By: Mike DeWitt
While national news outlets are pumping out stories of local governments and authorities gone awry – think Flint water crisis and numerous police scandals – the City of Wyoming is a beacon of shining light in government balance and transparency.
On Monday, January 18th, Wyoming Mayor Jack Poll delivered the annual State of the City address in front of the Wyoming City Council and residence in attendance. Mayor Poll’s message shed light on Wyoming’s growing business and building development, productive and advancing city services, and the government’s consistent fiscal responsibility.
“We wish to keep our city financially strong while maintaining the valued services we provide,” said Mayor Poll during the address. “We must continue to build our foundation for the future.”
Back in 2010, Wyoming’s largest taxpayer, the JM Stamping Plant, left and taxable values of homes dropped. Now in 2016, the taxable home values have leveled off and improved. In fact, home tax values went up by 5 percent from the beginning to the end of the year. That trend is expected to continue in 2016 and keep improving until 2025 when tax dollars will reach the levels they were at back in 2008.
“Development in the city was strong in 2015,” added Mayor Poll. “Construction values totaled more than 44 million dollars. A 7% increase over the previous year.”
Part of that was due to three businesses – Zeeland Lumber and Supply, the Habitat for Humanity Restore, and the Well Mannered Dog Center – reopening their doors after taking damage from the tornado that hit Ideal Park in 2014.
Not only is Wyoming seeing development in the private sector, but the city is constantly looking to improve its services to better serve the residents of Wyoming.
Last year, all four of Wyoming’s fire stations were ready and open during peak time. This year, the city is expecting to reach their goal of 80 firefighters ready for emergency in the city. Wyoming is also equipped for a potential ice storm in the winter or a swift flood come spring.
The city utilized two Quick Response Vehicles (QRV) this past year to up the efficiency of city services. QRV’s led to an overall reduction in response time as three fires were quelled by QRV’s before the larger engines arrived. The city is strongly considering adding a third to the fleet in 2016.
Police officers consistently visit local businesses, business meetings, and perform off hour business checks to keep communication flowing throughout the community and to keep local business owners safe. Plans for program and high school advisory groups are being set to educate the community on police procedures, gather feedback, and to better understand the issues the Wyoming community faces.
On top of improved emergency services and communication, families and businesses in Wyoming continue to benefit from water and sewage rates that are the best in the state. The public works department provides safe drinking water, sanitation, roads and plowing all while operating in a financially responsible way.
“Our financial responsibility is perhaps most evident in our successful early payoff of capital debt in 2015,” said Mayor Poll.
That eliminated debt includes an early payoff of six physical buildings that are owned by the city. The buildings include the library, city hall, police station, motor pool, and two fire stations.
As the City of Wyoming continues to build and grow, the city council insists on staying transparent. Mayor Poll’s hope for 2016 is that more Wyoming citizens look to get involved with city government, Every city council meeting is open to the public, and if you can’t make the meeting, they’re broadcasted live on WKTV and can be reviewed online.
“As I have now started my seventh year, it is truly my honor and sincere privilege to serve as the Mayor of the City of Wyoming,” proclaimed Mayor Poll. “My hope and prayer is that this year we all continue to build on that tradition of success.”