The Sterling Heights City Council will discuss the Proposed 2021/22 City Budget during a special budget meeting beginning at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 13 at the Sterling Heights Community Center.
For the fiscal year beginning July 1, the City budget totals $230 million – a decrease of $19.5 million or 7.8% over last year. The budget funds 521 full-time positions and includes the addition of seven police officers. According to Police Chief Dale Dwojakowski, “these positions will enable the Police Department to have a larger presence in neighborhoods and commercial areas as well as the ability to focus more attention on speeding complaints. The additional manpower will also bolster community policing efforts. While the City is among the safest in the nation, we can do even better, and the additional officers will help raise the bar.” The City still has 128 fewer full-time positions than in 2008, which saves an estimated $12 million annually.
The proposed budget also includes funding for the City’s first ever full-time social worker. This position will work with City departments to address the growing societal needs related to mental wellness, drug addiction, PTSD and others. These issues impact the manner in which our police, fire, code enforcement and other departments provide services.
“Employees need to be well equipped to deal with these challenging situations, and having input from a certified social worker who collaborates regularly with agencies at the County, State and Federal level will be invaluable and further enhance the quality of life for residents that may be struggling for one reason or another,” said City Manager Mark Vanderpool.
The annual budget continues to prioritize road repair and reconstruction. The 2021/22 budget funds a total of $16.8 million toward a total investment of $105 million in major road reconstruction during the 2021 construction season. The following projects are funded in the proposed budget:
In addition, as a direct result of the renewal of the Safe Streets millage, the proposed budget includes a $5.5 million investment in neighborhood streets that will fund sectional repairs and full reconstructions of 21 local streets.
The proposed budget includes the resumption of the sidewalk gap and repair programs and includes funding for the replacement of all residential water meters - most of which are 50 years old - with new, state-of-the-art meters. The proposed budget also continues to invest in public safety.
In addition to the public safety officers proposed, funds are also budgeted to replace 19 Police vehicles. In-car cameras will be replaced in all police vehicles, and body cameras will be included with all replacements. Proposed equipment for the Fire Department includes two power load systems for EMS Transport, continued replacement of air packs and air cyllinders, and upgraded thermal imaging cameras which are critical during search and rescue operations.
“Notwithstanding a very tough year due to the pandemic crisis, Sterling Heights’ financial position is healthy and includes a sufficient fundbalance to weather any unforeseen expenditures over the next few years,” said Vanderpool. “Most importantly, a home is often a family’s or individual’s largest asset, and property values across the City are robust. The proposed budget helps maintain and grow the value of these assets by re-investing in neighborhoods with improved sidewalks, enhanced water and sewer infrastructure, more trees, improved local park amenities, increased community-oriented policing and strong code enforcement. Study after study demonstrates property values are strong in communities with low crime, ample park amenities along with trailways, green infrastructure and good roads. The City is hitting all these marks and it all adds up to an exceptional quality of life.”
The proposed City millage rate is 16.9263, representing a 0.7 mill increase, or 4%. This continues to be lower than most cities in Michigan and is one of the lowest in Macomb County.
A series of budget workshops will be held prior to the budget adoption on May 4. The workshop schedule and a copy of the proposed budget document are available under “City Budget” on the City’s website at sterling-heights.net.
All budget workshops will be held in Community Rooms 1 and 2 of the Sterling Heights Community Center, located at 40250 Dodge Park Road. All meetings will be televised live on Sterling Heights Television (SHTV) on Comcast Channel 5, WOW Channel 10 or AT&T Uverse Channel 99, and will be rebroadcast on SHTV. Meetings are available for viewing over the internet the following business day on SHTV On-Demand at sterling-heights.net.