Peter Auger, Auburn Hills City Manager
Thoughts on running a city, daily musings, and everything in between.
City Manager, Auburn Hills, MI
Sometimes our life is adapting to other peoples schedules. Late yesterday we were notified that they will be taking testimony in Lansing on legislation that will remove the Personal Property Tax. So, schedules rearranged and off to Lansing today I am.
So, sometime after our city council meeting and before arriving to the office this morning, I tried to come up with an opening to my testimony. You are now privy to the rough draft:
As city manager of the city of Auburn Hills I can tell you we are not opposed to the repeal of the PPT. We know how to work with businesses and probably earned the distinction of adding more jobs per capita in the past five years than any other community in the State of Michigan. We are a unique city that our DNA is a mixture of 80% business and 20% residential. We were declared by Manufacturing Magazine to have the third largest industrial jobs in the state behind Grand Rapids and Detroit. Forbes Magazine has also published that we tied with one other community for the most Fortune 500 companies run from our community in the State of Michigan.
Our team is very assertive in recruiting, courting and attracting companies from around the United States and around the world. We sometimes compete head to head with other states, regions, and municipalities 5 times our size.
We have companies from over 30 countries with facilities in our community and also house one of the largest structures in the United States.
We understand the need to change and what a burden the PPT is. We are in the arena and deal with it as we compete with other areas that don’t have this type of tax.
Our team lives by the Adapt, Innovate and Overcome philosophy and has become an agile and adaptive organization that exercises leadership at every level.
What we are opposed to is rushing through this process when there are numerous questions that have not been addressed. The makeup of our legislature has not changed during this past election, so one should ask why the rush through a “lame duck” session?
A lot of what I see happening in Lansing seems to be mirroring what we witnessed in Washington with the Unaffordable Health Care Act. You must pass the legislation to see what is in it. Haven’t we learned?
Like any successful organization stability is important. Why would you expect your communities to run any different? We have operated under this system for as long as we have been a city, cutting 22% of our revenue and telling us to trust you because there should be another revenue source coming soon is not very reassuring. Or telling us there will be a formula that will fund 80% of what you are removing, but then again not showing us the formula so we can plan future operations.
The state should be applauded to moving to a multiyear rolling budget. This helps you see how the decisions you make today affect the future. We, in Auburn Hills, actually project out five years for operations and as far as 20 years for infrastructure such as roads, water and sewer with our budgeting process.
We would love to be a part of the solution. Let’s work on the formulas. Let’s figure out how we grow together to be that Great State of Michigan we all want instead of what seems like this ready, shoot, aim plan that normally comes from large inefficient bureaucratic governments.
Hmm…then I hope to answer questions on how the slice of 22% affects the services we provide. Just hope the audience doesn’t have tomatoes again…
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