In This Issue....
Executive Message: 2012 State of the County Recap
"AAA"Government and State of Macomb's Budget Stability
Planning & Economic Development Serves County in 2012
Government Cooperation for Macomb County Success
Education Important In Macomb County Government
Macomb County Technology Department Begins Complete Overhaul
Thank you to County Partners
2012 State of the County Recap
By: Mark Hackel, County Executive
Recently, I marked my second State of the County address for Macomb County. I am proud to share how we are leading the way in efficient, economic and ethical governance. It was an excellent opportunity to reflect on all of our accomplishments in 2012 and to present a clear vision forward for the future. We are only 24 months into this new executive form of County government and already we have made tremendous progress. For the first time, we are marketing and branding our county as a world class place to live and do business. Through initiatives such as Make Macomb Your Home and the Blue Economy, we are seeing a positive reception and very real results. Residents and businesses are taking notice of our success. We are adding more new residents than any other county in Michigan. This year marked the creation of new programs and resources designed to spur investment and grow more jobs in our county. The launch of the "Home in Macomb Business Retention Program", the opening of the Michigan Defense Center at Velocity, the location of a new planning and economic development satellite office in Eastpointe, and many other advances will all help drive new investment in Macomb County. We've worked hard to maintain and improve public safety by creating the M.A.D.E. safe council, getting the dangerous K2 drug off the streets and away from our children and laying the groundwork for a new county integrated communications center. Importantly, we did all of this and much more with a balanced budget and no tax increases. Macomb County has one of the lowest tax rates in the entire state and continues to be a leader in providing value to the public. We are one of only three counties in Michigan to have a top AAA bond rating. The progress we made in 2012 sets the pace for momentum in 2013. We have laid the foundation for smarter and more efficient government in the future. All of our accomplishments are possible because of the hard work and commitment of our employees and our dedicated partners. I want to again thank them all for their continued support and shared vision of a brighter future for Macomb.
"AAA"Government and State of Macomb's Budget Stability
By: Pete Provenzano, Finance Director
Macomb County is a role model for fiscal responsibility. We are one of only three counties in Michigan to maintain the top AAA bond rating and one of only 67 counties nationwide. In 2011, 2012 and 2013 the county balanced a budget that did not tap into general fund balances and increased our reserve fund balance to $55 million. Achieving this success is a result of tremendous cooperation. The structural changes that were necessary to balance the budget would not have been possible without extensive collaboration with county leadership and county employees. We've cut administrative costs and minimized impacts to employees. This year we were able to reduce healthcare administrative costs by $2.6 million. We've been able to reinvent how we deliver services. Since 2006, streamlining services and finding new efficiencies have allowed the county to eliminate 411 positions through attrition. Looking at only the 2013 budget, departmental reorganizations in the county saved $825,000. It is this kind of thinking that makes Macomb County a budgetary champion. Because of confidence in Macomb County's ability and approach to county fiscal operations, Standard and Poors maintained the county a top AAA bond rating (a rating that is higher than that of the state and federal government) and also informed the county that they expect to maintain this rating the following year as well. This confidence allowed us to refinance county debt to save an over an additional $3 million in debt payments. Our outlook for the county's fiscal health remains optimistic. While taxable value is not projected to grow by much in the coming years, we have taken steps to contain expenditures. What results is Macomb County residents and businesses continuing to receive quality government services with one of the lowest tax rates in the state.
Planning & Economic Development Serves County in 2012
By: Stephen Cassin, Director Planning & Economic Development
Our mission is to retain and attract economic investment while improving overall quality of life. In Macomb, we are home to a diverse set of industries and have had more population growth than any other county in Michigan .
This was a successful year for the department of Planning and Economic Development. Our office has always been a leader in collaboration and we continued that trend in 2012. We further developed our existing partnerships and formed new ones to deliver a wider range of services for our business and municipal clients. We teamed with the City of Sterling Heights to open Velocity, a collaboration center for economic development that houses the Michigan Defense Center, Macomb-OU INCubator, a satellite office for the Michigan Small Business and Technology Development Center and a growing number of incubator clients. In the first half of the year, we opened a satellite office located in Eastpointe City Hall to provide better access to our business services for the southern part of the county. The "Home in Macomb Business Retention Program"launched this year as well. There are nearly 18,000 businesses in Macomb County that employ more than 287,000 people. Their success is a critical component of our economic development strategy. This new business retention effort provides us a way to work with these local businesses and connect them with the resources they need to grow and expand in our county.
This year we also launched the Macomb Business Awards as a new way to recognize and celebrate the success of our businesses. The first batch of nominations was submitted this fall for judging by a panel of regional business leaders and the winners of the awards will be honored at a breakfast this coming January. Our planning and mapping service program areas have been equally busy in expanding outreach. We partnered with communities in Macomb County to enhance planning services offered. We are currently working with the cities of Utica, New Baltimore and Memphis assisting with projects such as master plans as well as parks and recreation plans. We are also currently in the process of updating our county-wide master parks and recreation plan to ensure eligibility for state grants and updating the official map of the county. Collaboration is key to sustaining our future success. The department looks forward to building on these new relationships and continuing to diversify in 2013. Visit our website www.MacombBusiness.com to learn more about how we can be of service for your organization.
Government Cooperation for Macomb County Success
By Melissa Roy, Assistant County Executive
Macomb County has a history and a reputation of providing great value to our residents. We have put a top priority on enhancing that reputation and reinvesting in the communities that have made Macomb great. To that end, we support and implement policies that will help us achieve those goals. This year we have focused on coordinated, more efficient and more cost effective government. Working with our local communities, we have implemented more shared programs through policing, economic development and our new integrated operations and communications center. The State has recognized our work in this arena and awarded the County the second largest economic vitality grant in Michigan. All of these programs are making county government more efficient and offering coordinated services with local governments. Last year, we implemented a program to honor innovative local communities. This program awarded eight communities this year and will award seven different communities next year. Neighborhoods, communities and community assets are what make Macomb a choice for residents. More people move to Macomb than any other county in Michigan. People come here for opportunity and a sense of place. We are proud to be adding to the list of assets, improving what we have and planning for the future. To improve the already high quality of life in Macomb, we are building out a 70 mile trail loop, reopening Freedom Hill with Hillside Productions and gathering all of our local communities to put together a comprehensive parks and recreation plan. Next year we will put an even greater priority on business retention and recognition through the Home in Macomb program and business awards. This will give us an opportunity to hear first hand from our businesses how we can improve the environment for new growth and new attraction. There is so much happening in Macomb and so many reasons to be proud of our county. We will continue to work with federal, state and local officials to enhance what we have and build for the future.
Education important in Macomb County Government
By: Al Lorenzo, Assistant County Executive
Although County government has no direct responsibility for education, the enormous impact that education has on a community is of interest to everyone. That's why enhancing access to high quality and relevant educational opportunities at every level is an essential component of the County's economic and workforce development initiatives. Fortunately, Macomb County has tremendous educational assets. Currently we have nearly 160,000 students attending our more than 300 K-12 schools. Many of these schools have achieved blue ribbon status and specialized accreditation. The Macomb Intermediate School District is widely recognized as one of the best in the state and offers extensive curriculum and professional support throughout the county. Collectively our schools provide a broad range of opportunities to County residents in a very cost effective manner. Complementing the County's K-12 schools are continually expanding opportunities for higher education anchored by the nationally prominent Macomb Community College. MCC's programs provide more than 25,000 students with a wide range of skills leading to immediate employment as well as providing a solid foundation for transfer to four-year institutions. Baker College also offers two-year, four-year and graduate degrees to more than 6.000 students at its campus in Clinton Township. There is also a growing list of private colleges and state universities that are making Macomb their home. Our community development department worked with Oakland University to expand the OU-Macomb campus where students can get a bachelor, master or doctoral degree entirely within Macomb County. OU-Macomb recently opened a facility in downtown Mt. Clemens and now has nearly 2,000 course enrollments at its three Macomb County locations this fall. Another 1,100 students are pursuing degrees at Wayne State University facilities within the county. Next spring, Michigan State University's College of Osteopathic Medicine will graduate the first class of physicians who completed all of their medical school coursework entirely within Macomb County. Adding in the students taking courses from Walsh College, Northwood University, Rochester College, Davenport College and several other private institutions, in any given semester, more than 40,000 students are pursuing their college degrees right here in Macomb County. This high level of active participation in higher education provides long-term benefits to individuals and communities alike. People with advanced education are more employable and earn more than their lesser educated counterparts. Equally important, a highly educated and highly skilled workforce is an attractive feature for companies looking to locate or expand. In Macomb, there are multiple paths to prosperity and we offer multiple educational resources to attain success. The County will continue to partner with all of our education institutions to help them expand the opportunities available to our residents.
Macomb County Technology Department begins complete overhaul
By: Sandy Jurek, Chief Information Officer
One of the most critical challenges facing Macomb County today is the imperative to stay current with the increasing demand and rapid pace of change in technology. I was selected as the new Chief Information Officer in August 2012 to oversee the County's entire portfolio of technology projects, services, vendors, and staff. My role also includes ensuring that technology investments are wisely aligned to strategic goals, and to help the County more cost-effectively deliver the highest quality technology solutions. An organizational study of Macomb County IT commissioned by the County Executive Office in 2012 provided valuable insight into the many issues presently facing the department. As a result of the report, we began to plan for a complete overhaul of the methods by which IT conducted business. The results will be detailed in a Technology Strategic Plan that will provide us with a roadmap for making investments in optimal phases as well as a departmental restructuring strategy to better align staff responsibilities with goals. Efficiencies will be enabled through operational model changes such as consolidations, enterprise architecture, cloud computing, and other infrastructure or software-as-a-service offerings. We're also planning to deliver more digital services and to create a foundation for more open government, civic engagement, and transparency through a new web platform. All of this will enable the County to modernize its technology operations and to support the ongoing demands for services long-term, while promoting agility in responding to evolving new needs and opportunities as we grow forward. One of those new opportunities includes a state-of-the-art Data Center that will be built in the new Emergency Operations Center in 2013. This investment will provide us with the most technologically-advanced infrastructure available and serve as a solid foundation for delivering the types of services we need in the future. The department has taken many steps to make improvements during 2012 as well. Some of these have included significant PC replacements and infrastructure upgrades, a partnership with Sterling Heights on a 9-1-1 call recording system, several new applications for the Sheriff's Department, a major case management system upgrade for the courts, and a number of Health Department services, such as a Mobile Food Inspection system. I'm excited to play such a key role in helping to transform Macomb County over the next several years as we implement more innovative solutions and incorporate technology into the business practices of every area of government. There are many challenges ahead, but the changes we are making now will ensure our success long into the future.
Thank you to Macomb County partners
By Mark Deldin, Deputy County Executive
Our strong sense of community is a large part of what makes Macomb County such a wonderful place to live and own a business. In county government, we work hard to deliver great services and would like to give thanks to our many community partners that make this possible. Throughout the year, the county had numerous events supported by generous sponsors. Last night's State of the County Address was possible with the help of donations from many organizations including gold sponsors AT&T, Oakland University Macomb and Henry Ford Macomb Hospitals. A special thank you goes out to the Macomb County Chamber of Commerce, Sterling Heights Regional Chamber and to Macomb Community College. The support provided for county initiatives has a large impact on our community and truly makes a positive difference. Make Macomb Your Home is possible because of the support from both our local chambers. We've also spent this year pulling together a key group of community stakeholders to further promote Make Macomb Your Home. The county has longtime partners that have provided their support for our events and programs throughout the years. Habitat for Humanity has been a long-time partner with Macomb County's MSU Extension. Through their collaboration, MSU Extension's money management classes help keep Macomb families in their homes. Many of our programs are on our shared sense of community. Our Adopt-A-Road program volunteers have adopted 514miles of roadways in Macomb County, well on the way to our goal of 1,000. Opportunities still exist to adopt sections. On the latest senior shred day, Absolute Shreds provided their service to local seniors by shredding over 6,000 pounds of documents. The recycling conserved 51 trees, 12,300 kilowatt hours of electricity and 10.5 cubic yards of landfill space. I want to extend a very warm thank you to everyone who has contributed this year. The time and commitment you have provided have a real impact on our community. If you are interested in contributing time or services to the county for events and opportunities in the coming year we would like to hear from you. Please contact us by calling our office at (586) 469-7001.