Westland Mayor Bill Wild finds solutions to avoid deficit
Updated On: Jan 10 2014 12:04:46 AM EST
While Detroit is dealing with bankruptcy, Westland Mayor Bill Wild found a way to save his city nearly $500,000.
Inkster Mayor Hilliard L. Hampton, Wild and Westland-Wayne Fire Chief Michael Reddy have found ways to manage their budgets by sharing fire services between the three cities.
"This extension of our shared services enables all cities to operate more efficiently," said Wild. "The working partnership between Westland-Wayne has proven successful and we have strategically positioned the department in such a way we were able to include Inkster."
The shared service agreement began on July 1, 2012, and will extend for five years.
"It is it truly beneficial when cities are able to collaborate," said Hampton. "We are all forced to do more with less and this effort allows us to maintain the quality of services our residents expect and deserve."
The joint services will save Westland $180,000 annually, Wayne $130,000 annually and Inkster $55,000 annually.
"I credit the mayors for their leadership as well as council members and unions for their support," Reddy.
"We created a blueprint for shared services that other cities have adopted, including Dearborn and Melvindale," said Wild. "Our fiscal responsibility means we evaluate our departments and finances often. We cannot afford to ignore or kick our financial problems down the road. We have to make the appropriate adjustments regularly."
Other ways Westland has not only avoided a surplus, but created a surplus over the past seven years include:
- The city has 125 fewer employees today.
- Worked with unions to downsize city operations to meet current revenue with very little cuts to City Services.
- Asked employees to begin contributing towards their health care.
- Received pension reform
- Began to eliminate costly retirement healthcare
- Reduced appointed staff from 18 to 12 employees, which saved the city close to $1 million a year.
- Merged Wayne and Westland Parks and Recreation Departments.
- Closed the antiquated Recreation Center that was losing close to $1 million a year.
- Westland began delivering Emergency 911 Dispatch services for Wayne, Inskster and Garden City, which saved all four communities significant dollars and allows them to share the cost of technical upgrades.
- Westland also has been sharing employees in the Water Department and Mapping Department with Canton Township.