Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Romulus State of the City outlines goals and progress

Mayor LeRoy Burcroff
Romulus Mayor LeRoy Burcroff delivered his seventh State of the City Address last week and stressed both the accomplishments of the year and the goals for the upcoming months.
His presentation was augmented by moving video testimonials about the city from Chad Newton, CEO, Wayne County Airport Authority; Anthony Minghine, deputy director, Michigan Municipal League; Neal MacLean, industrial developer; the Rev. Hiram McBurrows Jr., pastor at Romulus Community Baptist Church; Jordyn Selleck, executive Director at Conference of Western Wayne and David Glaab, supervisor in Huron Township. Each spoke of a different element of progress and growth in the City of Romulus.

Burcroff outlined his four core focus areas for this year; public safety, financial health of the city, more economic development and community initiatives.
He reminded the large audience that the city was able to reopen fire station #2 last year and that new vehicles were added to the public safety department using grant funds. The city also hired five new firefighters utilizing SAFER grant funding. The 911 system was upgraded, business security assessments were completed and the city focused on community outreach and safer neighborhoods.
Last year, the city was able to report an unassigned fund balance of up to 25 percent of expenses despite the tax base that has not recovered from the impact of the 2009 economic collapse.
“It likely cannot recover due to the broken municipal finance system in Michigan,” he told the crowd.
Legacy costs, including pensions and health care for retirees, have increased but the city has been able to reduce that outstanding obligation while increasing the fund balance.
Burcroff stressed the solutions-oriented culture now present with city employees. He said the city was implementing creative solutions and efficiencies with a family-focused, team-based approach. He also mentioned the ratification of employee contracts with the city as a positive step in 2019.
Burcroff reminded the audience that Romulus received a five-star rating in the eCities report for the second consecutive year, making it the only downriver city to receive such recognition and just one of three cities in Wayne County to have achieved that success.
Romulus was also recognized by Southeastern Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG) for completing more square footage of development than any other city in Wayne County and the surrounding seven-county region.
There was more than $85 million in investment in the city last year with 32 new single-family residential properties. Burcroff said the new businesses opening in the city also created new jobs in the community.
Burcroff also touched on community initiatives including grant-funded park improvements in 2019 that totaled more than $100,000 and mentioned military banners installed downtown and the new cemetery gates. 
Burcroff said that the goals of the city this year include enhancements in public safety to the emergency medical dispatch and Advanced Life Support transport. He said he is hoping for improvements to sidewalks, pathways and other infrastructure systems.
Burcroff told the crowd that he wants to see “more rooftops and housing opportunities” in the city and the completion of the update to the recreation master plan including more grant-funded park improvements this year.
Burcroff reminded the audience that there were some key events scheduled for Romulus in 2020 including the grand opening of the new 34th District Court, the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the city, the 6th Annual Mayors' Ball on April 25, the Hometown Hero Awards May 14 and Relay for Life of Romulus set for Aug. 1 and 2.
His presentation was met, again this year, with loud applause.