Wednesday, April 24, 2024

State of the City address stresses cooperation


Romulus Mayor Robert McCraight presented his annual State of the City address earlier this month to an audience crowded with residents and city officials and visitors.
As usual, the Romulus Police Honor Guard opened and closed the event with the presentation and retiring of the flag. This year, Deputy City Clerk D’Sjonaun entertained the large crowd with a remarkable rendition of the national anthem. Julie Wojtlko, MCraight’s chief of staff, introduced the officials in the audience prior to the invocation by the Rev. Arthur Willis.

McCraight presented a detailed summary of the past year in the community and the list of accomplishments and successes the city has seen during the past year. He presented a graphic of five pillars of city management and explained the success Romulus and his administration have accomplished in each area during the past year.

McCraight didn’t shy away from responding to challenges the city is working to overcome. He stressed that the new 34th District Court building has been paid for by those who use the court and explained “the city does not owe money for the building. What we have to solve is the operational costs,” he told the crowd, “and we are working with the other communities who use the court to find solutions.”

“We continue to find new ways to innovate and one of those is working together with the schools,” McCraight explained as he introduced Superintendent of Schools Benjamin Edmondson to address the status of the district.

Edmondson, like McCraight, didn’t shy away from difficult situations the schools currently face and told the crowd, “Nobody deserves your trust if they’re not going to be truthful and transparent with you.” He stressed the importance of communication with the schools and urged residents to make an effort to become informed.

McCraight solidly agreed with Edmondson regarding the importance of the city and the school district working in concert to solve problems.

“We’ve got a lot of things we’re trying to change in this city, but if schools aren’t coming along and going with us, it’s going to continue to pull us down,” McCraight said. “I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been with an economic development person who wants to develop in our community who makes the decision based on the schools.”

McCraight referenced the new state program dedicated to developing workforce housing and explained that Romulus has 3,000 acres available. He discussed the growing use of technology in nearly every city department, including the police and ordinance enforcement. The mayor also noted the difficulty across the county in recruiting police officers and explained that issue is also one the community is working to alleviate.

The mayor ended his address by presenting the first Ambassador Award from the city designed to recognize a group or individual who presents a positive image of Romulus outside the community. This year, the initial award was presented to the Romulus Flyers, a youth football league.

As has become his usual closing, McCraight thanked his wife, Kendra, but rather than his presentation of flowers to her, this year he opted for a Harley Davidson gift basket and noted with a smile that she has recently taken up cycling, joining him in his off-duty hobby.