Why should you vote?

Tuesday, November 4th is Election Day for all of Michigan. We will choose a governor, attorney general, secretary of state, senator, congressional members, state representatives, judges, school boards, among others, and will vote on proposals for hunting, schools, and more. Here in Auburn Hills the voters will be deciding if residents can continue to burn leaves and yard waste.

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The persons who win the election will have control over your taxes, the laws, and your children’s schools. If you don’t vote, you are letting others make those choices for you. Wouldn’t you like to be a part of that decision?

The polls are open from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. If you are unsure what polling location you vote at, you can look on our website at www.auburnhills.org and click on the link to check your ballot, or call us at 248-370-9402.

See you at the polls!


Terri Kowal, City Clerk

Why should you vote?

Reintroducing Auburn Hills Downtown Development Authority

In 1983, Auburn Hills (formerly Pontiac Charter Township) adopted an ordinance that created a Downtown Development Authority (DDA). The Authority was never fully implemented or utilized to its full potential. Auburn Hills has since decided to amend the boundaries and reinstate the DDA because of the great benefit it holds to our citizens and the vitality of our community.

Auburn Hills DDA is designed to be a catalyst in the development of our community’s Downtown District. It provides a mechanism which funds can be used for public improvement projects within the district. Below is a map of the newly expanded boundaries of the Auburn Hills DDA. The boundaries were strategically established to help promote further development of the core downtown district and allow for a greater expansion of walkable features including commercial residential, mixed use developments as well as new businesses.

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Continue reading “Reintroducing Auburn Hills Downtown Development Authority”

Reintroducing Auburn Hills Downtown Development Authority

Have you seen the Community Center’s new look?!

Have you seen a brightly decorated van driving around town lately? The City of Auburn Hills Community Center is sporting a new look with our advertising!

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The Community Center is home both to the Senior Services Department and the Parks & Recreation Department which means people of all ages and abilities can take advantage of all the great services and programs offered.

One such program is the Senior Transportation Program. We provide rides Monday – Friday to residents who are senior citizens and persons with disabilities so they can get to their doctor appointments, go shopping, come to the center for the senior lunch program and other business type appointments. Last week was our first full week out driving the van, and we had so many positive comments about the new look. Our driver Carol Marsh relayed the following comments she received: “Looks really pretty” (80+ year old senior rider), “Looks very slick” (75+ senior), and one gentleman came up and asked Carol if she has a fun job. She said she has a great job and he said he wanted to come drive. She also reported many people were looking and some did a double take. So “fun” is the word for our new look.

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And for me, every time I see the van it makes me smile! It just has that effect on a person. So next time you see the Community Center Van out and about, let us know if it makes you smile too.

Oh, and by the way, we are looking for “fun” and caring drivers for our transportation program. Check out the city website for more information, and who knows, maybe you can drive the fun van!

Karen Adcock, Director of Senior Services

Have you seen the Community Center’s new look?!

Auburn Hills Chamber Recognized as Outstanding Chamber in Michigan

I’ve often humorously referred to the Auburn Hills Chamber of Commerce as the best Chamber of Commerce in Auburn Hills.  All joking aside, the Chamber does an outstanding job of representing the business community in Auburn Hills and also importantly, works cooperatively with the City.  Due to the fact that Auburn Hills has a substantial business presence, it is of course in the best interests of the Chamber and the City to provide outstanding services to the business community, in addition to the many quality services that we provide to the residential citizens and visitors to the City.  And while the City and the Chamber are two separate and distinct organizations, their Executive Director, Denise Asker, clearly sees the benefits and advantages to working closely with the City to achieve the mutual goal of strengthening our business base and contributing to its success.

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So it comes as no surprise to me that on October 2, 2014 in Muskegon, at the Michigan Association of Chamber Professional Leadership Conference and Annual Meeting, the Auburn Hills Chamber of Commerce was named Outstanding Chamber in Michigan.  “The Auburn Hills Chamber of Commerce received this award based on its accomplishments in leadership and governance, financial stewardship, business advocacy and member programming,” said Bob Thomas, Director for the Michigan Association of Chamber Professionals. “Among the chamber’s noted achievements were the demonstration of financial stewardship required to grow from a small chamber to a mid-size chamber, its innovation in programming for women, its collaboration with other non-profits in the area, and the commitment to excellence in its governance structures.”

The Outstanding Chamber of Commerce award is presented to chambers of commerce that achieve high scores on a comprehensive application judged by chamber of commerce professionals from other state associations around the country.  Applicants must demonstrate quality, innovation, and effectiveness of programming in the areas of leadership and governance, finance, business advocacy and programming/membership development. The award is modeled after the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Accreditation process for recognizing best industry practices.

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Based on the above criteria for selection, it is apparent that this is no cakewalk.  To receive the recognition our Chamber has received means you have to earn it.  This is not honorary.  And I can tell you firsthand that the staff of our Chamber, under the leadership of Ms. Asker, has earned it!

CONGRATULATIONS to the Staff, Board of Directors, Chamber Ambassadors and Committee Members.  And congratulations to the many businesses who are members of the Auburn Hills Chamber of Commerce who now have bragging rights that they belong to this year’s Outstanding Chamber of Commerce in Michigan.

Tom Tanghe, City Manager

Auburn Hills Chamber Recognized as Outstanding Chamber in Michigan

Sometimes, it’s not over until the ballots are counted – again!

The last blog I posted talked about what happens after the election, like closing the polls and processing the paperwork. It didn’t end there! At the end of all results being canvassed and certified as accurate by the County, the difference in the number of votes cast for two candidates for the Republican office of the 29th State Representative was SIX! Therefore, a recount took place.

Let me back up a bit and tell you what every Clerk will agree upon – we quake in terror at the thought of a recount. It’s not because we don’t have confidence in our results – we do. It’s not because we don’t trust our workers – we do. In fact, we have audits performed on our election results as a routine practice enacted by the state, which we have passed with flying colors. It is this – once in a while, a precinct may scratch out the seal number on the ballot bag, or not place the seal on correctly, or not put a note in the poll book with an explanation of an unusable ballot. Any of those things can make a precinct not able to be recounted, which angers the candidates, and makes a Clerk feel really bad.

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In a recount, an entire table of people with very high stakes in the results pay close attention to every detail of the ballot bag, poll book, and ballots. We, the Clerks involved in the election, must be present. Both candidates are there, along with their families and supporters, and both really, really want to win. Needless to say, the tensions are high and great care is taken with the recounts.

Here is how it went. The Clerks of Pontiac, Sylvan Lake, Orchard Lake and Auburn Hills were required to bring the ballots to the County the Friday before the recount, so that the County had them in hand. Then on the morning of the recount, we went to the designated room and had a seat in the corner, against the wall, so that we were available for questions. From that vantage point, we were able to watch all the action without being able to touch anything. Each ballot container and all paperwork was reviewed by a member of the Oakland County Board of Canvassers, who would then announce to the room at large, “Auburn Hills Precinct 1 is qualified for recount”. As I said before, I was very confident but that doesn’t mean my heart didn’t pound and my palms sweat each of the nine times they started with “Auburn Hills Precinct…..”.

All nine of our precincts were recountable. It didn’t work that way for every municipality, so I was very proud of our Election Chairs, workers and staff. In the end, the trusted machines we use for elections proved themselves once again. The total changed by one vote, so the total was a difference of seven rather than six votes. And the ballot that switched was due to human error, not the machines.

Yes, I have total confidence in our elections. And in myself, having administered about 34 or 35 elections. Like all Clerks, though, I am crossing my fingers that whoever wins any of the seats in November wins by a sufficient enough margin that we don’t have a recount again! So get out and vote, or call us for an absentee ballot at 248-370-9402!

Terri Kowal, City Clerk

Sometimes, it’s not over until the ballots are counted – again!

The Halloween Trail

This is my favorite time of year! If I had it my way, decorations would get put up at the beginning of September but majority vote wins…….bummer for me. Not to fret and not to frown – the great thing for me is I get to decorate my house, and I have the opportunity to create the 23rd Annual Halloween Trail at the Civic Center Park with my side kicks Johnnie Mattiello and Greg Landry from DPW. Half the fun is the time we spend together coming up with different ideas on how to make the trail better than the last one. Don’t get me wrong – the three of us get the ball rolling, but it takes everyone here at the City working together to pull off this event that draws between 500-800 people every year.halloween

Pulling off this event is no easy task as it takes the following items: advertising/marketing, station decorations, donations, candy preparation, recruiting 40+ volunteers (give us a call if you are interested), 3 days of trail set-up and clean-up, and months of preparation. With all of us working together, we create 12 different stations for children, ages 12 and under, to “Trick or Treat” down the Halloween Trail in Civic Center Park. The last station children visit is the “Talking Pumpkin”, and then they enjoy a special Halloween Magic Show inside the Community Center. This event is FREE to all children in costume. Now to figure out my costume for this year!  For more information, call Parks & Recreation at the Auburn Hills Community Center at 248-370-9353.halloween2

Mikey Gorak, Recreation Coordinator

The Halloween Trail

Auburn Hills Rotary Hosts a Night with the DPW Director

We are honored to have the City of Auburn Hills Department of Public Works Director, Ron Melchert, as one of our monthly-featured speakers. As we all know road construction can cause headaches during our commutes, but we also know in the end our drive will be much smoother. We have one such construction project that is going to affect hundreds of commuters like you next year. You might have heard, the I-75 University Bridge is being redone and will feature a unique design which will allow for better traffic flows – the Diverging Diamond.

On October 16th, Mr. Melchert will be presenting a program about the new bridge and what to expect in 2015. This Prepare to Re-route Program will be your opportunity to learn and prepare for alternative driving routes.

It is being held at the Auburn Hills Community Center on October 16th at 6:00 pm. For planning purposes we do ask you to RSVP to 248-370-9353, however walk-ins are always welcome.

The Rotary Club of Auburn Hills, Michigan was chartered in April of 1956. The club actively participates in Rotary International’s efforts to rid the world of polio and provide access to clean water for citizens of Third World countries.

Locally we focus on youth, seniors, literacy and veterans. We have recently hosted a breakfast for our veterans, and volunteered at several community events such as the Tree Lighting, the Memorial Day parade and awarded scholarships to high school seniors.IMG_9228

As committed Rotarians, we believe in “Service Above Self”. We take pride in the events we host, causes we support, and scholarships we fund.

We support and believe in our community. We host meetings on a regular basis in order to network, learn and connect with other like individuals in our community and surrounding areas.

Karen Adcock, Director of Senior Services

Auburn Hills Rotary Hosts a Night with the DPW Director