Bernero addressed a full house of more than 100 city officials, local citizens and reporters on Jan. 30 at the Lansing General Motors Grand River Plant where he delivered his annual State of the City speech.
“The power of partnership will be a recurring theme in my remarks tonight,” said Bernero, who was making his ninth State of the City address. “… I’m pleased to report that the state of our city is strong, and getting stronger especially compared to our peers. We have weathered the storm of the great recession and true fiscal stability is finally at our doorstep.”
Bernero cited several partners – General Motors, United Automobile Workers, the Eli Broad College of Business at Michigan State University and Sparrow Health System. Bernero said the benefits of these partnerships are reflected in lower rates of unemployment and higher home prices.
“Our local economy is roaring back,” Bernero said. “Unemployment in the Lansing region has been in the single digits for 37 straight months, and we’ve had 27 straight months of job growth in the city. Home values and sales (also) are on the rebound.”
Bernero also said the city is projecting the 2015 fiscal budget will begin in balance instead of deficit for the first time in a decade.
Chris Lake, a Lansing Fire Fighters IAFF 421, echoed Bernero’s emphasis on partnerships.
“My main concern is the partnerships,” Lake said. “They’re growing as a region instead of everybody having their own direction. If we can all get together and grow as a region, we’ll all succeed.”
An example Bernero used to show the growth of partnerships was luring a couple of Italian companies to the area. Bernero said that while he was on a recent trip to Italy, he was able to seal the deal to have two Italian businesses, Saet Group and Satiz, come to Lansing.
Dustin Dickerson, also a Lansing Fire Fighters IAFF 421, commented on the initiative.
“The teamwork and bringing in a couple companies from Italy is a great thing,” Dickerson said. “Trying to get our global name out there as a city, a population of 100,000, going out to Italy and getting a couple companies to come over is a great thing.”