City of Bloomfield Hills - Hills Highlights E-Newsletter April 4, 2016
New Sign at City Hall

Maintenance and Appearance - It's Time for Spring Cleaning

By: Jay W. Cravens, City Manager
jcravens@bloomfieldhillsmi.net

By all appearances spring has finally sprung in Bloomfield Hills. Residents are now able to move around out of their homes and enjoy a brisk walk in their neighborhood. Now is the time to think about spring cleanup tasks. Our DPW is out daily patching up the potholes on our local streets and removing winter’s debris from the road edges. Already the street sweeper has made its rounds throughout the city. They are also looking at our local streets to determine what segments may need to be cut out and resurfaced later this spring or in the fall.

Here at City Hall we are looking to do some much needed maintenance repairs that were delayed for several years. In the coming weeks the City will have masonry and brick repair work done on City Hall and the Public Safety Building. Through the last few years we have noticed there are several areas where the bricks are cracking, spalling or chipping away. The mortar is also in need of tuck pointing. We intend to have this work all completed by the end of June. Some much needed plumbing and roof repairs are planned.

The City is also looking at areas around the community where we can plant some new trees. We will be planting trees in several islands or circles throughout the city. If you have any suggested locations where these trees should be planted, please let me know. Late last fall the City, along with ReLeaf Michigan planted 25 trees on Kensington, north of Long Lake Road. We want to continue these efforts throughout the community.

Following this beautification theme, later this spring flower pots will be installed along West Long Lake Road to soften up the appearance of business strip in that area. If your neighborhood is doing any perennial or annual flower plantings at your street entrances, please let me know and send me some pictures. I would be glad to share them with other residents.

The City’s new entry signs have been installed in six location throughout the community. Have you seen them? The new signs bear the City’s seal and a Welcome” message to all. Let me know what you think about them. We have also installed a new sign at City Hall, which incorporates the City’s seal and our branding theme.

Continuing on this “theme of appearance, maintenance and beautification”, the City is out looking at properties that may have been neglected or not properly maintained. However our abilities to see all properties or behind them is limited. If you have a situation that may require our attention, please call or email me. Your inquiries will remain confidential.

Treasury Notes

By: Karen Ruddy, CPA - Finance Director / Treasurer


The City is unable to accept any tax payments after February 29th.  All unpaid taxes need to be submitted to Oakland County.  Taxpayers will need to call Oakland County Treasurer’s office at 248-858-0611 before they submit payment to get an accurate total of what is owed.  

If you need tax information we have a link on our website where you can find current payment status as well as payment history.  The link can be found at www.bloomfieldhillsmi.net on the left hand side of the Treasury department page under Property Tax Lookup.  As always, we happy to answer any questions property owners have by calling our office.


On Track

By: Commissioner Mike Coakley

Moving forward into 2016, we are continuing our focus on fiscal strength, smooth operations, and maintaining and improving our infrastructure.  Our financial house is in good order with a prospect of ending the fiscal year with a small surplus. But we still have work to do to improve our financial condition.  While we wrestled to the ground our unfunded pension liability with our bond issue, we still have a sizeable unfunded liability for retiree medical benefits (generally known as Other Post-Employment Benefits, "OPEB").  So in 2016, we will be looking for ways to address the OPEB liability and not kick the can down the road to leave it to future administrations.  This may involve issuing bonds to pay the unfunded balance, or issuing new bonds for other requirements, such as roads, and using funds freed up from that to increase payments toward OPEB, bringing down the balance over time.  One way or another, we will be addressing this year the unfunded OPEB liability.

On the operations side, all our major functions, Administration, Public Safety, Public Works, Treasury, etc. are running well with great leadership and terrific personnel.  We've had a bit of a hiccup in our building department with the departure of our building official, but that will soon be resolved and we'll be back on solid footing there too.  On that topic, however, a word of caution to property owners and builders alike.  Expect to see code enforcement to be enhanced.  There is a lot of construction activity going on in the city, which is good on a lot of levels, but has significant impacts on our neighbors and wear and tear on our roads.  Our chief control on the impact of this activity is through enforcement of the building code. It is not a good plan to ask forgiveness rather than permission.  There will be little tolerance for violations, so please plan accordingly.  Let's all promote the high standards for which Bloomfield Hills is justly known.

We continue to work hard within budget constraints to maintain and improve our infrastructure.  Chief among these is our roads program.  In addition to the Manorwood, Renton, Chestnut and Woodwind road construction project slated for this year, we are looking at adding other sorely needed repairs, such as Orchard Ridge south, between Vaughan and Lone Pine, and possibly Rudgate.  Thinking forward, we will be looking to improve telecommunications in the city.  For example, there is no reason we shouldn't have fiber optic cable and upgraded wireless communications in the city. We've already seen some improvements in wireless transmissions, but we have a long way to go to bring our telecommunications to the level expected of a first rate city like ours.  We will be reaching out to carriers, and possibly joining with surrounding communities, in an effort to achieve a significant upgrade in our systems.  In this way we will not only maintain, but improve on the quality of life in our community.


Bloomfield Hills Water Quality


The Flint water situation has created regional concern over the quality of our drinking water.   The City of Bloomfield Hills and our water suppliers are compliant with Federal and State drinking water standards.

The City receives treated drinking water from the Great Lakes Water Authority or GLWA (formally the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department) through the Southeastern Oakland County Water Authority (SOCWA).  The treated water then flows through the City’s water distribution system up to your property line.  The City contracts with the Oakland County Water Resources Commissioner’s office (OCWRC) for operation and maintenance of the public water distribution system.   Finally, the water flows through your private service lead and internal plumbing to your faucet.  The City is not responsible for the private portion of the system.

Each of the City’s service providers has published materials related to this issue.  Jim Nash, the Oakland County Water Resources Commissioner, has compiled a great set of references on this matter at: www.oakgov.com/water .  

Further, OCWRC publishes reports specifically regarding the City’s water quality.  To view the City of Bloomfield Hills Consumer Confidence Report, click on: www.oakgov.com/water/Documents/ccr/2014/bloomfieldhills2014.pdf

Finally, if you suspect that you have a lead service lead or want to have your water tested, the Oakland County Health Department website has FAQs and links to laboratories in the area that can test your water.  Their website is: www.oakgov.com/health/information/Pages/Lead-and-Drinking-Water.aspx

City residents are encouraged to visit these websites to review the materials presented.


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