Dear Citizens and Stakeholders:
The City of Flint is continuing its efforts of implementing the adopted master plan and organizational strategic plan. The integration of the strategic plan into the organizational processes is also a key component in the seven point transition management plan to guide the way by which the operation of the City will be assumed by the Mayor and City Council.
Flint City government is focused on enabling Flint to become an attractive place to live, work, play, study, and visit. In order to do this, the city government must become and remain financially stable, must provide residents, businesses, students, and visitors with an adequate level of municipal services. It must also have the capacity to encourage and guide others in the achieving its vision and goals.
Each quarter the City is producing a report. The first quarter of FY15 ended on September 30, 2014 and the results were reported to the public last October. We are now pleased to share the progress which has been made during the second quarter, which ended on December 31, 2014. Also attached is the 2014 summary of accomplishments related to the master plan. We have identified more than 100 strategies underway with nearly $15 million in activities. As you review the summary here and attached reports, please consider sending us your feedback and ideas. The strategic plan is currently being revised to extend to 2020 and the report on the master plan is being expanded by including more projects from partners.
With the strategic plan, over 300 specific objectives are identified in the current plan, with 98 now completed. They include increasing public safety, improving infrastructure, creating jobs and development, eliminating blight, engaging citizens and managing the financial and administrative challenges which are reflective of an organization striving to regain sustainable financial solvency. Much of this work is done in partnership with the community and everyone is to be commended for their willingness to embrace change.
Important areas of progress from this past quarter include:
– Voters approving the creation of a charter commission and the adoption of charter amendments to strengthen financial management and reduce administrative costs.
– City Council supported a package of ordinance reforms to codify the strategic planning process and the best practices in financial management.
– Flint recorded its lowest number of homicides in more than ten years and the overall violent crime rate was down compared with 2013.
– Flint’s economy continues to improve steadily with coordinated economic development efforts supporting more than 300 jobs in 2014 including jobs with expanding companies in health care, manufacturing, retail, and environmental technologies along with new small businesses.
– Improvements in infrastructure are progressing in accordance with the strategic plan and completed combined capital improvement plan despite the evident challenges with water quality and costs.
– A new City of Flint website has been launched to provide citizens, businesses, students and visitors have access to timely information regarding services and information.
-The FY2014 audit was completed on time and confirms the reduction in the General Fund deficit to less than $9 million and the stabilization of other City accounts.
– The transition from state oversight to home rule is advancing with the new City Administrator starting and the preparation of a final list of items to be completed before April 2015.
While significant progress has been made on many fronts, significant challenges and risks remain. One primary issue, of course, is water quality. We all know it is a very serious concern, and our staff is working every day to improve water quality with the guidance being provided by independent consultants with expertise in improving water quality where the source of water is a river. We also posted on the City’s web site answers to questions which have been raised in the community along with testing data so we are fully transparent. Another issue is the low level of resources available to address public safety issues in the City. As you know, we commissioned an independent study of our police and fire organization in order to assess our capacity and to determine how to best organize our police and fire departments in light of their diminished resources.
The issues surrounding water and public safety emphasize the tenuous financial situation of the City — one which, while significantly improved, will remain tight. The five year financial projections done last year, and the adopted budgets for FY15 and FYI 6, showed financial stability for FY15 and FY26, but projected a very significant gap between revenues and expenses for FY17. Balancing the FY17 budget in a financially responsible manner will be a challenging task. If decisions become necessary to further reduce the workforce and service levels, they will be very difficult, as there are no easy answers. Likewise, responding to demands for high levels of service and lower costs in the form of water rates or taxes will also be difficult.
We will be looking to the community and partners to continue to be engaged and work with us on solutions. For instance, the new Water Advisory Board is being established. If you are interested in participating on the new board, other commissions, or becoming more involved in any way, please contact email@example.com. And again, we welcome your feedback on the revision of the strategic plan and the compilation of master plan accomplishments.
Mayor Dayne Walling
Emergency Manager Jerry Ambrose