Wixom Mayor Kevin Hinkley delivered his fourth State of the City Address on Monday, March 7, to recap city achievements and drive home the message that as the city moves forward it will stay the course, but with vision.
“In these challenging but exciting times, we must keep our chins up and our eyes focused on how we can recreate ourselves in order to succeed in the future,” he said.
In recalling the city’s accomplishments, he noted that 75 new businesses set up shop in Wixom during 2010, three of which align with the 10 emerging sectors underscored by Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson.
He praised local businesses that donate to city events each year to defray costs, and encouraged all in the city to “stop, shop and buy Wixom first.”
As the alternative energy park slated to move into the former Ford Motor Co. plant gains momentum, Hinkley boasted of state and national support for the effort.
“Through the Mayors Automotive Coalition (MAC), the Wixom Renewable Energy Park Project has gained attention from Lansing to Washington, D.C. and we are very close to bringing it to reality,” he said.
To see the deal through, Hinkley announced his bid for re-election in the fall.
He lauded the genesis of the Wixom Foundation 501c3 organization to enhance the quality of life and strengthen the spirit of the city through endowment funds and donations, and emphasized community projects and fund-raisers like the Rebuilding Together Oakland Program; the Wixom Association of Firefighters initiatives that raised $7,800 for the University of Michigan Trauma Burn Center; and the new Teaching, Educating, Assisting, and Mentoring (TEAM) program for kids that replaces the DARE program.
Hinkley characterized Wixom as the “Best Hometown in the Midwest,” and to maintain that sense of pride, he announced that a “Vision Plan 2025″ will be unveiled sometime soon to ensure Wixom’s sustainable future.
“This important initiative will explore our assets and the future requirements to assure us that we have a plan for a bright future,” he said.
Moving forward to reduce costs and be eco-friendly, the city will be researching the savings derived from going paperless.
Hinkley also outlined the substantial savings realized in 2010 by virtually privatizing 100 percent of city operations, sharing services, controlling operations and forging cooperative purchase agreements.
“I believe you are only as good as your reputation while using and developing best business practices and inventing new ones,” he said in light of property value declines, together with reduced state shared revenues.
“In order to meet these challenges we need to continue to offset losses through aggressively pursuing cost containment measures, revenue enhancements and grants,” he said. “It’s not business as usual. Doing the same things in the same way is no longer an option.”
The city will continue to seek grants to minimize costs, as it did in 2010 when over $150,000 was awarded for various projects.
He also noted that by refinancing debt, the city saved $165,000; $13,000 by changing the billing method for solid waste disposal; and over $600,000 on road maintenance and safety path programs, in addition to a bevy of other cost savings initiatives undertaken and under way.
“We must continue through innovation and invention to be a leader and model among communities that are moving in the right direction toward economic recovery by doing business better than ever, with less,” he said.