2010 State of the City Address
Mayor Hilliard L. Hampton, II
Booker T. Dozier Recreation Complex
2025 Middlebelt Road
Inkster, MI 48141
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Good Evening ~
To Inkster residents, our elected officials, dignitaries and guests…..It is an
honor and a privilege to be your Mayor and report to you the State of the
City of Inkster. Thank you for joining us this evening.
I want to thank the citizens who serve on active boards and commissions
for their dedication and commitment to serving this community. You
understand the saying, "Service is the price we pay for the space we
I want to recognize and thank the religious leaders in our community for
your spiritual guidance and involvement in civic affairs. Our history is
replete and clear that the presence of the Church in community affairs have
been in the vanguard of social, civil and economic progress.
I want to thank those who volunteer in their neighborhoods with Block
Clubs, Community Association, Schools, Foundations and Sororities. Your
public service creates the vitality of life in this community.
Our hopes and aspirations of a strong and model community shared by all
of us is only realized to be active participation of each. We can't expect
others to do for us what we are unwilling to do for ourselves. Your elected
officials must set the tone. As I enter my 11th year of service as your
Mayor and 22nd year as an elected official, I am confident that this council
has the visionary insight and the capacity to move our City forward and
that’s why you have placed them in a leadership position.
- Mayor Pro Tem Patrick Wimberly, District V
- Councilman Timothy Williams, District I
- Councilman Marcus Hendricks, District II,
- Councilman Courtney Owens, District III,
- Councilman Michael Canty, District IV,
- Councilman Henry Crump, District VI
- City Manager, Ann K. Capela
Now, I like to introduce our Department Heads:
- City Clerk Ms. Velida Gutierrez
- Department of Public Service, Jerome Bivins, Interim Director
- Building and Structural Safety and Code Enforcement William Roberts,
Interim Chief Development Official
- Engineering Department, Muzaffar Lakhani,
- City Engineer
Finance & Treasury, Peter Dobrzeniecki, more commonly known as “Peter
- Fire Department, Mark Hubanks, Fire Chief
- Library, Suzanne Street, Head Librarian
- Parks and Recreation, Ron Wolkowicz, Director
- Planning and Economic Development, Kimberly Faison, Interim Director
- Police Department, Gregory Gaskin, Police Chief
- Risk Management, Fred Hill, Risk Manager
- Human Resources, William N. Lawrence, HR/Labor Relations Director
I would also like to recognize the Boards and Commissions.
The Auditors recently gave the City a “clean” audit opinion. Our financial
statements show that the City is in very good financial shape. The General
Fund has a fund balance or a surplus of $2.7 million up from $1.4 million in
the previous year.
The surplus is 14% of revenues – 7% is considered to be very good.
The City finished last fiscal year under budget thanks to Council budgetary
over-site, good administration and careful spending by our City’s
Last year, we were reimbursed $105,000.00 from an insurance carrier as a
result of a closed file audit. We also realized a $50,000 savings when we
renewed our citywide insurance plan, with increased coverage.
But just because we came in under budget doesn’t mean we are neglecting
the City’s needs.
Last year, we made road repairs and purchased vehicles and equipment all
together totaling $1.3 million. The City also made $4.9 million in water and
Of course, like all cities in Michigan, Inkster is faced with lower amounts of
revenue sharing from the State and declining taxable property values.
Last year, the City received $4.2 million from the State in revenue sharing.
This year we expect to receive about $3.6 million.
Taxable property values in the City of Inkster are expected to be down
about 2.2%. While a decline in value is never good, the City is better off
then most other cities.
State wide, taxable property values have declined by an average of 3.5%.
Westland had a decline in taxable value of 4.6%,
Canton Township declined
by 6.1% and
Dearborn Heights declined by 6.7%.
The reduction of our operating revenues; revenue sharing and property
taxes means that the City needs to reduce operating expenses to balance
City administration is working to balance the budget for next year and we
will balance the budget without a layoff of any police officers or firefighters.
The economy in Michigan is in for some difficult times in the next few
Last year, the Federal Economic Stimulus Package helped to offset the
State deficit. This year, the State of Michigan is projecting a $1.2 billion
deficit which most likely will be paid in part with additional cuts to cities.
The City of Inkster’s strong financial position will provide the means for us
to avoid a deficit and continue to provide services to our residents.
Recently, the Michigan Commission on Services to the Aging approved
recognizing the City of Inkster as being the first community in Wayne
County designated as “Certified Elder Friendly-Livable Community”.
I want to thank Cheryl Cushingberry from Wayne County Senior Service
and Denise Campaign the Director of Inkster Senior Services for pursuing
this prestigious recognition.
The program provides recognition for communities and local government
entities that have completed a community assessment for livability and/or
implemented improvements recommended by a livable community
Wayne County selected the City of Inkster as its pilot community for
conducting a livability assessment. This was done in part because Inkster
demonstrated its commitment to developing, maintaining and preserving a
lifestyle for its residents that is familiar, safe, fiscally responsible and
appreciative of its residents regardless of age, income or abilities.
Let me site some initiatives or programming that earned Inkster the
designation as Southeastern Michigan only Certified Elderly Friendly
The City is working hard to realize the vision of its new Senior Wellness
Center. A challenge the residents of Inkster have championed through
fundraising and personal sacrifices. Mayor and Council hired a firm to do
the study and architectural drawings to make it a “shovel ready” project
which, when funded, would allow for construction to begin within several
months. We have made a request to fund this $3.5 Million Dollar project to
Senators Levin and Stabenow, and Congressman Dingell, as well as State
Through Inkster Senior Services and Parks & Recreation, we provide
Senior Medical Transportation, Home Delivered Meals, Transportation for
Shopping, Monthly Trips, Information Forums, Flu Shot Clinic and
Enhanced Fitness class three times a week at the Recreation Complex in
partnership with the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan. Computer
training, Spanish classes, as well as Senior’s Water Aerobics were also
The value that seniors bring to our community is significant. Seniors
volunteer in many roles and serve on Boards & Commissions bringing their
knowledge and wisdom which is testimony of there value to our community
and ~ "all they want is a senior wellness center".
Well, it's obvious that they participate in this town and they rightfully run
Last year, there were 40 dangerous buildings demolished thus eliminating
eyesores and increasing curb appeal in nearly every Inkster neighborhood.
Another 31 have been targeted to be demolished in 2010.
The Administrative Hearings Bureau, formed in 2007 as a civil version of
the Michigan court system, has served to hold homeowners and tenants
alike accountable for cleaning up their blighted properties.
The Inkster Hearings Bureau has been very instrumental in reversing the
spread of blight in our community.
Last year, 259 blight violations came before the Administrative Hearings
Bureau and the Bureau assessed a total of over $72,000.00 in fines.
The primary intention of the Inkster Hearings Bureau is to compel people to
correct their violation, while imposing fines are secondary.
A few years ago the City administration traveled to Lansing with the intent
to address the problem of safety enforcement in Mobile Home Parks in
Inkster. Due to the fact that they were protected by a weak and complacent
Mobile Home Commission Act, there was little we could do.
Today I am proud to report that Legislation was signed into law last month
that will give authority to local units of government to inspect mobile
homes that are being rented in licensed mobile home parks. (Public Act
The new law is in effect for all building departments in the State of
Michigan. This law was initiated by the City of Inkster with the help of our
Lansing Lobbyist, Governmental Consulting Services, Incorporated (GCSI).
Last year, the Council directed the Administration to move forward with an
Automatic Meter Reading (AMR) system to address the unbelievable
problematic water meter readings that we have had in this city for far too
The AMR system will also improve customer service. Fast accurate meter
reads will be based on actual consumption and should eliminate the need
for estimated usage. The AMR system will permit the City to react faster to
abnormal usage and contact the citizens regarding excessive water usage
before it becomes a huge problem.
If you have a water issue you should know that Council set up a Citizen
Water Hearing Board to assess your problem and offer remediation.
In 2009, the City received $510,000.00 from stimulus money for its Farnum
District Relief Sewer Project which is currently under construction.
Separation of L-49 (combined sewer district) was completed last year in the
South West area of the city. The $560,000.00 cost for this project was
obtained from an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Grant.
Construction continues on the Retention and Treatment Basin (RTB) for
our western outfalls Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) Control Project. This
project is located outside - just south of this recreation complex.
The construction of this $20,000,000.00 project is expected to be completed
in November 2012. Our City was successful in capturing a $1,000,000.00
grant for this project. We still have at least one more to go, the eastern
Last year, the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) and the Inkster
Summerfest Committee launched the 2nd annual "Inkster Summer Jazz
Fest". It drew several thousand spectators and was the highlight event of
Yes, last year Inkster sold itself as a close, convenient and safe destination
for visitors and friends throughout Southeastern Michigan and Ohio for
entertainment and leisure activity. We were able to positively showcase
Please put July 10th and 11th on your calendar now so that you won’t miss
this year's event.
Last year, our Parks and Recreation Department offered a free Instructional
Golf Program for children from ages 8 to 17 in cooperation with the Inkster
Valley Golf Course and Wayne County Parks.
This was made possible due in part to an equipment grant that
was obtained through the National Parks Recreation Association and Golf
Course builders of America’s “Sticks for Kids” program.
Last year, the City of Inkster's 45th Birthday Celebration was held. This
event was hosted by the Commission on Aging and “Because Inkster
Cares”. It was a delightful celebration with some impromptu comic relief
by Inkster's own Georgia Miller.
In cooperation with Senior Services, the Recreation Complex hosted the
Friendship Club, a walking and exercise program and Senior Safe Day
Currently, they are raffling off an afghan and a quilt that were made and
donated by two seniors in our community, Dorothy Taylor and Janice Kelly.
Both items are on display tonight.
The $500,000.00 Michigan Avenue Enhancement Grant will finish up this
year. The streetscape activities started last year.
When completed, it will includes landscaping, parking lot buffering, a
Gateway Plaza at the Inkster Town Center, a bus shelter and stamped
To enhance the project the DDA worked with the property owners of the
Inkster Plaza to remove the old pole sign and build a new ground sign. The
new sign was designed to coordinate with the Gateway Plaza to provide a
park-like atmosphere for visitors. The design will create improvements and
put emphasis on Downtown Inkster and encourage pedestrian traffic in the
The City of Inkster received a grant award of $730,000.00 from Wayne
County for the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP). The funds will
be utilized to demolish blighted houses, commercial properties and two
schools. The intent of the program is to assist communities that have
suffered from foreclosures and abandonment.
While our population downsizes, we must remove the least functional
structures in preparation for future opportunities to redevelop
The DDA approved three Façade Improvement Program grants to local
businesses. The recipients were Gracie See Pasta Ria, Dairy Queen and LA
The program provides matching grant funds toward eligible physical
improvements to the structures which become visible, long-term
improvements to the district, increase property values and spur additional
economic development within the district.
The most notable development in the City is the Department of Human
Services Project at the former Rosenau Honda site.
The project includes the demolition of several blighted structures and the
construction of a 12,000 square foot “Class A” office facility for the
Michigan Department of Human Services (MDHS) and a 10,000 square foot
retail building. Brownfield Redevelopment Authority, Planning and the
TIFA all came together working with the Council and Administration on this
Project. It is scheduled to open this year.
Last year, the City Manager and TIFA formed a team to focus on a multiphased
approach to redevelop Wheatley Park. The Team includes several
city departments and representation from the Inkster and Westwood
School District to implement the goals of the Redevelopment Plan.
With the award of $75,000.00 from Commissioner Joan Gephardt and
matching funds from the TIFA, the City anticipates breaking ground in a
few months. The improvements will be the baseball diamond renovations,
drainage and improvements to the basketball courts.
The Inkster Police Department received over $872,000 in new grant funding
from the Federal Government.
The department hired three police officers, thus increasing its ranks to 63
police officers. They also purchased the necessary equipment to perform
the essentials needed for a contemporary police department. The most
significant purchase was that of a much needed state of the art Crime
Scene Vehicle which cost $71,340.00.
The vehicle allows our police department to respond to the scene of a
major crime with all of the resources needed to do a thorough and
immediate investigation of the circumstances of the crime. The vehicle is
equipped with a generator, lights, communications capability, conference/
interview room and storage for barricades, etc.
In December a Multi-jurisdictional Warrant Sweep was conducted in the
City of Inkster. The purpose of the sweep was to arrest persons wanted on
warrants that resided in the City.
The participating agencies were the Michigan State Police, Wayne County
Sheriff’s Department, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and
Explosives, United States Marshal’s Office and the Inkster Police
Department. The three day sweep netted a total of Fifty-one (51) arrests on
This sweep was a community response to a series of youth violence in our
City. All were drug related. I cannot possibly, tonight, capture the
community’s pain, anxiety and disappointment when our young people
believe and behave in a manner with their life, that guarantees death,
incarceration or impairment of your God given ability to succeed and be an
asset to your family and Community.
There's no single reason and no single answer, but I was proud to see this
community stand-up in unison and engage in affirmative action to address
Let it be known that we control our lives and our conduct. We are
responsible for the decision we make.
I often think of the words to a song. Don't worry . . . I am not going to sing
it. It came out in the 70`s, and like some of the songs of today, there were
songs back then that had expressions of motivation and life.
The late Teddy Pendergrass came out with a song that was a big hit and for
me in my twenties it was a time in my life where I was making some
corrections, adjustments and wake-up calls. Like some of you young folk, I
was blaming everybody else for my shortcomings. The song was sort of
therapeutic and it became my anthem. The song is "Life Is A Song Worth
It went in part, "life is a song worth singing, so sing it. If you don’t like the
way you’re living, too bad - change it. So, you sit around and wonder,
talking about how life is treating you wrong. You’re a fool if you think
you’re helpless, you decide what you do with your life."
Or if you want to hear from a contemporary activist, Al Sharpton, who said
something most profound, "If someone walks up to you and knocks you off
your chair and you’re laying out on the floor, that’s on them. But, two
weeks later you’re still on the floor that’s on you". Don't think for a
moment that I believe that a Mayor reminiscing on old school or the
eloquence of a prominent national figure is going to change your life. The
point is, you have to change your life.
During the past year, the Inkster Housing Commission has focused mainly
on completing the $7,000.000.00 renovation project for Lemonye Gardens,
Demby Terrace and Parkside Estates. To date, 363 families have
transferred into newly renovated apartments.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 included substantial
funding for housing programs.
The Inkster Housing Commission was awarded $1,772,518.
The Housing Commission entered into agreements with construction
companies last year to renovate the South Tower of the Twin Tower
The Twin Tower apartments provide housing for the elderly and the near
Upon completion of the renovation activities, 60 luxury one-bedroom
apartments will be created for our seniors. The project is scheduled for
completion in December 2010.
Every 10 years, as mandated by the U S Constitution, our nation conducts
a census. The City of Inkster is committed to our success by hiring a
Census Awareness Coordinator and forming the Complete Count
Committee. This Complete Count Committee is made up of sub
committees, elected officials, Education, Faith-based, media, Community
based business and Recruiting.
They are undertaking aggressive and creative outreach strategies to
communicate the importance of a total Complete Census Count.
This is a comprehensive snapshot of how our City is changing.
$400 billion in federal money is at stake each year, along with a host of
other variables which impact our community from political representation
and education, to housing, infrastructure, improvements, senior services
and many other factors that affect our quality of life.
It is crucial to our future that we come together to educate our fellow
citizens about what’s at stake and how answering 10 confidential questions
can protect our stake by securing federal funding and service delivery for
the next ten years.
Starting the end of this month, you will receive your census form. It is the
shortest form since the first census of 1790.
Remember, 10 questions, 10 minutes, 10 years.
You will never come across anything that will mean more and do more in
less time for your City.
SEMCOG has already indicated that Inkster will lose 8,000 residents from
the 2000 census count and if this is true, we could lose over 12 million in
State/Federal funding. If this happen, folks you will no longer enjoy the
level of services that you have today.
April 1 is Census Day, so I am putting out a call, a clarion call, to all
residents, folks that are visiting, students out of town, snow-birds,
transients, foster care, daycare…homeless, vagrants and yes dead heads
and knuckleheads you need to be counted too.
Because one day in the future, when you wake-up, straighten-up and fly
right, and I believe you will, then you'll want to get a job or go to school to
get an education or trade, only to find out in shock and amazement that
public transportation to get there was eliminated due to a low census
count. You’ll find out the adult education or college who only a few years
ago offered career opportunities are no longer funded due to a low 2010
census count. To make matters worse, when you go raise holy hell to your
new congressperson and/or state representative, but because of the low
count in your City, the Government through reapportionment – Michigan –
your state, has lost another Congressional seat, like we did in 2000, and
have gerrymandered your City and you’re now represented by a "NO"
Republican who doesn’t care about your healthcare or your welfare.
As always - Inkster, "Seize the Time". To the seniors, baby-boomers and,
Generation X, again, the vision of a vibrant and progressive Inkster is
shared by all of us. It is only realized in the active participation of each of
Thank you and May God Bless you!
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