During my term as Mayor, I’ve worked hard with my colleagues on City Council, city staff and other community stakeholders to focus on the five key areas that are critical for Saline’s long-term success: responsibly managing city finances, support for public safety, investment in our infrastructure, economic development and openness and transparency in city government.
Financial Stewardship. We’ve made some tough decisions in the past couple years, but because of those policy changes, the city’s bond rating has improved, and for the first time in many years, we’ve been able to grow our rainy-day fund.
Public Safety. I’ve been proud to be accessible to our police and firefighters to better understand their concerns, and what they need to keep Saline safe. We’re working very hard to increase the number of police officers on any given shift, which is not only good for officer safety, but beneficial to community-wide safety. As Chair of the Saline Area Fire Board, I’ve worked with my colleagues to improve employee compensation; I understand that if we’re going to attract a quality workforce, we need to compensation employees appropriately. I’m very proud that under my leadership, we’re one of the first communities in Washtenaw County to start an initiative to combat substance abuse. Although it’s in its infancy, I’m very proud of the work that this committed group of volunteers has been able to do thus far.
Investment in Infrastructure. Over the course of the last couple years, city government has made some significant investments in our infrastructure: completing a number of important street projects, stabilizing and modernizing the wastewater treatment plant, and it looks like we have a consensus to take a first step to improve our sidewalks (which will not come at the expense of individual property owners or taxpayers).
Economic Development. I believe that as Mayor, I should work aggressively to recruit and attract investment in the Saline community, and I have done so during my first term. I’m proud that we’ve convened an Economic Task Force that is looking at ways to make Saline even more attractive to potential investment. For the first time in city history, we’re also aggressively marketing all vacant city property. Finally, we have worked hard to modernize and simplify the city’s codes and ordinances, while looking to find ways to cut the red tape, and ensure that businesses are not subject to overly burdensome regulations.
Openness and Transparency. There are more private citizens in city government today than at any time in our city’s history. In addition to Boards and Commissions, the city has convened a number of issue-specific task forces and work groups. This represents a fundamental change in the way we do business: instead of including only staff and elected leaders, we have worked hard to include private citizens, and their perspectives have proved extremely beneficial. The city has also held a number of town halls to discuss a number of issues, and I value the feedback I received from residents at those meetings. I’ve also worked with my colleagues to launch the city’s SeeClickFix app, which is a free way to instantly report issues to city government so they can be addressed efficiently.
I will continue to focus on these key areas, but there are some specific issues that I believe require the Mayor’s time and attention in the coming years.
- Continue my approach to review all services and programs to see if there is room for cost savings and improved efficiencies, and wisely allocate city resources in areas that residents care most about.
- Establish a long-term and reliable funding stream for our infrastructure needs, while also exploring ways to improve transit options for Saline residents.
- Work with my colleagues at City Hall, businesses, state agencies and other community stakeholders to effectively plan and manage improvements to Michigan Avenue and the modernization of our streetscape.
- Continue to partner with MEDC, SPARK, Saline Main Street, and the Saline Chamber of Commerce to aggressively cultivate new economic development opportunities, and to make sure that our policies and regulations do not hamstring or undermine these efforts.