Hey, How About a Career in Local Government?

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I was reading today about public censures given to a  couple of people who are members of my national professional organization and got to thinking about the importance of having good, ethical people entering careers in local government, or government at any level for that matter.  I can bet that everyone has been in at least one (or one hundred) conversations during their lifetime about the way government is operated.  We often hear things like:  “government should run more like business” or other not-so-flattering things about the people who are in professional roles in government.  I am very proud of the Team of professionals we employ here in Auburn Hills.  All of them are highly educated and/or bring a lot of skills and abilities to the delivery of quality, effective and efficient services.  Those are not just expected words to describe our workforce . . . they are factual.   Continue reading “Hey, How About a Career in Local Government?”

Hey, How About a Career in Local Government?

The Pistons and The Palace

If you have been watching the decision unfold about the Pistons move to Detroit, you may have a lot of questions that remain unanswered.  Yesterday’s announcement, while not a surprise to most of us at City Hall, provides the City with future opportunities on the 110-acre parcel of land that is located at a major interchange with frontage along I-75.  Arenas nowadays tend to have some significant level of public funding included in them.  Auburn Hills was always proud of the fact that Mr. Davidson, the former owner of The Palace and the Pistons, privately funded The Palace without any public monies.  In other words, the private sector funded the project and the private sector profited from it.  Some might say that should be a national model, but I’ll leave that up to your own views on the subject.  For large governments throughout the United States who have tremendous budgets, providing incentives or even owning arenas and stadiums is a possibility.  However, it is very unusual for a major sports arena to be built in a town of about seventeen square miles with 23,000 residents.  So for those who might think that Auburn Hills should have acquired the arena and the property for hundreds of millions of dollars in order to keep the team here, you need to know that the City’s total annual General Fund budget is about $25 million.  We’re hardly in a position to own an arena.

ar-150329947We will be expecting to roll up our sleeves and work with Palace representatives on the future use of the property.  If you listened to yesterday’s announcement, the one thing you did not hear from owner Tom Gores is a definitive plan for The Palace property.  So rather than speculate and add yet another version of what “might happen”, we’re going to exercise patience and learn more about what he and his executives have in mind for the property, whether or not that includes the arena.  As plans unfold, we will be sure to share that information with our citizens through a public planning process. 

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone.


Tom Tanghe, City Manager

The Pistons and The Palace

Celebrate with us at the Tree Lighting Ceremony

The holidays are approaching and Auburn Hills is ready to spread the cheer! On Friday, December 2nd from 6:00pm – 9:00pm Mayor McDaniel and City Council will welcome Santa, Mrs. Claus, and his reindeer to Downtown Auburn Hills to light the tree and kick off the season!

This year’s Tree Lighting Ceremony will feature many fun activities, including:

  • Keepsake family photo with Santa and Mrs. Claus
  • Live reindeer viewing
  • Carriage rides
  • World Holiday Music Shows
  • Live Carolers
  • and so much more!

A number of our Downtown merchants have been busy decorating their storefronts. The best-decorated store will be awarded with a plaque at the event. Everyone can vote for the best-decorated store at this link: click here; or at our voting table during the event. A number of businesses will also offer specials to attendees (coupons will be available in the event program).

This year we have partnered with the VA Hospital in Detroit to collect donations for homeless Veterans. Donations will be collected at City Hall (1827 N. Squirrel Road) through mid-December and at the Chamber of Commerce (3395 Auburn Road) during the event. Here is the list of items that can be donated:

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Keep an eye on our website and social media accounts for more information as the event approaches! Our Mayor and City Council are looking forward to spending this evening with our guests.

The Tree Lighting Ceremony is sponsored by the Auburn Hills Tax Increment Finance Authority.


Sam Harris, Management Assistant

Celebrate with us at the Tree Lighting Ceremony

Delivering on our Promises

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If you’re like most Americans, you are probably happy to see the 2016 presidential election cycle come and go.  Although the Presidential election is significantly important to all of us, nothing touches your life more directly and on a daily basis than that of your local government (Think – turn on the water, flush the toilet, plow the snow, visit a park, call for a Police Officer or ambulance, etc.).  So it’s important to us as your City staff to deliver on those things that have been promised by the City.  Continue reading “Delivering on our Promises”

Delivering on our Promises

I Know the Holiday Season is Upon Us Because…

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100.3 WNIC has begun playing Christmas music.  And . . . our staff met yesterday morning to finalize plans for this year’s Tree Lighting Ceremony in Downtown Auburn Hills.  Mark your calendar now for this annual event which generally draws about five hundred people.  It will be held on Friday, December 2nd beginning at 6:00 p.m.  In addition to watching Mayor McDaniel flip the switch to light the tree with three lucky Avondale students, the sidewalks will be filled with people enjoying holiday lights, decorated windows at our downtown businesses, a visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus, reindeer, holiday music show, letter writing to Santa, wagon rides, miniature train rides, photos with Santa, a tree decorating contest with popcorn and hot chocolate at River Church, and much more.  This is a very enjoyable evening for everyone of all ages and if you’re not in the holiday spirit by then, you will be. 

This year, we are accepting donations in support of the VA Hospital in Detroit.  The list of items you can donate will be posted soon on our City website at www.auburnhills.org. Look for the Annual Tree Lighting announcement on the website and the list can be found there.  Items will be collected in the lobby of City Hall and at the Chamber of Commerce office the night of the Tree Lighting Ceremony.


Tom Tanghe, City Manager

I Know the Holiday Season is Upon Us Because…

“Who are you?”

If you are from my generation, the thought of this question may get you to start humming the popular 1978 song from the English rock band The Who. Perhaps those of you younger than me will remember this tune as the theme song from the popular television show CSI that ran on CBS from 2000 – 2015.

Either way, it begs a very important question, “Who are you?”

Defining who the City of Auburn Hills is for our residents, businesses, and visitors was exactly what we set out to accomplish when we formed an 11-person committee. Our goal was to create the City’s first official mission, vision, and values statements.

The committee was comprised of staff from many different levels and disciplines throughout the organization, each with a different perspective on who we are. Despite these different perspectives, it was clear at the very first meeting that we all felt strongly about who we are as an organization and common themes began to emerge. Words like excellence, attentive, and efficient governmental services were just a few of the key values that were mentioned at the beginning. With that common ground established and guidance from our City Council, the committee went to work.

After four very interactive and productive meetings, the committee, along with City Council, was able to accomplish something that had not been previously completed in our 33-year history as a City; the defining of our first mission, vision, and values for the City of Auburn Hills.

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The song goes on to ask the question at least 155 times (I lost track) “who are you?” Well, now we can proudly point to our mission, vision, and values and respond – This is who we are!


Don Grice, Assistant City Manager

“Who are you?”

Auburn Hills Receives Planning Excellence Award

Humility is an important factor when employed in the public sector.  Our employees know that it is an honor to serve the citizens and businesses of the community in which we work.  So at the risk of sounding like I’m bragging, I’m going to tell you that the award we just won comes as no surprise.  This week, Auburn Hills received the 2016 Planning Excellence Award for Best Practice from the Michigan Association of Planning.  Leading our Community Development Department is our Director and City Planner, Steve Cohen.  Let’s just say that Steve is the best of the best.  But it is equally important to have a Planning Commission that is fully engaged in all aspects of their role in the community, which is to thoroughly review all development and to make it as harmonious as possible across the entire City.  Our Planning Commission and Staff understand that everything they review is considered in the context of the impact on the entire City, not just site-specific.  The Planning Commission Chairman, Mr. Greg Ouellette, has held that role for a number of years  and is a great example of a dedicated citizen volunteer.  An appointment to the Planning Commission is a rather large time commitment, so the people who do it have to be in it for all the right reasons.  Our Community Development Department and Planning Commission are like a well-oiled machine, while still providing a system of checks and balances.  Our Industrial Planning Study for which we received the award, is a shining example of the quality of work that comes from our Community Development department.  That publication has become a driving force in forecasting the City’s development and finances and has been an important reference tool for guiding policy changes such as the recently amended Tax Abatement Policy. 

My personal congratulations go out to Director Cohen and his staff and Chairman Ouellette and all the members of the Planning Commission on the receipt of this award.  It’s great to be recognized for hard work and a job well done!


Tom Tanghe, City Manager

Auburn Hills Receives Planning Excellence Award