First, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of your city employees. The transition from one administrator to another is not always easy. They all have been very open to answering questions and providing me with much needed explanations. They have been tolerant to a fault. Even when I show up unexpectedly at their work location the attitudes are positive.
I encourage the employees to ask questions of their administrators as well as encourage them to make suggestions. No one knows their jobs better than they do.
I wish to thank all of our city board members and commissioners. You are truly the reason that Eaton Rapids moves forward. Somebody has to do the work. Whether it be the Officers Compensation Commission or the DDA or the Planning Commission. Every role is vital. There are over 50 positions on the various boards and committees, many of which are filled by dedicated volunteers. We are always seeking additions so if you are interested, please let me know.
We are quickly approaching the Independence Day holiday and it is anticipated that we will be needing volunteers to serve in various capacities. I’m not a huge proponent of extended meetings as I know you all have an abundance of things to occupy your time but I can really use your help in continuing to offer one of the premier Independence Day Celebrations in the Mid Michigan area.
City Staff and a group of dedicated residents are working on several programs to create a more vibrant community. The Michigan Main St program, The Rising Tides Program, the Place Making project and the Elevate Eaton Rapids Program are designed to create an environment to nurture the businesses we currently have, attract new businesses and opportunities to the community and foster a sense of place. You will start to see evidence of these programs as they start to take hold.
The State of the City is good. We are working through the budgetary process and while we continue to face uncertain revenue streams from the State of Michigan we are doing the best that we can hope for with what we have. Much has been made of unfunded liabilities as it relates to our retirees and we are taking steps to reduce this debt while maintaining the level of service that you, our citizens/customers have come to expect and appreciate.
We recently received a large grant through the State of Michigan and this will allow us to make great strides in evaluating our Sewer and Water Infrastructure. Hopefully, we will be able to locate and address potential trouble spots before they turn into major repair needs.
We will continue on with our sidewalk and street paving program this spring/summer and conversations have been held with both the contractors and city staff to make sure that a better job is done on our part to let you know when your neighborhood will be next on the list. Nothing is worse than walking out to your driveway and seeing your street or sidewalk missing and nobody let you know in advance.
As always, we encourage your involvement. This is your Island City and we hope that you find it a great place to live, work, recreate and raise your families.