Audit shows City finances in good shape
Posted on 11/19/2020
City Hall

City Council recap of Nov. 16 meeting

City finances and audit contract – The Plante Moran audit team presented an overview of the City’s financial health and noted the City was doing well and was on track to meet legacy costs over time. Later in the meeting, Council approved an auditing contract with Plante Moran for fiscal year 2021-2023 with a negotiated annual increase of less than 3 percent. The contract has a not-to-exceed fee of $44,385 for FY 2021, $45,635 for FY 2022, and $46,885 for FY 2023.

Builders contract item being addressed – City Council heard a request by representatives of the Cady Project, LLC (a proposed condominium/mixed use building) to strike a “reversion clause” in their contract with the City over the sale of City-owned property if they didn’t meet deadlines to construct and occupy the building. Those deadlines have been extended several times since the initial purchase agreement in June 2016. Council asked City Manager Pat Sullivan to work with the City attorney (Greg Need) on revised contract language so Cady Project could pursue funding without being held back by the reversion clause yet still protect the City if the project is not built by established deadlines.

Rezoning for proposed duplexes – City Council held the first reading to rezone the three lots formed from 711 N. Center from First Density Residential District (R-1B) to Second Density Residential District (R-2). The property owner intends to build three duplexes. The Planning Commission recommended the rezoning following a public hearing. The second reading is scheduled for the Dec. 7 City Council meeting.

Historic District boundary may expand – City Council discussed the proposed amendment to Chapter 42 Historic Preservation in the Code of Ordinances to reflect the new Historic District boundary (per the Northville Historic District Study Report, Volume 1 final report). Local historian and author Ellen Elliott, of Plymouth, spoke of Ford Field and its historic importance to the community. This information prompted Council members to recommend that the Local Historic District Study Committee (LHDSC) reconsider including Ford Field in the boundary. City Planner Sally Elmiger advised Council that she would determine how to proceed with the LHDSC.

Racetrack breakage funds – Council designated $60,000 from the fiscal year 2020’s breakage revenue of $149,995 to go toward police and fire equipment reserves. The balance of $89,995 will remain uncommitted until a specific need is identified. These funds are recorded in the Public Improvement Fund and have been used primarily for capital outlay and construction-related activities.

Budget schedule approved – Council approved the schedule for the FY 2022 budget (begins July 1, 2021 and ends June 30, 2022) with the following dates:
Jan. 11 – Special Meeting – Goals and Objectives
April 12 – Special Meeting – Budget Review Session #1
April 15 – Special Meeting – Budget Review Session #2

All meetings will be held at 6:30 p.m. in the City Council Chambers, 215 W. Main Street, Northville, unless COVID-19 restrictions require online meetings.

Heat in the Street purchases and finances – The DDA, in partnership with Manfred Schon, co-owner of Up2Go, will supply open-air vending stands and dining pods for use in downtown Northville to enable restaurants to sell food and beverages in a safe manner for outdoor consumption during the coronavirus pandemic. After viewing four construction bids obtained by the DDA, City Council approved a quote from Construction Design Services, Inc., of Chelsea, to fabricate and install the structures for a not-to-exceed average cost of $13,656 per unit. The DDA has committed $30,000 to the initiative with the balance to come from sponsorships and grants. The first two sets of pods and stands will arrive in Northville by Nov. 30. Council authorized the DDA to collect funds and pay invoices for the project.

Public comments – Lenore Lewandowski, 119 Randolph, Northville, said she attended the Nov. 4 Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) meeting and noted there is a hole in the zoning ordinances when it comes to rooftop structures. She is aware of the need for mechanical equipment to be housed on the roof, but new items such as rooftop kitchens should be addressed in the zoning ordinance. She suggested putting a moratorium on rooftop structures until the item could be addressed by the City through an ordinance. Mayor Turnbull said her point will be considered.

Council communications – Mayor Turnbull thanked Lori Ward, the DDA and Manfred Schon for putting together the Heat in the Street concept. He also thanked the public for attending City Council meetings held on Zoom and applauded City Council for 100% attendance at those meetings. Mayor Pro tem Marilyn Price advised people to take the next three weeks seriously by following the COVID-19 restrictions recently issued by Gov. Whitmer. She said, “We could see a dramatic downturn in the virus,” and “The health of our community depends on it.” Other Council members concurred with her statements.

Watch the video here.