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Circuit Court
40 N Main, Mount Clemens, MI 48043
(586) 469-5208

In This Issue....

Welcome to the Executive Focus Newsletter
Macomb County Earns AAA Bond Rating
Macomb M.A.D.E. Safe
Jobs, Investment Picking Up In the County
Mild Winter Means Road Improvements
Executive Office Sets Policy Agenda
Macomb County Severe Weather Awareness
Macomb Community Action "Stamps Out Hunger" for County Residents

Welcome to the Executive Focus Newsletter

By: Mark Hackel, County Executive

MarkHackel0.jpgWelcome to the first installment of the Executive Focus newsletter. Each quarter I will highlight current achievements in our ongoing commitment to increase the value of service provided by the new executive form of government. Accountability, accessibility, and transparency matter. As the Macomb County Executive, I am dedicated to delivering government that is ethical, efficient, and economical. This newsletter is just one of the many ways that I am continuously working to improve Macomb County government. Among many vital components to achieving success in Macomb County are teamwork and collaboration. My vision for Macomb County includes advocacy and leadership that stimulates economic and community growth, here and throughout the greater Detroit metropolitan region. With our new executive-style form of government, we have already been successful in moving in this direction as evidenced by the enthusiastic feedback of our Make Macomb Your Home and New Blue Economy initiatives. As county executive, I want to experience firsthand what people do in Macomb that makes us so unique and very special. Whenever possible I like to personally take part in recognizing Macomb people, organizations and businesses. You may use the new online event request form available on the county website at www.macombgov.org to advise me of such opportunities. Whenever my schedule permits, you may expect my enthusiastic participation. It is an honor and genuine pleasure to serve as your county executive. I am passionate about promoting Macomb and working alongside the professionals on my executive staff, department heads and dedicated employees as we strive to provide levels of service that meet and exceed your expectations.

Macomb County Earns AAA Bond Rating

By: Pete Provenzano, Finance Director

I am happy to report that Standard & Poors recently issued Macomb County another AAA bond rating for 2012. It does not foresee changing that rating for the next two years. Although 'AAA+' ratings may not exist, granting Macomb County a AAA rating for 2012 and 2013 is the bonus the public expected from this new form of county government. Our finance team has done an exceptional job working with the various department heads, countywide elected officials, and employees to keep our fiscal house in order during these difficult economic times. The decision to give Macomb County a AAA rating was based on several factors including the county possessing good management practices and maintaining healthy financial reserves despite economic challenges. A direct result of the county obtaining the AAA financial rating is that taxpayers pay less interest to finance county bonds on construction projects - something that is a positive for all of us. According to the annual Standard and Poors report, which was released on February 22, 2012, the company has no plans to change Macomb County's AAA bond rating within the outlook's two-year period because of its good fiscal management which includes maintaining a strong fund balance. Standard and Poors also applauded the liquidity and health of the county's tax revolving fund, a program that was created and is administered by Macomb County Treasurer Ted Wahby. We are pleased Macomb County is one of only three counties in Michigan and of 67 nationwide to have the AAA rating. It demonstrates our ability as a county to overcome difficult fiscal times at an impressive level. Also this year, the county inherited a budget deficit of $22.8 million, $9.1 million of which was carried over from 2011. However, cost reductions such as the elimination of positions and labor concessions have removed that budget gap. The county executive's commitment to responsible and effective budgeting, along with the collective effort from all departments and their staff, has made the county's AAA rating possible.

Macomb M.A.D.E. Safe

Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel has created the Macomb M.A.D.E. Safe Council, a group with the mission of enhancing efficiencies inside the criminal justice system while coming up with creative solutions to keeping our communities safe. The Macomb M.A.D.E. Safe Council pulls together the best Macomb County public safety resources: County Executive Mark Hackel, Sheriff Anthony Wickersham, Chief Circuit Court Judge David Viviano and Prosecutor Eric Smith. The acronym M.A.D.E. comes from the beginning letter of each of the four officials' first name. "Those living in Macomb County have always felt safe, yet we can still heighten that security by working together,"said Judge Viviano. The council will focus on important community concerns such as bullying, drugs and suicide. Additional logistics such as coordinating policies and processes, consolidating services, better space utilization and eliminating duplication would also be big topics for the group. This council is the criminal justice system of Macomb County. The four of us have many years of experience in crime prevention which will allow us to come up with additional solutions to make Macomb County safer,"said Hackel. "Macomb M.A.D.E. Safe will use the region's very best resources to continue to make Macomb County a safe place to live, work and play."

 

Above Photo: Macomb M.A.D.E. Safe council: Mark, Anthony, Dave, Eric

Jobs, Investment Picking Up In the County

By: Stephen Cassin, Director, Planning & Economic Development

With jobs and the economic conditions of the county on the minds of many in Macomb, I'm pleased to say that Macomb County Planning and Economic Development has had positive results that are making a huge difference for businesses and homeowners in Macomb County. Since the beginning of last year, our department has worked with over 175 Macomb County companies and has been successful in generating an economic impact of over $100 million in Macomb County. Through our department's efforts, nearly 1,000 direct jobs have been created and over 2,500 retained. To see a list of the companies we worked with over the past year that made investments in property improvements and equipment, click here. We plan to build on our success by leveraging our partnerships with other valuable economic development resources inside the state. The Michigan Economic Development Corporation has dedicated staff working out of our office and the Michigan Small Business and Technology Development Center has specialists embedded directly as well. The MEDC also increased their partnership with us by relocating staff from the Michigan Defense Center to work out of our Velocity Collaboration Center, home to the Macomb - Oakland University Business Incubator. Additionally, we have created active and successful relationships with the United States Chamber of Commerce and locally collaborated with Automation Alley. Each of these partnerships continues to play a key role in supporting our efforts. The outlook for economic growth in Macomb is bright. Employers in the county have added jobs in each of the last six months, housing sales volumes are increasing, and the sentiment expressed by business owners in the most recent Macomb Business Climate Survey is trending towards more job growth.

Mild Winter Means Road Improvements

By: Bob Hoepfner, Director, Department of Roads

Thanks to the current mild winter, the Macomb County Department of Roads has saved over $1 million in this year's winter maintenance budget. Salt usage through mid-February 2011 weighed in at 39,119 tons while only 4,799 tons were used this year. We expect next year's salt purchase to be less due to the abundant stockpiles at our five salt storage facilities. As of January 31, 2012, equipment, manpower and maintenance costs for the department were reduced by approximately $1.4 million when compared to the same time last year. This is great news for drivers in Macomb County. If Mother Nature continues to cooperate, the money saved from the winter maintenance budget will be reallocated to four areas: expanding the limestone program on our gravel roads, completing additional asphalt resurfacing, repairing concrete pavement through the Pavement Preservation Program and purchasing additional equipment for maximum operating efficiency. This money will be very useful in helping the Macomb County Department of Roads continue its mission of providing safe and efficient transportation throughout this region.

Executive Office Sets Policy Agenda

By: Melissa Roy, Assistant County Executive

A top priority of the Macomb County Executive's office is to create a comprehensive policy agenda that will advance Macomb County and our 27 cities, townships and villages. County Executive Mark Hackel and our team in the executive's office have spent the past 15 months meeting with local elected officials and leaders from the business, education and labor sectors. Based on the input garnered, we have crafted a policy agenda that addresses county governance, economic development, community development, environmental stewardship and health. Our policy agenda will serve as a blueprint to help us create a most effective and efficient government that advocates for all of Macomb County's key stakeholders. The public policy agenda is available online here.

Macomb County Severe Weather Awareness

By: Vicki Wolber, Emergency Management Coordinator

While springtime in Michigan has us yearning for such outdoor activities as gardening, swimming, boating, golf and baseball, it can also bring in severe weather patterns that are often characterized by lightening, thunder, wind and rain. Under normal circumstances, these events do not pose much of a problem for us and actually help with the growth and prosperity of our outdoor environment. However, when conditions are just right these events lead to thunderstorms, straight-line winds, tornadoes and flooding that can wreak havoc on our lives and property. Preparing for these extreme weather events is the responsibility of every person, business and government. Awareness of emergency alert signals and a developed plan of action can save lives and property damage. Thunderstorms, flooding, tornadoes and lightning strikes are not rare occurrences to Macomb County and citizens should be taking steps today to prepare for the hazardous events of tomorrow. The most often misunderstood alerting system is the outdoor warning sirens. These sirens are located throughout most of Macomb County and are intended to alert the public of a threat in the community. . . These sirens not only warn of a possible tornado threat, but they can also be used to warn residents of hazardous material releases, imminent threat of a nuclear attack, flood threats and other outdoor emergencies. Upon hearing an outdoor siren or receiving an alert message, residents should immediately go indoors, turn on the radio or television and follow any instructions that are being provided for those in the affected area. There are many aspects to planning for an emergency or disaster, and the Macomb County Office of Emergency Management has developed a guide that can help local citizens and business owners with their pre-planning activities. Accessing this information is as easy as going online to www.macombgov.org/OEM and clicking "Preparedness Info."

Macomb Community Action "Stamps Out Hunger" for County Residents

Macomb Community Action (MCA) is a Community Action Agency providing a network of comprehensive educational, economic and social services to Macomb County residents in need while aiming to diminish the causes and effects of poverty. As part of MCA, the Macomb Food Program's mission is to feed the hungry in Macomb County. With the help of volunteers, donated food is accepted, sorted, and distributed from the Macomb Food Program warehouse located in a county facility in Clinton Township. In 2011, the Macomb Food Program and its pantries distributed a total of 1.9 million pounds of food to help 54,023 Macomb County families. The National Association of Letter Carriers' "Stamp Out Hunger"Food Drive is Saturday, May 12. To participate, anyone in Macomb County can leave non-perishable food by their mailbox that day and a letter carrier will pick it up. The food will then be delivered to a local food pantry to help people in need. In Macomb County, this food drive is a major source of food for the Macomb Food Program and the 55 pantries in its network. Last year, the NALC Food Drive resulted in 237,000 pounds of food being donated to the Macomb Food Program. With one pound of food roughly equal to one meal, this drive provided approximately 237,000 meals.