CPR program resuscitated at FPS
FARMINGTON/FARMINGTON HILLS — It only takes four to six minutes — the time it takes to order a cup of coffee or take a walk around the block.
If CPR and defibrillation are not performed, brain death starts to happen four to six minutes after someone goes into cardiac arrest.
According to the American Heart Association, about 95 percent of sudden cardiac arrest victims die before reaching the hospital, but if more people knew cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR, more lives could be saved.
The Farmington Public Schools district hopes to be part of helping change the statistic through a CPR program for freshman students.
The Michigan Legislature’s House Bill 5160 and Senate Bill 0647 would require the state Education Department to make sure that by the 2017-18 school year, health education includes CPR and automatic external defibrillators, or AEDs.
The bills would require students to successfully complete the instruction before receiving a high school diploma, according to www.legislature.mi.gov.
Free CPR training will be performed by the Farmington Hills Fire Department and the Farmington Public Safety Department, according to a press release. The CPR training will occur over four days during one school week as part of a 20-week health class at Harrison High School, North Farmington High School and Farmington High School.
While CPR training was already offered as an elective for a small number of students in the past few years, financial support from Beaumont Hospital, Farmington Hills, will allow up to 950 students to receive CPR training this semester, according to a press release.
“This is a true partnership among the Farmington Hills Fire Department, the Farmington Public Schools and Beaumont Hospital, Farmington Hills,” Farmington Hills Mayor Ken Massey said in a press release. “The hospital’s financial support allows the school system to obtain the initial equipment and supplies needed for the first year of this partnership. FHFD professionals will train the teachers so that in subsequent years, the schools will be able to train their own students to perform CPR.”
CPR equipment includes infant, pediatric and adult training mannequins; a variety of AED training materials; and textbooks, DVDs and related materials, according to a press release. Materials were provided with the help of the hospital and its fundraising organization, the Botsford Foundation.
“For us at the hospital, this partnership speaks to our mission to provide compassionate, extraordinary care,” Connie O’Malley, president of Beaumont Hospital, Farmington Hills, said in a press release. “Being a member of this community partnership means we’re making it possible over time to train thousands of people in the community to be CPR lifesavers. Our support means lives will be saved.”
O’Malley said during a phone interview that the CPR program is a vision that originated several years ago.
“We were finally able to pull it together this year,” she said, adding that the conversation was between herself, Massey and an FPS representative. “We really started the discussion up again this spring.”
She added that Beaumont Hospital donated $10,000 for the equipment and tools needed.
“This is one way that Beaumont can reach out to the community,” O’Malley said. “This will save lives.”
School district Health Coordinator Tera Shamey said during a recent phone interview that CPR training used to be taught at FPS.
“We haven’t had an opportunity to train all of our kids in CPR in a long time,” she said, adding that the school district used to have it as part of the curriculum.
Shamey said that the city of Farmington Hills will work with teachers and students on the CPR training.
“It’s a very cool thing for the community,” Shamey said, adding that the CPR training program will begin this fall semester. Students will receive a certificate once the training is complete.
Shamey said the big selling point for the school district was understanding the impact that learning CPR will have on the community.
“An entire generation of kids that would be certified in CPR … can bring down the deaths (associated with) heart attacks,” she said.
Massey said during a phone interview that he is passionate about students learning CPR because the survival rate for cardiac arrest victims is much higher if CPR is performed.
“There are some unintended consequences,” Massey said of learning CPR, and one of them is that some students might decide to go into the medical field.
“Suddenly, they are given a tool that allows them to save somebody’s life,” Massey said.
by Sherri Kolade, candgnews.com
Your Voice: Consider Massey’s Contributions
Congratulations are in order for Farmington Hills and to Dr. Ken Massey in being chosen to participate in the “Municipal Leadership for Juvenile Justice Reform Leadership Academy” as part of the National League of Cities (NLC). This is a big deal as only 10 cities are chosen, from among the 19,000 member city and town applicants, represented by the NLC.
This should come as no surprise to residents of Farmington Hills. Dr Massey continues to be involved in many organizations that have an impact on our lives and for the betterment of the city. I hope people will consider Dr. Massey’s numerous contributions when they cast their ballot for mayor this year.
Don Deisenroth, Farmington Voice, Inc.
City of Farmington Hills Selected to Participate in Juvenile Justice Reform Leadership Academy
The National League of Cities (NLC) has selected the City of Farmington Hills to participate in the Municipal Leadership for Juvenile Justice Reform Leadership Academy in Minneapolis on September 23 – 25. Farmington Hills will join nine other cities for the meeting, where participants will discuss proven practices and innovative ideas related to juvenile justice reform.
With the support of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s Models for Change initiative, the Municipal Leadership for Juvenile Justice Reform Leadership Academy will provide cities with access to juvenile justice reform experts and opportunities to engage in peer learning and networking strategies for local action planning.
Farmington Hills was selected based on the City’s demonstrated commitment to improving outcomes for youth involved in the juvenile justice system. “Participating in the Leadership Academy is certainly an honor, but beyond that, it allows us to share our best practices and also learn from other community leaders from around the nation,” said Farmington Hills Mayor Pro Tem Dr. Ken Massey. “Our goal is to keep our youth safe and help them reach their full potential. We’ve always been proactive, our award-winning After-School programs, our Multicultural-Multiracial Community Council, and our Community Policing programs are just a few examples of our efforts.”
Representatives at the Leadership Academy will include Mayor Pro Tem Dr. Ken Massey, Assistant Police Chief David Stasch, and Youth and Family Services Director Todd Lipa. These City leaders hope to learn more about successful community-based juvenile justice models, strategies to help reduce the movement of youth out of schools and into juvenile justice settings, and also how to foster positive police/community relations in an effort to prevent juvenile delinquency.
“Our primary goals include the development of a mentoring program, the education of police officers to identify mental health needs, the ability to expedite the diversion process, and the increase of local community-based treatment,” said Farmington Hills Police Chief Chuck Nebus.
Following the Leadership Academy, the City of Farmington Hills will be invited to join the NLC Juvenile Justice Peer Learning Network, a group that provides ongoing opportunities for City leaders to learn and receive support from nationally-recognized experts in the field and from peers in other cities.
The National League of Cities (NLC) is dedicated to helping city leaders build better communities. The NLC is a resource and advocate for 19,000 cities, towns and villages, representing more than 218 million Americans.
Celebrate Founders Festival by getting involved in parade
Everybody loves a parade. And to celebrate our entire community, the Chamber of Commerce started a tradition known as the Founders Festival in 1965. This festival is held in mid-July each summer in downtown Farmington and is filled with kids activities, arts and crafts, entertainment, shows, good food and, most importantly, you. Our friends and family who create the fun atmosphere are the real reason we have a Greater Farmington Founders Festival.
One of the most iconic features of the Founders Festival is our parade along Grand River Avenue. Sitting along the curb for the parade is a Founders Festival tradition and an American tradition.
This year we are asking you to participate in the parade. We want you to represent your portion of Farmington and Farmington Hills.
Farmington Mayor Bill Galvin raised the idea during his State of the Cities speech in February. Farmington Hills Mayor Pro Tem Ken Massey had the same concept. They met with festival organizers, Dan Irvin and Kristin Curle Houchins from the Greater Farmington Area Chamber of Commerce to discuss encouraging more neighborhood and residential involvement with the parade this year.
As a result, this year Farmington and Farmington Hills homeowners groups, subdivisions and neighborhood blocks and friends are invited to participate in the parade and show their civic pride. Building on this year’s theme, “There Is No Place Like Home, USA” we want to see you in this year’s parade.
As one example, in the Old Homestead Homeowners Association, they recently held a youth contest to select a parade entry design from those submitted by the kids. The adults will build the float based on that design for the parade. However your civic group decides to do so, put together a float and enter it into the parade. Bicycle decorating, riding lawn mowers, roller blades, card clubs and mom’s clubs are a few examples. The only limits are your imagination.
This is an event for the residents of the community, so let’s have you as a prominent part of the parade. Let’s display and enjoy our community spirit and each other’s creativity. Let’s see who will win this year’s Mayor’s Award for Best Founders Festival Parade entry.
So click your proverbial ruby slippers together and celebrate our great communities by being a part of the Founders Festival Parade this year. There is no place like Hometown USA, especially during the Founders Festival in July.
To enter your neighborhood or subdivision in this year’s parade, contact Kristin Curle Houchins at the Greater Farmington Area Chamber of Commerce at 248-919-6917
Ken Massey is mayor pro tem of Farmington Hills and Bill Galvin is mayor of Farmington. Kristin Curle Houchins of the Greater Farmington Chamber of Commerce also contributed to this article.
Farmington Hills among best Michigan towns to raise a family
Go to the head of the class, Farmington Hills – when it comes to a national website’s ranking of the best towns to raise a family in Michigan, the city gets an A-plus.
48 reviews on Farmington Hills, MI in Oakland County. Rankings, statistics, and insights from residents.
Niche.com ranks cities, school districts and colleges across the U.S. using a combination of hard data and user surveys. With 46 reviews as of June 15 and an overall rating of 3.5 on a 1-5 scale, Farmington Hills ranked sixth, behind Troy, Novi, Chocolay Township, Raisin Township and Petoskey.
According to the website, the ratings are “based on school ratings, crime rates, age demographics, and access to affordable housing and childcare. A high ranking indicates that a town attracts young families with good schools and a safe community.”
The city’s highest rankings came in the area of access to child care and grocery stores, and the lowest, a “C”, was for access to libraries, “a measure of both the proximity (per square mile) and the availability (per capita)”.
Earlier this year, Farmington Public Schools ranked 50th among Niche.com’s list of top Michigan school districts.
To see how the rankings are calculated, or to learn more, visit local.niche.com.
Your Voice: Massey is honest, dedicated to Farmington Hills
I am writing to let the community of Farmington/Farmington Hills know I have known mayoral candidate Ken Massey for quite some time, beginning with when he would come to represent the City of Farmington Hills at Eagle Courts of Honor for our Boy Scout Troop 263 (he is himself an Eagle Scout). He eventually joined our Board of Directors for a nonprofit serving war wounded.
I have found Ken to be every energetic, forward-thinking, honest, and dedicated to his community. I hope that my fellow citizens in Farmington Hills will elect him Mayor of our city.
My highest regards,
Massey runs to continue service in Farmington Hills
Farmington Hills city council member Kenneth Massey knew after his last re-election four years ago that he would run for mayor.
“Ultimately, I knew that would be my plan,” said Massey, who was first elected in 2003. “With my 12 years on council, I’m at a point where stepping up to that role is a natural progression. I also think I have a lot to offer.”
Among his top concerns are maintaining the city’s AAA bond rating, while continuing to deliver high quality services.
“We have to address the roads,” he said. “We have to partner with the county, state, federal, all the way up the line.”
Massey also hopes to partner with Farmington Public School officials to address challenges the district faces, and said both roads and schools come down to the citizens.
“The largest investment you make is in your home,” he said. “What retains value in your home as people will look to buy it? If roads are bad and the schools are failing, you don’t have a good mix for high property values.”
Massey said building the local economy will generate funds needed to keep Farmington Hills growing. His focus, he said, will be not only recruiting new businesses, but also retaining those already based here.
The country’s “soft” recovery has had a cultural impact on Farmington Hills, which is home to a growing number of senior citizens and more than 100 families who are classified as homeless. Massey said there’s a role for city government in providing programs and services people need to help themselves.
“At the end of the day, I would really like to see residents feel they can achieve whatever they can, and have the city not get in the way, but be there for them,” he said.
City no longer waiting when it comes to fixing neighborhood streets
The days of standing by and watching neighborhood roads deteriorate to a point where safety becomes an issue — and hoping residents see the need and want to pay for it — are now a thing of the past.
The Farmington Hills City Council took back some ownership of the city’s neighborhood roads on Monday by adopting a policy that sets a minimum standard for road conditions before the city steps in an imposes a special assessment on the residents in that area.
Under the new policy, which was approved by a 5-2 vote, once a road reaches an average Pavement, Surface, Evaluation and Rating (PASER) of 2.75 it will be recommended for a directed special assessment and placed on the city’s capital improvement plan following resident notification and public hearings.
This is a slight change from the previous way neighborhood roads were improved. Prior to the policy, residents circulated petitions and would then bring the request to the City Council. If a majority didn’t rule, it likely meant the work didn’t take place, regardless of the state of the roads.
“The petitioning process we have that is in our charter can be very divisive when it comes to subdivisions and can be difficult for subdivisions to move forward on getting people to tax themselves to improve their roads,” said Mayor Pro tem Ken Massey.
This new policy doesn’t remove the petitioning process, however, it just gives the council a minimum threshold where it can step up and enforce action. Residents living on roads that are above the 2.75 rating, but would still like their roads repaired, can follow the same steps as before. The city also typically covers 20 percent of the cost for a special assessment and the road millage approved by voters last fall could aid in the city contributing to more of these projects.
“We certainly don’t want to preclude folks from going forward with petitions if they feel necessary to do so in their neighborhood,” said Gary Mekjian, director of the Department of Public Services, who also noted when a road gets to a 4 rating those residents will be notified.
Asking for relief
Reviewing the special assessment policy for roads came about after a February public hearing to consider a special assessment in the Independence Commons subdivision, where roads are in poor shape.
When the public hearing had been set up, more than 50 percent of Independence Commons residents had indicated they were in favor of the special assessment. But some withdrew their support before the hearing was held, bringing the total to just 47 percent.
A decision on the special assessment was postponed and the policy review took place.
“They were one of leaders in us taking a deeper look at this issue,” said council member Randy Bruce. “It puts the city back in charge of what happens to the roads, which is where it belongs.”
Council member Michael Bridges, who voted against the policy along with Samantha Steckloff, said he doesn’t think an issue in one subdivision should “guide City Council policy.”
“I’m concerned about changing a policy that has been in place for many years where taxpayers decide to tax themselves,” he said. “This has worked in the past.”
Steckloff said she voted against the policy because “I don’t believe government has the right to force taxation on residents of their own neighborhoods.”
“This takes away the right of the people to have a say and control of their own community,” she said.
Mayor Barry Brickner said the council has always had the right to force assessments, but there was never a policy in place and thus it rarely happened.
“Up until this point in time it worked well because most people came to us asking for relief,” he said, noting that not all areas of the city have active subdivisions, thus making the petitioning process difficult for some.
“The ultimate thing we are all looking at is safety,” Brickner said.
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Business Leaders Explore Healthcare’s Role in Economic Recovery
Panelists at the MHA-sponsored session included (left to right) Kramer, Foley, Maryland, Massey and Michalski.
Last week, the Detroit Regional Chamber held its annual Mackinac Policy Conference, hosting hundreds of attendees, including business leaders, lawmakers, elected officials, policy experts and news media.
During a Thursday general session, representatives of Michigan’s healthcare sector shared their perspectives regarding the economic recovery of the state. Panelists including Patricia Maryland, Dr.PH, president and chief executive officer (CEO), St. John Providence Health System, Warren; Gene Michalski, president and CEO, Beaumont Health System, Royal Oak; Frank Foley, site leader, Pfizer Global Supply, Kalamazoo; and Ken Massey, managing director, Micro Dose Life Sciences, Farmington Hills, were posed questions by moderator Mary Kramer, publisher, Crain’s Detroit Business.
The panel addressed healthcare jobs, pharmaceutical research and development, regulatory issues, electronic medical records, health information exchanges and more.
Maryland encouraged the business leaders and employers in the audience to consider the use of incentives to motivate employees to live healthier. She explained that, when structured correctly, this approach can drive down healthcare costs for employers, including hospitals.
Michalski discussed the recent selection of Beaumont Health System to participate in a new quality improvement partnership and how these kinds of efforts are providing value to healthcare consumers and employers. When asked for an example of hospital collaboration, Michalski highlighted the MHA Keystone Center for Patient Safety & Quality as a national model.
As the session concluded, Maryland urged collaboration between the business community and healthcare sector, as well as joint leadership to ensure that the healthcare needs of the state’s aging population could be best met.
The MHA sponsored the session, providing copies of the 2011 Economic Impact of Healthcare in Michigan report not only to those in attendance, but to all conference registrants. The report shows healthcare to be the largest private-sector employer in the state, providing direct jobs to more than 546,000 Michiganians who pay $6.6 billion in federal, state and local taxes. Michigan hospitals alone, often the largest employers in their communities, provide jobs to nearly 220,000 people.
The session was streamed live online by Detroit Public Television and the MHA provided periodic updates via its Twitter account throughout the discussion. Members with questions should contact Kevin Downey at the MHA.
Farmington, Farmington Hills among top 100 Michigan cities for families
Farmington (26th) and Farmington Hills (81st) both made this year’s nerdwallet.com list of the best cities in Michigan to raise young families.
The report, released April 6, recognizes Michigan cities “that offer young families the best combination of solid schools, great neighbors and affordable housing.”
According to the company website, NerdWallet provides online tools and expert advice to help consumers “take back control of their choices” in the financial industry. Over the past two years, the company has ranked the best Michigan cities for home ownership and job seekers, along with a 2013 top 10 ranking of best cities for young families.
Read the current report, with detailed ranking information: “Best Cities for Young Families in Michigan”
Farmington Hills human rights law to see April 13 vote
A proposed ordinance for Farmington Hills prohibits discrimination based on “actual or perceived” sex, sexual orientation, gender identification and other factors, but allows for exceptions when it comes to using bathrooms, participating in sports and more.
The ordinance, introduced March 23, also sets up a process to address possible violations — including potential court action. A fine of up to $500 and other costs could be charged.
The Farmington City Council is expected to vote April 13 on the proposal, and if approved it would establish a local law prohibiting discrimination in regard to jobs, housing and public accommodations. Along with setting parameters referencing the male-female issue, the ordinance also prohibits discrimination based on height, weight, age, religion and other factors covered by federal law.
Exceptions for using bathrooms and sports teams are among more than a dozen listed in the proposed ordinance. Others allow a religious institution to restrict employment, housing and other activities to members of its religion, and a senior housing facility would be permitted to refuse residency to those who haven’t reached a certain age, for example.
Establishing an anti-discrimination ordinance for Farmington Hills has been discussed several times by the City Council in recent months. In November, the council decided to delay proceeding with its own ordinance in case the Michigan legislature took action on the issue that would apply state-wide. That hasn’t happened.
City Attorney Steve Joppich said his ordinance draft is based on similar laws adopted in other cities, as well as suggestions from the American Civil Liberties Union.
Tom Shurtleff of Farmington Hills spoke in favor of the ordinance after it was introduced. It reflects the city’s “history of inclusion” and shifting demographics, he said, as well as “commitment to change.”
“It speaks to our sense of fairness, honesty, even-handedness and sincerity, a community commitment that can be found in the way we act and behave toward others…the human rights ordinance presents a positive force, a proactive attitude that will make good things happen,” Shurtleff said.
City Council member Samantha Steckloff said she was “really excited and proud to be part of Farmington Hills casting a vote to join 37 other communities across Michigan that recognize the right of all people to live free from discrimination.”
Added Mayor Pro-tem Ken Massey: “It’s a shame we have to (enact human rights laws) city-by-city. Discrimination is wrong. To have a state that leaves certain little piece out is very disappointing.”
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City Council approves human rights ordinance
By Sherri Kolade firstname.lastname@example.org
FARMINGTON HILLS — Farmington Hills is close to joining other cities that have approved human rights ordinances.
“We have one of the most diversified communities around. Why don’t we have a human rights ordinance so that everyone is treated equally?” Farmington Hills Mayor Barry Brickner said after the March 23 City Council meeting.
The council voted 7-0 to approve the introduction of the ordinance to amend the Farmington Hills City Code to add a new chapter, 13.5, “Human Rights.”
The plan is “to establish regulations for the prevention of discrimination and to provide remedies for violation of this chapter,” according to a City Council document.
Enactment of the human rights ordinance will be voted on during an April 13 City Council meeting.
City Attorney Steven P. Joppich said before the vote that the ordinance would prohibit discrimination against individuals in housing, public accommodations and employment practices.
“It establishes a process that if there is a complaint for discrimination, the person can lodge that complaint with the city,” Joppich said. “It establishes a process where information can be gathered and investigated. A report would be issued and followed up upon with both (the) complainant and/or the individual party being complained about.”
Since the city currently has no such ordinance, such complaints have not been handled because there haven’t been any before, City Councilman Kenneth Massey said after the meeting.
“It is pre-emptive. There was not a process before the ordinance; that is why we did this,” Massey said of the ordinance. “There were no complaints before, so we didn’t have any. It is a symbolic act; we don’t want any kind of bias in the community.”
If a violation were found, city representatives would assist the individuals to try to work toward compliance. If no agreement is reached, then a civil infraction could be issued for prosecution in 47th District Court.
The ordinance sets up a number of exceptions, which include exceptions for religion, the use of lavatories, participation in athletic programs, and senior housing.
“We’re allowing discrimination based on age in that instance for persons over a certain age,” Joppich said of senior housing.
“I’m really excited and proud to be a part of Farmington Hills and casting a vote to join 37 other communities across Michigan who recognize the right of all people to live free from discrimination,” City Councilwoman Samantha Steckloff said after the vote.
Detroit, Southfield, Ferndale, Royal Oak and Pleasant Ridge have passed similar ordinances.
The Michigan Civil Rights Commission endorsed a model nondiscrimination ordinance that covers sexual orientation to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people from discrimination March 23 at the Holocaust Memorial Center.
“The concept of developing a model nondiscrimination ordinance grew from the fact that more than 30 Michigan municipalities have nondiscrimination ordinances that vary significantly in their structure, wording and scope,” Arthur Horwitz, chair of the MCRC, said in a statement.
Rodd Monts, American Civil Liberties Union field director, addressed the Farmington Hills board during public comment and commended City Council for “taking this very courageous step.”
“You know, less than 40 municipalities across the state have tried to work to end discrimination against their (LGBT) communities, and I do generally applaud you for this. But I think we do have a couple of issues we think are pretty easy to rectify.”
The issues centered around what Monts described as the “narrow” definition of gender.
“One of the things we’ve seen as we’ve been involved in this work is the concerns in which transgenders have with this policy, and the discrimination that exists when policies aren’t thoroughly vetted, so that when you have a narrow definition like this, the window for potential discrimination is still left open,” Monts said. “We see a really real and relatively painless fix for this to be simply removing the definition of gender that currently exists in this ordinance.”
Brickner said during the meeting that the word “gender” was removed from locker room/bathroom facilities and religious and sports team exemptions and replaced with the word “sex” — following a similar move made by the Southfield City Council.
“That is why we removed the word ‘gender’ from those exceptions, so we wouldn’t have that confusion, and put ‘sex’ instead to avoid the problem,” Brickner said.
The term “gender” and its definition are still included in the ordinance.
Massey said using the word “sex” instead of “gender” removes the problem of interpretation.
He added that the definition of “sex” comes down to a person’s genitalia, while “gender” comes down to how one perceives themselves.
Other forms of discrimination are already against the law in the city, and they don’t require separate legal actions because they are covered under state and federal laws. Because LGBT rights are not covered under state law, the city had to create the ordinance.
“We have made the statement that we don’t want our LGBT population being discriminated against,” Massey said.
Monts said the ACLU supports the inclusion of identity and orientation, but “this narrow definition of gender is problematic.”
City Councilman Michael Bridges asked Joppich if there was anything problematic with the ordinance’s language.
Joppich said he has not heard of any gender identity wording complaints. The term “gender” is used in terms of gender identity, and how individuals should not discriminate based on gender identity.
Thomas Francis Shurtleff, a resident since 1978, said that as a community, he thinks Farmington Hills has a history of inclusion, diversity and a “shared value of caring for the dignity of the … strangers and neighbors in our community.”
“I also am aware that not all will see this ordinance completely as an opportunity,” he said. “Some may consider the adoption of the ordinance as a threat, and I believe that our collective history as a community speaks contrary to that.”
Brickner said he is “very proud” of the City Council’s work to put the ordinance together.
“The only reason we took so long is because we were waiting to see what the (state) Legislature would do at end of the year,” Brickner said. “They did not do anything, so we decided to move forward. … We want to make sure everyone has the same rights.”
“It is a shame we have to be doing this city by city,” he said. “Discrimination against people is simply wrong, and to have a state that leaves certain little pieces out is very disappointing. We need to be able to be an inclusive community, and that is what we are.”
Staff Writer Kayla Dimick contributed to this report.
Setting standards to trigger road work considered
Farmington Hills officials are considering new measures that will allow the city to set a minimum standard on when a special assessment will be imposed to repair neighborhood streets, rather than wait for residents to ask for it.
Imposing a special assessment for road work, it’s proposed, would be based on the street’s degree of deterioration — using PASER as a guide.
PASER — Pavement, Surface, Evaluation and Rating — is a tool used to evaluate roads and assign them a number from 1 to 10, based on condition and repair needs. Roads in excellent condition are designated as “10,” while failed roads are designated as “1.”
The Farmington Hills proposal calls for directing a special assessment when a road reaches a 2.75 PACER rating. Notification and a public hearing would be held, followed by the work being added to the city’s Capital Improvement Plan. Subdivisions could, however, petition earlier for a special assessment for road repair if more than 50 percent of residents want it. — which is part of the current process.
According to Gary Mekjian, public services director, a 2.75 rating indicates a road is ”beyond its useful life, a threat to safety, a detriment to the community and needs reconstruction.”
Re-examining the special assessment policy for roads was triggered after a February public hearing to consider a special assessment of the Independence Commons subdivision, where roads are markedly deteriorated.
At the hearing, several residents raised concerns about the road conditions and the anticipated repair costs, as well as the city’s special assessment procedure. When the public hearing had been set up, more than 50 percent of Independence Commons residents had indicated they were in favor of the special assessment. But some withdrew their support before the hearing was held, bringing the total to just 47 percent. The City Council subsequently agreed to postpone a decision on the special assessment until the policy was reviewed and possibly updated.
City Council member Samantha Steckloff said the new plan under consideration “takes the power out of the people, and I don’t think I’m comfortable with that.”
However, fellow council member Randy Bruce said the city “really needs to be at the forefront of taking care of roads.” Having residents “run” the special assessment process has led to “so many roads on the negative end,” he said.
Council member Ken Massey agreed. “People have waited and waited. We’ve got to take action,” he said. “We’ve got a job to do, folks. It’s not always the easiest thing to deal with.”
Discussion on the proposed standard —and whether it will ultimately become a new ordinance or policy — is expected next month, with a decision to follow in the not-too-distant future. “We’re not going to let this go long,” Mayor Barry Brickner said.
The City of Farmington Hills typically covers 20 percent of the cost for a special assessment. According to City Manager Steve Brock, the road millage approved by voters last fall could aid in the city contributing to more of these projects.
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Two candidates, one an incumbent, have taken the first step with eyes on the Farmington Hills City Council, while another incumbent will seek the mayor’s job in the Nov. 3 election.
Incumbents Ken Massey and Randy Bruce, and Theresa Rich, who ran for the state House last year, have taken out nominating petitions. Candidates for the City Council and mayor’s position need 148 valid signatures to be placed on the ballot. Petitions are available and due at the city clerk’s office by 4 p.m. July 21.
Candidates have until 4 p.m. July 24 to change their minds and withdraw their candidacies, said Pam Smith, city clerk.
While no one has yet pulled petitions, the same petition deadlines apply to candidates for the Farmington City Council, said Sue Halberstadt, city clerk. Farmington candidates require 50 valid signatures to be placed on the ballot.
Farmington and Farmington Hills do not hold August primaries for council elections.
Three seats that will be open this year on the Farmington City Council include those held by longtime member JoAnne McShane, as well as Greg Cowley, who is serving a two-year term, and Steve Schneemann who was appointed to fill the remaining term of member Kristin Kuiken, who resigned in 2013 because of her husband’s out-of-state job offer.
Seats on the Farmington Hills City Council that will be open this year as members’ terms end include those now held by Massey, Bruce and Mayor Barry Brickner. Council member terms are four years, while the mayor’s position is a two-year term and two terms are the maximum a mayor may serve.
Massey, who has already completed and turned in his petitions, is seeking the mayor’s position in Farmington Hills, while Bruce is seeking re-election to the council. This will be Rich’s first political foray into city government. Brickner is in the last year of his second, two-year term.
“I am running because I see the changing needs for good leadership going forward,” said Massey, who was first elected to the council in 2003 and currently serves as mayor pro tem. “I have institutional knowledge and good ideas to say this is the next step I should take.”
Bruce is seeking his fourth term on the council. He was first elected in 2003 and re-elected in 2007 and 2011. He also has served as mayor pro tem. “I love what I do. I like seeing ideas come to fruition,” he said, referring as an example to the city’s water tower.
Rich, who took second place in the Democratic primary last August to replace former state Rep. Vicki Barnett in the state house, has thrown her hat into the local political race to ensure that Farmington Hills remains a strong community.
“We moved here as a new family because Farmington Hills had everything we wanted in a community,” said Rich, who has lived in the city for more than 20 years. “I am running for City Council to make sure that this will continue to be true. Our children need to think of Farmington Hills as the place where they want to live their adult lives and not just think back on fondly as that place where they grew up.”
The three early-out-of-the-gate candidates each have years of community service.
Massey, as of the past couple of years, has become the public face of Farmington SAFE — Suicide Awareness for Everyone — an organization that hosts community conversations and events to inform residents about the leading factors behind suicide, including mental illness, particularly among young people.
Massey is a member and past chair of the Farmington Hills/Farmington Emergency Preparedness Commission. He represents the city as a member of the National League of Cities Public Safety and Crime Prevention Steering Committee, for which he served as the chair in 2012. Massey previously represented residents and their interests as president and trustee of the Farmington Area Council of Homeowners Associations and remains active as a member of his subdivision’s homeowner association board.
Professionally, Massey is a biomedical scientist at Wayne State University. He also serves as the chairman of the Botsford Hospital Board of Directors.
Bruce has been equally involved in the community. He was a co-founder of the Suicide Prevention Committee (SAFE) and the Intergovernmental Task Force with the city of Farmington and the Farmington Public Schools.
The former Zoning Board of Appeals member, who during his tenure served as secretary, vice chair and chairman, is the council liaison to the Commission for Energy and Environmental Sustainability and the Farmington Area Arts Commission. He is also a member of the 47th District Court Sobriety Court Advisory Committee.
Bruce also has served as a member of the Human Development Steering Committee of the National League of Cities 2003-2010, and was chair in 2010. He is past president of the Forestbrook/Pebblebrook Homeowners Association and was previously elected as a precinct delegate.
He is a staff neuropsychologist and board-certified rehabilitation psychologist at the Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan in Detroit, and also has a private practice in Walled Lake.
Rich has worked at General Motors for some 30 years and is currently part of the Global Talent & Development department. She is an attorney and holds a Ph.D. in business.
Rich has served in leadership positions on numerous boards, committees and commissions. In Farmington Hills, she served 10 years on the board of the Farmington Hills/Farmington Foundation for Youth & Families, including seven years as the allocations chair; the Commission for Children, Youth & Families; the Committee To Increase Voter Participation; the Arts Commission; and the Heritage Hills Homeowners Association, including two years as president.
Rich is also vice president of the Oakland Schools Board of Education, secretary of the Oakland Schools Education Foundation, and an advisory council member of the Girl Scouts for Southeastern Michigan.
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