall meeting before sending a flier out with information. Friedmann said he will do that. The company will only give their best side, but we have to count on the state and county regulations.
Public hearing on pawn shops – no one spoke.
Pawn shop: Majewski asked if this is the second reading. Krot explained that it was discussed before and questions were answered. Kendzierski said it was not published before.
Krot said there are two ordinances: one for pawn and resale shops and one for precious metals and gems. Zwolak said the agenda did not list the two ordinances. Majewski said the second item was not on the agenda at all. Allen said they should have first readings for both ordinances at the next meeting. Tertzag said they could amend the agenda. Allen said he preferred to handle them at the same time.
Zwolak moved to suspend the rules to add the metals ordinance to the agenda. Gordon said that council can’t add to the agenda at the last minute. Tertzag made the request himself. Council voted to approve the recommendation.
Gordon said this is the best ordinance yet. She suggested council decide the fees before passing the ordinance.
Krot said it applies to all resellers except those who deal only in clothes. Garbarino said the fee for resellers should be just as high as pawn shops. The business license on a pawn shop is $560.
Majewski asked why it says they have to be closed on Sunday. Garbarino said state law prohibits pawn shops from being open on Sunday, but days for resale are at their discretion. Majewski thought it was silly for record stores and antique shops to be closed on Sunday.
Zwolak asked why they were restricting the number of pawn shops in the city to 4. Garbarino said it seemed to be the will of council. The first reading was approved unanimously.
(I saw no evidence that the metal ordinance was considered, and no public hearings were mentioned.)
Consent agenda passed unanimously
Fund warrant list: Zwolak asked about $2724 spent on a trip for Jankowski. Zwolak wanted Freidmann to give an update on the bike path because bicycle planning was one of the conferences Jankowski attended. Majewski said Zwolak’s request was out of order.
Zwolak asked about a $57,000 upgrade to lights on Caniff. Shaya said that is our share of the cost and is part of a payment plan. The lights use detectors to time the lights based on traffic. Miah asked if that is the only payment. Shaya said the whole project cost about $400,000, and we had to pay 10%.
Gordon asked why library charges were charged to the general fund. Tertzag said it was correct. Gordon said the library fund approves all their purchases and payments, and it shouldn’t be in council’s packet. Tertzag said he would take it out.
Miah asked about a charge for dumpsters for $2600. Shaya said they cost $350 each and were for clean-ups that the DPW has been doing. Miah wanted more information about dumpsters.
Zwolak said eviction dumpsters are on their fund warrant list. Shaya said the court requests the dumpster, and the dumpsters are paid for by title insurance and landlords. The city charges 50% more than the cost of the dumpster for administration. Zwolak asked how the court is involved in the dumpsters. Shaya said it is added to the tax rolls if the property owner doesn’t pay.
Algazali asked if the dumpsters are issued permits. Shaya said they don’t charge for permits because Rizzo is a city contractor. Miah asked what the dumpsters were for. Shaya said they could have been for the festival, but he will bring more information to the next meeting.
Gordon said they budgeted an extra $100,000 for clean-ups on top of Rizzo’s fees, and the charges for dumpsters should be to the sanitation budget. Zwolak voted against it but the warrants passed.
Alarms: Garbarino said there was never a fine set for false alarms. Gordon said they want to charge $100 to register an alarm. Garbarino said there are different charges for residential and commercial.
Gordon asked about Knox boxes. Wilk explained that they are boxes on the exterior of buildings with keys to the doors for the fire department to use. If the alarm goes off falsely, they can enter without breaking the door. All new businesses that have an alarm are required to have a box.
Zwolak asked if it includes Hamtramck Housing. Garbarino said the fines would be charged.
Miah wanted to know why alarms have to be registered every year. Garbarino said that contact information changes and people move, but council can change it if they like. He eventually hopes to have online registration.
Miah asked what a false alarm is. Garbarino said that if the police respond and aren’t needed, the alarm is false. Miah said his wife left a pot on the stove and set off the alarm. Garbarino said they get one response free. Wilk said he would not consider that a false alarm because that is what a fire alarm is for. Garbarino said they have discretion when charging and the ordinance is meant to deal with repeated problems. The ordinance doesn’t fine anyone unless they have 3 false alarms in a year. Tertzag said it is meant as an incentive to owners to fix malfunctioning alarms.
Majewski read that registration is $25 for residential and $100 for businesses. On the third false alarm, the fine is $50 or $100, the 4th time costs $100 or $200, and five or more false alarms cost $150 or $250. The ordinance passed unanimously for a first reading.
Cost recovery: The company presented does billing for police departments. Charging for police services is a newer concept. There is an ordinance on the books that they are beginning to enforce, especially for at-fault accidents. The police department doesn’t do billing, and Garbarino hopes to have a professional company handle it, same as the fire department does. The company will look at our actual costs based on charts and analysis and try to bill for the service rendered plus their fee. It is only for auto accidents at this time. We could bill for something else if there is cost and a party is at fault. A clerk has been sending bills for 2 months, and they have had modest success in collecting payments. Miah asked how much the billing company’s fee is. Gordon read it would be 29%. Garbarino said services can be pricey if an accident takes hours to mop up.
Zwolak asked for representation from the company to attend the meeting. Garbarino said they are in Ohio, but he could ask them to come if council wishes. There are other cities in Michigan using the same service. Zwolak said the police will have to itemize reports for the billing, and it will burden the officers. Garbarino said the traffic clerk would be responsible and hiring the company would be less work than it is now. Officers may fill out a 30-second form in the future, and that is a minor task. The billing service was suggested to him by Waterford. Zwolak wanted to postpone it for a presentation by the company, seconded by Algazali. All voted to postpone.
Controller: Gordon said Tertzag wanted to hire a controller as required by the charter. We pay Plante and Moran $11,250 per month, and they are not at the council meeting. They don’t have background or history of the city. Tertzag supported the resolution and said HR will have it posted. He still intends to have a stack of resumes ready for the new manager in January.
Majewski said Plante and Moran have been our auditor. Tertzag said Alan C Young is the auditor, but Plante and Moran has been working in the city since 2001. All voted in favor.
Assessing: Gordon said the reassessment is required by the state and hasn’t been done in over a decade; Tertzag stopped Fuoco in midstream after Nazarko hired him to do it. Tertzag replied that he found out in August that the work was awarded without bids. Fuoco does a good job, but there is no way it will be done at the end of the year, and even when it is completed, it won’t take effect until the next year. Tertzag thought it wasn’t a high priority and can be handled by the new manager after the holiday. The reassessment will take the majority of next year to complete.
Gordon wanted to award the contract, letting Tertzag postpone the work if he wishes. Council has the right to waive the bids, and she just wants to assure Fuoco that he will get this work and not put it through the bid process. Algazali wanted to have bidding.
Miah asked how soon they have to start to have it done next year. Fuoco said this process is long overdue. There are build sheets for every property, and the reassessment is to verify the accuracy of the build sheet. The state calls it a 14-point review. We have a “dot net” appraisal system that we are not utilizing because the data is not there. The result would be accessible to the public, appraisers, and real estate professionals. It will help the city better defend the assessments on appeals because the computer will help them compare properties. The field work is intensive, as is the data entry. There are also land maps and studies required. He is still doing field sheets by hand with an old assessors manual. Everything will be more current because we have to switch all at once. We are using a manual based on 1950 costs and are factoring the costs year to year to make them current. The state believes we are magnifying our problems. It will take at least a year to complete the process. Everything has to be done by December 31 to put it on the next year, and it could be completed by next December.
Fuoco said it has to be done to make the assessing more accurate. He can’t say if there will be a gain or loss in tax revenue, but we have to have more accurate data. The county lost some field sheets when they did our assessing. Someone needs to do it right, regardless of who does it.
Miah asked what would be looked at. Fuoco said they would verify square footage, and they may ask questions about the interior of the resident. They will be looking at the number of units per building. All of the assessments will also be recalculated using the new manual.
Zwolak asked if we are the last city to digitize the information. Fuoco said we pretty much are last. Zwolak said we have to look at number of meters, satellite dishes, and tenants in the attic. We have been building and tearing down homes, and people are constantly rebuilding their houses.
Tertzag recommended holding off on this and called it “rolling the dice”. Gordon argued that the property owners deserve reassessment. Fuoco said that if a city is found to be substantially non-compliant, the city manager will be required to meet with the state tax commission, and they may take over our assessing, which would be costly. Majewski said that was the last thing we need to worry about from Lansing. Hassan said we know the property values will go down, and we can wait because the state isn’t forcing us.
Fuoco said in 2014 assessments, we would be looking at sales that happen this year. A housing rebound is debatable, but if there are more mortgages available, the market could go up. He doesn’t know how the data would compare. It will cost $75,000 to reassess next year, as opposed to $72,000 this year. Gordon and Zwolak voted for it, but the resolution failed.
Treasurer: Gordon thought the council reinstated the treasurer. Tertzag said the treasurer is in place, and he is negotiating with Wilk on working full time. IT contracts should be ready for the next council meeting. Zwolak reiterated that the treasurer is the chief collections officer of the city. Gordon asked who is doing to tasks manadated for the treasurer by the charter. Tertzag said Wilk is doing many things, but he is not doing the collections.
Zwolak reminded council that Wilk was elected treasurer a decade ago before the city manager form of government. Crawford established the finance director, and we no longer have that position.
Hassan said Wilk volunteered to work without pay and was not there looking for money. The department will be restructured soon. Algazali said the resolution was to compensate Wilk. Tertzag said he would have to bring the compensation and contract back to council for their approval. Gordon and Zwolak voted for it, but the resolution failed.
Video repair: Algazali said we have budget problems. Gordon said the money would come from the building fund. Council approved $11,000 for Plante and Moran every month. Miah said this action was passed a long time ago, but revolving doors in the clerk and manager’s offices prevented it from happening. This needs to be done so we have records and can broadcast to people in the community on other days.
Tertzag asked if it was approved before. Algazali insisted that he voted against this before. He asked if they contacted Comcast. Gordon said they did, and there was nothing they could do. Tertzag spoke to Ellentuck about getting the correct equipment. Zwolak said the cable viewers pay the city, and Comcast no longer pays for the equipment due to changes in the law. He said Comcast has to come in to consult and look at the equipment. We do not have duplicating equipment like we had before. The sound comes in and out on the broadcasts.
Gordon tried to get the equipment fixed before with Comcast. The problem is not Comcast. We have to coordinate equipment with the settings at Comcast. Norris researched it multiple times. We need equipment first. Miah suggested Tertzag look at equipment. The resolution passed unanimously.
Documents: Zwolak said the city clerk is the custodian of all city documents, and Tertzag suggested in his report that he would like to secure documents and make digital copies for back-up. There is a room on the second floor that can be used for record keeping.
Miah asked where our documents are. Zwolak said Allen had to chase papers through 4 attorneys for a legal case, and according to the charter, they are supposed to be in the clerk’s office.
Gordon asked if Allen has copies of all the contracts. He doesn’t. The clerk is supposed to have them.
Allen said the nature of the documents he keeps are e-mails, and they don’t have a server big enough for all his files. He won’t leave legal files where he can’t access and control them, and there is a state bar requirement that he return all city papers if he is no longer working here. It costs him in off-site storage. The problem with prior attorneys is that they did not transition their files. This was a problem in two cases. He called the discussion “innane” and “stupid”.
Majewski asked if no outside vendors should keep papers on their work here. Zwolak argued that Allen should file the original documents with the clerk. Gordon said settlements should be registered, and if they make a list of things they want at the clerks office, he will surely accommodate them. Gordon said Allen doesn’t have all contracts.
Allen said there are contracts that were changed after he and the council approved them. He believes that was done by a former city manager. Gordon asked why it wasn’t brought to council. Allen said he just found out about something like this in the last 30 days. Gordon and Zwolak voted for it, but the resolution failed.
Platinum snow: Shaya said the amendment was to address concerns in the SRR report. The changes are to add plowing of certain fire routes, Fleming ($375 per plow), Dequindre ($685), Nagel, all the bridges, and Denton at the new school. Hassan asked if the cost will increase. Shaya said he brought a comparison that shows that $1995 is added per plow.
Hassan asked Tertzag if he talked to Platinum about issues. Tertzag said he hasn’t talked to them, but this resolution is being done properly to amend the contract. He will talk to them about a price break later. Zwolak asked how much we owe Platinum from last year. Tertzag replied that he thought we issued them a check for last year and did not think there were unpaid invoices.
There was a motion proposed to amend the resolution to pay any outstanding invoices. No one voted in favor.
Gordon said Nazarko told her there are still bills of $50,000 outstanding from last Winter. She asked if it is all fire routes or bus routes being added. Shaya said most of the streets mentioned are “major collectors”, streets that people take to the freeway.
Algazali asked if there is a contract with Platinum and if there will be bids. Tertzag said they have a contract and they are just adding streets to the existing contract. It is required because the change is more than 10% of contract total.
Majewski asked for the justification for plowing on Denton. Shaya said it was a fire route at one time, but was taken off by a previous DPW director. The fire routes are not a complete circle without Denton. They also plow the library, the police departmnet, and the post office. They don’t plow for the school on Hanley, but how much do we want to spend? Maybe we should do Hanley and Lehman.
Miah said some communities don’t plow at all, and we don’t have cash to plow everything. If Winter is like last year, we won’t need it at all. Gordon said the cost doesn’t matter because it is Act 51, and she won’t put kids at risk for $1950, wanting to add plowing for all the schools.
Tertzag said he is working with Shaya on a plan for sidewalks. They paved Hewitt; Whalen is to be paved in the Spring, and a study will be done to look at fixing other streets. Act 51 money is given to the city to spend, and we have needs in sidewalks. If we don’t properly use the money, we won’t get more. They also plan to pave 5 streets per year. The state wants a 5-year plan.
Hassan said the manager can get a better price after talking to Platinum, and council was just correcting paperwork. Gordon, Hassan, and Zwolak voted for it, and the resolution passed.
Gordon pulled the item on radio encryption.
Mayor’s report: attended the Parade Company breakfast, 3 weddings, spoke to class at University of Michigan, attended a municipal league board meeting, and was at Post 10 on Veterans Day.
Mayor Pro Tem: attended a wedding and a ceremony at the community center.
Manager: Tertzag said this was the first election for the city clerk without a deputy, and Kendzierski did a wonderful job. There are issues at any election, and the issues were dealt with. He sent an e-mail to the department heads the day before, and they helped with the polls.
We had work sessions. Suggestions were made, and Tertzag had meetings about [something] to find savings. He and Shaya met with DTE and expressed concerns about the length of their project. It will not be allowed to go on through the Winter. If any residents have issues with the work by DTE, they should contact DPS and Shaya so he can see the situation first hand.
Shaya said Dec 21 is the deadline for the DTE project.
Zwolak asked about job postings. Tertzag said the city clerk job posting closed today, and the manager applications are supposed to be done by the 16th. Tertzag has not talked to the FBI. The seasonal workers will not be hired and will be looked at again in the Spring.
Tertzag said there was a timeline to be adopted, and Angerer and Scanio are coordinating their efforts so Angerer can bring packets to council. There was extra time built in to the process for the holidays.
Miah thought council would be presented with more information about the process. He never received a link showing him the postings as he requested. We hired a professional to get it done in a professional manner, but there has not been professionalism in the process. He has not been told how many applications were received. The money we’re paying for the service is not happening.
Majewski said reporting on the process was not on the timeline, and the contractor was not told to report at regular intervals.
Tertzag said he asked questions and it is not open for discussion until the interview process starts. Angerer has done the job hired to do thus far, and when they get the applications, they should keep in mind that applicants may not have told their employer that they are leaving.
Gordon asked when we would hire an income tax director. Tertzag said it would be soon, and he and Plante and Moran are just trying to get their arms around the finances. Gordon said no one is paying income taxes from Housing, and no one is keeping track of DTE workers and others working in the city.
Gordon said they got a letter from a resident about income tax disputes. We have no income tax board of review, as is mandated in state law. It was supposed to be formed before any tax was collected. The board will be 3 people appointed by council under state law. She asked if she should bring a resolution to that effect. Tertzag asked to see the law.
Algazali asked who pays for broken curbs. Shaya said contractors must restore anything they break. He checks work between 10 and noon every day.
Susan Dunn said that she tries to get the council to listen because she speaks for more people than just herself. When Miah voted not to put Wilk in his position, he was part of the reason for charter violations. Wilk is part of the checks and balances, and he is only doing part of the job. We would have fewer problems if Wilk was allowed to do his job. He has been doing it for free because he loves the city. The money paid to Plante and Moran would be able to pay Wilk’s salary. On not having current updated assessments, she would be happy to find out that her house is worth more and would pay more. They voted to pay TJs tab of $322 for travel, and she asked what was he driving that it cost $322 to get to Mackinac Island and back. He went to a conference about bike routes when that is taken care of by another department. She urged council not to approve his $300 reimbursement. Others may not get a paycheck, and the money is being wasted.
Miah thanked Dunn for being active. Wilk’s position is already there, and Tertzag is working on that contract, so no resolution is required.
Algazali said Dunn is disrespectful to elected officials and started to quarrel with her.
Hillary Cherry said that I believed that only half of the pawn ordinances had been passed because only one vote was taken and the metals and gems ordinance was not discussed. On the fund warrant list, Gordon is correct that there is clearly another fund for the library, but the expenses are being charged to the general fund. Inaccurate assessments are unfair to property owners. There are many papers that should be filed with the clerk’s office, and all city departments should be submitting documents to the clerk’s office. The charter says that the opinions of the city attorney are to be filed with the city clerk. I filed a FOIA for those attorney opinions and received a response from Allen that he has not written any opinions. For example, the opinion stating who was to take the council seat vacated by Councilman Cedar’s death should be registered. The registration isn’t just for the public, but for the rest of the administration and council and other attorneys.* Act 51 is for paving streets, not to spend entirely on plowing.
Non-agenda: Majewski said there is an interfaith alliance gathering on November 21.
Algazali said Gallagher and Lehman have to be fixed. Shaya said Sobieski, Commor, Holbrook, and many other streets are also on the list. They will be starting road work in early March.
Tertzag said he passed out privileged information earlier. There was no closed session. The meeting was adjourned
* Jim Allen apparently didn’t like what I said because he called me “liar” during my public comment and then tried to intimidate me after the meeting, one of his points being that even if he registered his opinions with the clerk, I’d never see them.