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State of the City

Good evening. It is my privilege to welcome you to

Tonights Show - the Rochester Hills State of the
City Address.
Look at this crowd! Wow. Hot Crowd. Very Hot
Crowd tonight. Well Ladies and gentleman we have
a great show for you this evening and we are so glad
you have chosen to join us here in Theater 9 tonight
in the heart of RH!!. Are you guys ready to have a
good time tonight?
I think this is probably the first SOTC anywhere
with a live band! Thank you guys.Darell is the
man over thereyou guys ready to have some fun
tonight. Give it up for one of Metro Detroits hottest
bands Hotsauce ladies and gentleman!
Mayors Monolague
Ladies and gentleman we have a great show for you
tonight. Shes a graduate from the University of
Carrolton in Toronto with a Degree in Law. She a
mother, wife, and CEO who just opened her second

business in RH this year. If you want Timbits in this

town, you have to go through her Ladies and
gentlemen RH Tim Hortons franchise owner Anita
Saini (san-eye) is on the program tonight!

He was elected last fall to serve in the United States

Senate. He has served as a US Congressman, lottery
commissioner and most importantly..as a city
councilman in the City of Rochester Hills. Senator
Gary Peters is on the show tonight.
Now we are absolutely thrilled to have on the stage
tonight and performing for you, a former Rochester
Community Schools student and resident and the
current 2014 WDIV Super Singer Champion and
recording artist, Kenny Nelson as our musical guest
We also have some special guest appearances by
TruTVs Les and Seth Gold and many other
surprises along the way so get ready for an amazing

You picked a great night as we have an absolutely

hot show for you. Ladies and gentleman.give it up
for Hotsauce! (return to desk)

Well to put on a great show like this you need a

great team and let me tell you we couldnt do it
without some fantastic partners. You know its
already Wednesdayand on Wednesday I like to
catch up on my mail, return some emails and write
out some Thank You notes.
Since Im a little bit behind this week, I hope its all
right, but I went ahead and wrote out some of my
Thank You notes in a little segment we call, well, we
call it Thank you Notes. Take a look.
Now there are certainly some other folks that need
to be mentioned tonight and a thank you note just
wont due.
I am so very blessed to be joined by many members
of my amazing family tonight including the citys
most incredible grandparents, Duane and Darlene
Justin who just recently celebrated their 62 wedding

anniversary (Grab pic from FB). Love you guys.

My sister Andrea and brothers (Chris and Matthew)
are my closest friends and I love you guys dearly.
Lately we have been hitting the trivia circuit and I
dont want to brag.but The Barnett Bunch
finally broke through in dramatic come from behind
fashion and won our first trivia contest and with it
split the $25 gift card three ways. I am grateful for
my siblings love and support.
I am also very blessed to have the incredible support
of my mom who encourages, critiques, prays for and
loves me endlessly. And the awesome support of my
step dad and in-laws are all so very important in my
However, there are three people I adore most--who
have been a part of every day of the last 9 incredible
years I have been blessed to be your Mayor. My
beautiful wife Corrin, and our two sons, 5th grader
Kenneth and 4th grader Tristan. These three are the
reason I love getting up every morning. We have
had many amazing adventures as a family and I am
so blessed to come home to these crazy smiles every
night. I have to share a recent story that sums up the

fun we have. Tristans elementary class came

through on the 4th grade tour of city hall last month.
He told me the night before that it would be fun to
wear matching shirts so we started the tour like
this.and then ripped off our shirts and spent the
rest of the time answering questions about what
being a Mayor and what being the Mayors son is
really all about wearing matching Captain America
shirts of course! It was one of my favorite moments
as Mayor. I would like Corrin and my boys to
please stand and be recognized. Love you guys.
I also want to thank a team of people that deserve an
enormous amount of credit for the tremendous news
you will be hearing tonight. And that is our
leadership team. My 11 Department Directors and
immediate office team form the core of our
administration and have been so wonderfully
innovative, creative, and focused on serving our
residents. Id like to ask my directors and Mayors
office team to please stand and be recognized.
Friends, we have a great community and youre
going to hear a lot about that this evening. You
know, when you have a well-run community, you

can usually trace that back to innovative and

engaged leadership and our region has just that!
I would like to recognize the elected leaders here
tonight and have them stand. Please hold your
applause till all have been recognized.
Tonight I want to specifically recognize my
colleagues on the Rochester Hills City Council.
They are a dedicated team of intelligent and selfless
volunteers who desire the very best for our city.
They are so integral to our success that they each
deserve an award. You remember back in high
school when they used to give out those most likely
to succeed and class clown awards? Well we are
going to hand out some award this evening in a little
segment we call
Tonight Show Superlatives
Friends, Rochester Hills is absolutely on a roll! In
fact, I think you would be hard pressed to find a

time in our history where we have enjoyed such

across the board success, and we have been around
for some time. In fact, our roots go .
All the way back to March 17, 1817 to be exact.
When James Graham first settled in Avon Township.
198 years ago almost to the day. Brooksyou
remember. Times were differentor were they.
Sure there was less traffic and not as many
Walgreens or Starbucks..but families still
gathered to share a meal and talk about the days
activities. Parents worked hard to provide
opportunities for their children. Our community
continues to celebrate education and freedom, and
has always loved the outdoors. In many respects
those key founding attributes are still visible in
todays Rochester Hills.

And over the past 198 years, more and more

families, businesses, friends and visitors have come
to know and love what our community is all about.
While not always stated as such, it is clear that our
communitys long standing guiding principle has

been to be the preeminent place to live, work and

raise your family, and for decades the leaders of this
community have carefully charted our course.
From sending every eligible young man to fight in
World War 1 as our little Stoney Creek Village did
in 1918 to the tinkering the Dodge Brothers did over
at Meadowbrook a few years later, to the cutting
edge robots FANUC creates on Hamlin Road today,
our city has grown and changed with the times.
From those humble beginnings, Rochester Hills is
now the 15th largest city in the state of Michigan.
And tonight, our show is going to celebrate our
leadership and innovation and the many people both
responsible for and impacted by our cities success.
We have a great show tonight and we are just
getting started. Local Business woman and CEO
Anita Sanai is here..Senator Gary Peters is on the
show. Musical guest Kenny Nelson is in the
house.Hotsauce is hereand we will be right
back after these messages.

And we are back. We are here tonight in Rochester

Hills for a very special evening in a very special city.
We left just before the break talking about the
incredible growth here in Rochester Hills and a
deeper dive into the numbers certainly bear out that
something really special is going on here
Now traditionally, I always tend to lead with these
housing statistics because they are, in my opinion,
some of the most important we have. These are
really the building blocks for any community. New
families putting kids in our schools, helping support
our nonprofits and demanding new services from
our retailers and businesses.

Each year, hundreds of new home buyers make the

pilgrimage to city hall and to my office to pick up a
welcome packet. We decided to ask one of these new
residents, who actually just purchased their first
home in RH, to tell us why they chose our city and
what their first impression has been. Please allow
me to introduce you to.. the McKean Family

(Interview with first time homeowner in RH)

A new family and some cool new accents. A double

bonus! Well, Pete and his family were joined by
many other new residents as last year we had our
highest total of building permits since 2007and
among those new permits, were nearly 90 for new
And those new homes they moved into.well those
new homes averaged a construction cost of nearly
$490,000 meaning they sold for closer to $600,000,
representing a significant investment in our
community and lots of new neighborhoods that I
just simply cant afford!

The housing market in general has come roaring

back. Realtors are reporting bidding wars for
Rochester Hills homes with many buyers paying
more than the asking price. Property values
increased on average over 11% this year with some
neighborhoods up as much as 25%! The market in
our city is as hot as Greg Kampe on a losing streak!

In fact, the Oakland Press reported that Rochester

Hills led all of our neighbors in home value increases
in 2014 and NerdWallet.com recently reported that
we were in the top 50 in the nation in terms of home
value increases! Top 50 in the nation!
Congratulations are also in order to our friends in
Rochester who were in the top 20 in that same
category..well done. Now, while I dont want to
spend much time on any of the communities that we
beat.. I will share that one of them again..was
Orion Township.
Total building permits were up 10% and building
department revenue up nearly 30%. We currently
have nearly 700 additional lots, site condos and
apartments scheduled for 2015 as well as over
500,000 square feet of new development under
construction with the new Holiday Inn Express,
three senior living facilities and several retail centers
taking shape as we speak. We are on a roll!
In total, the new construction value added to our
community last year was $128 million up a total of


$52 million or 68% from 2013! Thats right.a

68% increase in investment!
New homes, increased sales, higher valuesyes, in
Rochester Hills, when we talk about housing we
truly have many reasons to be toot our own horn!
That optimism, in the past however, has been
dampened by the foreclosure epidemic in America
And it certainly touched Rochester Hills. But our
economic recovery has reversed that trend and
dramatically improved our foreclosure numbers
from 352 in 2010 to just 49 in 2014. A decrease of
nearly 86% over the past 4 years. Simply an
amazing recovery!
Perhaps the item however, that is most to credit for
our continued status as a desirable community to
live in, is the number of high quality, high paying
jobs available to our residents.

As most of you know, this mission is very personal

and passionate for me. I believe most community
issues can be solved by a good paying job.

And because of that, we spend an incredible amount

of time working to attract and retain, the good high
paying, technology based jobs of the future.
I am proud to report tonight that this focused
approach and strategy continues to pay dividends
for our residents. In 2014, 9 brand new, high tech
companies were welcomed into Rochester Hills and
with them over 250 new jobs and over $25 million in
new investment.
AdduXi, a French based company that provides
high end plastic injection molded components to the
automotive industry. They choose Rochester Hills
for their first ever US location and have began
hiring 25 highly skilled employees immediately.
INZI is another international company which chose
Rochester Hills for their first US location. INZI is a
South Korean based company that manufactures
thermostat housing assembly units. They grabbed a
building on Technology Drive and anticipate
creating 70 jobs over the next 24 months.

These are just a couple quick examples of the global

impact we are experiencing and the innovations
flourishing in Rochester Hills.

So why are people so interested in starting a business

here in RH? Ladies and gentleman, my first guest
tonight is ANITA SAINI (SAN-EYE) the owner and
CEO of the cities two new Tim Hortons restaurants.
Anita loves to cook, read mystery novels, and get
guests through her drive thru in under 60 seconds.
After waiting several years for the right location,
Anita and her husband Ravinder chose RH and then,
just a year laterchose RH again for their second
location. She comes from a family of entrepreneurs
and is a busy lady but we are going out to visit her
right now at her newest location on Crooks road.
Anitacan you hear me.Good evening and thanks
for joining us.
With a community of nearly 75,000 residents, we
must have a wide variety of jobs for our diverse
workforce. By partnering with the Chamber of
Commerce, weve welcomed many other new
businesses to our community this year as well. Take

a look at this short video welcoming a few of our

newest partners(Ribbon Cutting Video)
Thank you to all of the new members of our business
family for investing here and making last year such
a resounding success. Lets give them a round of
Last year we were again awarded by the University
of Michigan the ECities Entrepreneurial award
scoring 5 out of 5 starsthe highest ranking of the
83 communities participating. This award aptly
recognizes the way in which we foster an
environment where entrepreneurs can flourish as
Michael Symon Anita Saini (San-eye) noted.
We will, and must, continue to be aggressive and
innovative in our engagement of business leaders
and companies as competition abounds.
With that in mind, Last year we introduced a new
partnership between the City of Rochester Hills and
Google to help support our local businesses called
Rochester Hills Get Your Business

Online. This unique arrangement allowed RH

businesses to get a free website, domain name, web
hosting and access to educational resources
absolutely free.
This past year I was proud to introduce our latest
effort to help our business community while helping
our areas top students as well. The Mayors Talent
Initiative was launched and its the epitome of a
community win-win.

Heres how it works..by now you are familiar with

the Mayors Business Council. A group I formed
just months after becoming Mayor. This self-funded
organization of our cities top CEOs meets to
provide the city with business insight and feedback.

They also have formed great partnerships and now

help us recruit their suppliers and customers to our
region in a unique way benefiting both the city and
our business community.

As we meet, we often ask how we can assist our job

creators in growing their business. Lately, their
challenge has been finding and attracting top talent.
Well, enter a little bit of innovation and some great
work by the Planning and Economic Development
team and the Mayors Talent Initiative was born.
We work with Oakland University and Rochester
College and asked them to send us their best and
brightest students. We give these couple of students
a few minutes at the beginning of each MBC
meeting to pitch themselves and their skills. The
companies can then offer them full time jobs,
internships or anything in between. It was a
beautiful success almost immediately as the first
student to participate from Rochester College,
Maria was hired by Sanyo Machine, just a few
addresses down on Avon Road, right after our first

We found, as a city, a valuable role.to connect top

talent with our businesses searching for it. Saves

them time and money and keeps your kids and

grandkids in our community. That, my friends, is
an innovative win-win!
You see our motto is simplewe dont want to be in
your businesswe shouldnt be, but if there is a way
we can support you and help it grow, thats a role we
can and will play.
The bottom line is simple and our strategy is
working. We are bringing companies, creating jobs,
and our residents are benefiting.
Ladies and gentleman, since the start of my
administration, we have welcomed over 87 new high
tech companies, created and retained over 9,400
high tech jobs and nearly 210 million in new

In our technology parks, where 11,000 people go to

work each morning. Our vacancy rates are just
5.3%...the lowest in a decade.


And our unemployment rate, well thats another

point of tremendous pride. In fact, I would like a
little help with this if you dont mind. We want to
engage the studio audience in the first ever
interactive State of the City.
Grab those keypads you have and take a look on the
screen. I want you to guess what number you think
represents the city of Rochester Hills current
unemployment rate. On the screen you will see a
series of numbers representing different areas
unemployment rates. If you think the city of RH
unemployment rate is 5.6%...Press 1. 6.6% Press 2.
3.2% Press 3 and so on You have 10 seconds to
make your selection . GO!
And (Drum roll please) .there is the audiences
guess. And here is the answer along with the rates
for the other numbers
o Michigan- 5.6%
o US- 6.1%
o Oakland County- 5.5%
o Athens, Greece -25.8%

o Rochester Hills- 3.2%

Most economists consider anything less than 5% full
employment. Ours, ladies and gentlemen, stands at
just 3.2%, the lowest in Rochester Hills since 2008,
the lowest in Oakland County and the 2nd lowest in
the entire state of Michigan. (Applause)
Thanks for your help and your obvious confidence
in the unemployment numbers. Friends, I will
never, ever, ever get tired of repeating a statistic like
And speaking of Michiganmy next guest is quite a
subject matter expert on the topic. He has held
many elected positions representing the people of
our state. Currently he is Michigans junior
Senator but what everybody should really care
about.he got his start as a city councilmember for
the city of Rochester Hills. I am very pleased to be
joined tonight by Senator Gary Peters. Senator
welcome to the program.
Senator Peters interview.

So the numbers are overwhelming and undeniable.

Residents & businesses are flocking to Rochester
Hills and we think we know why.

For many, we know its a combination of access to a

talented and educated workforce, a business friendly
environment, and our world famous low tax rate
among cities in Oakland County.
Of course, our educated workforce is an exceptional
advantage on many fronts. With nearly 50% of our
population holding Bachelors degrees and nearly a
quarter with Masters Degrees, our residents are
tech savvy and prepared for the knowledge based
jobs we are attracting.
And with two outstanding institutions of higher
learning like Oakland University and Rochester
College, we are perfectly positioned to remain the
educational epicenter of our region.
Take for instance, Oakland University, my alma
mater, and the 2ndlargest employer in our City. Now

with over 20,000 students, over 100,000 alumni, and

260 degree and certificate programs,
O.U has quickly become a national playerwith a
little itty bitty piece of their parking lot in Auburn
The OU William Beaumont School of Medicine is
now in its 4th year and boasts 225 of the nations
brightest minds. These students were selected from
thousands of world wide applications. And, just last
month the school was granted full five year
accreditation by the Liaison Committee on Medical
Education a tremendous accomplishment. Once
fully integrated, the Medical School is projected to
have a billion dollar impact on our local & regional
economy and is single handedly reversing the brain
drain in our region.

Last year the campus welcomed new President Dr.

George Hynd and Dr. Hynd has hit the ground
running. Under his leadership the campus continues
to grow and reach into the community to strengthen
its ties with Rochester Hills and to increase the way
in which our two organizations support each other.

In his spare time he mostly cuts ribbons as he did

last year on the new engineering building, new
parking deck, new on campus housing, and my
favorite, the new bell tower!
Dr. Hynd is my guest here tonight and I would like
to ask him to please stand and be recognized.
And just down the road, Rochester College
continues to grow as well. They also have
experienced record breaking enrollment as new
incoming students have increased by 68% over the
last 6 years.
My friend Dr. Tyson has been wonderfully engaged
and supportive in growing the ties between the
college and the City since his arrival. As you know
he loves telling people he is from Texas which leads
us to a little part of our show where we weigh the
good with the bad in a segment called Pros and Cons.


Pros: In Michigan we have Fort Michilimackinac

(Mich-la-Mackinaw) with beautiful view of the
Mackinaw Straits.
Cons: In Texas you have the Alamo with a beautiful
view of Fast Eddies bar.
Pros: If Michiganders want to cross the
international border they need only $3.50.
Cons: If Texans want to cross the international
border they need a firearm, a prevailing wind from
the North and swim goggles.

Pro: Michigan has given us Henry Ford, Thomas

Edison and Charles Lindbergh.
Con: While Texas has given us Bonnie and Clyde
and Anna Nichole Smith
Con: In an older more obscure law, in Texas its
illegal to have unusual haircuts:
Pro: In Michigan your Haircut Dr. Tyson is totally

Ladies and gentlemanPros and Cons

Recognize Dr. Tyson if he is there
In short, both OU & Rochester College play an
important role in our cities success and all 3 of our
organizations are truly thriving.

At the end of the day however, what really separates

our community from the hundreds that surround us,
are the quality of life amenities we enjoy in
Rochester Hills.
Its the world class senior services provided by the
OPC which last year not only served 120,000 meals
but provided over 53,000 rides for people in our
Its the fantastic Rochester Hills Public Library.
Now last year I gave the library a bit of a hard time
by showing the process for one to return a book with
the old drop off windowyou might remember this
video footage. (SHOW LAST YEARS VIDEO)

Well, after seeing that video my friend and Library

Director Christine Hage pledged to change it and
embarked on a $1.5 Million construction plan to
improve itfunded mostly by my families late fees.
The project does a couple other things toobut who
cares.as long as it fixes that drop off window it
will be worth it!

The OPC and Library are two great examples, but

we know there are literally hundreds of
organizations and groups that contribute to
improving the daily lives of our residents, like the
Rochester Area Neighborhood House, Blessings in a
Backpack and our incredible CERT Team. We truly
are grateful for their impact in Rochester Hills.
Lets give all of our non-profits a round of applause.

And lets not forget our top ranked school systems.

We are blessed to have such outstanding districts
that not only prioritize our communitys greatest

assetsour children, but also are consistently

ranked as some of the best in the state.
Ladies and Gentlemen, a great city has great schools
and over the years, we have stood beside our schools
to support them when they have needed it most.
Last Fall, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, who
incidentally won a write in campaign for Mayor,
(pause) he and I participated in a joint SEMCOG
press conference about the importance of our public
schools. Take a look.
Ladies and Gentlemen, without solid high
functioning school districts nearly everything else
Im mentioning tonight really doesnt matter. I
want to thank the hardworking teachers, students,
(PICS) superintendents, School boards and all of the
support staffs who make learning in RH such a
bedrock principal. Lets give them a round of


Which leads me to tonights musical guest. We are

so excited to have a local guy who grew up in the
community and attended the Rochester Community
Schools here to perform with us tonight. Kenny
Nelson is a rising star in the Metro Detroit music
scene. He rocketed to local prominence after
winning the WDIV Fireworks Sing Off last year.
Hes opened for Jordan Knight and the Beach Boys
and has worked as a session singer for the popular
Fox show Glee His latest project drops this
summer and hes here tonight performing an
original song called Heartbeat

Please join me in

welcoming Kenny Nelson! (HIT STOP ON

Bryan joins him on stage with CD and thanks
Kenny for performingand we will be right back.

So, at my last State of the City Address, I promised

that 2014 would be a year of investment in our parks

and introduced the idea of the community garden,

the reuse of the 1827 Calf Barn, and the exciting
announcement of the development of Riverbend
Park. Ladies and gentlemanpromises made
promises kept!
The community garden has been a huge hit and this
year we are hoping to add a second location to try
and address the waiting list of residents for the first
garden. Take a look at some of these awesome
statistics. 50% ate more vegetables. 40% donated
all, or a portion, of their produce to the food pantry
and look at some of these comments from our
gardeners. This project has been a major success!

The Calf Barn, Michigans 2014 Barn of the Year by

the way, is nearing the completion of its final phase
completely funded by donations provided by our
generous community. The Calf Barn will now be

available year round and is already completely

booked for this year and well into next. Another
major success!
And Riverbend Park. . This is truly a wonderful
story and my personal passion at the moment. Most
of you know we reached out to our friends at
Lawrence Tech Universitys Graduate Land Use
Planning class who spent the semester researching,
dreaming and exploring the park. They put those
dreams on
paper and submitted them to the city along with
sketches, charrettes and models. Those models were
placed around city hall for the exact purpose of
igniting a passion and vision for implementation.
And thats exactly what has happened.
A very generous donor was moved by the ideas and
pledged a $1 million dollar donation to get things
We then received word that this project was selected
as one of 8 nationally to be submitted to the Mayors

Institute of City Design late last year. I was asked to

pitch the park to some of the nations foremost
authorities on landscape architecture, park
development and environmental stewardship. They
picked, prodded and eventually provided some great
guidance to me and the city on how to move

Currently, we are engaging a professional group to

assist and, in the very near future, will enlist key
community leaders to help move the project forward
and develop a truly lasting legacy for the residents to

Ladies and gentlemen, in 2014 we delivered on each

of those new projects. Promises made. Promises
Overall, we know our parks system is beloved,
dynamic, diverse and highly valued. And last year,
for the 6th year in a row, we topped 1 million visitor
days in our parks! Congratulations to Mike

Hartner and our entire Parks team for a job well

Parks are important to our residents, so they are a
priority for us. But the parks werent the only
department to see major investment last year. The
city made a considerable contribution to improving
our infrastructure as well.
Remember that Salt Storage facility we built 18
months ago. With the worst winter in history last
year and some pretty big snowfalls this year, the
investment in that facility has already paid off.
Additionally, the Department of Public Services
applied for and received a grant to study snow plow
optimization. Its a bit nerdy but essentially, was
provided so that we can use GPS technology to
absolutely assure we are maximizing every second
we are on the road during storm events. Every
For example, we are learning that less left hand
turns are good for efficiency and, conversely, that
Taco Bell runs are bad.

Through innovation and creative determination, we

have been able to enhance service delivery, address
environmental concerns and improve the speed in
which we clear your streets. In fact, because of these
factors and a myriad of other innovative solutions,
our DPS Fleet Team was ranked one of the Top 100,
actually #59 in the nation.out of over 38,000 by
the way! Good to know we have the best and
brightest on the cities front lines!

Additionally, knowing that the #1 issue residents

rated as a serious concern was the condition of
our residential road network; the city council and
administration have prioritized road funding and
increased the amount we spend on your roads to the
highest amount in 15 years! You told us what was
important and the elected leaders of this community
have listened.
Ladies and gentlemen, this coming summer we will
have more residential street repairs than any
summer since 2002. Take a look at this incredibly
extensive list of neighborhoods we will be visiting.

And its not all just ugly pavement this year either.
With the completion of the work on Tienken we will
be beautifying the roundabouts on Tienken at
Livernois, Sheldon and Washington. We feel it is
important to take pride in our common spaces and
want our residents to be proud as well. Here are a
few pictures of the approved construction designs
that will begin within the next couple of months.
Now, while these are some beautiful designs I do
think its important to show you some of the designs
that were not selected! (CRAZY PICS OF ROUNDABOUTS)
But, perhaps just as impressive as the amount of
work we have done, has been the way we have been
able to leverage the limited resources we have
allocated. The city has been tremendously proactive
and resourceful when it comes to stretching your tax
Over the last 8 years, we have invested nearly
$150M on our roads and bridges. Of the $150M
total, only $17M (or 12%) was directly from our city
coffers. The rest leveraged through our partners,

governmental agencies and grants. Truly a record to

be proud of.

And our proactive approach was perhaps most

evident in the recent signing of the NOCWA or
North Oakland County Water Authority agreement
with our neighbors in Pontiac, Orion Township and
Auburn Hills. Our city took the lead in these
negotiations to put together one of the most
collaborative and innovative solutions to one of the
most complex problems in our regionthe high cost
of water. Rather than complain, we put together a
plan that utilized our partners greatest strengths to
arrange a deal that saves our residents money.

How much? Well, many times in government you

evaluate a project based on its ROIor return on
investment. In this case, the savings for our
residents resulted in a ROI of aboutnot 8 years
not 8 monthsbut8 hours! 8 hours! We are going
to save our ratepayers over of a million dollars
annually. Innovationwith a purpose. Delivering

results for our residents and allowing you to keep

more of your hard earned dollars. Thats good
government and I want to thank Allan Schneck, our
DPS director and one of the key architects of the
agreement for his leadership.

Improvements in our roads, parks and facilities are

all designed to improve our efficiencies and
ultimately, improve your experience living in our
city. We exist to serve our residents and proper
planning for our infrastructure is a cornerstone
principle of this administration and council.
You know, throughout my administration I have
been extremely proud of the importance we have put
forth in being responsible stewards of our
environment We ask our residents what they love
about living here andthe number one reason they
cited; the environmental characteristics of our city!
So as the Mayor, I have taken this as an absolute
challenge to our leadership team and am extremely
proud of the results we have delivered.

From introducing our 25 and 2 campaign. A

challenge we met to reduce energy consumption at
city hall by 25 % over two years.
To the grant we applied for which allowed us to
exchange older model light bulbs with newer high
efficiency bulbs in our two manufactured home

To our efforts over the last few years to make the

purchase of Green Space an absolute priority.
Those efforts were rewarded with the acquisition of
the Dr. White property adjacent to Riverbend Park,
and the crown jewel of parcels just a few months
ago. We have now protected over 110 acres of land
in Rochester Hills.foreveran amazing legacy for
our children and grandchildren.
And speaking of legacy, there is probably one major
project that defines it as much as any in my time as
mayor. Our innovative trash program.


In 2009, we used the collective power of the city to

negotiate lower rates for nearly 95% of our
residents. And the innovation.that came by adding
those chips to your bins and partnering with
Recyclebank to incentivize recycling.
We were the 1st in Michigan. The 1st between New
Jersey and New Mexico as a matter of fact. The
Council and I took a significant risk at the time and
some thought the move was foolish. Well, 6 years
laterthe results are outstanding. In fact, this news
is so goodfrankly(speak slowly) it deserves to be
slow jammed!
(Slow Jam the News)
Now back to those rewards for just a minute.
Tonight we need your help.
This year four Rochester Community Schools have
been chosen for the Green Schools Program. Since
this programs inception, almost $15,000 has been
donated back to Rochester Hills schools to help
reinforce the environmental message to our next

Selection in the Green Schools Program means

participants from around the country can donate
recycling points to chosen schools for their
respective Green initiates. As I mentioned, four
RSC were selected. One of those schools, Reuther
has already met their goal. But the other elementary
are still working hard to achieve it. They are
Meadow Brook, University Hills and North Hill.
Here is where we need your help. Grab those pads
again because you are going to help us choose which
program will receive a major boost by receiving all
of the cities 16,000 points to help reach their goal. So
here are the programs.

Meadow Brook Elementary-Outdoor Learning

Space. The school will convert a courtyard into a
learning space consisting of native vegetation, bird
houses and stepping stones where students will
receive lessons in the area of ecology, biology and
earth science.
University Hills- Outdoor Classroom Project which
will provide hands on opportunities through the

creation of an outdoor learning lab. Students will

create native gardens, develop wildlife habitats to
better appreciate the empowering sense of
stewardship that comes from engaging the natural
North Hill- Enhancements to Michigan Peace
Garden project. This project will include adding
birdhouses, birdbaths, native plant material and
signage to improve the teaching environment around
native ecology and earth science topics
For Meadowbrook Press 1!
For University Hills Press 2!
For North Hill Press 3!

You now have 10 seconds to vote. (DRUMROLL

PLEASE)! And the winner is
Congratulations to (Insert Name)!!
Anyone can donate to any school and the deadline is
Monday, March 16th. Lets help all of our schools get
across the line!

Friends, I am supremely proud of this program. In

fact, every time you take your trash to the end of the
street I hope you take just a moment to read the side
of your bin. We took a risk 6 years ago, but thats
what leaders do and our reward has been profound
both economically and environmentally. Rochester
Hills is now proudly viewed nationally for this

Tonight I am proud to announce our latest effort in

celebrating our environmental responsibility. The
City of Rochester Hills was honored this year by
being named a Tree City for the 25thconsecutive year.
(applause) What that essentially means is the Arbor
Day Foundation recognizes that we care about, have
a plan for, and understand the importance of trees in
our city.
Tonight we are issuing a community challenge and
unveiling a new city wide campaign. In honor of the
25th anniversary of being a tree city we are asking
the community to join with us in planting 25,000

trees over the next 12 months! Sound crazy.here

is our plan.

First, the city is going to help by offering the first

250 people who want to participate in the cities tree
co-op program a free tree in both the Spring and the
Fall. 500 free trees in total. The resident can pick
from a variety of species and the city will come out,
plant the tree and guarantee it for a year.

Heres where we need the communities help. We

have around 26,000 residential dwelling units in the
city so we are asking each home to plant a tree.
ONE HOME: ONE TREE Together we can make
the most impactful difference in our communitys
tree canopy in history.
Anytime you look to do something historic, its
always nice to have a little inspiration. For our
inspiration, we looked no farther than our iconic city
tree. So to kick things off we will be planting little
Bebb Oaks, just like our famous city tree and
Americas largest Bebb Oak at each one of our parks

and each school in RH to help underscore the

generational importance of this initiative. This
Grand Ole Gals offspring will now be found all
across our town, and we would love it if you and
your family would take up our challenge as well.
25,000 Trees!! ONE HOME:ONE TREE
RH.Lets get Growing! And we will be right
Tonight, friends, I hope you are clearly hearing
several things. Our Rochester Hills team is
exceptional and innovative. And those two words
describe the way we have handled our finances.
For years, the administration and fiscal team have
provided financial forecasts looking two to five years
into the future. But in 2010, we were the first city in
Michigan to incorporate a 3 year budget. Thats
right. The 1st city.
And, while Rochester Hills has higher than average
income and education levels, we too were blistered
by the recession losing 20% of our taxable value.

Fortunately, our collective vision and innovative

thinking helped us not only reduce our debt but also
to increase our General Fund Balance significantly
since 2010. That my friends, is where we are getting
the money to do the most roadwork in 15 years! In
RH, you save first and then you spend.
We sit now in an enviable position ranked in the top
5% of Michigan municipalities for financial stability
and able to invest in our residents biggest areas of
And that financial stability is being recognized. As
Standard& Poors and Fitchs Rating agency have
both awarded the City of Rochester Hills the coveted
municipal BondAAA Bond Rating.
Congratulations to Keith Sawdon, Pam Lee and our
entire fiscal team for their outstanding efforts!
Additionally, for the past three years, we have
produced both a Financial Summary Report and
Performance Dashboard. These documents provide
a way for citizens to easily review our finances and
simplify the budget process in a very easy to read

and understandable format promoting transparency

and accountability to our residents.
In fact, our administration has won over 20 awards
for innovation and transparency over the last
several years. We are the Taylor Swifts .of
These accomplishments truly represent a team
effort. From outstanding information delivered by
our fiscal team to a City Council with a clear vision
and purpose, Rochester Hills is fortunate to have
some of the regions best managing your money.
And let me talk about that team for a minute.
Through all of the successes, adventures,
innovations, challenges and awards, the thing I am
most pleased about is the absolute awesome team I
am honored to be a part of.
In years past, this is where I would go through and
mention a significant accomplishment from each
department. But I want to do something different
this year to show you another side to our team by
sharing a couple quick stories.

In the early morning hours of Sunday September 21,

the first tornado in the citys history struck the
North Fairview Farms neighborhood. Within
several hours over 75 city employees responded to
provide assistance. From our first responders, to
parks, building and ordinance, DPS, HR and others,
our team leapt into action to respond when our
residents needed it the most. This quick and selfless
response was recognized and appreciated by nearly
every homeowner affected by the storm as noted by
countless resident emails and letters.
In January, our city was introduced to Gage Garmo
and his heroic fight against a rare form of bone
Upon hearing the brave story of this young man, our
employees again responded in amazing fashion and
with heartfelt concern. Members of our incredible
youth council, under the direction of our video
production team put together a tribute which
reached 30,000 views in under a week and got the
attention of Gages hero Eminem to pay a special
home visit. Gages favorite color was yellow so our

fire department brought out our yellow ladder truck

for his fundraiser and provided a very special yellow
firefighters helmet to cheer up our hometown hero.
Our DPS team created #Garmostrong window
stickers which were displayed in our city vehicles
and handed out to students at Rochester High.
Our team rallied to support the community and the
Garmo Family in their time of need in the best ways
we knew how. Gage eventually lost his battle, but
the memory of this amazing young man has been
emblazoned in our hearts. Mr. and Mrs. Garmo and
their daughter Graci are my guests here tonight and
I want to say thank you guys for sharing your son
with our community.
Our city celebrated its 30th birthday late last year
and that celebration involved honoring our
employees and marking some of our
But, the most important aspect however, was not the
internal celebration, but the launching of an
external challenge.30 days of giving. A call to

each team member to find some time in the next 30

days to give back, support, volunteer or somehow do
something for someone else. As you might imagine,
our amazing team took the challenge head on and
spent the next month supporting dozens of local
charities with 1000s of hours of their time. From
serving food in Pontiac, packing lunches in Detroit,
driving meals on wheels in Rochester Hills or
helping to build a handicapped ramp for a
homebound senior citizen, I could not have been
more proud of our amazing team.

Again, they responded with their heartsin

situations that arent scripted or part of anyones
official job responsibilities. They care about what
they do and the people they serve and its evident in
the way the react to the unique once in a lifetime
challenges, to the everyday mundane tasks of simply
answering a residents phone call. Thats who you
have serving you ladies and gentlemenevery single
Friends, it is pretty simple. We have created a
culture of excellent customer service and our
employees are delivering.

In our most recent survey, our residents validated

our employees hard work as 97% of respondents
reported feeling satisfied or very satisfied in their
experience with one of our team members! 97%!

Ladies and gentleman, none of this would be

possible without the amazing team of caring leaders
we have here and I would like to ask the employees
of the City of Rochester Hills to please stand and be
So the main challenge for our well-oiled machine is
to keep improving. Keep innovating and keep
getting better. One consistent strategic focus for our
team is in the area of communication. In just about
any organization, communication is the key to
success.. Well, as a city, I challenged our team to
come up with better and more inclusive ways for our
residents to engage their government and access
information. As you might expect, they did just that.
Thanks to the hard work of our Communications
Team and MIS Department, we launched Rochester

Hills Connect, the citys first mobile app designed to

make communication as simple and easy as possible!
We became just the second city in Michigan to have
our own APP and the results have been incredible.

To date, over 4500 residents are connected to the city

via this innovative tool and are helping to report
potholes, get trail information and receive the very
latest breaking city news.
So tonight, ladies and gentleman it is my privilege to
introduce to you our newest initiative and the latest
in innovative communication tools as we partner
with MindMixer to officially launch Engage RH.
Take a look (video)

We value connecting with our residents and have

put our money where our mouth is. As a Rochester
Hills resident you will have more ways to interact
with your city than any community in Michigan.


Thats inclusive leadership. Thats transparency

and thats what we are known for!
We officially launch EngageRH tonight and we have
several questions already posted for our
communities input. We invite all Rochester Hills
residents to visit rochesterhills.org/engagerh to
make their voices heard.
Friends, Rochester Hills is truly on a roll. We are a
very blessed community and I feel very blessed to be
your mayor. I love this city deeply and feel so
fortunate to be a part of such an outstanding team of
public servants.
At the end of the day, with all of the growth,
changes, innovation and challenges, the final word
on our success rests with our end users. Our
residents. And their, thankfully, overwhelming
satisfaction with living in our beautiful town.
By now you all know the numbers! 99% of our
residents are happy and satisfied with living in our
community. Thats right 99 out of 100 people are
happy with their decision to be in Rochester Hills!
The highest recorded total in our history.

Friends, I am proud to lead the most motivated and

innovative team of municipal employees anywhere
in Michigan. I am proud of our outstanding
accomplishments in 2014 and even more excited
about our ambitious plans in 2015.
We have had so much fun delivering this message
tonight in a unique and cool way. Our creative team
enjoys putting on a show and I think to some extent,
our audience expects it. But dont be mistaken.
This is a powerful story with a powerful message of
leadership, innovation and promises made and
promises kept.
We have cemented our position as Southeast
Michigans fiscal, environmental, and innovative
leader. And have the awards to prove it. And as if
that all wasnt enough.well.we went out and
picked up the mail in October. Money Magazine to
be exact. Guess what it said?

Can you believe weve gotten this far tonight and I

havent really even talked about it!! This is actually

the longest Ive gone without mentioning it in over 3

monthsIm starting to get the shakes!
Friends..You know what it said. In fact you knew
before you read it. That our little community, out of
33,000 places to live in America, is #1 in Michigan
and # 9 in the country! Signed. Sealed. Delivered.
We are among the elite and best in the nation!
Ladies and gentlemen, the State of our City is
incredibly strong! In fact, its enviably the best in
Michigan and one of the top 10 in America. Thank
you for the privilege to serve as your host tonight
and as Mayor of this great town. I look forward to
keeping these good things going and leading the city
for many years to come..
Thank you all for the role you play in helping make
Rochester Hills, wellyouve heard me say this a
thousand times. How about a little help from our
special guests tonightThank you for making
Rochester Hills .(Insert Clip)


May God bless you, our country, and may God

continue to bless our community for the next 30
years. Good Night!


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