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Dave Coulter, Ferndale Mayor since January, 2011.
What do you consider to be the accomplishments during your tenure as Mayor?
Ferndale is a special community, and it’s an honor to serve as Mayor. Working together with City Council, I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished so far, including:
- Lowering taxes more than 2 mils (about $166 for the average homeowner) this year, and lowering water rates 10% in 2014;
- Renovating our dilapidated courthouse and police station – without using tax dollars;
- Creating a new health clinic for city employees in collaboration with Royal Oak and Madison Heights, as we continue to look for ways to reduce costs while still offering outstanding city services;
- Upgrading Livernois and West Nine Mile to transform them into more vibrant, successful streets, and completeing upgrades to Hilton and East Nine Mile. We’re already seeing significant private investment following our work in these areas;
- My Mayor’s Business Council, which continues to help attract new investments, jobs and tax revenue to our formerly neglected industrial sector;
- The work of my Blue Ribbon Committee on Parks, resulting in improvements such as the new Wilson Park Dog Park, a new play scape at Garbutt Park and new walking trails, among others.
What challenges or disappointments did you face as Mayor?
With revenues flat, financial issues have been a challenge every year since I’ve been mayor. Just like our residents have to balance their household budgets, we’ve worked hard to offer great city services that get more expensive every year with the same amount of funds. Beyond financial issues, however, I’ve learned that being mayor means being prepared for the unexpected. From heat waves and power outages to flooding and lawsuits and more, you’re really tested most by the things that weren’t planned.
I’ve faced each of these challenges the same way; engage the other council members and the unique talents they bring to create a strong team, encourage city staff to think creatively about how to use their experience to tackle problems, and be honest and transparent with residents about the nature of the challenge and our options as a community.
I’ve never pretended to have all the answers, but I know that within this city are people – council, staff and residents – that possess the knowledge that will lead to the best possible solutions for Ferndale. As a result, I’m grateful for all the support and friendship I have received since becoming mayor. I know our best days are yet to come, and by working together we will keep moving Ferndale forward.
What do you see as the priorities for the Mayor in the next two years?
Ferndale is once again helping lead the region with rising home values, higher occupancy rates in our downtown and industrial sector, lower crime and an overall improved quality of life. But there’s more I’m eager to do, including continuing the transformation of our parks, expanding retail, foot traffic and parking in our downtown, and ensuring that this progress preserves affordable housing and independent retailers and entrepreneurs in our city.
Thanks to the voter-approved infrastructure bond passed in May, I’m excited to bring even more attention to our parks and develop amenities residents will use and enjoy. Together with the work of repairing our local streets, these bond projects will soon be a reality and will help transform our parks and our neighborhoods into even more vibrant places of recreation and community.
I’m also looking forward to partnering with the new leadership at the DDA to address issues like increased retail activity, housing and office development, transportation and parking (including planning already underway for a possible replacement of the 3-60 project) to ensure our downtown remains a popular regional destination in the face of increased regional competition.