On Dec. 3, we had our fourth annual Macomb County State of the County Address at the Macomb Center for the Performing Arts. With over 1,200 attendees (at capacity!), it was our most successful State of the County yet. Our afterglow party, Taste of Macomb, had 32 participating restaurants, also a record number.
I appreciate all of your support before and during the event. So much of the success of this event has to do with the participation of county employees.
If you weren’t able to make it, the speech this year focused on Macomb County’s last four years with the executive form of government and how, since the charter was adopted, Macomb County has become more efficient, economical and ethical. We had to identify what we stood for, build an agenda, create a sense of pride and, finally, we needed a call to action. Our self-made brand, Make Macomb Your Home, has evolved into a distinctive identity creating a new energy in Macomb County.
During these four years, Macomb County has become more diverse. We have added more than 23,000 new residents. That’s 16 people each day, on average, making Macomb their home. Through countywide initiatives like OneMacomb, we are leading the way by celebrating cultural diversity and inclusion.
Diversity isn’t just related to our residents, but also to our economy. Our economy is no longer linked to a single entity, but to a diverse network of industries that are transforming Macomb. Since 2009, Macomb has experienced a 39 percent job growth in manufacturing. Manufacturing in Macomb adds more than $10 billion to our economy, and our county exports more than $41 billion worth of products annually. This past year, 139 Macomb County companies fulfilled nearly two billion dollars in Department of Defense contracts. Local businesses such as Sturdy Grinding Company, Oakley Industries, Paslin Company and Yanfeng Automotive are also making large investments. Food and agricultural businesses are also flourishing in Macomb: Bosco’s Pizza Co., Achatz Handmade Pie Co., Safie Specialty Foods Co., Ethel's Edibles, Blake’s Orchard and Cider Mill, Kuhnhenn Brewing Co., Westview Orchards and Garden Fresh Gourmet have had great success.
Fiscal integrity has become a mainstay of Macomb County government. We have produced four consecutive years of balanced budgets. We eliminated $60 million in budget shortfalls and added $26 million to our fund balance. We possess a Macomb government philosophy that emphasizes four things: empowerment, collaboration, fiscal integrity and the value of the region.
2015 holds a lot of excitement. The city of Utica will become home to Macomb County’s first multi-use community sports and entertainment complex. Our Blue Economy will continue to flourish – many marina operators report more Canadian and Ohio boats filling their guest wells. I am also proud to announce that next year, the finals for the Bassmaster Elite series will be held on Lake St. Clair. Obviously, next year we have a lot to look forward to.
Have a great holiday season everyone! See you in 2015!