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Posted on: July 21, 2023

Council Connection: John Caron on City Spending

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St Clair Shores is going through the process of updating the City’s Master Plan and Parks and Recreation Plan. As I look ahead to all the suggestions that will come in from residents, I also take the time to reflect on where we have progressed.

When I started on the council, we were still in the “Great Recession” as property tax revenues were falling and revenue sharing from the State was decreasing. For those first few years, it was all about keeping the people employed, providing the same high-quality services to the residents, and making only emergency repairs.

Then we entered a period where we got past the crisis and could start repairing before they were absolutely necessary. We could renovate and expand with grant funding or use creative low-interest federal loans (like we did for the senior center). But we spent wisely to save for the future.

Those years of cautious planning showed fruit when we entered a period where we could now afford the long-needed but “nice to have” replacements and improvements. These included the full-scale renovation of Blossom Heath Park and the pier renovation and expansion. We added new playgrounds in the community parks in the south, middle, and north of the city. We are in the middle of a 2-year project revamping the city pool, resolving issues that needed addressing years ago.

And thanks to America Rescue Plan funding, our future projects include new police and fire stations. These will replace over 70-year-old structures with buildings lasting for the next 50 years. Not only will these new facilities create more efficient working spaces, but they will also help ensure we are always recruiting the best available first responders.

But that’s only part of what’s planned to update. Through federal grant funding and financial gifts, the reimagined library will serve the next generation of learners and create an even better community space.  

So, to bring this discussion back to the master plans, all these past, current and future improvements show the investment that goes into our city’s infrastructure. These plans are the road map of where we want to go as a community. We have new opportunities to create a true downtown at 9-Mile and Mack. We want to keep our codes business-friendly to attract new prospects while protecting our neighborhoods. And we always want to add to our recreational opportunities.

This all comes from maintaining the city’s financial stability and keeping the services affordable for the residents. I realize that going through budgets, audits, and spreadsheets can be boring, tedious, and confusing, but these past and future improvements are only possible with that stability.

If you have any comments, please e-mail me at caronj@scsmi.net or call me at 586-777-0611.

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