Clawson Mayor Penny Luebs Gives State of the City
(Penny Luebs, March 25, 2016)
Clawson, MI – The following is the State of the City given on March 22, 2016:
Good morning! It is my honor and privilege to come before you today to report on the State of the City after almost a decade as your Mayor.
The Chamber of Commerce continues to host the annual City and School addresses and I would like to recognize Mary Sames and the chamber board for their continued support and collaboration with many events in the city. I’d like to recognize my fellow council members, city manager, department heads and city employees who keep our city moving in a forward direction every day. Our school is another collaborator in educating our next generation. I see friends and volunteers in the audience and for those who will watch later – thank you for collaborating with us. The City of Clawson is a collaboration of people who live and work here. This is our day of celebration and collaboration. I’m going to use the words celebrate, collaborate and Clawson together many times today. It is the theme for 2016.
My first state of the city address noted a $1 million grant to fund an inspection of the city sewer system, the start of a $25/year tax for a sidewalk program, removal of traffic lights on 14 Mile at Belleville and Washington, a pilot program for on street parking on Main Street, reducing the speed limit on Main to 25 mph and adding the marquee in front of city hall.
I can now report 2015 was another busy year. We celebrated our 75th anniversary as a city, began improvements at city hall in the kitchen and replacing city hall doors, developed a do not knock ordinance, participated in Oakland County’s, one stop ready program, began televising more city board meetings, hosted DIA Away, organized a PTSD workshop, held a DPW open house and recycling fair, purchased a fire truck, purchased 12 vests and a vehicle for the police department, built pedestrian crossings on 14 Mile and completed park improvements at Clawson City Park and Grant Park. Our cultural economic events of the Lion’s Car Show, Fall Festival, Trick or Treat Trail, Christmas Tree Lighting, Easter Egg Hunt and 4th of July activities continued to be highlights.
All in all, 2015 was a good year to open a business. We had 19 new, relocating or expanding businesses throughout the city. New businesses include
American Specialty Pharmacy at 560 W. 14 Mile,
Autozone at 1176 W. 14 Mile,
Biggby Coffee, Burn Fitness,
C.H.Raches (manufacturing sales) at 401 S. Main,
Cass Collision, 726 S. Rochester,
Dance Nation Company, 661 S. Main,
Discount Fabric Warehouse at 250 E. 14 Mile,
Huffmaster (security services) at 1055 W. Maple,
Marsela’s Skin and Body Care at 36 E. 14 Mile,
Sinclair Antiques at 550 S. Rochester ,
Stitch in Time at 247 E. 14 Mile,
Susan DeSantis Financial Planning at 630 N. Main,
TWY Fit at 112 S. Main,
Woodpile BBQ at 303 S. Main and
YoJo Yogurt Shop at 230 S. Main.
Everday Yoga, 42 E. 14 Mile, El Guanaco Deli, 139 W. 14 Mile and Tavern on the Main expanded their businesses. Upcoming projects are Atomic Chicken at the former Faymous chicken site, Osaka Japanese Steakhouse at 1119 W. Maple, MGK Realty at 642 S. Main, Blue Moon Bar and Grill at 172 W. 14 Mile and a Pottery Studio at 516 N. Main.
The real estate market in Clawson for both businesses and homes continues to grow. Four new homes were built in Clawson. There is interest in investing in Clawson just as we are interested in creating a strong community where people live, work and play.
The building department, under the direction of Jim Albus, added employees Susie Stec and Brian Vargason. Susie took the lead with Oakland County’s One Stop Ready Program to implement a culture of collaboration with businesses, developers and residents. We are celebrating our strengths by building friendly, simple policies and processes within our community.
Kathy Leenhouts, Director of our Senior Services and Park and Recreation Services, reports our SHARP program (senior home assistance repair program) handled 115 requests for minor home repairs in 2015. We provided 5,187 homebound meals to Clawson residents and 5,499 meals at the senior center. The Senior transportation program provided over 6,500 rides to appointments, shopping and more. Our recreation programs added a dog obedience class, a children’s tennis program, a golf program and expanded the fitness program. We welcomed Todd Owens, Andrea Gallucci, Anthony Campana and Lou Kovacs to our Parks and Senior services staff. Kathy oversaw improvements at the city park of a new football field, track, skate park, volleyball court, tennis courts and new restrooms at Grant Park. We plan on hiring two park attendants to ensure that our new facilities are maintained. Did you know that the parks and recreation department sells engraved bricks? The bricks will be placed in the park. Find the order form on the city of clawson website. The parks department is one of the busiest I know of. They are responsible for the city wide garage sale, senior craft sale in November and treasure sale in April.
Under the direction of Library Director Jenny Gannod, we continued monthly programs for children and adults and circulated about 8,000 books. Kate Finn joined our library staff. The library sells cups and bags as new fundraising items Jenny and staff organized a spelling contest to celebrate our 75th anniversary. I did participate in the contest. I did not win, but I wasn’t last .
We celebrated Clawson’s 75th Diamond Jubilee Anniversary with a logo design contest won by Gregg Phelps. His design then appeared on t-shirts, mugs and banners. The DDA and Chamber joined in the celebration by hosting a cake cutting ceremony and local businesses offered a fashion show and other activities. The day was a successful collaboration of groups.
Museum Curator Melodie Nichols developed a general store exhibit at the museum and began new museum hours of Wednesday’s, 5-8 pm and Sundays 2-5 pm. An upcoming program at the museum is a journey of fashion on May 15 with tea and dessert.
In our Department of Public Works, Director Doug Ballard reports DPW employees were certified as Back Hoe Operators and Aerial Apparatus Operators; Five employees obtained an S-4, S-3 and/or S-2 water operator license. Doug collaborated with residents and an Eagle Scout project of refinishing the picnic tables was completed by Michael Jabboori. DPW staff collaborate with the Clawson Community Garden to prepare and water the soil. As always, we pride ourselves on the accomplishments of the DPW with snow plowing every year. Another reason to celebrate in Clawson.
Engineering, under the direction of Harry Drinkwine, secured federal funding to resurface sections of 14 Mile and sections of Main Street with the funding available in 2019. Harry oversaw the three pedestrian crossings along 14 Mile and completed the major road crack sealing program with funding through the National Highway Performance Program. The annual concrete repair program will begin as the weather breaks. We deferred last years sidewalk replacement program to this spring and will continue the work in conjunction with the ADA ramp replacement program.
Chief Harry Anderson leads our police Department. In our department we have one of the few police officers in the State of Michigan to be certified as a Drug Recognition Expert- Officer Jake Shearer. Officer Shearer received the 2015 Departmental Citation Award. Officer Scott Vierk has been with Clawson for three years and received the honor of Officer of the Year for two out of three years. Detective Sarvello and Sgt Kellie Bauss were awarded the Community Service Awards in recognition of the extra activities they do to assist our community. Cathy Haney received the Departmental Commendation for her work and dedication on a daily basis and for continually performing beyond what her job requires. This year we will be able to add a position for another police officer.
The Fire Department, with Rick Dyzlewski as Fire Chief, attended 93 fire calls in 2015. This number resulted in about a 34% reduction in fire loss compared to the prior year. We were able to purchase a new fire truck for $410,000. Our firefighters also volunteer their time in the community as Boy Scout Troop Leaders, the Goodfellows, Trick or Treat Trail and more.
Treasurer Stacy Hodges and City Clerk Machelle Kukuk continue to run organized, friendly and efficient departments. Machelle is our employee with seniority – 35 years. Machelle collaborates with the Food Pantry by picking up the donated food and working at the Food Pantry. Stacy and staff collaborate on the Volunteer Employee Picnic as one way to say thank you to all who give their time to the community.
The DDA worked on a master plan. Planters will be added this spring to the pedestrian islands. The DDA members continued with annual events of Fire and Spice, Cinema in the Street and the Trick or Treasure Pub Crawl.
All of our departments report to our City Manager Mark Pollock. We have been able to maintain a AA- rating in the world of finances. Our pension cost for active and retired staff increases to $1,493,316 and is about 12% of the total General Fund Budget so I see creative brainstorming sessions in our future to address revenues and expenditures. We will soon see a new City Announcement system where it is easier to receive information via phone, text or email.
Council meets annually to develop goals. 2016 goals include increasing use of social media, recruiting a Community Emergency Response Team volunteer organizer, adding a full time police officer, utilizing staff resources to address Rochester road by adding greenery between the sidewalks and roadways and using resources to support West 14 Mile Road improvements from Washington to Crooks, updating the master plan, prepare a master list of engraved bricks on city sidewalks, increase recycling programs for businesses and add recycle bins in parks, add a position for park attendant, increase our green space, add a volunteer coordinator, lighting for the volleyball area, canopy for tot lot, make available horse shoes, shuffleboard and bike racks in the park when funds are available and promote arts and cultural programs beginning with art in city buildings. We will create a new business packet, add a “tv guide” for our cable channel; add a database inventory of all property on our website, increase technology to add the ability to obtain online permits, host a town hall meeting with businesses, develop a 3 year budget, review citizen and business surveys and build collaboration between the various city boards.
We can celebrate and collaborate in Clawson supporting our civic groups. A few groups (not an exhaustive list) are:
Acting Out Kids
Chamber of Commerce
Clawson Community Coalition who works to provide information about drug prevention with an emphasis on a Drunk Driving program in May
Clawson Community Garden
Clawson Food Pantry
Clawson Youth Assistance
Families Against Narcotics (FAN)
Fourth of July committee – new this year will be bingo
Fraternal Order of Eagles
Friends of the Library
General Federation of Women’s Club
Knights of Columbus
Scouting – Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts
Helen Keller said, “ Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” I wonder if she knew she was describing a community who collaborates – Clawson.
“If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.” – Henry Ford
“No one can whistle a symphony. It takes a whole orchestra to play it.” – H.E. Luccock
“Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.” – Andrew Carnegie
Clawson Mayor Penny Luebs Gives State of the City