Oak Park Mayor McClellan’s 2014 State of the City Address

Oak Park Mayor McClellan’s 2014 State of the City Addressnicholas-schrock-allstate

(Marian McClellan, Mayor of Oak Park, March 6, 2014)

The following is text of the Oak Park State of the City Address given March 6, 2014 by Mayor Marian McClellan.)
Thank you, City Manager Tungate. Since your arrival in 2012, you have brought critical change, energy and a renewed sense of optimism to the City of Oak Park.
On behalf of City Council, I’d like to welcome everyone to Oak Park’s Second Annual State of the City Address. Tonight, we are pleased to share with you some of the many exciting developments in our city.
I am honored to represent my colleagues tonight – Mayor Pro Tem Paul Levine, Council Member Michael Seligson, Council Member Carolyn Burns and Council Member Kiesha Speech. It is a privilege to work alongside such a committed, effective group of community leaders.
Street-Eatzz-AdWe are fortunate to be joined tonight by many distinguished guests:
State Senator Vince Gregory
State Representative Ellen Cogan Lipton
Mayors of our neighboring cities: Mayor Brenda Lawrence of Southfield; Mayor Phil O’Dwyer of Berkley; Mayor Dave Coulter of Ferndale
Oakland County Commissioners Helaine Zack and Nancy Quarles
Our 45th District Court Judges Michelle Friedman Appel and David Gubow
We welcome our school leaders. We congratulate Dr. Davida Colbert, Superintendent OP Schools and Stan Trumpeter, Executive Director of Curriculum, for MEAP results showing the most improvement overall in Oakland County.
We also welcome Ferndale Superintendent Gary Meier and Berkley Superintendent Dennis McDavid.
The City of Oak Park stands committed to partnering with our elected officials and all three of our school districts.
We would also like to thank the City of Oak Park administrative staff for being here, for their continued JudyPalmer01hard work and demonstrated commitment to serving the residents of our city.
And, we acknowledge the residents of OP who are either here tonight or watching the live broadcast on cable or computer for your interest in and support of this amazing, diverse and beautiful place to live. As your Mayor, I am so proud of our city, our rich history, and you, our active residents, who make this city a community of friends who care.
This is a time of great challenge for cities across the state – financial stresses caused by the Great Recession and reductions in State Shared Revenue payments have caused us to makesome difficult choices. We thank our voters for supporting the city with the passage of PA345 in 2012. However, as we all know, we cannot simply tax our way out of this situation. We also have to grow our way out. Though our residential property values are on the rise, we must raise our commercial and industrial property values. To do this, we must make OP a thriving vibrant community that is attractive and appealing. When I talk to business owners and residents about Oak Park, people mention a new energy, a new direction and optimism about the City’s future. It is imperative that we keep that momentum going.
It has been an active and progressive year for your City Council.
· We continue to maintain a strong presence in the region. We participate in the MML, SEMCOG, 8MBA, gallowaycollens1the Southeast Oakland County Mayors Association and the Millennial Mayors Congress working to get young people involved in civic affairs. We are participating in regional initiatives with surrounding cities to benefit all because we can no longer go it alone.
· Council Members are actively participating in your community events. We are accessible by email and phone or we are more than willing to arrange personal meetings with residents to listen to your concerns and to share in your pride for Oak Park.
· We have increased resident participation on city boards and commissions by swearing in 42 energetic new members this past year.
· We voted to allow our local restaurants to serve beer and wine with meals to bring in desirable restaurants as part of a strategy to increase revenue for the City.
· We hired Hamilton Anderson Consultants to work directly with our residents on plans designed to move us forward based on your vision of a vibrant Oak Park. We are creating a unique, appealing place where people want to work, live and play. As we talk with business leaders, community members and legislators in Lansing, you can feel something new is happening in Oak Park.
Under the leadership of City Manager Tungate, each of our city departments made monumental strides this past year in efforts to make the City more efficient and user-friendly for our residents. On behalf of City Council and our City Manager, I’d like to introduce each of the department heads and share some of bridget and kevin deegan krause thank youtheir departments’ greatest achievements in 2013 – accomplishments that will be critical in propelling us forward.
Office of the City Clerk – City Clerk Ed Norris and Stephanie Sumner, Deputy Clerk/Elections Director
The Office of the City Clerk has been instrumental in:
· Increasing voting precincts in Oak Park from 10 to 16 and the number of voting location from five to 10, including locations south of Nine Mile, to cut down wait times. President Obama asked all municipalities to accommodate no more than a 30-minute wait for voters at the polls, which has become our goal. We want to make it easy for you to vote so more of us can exercise this important right.
· We are currently seeking competent poll workers, which we will train. Interested residents should contact the City Clerk’s office or go on line for an application.
· We encourage you to vote by absentee ballot – to make important decisions from the comfort of your own home.
Department of Communications and Public Information – Joscelyn Davis, Consultant/Director
moderntaxThis department is responsible for an aggressive transformation of our efforts to communicate effectively with residents and City stakeholders.
· OP Branch – appealing, mail-delivered newsletter 6x/yr
· Community eBlast – monthly email with City announcements and a Message from the Mayor
· Robust social media presence on Facebook and Twitter
· Established relationships with key media outlets to in order to elicit positive press for OP
· Initiated a Strategic Planning Process with staff and council
Department of Community and Economic Development – Emily Doerr, Director
This department is laser-focused on business attraction and retention. The word is out that OP is OPEN FOR BUSINESS from site plan to business license. It’s transforming a former culture of “no” into a current culture of “YES”.
· Making Oak Park a more vibrant community by continuously planning new events
· 40 one-on-one meetings with stakeholders to gain input on a vision for our city
· Hosted 8 business roundtable events, attended by hundreds of business owners
· Re-started the OP Art Fair after 15 years; secured the DIA’s Inside/Out program for OP
· We heard you asking for fresh fruit/veggies – Started the Oak Park Eastern Market Farm Stand
Department of Finance, which includes Treasury, Water and Assessing: Gail Credit, Consultant/Director; Kathleen Lindroth, Deputy City Treasurer and Phil Miller, Senior HowesLocationFinance Officer
·Finance manages to be responsive to the ups and downs. For instance, this year home values were up 2.5%, yet commercial and industrial property values were down 2%. The pervading concern is the loss of the business person property tax and falling revenue. However…
· Collected nearly $1million in under-billed water costs from RO Township
· Despite understaffing, maintains the billing cycle and delivers quality customer service
Department of Human Resources – Diane Lemanski, Director
· Successful in uniting all human resource services in one department
Department of Information Technology – Jeff Schefke, Director
· Successfully prepared our new municipal complex for new technologies
Department of Public Works – Kevin Yee, Assistant City Manager, DPW Director and City Engineer; Rocco Fortura, DPW Deputy Director
This department continues to deliver timely, comprehensive services year round.
· Oversaw the construction of the new Municipal Complex, completed on time and under budget
· Neighborhood Stabilization – renovated 20 homes to date
· Increased office hours in DPW from 20 to 36 hours a week to better serve our residents
· Getting us through the 2nd worst winter in our City’s history with a reduced crew
Oak Park Public Library – Beth Tompkins, Director
Toms Custom Painting Ad· Hosted dozens of popular Tuesday morning story times, evening story times and the Summer Reading Program
· Tagged 105,000 library items with Radio Frequency ID tags to allow you to check your own materials out of the library starting this spring
· Continue to host wonderful, monthly events in partnership with the Oak Park Arts and Cultural Commission and the Friends of the Library
· To better serve our residents, expanded library hours to include Sundays from 1 to 5 PM
Department of Public Safety – Steve Cooper, Director; Mike Pinkerton, Deputy Director
The highest priority in our city is keeping everyone safe and secure. Despite low staffing, our emergency response times are second to none. Our Public Safety responds within 3 minutes.
· Continued special emphasis on Community Policing – going to your block club meetings with tips on keeping safe.
· Adding officers – currently 46 full-time, cross trained officers – 3 from a second COPS grant; two officers hired this fall; 3 more in the new fiscal year to strengthen our force.
Department of Recreation – Cristin Spiller Director
This department enriches the quality of life for our residents with programs for everyone – providing children, adults and seniors with fun healthy activities.
· Secured an inter-local governmental agreement with the City of Ferndale that allows shared services that will reduce financial burdens on both communities, increase sports program offerings and expand access to recreation facilities.
· Significantly increased public/private partnerships in order to sponsor special events and athletic programssidebar01sponsor
· Partnered with the Arts Commission and the Ferndale Area Chamber to put on a wildly successful Oak Park Arts! Fair and Fun Day
· Continues to host well-attended special events, such as the annual Daddy-Daughter Dance, the fall Spooktacular and Winterfest
Department of Technical & Planning Services – including Building Inspections, Code Assistance, and Engineering – Robert Barrett, Director; David DeCoster, Deputy Director
· Battling blight with the addition of staff in Rental Building and Code Departments
· Successfully combated rodent concerns in isolated areas – by resident education Town Halls, information booklets and vender partnerships
· Hosted the successful low-cost pet clinic
· Expanded office hours from 20 to 37 hours to better serve our residents
Each of our departments has much to be proud of this past year. On behalf of City Council, I’d like to thank City Manager Tungate and his staff for their proven dedication to excellence.
Despite the progress we’ve made in the past year, there’s no shortage of challenges facing our city. If it’s any comfort, we’re not alone. Cities across the county are confronting the kind of financial challenges that haven’t been seen since the Great Depression. Michigan cities face the additional challenge of Proposition dinos02sidelogo3A, which makes it harder to rebound. Even though the current recovery has been slow to help OP, I hope you’ve heard tonight that we’re not simply sitting by waiting for better times.
We’re reinventing the way we deliver services. We’re partnering to make smart investments where possible and budgeting as conservatively as possible – to make sure that Oak Park not only survives, but thrives in the years ahead.
We believe the city is getting stronger. We’re implementing plans to move OP into a brighter future. We’re creating a vibrant business community and strengthening our great neighborhoods in Oak Park, which will attract families and businesses for years to come. We’re focused on infrastructure, revitalization and development. Our vision is to be a highly desirable place that is uniquely Oak Park, where we attract new families and singles, and keep our over age-50 population near their families and friends.
We’re passionately and aggressively pushing for progress. We’re all excited to be part of it, and we’re thankful that you’re all part of it too.
Thank you all for coming tonight and for tuning in. Your partnership in this journey means everything.

For more information on the City of Oak Park, visit their website at http://www.oakpark-mi.com.

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