This is not an official blog of the City. It is the work of Mark Kapel who is solely responsible for content.

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Monday, August 8, 2011

Phase III of Road Improvement To Be Debated at Tonight's City Commission Meeting.

The topic is not new. It was discussed for over an hour at the July 26th gathering of four of the five city commissioners at what the commission likes to call a work session. From 5:30 pm to 7:50 the commission worked verbally and mentally. Roads got the entire first hour. With the exception of this writer no city residents were attendance for "the open to the public" work session. In need of a second opinion this publication decided to invite imaginary people to pretend that they attended the work session and to give their take on what they may have seen.  First we will present the actual minutes of the July 26th work session in blue which you will find in the August 9th City Commission Agenda Packet. Then we will present a short bio and the commentary from our imaginary guest author.
Phase III Road improvement Program from the July 26th Work Session  Minutes

Mr. Jamie Burton, with HRC Engineering presented the engineering options for the next phase of the city’s road improvement program.
In response to an inquiry from Mayor Zambricki, Mr. Burton briefly described the engineering standards used in designing roads.

Finance Director Lisa Dolan provided the financial analysis on the various bonding and pay as you go scenarios. Ms. Dolan suggested the pay as you go option fiscally responsible, yet still accomplishes the goal of road improvement. Ms. Dolan noted she prefers to avoid the interest rate payments by paying for the road improvements without bonding for the program.

Commissioner McCready requested updated information on bond interest rates. He also inquired of the balance at the end of 2010-2011 fiscal year could be used toward future road programs. Commissioner McCready suggested Orchard Ridge, Chestnut Circle, and Kensington be included in the next phase of the road program.
Commissioner McClure expressed her support for bonding for the future road program, perhaps less than the originally planned $3,000,000.

Commissioner McClure suggested the city consider improving the Long Lake Rd. and Barden Rd. common area.

A short introduction to Auggie (No Last Name).
 Auggie is a professional “gamester”, a name he prefers to Gambler. Auggie will bet on anything but he never gambles. Auggie is not a resident of the City of Bloomfield Hills but not because he doesn’t like it. It’s because he is not ready to drop three big ones (a big one is roughly equivalent to a million dollars) on a house. When told that that less expensive houses are available, Augggie says he only goes first class and declined to say where he actually resides.

Auggie ‘s (No last Name) take on the  Phase III Road Improvement program as discussed by City Commission at the July 26th Work Session.

 First off about those minutes …LIKE WHOA !  Were we at the same meeting or what? The Mayor question came late. The Treasurer lady did not steal the show as is implied and the big three Orchard, Kensington, and Chesnut  Circle were not names pulled out of a hat by Comish McCready. They were on the table before he even said a world. How they got  there, I don’t know.  You want the straight skinny? The Real deal? Let me tell you.

The early favorites are Orchard Ridge, and Kensington. Chesnut Circle which started strong fell to third as the evening wore on. If Orchard Ridge is the choice there may or may not be an  Epping Lane component. There is no straight up bet here. You can say Kensington at 2 to 1 and Orchard at 3 to 1 but its all how you pay for it and that aspect certainly had the odd makers scratching their heads. The two contenders are  Pay As You Go” an early front runner  and  Float a Bond” a dark horse that won't go away.  Lady Commish Sarah McClure said money is cheap right now. That is for sure. If you got cash you have to pay the bank to park it. She favors a small bond at a good interest rate. City employees Lisa Dolan the Treasurer and City Em  Gee R Cravens were pushing pay as you go but they don't get to vote. Assuming a correct hear in a good ear, Ms. Dolan said the City’s first bond won't paid until 2019. Commish McClure said with pay as you go we could save for three years just to do Orchard Ridge. She also noted she is Ms. Fiscal Responsibility which is generally acknowledged to be true. Then commish McCready comes up with a nifty combo. He asks Lisa how much we got in the cookie jar now and figures what probably will come in. You take that and do a mini bond and pay for Kensington or Orchard Ridge. Then he says the residents like Road Improvements and supports them. So commish McClure says they miss the “Tax dollars at work signs” or “they don’t miss them”. I don't know exactly because I was taking a call from Vegas at the time. Either way, it was a joke or everyone laughed. Then his honor the Mayor who was mostly pretty quiet moderating asks the man who came and talked about the road's big Picture, a question. Something about if they use best practices on roads.  The answer was   they like to find and fix a middle priority road before it becomes a high priority. Sounds good to me. My star of the evening was Commish McClure. She knows her money. I know that because I know my money. Commish McCready had some good ideas even if he didn’t invent Orchard Ridge, Kensington, and Chesnut Circle. Ms. Dolan and City Manager Cravens were also good. If truth be told and the meeting better attended somebody probably would have thrown a shoe at Commish McClure when after all was said and done she brought up beautifying Barden or whatever. One hour of roads is enough ! Sheesh! Hope this was helpful. Signed Auggie (No Last Name.)
As it so happens Auggie’s take is well taken. Hubbel  Roth and Clark, consulting engineers in a letter to City Manager Jay Cravens dated August 4th 2011 , and referencing Road selection Recommendations, based on input from the City Commission meeting of July 26th say it’s either Orchard Ridge or Kensington, with an Epping Road component  to go either way. Payment Options continue to be Pay As You Go or Float Bond issue.  The only suspense is will the Epping Road component go with the winner and get done now or wait with loser.

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