I’ve watched our city evolve to become a popular regional destination. New businesses have rejuvenated our downtown and industrial sector, and new residents have strengthened our neighborhoods. Now our challenge is to find ways to provide the services and quality of life needed for our continued success within a shrinking budget.
As your Mayor, my first priority has been to work with Council on financial strategies for our long-term success. Early planning, open communication and a willingness to explore new ways of delivering services are all important to achieving success. In my first month as Mayor, I initiated a two-year budget process for Ferndale, challenging us to look further ahead and anticipate shortfalls earlier. We now have a balanced budget for both 2013 and 2014, something few cities can say. I will continue to look for ways to reduce costs while delivering quality services, which I consider my greatest responsibility as steward of your hard-earned money.
A healthy commercial and industrial sector is important to our long-term growth, and I want Ferndale to be the friendliest, easiest city to open or operate a business in Oakland County. I’m committed to making sure every interaction a business owner has with the city supports their success. I created the Mayor’s Business Council to help make sure we meet that commitment. Since then, non-residential construction investment is up more than 35%, bringing our business vacancy rate down to its lowest level in years. In partnership with the Chamber of Commerce and the DDA, we’re united behind a common goal — an environment in Ferndale where businesses thrive and grow.
Our downtown gets lots of attention, but it’s icing on the cake of what was already a strong community. Safe neighborhoods, outstanding police and fire service, a modern library, innovative programs for seniors and youth, good roads and sewers and outstanding city services may not make headlines, but they are the foundation of what makes Ferndale work. I’m working on a new Ferndale Clean Sweep program to make our neighborhoods more attractive, and I created the Blue Ribbon Commission on Ferndale Parks to find new ways to upgrade our 15 parks and recreation centers – and new ways to pay for them.
Quality of Life
Ferndale is a unique and vibrant city, and it’s important not to neglect the events and programs that contribute to a special quality of life that distinguishes Ferndale from most other cities. We boast an award-winning downtown with a diverse appeal, and this year we’ll extend downtown west on 9 Mile to bring even more developement all the way to Pinecrest. We’re home to special events, like the Woodward Dream Cruise, DIY Street Fair/Art Fair and Ferndale Pride, that draw tens of thousands each year. As one of ‘Motown’s Downtowns,’ we take our fun seriously. But these things are more than just entertainment; they represent attractions that will help us lead the region in the economic recovery.