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Supervisor Dani Walsh Spring Update: Services Cut in 2019 Have All Returned in 2024

Spring is a chance for new beginnings and a brighter future. Spring is a chance to focus on where we’ve been, clean up messes, repair what’s broken, and make improvements as we charge forward into sunnier days.
When reflecting on 2019, the challenges Bloomfield Township faced were intense:
 
  • a structural deficit of $164 million dollars;
  • an emergency $4 million budget crisis due to changes in state laws regarding liabilities; and
  • staffing was being reduced and services were being cut.
Then in March of 2020 a global pandemic followed that continued the reduction of services and growth. Since 2020, new leadership at the administration, board, and department head levels were able to mix institutional knowledge from their predecessors with new eyes and fresh ideas that developed a recipe for success. Incrementally, year by year, cut services have been restored! And due to changes made in the way we budget, investments thriving, and innovations made to procedures and technology, we have reached the point where this year marks the moment that all services are restored. Even more notable is that we created a capital reserve fund two years ago that has grown to allow liquid access to capital funds so we are better protected against any emergency issues like those of 2019 and 2020.

My fellow neighbors and residents have consistently asked to bring back the programs that we lost. I am excited to announce that in addition to household waste days, both the Operation Clean Sweep and supplemental road funding are all back as well! I truly hope you will take part in Clean Sweep with your Home Owners Association or fellow neighbors, so we can keep Bloomfield Township beautiful together. Additionally, although the roads in our Township are owned by the County and the State, we as residents have high expectations and that is why Bloomfield is the only Township in the State of Michigan with a road department to better address the concerns of those failing roads. In 2019, about $750,000 was cut from our annual road department which drastically reduced our maintenance programs. This year we brought back $1,750,000 to the department and will once again be able to address some of the overlays and cape seal options that will help extend the life of some roads. You can learn more details on all of these programs throughout the newsletter. 

Even with our financial outlook improving, we can’t sustain exceptional services without amazing employees. For many decades there has been a significant decline in the number of people going into public service and that is an area we are innovating as well. Public Service is not just a calling, it is a wonderful career choice that fits all generations. However, the way we recruit and the conversation itself needed to change in order to attract and retain our extraordinary team to serve you. Currently, there is a national shortage of skilled trade workers, police and fire personnel, specialized areas of urban planning, civil engineering, department of public works, and assessing. Discussions with our federal representative, Congresswoman Haley Stevens, her staff, and I continue as we work together to address the situation at the national level by changing the way we promote public service to more Millennials and Generation Z. 

In addition to working with our federal leaders, Bloomfield Township changed the way we actively recruit as well. In 2023, our police department and cable department worked together to create a media recruitment campaign. Not only did the Cable Department win awards and recognition at the national level for the recruitment campaign, but it directly resulted in some of our most recent hires finding us online and choosing the Township based on the videos they saw highlighting the culture of the team. Similarly, we began using a national recruiting firm to help with specialized positions that aren’t common degrees anymore, but are still part of the backbone of public service. A “come back to Michigan” campaign to attract Michiganders that left over the years, but want to come back and be a part of the resurgence of the Detroit Metro area is in place. 

Another change we have made to recruit enthusiastic talent is presenting municipal departments as the live version of their favorite video games, such as SimCity or Minecraft. By changing the conversation and the way we engage with more recent generations, it helps them envision what it is like to be a part of urban planning, civil engineering, public works, and assessing. By adapting the way we recruit and speak with candidates, it not only improves our staffing in the Township, but also increases the awareness and interest in public service. If you know of someone who is looking for something more fulfilling, and also wants to give back to the community, join the conversation with us and guide them to public service where they can help themselves and communities to grow and thrive. Send them to our Employment Opportunities page for current job postings.

 

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