At the February 9th Bloomfield Township Board of Trustees meeting , approximately eight minutes were spent discussing the tree cutting the month prior on Kensington Road. It occurred in a portion of the program called Supervisor's Update. Township government is different than City Government in that the supervisor is a Township residence required, elected, full time, salaried, position that combines the duties of Mayor and City Manager.
"DTE," Supervisor Savoie began.,"I met with DTE on Friday (February 6th). We had about A two hour meeting at Bloomfield Hills City Hall. Jay Cravens (City of Bloomfield Hills City Manager) was there. Michael McCready (State representative for both communities ) was there. The (DTE) representatives were there. They (DTE) are going to change their policy on how they do things."
" I took numerous notes,on it "continues Savoie,"And I indicated to DTE that I am going to send them a draft of a process that our residents can expect DTE to adhere to. One major thing they talked about and you have seen it in the newspaper as point of discussion was going underground with the electrical utility."
Editor's note: this has been promoted by Bloomfield Hills Commissioner Coakley in the latest edition of the Hills Highlight as a nominal cost solution and by City Manager Craven in other publications as something residents could pay for on a monthly basis on their utility bill.
Savoie continues with, "The cost (of going underground is) so prohibitive per household that it doesn't make economic sense.
Give or take 20% just for the City of Bloomfield Hills you are looking at $375 (million dollars). There are 2300 homes in Bloomfield Hills and if you amortize it for thirty years....You can do the math. It just doesn't make economic sense.
Editors Note: Doing the Math. The annual budget for the City of Bloomfield Hills is 9 million dollars. The $375 amount suggested for buried lines is approximately more than forty annual budgets. That is why City Manager Cravens said the The City couldn't afford to pay for it . He suggested Citizens pay via a monthly fee on their utility bill. If the City could survive by paying it's expenses for the next four decades out of thin air, and the residents relieved of City taxes paid only the tab of buried lines it would cost each household a modest $78,000 a month for forty years.
"More importantly, Savoie added, (DTE) gave a report with plenty of pictures that showed what the boring (for buried lines) does. Basically On the major roads where the lines are you have to put a twenty foot swatch in order to get the trenching done so you lose all of the growth that is there.
"DTE has stopped the process of vegetation Management at this time. They (DTE)are going to meet with us (Bloomfield City and Township)to go over exactly where they intend to continue DTE has indicated that they will meet with every single home owner. They will mark every single tree they intend to take out. If the home owner is adamantly opposed to it and some sort of agreement can't be reached,DTE will stop that particular property untill the end of the project."
Savoie added, "DTE still takes the position that have the right to do what they want to do in their prescribed easement. I (Supervisor Savoie) made the suggestion and hopefully DTE will follow them. It is what we do in terms of our safety path program. Hubbel,Roth, and Clark (HRC) happens to be The City of Bloomfield Hills Engineering consultant firm as well as ours (the Township) and HRC will go out and mark all of the trees that need to be removed. They (HRC) (will) meet with the homeowners and bring any issue back to us (City Hall)that we need to deal with. The difference is that homeowners also have the right to address us at public meetings.That doesn't quite take place with DTE.
"I called HRC," Savoie continued. "and told them what the conversation was and they told me if DTE contacts them they will let both myself and Jay Cravens from Bloomfield Hills know."
In regard to the draft approval,Savoie said,"Once it is written I will bring it back to the Board (of Township Trustees) and at that particular time (we) will distribute it to the United Homeowners Association So they can put it on their website and if we chose to we can also put it on our website.
At the February 10th Tuesday City of Bloomfield Hills City Commission meeting there was no mention of the meeting with DTE the previous Friday. Nor was there any mention of Supervisor
Savoie's remarks, or the resolution passed by the Birmingham City Commission the night before.