Welcome to the official Blog for the City of Flint, Michigan

Monday, November 23, 2009

Real and Raw: Flint Youth Talk About Violence With Mayor Dayne Walling

Friday afternoon Mayor Dayne Walling sat down with about 25 or 30 youth at Joy Tabernacle Church on Flint's north side. In the group was a grieving son and a grieving daughter-both of whom had lost their mothers to gun violence in a triple homicide that also took the life of another person. These two sat quiet for the most part, not having much to say. But, the rest of the group was very vocal about violence, and why so many youth are committing crimes.

During the conversation it was learned that a lot of the violence has to do with what what "hood" you are from and retaliation. They say more opportunities: recreational and employment is one way to help stem the violence and save their lives. These youth are also crying out for adults that care, and encourage them. Most of of them believe society has written them off and no one cares about their outcomes good or bad.

I left the discussion wanting to do more to help restore and repair, and heal the brokenness that so many of the young people in the community are experiencing.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Join Us For Neighborhood Action

Flint Mayor Dayne Walling and key members of his staff will host their fifth Neighborhood Action Sessions (NAS) Ward Meeting tonight in the 8th Ward.
More than 200 residents have come out so far for NAS meetings in wards 1, 2, 4, and 5. We hope to see a large number of 8th ward residents tonight at the Zimmerman Center, 2421 Corunna Road at 5:30 p.m.

NAS ward meetings are designed to allow residents the opportunity to help guide the deployment of limited city resources in ways that best meet their needs and desires. In addition, residents will, by ward, help identify ways to build upon our community assets while developing and implementing solutions to address our challenges. Our goal is to work together, city hall and citizens, to create a prosperous and vibrant community. It’s all a part of the Mayor’s vision to create a 21st century sustainable city that includes new jobs, safe neighborhoods, and great schools.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Mayor Walling Marks His 100th Day In Office

Working Together Toward A 21st Century Sustainable City

The first 100 days of Mayor Dayne Walling
August 6, 2009-November 13, 2009

As I mark my 100th day in office as Mayor of the City of Flint, I reflect back on election night when I promised residents a new direction of positive change for Flint. My success or failure for delivering on this promise cannot be fully measured in 100 days, but 100 days provides a good indication of where we are headed.

We have begun the process of rebuilding our great City of Flint through the cooperation and teamwork of my administration, City council, City employees and our many community partners. There are still many challenges: unemployment is above 25%, public safety threats persist, and blight infests too many of our neighborhoods. Through these toughest of times, however, the City of Flint is moving forward. In this first 100 days of my administration it is clear that transformative change has started. We can present a few highlights of accomplishments:

• Our police have made more than 940 arrests, and we have secured funds for an added 14 officers and opened a police mini-station at Haskell Community Center;
• We have responded to more than 1,000 constituent requests through the Mayor’s Office, Human Relations and other City departments;
• We have demolished more than 100 abandoned houses and an uninhabitable 45-unit apartment structure;
• We received a total of $230 million in local investments from General Motors for Chevy Volt production, retaining hundreds of Flint’s jobs;
• We have saved the City’s taxpayers more than $4 million dollars through financial cost savings and recovery.

In addition to these accomplishments, our City employees continue to deliver high quality, core services to all city residents in the areas of: fire protection and prevention, public safety, weekly garbage pick-up, customer service, community/senior center operation and maintenance, and the delivery of clean and safe drinking water.

We have made significant progress in the first 100 days of my administration, but there are many tough challenges ahead. We are facing a more than $2 million cut in revenue sharing from the state this fiscal year. In effort to balance our budget we have to find cost savings on every front. As my team works through these very difficult decisions our goal remains to balance our budget while preserving jobs and continuing to provide quality services to our residents.

I have assembled a diverse leadership team that is dedicated to the betterment of the community and its residents. This team, including the expert City Administrator Gregory Eason, along with our City workers and City Council, is the new engine driving transformative change in the City of Flint. Together we are working toward a 21st Century Sustainable City with new jobs, safe neighborhoods and great schools.

It is a pleasure to serve such a diverse community of seniors, families, college students, and young professionals. Most are life long residents and have seen this community through its prosperity, its pain, and now it’s potential of a rebirth. With all of us working together we can have the community that we all desire and deserve.

Attached is a full report of my administration’s first 100 days accomplishments. Trust that we will all continue to work every day for you in all of our future days.
This is our Flint: Forever Strong and Proud.

Dayne Walling, Mayor
City of Flint

100 Days: Full Report
Under Mayor Walling’s leadership, every City of Flint department has worked during the past 100 days to provide high quality services to every part of the city while finding cost savings and doing business in new ways. The following are highlights of the accomplishments by the administration’s professional and diverse leadership team, under the supervision of City Administrator Gregory Eason, which has worked with City employees, the union leadership, and members of the Flint City Council. Working together, great progress has been made towards making Flint a 21st Century sustainable city.

Public Safety
• Arrested 941 persons, including 145 juveniles, for crimes committed in the city ranging from homicide to theft
• Secured funding for 14 police officers (8 through U.S. Department of Justice Community Oriented Policing Services COPS grant, 6 through the Community Renewal Task Force grant in partnership with Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton)
• Opened a new police neighborhood station in the 2nd Ward at Haskell Community Center (6 neighborhood stations are now open and operating)
• Organized effort with 150 volunteer crime fighters to reduce Devil’s Night fires and to make arrests resulting in one of the safest Halloween periods in Flint’s recent history

Neighborhood Services
• Over 100 demolitions were performed on residential properties
• Demolition of first commercial property, a 45 unit uninhabitable apartment complex on Pierson Road
• Issued 1425 tickets for weed and /or trash abatement
• Performed 222 rental property inspections
• Removed 97 dead trees throughout the city
• Cleaned up north end mini-station Ward 1 at the corner of MLK Ave. and Bishop

• Completed 56 neighborhood clean-ups
• Resurfaced 6.5 miles of road
• Repaired 426 squares of sidewalks
• Repaired 43 main breaks
• Cleaned approximately 100,000 feet of sewers
• Repaired 88 sewers

Green Initiatives
• Started a pilot scale (55-gallon) sludge digester in conjunction with Kettering University and Swedish Biogas International and produced biogas of 53% methane
• Created central compost conversion at Chevy In the Hole and will save $500,000 a year
• Re-introduced recycling at City Hall
• Engaged local, state and national organizations in new green projects
• Received $1,017,500 in grants to fund the Kettering trail extension which connects Kettering University and UM-Flint
• Utilized $1,147,900 from the U.S. Department of Energy to develop and implement a community energy strategy

Open Doors For Business & Development
• 50 new jobs added in downtown Flint with the opening of 501 Bar and Grill
• 84 jobs retained with the new FedEx Intermodal operation at Bishop Airport
• 20+ jobs retained with the opening the new Social Security Office on Carpenter Road
• $230 million in investments from General Motors for the Chevrolet Volt production
• Assisted in the groundbreaking of Witherbees Market in downtown Flint, project expected to create more than a half dozen jobs
• Completed the Brownfield Redevelopment Plan for the construction of the Internal Revenue Services building in Smith Village in spring 2010
• Approximately 75 small business owners attended an Open For Business forum co-hosted with the Genesee Regional Chamber of Commerce and other partners to learn more about the resources and assistance available to local businesses and entrepreneurs
• Hosted City of Flint Vendor Forum providing information for approximately 90 business owners who are interested in becoming a vendor or supplier
• Initiated performance-based contracts with measurable outcomes for community development programs
• Met with Dr. Edward J. Montgomery, Director of Recovery for Auto Communities and Workers, and acquired assistance with remediation of Buick City property
• Hosted U.S. Senator Levin and Assistant Secretary of the Army, and received commitment for the Hamilton Dam and the de-channelization of the Flint River
• Established dialogue with Kettering University, University of Michigan-Flint, Mott Community College, Baker College, Michigan State University and Hurley Hospital regarding economic and community development
• Participated in the Genesee Global Intermodal Corridor Initiative through the Genesee Regional Chamber of Commerce
• Utilized resources for community enhancements through Michigan’s Cities Of Promise initiative

Financial Cost Savings & Additional Revenues
• Settlement of the 9 year old Driskil sewer suits against the city involving 150 plaintiffs for a savings of approximately $2 million
• Resolved 300 personnel grievance cases, some dating back to 1979, for more than
$1 million in savings
• Hired additional city attorney to help reduce reliance on outside counsel with a cost savings of $100,000 annually for the city
• Obtained Medicare Part D rebates of $860,300
• Initiated 49 recovery claims against third parties for damages to City property has recovered $11,146
• Reorganized Finance and Budget Departments, including elimination of the Budget Director position at a savings of $143,000
• 5 percent pay reduction for Mayor Walling and 13 appointees resulting in a $70,000 savings this budget year
• Implemented federal stimulus and grant funds including:
o $1,763,839 for Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-housing
o $1,430,012 Justice Assistance Grant for equipment/police cars
o $4,224,621 for Neighborhood Stabilization Program
o $1,153,340 for Community Development Block Grant Recovery

Citizen Engagement
• Mayor’s office has completed more than 350 citizen service requests through response of City departments
• Hosted Neighborhood Action sessions in four wards (1, 2, 4, 5) with more than 150 total residents participating
• Scheduled sessions for remaining wards and will be completed on December 16
• Assisted 66 tenants and landlords in resolving housing disputes
• Assisted 3 residents in resolving conflicts through the Justice Without Walls program
• Assisted 111 families in retaining water service
• Assisted 28 families in retaining electrical/gas service
• Made approximately 200 citizen referrals to other community resource agencies
• Had 185 residents register for People’s Law School including 27 subjects taught by 37 volunteer faculty members

Public and Private Partnerships
• Worked with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to resolve several outstanding issues dating back to 1999 regarding incomplete projects and potential disallowed costs
• Collaborating with Genesee County and business leaders to produce a regional Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy for the U.S. Department of Commerce
• Met with senior staff members of the Obama administration at the White House for discussions about key issues affecting Flint
• Facilitated regular meetings with Congressional and State legislative staff
• Mayor has met personally with our Congressional and State Delegation to discuss Flint’s needs and request support for key projects – Sen. Levin, Sen. Stabenow, Congressman Kildee, Sen. Gleason, Rep. Stanley and Rep. Gonzales
• Mayor has met with Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm to discuss Flint’s needs and challenges
• Established on-going dialogue with faith leaders in the community
• Utilized grant funds and technical assistance from the C.S. Mott Foundation, Ruth Mott Foundation, and the Community Foundation of Greater Flint
• Initiated relationship with Flint School’s Superintendent Linda Thompson

Government Transparency
• Mayor provides daily updates on Twitter
• Established standing weekly press briefing
• Implemented City blog
• Implemented once a week Mayor’s Open Door
• Established communication with City employees through frequent e-mail updates
• Holding weekly meetings with members of City Council to discuss reorganization and resolutions

These accomplishments would not be possible without the dedication and hard work of every city employee, the union leadership, Flint City Council, members of boards and commissions, many dedicated public and private partners, community volunteers, and the administration’s leadership (in alphabetical order):

Dayne Walling, Mayor
Gregory Eason, City Administrator
Tracy Atkinson, DCED/Major Grants
Peter Bade, City Attorney
Doug Bingaman, Treasurer
Arnold Brown, Sanitation Supervisor
Mike Brown, Water Svc. Center Supervisor
Bob Erlenbeck, Risk Management
William Fowler, Assessments
Patrick Gerace, Neighborhood Services Director
Dawn Jones, Communications Director
Derrick Jones, Purchasing Director
Alvern Lock, Public Safety Director & Chief of Police
Cleora Magee, Acting Human Relations Director
Rhoda Matthews, Citizen Services Director
Tom McCabe, Public Works Director
Steve Montle, Green Cities Coordinator
Kay Muhammad, Trans. and Dev. Superintendent
Maxine Murray, Mayor’s Administrative Assistant
Donna Poplar, Human Resources Director
David Solis, Director of Governmental Policy
Stephen Todd, 9-1-1 Administrator
Michael Townsend, Finance and Budget Director
June Urdy, Receptionist/Administrative Assistant
Dandre Williams, Fire Chief

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veterans Day Flag Ceremony

Today is Veterans Day, when we pause to recognize the contributions and the sacrifices of America's men and women of the Armed Services.

This year on Veterans Day in the City of Flint, Mayor Walling will have the flags atop the three flagpoles on the lawn of city hall replaced. The worn and tattered flags will be lowered and removed and new flags will be raised and attached to the flagpoles. The city will replace the US Flag, State Flag and City of Flint Flag.

The Flag ceremony will be conducted by Commander Michael Robinson and the NJROTC unit from Flint Northwestern High School.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Flint Is Open For Business

City Of Flint will host free Vendor Forum for suppliers and vendors interested in contracting with the city.

The City of Flint’s Department of Purchases and Supplies is hosting a Vendor Forum. The forum will be held Tuesday, November 10, 2009 from 10 a.m. until Noon in the City Council Chambers on the 3rd floor of City Hall, 1101 South Saginaw Street. The purpose of the forum is to provide information about how to do business with the city.

Participants can expect to learn: the process of submitting an application to do business with the City of Flint, how the purchasing department processes requests for goods and services, what goods and services the city regularly procures, and how to utilize stimulus dollars in the community.

Registration for this event is free. For more information or to pre-register log on to our website at www.cityofflint.com/purchasing or visit the Department of Purchases and Supplies on the 3rd floor of City Hall, 1101 South Saginaw Street. Participants can also register on-site the day of the event.

Leading By Example

On Wednesday, November 4, Flint Mayor Dayne Walling took a bold step toward toward balancing the city's budget. Mayor Walling signed an executive order cutting his salary and the salaries of his 13 appointees by 5 percent.

This 5 percent salary reduction comes in the wake of an 11 percent revenue sharing cut to municipalities in the 2009/2010 state budget.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Greening Of Chevy In The Hole

Photo Courtesy of Jean Johnson/Flint Journal
Mayor Walling and son Bennett watch as first leaves are dumped at Chevy In The Hole.
The city begins first phase of brownfield reclamation project at Flint’s Chevy In The Hole.

Flint Mayor Dayne Walling and City of Flint Green Cities Coordinator Steve Montle announced a new program today involves bringing leaf and yard compost into Chevy In The Hole for brownfield reclamation at the site. The leaf and yard compost will be used to form the cap and green space for a future park.

This new process will provide a significant savings to the city. “We currently pay $300,000.00 a year to have our leaves and compost taken away and an additional $400,000.00 to have top soil brought in to backfill demolition sites,” said Green Cities Coordinator Steve Montle. “By filling in Chevy In The Hole with our leaf and yard compost it is expected to save the city a half million dollars a year, while at the same time moving us one step closer to repurposing that site as a park and green space for the community.”

Last month U.S. Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) and Jo-Ellen Darcy, the Assistant Secretary of the Army spent the day in Flint discussing Chevy In The Hole and The Hamilton Dam. The two were taken on a tour of both sites to assess their current condition and determine what it would take to move the projects forward.

Mayor Dayne Walling has been notified by the Army Corps that both Chevy In The Hole and The Hamilton Dam are being placed under 216 authority. This designation places the two sites in the Army Corps general budget.

The Army Corps of Engineers will spend a year planning and determining cost of repair of the dam and remediation of Chevy In The Hole. The cost had been previously estimated at $14 million dollars. Under the 216 authority the Army Corps will pay for 75% of the project, and the city will pay 25% of the cost.

The project is expected to take up to 4 years to complete.

Halloween One Of The Safest In Years In The City Of Flint

The tide is turning in Flint as the city records one of it's safest Halloween periods in recent memory. Flint Firefighters responded to a total of 6 fires from 5 p.m. October 30Th through 3 a.m. November 1st. In 2008 on the night before Halloween the city responded to 14 fires. There were more than 50 percent fewer fires for that same period this year.

Mayor Dayne Walling credits this success to the more than 150 volunteers who manned the city's police mini-stations and helped police patrol the streets.

The night before Halloween fires peaked in 1994 when there were nearly 200 fires.

Mayor Walling and Family Join Hundreds At Annual Halloween Party At Mott Community College

Mott Community College in Flint hosted it's annual free community Halloween party on Friday, October 30, 2009. The event drew hundreds of children and families from across the greater Flint area. The party included: candy bags for the children, costume contest, haunted house, and many other activities. It was a great family event.

Mayor Walling attended the party with his wife and two sons.