The city of Wixom will be losing an asset when Assistant City Manager Tony Nowicki retires in a few weeks.
Nowicki tendered his letter of retirement to City Manager Mike Dornan following a special City Council meeting held on Tuesday, Aug. 21.
“Wixom is a great community that I’ve been associated with since 1990 and has been more of my hometown than anywhere,” Nowicki said. “I’ve had a lot of accomplishments and no regrets. I’m leaving because I’ve been reviewing my personal and professional position. Right now, I have a few things I’m considering, but I’m leaving my options open.”
Dornan said he was surprised by Nowicki’s sudden departure.
“We hadn’t discussed it prior, but he had some concerns due to the financial situation of the city and chose to spread that burden during these fiscal challenges to preserve funding for employees with families who could be laid off,” Dornan said.
For over a decade Nowicki has rolled up his sleeves and set to work to build and maintain the city of Wixom.
“For 10 and a half years he’s been (working) with me and I’ve known him professionally for more than 20,” Dornan said. “He’s hit a lot of home runs for the city. The relationship we have is very positive and our combination of attributes has been very powerful and beneficial to the city. Just look around.”
During his tenure, Nowicki spearheaded or took part in such initiatives as the construction of the Department of Public Works (DPW) facility; the development of a new Downtown Development Authority (DDA) plan and Tax Increment Financing Plan that allowed the capture of $9.1 million in taxes to fund the public improvements in the Village Center Area (VCA), including Sibley Square Park, a fountain, and improvements to Pontiac Trail and streetscape amenities.
In addition, he provided oversight of both the private and public development in the VCA. He also helped to reorganize the Department of Public Services, saving the city about $70,000 each year.
Nowicki was also the primary negotiator with Milford Township for the extension of city sanitary sewer service into the township. The agreements called for a $1.25-million signing bonus that was absorbed by the city’s budget stabilization fund to continue providing service for a period of time without an increase in taxes.
Nowicki also supervised the overall construction of the Wixom Road By-Pass; launched local business outreach and assistance programs, including the Wixom Business Assistance Team, LinkedIn Wixom business Forum, and the Wixom Business Breakfast Club; annually reviewed and visited businesses that had been issued industrial facilities tax exemptions; and held regular business recruitment and retention meetings with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and Oakland County Economic Development, among others.
In addition, he negotiated a $1.8-million water credit with the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD) and further negotiated a DWSD water service contract amendment, which officials said saved city taxpayers an estimated $20,000 annually.
“This is a great loss to the city and the community,” said Mayor Kevin Hinkley. “Tony has been a vital part of our growth for over 10 years and crafted so many cost savings and agreements — the list goes on and on. He has saved the city hundreds of thousands of dollars and it’s sad to see all that kind of talent and ability retire. He’s well liked by the employees and well respected in the community, and at the state level.”
Dornan said city staff will bolster their efforts to provide the same administrative service.
“That’s what these challenges are all about,” Dornan said. “You do what you need to, by either reassigning tasks or picking up the slack. The organization will move forward.”
There are no plans to find a replacement for Nowicki at this time. In the interim, he has offered his time without pay to ensure any outstanding projects are left in good shape before he departs permanently.
“He has given me assurance that he will stay on two weeks or longer, if necessary, to ensure community projects are maintained in the best interest of the city,” Dornan said.