Archive for 2010
Tuesday, November 30th, 2010
City seeking volunteers with diverse interests
The City of Saline is pleased to announce upcoming opportunities for citizens to get involved within their own community. Volunteering for one of the City’s Boards or Commissions is a way to brainstorm, socialize and get to know your friends and neighbors, while making Saline a better place to live, work and play. It is the perfect way to give back, and there are positions available for just about any interest or passion.
If you think City government consists of long meetings in closed up board rooms, think again. How about sharing your passion for arts and culture with others, then implementing your ideas onto our sidewalks and public spaces? Or maybe you‘d like to find a way to bring artistic events to Saline‘s unique and state of the art venues? The Arts and Culture Commission is a group who encourages the growth and expansion of visual arts, drama, music, dance, history and humanities.
If your interests find you outdoors, the Parks Commission is an advisory body to the City Council advising City staff on park planning, construction and maintenance of our parks and playgrounds in a way that keeps them fun and useful for residents. Projects implemented into Saline parks make a big difference. Resident Patty Hart likes to play tennis in Curtiss Park. She was so excited to find a brand new surface last year on the courts. “It’s beautiful, and much safer with a non-skid surface, and it‘s blue!” Hart said. If you like to get your hands dirty or have a knack with a green thumb, there are 191 acres of property managed by Saline Parks and Recreation; certainly there are spaces which need your ideas on cleaning up and beautification.
With so many opportunities to give back to the Saline community, it is clear the difference one person can make with just an hour or two per month. “Volunteers are the backbone of what makes a great community,” says Mayor Gretchen Driskell, “and serving on one of the Boards or Commissions is a really valuable way to give back, and it’s fun!”
The Environmental Commission offered a fun and interesting opportunity this year when they conducted a taste test to see how Saline’s tap water rated against packaged water products. The workshop was part of a study conducted by the group to see the impact bottled water is having on the environment.
Other posts available include seats on the Economic Development Corporation or Business Development Association for those with savvy business expertise. There is also the Planning Commission, Historic District Commission, Bixby Marionette Trust, Celtic Festival, Zoning Board, Cemetery Board of Appeals, Youth Council and more. The Youth Council is for middle school and high school students looking to learn more about local government and implement a voice of their own. The Youth Council has grown and developed into a group that have been able to make significant impacts in the Saline community since its inception in 2002.
There are a number of Boards and Commissions to choose from. Applications are available at City Hall or by following this link. Please contact the City Clerk’s Office at 429-4907 ext. 2209 or at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions. Applications are given to the mayor’s office, at which point Mayor Driskell will make a recommendation to the members of City Council. All appointments for the year will be made the first Monday in January.
This time of year sets a natural background for giving. What better way to give back to our Saline families and neighbors than to give a few hours of our time? In this way we help to guarantee a continued path of growth, development and enrichment, in a place we are proud to call home.
Thursday, August 26th, 2010
The General Election is fast approaching. Saline City voters will be going to the polls on Tuesday, November 2nd to vote for three (3) City Councilmembers and the Mayor. Those candidates who have filed their Nominating Petitions in time to appear on the ballot for Councilmember are: Dean Benjamin Girbach, Brian Marl, David Rhoads and Jim Roth. Mayor Gretchen Driskell is running unopposed for the office of Mayor.
The last day to register to vote for the November General Election is Monday, October 4. You may register at any Secretary of State office, or at Saline City Hall located at 100 N. Harris Street, Saline. City Hall is open Monday thru Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
The Polls will be open from 7:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. on Tuesday, November 2. Polling places for city residents are as follows:
Precinct #1 Liberty School (Gym), 7265 Saline-Ann Arbor Road
Precinct #2 Liberty School (Gym), 7265 Saline-Ann Arbor Road
Precinct #3 First United Methodist Church, 1200 N. Ann Arbor, corner of Woodland
Please check your voter registration card to determine where you should vote; be sure you are in the correct precinct. If you do not have a voter identification card, or are unsure where you vote, please contact the Clerk’s office prior to election day.
Applications for Absentee Ballots were mailed on August 26th to all registered voters who requested to be on the City’s permanent absentee voter list. If you haven’t received your application, or if you need an application for an absentee ballot, please contact the Clerk’s office.
Absentee ballots for the General Election are now available in the Clerk’s officer. To vote by absentee ballot you must make written application in person at City Hall or by mail. Applications are also available on the city’s website: www.cityofsaline.content-hub.net Saline City Hall will be open on Saturday, October 30 from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. for the purpose of issuing absentee ballots. October 30 is the last day an absentee ballot can be taken out of the Clerk’s office for voting. On Monday, November 1 an absentee ballot may be applied for and voted in the Clerk’s office up until 4:00 p.m. Any questions regarding voter registration, where you vote, or application for an absentee ballot should be directed to the City Clerk’s office by calling 429-4907, extensions 2209, 2214 or 2216.
Absentee ballots can be returned at Saline City Hall, by mail, or they can be placed in the City’s drop box located in City Parking Lot #3 ( look for the City’s silver drop box at the north end of
City Parking Lot #3 – behind Comerica Bank – it is identified with the city logo). All absentee ballots must be received in the Clerk’s office by 8:00 p.m. on Election day in order to be counted.
Monday, August 2nd, 2010
The 2010 Saline Summerfest will be held on North & South Ann Arbor Street, East McKay Street, Hall Rd., Bennett St. and many of the adjacent parking lots in downtown Saline. This annual Saline city event starts on August 6, 2010 at 5:00 P.M. until 11:00 P.M. and then again on Saturday August 7, 2010 from 8:00 A.M. until 11:00 P.M.
The first modern day Summerfest was held on North and South Ann Arbor Street in the parking lot behind the Pineapple house. It was great, attendance was up, volunteers were up and people roamed the closed streets downtown. It was so good that there was little or no roam to move on both Friday and Saturday night. The following year and since it has been in the Parking lot behind the Brecon Grille as well as North and South Ann Arbor Street, McKay Street and Hall Road.
Music, Friday nights featured band is 56 Haze and Saturday nights featured band is G-Daddy’s. Also playing on Saturday are Dr. Pocket, the Horse Cave Trio, Loose Dogs Bite, Motor City Outlaws and the New Horizon band.
Food & Refreshments include the Fireman’s Chicken Dinners, Christians Catering Hamburgers, the Saline Lindenberg brats, the Lions club ice cream cones, the Kiwanis Hot Dogs and pretzels from Benny’s Bakery. All are located in the parking lot off South Ann Arbor Street just across the way from the beer and wine tent.
Picnic in the Park was billed as “Saline Family reunion held just before the kid’s went back to school. There was also a Summerfest held uptown with the merchants and as I understand it, sidewalk sales etc usually a week after the Picnic in the park. All this was around 1994, so about 16 years ago. About 5 years ago, with dwindling attendance and volunteer help it was decided to move things downtown.
Adult Entertainment on Friday night is the Rotary Casino night and Saturday night is the Black Jack tournament. Free Trolley rides by the Saline Historic Society learning a little more about the History of Saline. Bingo sponsored by the American Legion will start at 1:30 on Saturday.
Kids can enjoy the Fishing contest Saturday morning, games at Union School, volley ball at the Rec Center, mini car races and the Guitar Hero Tournament. The Teen Block party caps off Saturday evening for those under 21.
Other entertainment includes the Saline Twirlettes, Tea Kwan Do demonstration, and various dance groups performing their routines before an enthusiastic crowd of Saline residents. a limbo contest.
Shopping includes the 40 juried crafters that will be out on South Ann Arbor Street selling their wares. We will also have a dozen vendors with information and or products not considered a craft on the Union School sidewalk.
New this year is “Touch a Truck” where we will be displaying fire engines the DARE car, the armored personal carrier, an ambulance, an 18 wheeler gravel hauler the vacuum truck and a street sweeper.
The 5K race starts at 8:30 A.M. on North Harris Street just north of City Hall. Last year we had 285 runners and we are expecting about 400 this year.
This event is the coordination of the City of Saline, the Saline Area Chamber of Commerce, the Saline Downtown Merchants, the Saline Street Machines, many of the local churches, the Saline Fireman, The Saline Historic Society, the service clubs and a large group of Volunteers. All this is made possible by the many generous sponsors who have donated to cover the cost of this event. Stop in and enjoy some food, music and entertainment before returning to another year of School.
Thursday, July 15th, 2010
County Clean-up Day
The Washtenaw County Solid Waste Program will be holding a regional environmental clean-up day in your area on:
Saturday, October 16, 2010, 9am-2pm
Eastern Michigan University, Rynearson Stadium Parking Lot
799 N. Hewitt Rd, Ypsilanti, MI
Acceptable Materials Include:
- Traditional recyclable materials – glass, cardboard, plastic, paper, scrap metal
- Freon appliances
- Household hazardous materials – cleaning supplies, motor oil, oil-based paints
- Old tires
- Electronic equipment
Suggested Donation of $10.00
Residents may bring up to 4 tires for free, but will be asked for a $5 donation for each additional tire. Residents may bring 1 of the following items for free: television, washer, dryer, Freon containing appliance or computer. Residents will be asked to donate $10 for each additional item.
Businesses and out-of-county residents are
restricted from attending.
No household garbage will be accepted!
Please contact 734.222.3827 for further information.
Thursday, July 15th, 2010
Mayor Gretchen Driskell
Thank you for the opportunity to report on the state of our great city. It is an honor to share good news in these trying times. Thanks to the excellent relationships with our businesses, schools, community organizations and citizens our town has a very positive outlook for our future. I am happy to report that our city is maintaining a stable financial position while continuing to support and invest in the most important attributes of successful 21st century cities.
Our downtown contributes significantly to our community identity and quality of life. The city recently was accepted into the Michigan Main Street program as an associate. This national program has been instrumental in significant improvements in downtowns around the country. The program has a toolkit of options for building a stronger healthier downtown in partnership with all of the stakeholders. The city has already been partnering with the chamber and the downtown merchants association to coordinate multiple events. This program will leverage the current activities into a more coordinated and successful approach. We also are looking for opportunities to continue to beautify the downtown, the latest of which are the hanging flower baskets at the four corners. We have gotten very positive feedback on this program and intend to extend the baskets further down each street.
I am also delighted to report that there has been significant economic development activity occurring in the downtown. After several years of sitting empty an important building (formerly known as Kelly’s) will be opening once again. The purchase of the building by the Toaramina family, who also own Mickey’s Dairy Twist and are active
partners in the Saline business community, is very exciting for our community. They will be opening a family style Italian restaurant called Mangiamo’s this fall. The former R&B building comprising over 65,000 square feet was purchased by the local business Sun Engineering for offices and manufacturing. This will bring added investment and additional foot traffic to our downtown. Additionally the high tech company Quantum Signal has completed a purchase agreement, subject to some contingencies, to buy Union School and locate their offices there. This will bring an additional 30plus people to our downtown economy.
Financially, Saline is in a healthy position with an estimated 30% fund balance at June 30th. We are fortunate to be experiencing significant investment by businesses in our community. Sherer Trier and Flatout Bread Company are undergoing building expansions. The ACH facility expanded its production equipment by adding $45M worth of high tech equipment. Operationally, the city is continually evaluating opportunities for cost saving and efficiencies. Our budget for next year is stable without any change to our current millage. Our 5 year financial analysis has enabled us to minimize financial swings in our bottom line by responding in a timely manner to potential crises. Recent examples included cutting back on capital projects when the potential for ACH closure arose and the layoff of 9% of our employee base when property values were significantly trending down.
This year city management found additional savings by replacing the DPW director position with an internal candidate thereby reducing yet again our total employee base. Implementation of the operational review recommendations and accessing financial consulting expertise through the SEMCOG benchmarking program have provided the city with more effective financial management. We cannot continue to reduce staffing without a reduction in services. We are hoping that the economy will improve so that we can maintain the high level of service that Saline is known for.
Communicating with our citizens and businesses is a key factor in the success of our community. Relying on analyses of revenue trends, demographics, and research on best practices enables us to develop effective plans for the future. While all of our planning processes include public meetings and hearings, we are using our updated website as our most effective tool to communicate the final report. On our website, cityofsaline.content-hub.net, you will find multiple documents that outline the vision for our community. Our 2010/2011 Budget, adopted in June, was added today. The city strategic plan, used to prioritize our goals across the spectrum of city services, was recently added. The Parks Commission completed the 2010 recreation master plan this spring and you can find this in the parks section. This document assists us in coordinated efforts for accessing grants and improving healthy living and recreation in the city.
Please spend some time reviewing the website and learning about the city priorities and goals. We will be sending our biennial citizen survey shortly to find out your opinion of our city. I hope you will participate in our information gathering so that we may more effectively serve you, and I hope that you find our updated website a useful tool.
Other important facets of a viable 21st century community include consideration of our environment and implementing green initiatives. Our environmental commission has been active in acquiring storm drain markers through a county grant. These markers protect our water system and will be installed by community volunteers. Additionally they have identified recycle containers to be located in our downtown and a report was just completed on the opportunities for green initiatives in city operations.
Our community is fortunate to have an active arts and culture environment. The 212 Arts Center, in partnership with the Saline District Library and the Saline Rec Center, has developed a new program for our young people (in addition to the Arts to Go in our parks). Look for the wind socks around town that artists and our youth have created to enliven our landscape. Check out the events calendar for Make A Splash, on their website twotwelvearts.org, for fun family activities. Our Arts & Culture committee is working on a public art installation that could also be used as street furniture. They are also participating in the countywide Arts Alliance program and plan to add a Saline site to the county ArtWalk this fall.
The community continues to support and enjoy outdoor events and festivals. Our summer music concert series continues every Fri nite thru August 13th with a variety of musical genres. The annual Summerfest, Aug 6&7 will have lots of arts and crafts, music, and fun activities for all ages. Harvest of the Arts/Oktoberfest will be held September 25 hosting a fine art show, the puppet festival, and promotion of the culture of our sister city in Lindenberg, Germany. Keep up to date on all the exciting events by joining besaline.org, our events website!
This week is Celtic Festival week. In its 14th year, the festival celebrates Celtic heritage and our sister city in Brecon Wales. Activities start Thursday evening and run through Saturday night. Please look at the website, salineceltic.org, to see the myriad of choices and find out where you can buy tickets in advance for a $5 discount.
In summary, it is clear from this address that we have an active and vibrant community. We are a community that supports its residents and businesses, and the support is reciprocated by investment and participation in our city activities. I hope we see you out and about at one of our venues, whether it is fishing in the park or dancing in the streets. Thank you for helping our city employees and city council make Saline a great place to be!
Friday, May 7th, 2010
A Taste of Our Community
Every Saturday—8:00AM-12:00 Noon
May through October
Located Downtown On S. Ann Arbor St., ½ block south of Michigan Ave. on Saturday
Located at the Saline Library on Tuesday 3pm – 7pm
Saline Farmers’ Market. Enjoy the small town flavor and big city style of this market which features fresh produce, plants and flowers from local growers, specialty items such as jams, honey, baked goods, local cheeses, seasonal corn stalks, Indian corn, wreaths and more. Held on Saturdays from 8am to Noon from May through October in Downtown Saline on S. Ann Arbor Street, ½ block south of Michigan Ave. Sponsored by the City of Saline. Project Fresh coupons are accepted. Master Gardeners are available to answer gardening questions. For more information call 429-3518 or email email@example.com.
The Saline Farmers’ Market was created in 2000. On April 26, 2000 Mayor Gretchen Driskell attended a workshop in Ann Arbor called “Farmers’ Markets, The Basics” presented by the Michigan Municipal League, with speaker John Rasmussen, MAI, Moderator, Consultant and Ann Arbor Market Commission member.
Mayor Driskell implemented the idea and the Saline Farmers’ Market was launched with a trial run for three weeks in the fall. In 2001 the Market started its first full season and serves area residents and visitors May through October each year at its convenient location in downtown Saline.
Nancy Crisp helped develop the Farmers’ Market and has been Market Manager from the beginning. She continues to coordinate and expand the Market each season. “I love arriving at the Market early each Saturday morning and seeing all of the beautiful flowers and crafts, fresh produce, and yummy baked goods,” Nancy says.
Wednesday, January 6th, 2010
Mayor Gretchen Driskell
As we enter this new decade it is a privilege to have the opportunity to share this state of the city message with our citizens. We begin this decade with significant accomplishments to reflect on and a challenging future for governments around the country. Fortunately, as evidenced by receiving the top 100 small cities award three times in a row by CNN/Money magazine, Saline is in a strong position entering this new decade.
Since 2000, the city has been investing significantly in our infrastructure. Our $43M investment in major capital projects over the past decade has substantially improved the vast majority of our assets, providing for long term stability and lengthy life spans in our various asset categories. We entered the decade with $4M in our fund balance, some of which was set aside to pay a portion of the municipal building that was completed in 2002. At this writing we have over $3M in our fund balance.
Let’s take a look back at some accomplishments.
The city transitioned out of the former service center located on Maple Road, which is now demolished and the land is available for future development. This deteriorating facility housed our police department, building department, district court and department of public works. Due to long range planning we have been able to move the police department and building department to our new city hall. The 14th district court building held its grand opening this summer. A new public works facility was built on city property near the Recreation Complex. And a significant renovation of the Recreation Complex was completed in 2007 which has added considerable service capacity to the community.
Our water system was greatly improved by the voter approved water treatment system implemented in 2005. This filtration system removes iron and provides for a more fully protected water system. Significant road projects that have been completed include the realignment of Bemis Road, and MDOT reconstruction of West and East Michigan Avenue.
The city has been fortunate to experience economic growth, even at the end of the decade. Most recently, the ACH facility on East Michigan Avenue chose to remain open through 2012 and invest over $100M to improve production capacity. We have had several other businesses in our business park expand in the last 5 years, such as American Soy, Pattco, Liebherr, Saline Lectronics and JAC Products. We also have new businesses moving to town, most recently Molded Materials.
This past decade we initiated a new sister city partnership with Lindenberg Germany to recognize our German heritage. Since the formal signing in 2003 we have had over 300 people from all aspects of the community travel back and forth learning about our cultures. We also have added a German business, Sherer-Trier, had two German business expansions, and Liebherr bought an additional 54 acres for future expansion. The city has identified opportunities in economic development due to our positive relationship with Lindenberg, Germany.
Our commissions were very active and have accomplished a broad range of initiatives, only a few of which am I able to elaborate on here due to time constraints. The Historic District Commission established two new districts, North and South Ann Arbor Street. The Environmental Commission has developed an informational website called salinebegreen.com, labeled storm drains and promoted additional recycling opportunities. The Parks Commission has accessed several grant opportunities that have greatly improved our two major parks, Curtiss and Mill Pond. The Bixby Trust Committee holds a puppetry festival every fall, and recently moved the marionette display to the library.
Our downtown is the focal point of our community and what makes Saline unique. The Business Development Association worked with the city, the Downtown Merchants Association, and the Chamber of Commerce to develop a downtown vision, hire a downtown director, update our streetscape plan, develop a marketing website and continues to look for opportunities to bring consumers to our commercial establishments.
Two new commissions were initiated this past decade. The Youth Council is very active, representing the needs of the youth in our community. They have worked on opening a teen center, they host youth lock-in’s, provide a mentoring program, and facilitate many other events that are youth oriented. The Arts & Culture committee just finished their inaugural year, and they have already completed both a long and short term list of goals. Cultural activities are a key component to a successful, vibrant community.
The city council and staff have continued to focus on effective communications and maintaining a high level of customer service. Over the past decade, we have utilized multiple tools to help us achieve these goals. Our city website had achieved awards in the past and we just completed our most expansive website to date. Thanks to our website designer, Design Hub and our staff contributions you should be able to access an incredible array of city services and information on a 24hr 7day a week basis. Another tool the city is using is a citizen survey process that assists your city government in setting goals and learning about our level of citizen satisfaction. Additionally, we have a quarterly newsletter that is mailed to all of our residents that provides information about upcoming events, ordinances, and pending projects.
Looking back over the past decade gives a great perspective as to what we have accomplished. However our council and staff are very focused on our future and the challenges ahead. We are committed to do our best to maintain our excellent level of service within significant financial constraints.
We have a stable financial situation, with a 30% fund balance and an AA- bond rating. The next several years will continue to be difficult due to the time lag governments experience with revenue during economic downturns. During our budget process last year we looked at many alternatives. We made some very difficult choices including letting go of four excellent employees. Our staff spent many months in 2009 completing an organizational review. Items large and small were addressed and many aspects of the review are currently being implemented. Our city manager, Todd Campbell, has provided exemplary leadership wrestling with these challenging budget issues.
We have a stellar council, with a very high level of experience and expertise. Tonight we swear in three incumbent councilmembers, Pat Ivey, Glenn Law, and Alicia Ping. Pat Little has served on the city council for many years including 6 years as our mayor. David Rhoads and Brian Marl round out a very committed group of public servants.
Additionally, tonight we recognize the incredible commitment of 50 years service made by our city attorney Allan Grossman. He has provided sound counsel for all decisions made affecting every aspect of city business, from land development to basic ordinances and more.
Our strategic goals will continue to follow the same direction. A financially stable city, a vibrant downtown, a sense of community, proactive economic development, promoting green community initiatives, maintaining a healthy infrastructure and an excellent quality of life are the major assets that makes Saline an attractive community to live, work and play in. Thanks to your support we will continue to be the community you are proud to call home.