Mayor of Flint says city is making progress on state of the city discourse
FLINT, MI – Mayor Sheldon Neeley identified saving lives and improving services as one of his top priorities during his second State of the City address on Tuesday, December 14.
“It is through prayer, planning and partnership that we have moved our community forward over the past year,” Neeley said in a draft speech to a virtual city council meeting. “And now we’re going to build a stronger Flint.
“We are proud of what we have accomplished so far. I am proud of my administration.
Neeley was elected mayor in November 2019.
Since that election, he said, the city has been building a stronger economy, infrastructure, public safety system, late blight efforts and community.
“I am focused on building a stronger Flint because the future of the city depends on it,” said the mayor. “Collective work is not dead. He is alive in us. There is work to be done to achieve the goal of a Stronger Flint for a Sustainable Future, but we got it. We will build that stronger foundation. The obstacles will always be in front of us, but we will stand firm. “
One hurdle for the city will be balancing Flint’s general fund budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1.
In March, Neeley presented a budget of $ 71 million for the current fiscal year that was balanced but was based on $ 13 million of rainy day funds, bringing the projected reserve fund balance to just 2, $ 1 million.
The budget projected a deficit of over $ 17 million over the next fiscal year due to rising costs, especially in funding Flint’s retirement system.
The increase in pension fund contributions and other costs “are draining the general fund,” the mayor said. “We need to take control of this to continue to have a balanced budget. “
In other areas, Neeley:
- Announced the administrative appointments of CFO Rob Widigan, Public Works Department Director Mike Brown, Public Health Director Qiana Towns-Williams and Downtown Development Authority Director Kiaira May.
- He said he plans to engage with more residents on how to spend the city’s share – $ 94.7 million – of the American Rescue Plan Act dollars.
- Encouraged residents to “do our part to protect ourselves, our loved ones and our community” during the third and current strongest wave of COVID-19 cases in the Flint area since the start of the pandemic.
Neeley, who honored 10 local churches earlier this year with Keys to the City for their partnership and contributions to the community during the pandemic.
“There are many free COVID-19 testing centers in the town of Flint. Please continue to be tested ”, indicates the written address of the mayor. “You don’t need a medical certificate or health insurance. You don’t need to have symptoms.
“To protect yourself and your loved ones, COVID-19 vaccines are available at Our Lady of Guadalupe, Central Church of the Nazarene, and Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church.”
- The city said the city had removed 240,000 pounds of trash dumped in Flint this year and called on residents to report illegal spills by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-422-JAIL.
- Highlighted work on paving roads, cleaning and resurfacing city streets, including sweeping over 1,000 miles of street and replacing 661 sidewalk spaces.
- The fire department is fully staffed for the first time in five years due to an aggressive and competitive recruitment process.
- Acknowledged an increase in homicides, but said overall crime was down in Flint.
Neeley said the city is tackling the rising homicide rate and has solved 55% of cases involving fatal shootings.
“We needed more street cops and support staff in the department and we got it,” the mayor said. “The police department hired 22 new officers to support staff with more officers in the past six months than in less than three years.”
- Said “great progress in economic development”.
“We have had a year of major investments in all areas of the community. Employers and developers alike see the potential and value of Flint’s economic entrenchment, ”he said.
- Highlighted improvements to the city’s water supply system, including the completion of a secondary pipeline which “means we’ll never have to use the Flint River as a water source again in case a backup would be necessary in an emergency.
- Called the recent final approval of a partial water settlement between residents, the state of Michigan and others “not favorable for residents who have suffered for years due to the water crisis.”
“I was disappointed too,” he said. “We know that no amount of money will heal the wounds inflicted on this community, but I hope this judgment brings some comfort to the families of Flint.”
- Overview of some initiatives for 2022, including the use of software that will enable mass notifications of security emergencies, snow removal, community events and service delays.
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