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Flint, MI– Mayor Sheldon Neeley presented the State of the City Address at 7 p.m. Tuesday night during a special Flint City Council meeting.
Reiterating that his administration’s accomplishments were done through “prayer, planning, and partnership,” Neeley discussed COVID-19, blight, racism, police, infrastructure and economic development.
He said the state of the city was strong and that Flint was a city of “champions, not victims.”
When Neeley was elected in November of last year, he said two of his goals were to stop water shut-offs, and hold on interest and water late fees.
In his address, Neeley shared that the administration has not shut off any water users for lack of payment, and restored more than 600 customers.
Last week, he announced an opportunity for residents to save up to $225 on their water bills.
“We’ve done good work by our residents as it relates to the issue of making sure you have potable water for your use in your homes,” Neeley said.”This administration understands that water is a human right.”
On the topic of water, Neeley said that the administration was working on building a secondary water source and that restoring water services will continue.
Another goal the mayor shared once elected, was to do an audit on funds and report it to the public.
Neeley had an audit completed and reported to the public in December of last year. The audit found a series of issues including $620 million in unfunded pension and retiree health costs.
In his address, Neeley said the administration was “moving fast and trying to correct those issues.”
COVID-19, which was the reason for the virtual address, was a big topic of discussion.
Neeley held a moment of silence for lives lost during the pandemic, including three City of Flint employees, but praised his administration’s handling of the virus.
He said Flint was the second city in Michigan to declare a state of emergency, and that they did so eight days before the first case showed up in Genesee County.
He also discussed two closures of City Hall, the installation of a customer service window, the implementation of new procedures for cleaning and testing, protocols for remote working, and the appointment of a medical advisor, all to protect residents and employees.
“One thing’s for certain,” Neeley said. “We’ve saved lives.”
Neeley called upon residents to wear masks, and get tested frequently
“This crisis has certainly brought about challenges, but…it has not stopped the city of Flint from moving forward,” he said.
Some accomplishments Neeley highlighted were:
- Removing more than two million pounds of blight
- Declaring Juneteenth an official holiday and offering paid time off to employees on that day
- Working on police contracts to increase pay and health benefits
- Implementing the Special Investigative Unit which has resulted in more than 100 felony charges, 70 impounded vehicles, and 90 illegal guns
- Ending illegal gun auctions by the City of Flint
Two things Neeley said previous administrations neglected, was filling vacant police officer positions and improving roads.
“Moving forward, we need more cops on the street. Far too long, the city of Flint has not filled vacant police officer positions,” Neeley said. “We are now moving to hire more police officers at no increase to taxpayers.”
He also said his administration will spend millions of dollars in the future to repair roads and implement elements of speed control.
Neeley said he is also looking to bring in economic development to Flint.
“You will see more businesses down the poverty corridor, North Saginaw, Martin Luther King Ave., of growth in a robust way, providing starters with the assistance and resources in which they need to develop their business,” he said.
Neeley concluded by calling on residents to unite efforts and strengths, and said that “even six feet apart, anything can be accomplished.”