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. Our challenge is to find ways to provide the services and quality of life needed for our continued success at the lowest costs.
As your Mayor, my first priority has been to work with Council on financial strategies for our long-term 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 2015 and 2016, and we lowered taxes and water rates for residents, 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 and our business vacancy rate is 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 and jobs 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 created the Blue Ribbon Commission on Ferndale Parks to find new ways to upgrade our 15 parks and recreation centers, and we’ll begin to see new features and improvements in the years ahead.
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; last year we extended downtown west on 9 Mile to bring even more developement all the way to Pinecrest, and this year we’re working on East 9 Mile. 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 help us lead the region in the economic recovery.