So long 2012, hello 2013

Local figures review the year gone by and what lies ahead

By: Tiffany Esshaki | Farmington Press | Published January 2, 2013

It was a busy year in the Farmington Press coverage area, with plenty of highs and lows. But if you ask some city officials, the best is yet to come.  

There’s plenty that Farmington City Manager Vincent Pastue hopes to accomplish in 2013, but for now, he’s taking stock of the city’s accomplishments during the past year.

“There was a significant sidewalk replacement program throughout the city, in areas we thought were trip hazards,” said Pastue. “We did a pretty significant sewer main lining project up in the Floral Park neighborhood that was a half million dollars, that extended the life of the sewer main but also improved reliability.”

Pastue said another major event for Farmington this year was merging public safety dispatch operations with Farmington Hills police. He said that, though the dispatch services for both departments have only been consolidated for about three months, it’s been working well so far.

As for what’s on his agenda for 2013, Pastue said Farmington will be busy focusing on how to prepare the city for the years ahead.

“We have a Community Vision program we’re going to initiate in January 2013, which will set the foundation for the future of Farmington,” he said. “It’s a community project that certainly evaluates where we’re at and where we need to be headed, as far as infrastructure, city services, etc.”

Another priority for the new year that Pastue noted will be the corridor improvement project that the city is working on with Farmington Hills to bring new life to the eastern portion of Grand River Avenue. Farmington Hills Mayor Barry Brickner said the ongoing collaboration will be at the top of his agenda in the new year, as well.

For Brickner, 2012 in Farmington Hills was all about keeping the status quo with a lack of resources.

“This year, like last year, will be about trying to keep an even keel,” he said. “Just trying to maintain services, and we’re doing a pretty good job of it.”

Of course, he said there were a few issues that made waves in city government during the past year, namely the decision made by Farmington City Council to opt out of services from the Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation, which continued with a lengthy discussion at the Farmington Hills City Council table regarding the bus system. The Farmington City Council later reversed its decision, as SMART introduced a plan to address some of the elected leaders’ concerns, and Farmington Hills also decided to stick with the service.

“The biggest thing that actually happened was last January, when we voted (as a council) to keep the SMART system,” said Brickner.

“It was put on the ballot in Farmington Hills and it passed overwhelmingly,” he added.

It also passed overwhelmingly in Farmington.

Looking ahead, Brickner has a long list of things he hopes to accomplish, starting with bringing some fresh faces into City Hall.

“It was on my agenda for 2012, but it’s still on my agenda now, to get more young people involved in city government on boards and commissions. We have representation by seniors and families, but not a lot of folks in the millennial group,” said Brickner, noting there are openings in the Parks and Recreation area.

“And also, I’m up for re-election,” he added with a laugh.