Warren has a lot going for it, but recently the city has received a couple of setbacks that Mayor James Fouts expertly addressed in his State of the City speech last week.
A dismissive Forbes magazine article ranked Warren among the nation's least desirable communities, listing it as the seventh most miserable city. Detroit and Flint came in first and second respectively.
Fouts was quick to point out that Warren is moving in a good direction. The city has increased its revenue while reducing costs in areas such as less overtime in its police administration, dropping costs by 27 percent and saving $300,000. Additionally, the mayor said the city has received several new grants, including one for $142,000 to renovate the Fitzgerald Recreation Center.
Another recent blemish on Michigan's third largest city was the announcement by the Campbell Ewald advertising firm that it was leaving Warren and moving to downtown Detroit. However, to offset this, Fouts noted Wal-Mart has spent $20 million on a new store that will bring 300 employees to Warren this fall.
He also listed recent investments from other companies. They include Flex-N-Gate spending $29 million and bringing in 100 jobs while GM plans to add 300 new jobs and spend $500 million. In addition, Wayne State University intends to build a $12 million tech education center.
The mayor said while the police are on a tight budget, the city's serious crime numbers are down 11 percent, and it has had a 100 percent drop in homicides. There were nine in 2011 but none in 2012, and none so far this year. Meanwhile, the fire department has added 18 firefighters and four fire trucks.
In his speech, Fouts said the city is financially solvent because of the collaboration among administration, City Council, unions and citizens. And a financially stable future is the best news the mayor can deliver.