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12/14/2017

The State of the City of Brighton

Brighton City Council
Brighton City Council
A Report by Mayor, Jim Muzzin
 
2017 was a year of progress for the City of Brighton.  In celebrating the City’s sesquicentennial, we were able to reflect on how far we’ve come, appreciate where we are, and share hopes for the future of our community.  Our Council continues to work collaboratively for the betterment of the City and benefit from the perspectives of new members. We don’t always agree, which means we represent a variety of facets of within electorate.  We don’t have easy decisions to make, but we make the best decisions we can with the information we have. 
 
With the infusion of new leadership, City staff has undergone a time of transition and growth.  City Manager, Nate Geinzer came into his position with energy, vision, and the will to shake things up.  He has done all of that and more.  Geinzer has assembled an excellent team to keep this City the gem it is and is tirelessly working on behalf of our community members.
 
Manager Geinzer put an emphasis on communications and community engagement this year.  City staff revamped the City’s Facebook page, tripling engagement, and renewed the City’s print and email newsletters.  The print newsletter is mailed to nearly 3,000 homes biannually and email newsletter is sent out biweekly to over 800 subscribers.  City staff continues to host community activities and events that connect businesses and residents with City initiatives, such as volunteer activities supporting the Millpond Restoration Project and events celebrating Brighton’s 150th Anniversary. 
 
Our Finance Director, Gretchen Gomolka, is in her second year and has maintained the same, high level of quality that we’ve come to expect from our finance professionals.  Existing Finance Department staff stepped in to welcome Gomolka and have been eager to embrace new changes and energy.  The Finance Department is a committed group that keeps the whole City running, not to mention, the City of Brighton’s bond rating improved to an AA+ in the past year! 
 
The Community Development Department plays a critical role in the City of Brighton team.  They’ve brought their experience, energy, and ideas to redefine the department and development as an inclusive process.  The department has overseen an extensive update to the Zoning Code, which has been adopted and is available online in a new, concise, and clear format.  Community Development staff is currently in the middle of a Comprehensive Master Plan update, which will include a Downtown Plan, Complete Streets Plan, and Recreation Plan to guide the City for years to come.  In addition, the department is working towards certifying the City of Brighton as a Redevelopment Ready Community with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.  The City continues to attract investment interest and staff has demonstrated their dedication to shepherding projects from idea to completion.
 
Together, the Department of Public Works (DPW) and the Utilities Department have made strides in assessing the City’s infrastructure needs.  Like most cities in Michigan, Brighton is dealing with aging roads, sewers, facilities, equipment, and more – with extensive investments needed to maintain, repair, and replace.  The newest addition to the Brighton management team is DPW Director, Marcel Goch, who brings years of DPW experience from the City of Howell.  The DPW recognizes that there are major equipment and facility needs that must be addressed, as well as federal and state mandates. Under the direction of Goch, DPW staff will be evaluating and implementing new ways to effectively and efficiently perform operations, which continues to be appreciated and encouraged across the entire organization. 
The Utilities Department is in the third and final year of the Asset Management Program for wastewater and stormwater utilities, which is 90% grant-funded.  The program is scheduled to be completed in October 2018 and will provide the City with a comprehensive program that focuses on system sustainability, which will prolong assets, meet regulatory requirements, and base rate-setting on sound operational and financial planning. The Brighton Police Department continues its tradition of exemplary service to the community. 
 
Our Police Department is a stellar example to surrounding communities and continues to set a high bar of performance.  This past year, Rob Bradford was promoted from Deputy Chief to Chief of Police. Chief Bradford is not new to Brighton. He began his career here as a reserve office and has since gained over 21 years of experience with the City.  Bradford has made community policing and risk management big priorities in his first year.  Through programs like Coffee with a Cop, he has made sure that his officers are visible and accessible to community members.  The department is focusing on using data to optimize their staffing, improve services, reduce expenditures, and maintain their status as the highest trained department in Livingston County. 
 
Our Boards and Commissions are an integral part of the City.   These volunteers serve their community sacrificing their time to give back – time that could be spent with family. I thank these volunteers and their spouses and families for giving back to the Brighton community. 
 
City staff and Council truly have a passion for the City of Brighton and are committed to providing exemplary service to community members. Our residents and businesses chose to live in Brighton and enjoy a high level of service. This choice and our continued commitment to providing value and quality of life, inform our decisions as City Council. I can say with confidence that along with the collaboration of our taxpayers, the City will continue to provide strong value to community members.  

 

 

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