Browning focuses on Saginaw's future in State of City address - WNEM TV 5

Browning focuses on Saginaw's future in State of City address

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(Source: WNEM) (Source: WNEM)

The city of Saginaw is getting ready to begin a new era of leadership.

Mayor Dennis Browning is in his final year.

Browning took the lectern for the last time to give his State of the City address. He said Saginaw is in a much better place now than it was five years ago.

That is based on its general fund, which sits at more than $4 million compared to $270,000 in 2013.

"Developers and the state look at that and so we're very proud of that. It's been a lot of hard work. It's been some tough decisions that had to be made, but it puts us in a much better position for the future," Browning said.

The mayor cited four things for residents to look forward to this year:

  1. Improved precincts at every election polling place this fall.
  2. More demolitions of blighted residential and business structures.
  3. Updated software to guard against cyber crimes in city government.
  4. In May Saginaw will become a "State of Michigan Redevelopment Ready Certified Community."

That last one could result in future economic growth for the city.

Browning said the biggest obstacle for the city is to get rid of a property tax cap enacted in 1979. It is one of only two such caps across the country.

"I'm really encouraged that the outside agencies say enough is enough. We cannot keep up on limits that were set in 1978. So that's our biggest challenge. If we're going to move forward, we're going to have to remove that double tax cap," Browning said.

He pointed to the work going on at the farmers market on Washington Avenue as an indication of how the future looks much brighter for the city.

"Continued economic growth in our community here is very rewarding and it shows that Saginaw is starting to improve and much better place to live, work and play," Browning said.

Browning also pointed to a 3 percent drop in serious crimes last year as an example of how the city is moving forward.

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