At the State of the City address Thursday afternoon, Novi Mayor Bob Gatt summed up the state of the city in one word: healthy.
"You live and do business in one of the safest cities in Michigan, you've benefitted from the city's commitment to quality parks, infrastructure, communications and schools. You work in a city growing in industries which will continue to provide a diverse tax base for the future...You have benefitted from the strong fiscal management that has made Novi the envy of others," he said.
Gatt's speech at the was made in front of more than 200 people, and video will be made available online courtesy of SWOCC soon. Gatt said the healthiness of the community has not come by accident, but from the hard work of staff and community members.
"Unlike other communities who are struggling to keep occupancy and retail centers and office parks, Novi is maintaining its health by encouraging and fostering economic growth," he said.
Here are some of the facts Gatt cited that make Novi healthy financially and economically:
- More than 10 new ribbon cuttings were held in 2011.
- Approximately 400 new jobs were added in Novi last year.
- Novi's most recent unemployment rate, as of yesterday, is 5.1 percent, which is below Oakland County's rate of 8 percent and the state's rate of more than 10 percent.
- The city by $8.7 million last year while maintaining one of the lowest millage rates in Oakland County.
- Novi implemented a citywide water management program, which resulted in a decrease in the city water rate by 2 percent in 2011.
Gatt also pointed out many of the awards and accomplishments the city had last year:
- Family Circle named Novi one of the .
- The , improving public safety, reducing traffic congestion and encouraging economic development in the area.
- The Nine Mile Pathway was completed, which earned Novi's engineering division the American Public Works Association's Transportation Project of the Year for the Detroit area.
- The was named Michigan's .
- Novi was the only city in Michigan to receive the Gold Promoting Active Communities Award from the Governor's Council of Physical Fitness.
- Ringo Kai, or the Japanese School of Detroit, and opened its doors this fall.
- The saw a nearly 15 percent reduction in burglaries and 30 percent decrease in auto theft in 2011 from 2010.
"We continue to build our city with a view to the future, providing amenities that will attract the very best companies and brightest employees drawn to our visionary commitment to parks, trails, arts and culture," Gatt said.
Here are some of the projects Gatt said the city has to look forward to in 2012:
- The between Haggerty and Novi roads.
- will be planted
- 12 new retail outlets, including , will open in this summer.
- A new attached to the , which is expected to draw more business to the area.
- The city will parkland.
- Tognum America, a German-based company that builds engines, and bring 200 new jobs over the next few years.
Gatt said is important for the city to keep working to maintain its health and ensure a healthy future for the next generation.
"What role do you play in keeping Novi healthy? I have two words, and two words only: keep connected," he said. "You can help Novi thrive by continuing to be engaged in the community. Continue to be active in business organizations...civic boards or commissions, volunteer at your place of worship, help those in need, get involved in your children's school or their activities."
"We are committed to continuing to create a community that attracts individuals and businesses," he said. "However, it is the feeling of belonging in one's community that keeps people here—the friendships and strong business relationships that help us feel that we are a real part of the community."