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!