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Posted on Mon, Jun 10, 2013 : 3:45 p.m.

Ann Arbor mayor to give unofficial 'state of the city' address this week

By Ryan J. Stanton

Mayor John Hieftje is scheduled to give an unofficial "state of the city" address before the Rotary Club of Ann Arbor on Wednesday afternoon.

Hieftje, now in his 13th year as mayor, will report on what's happening in city government, while reflecting on changes made over the past decade or so and the reasons behind them. The luncheon takes place at noon inside the Michigan Union at the University of Michigan.


Mayor John Hieftje says the city has made it out of the recession and its finances are in order now.

Ryan J. Stanton |

"Basically I'll be talking about where the city finds itself now," Hieftje said. "We're in very good shape coming out of the recession. There are good-looking numbers for employment and job growth and the city's finances are in order."

He added, "We've made it through the recession. Ann Arbor has become an incredibly efficient government — I don't think there's any fat left."

Hieftje also is expected to provide an update on progress toward achieving the goals of one of his signature programs — the Greenbelt initiative — and discuss the major issues facing the city and ideas for solving them in years to come.

Rotary luncheons are for club members only, but members are allowed to bring a guest. Due to space constraints, the event is not open to the general public.

But members of the public can hear Hieftje give a similar speech on Thursday.

Hieftje told he'll deliver similar remarks at the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Regional Chamber of Commerce's luncheon scheduled for 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday at Weber's Inn, 3050 Jackson Road. The event is $25 for members and $40 for non-members. Register here.

Hieftje previously stated he would consider not seeking re-election in 2014 if it's clear the city has emerged from the recession and is on a positive track.

He told this past week he won't be making a decision on whether he'll run again until early next year — possibly in January or February.

Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for Reach him at or 734-623-2529. You also can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to's email newsletters.


Gale Logan

Tue, Jun 11, 2013 : 3:50 p.m.

We have spent a lot of time in other college towns but none compare with Ann Arbor. It is a well run city, safe and green. The city government does appear to be very efficient. It is no wonder it wins so many "best of" awards. Glad to see them catching up with the roads.

craig stolefield

Tue, Jun 11, 2013 : 3:17 p.m.

Looks to me like the city has made a ton of progress on the roads since they finished the stadium bridges, though you wouldn't know it from reading the comments here. There is a whole lot more work going on this summer. Ann Arbor is a well run city that wins more awards than any other I know of.

Gale Logan

Tue, Jun 11, 2013 : 3:45 p.m.

According to the reports on, the city had to save a couple of years of road funds to pay for the new stadium bridges but when federal funding came through they were able to move it back to paying for roads. They have had a big push the last two summers.


Tue, Jun 11, 2013 : 3:22 p.m.

They are indeed finally repaving the roads, the question is why would a well run city allow them to resemble ox paths?


Tue, Jun 11, 2013 : 2:34 p.m.

If you look at the roads it would appear as if the state of this city is actually a third world country.


Tue, Jun 11, 2013 : 12:46 p.m.

Great Mayor, we are lucky to have him.

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Tue, Jun 11, 2013 : 11:08 a.m.

In the alternative universe where the Mayor always got his way and wasn't blocked by city council, we'd have three fire stations and not five, staffed by 10 fewer fire fighters, and the average heart attack victim wouldn't be reached in time to be saved by CPR. Nor would fire be quickly extinguished amd the fire department would practice "surround and drown" fire suppression techniques. We'd have single lane roads everywhere and entire streets would be closed to vehicular traffic, except busses. We'd build more big buildings, like train stations, with funds from the general fund, and subsidize loss making convention centers. We'd pay for downtown streets performers, too. In that alternative universe instead of having our city liabilities increase from $150 million to over $600 million, we'd have even more debt. We'd be in way worse shape. Thankfully we've elected some members of city council not willing to follow his lead. Let's finish the job by electing a majority who have a better agenda in synch with what the city needs!


Tue, Jun 11, 2013 : 3:16 p.m.

Nice straw men you've erected there.


Tue, Jun 11, 2013 : 11:02 a.m.

There's some fat in that public art commission, which for some reason has added to its staff and apparently needs $800,000 or so just to be administered (they didn't return the $800K back to its buckets of origins because the program needs to be "maintained" or something; I forget the exact reasoning, but I recall it was very poor). So that's fat. I think we should stop renovating and using the building they said they couldn't renovate or use, and that was the justification for the Justice Center. Why is no one following up with that? Can anyone at ask the very direct question of why we're renovating and using that building, when it was very clearly stated as part of the reasoning for the justicve center that we could NOT renovate and use it? Please? Because I'm guessing there's some fat there. How many commissions and task forces and associations do we have? There's a group of people dealing with housing, right? And the art commission. Are there others?

The Picker

Tue, Jun 11, 2013 : 11:23 a.m. reporters asking direct questions of our elected representatives? OMG they wouldn't want to embarrass their friends. That would certainly make one uncomfortable if you bumped into them at the coffee shop.


Tue, Jun 11, 2013 : 10:52 a.m.

Is unofficial like, 'off the record'? Or, 'don't quote me'? Or, "I don't have permission to talk to the public yet....'? Go figure!

Alan Goldsmith

Tue, Jun 11, 2013 : 9:57 a.m.

"Due to space constraints, the event is not open to the general public." It would be, you know, nice or something if the Mayor actually came to a real public forum and answered questions from taxpayers. Buying a ticket to the 'luncheon' with a $40 non-member admission cost isn't 'open to the public' either. But I would pay 40 buck if the speech includes stating he's not running in 2014. And so I can thank him personally for pulling the world economy out of recession.

Kai Petainen

Tue, Jun 11, 2013 : 1:26 a.m.

"Hieftje said. "We're in very good shape coming out of the recession." I think he's quite right. Ann Arbor went through the recession and survived. For that... the mayor deserves some congrats.


Tue, Jun 11, 2013 : 1:28 a.m.

Maybe..if it was because of and not in spite of.

Colorado Sun

Tue, Jun 11, 2013 : 12:34 a.m.

The Mayor has been in office to long. No mayor in A2 history has served as long. His majority on City Council is long gone and there is a popular movement to strip him of his coveted DDA seat. He is pro-development in a city that frowns on development. Please do not run again, Mayor High-Rise.


Mon, Jun 10, 2013 : 11:57 p.m.

As I expect to be busy earning a living on Wednesday afternoon, where can we find the full text of the speech so we may attempt to understand the man's perspective?

The Picker

Mon, Jun 10, 2013 : 11:55 p.m.

If it's unofficial, they've invited John Heiftje to speak, not the Mayor!


Mon, Jun 10, 2013 : 11:15 p.m.

The oly state of the city address I want to hear is... "I'm sorry and I resign"

Steve Bean

Mon, Jun 10, 2013 : 10:36 p.m.

Ryan, do you know which job growth and employment numbers he was referring to? National, state, regional, local?


Tue, Jun 11, 2013 : 4:18 p.m.

They "predicted" lots of new jobs with Google too. How about actual numbers?

Ryan J. Stanton

Tue, Jun 11, 2013 : 4:31 a.m.

I assumed he was talking local, since this is a "state of the city." If you recall, University of Michigan economists released a new economic forecast in March, which predicts the county will add 12,961 new jobs from 2013 to 2015. That's in addition to the 11,978 jobs added from 2010 to 2012. The economists predict there will be new jobs added across most major sectors, with high-wage industries ($62K+) leading the way.


Mon, Jun 10, 2013 : 8:04 p.m.

Hee Haw!


Wed, Jun 12, 2013 : 2:07 p.m.

Ride 'em cowboy!!!!! YEE HAW!!!!!!

Nicholas Urfe

Mon, Jun 10, 2013 : 10:38 p.m.