Saginaw State of the City, County Addresses Strike Positive Tone
Moving forward with love.
That’s the essential message Saginaw Mayor Brenda Moore gave to the Saginaw County Chamber of Commerce during her State of the City address on Thursday, February 2 at the Dow Event Center. While highlighting the work the city has been doing over the past year, Moore emphasized the need to keep the city moving in a positive direction.
That work has included workforce development in the public sector by providing free CDL training; adding an environmental officer to the code enforcement arm of the city, SCENIC; reducing retiree healthcare unfunded liability costs from $312 million to $156 million; and constructing four electric vehicle charging stations around the city.
Moore also pointed to a $15 million dollar federal grant to construct a water tower near the city’s water treatment facility to improve the water distribution system.
Moore also broke down the $52 million dollars in federal funding the city received from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). The city had opened a public comment period early in 2022 to receive input on how those funds should be spent. Moore says there were around 400 proposals worth about $290 million, demonstrating a need for assistance. After recommendations from a committee formed to handle the requests, the city has broken down the funding with the majority going to infrastructure projects:
- $19.2 million in infrastructure
- $10.875 in housing and blight removal
- $8 million in youth development
- $5 million in public health
- $2.5 million in workforce development
- $2 million in food security
Moore says the city has to continue striving to improve, to not forget how much better off its become over the past decade. She cites in 2013, Saginaw’s General Fund Balance was $270,000. At the end of Fiscal Year 2022, that number was $10.3 million.
In the State of the County address, Saginaw County Board of Commissioners Chair Christopher Boyd highlighted similar issues in the city address.
The County received $37 million in ARPA funds, nearly all of which Boyd says has been allocated. Recipients of those funds include:
- Saginaw’s First Ward Community Center
- The Saginaw Community Food Club
- The Community Action Committee
- The Thomas Township Nature center and Preserve
- Saginaw County Parks and Recreation Department
- 7 separate fire departments
- The Commission on Aging’s Marie Davis Senior Center
- The Chesaning canoe and kayak launch
Boyd listed several improvements the county has accomplished over the past year as well, such as modernizing the county’s mainframe, which he says was last updated in the 1980’s; the construction of the new Animal Care and Control facility; having the county’s courts return to a normal way of doing business following the COVID-19 pandemic; adding a new training simulator at the Saginaw County Sheriff’s Department, which was fully federally funded; enhancing the Dow Event Center; the splashpad at Haithco Park; and several others.
For the coming year, Boyd says $5 million in ARPA funding will be used at the county health department to enhance economic development and healthcare access. The department has formed several partnerships over the last two years to help combat the pandemic and develop a post COVID strategy to build resiliency. Boyd says the health department has also united to fight obesity, enhance metal health services and maternal and child health services.
Finally, Boyd expressed excitement for the city of Saginaw’s bid to host the 2024 Canadian Hockey League Memorial Cup, a playoff event in Canada which drew more viewers than the Stanley Cup playoffs did in the U.S. last year. While the the league has yet to decide which city will host the event, Boyd says if Saginaw were chosen, it would bring up to $26 million dollars to the county.