2022 State of the Cities
The City of Berkley has been hard at work this past year.
In conjunction with the Berkley Area Chamber of Commerce State of the Cities event (to be held on October 27), we’ve dedicated this web page to provide the Berkley community with updates on the accomplishments and challenges we have overcome this past year. We are also happy to share news about up-and-coming projects and programs.
Interested in attending? See event details here.
Below this webpage covers specific updates from each City department. Be sure to check out our State of the Cities video below!
City Manager's Office
The City Manager's Office has been busy searching for creative ways to secure operations, fix our facilities, as well as, optimize efficiency with our departments and staff. In the past year, they have conducted a professional review of the City's current Merit System of Human Resources Management Manual and Administrative Directives, updated all job descriptions to align with new strategic planning opportunities and succession planning, secured a Michigan Enhancement Grant for HVAC Improvements for municipal buildings, and more recently, remodeled City Hall offices to create a better workflow and layout for staff and residents.
Despite the challenges of operating in the highly scrutinized world of elections, since the last State of the Cities, the City Clerk’s Office securely and successfully carried out a local election that saw a field of candidates for City Council and also the re-election of Mayor Daniel J. Terbrack. The Clerk’s Office welcomed City Councilmember Jessica Vilani and said goodbye to longtime City Councilmember Jack Blanchard.
The Clerk’s Office also administered a Special Election for Berkley Schools and the State Primary Election in August. The Clerk’s Office also administered many oaths of office to new boards and commission members along with new and returning public safety officers.
Since the last November election, the Clerk’s Office registered 1,178 people to vote; issued 7,660 absentee ballots; and administered three elections with a high of 36 percent voter turnout.
The Clerk’s Office completed its redistricting process resulting in new State Representative Districts and sending out new Voter ID cards to 13,275 registered voters. After every decennial census, Congressional, Senate, and House districts are redrawn to reflect the population changes determined during the Census. Although all Berkley voters saw a change in district numbers, everyone’s precinct number and location stayed the same. The redistricting process does include making sure every street in the City is indexed accurately in the State of Michigan Qualified Voter File.
Operating in a more open environment, the Clerk’s Office saw a return of licensing and permitting, including a strong showing of pet license requests. The Clerk’s office issued 579 pet licenses. The Clerk’s Office also saw the return of many peddler licenses, snow plow licenses, garage sale permits, and bottle and can-drive permits. The Clerk’s Office additionally had the pleasure of assisting with the return of wedding ceremonies in Council Chambers and outside in the gazebo.
The Clerk’s Office saw another strong year accepting and administering Freedom of Information Act requests fulfilling close to 100 requests, many of which were complicated in nature.
The Clerk’s Office was able to increase its offerings to stakeholders interested in keeping up to date with the City’s Code of Ordinances. Residents may now visit our updated webpage to view changes in the Code of Ordinances days after adoption and also can sign up for email alerts per subject matter.
Interested in following updates to our pet ordinances? We have you covered!
Just sign up for an alert with pet-related keywords and/or ordinance sections, and you will receive an email whenever a change occurs.
City Hall continues to grow its seasonal election staff to ensure residents will receive the quality of services we aspire to provide!
The City of Berkley received the Award for Financial Reporting Achievement once again for the Annual Consolidated Financial Report. Everyone in the Finance Department contributed to this award, but special thanks go to our City Accountant, Laurie, for getting it all together and submitting it on behalf of Berkley.
The City also completed a successful RFP for Auditing Services and welcomed a new auditing firm, Post, Smythe, Lutz, and Ziel (PSLZ, LLC). After 16 years with Plante Moran, we thank them for their many years of excellent service, but also welcome our new audition firm and look forward to many years of collaborative success.
The Finance Department also conducted its second year with the Annual Digital Budget Book using ClearGov to enhance our budget transparency and presentation. We will also be acquiring a new program called Capital Budgeting from ClearGov which will allow us to be more informative and transparent with all of our upcoming capital equipment and capital projects plans via a digital online format.
Our Public Works Department (DPW) has been making major improvements throughout the city’s infrastructure. They continued with the 2018 voter-approved millage for citywide road patching. This year, they completed Sections Three and Four.
Curbside leaf collection, water main repairs, and sewer maintenance all continued uninterrupted along with the major water main and road reconstruction project on Kenmore and Cornwall.
DPW also launched its Lead Service Line Replacement Program where homeowners can have their lead or galvanized steel service line replaced at no cost. In early 2020, the State of Michigan adopted new rules requiring all municipalities to remove and replace all lead water service lines (pipe runs from the water main to the meter inside the house) at public cost and this work must be completed by 2041. To participate, all residents have to do is follow three simple steps and then submit their findings to Public Works to learn more about this program, please visit www.berkleymich.org/cleanwater.
Lastly, DPW also had their building recently renovated to better house their materials and staff, as well as, update their workflow for better service to the public.
Downtown Development Authority
The Downtown Development Authority (DDA) has been working in full swing since the major return of the business district since the pandemic. If you travel along our two Downtown Berkley districts, you will see that a huge push for streetscape enhancements has been undertaken and are noticeable, including the installation of new bike racks, bistro tables along the sidewalks, and multiple new downtown murals.
Many new businesses have opened up in Downtown Berkley in the past year as well, and there has been a considerable amount of both new construction and renovation of existing buildings.
DDA volunteers brought to life the first-ever Berkley Pride as part of their downtown block party series, which had a huge turnout and outpouring of positive support.
Downtown's popular BOO!KLEY season has come back even stronger for a second year, with the entire community getting in on the festive, frightful fun. Make no bones about it, the hundreds of skeletons swarming Coolidge and Twelve Mile are a hit!
Parks & Recreation
Parks & Recreation has been able to implement innovative and creative activities for our community of all ages to interact, and they continue to expand those opportunities for enjoyment within our City.
This year, the department was able to make various capital improvements like a new toddler play area at Oxford Park, fencing at Angell Ballfield, and new tennis courts at Friends Park. They also saw a full return of Summer Day Camp and senior programs, including highly successful senior exercise classes.
A major excitement for Parks & Recreation is the development of the inclusive playground scheduled for installation at Jaycee Park in the spring of 2023.
Additionally, the department had huge success over the summer with the launch of its first-ever summer concert series, Berkley Beats, which aroused the crowds and electrified our park spaces!
The Public Safety Department continues to put focus on supporting our community and keeping us safe. That could not happen without ensuring they have the tools and aid needed to do their job. So this year, their department spent time updating and modernizing their equipment.
This included the:
- Installation of many new internal and external cameras and camera systems to replace the existing outdated, obsolete, and failing system
- Preparation for the implementation of the new county-wide P25 radio system
- Purchased the majority of the needed radio equipment and accessories
- Completed the majority of the necessary wiring updates to the Public Safety building
- Purchase and installation of a cascade SCBA filling station on Squad 4
- Replaced outdated and obsolete self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) with modern equipment through an Assistance to Firefighters Grant
- Reorganization of records storage and conversion to digital records
- Reorganization and cleaning of the basement in preparation for the FY 23/24 basement project, including an audit of the property room
As Public Safety continues to work to build positive relationships with all members of our communities and to develop partnerships with all the stakeholders in the City of Berkley they hosted the very popular “Lids for Kids” and “Fire Open House” events, organized their “BDPS Golf Outing” fundraiser, and participated in and policed many community events.
Business is booming. Within this fiscal year, the Community Development Department has issued 585 commercial permits, up from 477 the previous fiscal year. We also welcomed 25 new businesses including Mongers Provisions, ReWare Vintage, and Berkley Cares Food Pantry. You will also want to look out for new developments soon to be under construction. Site plans were approved for Phillips Rowhomes, a new seven-unit townhouse-style development at the corner of Phillips and Twelve Mile and The Ivy, a 24 multiple-family unit to be located behind the LaSallete building.
The Community Development Department was able to successfully implement the review processes for marihuana provisioning establishments. At this time, four site plans have been approved and four licenses have been granted with construction underway or building permits in for review at most locations.
Lastly, with the adoption of the City-wide Master Plan and the final adoption of the Downtown Master Plan, Community Development now has the foundation for future zoning updates. These documents also paint a clear vision for businesses looking to invest in Berkley with the types of development we want to see as a community.
It was a true return to the library we all know and love. At the Berkley Public Library, we saw in-person programming and storytime resume in the library.
We saw our largest immersive outdoor summer reading program for our young readers, thanks in part to the Friends of the Library and Vibe Credit Union who sponsored.
In addition to becoming a fine-free library, the department's popular wifi hotspot lending program was expanded to eight units for loaning to Berkley cardholders. The library also expanded to five days of material delivery to quicken the speed of getting items to library users, and thanks to the Friends, there is a new early literacy computer station diversifying accessibility for all patrons.
Throughout the years, we’ve had dedicated volunteers documenting and collecting Berkley’s story at our historical museum. This past year, the Berkley Historical Museum renovated its space to house more memorabilia including several special displays such as the ever-popular 1978 Holland Hardware fire and the current retrospective on the development of Woodward Avenue.
Additionally, they have created a successful quarterly newsletter, The Museum Corner, where each issue focuses on a particular topic from our past. Issues they have covered in 2022 include Angell School's 100th; Woodward Ave's history; Berkley's water supply; and more.
They have also established a Twitter and Instagram page to match the active Facebook page. Be sure to give them a follow!
Lastly, if you were not aware, we will be commemorating our 100 years as a community. At the forefront of this celebration will be the Museum and preparations are in full swing!
A few things to look forward to in 2023 include:
- A walking tour sponsored by the Historical Committee and the Chamber of Commerce of Berkley kit homes. The tentative date is early May.
- The Village Hall/Fire Station has been placed on the MI register of historic buildings. The plan is to have an official historical plaque unveiled in April.
- The museum will also bury a time capsule to be dug up in 100 years. The capsule will house objects showing how life was in Berkley 2023. We welcome objects and suggestions!
- More to come!